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is a sensible relief to the community, for his place is not necessarily filled. But the class is fortunately of comparative rarity in this country. Of men led to crime by wayward and peculiar passions, it may be said, too, that, by their removal, a certain item in the criminality of the community is also removed. But in the ordinary predatory offences, which are the staple of the criminality of this country-a penalty which it pays for its widely diffused wealth-there is a certain daily business done within those limits which the pressure of the administration of justice leaves available; and if one person does not transact it, another will. In every well-policed country, there is but a limited extent of depredation capable of being carried out. It is a sad thing to believe, but it is certainly true, that there now is-and until some radical moral change is effected on our population there will continue to be a large body on the borders of criminality, ready to enter on its practical pursuit should they find an opportunity. If any one doubted that there is this classcriminals in heart, though not in deed-who only abstain from offences because others transact so much of the business as the momentary absence of the policeman renders practically available-the variations in the number of crimes committed in different periods-the increase when the temptation is aggravated by bad times, the decrease in periods of prosperity-will be sufficient to convince him. If, then, we shall simply turn the perpetrators of these common offences out of the country, without having secured the reformation of those who remain, the labourmarket of crime will be deficient in workmen, and their places will presently be supplied from those who were standing all day in the marketplace waiting for their opportunity. Now, the alarming but necessary result of such a view is, that, by this simple removal of offenders, crime may be increased rather than diminished; for we send away a convict who is still a criminal, and his place at home is filled by a new member of the profession. Even if there were not among ourselves a large
VOL. LXXXIII.—NO, DIX.
number ready to fill the vacancies, the law of supply and demand would bring them from abroad.
Hence it is, that while we continued year by year exporting thousands of criminals, crime never decreased; and to this principle it must also surely in some degree be attributed, that since transportation has virtually ceased, and our criminals have been kept at home, crime, instead of increasing, has diminished. It is not easy to take the exact measure of the criminality of a country at any time, either separately or with reference to other times; and all complex comparison, involving not only the variations in the amount of crime, but the cause of these variations, must be accepted with caution. But there are statistical features too large in their general outlines to be mistaken, and the facts brought forward during the Parliamentary discussion in 1857, show that crimes, and especially the grave class of crimes, had decreased in number, however formidable they might at times appear from the peculiar aspect which clusters of cases assumed. Let us take, for the sakę of ease and compactness, the outline, as it were, of the criminal statistics of our own country, Scotland. The daily average number of inmates of the Scottish prisons, from the year 1840 downwards, will be found in the usual Parliamentary Reports. The highest number was in the year 1849, when it amounted to 3143; that is to say, taking one day with another, there were always throughout that year 3143 prisoners. During the three ensuing years the number did not quite reach 3000. In 1853 it was 2724; in 1854, 2666; in 1855, 2316; in 1856, 2210; in 1857, 2183.
Thus the number in the prisons during last year was in round numbers 1000-close on a third-less than it had been in 1849, and that while the population was doubtless increasing. The daily average is taken as the most simple and uniform test of the number of persons habitually undergoing punishment. If we take the number of committals, or of convictions, we require to analyse them, otherwise trifling police offences will count as much as highly-punished
crimes; and that which may only indicate some new zeal in the suppression of petty nominal delinquencies, or the creation of a new offence by statute, may stand as evidence of a sudden increase in crime. A committal for twenty-four hours will count as much in such an enumeration as imprisonment for a year; but in the daily average it will be only the three hundred and sixtyfifth part of a unit. The returns for the year ending in the summer of 1856 show a slight increase in the total number of committals over the previous year; but this is concomitant with a decrease, enlarging as we ascend in the scale of punishment. The continued decrease in the class called convicts those who used to be transported, and since 1853 have been sentenced either to transportation or to penal servitude-is very remarkable. The highest number during the past ten years was 533 in 1851. Next year the number fell to 433, and in the year following to 388. In 1853 it was 314; in 1855, 284; in 1856, 264; in 1857, 251-less than half the number in 1851. If we suppose that, while this decrease was in progress, the corresponding class of crimes has been increasing, the question would then be, not about the superior efficacy of one kind of punishment, or one method of prison discipline over another, but about the preposterous absurdity of awarding any punishment at all, or supporting the whole costly apparatus of the penal law.
