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the infidelity of the mistress excites far more angry feelings than the infidelity of the wife. At all events, among wives, the infidelity of the woman causes but one in thirty-three of the assaults upon her life : among mistresses, the infidelity of the woman causes one in every six of these assaults. It is amusing to have these facts before our eyes, and instructive to communicate them to those married ladies who declare that the fickleness of their nature renders them inimical to wedlock. Let me venture to suggest—that their infidelity will expose their lives six times as often as it does now, if they succeed in their projects of female enfranchisement,
The two circumstances next demanding our attention are the number of natural children and the number of suicides in France, which, though not coming under the head of crimes, are connected with the same state of society, with the same character, and with the same passions.
The annual number of natural children is 67,876 (34,708 males, and 33,168 females). The department of the Seine, which produces a thirty-second of the population, produces one-sixth of the natural children; and one-third* of the population of Paris would actually be illegitimate but for the unhappy destiny which infants so begotten undergo : three-fifths of these children are abandoned by their parents, and one out of every three dies before attaining his third year. Where we find the most hopitals—there we find the fewest infanticides. But such is the state of these institutions that, little better than a device for encouraging prostitution and checking population, they do that which the law forbids the abandoned parent to do -they murder the child. They transfer the guilt from the individual to the state. Miserable duplicity!—the mother is punished for her crime—the government is lauded for its humanity.t Such is charity misapplied —
Benefacta male collocata, malefacta existima.
The number of suicides committed from 1827 to 1830 are 6,900, i. e. about 1,800 per year; and the department of the Seine, which contains only one thirty-second of the population, presenting us, as I have said, with one-sixth of the illegitimate children, presents us also with one-sixth of the suicides.
* M. Chabrol gives a greater proportion.
† It appears, that in the northern provinces where there is the most instruotion there are the most natural children-the most prostitutes also come from these provinces.
The most suicides are committed in the north, the least in the south, just the inverse of what happens in respect to murders and assassinations; and it seems an invariable law* that precisely in those provinces where people are most tempted to kill one another, they are the least tempted to kill themselves. Strange to say, the number of suicides committed in one year amounts to almost the total number of crimes against the person,t and, excluding infanticide, to "more than three times the number of murders and assassinations : # so that, if a person be found dead, and you have only to conjecture the cause, it is three times as probable that he died by his own hand as by that of another person !
It is hardly necessary to observe, that the nnmber of suicides really committed must be far more numerous than those which can be furnished by official documents. Monsieur Guerry has given a table of the different individuals, at the time when they have deprived themselves of existence. The table is formed according to the papers found on the persons of the deceased.
Here we find men— fearing to want courage,'-- feeling that they are become reckless on earth, — disgusted with life, -insulting the ministers of religion,'— thinking of debauch and libertinage,'—' wishing to have their letters published in the newspapers,'—" boasting that they die men of honour,'-giving instructions for their funerals.-Mark what these sentences contain! Mark the vanity, the frivality which do not shrink before the tomb. Mark the passions, so light, so ridiculous, so strong!—the passions which point a pistol to the brain, aud dictate at the same moment a paragraph to the Constitutionnel! ..
* With the exception of Alsace and Provence.
Numbers of murders, assassinations, &c.
1683 Snicides 1800; i. e. more than three times the amount of murders !
$ This paper seems, for some reason or other, the paper in which suicides are most anxious to be recorded.
Sentiments expressed in the writings of persons having committed Suicide.
CITY OF PARIS.
That they enjoy their reason. Belief in a fatality.
self from life when life is a burthen. suicide they are committing. That they have come to the determi- That they die men of honour.
nation after much hesitation. Regret not to be able to testify their Agonies of their mind.
gratitude to their benefactors. That they were confused in their ideas. Talk of the hopes which they see The horror inspired by the action vanish.
which they are about to commit. Regrets for life. Pre-occupied with the pains they are Prayers to their friends to bestow some about to suffer.
tears upon their memory. Fear to want courage.
Regrets to quit a brother, &c.
Praver to conceal the nature of their
Recommendation of their souls to
think they have a right to complain. Instructions for their funerals.
of hair, a ring, in remembrance of
Desire to be buried with a ring or
Request as to the manner they would
Fear to be exposed at the Morgue. Prayer not to give publicity to their Reflections on what will become of the suicide.
body. Wish to have their letters published in Desire to be carried directly to the the newspapers.
cemetery. Reflections on the misery of human life.'Prayer to be buried with the poor.
M. Guerry has a large collection of these papers, which, published simply as they are, would be one of the most interesting of modern publications.
