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corrupting, enlivening—making things worse, and rendering
also subdue its virtues. If in general the character be good, what signify a few defects ? It would not be difficult to restrain the women, to make laws to correct their morals, and to moderate their luxury; but who knows if we should not thereby dry up the source of the riches, and destroy the charm, of the nation. The legislator should follow the spirit of the people : we do nothing so well as that
upon its manners,
which we do hardily and freely. If you give an air of pedantry to a nation naturally gay, the state will gain nothing *, ni pour le dedans, ni pour le dehors- Laissez-lui faire les choses frivoles sérieusement et gaiement les choses sérieuses !” The maxims of Montesquieu, almost incompatible with change, are erroneous in one extreme; the philosophy of Bentham, with set and universal forms for every change, is equally erroneous in the other.
Let us look for the character we have remarked in the pleasures of the French
in their crimes.-Write to advance no dogma.—M. Guerry's work.—Table of crimes in each of the five districts into which he has divided France.The most singular calculation that ever yet appeared.-What law, what chance, what instruction has to do with it ?- What influences are visible
upon crime.—The climate and the seasons.-Influence of age, of sex.-Moitives for crime.—Natural children.-Suicides.-Writings of persons having
commitied suicide. -What M. Guerry's tables teach, always taught:--Return to investigation set out with.-How far is the gallantry, the vanity, and frivolity of the French connected with their crimes ?--Having spoke of the character, proceed to speak of the history of the French.
I am arrived at a place where I would wish to cast my eye back over the chapters I have just concluded. The French, it appears, are gay, gallant, witty, vain. We have seen them in their amusements - we have followed them to the ball-room,
* S'il y avait dans le monde une nation qui eût une humeur sociale, une - ouverture de cæur, une joie dans la vie, un goût, une facilité à communiquer
ses pensées; qui fut vive, agréable, enjouée, quelquefois imprudente, souvent indiscrète, et qui eût avec cela du courage, de la générosité, de la franchise, un certain point d'honneur, il ne faudrait point chercher à gêner ses manières, pour ne point géner ses vertus : si en général le caractère est bon, qu'importe de quelques défauts qui s'y trouvent ? On y pourrait contenir les femmes, faire des lois pour corriger leurs mæurs et borner leur luxe; mais qui sait si on n'y perdrait pas un certain goût, qui serait la source des richesses de la nation ? C'est au législateur à suivre l'esprit de la nation, lorsqu'il n'est pas contraire au principe du gouvernement; car nous ne faisons rien de mieux que ce que nous faisons librement, et en suivant notre génie naturel. Qu'on donné un esprit de pédanterie à une nation naturellement gaie, l'état n'y gagnera rien, ni pour le dedans ni pour le dehors.”
and the guinguette, and the theatre; the gloomy avenue now before us, leads to—the prison. We have discovered this people's character in their pleasures, let us look for it in their crimes !
Now, if there be any truth in what I have already said, it seems justifiable to believe, that there are certain qualities, propensities, and passions, which characterizing one people from another, will wind themselves into all our legislative enactments. Moreover, if the book I am writing has any merit, it is that of being written without the object of advancing any legislative dogma of my own. Every person living and reading at the present time, must remember an infinitude of forced systems in economy, politics, and morals, each in their turn giving place to some new system, which appearing last, has, like the rod of Moses, devoured the rods of the Egyptians.
I cannot think with one of the most strange and positive of modern speculators,* that the sea is rapidly becoming lemonade, and that nature has in her wisdom reserved a tailed appendix to future generations : neither am I, for similar scruples, disposed to credit, that the many tribes of the world are endowed with precisely the same dispositions, and to be fitted, as a matter of course, by precisely the same governments and institutions. The various nostrums which have in turn been promulgated as certain specifics for our various civil disorders, were about as likely to be uniformly efficacious as those balsams, cordials, and sudorifics which medicine daily offers to our corporeal infirmities, as equally adapted to the stone, the gravel, and the gout. Looking rather at the effects which have been produced by your state-pharmacopolists, than at the pompous puffs with which they have usually announced themselves, I do confess, that I somewhat incline to the belief, that each race and each country has peculiarities almost impossible to eradicate--and which therefore it is wiser in the legislator, instead of fruitlessly attempting to destroy, sagaciously to'endeavour to direct. But this theory requires a perpetual attention to what is passing around, and to what has passed before, us-a perpetual accumulation of knowledge, and perpetual variations in the applica
* M. Fourrier, de Dijon, the founder of the Phalansterian sect, of which shall have occasion to speak, when I speak of the modern philosophy of France.
