« AnteriorContinuar »
LONDON QUARTERLY REVIEW.
FOR JUNE, 1842.
ART. I.-Des Clusses dangereuses de la , lon, we may very probably be mistaking
Population dans les Grandes Villes, et des elegancies for barbarisms. A more imporMoyens de les rendre meilleures. Ouvrage tant fault is, that our author, carried away récompensé en 1838, par l'Institut de by his great anxiety to conquer all objecFrance (Académie des Sciences Morales tions to his favourite system of solitary conet Politiques). Par H. A. Frégier, finement, has been led to falsify all the proChef de Bureau à la Préfecture de la portions of his book, by devoting a very Seine. Paris, 1840. 2 vols. 8vo., pp. undue number of pages to this one branch 985.
of his subject.
We cannot but suspect also that M. FréThe modern French press has sent forth gier's essay in 400 pages, which obtained few works more interesting than this, or the prize, may have been a more perfect better calculated to do good service, not to treatise with reference to its proper and France alone, but to the countries around specific theme than the present expanded her. To none does it offer more useful work. Seventy-fours, cut asunder and instruction than to England, similarly situ- lengthened into nineties, seldom retain their ated as she is in the progress of civilisa- firmness and solidity of structure; and tion and in many of the leading features of books, when from one trim, compact volnational character. Despite the difficulties / ume, drawn out into two, have always their and annoyances, nay the dangers, which weak points ; the joinings never hold well surrounded the subject he had to investi- together—the materials have no unison and gate, M. Frégier appears to have made easy play among themselves; and the himself accurately master of it in many of whole structure is very apt to give way its ramifications. To mere literary merit when exposed to the rough sea of critihis volumes have little claim: occasionally cism. In the present instance the original we meet with passages extremely well ex- treatise, in accordance with the terms of the pressed; but in general the style is some-submitted question,* was confined entirely what complicated and redundant; and it is to the dangerous classes among the lower deformed by the perpetual introduction of orders of society. In the published work termes de Palais,' in places where the sub- the author has extended his subject. and ject in no degree requires their use. We should say, too, that the pages are tinged * The thesis proposed was as follows: with some vulgarisms, were it not that, in
Rechercher d'après des observations positives, the rapid strides which modern French is quels sont les élémens dont se compose à Paris, ou
dans toute autre grande ville, cette partie de la poptaking to emancipate itself from the shack-ulation qui forme une classe dangereuse par ses les of the Dictionary of the Academy, and vices, son ignorance, et sa misère; indiquer les the way in which year by year, nay almost moyens, que l'administration, les hommes riches ou day by day, it is separating itself from the aisés, les ouvriers intelligens et laborieux pourraient
pour améliorer cette classe dangereuse et language of Pascal, Molière, and Massil- | dépravée.
introduced another class, perfectly dis-, himself with a somewhat vague approxitinct in its position and in its nature mation to the truth. The system of licrets, -the literary dangerous class.' How books analogous to the pocket-ledgers of ever interesting this division of society our soldiers, afforded bim little or no assistmay be, however great the danger to be ance; the possession of such books is not apprehended from it, and the necessity compulsory upon the working classes; and therefore of studying it with care, still its of the men who come to Paris from the connection with the real and direct object Departments, bringing their books with of the prescribed work was not such as to them, a large proportion merely have them have rendered its introduction either ne- examined by the Prefecture of Police, and cessary or expedient; and it is evident that cannot be induced to exchange them for the propounders of the question were of Paris books. The returns, therefore, of this opinion. It is less ably treated than the number of livrets issued afford no data the other divisions of the subject ; less by which to ascertain the actual number of philosophically and profoundly understood operatives resident in the capital. The by the author; and the natural conse- approximation at which M. Frégier arrives quence of this-less fully and clearly is as follows : brought out to the reader. We think also There exists in Paris, of male operathat some of the other parts of the book tives, a number varying from 75,000 to where interpolations have taken place-all | 105,000. Of these 50,000 are married, or of which are carefully noted by the author live with female companions. Of female -are, comparatively at least, deficient in operatives the number is about 60,000: of interest and importance.
these 40,000 are the wives or domesticated The one great principle, to the illustra- companions of workmen. Of apprentices tion of which M. Frégier has addressed the number is about 100,000, being ashimself, is this : that in society, and amongst sumed at the rate of two to each of tho its lower classes more especially, vice leads 50,000 workmen who live as family men. to crime, and crime lo danger. This sub- The number of chiffonniers is about 4000, ject he treats under a fourfold division. 1st. one half of whom are men, the other half The statistics of the vicious and dangerous women and children. The above numbers classes. 20. Their manners, habits, and give a total, varying according to the season modes of life. 3d. The preservatives against of the year, the activity of work, especially the 'invasions of vice. 4th. The remedies of building, and other causes, of from 239,to be employed to lessen and control it. 000 to 269,000 persons; and on this numThe author fixes his point of view at Paris. ber M. Frégier bases his calculations.
