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EDUCATION AND CRIME. Some returns which have been lately published, embodying the judicial and criminal statistics of the year 1858, are remarkably interesting, and afford material for much encouragement and hope to all who are interested in the moral advancement of our people. We direct the attention of our readers to some of the facts disclosed in these returns, in the hope that their real significance may be recognised, and their bearing upon our educational status and prospects duly appreciated.
It appears that in the year 1857 the number of persons committed for trial in England and Wales was 20,269, of whom 15,970 were males and 4,299 females. In the year 1858 the total number of committals was 17,855, of whom 13,865 were males and 3,990 were females. On comparing the two years, we find an actual decrease of 2,105, or 13•1 per cent., in the number of male criminals ; a decrease of 309, or 7.2 per cent. in the number of women; and an aggregate decrease in the number of committals of 2,414, or 11:9 per cent. There is also a very considerable decline in the proportion of young criminals, the number under fifteen years of age being relatively less than in any one of the few preceding years.
When it is considered that the population of England increases at the rate of 769 per day, or 280,000 per annum, and that at our present rate of progress the population will double itself in less than seventy years, it will be seen that the figures we have given fail to represent the real extent of the improvement. A large positive increase in the population has coincided with a great diminution in the number of criminals, instead of the increase which might reasonably have been expected to show itself, had the moral condition of the people remained unimproved. Moreover, this fact is especially illustrated in the large towns. The returns show that the decrease in the number of criminals has been relatively far more striking in the great centres of manufacturing industry than in England and Wales taken as a whole. In Lancashire, for example, the actual decrease in the number of committals is only 7 per cent. ; but when it is considered that the population of that county has increased in a far higher ratio than that of the country generally, the position occupied in the returns by the great manufacturing districts is, on the whole, above the average. So far, therefore, the recently published statistics present very hopeful results.
It is right to notice, however, that, side by side with the diminution in number of those grave offences which justify a magistrate in committing a prisoner for trial, there has been a slight increase in the number of the minor offences. The following table will show the number of summary convictions by magistrates in the two years, 1857 and 1858.
51,924 52,999 Birmingham
1,861 1,612 Leeds
2,022 2,551 Liverpool..
23,678 18,009 Manchester
7,287 6,134 Newcastle..
2,683 3,153 It is possible that the difference here indicated may be partly attributed to the more systematic vigilance of the police, and partly to the greater completeness of the police returns; but the fact nevertheless deserves to be seriously noticed, that the total number of persons apprehended for indictable offences, and summarily convicted by the magistrates, has increased in the year.
We are not justified in drawing any hasty inferences as to the cause of that change for the better which is apparent on the face of these returns. The increasing wealth of the nation, the remarkable abundance of employment, and the general prosperity of our mercantile enterprises during the year, must be fairly taken as a partial explanation of this gratifying result. On the other hand it must be remembered that good wages, while they diminish the temptation to crime in some forms, increase the tendency to many of those vices which bring the offender within the grasp of the law. The whole difference cannot therefore be accounted for by this cause alone, and we think it is fair to claim the improved education and its wider extension among our people as a second, and not less potent, agent in the repression of crime.
This view is partly confirmed by the curious difference between the ratio of diminution in the crime of the two sexes respectively. It will be observed that, relatively, the number of grave offencés committed by women is diminishing far more slowly than in the case of men ; and that, although the absolute difference in the returns of the two years is satisfactory, the proportion of female to male criminals has increased. Now, national prosperity affects both sexes pretty equally ; but education generally operates first upon the male portion of the lower classes, and influences the other sex by slower degrees. It is manifest that any improvement in the moral status of men will not fail to affect that of the rest of the community.
While, however, we believe that the promoters of education may reasonably con. gratulate themselves upon this change, and in attributing it in a great measure to the spread of knowledge, we feel that there is no ground for exultation. The diminution of crime has not been at all proportionate to the improvement in our educational appliances, nor to the increased number of the population who'are brought within the range of instruction. The multiplication of schools and scholars goes on in a far higher ratio than the decrease in the number of crimes. And thus, after an attentive study of such returns as those to which we have adverted, the question recurs with more seriousness even than before,—What sort of education is that which will most effectually repress crime?