tion of knowledge, and I do not therefore marvel' at finding it less popular than the doctrines of that easier school, which in twenty pages gives all that it is possible to know for the government and the happiness of all the nations of the earth.
I am led to these reflections by a new statistical work by M. Guerry,* a work remarkable on many accounts, more especially remarkable on this account that it bowls down at once all the ninepins with which late statists had been amusing themselves, and sets up again many of the old notions, which from their very antiquity were out of vogue.
Some very wise persons have declared that crimes depended wholly upon laws, others that they depended wholly upon, what they called, instruction; while a few, with a still falser philosophy, have passed, in their contempt for all existing rules, from the niceties of caleulation to the vagueness of accident, and insinuated, not daring to assert, that vice and virtue are the mere rouge et noir' of life, the pure effects of chance and hazard. Against all these champions, M. Guerry enters the field. Dividing France into five regions t or districts, com
Statistique morale de la France.
† DIVISION OF FRANCE INTO FIVE REGIONS.
NORTH.-Aisne, Ardennes, Calvados, Eure, Manche, Marne, Meuse,
Moselle, Nord, Oise, Orne, Pas-de-Calais, Seine, Seine-Infé
rieure, Seine-et-Marne, Seine-et-Oise, Somme. SOUTH.-Ardèche, Ariége, Aude, Aveyron, Bouches-du-Rhône,
Gard, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Hérault, Lot, Lozère, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientales, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Vaucluse, Var.
East.-Ain, Basses-Alpes, Hautes-Alpes, Aube, Côte-d'Or, Doubs,
Rhin, Rhône, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Vosges.
dogne, Finistère, Gironde, Ille-et-Vilaine, Landes, Loire-Infé-
CENTRE.-Allier, Cantal, Cher, Corrèze, Creuse, Eure-et-Loire,
Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loire, Loir-et-Cher, Loiret, Haute-Loire,
Total PorULATION 31,857,961
posed each of 17 departments, and dividing the crimes committed in each of these regions into two classes-i. e., crimes against property,' and crimes against the person,' the following table, taking one hundred as the number of crimes committed in France, gives the result of his calculations.
Crimes against the Person.
1825. 1826. 1827. 1828. 1829. 1830. North Region 25 24 23 26 . 25 24 South
28 26 22 23 25 23
17 21 19 20 19 19
Crimes against Property.
1825 1826 1827 1828 . 1829. 1830. North Region 41 42 42 43 44 44 South
12 11 11 12 12 East
18 16 17 16 14 15 West
17 19 19 17 17 17 Centre 12 11 12 12 13 13
42 12 16 18 12
Of all the marvellous calculations ever yet published, this calculation is perhaps the most marvellous; for whatever the basis on which the computation is made,* it is not a whit the less wonderful that it should in six successive years give an almost similar result; and this, not in one species of crime-not
* M. Guerry takes the number of persons accused, as the basis of his calculation ; for where there is a person accused, there, he says, naturally enough, there must be a crime committed; but it may so happen, that where five or six persons are accused of a crime, only one may have committed it, and vice versá. This is among many of the observations that might be made upon the general accuracy of these kind of tables. Monsieur Guerry's method, however, seems as likely to be correct as another, for in taking the basis of convictions, you would only alter your errors; and indeed the original documents are collected in the same manner by the Minister of Justice. It is to be regretted that we have not before us, however, all the elements from which these tables are formed-tables, wbich of themselves, if accurate, afford sufficient matter for the most important work on history and legislation that has yet appeared.