We cannot but demur as to the validity • The causes of crime and its effects are,' he of this mode of procedure. Almost every says, 'everywhere the same; the mode of commítting it and the characters of those who com semblance between the vices and crimes of
page of his volumes proves the close remit it vary with every country and every place: but if its nature and effects, as developed in full London and Paris ; and certainly we perfection in Paris, be carefully and fully ana- should consider as radically defective any İyzed, the information thence resulting will, by calculations regarding our metropolitan easy induction, be rendered applicable to the population which were limited to its operaother great towns in France; and also, in a con- tives only, even taking that appellation in siderable degree to all the principal cities of its most extended sense. In all great cities other nations.
there are numerous sections of the lower M. Frégier having assumed, as an ad population, whose employments do not mitted fact, that it is from the poor and vi- come under that category. To instance & cious of the operative classes that the crimi- few only: persons employed about public nal portion of the community is chiefly re- vehicles of all descriptions, or with horses ; cruited, it was necessary for him, in the boatmen; soldiers ; the ranks of the pofirst place, to ascertain the total numerical lice; the extremely numerous classes of strength of those classes. Notwithstand servants, male and female, and more espe. ing the numerous and well-organized police cially male servants out of place-a diviof Paris, and its elaborate system of civil sion of society which, we conceive, furadministration, the functions of which are nishes a contingent to crime larger in profar more searching and extensive than with portion to its numbers than any other. All us, there appears to be great difficulty in these, and many others, should have been exactly ascertaining the numerical value of included; and the fallaciousness of not dothe different classes of society; and indeed, ing so will at once be apparent, when we after all his exertions to accomplish this ob- consider that the total population of Paris ject, M. Frégier was compelled to content exceeds 900,000 persons; and that conse
quently the classes to which M. Frégier extrêmes par leur nature, se touchent dans restricts himself are considerably less than leurs effets : elles aboutissent toutes deux one-third of the whole.
au crime.' Of these classes of society, thus arbitra Many of the individuals of the dangerous rily selected, M. Frégier supposes that the class belong to several of its divisions: the portion habitually devoted to the two kin- same man is often gambler, bully, smugdred vices of idleness and intemperance is gler, sharper, pickpocket, and robber-the about one-third; viz. 35,000 men and 20,- receiver of stolen goods is frequently a pro000 women-he takes no account of the fessed sharper; and many loose women are apprentices—and that of these numbers, also robbers and receivers of stolen goods. again, one-half of the men and two-thirds It is this multiplicity of functions which has of the women are thoroughly vicious; as baffled every attempt to ascertain the nuare also one-half_2000_of the chiffon- merical strength of the several departniers, men, women, and children ; making ments of vice. One thing only is certain, altogether a total of about 33,000 persons, that the gamblers, including not merely who constitute the very dregs of the popu- those who are such by profession, but the lation. Omitting any enumeration of the other bad characters who addict themselves contingent of vice afforded by the remain to this vice, are the most numerous division der of the lower classes, those which, as of the whole. The contingent which the he expresses it, are strangers to the in- middle and higher classes furnish to the didustrious arts,' he next proceeds to state vision of sharpers and gamblers is estimatthat the criminal part of the middle and ed at 100. upper ranks—' les classes aisées'--may be The number of registered prostitutes is taken as about equal to one-tenth of the 3800—of unregistered or free, about 4000. above, that is 3300 persons. At this num- One in twenty of these women is a foreignber he arrives by a different process. The er. Paris and its environs give one-fourth; annual average of criminal prosecutions in the rest are from the provinces; and the Paris is 3500, and about one-half of these proportions which they furnish decrease as end in convictions. The average annual they are more remote, except in the case number of convictions in the middle and of some of the northern manufacturing upper classes is ascertained to be 157, districts, and certain garrison towns, the which is very nearly one-eleventh of the supply from which is disproportionally whole; he therefore assumes that the total | large. numbers of the thoroughly vicious in the lower and upper classes bear to each other "On ne désigne pas des localités qui alimenthe same proportion of ten to one; and tent le libertinage plus particulièrement que consequently that, as the former amount to malheureuse Irlande, décimée par la misère, au
d'autres, comme cela existe à Londres, où la 33,000, the latter may be taken at 3300: profit de la débauche, envoie un si grand nombre All this appears to us to be very vague and de prostituées qu'il est hors de toute proportion arbitrary; and the more so from the pal- avec les contingens fournis par les autres parties pable error which we have pointed out in de la Grand Bretagne.' the first element upon which it is based.