And yet we know it to have been not only the firm belief of unprotected females, and rich old gentlemen burdened with a plethora of plate, but the solemnly announced opinion of corporate bodies, that this class of crimes has been increasing; and that with strides so long and rapid, that the country must soon pass into the possession of the freebooters, and sink into a condition which may have been known around the strongholds of the robber aristocracy of Germany, but had never before-not even in the days of Duval, or Turpin, or Abershaw-been endured in Britain. Looking back from a calm distance on this popular delusion, it is not difficult to discover its causes. The necessity of keeping at home some
thousands of the classes of ruffians who used to be sent to the antipodes, created a morbid irritation in the public mind. While the classes of prisoners previously known in this country were actually decreasing in number, the formation of convict establishments, and the sums voted by Parliament for their erection and support, were an ominous daily record of the perpetration of great crimes, and the existence among us of a formidable class of prisoners. Then the public, being sensitive and eager, their appetite for criminal. news was naturally pampered. If fewer crimes were committed, more were noticed in the public press; and this to the public at large was equivalent to an actual increase; for the community among whom there are five daily crimes which are all published, will seem far more wicked than that in which there are ten daily crimes, only one of which is published. This is the publicity which makes the stranger, fresh from some Mediterranean city, in which assassins swarm, shudder when he reads the police column in the Times. It is a healthy characteristic, and though subject to occasional morbid excesses, even these do good, by concentrating attention on the reform of the criminal law, and the best methods of penal discipline.
On the present occasion, the delusion was aggravated by an incidental matter, likely ever to be a warning against the adoption of novelties, which, however sound they may be of themselves, and however acceptable to philosophers, have not been ventilated through the ordinary public mind, so as to be ripened into practical maturity by that general concurrence which in this country is essential to the success of all reforms. Of course we refer to the ticket-of-leave system. Its cause and origin admit of being very easily told, and at once explain that its peculiar and doubtful characteristics, having arisen from an incidental emergency, are not likely to be witnessed again. When the transportation system was stopped by the repudiation of the colonies, the Government had on their hands a body of persons, every day increasing, who were sentenced to this punishment, which
could not be carried out. The question was, What to do with them? The sentences to which they had been subjected involved a certain period of restraint, followed by years of modified freedom abroad. It was clear that in good faith the Government could not take advantage of a power hidden in any latent clause of an Act of Parliament, if there were such a thing, to inflict on them a punishment far greater than that to which they had been sentenced. To have kept the convicts in prison in this country during the long periods of their sentences of transportation, would have been not only to break faith with them, but to kill them by degrees, or drive them mad. Even with such relaxations as public works might afford, it was impossible in this country to give them the freedom which they would have enjoyed by ticket-of-leave or assignment in Australia. It was absolutely necessary, then, that they should be released at some time before the conclusion of their sentences; and the question came to be, How was this to be done? Unfortunately, perhaps, it was suggested that instead of a frank release, they should be conditionally at large, liable, whenever their conduct displeased the Secretary of State, to be brought back and subjected to the remainder of their sentences. This was the new feature in our penal system, which excited a mysterious suspicion in the public mind. Heretofore the executive had only exercised the power of pardon or remission towards criminals, but to the erring ticket-ofleave man it professed to exercise the prerogative of punishment. The public said that this power virtually was not exercised, however clamant might be the demand for it; and there was some truth in this charge, since the authorities at the Home Office were loth to inflict a heavy punishment on any one, on the ground of mere rumour or secret information, and were disposed to wait until the accused had proved his relapse into crime, by being judicially subjected to punishment. Further, it was felt that, if the police were encouraged to keep an eye on these men, and testify to their conduct, a dangerous power would be vested in that body; an espionage, in fact, or surveillance, of
fensive to the principles and feelings of the British people; so the police were not encouraged to take any special notice of them; and it was said that the ticket-of-leave men were a privileged body, whom the police were never to interrupt and molest in the pursuit of their felonious avocations.