Any one little given to the study of these subjects would hardly imagine that the method by which a person destroys himself is almost as accurately and invariably defined by his age as the seasons are by the sun. So it is, notwithstanding, if we may rely upon M. Guerry's experience.
The young hang themselves-arrived at a maturer age they usually blow out their brains; as they get old, they recur again ļo the juvenile practice of suspension.
The tables annexed give the number of persons who kill
themselves by the pistol and the halter; their age is indicated at the base, and a little above is the proportion which these numbers bear to the total number of observations taken
I have gone thus into the details of M. Guèrry's work now before me;* first because I think so important an attempt to carry certain rules into those departments of morals and jurisprudence, which have hitherto been vaguely treated and considered, would be, whether successful or unsuccessful, well worthy of our deepest attention; and, secondly, because I feel, greatly disposed to concur in the majority of M. Guerry's conclusions. This disposition I own is not merely founded upon
I a faith inspired by the calculations I have submitted to the reader. I do not feel that faith in such calculations which many do. But in this instance the results which M. Guerry has given, are those which the ordinary rules of nature and observation would teach me to believe.
A philosopher, writing on history, once said, that statues, and monuments, and triumphal arches were only to be received
* There are other facts in M. Guerry's work, to which I do not allude, but which are still interesting. From his statements in respect to education, it appears that from 1815 to 1827 the number of persons receiving instruction had so far augmented as to furnish in the most enlightened arrondissements of the north-east (where there are the universities of Metz, Strasbourg, Douai, and Dijon), one boy going to school in every 11, 12, and 15 inhabitants-instead of one in 14, 15, 16, and 17 inhabitants; and so in the districts of Angers, Orleans, Rennes, and Clermont, where there is the least instruction, for one boy going to school in 113, 126, 190, 158, and 167 inhabitants in 1819, there was in 1827 one in every 74, 92, 128, 150, and 159. But the schools which in England receive a third of the public donations, receive in France but a thirtieth, and in seventeen departments there was not, during the space of ten years, one gist or bequest to an institution of this description. This leads me to remark, that there are some curious statements in M. Guerry's work respecting donations, more especially as they concern the clergy and the poor. From these it would appear that the wealthiest and most enlightened provinces make the greatest number of donations to the clergy, and that the most ignorant provinces make the fewest donations to any body. Where there are the most crimes against the person, the most priests, there the most is given to the poor.
More than half of the bequests and gifts that take place are for the benefit of this class (the poor), and the support of hospitals, and other beneficent establishments; and contrary to general belief, it would appear, Ist, that the greatest number of charitable contributors are of the male sex ; 2ndly, that instead of the priests wringing what is left to them from the dying sinner, it is the poor who gain the most by testament, and the clergy the most by donation.
as creditable witnesses, when the facts which they pretended to commemorate were likely to be true. This is about the manner in which, under the necessity of quoting from very imperfect sources, I usually consider the figures of most statists.
I But what does M. Guerry prove? Those facts wbich he demonstrates as most probable are facts which we were taught, centuries before the kind of tables which he gives us, to believe. It is the wife who wrongs the husband, or the husband who wrongs the wise, that, in ninety-four cases out of a hundred, adds murder to adultery. The profound author of The Prince divined on a large scale what M. Guerry has just established on a small one!.... The dogma, too beautiful to be true, that wealth and knowledge are incompatible with crime, stood opposed to every page of history that ever pretended to portray the character of mankind. It is refuted by figures—it is by figures only that men would have dared or attempted to assert it. The earliest philosophers and legislators had condemned, the
score of policy and morality, those sexual disorders on which Christ set the seal of divine reprobation, and which we are now, for the millionth time, shown to be injurious to the well-being of society. The influence exercised by climate and race is a doctrine as ancient as the separation of the sons of Noah. One stands amazed at the slow progress of intelligence when one sees it necessary to prop up these old and hackneyed precepts with new authority. ....
So much for the facts that concern mankind in general : as for those which relate to France in particular, M. Guerry's calculations conform, for the most part, with the views that a rational observer would have taken. He paints the population of France active and industrious in the north; indolent, passionate, charitable, in the south; ignorant, honest, religious, and attached to their parents, in the centre; while in Paris we find, as we might have supposed, a people universally sensual, and easily disgusted with life. This is what we should have said without seeing M. Guerry's tables—this is what his tables teach us.
I do not, by these observations, mean to depreciate the class of work which I have been considering : it has undoubtedly its peculiar merits; but I see people at the present day insensible