Such, however, being assumed as the We are sorry to see the universal prejunumerical strength of the vicious class, the dice of the French against England peepauthor next proceeds to estimate the coming out in the statistics of such a book as ponent parts of the dangerous class. These this. Every magistrate in London well are the gamblers, the prostitutes, the men knows that what is here said as to Ireland whom they attach to themselves either as is not only untrue, but flagrantly and dialovers or bullies—souteneurs—or in the dou- metrically opposed to the truth. ble capacity; the mistresses of the houses The number of the mistresses of houses of ill-fame; the vagabonds, smugglers, of ill-fame is about 372, one-half only of sharpers, pickpockets, robbers of both whom have licensed houses. Each prostisexes; and the receivers of stolen goods, tute having, as an invariable rule, her lover of both sexes also. The predominant vices or souteneur, these men—and they are the of all these are idleness and debauchery-vilest of the vile--amount to 7800. Nearly the power which puts them in motion is all of them belong to one or more of the greediness of gain. Some of these per other categories of vice, being sharpers, sons follow useful occupations, and many thieves, or pickpockets, and gamblers also, of them with especial ability; but they as a matter of course. labour only to obtain the means of indulg
From a similar blending of professions, ing their vices.- La fainéantise et l'acti- it is impossible to ascertain the number of vité vicieuse,' says M. Frégior, quoique vagabonds who come within the dangerous
Adults and children, they may be sick. The proportion of cases is very large in taken_limiting the title to its strictest sense which a long period of cohabitation takes place -at about 1500.
before marriage. If a young couple find that The receivers of stolen goods are about they live happily together, sooner or later their
union is rendered legal, and no distinction what600. Adding to these specific divisions the
ever is made between the children born before Protean mass of gamblers, smugglers, and after marriage; all alike are sent to school sharpers, pickpockets, and robbers, the au- until the age of iwelve, and then are bound apthor fixes the total amount of the danger- prentices. The operatives in Paris are generally ous class at 30,072; making, with the 33,- paid once a fortnight; the more orderly give 000 previously ascertained as being the over at once to their wives the whole of their thoroughly depraved portion of the work- wages, with the exception of a trifling sum for ing class, a total of 63,072 persons of both the half; whilst others retain to themselves the
their own personal expenses ; some give them sexes and all ages, composing the entire control of the whole of their earnings, and mass of Parisian crime and vice. But in allow their wives to dispose as they please of this statement he omits to include the vici- their own wages. The exhausting nature of ous of the middle and upper classes, which the work to which many are exposed demands he has previously fixed as amounting to a liberal diet, and still more a sufficient but 3300. If these be added, the total number moderate portion of wholesome wine, which to of persons either criminal or utterly vicious, of life: it not only repairs his strength, but it
a French artificer is one of the chief necessaries and therefore dangerous or tending to dan renders him cheerful—it chases away his ger, is 66,372; being somewhat more than cares." one-fourteenth of the entire population of Paris.-Such are the numerical results to This is the bright, but, alas! the smaller which our author's calculation leads us. We division of the picture. The proportion of must again remark, that they appear to pro- the entire class which adopts and maintains ceed on a very partial basis. The total popu- this regular and orderly course of life is lation of Paris in 1836—the period to which sadly limited. The attraction of the pubthese volumes refer-was 909,126 : the only lic house is one of the most fatal to the laclasses of which he treats are the operatives, bouring classes, and more than anything 265,000, the dangerous class, 30,072, and a else decides their lot. portion of the middle classes, say 33,000, in all 328,072. If we estimate that the mid The operative,' says M. Frégier, ‘rises be. dle and upper classes amount altogether to fore the day; he goes to his workshop, on his 200,000—a number probably far above the route
he meets an old companion, whom he has truth—there will remain no less than 381,- ing takes place; and “ Let us have a glass to
not seen for some time; an affectionate greet054 persons in the lower walks of life, to-gether" are among the first words which they tally excluded from our author's calcula- both utter, for the idea is always uppermost in tions,
their minds. They talk of work-of their masThe second division of the work commen- ters—the conversation goes on, glass in handces with a general view of the operative class- again their masters are criticised—their several es, for it is of the operatives only that he still know how to conduct their trade—their stingi
and peculiar bad qualities--how little they continues to speak :
ness-their irregularity in paying their work• Those,” he says—we shall abridge rather yond all bounds. As a matter of course each of
men—their severity, which is declared to be bethan translate his pages— those who study the orators deems it a point of honour to “ stand them minutely and without prejudice will find his turn." The philippics continue—from the among their ranks many examples of virtue. masters they descend to the overseers and foreThey are good-natured, anxious to serve their men; and from them to their fellow-workmen. comrades, devoted to the interests of their em- The hour of labour arrives; one of the two ployers; and charitable, narrow as their means friends fears the reproaches of his master if he are, not only to their fellow-workmen when out enters the workshop too late, and prefers losing them, to all especially who lodge in the same panion to tarry with him, and proposes a third house. They labour to reclaim their vicious round of glasses; the prudence of the other by comrade; they visit and console him in prison. degrees gives way: they settle themselves at 1a; When a manufacturer or a master artisan has ble; they breakfast; they become heated with the skill and good judgment to obtain the love wine; and not the third part, but the whole of of those whom he employs, there is no exer- the day is lost; and they may deem themselves tion they will not make to serve him. The fortunate if they are in a state of work on the warmth of heart of the operative, renders him morrow.' always eager to give his aid and to expose himself to danger, when accident occurs in the street, or casual tumults arise. There are no
We have given this scene, not because it bounds to the sacrifices which they make to pro- is painted in a lively manner
, and is characcure comforts for their wives and children when I teristic of the gay, talkative disposition of