Of course it could not come to pass that a body of men who had been sentenced to transportation should be the only portion of the community among whom there was no criminality. Several of them did commit offences; and as the public had made up their mind to find them at their old trade, every offence so committed was echoed and re-echoed in confirmation of the prophecy throughout the land, until the ears of the public were filled with them, and it seemed as if there were no offences but those committed by ticket-of-leave men, and no ticket-of-leave men who were not daily depredators. Colonel Jebb, who had the chief administration of the arrangement, stood on his statistics; but the people were no more inclined to listen to statistics than during the climax of a tragedy to count the audience. He thus maintained in vain, that out of 6730 male convicts released on license or ticketof-leave in a period of three years and three months, but 842, or 12 per cent, had been convicted of any sort of offence, and that only 381 of these had been convicted for offences of a serious character. Matters always look serious when we come to hundreds or to thousands; but, to be honest, we must compare numbers with each other, and not be terrified by sounds. During the same period the number of males convicted of offences in England was 235,000. An estimate of the number of persons so convicted, made by deducting the number who were counted twice or thrice over on account of re-conviction, showed that there were three ticket of-leave men among each thousand persons committed to the English prisons. From such general statistics, and the other facts within his knowledge, Colonel Jebb inferred "that a thousand prisoners discharged from the convict prisons, after being subject to a course of corrective discipline, would not do so much mischief
to the public as any other thousand taken indiscriminately from among those who are discharged at the gates of some of our large prisons, from which there issue as many as 8000 or 10,000 in the course of a single year. Contemporary with this English experiment another has been going on in Ireland, promising still more brilliant results, as Irish results in prospect are wont to be. The convicts in Spike Island hear lectures, make chemical experiments, and have advanced so far in political economy as to theorise on the ultimate productiveness of the public works on which they are employed. "They question the utility of fortifications and such works, but admit the benefits of trade and agriculture, and would therefore pay more attention to them."+ Irish convicts who have earned by their conduct a certain amount of confidence, are sent on messages, and employed to transact confidential business, even in Dublin. Mr Matthew Hill, the zealous recorder of Birmingham, made a pilgrimage to the Irish convict establishments to test the accuracy of these statements, and published a pamphlet attesting his belief in them. Let the world give both to them and to all other trials of the kind fair play. Should such unexpected results stand the test of time and wear and tear, it is well; but it may be proper, before we generalise too widely, even from a long series of facts, to remember that the Irish convict is in general a different being from the English thief. Professional theft is not the leading characteristic of Irish as of British criminality; that country is too poor to encourage the trade.
Before concluding, let us say a word on the peculiar position in which late legislation places the country in relation to the convict. To correct the difficulties caused by the colonial repudiation, the Act of 1853 was passed, substituting, in a large proportion of cases, a shorter sentence of penal servitude" for the sentence of transportation. A cry arose for the restoration of transportation. The Government met it by the Act of 1857, which provides that, "after the com
mencement of this Act no person shall be sentenced to transportation." All convicts are now to be sentenced to penal servitude. But the penal serf may be sent anywhere, and left anywhere at the expiry of his sentence; so that in reality transportation may still be his lot if a place can be found to transport him to. Under the Act of 1853, though a penal serf might be sent abroad, he required to be brought back to finish his sentence in Britain; a conclusion which is generally deemed to neutralise the best objects of transportation. But the present Act, in terms of a circular issued to the judges, "will enable the Government to avail itself to the full extent of the facilities which may from time to time exist for removing to a penal settlement abroad, convicts sentenced to penal servitude. But although the sentence of penal servitude will hereafter subject the convict to the liability to removal under such sentence to a penal colony, the number of convicts who can be thus dealt with must depend on the facilities existing at any given period for their employment and absorption in a colony, and on the willingness of the colonists to receive them."
