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If education he an advantage, it is so, not because it prevents men from committing crimes, but because it adds to the enjoyments of mankind without increasing their vices, in the same proportion. But should education add to human guilt more than it adds to human happiness-should this be the case, the fault is very much in ourselves, and very much owing, let me add--to all education being insufficient --to the absurd belief that to teach reading and writing is quite enough, and that there we may halt and rest satisfied with the good work that we have performed.
As well might we say, that if we could but turn the river into our grounds, it would be a matter of perfect indifference whether we led it to the mill, or allowed it to inundate the corn-field.
In giving instruction we create a power, which, if left to itself, may produce more good than evil—which will always produce good with evil, but which it is still our duty to govern and direct, in order to make it produce as much*
* I was rather surprised the other day, at hearing Lord Brougham quote the very able and interesting volume of Messrs. Beaumont and Tocqueville, on the state of crime in America, as a proof of the preventive to crime that was to be found in the mere expulsion of ignorance. What do these gentlemen say?-_“It may
good, as little evil as possible ; and if we wish to make ourselves sure of its results if we wish from afar to see, to regulate, and rejoice in its efseem that a state, having every vent for its industry, and its agriculture, will commit less crime than an. other which, equally enjoying these advantages, does not equally enjoy the advantages of intelligence and enlightenment.” “ Nevertheless we do not think that you can attribute the diminution of crimes in the north to instruction, because in Connecticut, where there is far more instruction than in New York, crime increases with a terrible rapidity, and if one cannot accuse knowledge as the cause of this, one is obliged to acknowledge that it is not a preventive.”
This is what Messrs. Beaumont and Tocqueville say of the effects of instruction in general in America. But there are institutions in America, where the experiment of instruction is made--not merely on the boy whom you wish to bring up in virtue, but on the boy who has already fallen into the paths of vice-and singular to say, the education given in the houses of refuge to the young delinquents, produces an effect upon them, which education does not in general produce upon society. Why is this ? because the education in these houses is a moral education-because its object is not merely to load the memory, but to elevate the soul, to improve and to form the character. “ Do not lie! and do as well as you can!” Such are the simple words with which these children are admitted into these institutions: no tale-bearing is allowed; all corporal punishments are prohibited-“la discipline de ces établissemens est toute morale, et repose sur des prin
fects—we must not only fill the mind, we must form the character—we must not only give ideas, we must give habits, we must make education moral as well as intellectual—we must give men great designs and good desires, at the same time that we invite them to exertion, and make easy to them the paths of ambition.
But to turn from general dissertation to the more immediate subject that is before us—it now, I venture to presume, appears—as well from the very remarkable table I have given, as from the maps to which I refer, that in France, at all events, there seems to be some influence or influences superior to accident, independent of laws, independent of any existing system of instruction, regulating crimes and the distribution of crimes, not merely in respect to their number, but also in respect to their kind. .
How far the peculiarities of race, the habits resulting from old institutions, the differences arising from a rich or barren soil—from a level cipes qui appartiennent à la plus haute philosophie. Tout tend à y relever l'âme des jeunes détenus et à les rendre jaloux de leur propre estime, et de celle de leurs semblables : pour y parvenir, on feint de les traiter comme des hommes, et comme les membres d'une société libre." I sincerely invite my readers to pay some attention to this part of Messrs. Beaumont and Tocqueville's volume, page 206.– Du Système Pénitentiaire.
or mountainous district from the communication of rivers, or the absence of rivers,—how far all these circumstances, each affecting the passions, the propensities, the pursuits, the wants, and consequently the crimes of a varied population, may extend their empire, M. Guerry, deploring the want of any materials on which to calculate, leaves us in doubts,* which I do not find myself qualified to dispel. Amidst these doubts we are only sensible that France, in spite of its system of unity, still contains a variety of distinct races, with different languages, different prejudices, different manners, and that neither the line and measure of Abbé Sièyes, nor the terrible policy of the mountain, nor the centralizing genius of Napoléon, have been able to give to the grave and slow inhabitant of Normandy, the joyous and eager character of the chivalric child of Bearn.
What we have derived far from M. Guerry, then, is merely negative—no proofof what is—but sufficient proof that that is not, which many have contended to be. But having completely set aside the doctrine of accident, having had no opportunity to trace the effects of government—not having satisfactorily
* But what the statist has not done with his tables, the poet has done with his songs, and the people with their proverbs.
established the effects of intelligence-having left us in complete doubt as to various influences that do operate, and that must operate upon human actions --M. Guerry does at last show us some influences visible upon our conduct which it will be interesting to the reader that I should point out. There is the influence of climate, and there is the influence of the seasons, which M. Guerry has not connected, but which I would wish to place in connexion togetherfor, observe, that whereas the crimes against the person are always more numerous in the summer, the crimes against property more numerous in the winter--so of the crimes committed in the south, the crimes against the person are far more numerous than those against property, while in the north the crimes against property are, in the same proportion), more numerous than those against the person. Indeed, by comparing the two maps we find, as a general rule, that wherever there are the most crimes against persons, there are the fewest against property.
* We must except Alsace, and the departments of Corsica, Seine et Oise, Moselle, and Lozère, which are equally criminal in both cases.
Les attentats à la pudeur (rapes) form a sixth of the crimes committed upon persons : crimes against property are nearly three-fourths of the total number of crimes—and of these we may count five thousand three