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produces drunkenness; wife-beating generally follows, and the scene too often closes with wife-murder !"
Now this is either an overdrawn picture, or it is a true one. If it be a true one, then those who try to rescue the working man from so sad a fate are to be honoured; but they should do it in the right way. Working men have undoubtedly their rights ; but their wives, or their future wives, have their rights too. By commencing a system of clubs and lodginghouses we very much fear if the rights of the latter will not be seriously invaded. A man most frequently marries for love and a home; but if that home be provided for him at a very cheap rate, and in such a manner as shall leave him little to desire, he will not be very ready to marry.
What should be done, it appears to us, may be put down in some three or four sentences. The reform should come from within. It is of no use for the middle classes and upper classes constantly to lecture and to meddle with the working classes. There is an amount of hatred and irritability engendered by the behaviour of these well-intentioned individuals, which, if once revealed to them, would startle them ; but if they be put right at an early age, all would be well. Time was when gentle and simple were taught that a great part of the duty of man is to “learn and labour truly to get mine own living :” now, fine society teaches us that it is pleasant to spend money, but not to earn it. The daughters of the working classes should be taught, with more kindliness and humanity, that we are all workers, and that house-work and cookery are by no means to be regarded as mere drudgery,
but that every exercise of true industry serves some higher
Labour being thus lifted out of the mire, self-interest should appeal to that lower sense which we call common sense. A maid-servant might argue, “Well, if I remain in service, I shall be every year more valuable ; if I marry,
I shall not be able, perhaps, to bring a fortune, but I shall be able to save one by spending what I may have to spend profitably and to the best advantage.”
Penury, poverty, lowliness, whatever we call it, is but comparative. With a good, active wife, a working man will soon rise above his original station if he uses his brains. But if he does not, he will continue a useful and honoured member of society, if, aided by his wife, he keeps to his comfortable home, and instructs the children whom God has given him. Perhaps not all his success, but certainly much the greater part of it, depends upon his wife; and how, poor creature, can she be expected to do her duty, to be his help-meet, and a mother to his children, unless she is well-taught, self-reliant, observant, a good cook, and a good manager? When she is not so the poor household sinks into comfortless want; the evening, instead of being bright, merry, and full of real recreation and comfort, becomes oppressive, dull, and cheerless :
Sleep is their only refuge ; for, alas !
“Working Men's Clubs," and "Working Men's Dining Rooms” and “ Restaurants,” are all very well. We should have thought that trade, and the competition which follows it, would have been sufficient to have catered for them cheaply and comfortably enough. What we want to see is, not Socialism introducing the thin end of its wedge—not communities à la Fourier, in which society would be without hope and of a dead level—but a system by which thoroughly good, careful wives might be provided for the working men, so that the principle of home and the family should still be strong in England, and that of foreign centralization banished. Will any one help us to find it?
A VERY SAD SUBJECT-CRIME.
T has been said that the English mind is always
occupied by two things, politics and religion ; and at present the saddest kind of politics, those
which relate to crime and religion, are the most prominent questions, with this difference—that Colenso's attack on the foundations of our faith is sure to be forgotten and fade out, whereas this question of Crime will live perpetually, and our great-grandchildren will, in horsehair wigs, be judging and condemning rogues as yet unborn. Those gentlemen who believe in the perfection of humanity will shake their heads at this, and lament, with the immortal Jean Jaques, that we cannot all at once grow wings and bud into angels ; but we cannot.
The peculiar phase of violent crime which is called “ 'garrotting” is of course ephemeral. The rogues who took that fashion up—for crime has its fashions—adopted it because it was at once (to them) safe, expeditious, and easy. As soon as adequate preventives are adopted, the garrotter will resume his accustomed burglary, or take to another “line of business ;” but the criminals will always exist. There is a regular
supply of them perpetually forthcoming : there are for ever fresh and new crops of those who say with the unjust steward, “I cannot (or will not] dig; to beg I am ashamed,” but who are not ashamed to take up with the lowest, worst, most dangerous, and most stupid way of gaining a livelihood. The pains and toil, the watching and the danger, which a thief undergoes to fill his pockets and his stomach, are, on the average, always more than those undergone by an honest
It results, therefore, that the criminal is to be regarded as a fool-not necessarily a man without intellect or talent, but a fool man of perverse judgment, who sees and knows what is right, but believes in that which is wrong. Unfortunately, certain authors, and some of the lower class of tale-writers, have been troubled by a perverted vision, and have endeavoured in their works to exalt the thief or highwayman into a hero ; whereas all good men should, at the time that they express a detestation of any crime, express also the contempt they have for the doer of it.
No one knows better than the criminal what a fool he has been ; but both he and the good man are taught that, by a general law of nature, after a man has entered upon a course of life, it is hard, almost impossible, to go back. Fool as he has been, he
may have a sensitive nature, a temper which will not bear rebuke, a sullen, sulky heart ; and so he goes on from bad to worse, a curse to society and a curse to himself. If little boys who thieve, or take to bad ways, could be shown by some potent method the folly of crime, it would do much to reform them. The criminal population, without exception,