A prisoner, on hearing his sentence, sometimes asks, "What is penal servitude?"--and naturally: the knowledge is of some moment to him, but he cannot get it. The jailer cannot tell him; nor can the judge who sentences him; nor the Convict Board who carry out the sentence; not even the Secretary of State, who is supreme to dictate what it shall be; for though he may know his own intentions, he cannot anticipate those of his possible successor. Whether the committal of this great and peculiar power, even to an officer so high and responsible, is quite constitutional, is a question which we have not time at present to discuss. But certainly it cannot be doubted, that the sooner there is an end of ambiguities and dubieties, and the precise nature of every punishment is known to all-the judge, the culprit, and the bystanding publicthe better will it be for the securing of public confidence in the fair administration of criminal justice.
* Report on the Discipline of Convict Prisons, 25. + Third Report of Directors.
STORIES FROM ANCIENT SIND.
FEW of the byways of history lead to more picturesque, and even pathetic scenes, than those which belong to the great Mohammedan conquests. The fiery character of the Arabs, the stern ideas which they entertained, and the magnificence of the old-world systems with which they rudely came in contact, all combined to produce events so singular and so tragic that we may well linger over them with more than ordinary interest and wonder.
Especially in the history of the Mohammedan conquest of Sind we find events touching in themselves, and suggesting a brief general view of the condition of Brahminism, Buddhism, Mohammedanism, and Christianity, at one of those disturb ed epochs which condition the progress of the world, or of large tions of it, for many centuries. Over porall the three conquests of that country much obscurity rests. Alexander's invasion is related in Greek by Greeks; the history of the Mohammedan conquest is preserved in Persian by followers of Islam, eager to ascribe glory to God and His Prophet; and any one who has compared Sir William Napier's works with the petitions of the Ameers and the pamphlets of Outram and Jacob, will agree with us in thinking that it is a little difficult to determine even the facts of the recent English annexation. Some are of opinion that old Arab manuscripts, relating to the Mohammedan conquest of Sind, still exist in that country; but if that be the case, they are sacredly preserved from the eyes of every "dog-Christian." Only Persian compilations from them are available; and our knowledge of these compilations has been drawn from a variety of sources; from conversations with learned Easterns;-from a carefully prepared abstract by a friend, an accomplished Persian scholar, of the Tohfut-ulKiram, a work which was composed, about ninety years ago, by Ali Sher Kanai of Thatta, who professed to compile from ancient chronicles ;from an unpublished volume, by the
late Sir Henry Elliot, being an appendix to the third volume of his Historians in India;-and from a translation, by Captain Malet, published as a Selection from the Records of the Bombay Government, of a History of Sind, by Mohammed Masoom, who wrote that his son"the cooler of my eyes, the flower of my heart, Meer Boorzoorg "-might learn what the good men of old did, and who damps the effect of his finest stories by quaintly adding, "But as to the truth of this, God only knows!" Some valuable information has also been derived from the extracts presented in a curious work, published at London in 1665, copies of which are to be found in the British Museum, and the Royal Asiatic Society's Library, entitled ΠΑΛΛΑΔΙΟΝ περι των της Ινδιας εθνών και της βραγμανων ; from the writings of the Chinese travellers Fa Hian and Hiuan Thsang, which have been translated into French; and from accounts, published in local papers, of excavations made at Bahmana-jodaru, or Brahminabad.
Of early Sindian history so little is known that, at almost any point we may select in it, there remains only a confused and indefinite background. All the conquests of Sind stand in confused historical light, though their incidents have been minutely recorded; and but little or nothing is known of the events which produced the first two. The country itself has not afforded much material aid to the written records, by means of ruins and inscriptions; and these records have been almost entirely devoted to the circumstances attending the advent and progress of invaders. In order to determine the general condition of Sind prior to the Mohammedan invasion, it is necessary to have recourse to the testimony of foreign writers, and carefully to note facts which are incidentally mentioned, and scattered far apart from each other. Many of the remarkable deeds of Gotama Buddha are described as having been performed on the banks of the Indus.