It is certain that, up to a given point, education helps to increase the facilities for ill-doing. Many of the arts and accomplishments taught in schools are made constantly available by the dishoriest in the commission of crime, and we can never hope it can be otherwise. Certain forms of evil-doing require considerable knowledge and cultivation on the part of those who practise them. To teach reading, writing, and arithmetic is therefore, in a certain sense, to render crime easier than it would otherwise be. This is a view of the case which must not be overlooked. On the other hand, considered as a source of innocent and ennobling pleasure, as an occupation for leisure moments, as a stimulus to ambition, and as an increase in the effective power of a man, all knowledge is valuable ; and in the immense majority of instances, the possession is a safeguard against many moral dangers. The temptations of education are in the long run far less than the temptations of dulness and ignorance. There 'can, we are sure, be no knowledge which does not, pro tanto, render a virtuous and useful life more possible to its possessor, whatever his worldly position may be. But, since knowledge does not by itself deter from crime, the effective checks and restraints upon the evil tendencies of our nature must come from another source.
The only education which will really operate upon the repression of crime, is the education of character, the training of the feelings and the will. Acquaintance with truth, even though it be the highest truth, can never by itself suffice for the guidance of a moral being in the midst of the temptations and dangers of life. If school education is to regulate the conduct in after years, it must furnish discipline for conduct in youth. Its moral teaching must be practical. It must inculcate moral truth not merely as truth, but as having a direct bearing on the behaviour of every day. To teach the Divire omniscience as a dogma simply, is of course useful, but to cause it to be felt as a constant check upon action, to make it the ruling and pervading principle of school life, will prove far more efficacious. Is the religious teaching of our schools practical enough? Does it connect itself sufficiently with the daily life of the children? Is it felt to be applicable to their little faults, follies, and temptations ? Does the teaching affect the habits and general bearing of the learners? Does it make them thougbtful and watch ful over their own conduct ? or, are the lessons derived from Scripture and from historical examples so remote in their allusions that they can with difficulty be brought home to the consciences of those who receive them? Is the sense of the Divine presence made to pervade the school? Is the fear of God not only inculcated as a duty, but habitually kept before the eyes of the scholars ? Is the habit of looking for the Divine guidance and seeking the Divine sanction in all acts, little and great, steadfastly and systematically strengthened ? It is on the answer to these questions that our hopes or fears for the moral welfare of our people must depend. All experience confirms the belief that cur true safeguard lies in religious training. The knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and of the Divine will, as disclosed to us in that revelation, requires to be supplemented by a diligent training of the character and conduct, in accordance with scriptural precepts. If we can do this, and train children to reverence, to selfcontrol, to watchfulness over their own conduct, and to an habitual conviction that religion is meant to act on their daily lives, we shall find our teaching tell with great force upon the moral statistics of our country. But otherwise our educational schemes, whatever other triumphs they may effect, will wholly fail to check private vice or to diminish public crime.
PROBATIONARY TEACHERS. The following letter to the Inspectors and to the Principals of Training Colleges has recently been issued from the Education Department of the Council Ofice:
* July 30ih, 1859. “SIR,- Questions have arisen respecting probationary teachers, under the Minute of July 26th, 1858, who have quitted their situations during the probationary period.
“The obvious meaning of that Minute is, that the whole of the probationary period shall be passed in the same school.
“ Probationary teachers, under the Minute of July, 1858, differ in the rate of their payments from ordinary teachers, falling under Section 11 in the Minute of August, 1853.
During an absolute period of two years, to be reckoned from the 1st of January in one year, to the 31st of December in the next year (e.g., January 1st, 1859 December 31st, 1860), they carry with them, into situations fulfilling certain conditions, the title to an exceptional stipend of £25 or £20.
“At the end of that period, or on removal from the school which they entered, the privilege of an exceptional stipend lapses, and they are remitted to the ordinary rules of probation, and of augmentation, pursuant to Section 11, in the Minute of August 20th, 1853.
“There is no sort of reason why young teachers in this position of extra cost to the public should be allowed to defeat the object of the Minute by changing from school to school. Whether they occupy the position of head teachers, or whether as under teachers, they fill the place (nearly) of two apprentices, their removals within so limited a period as two years can hardly ever fail to be injurious to the schools and inconvenient to the managers.
“It is only, therefore, where managers, for reasons that reflect no discredit on the probationers, desire and originate (not simply accept) their removal—these reasons being notified beforehand to the Committee of Council—that the probationers will be allowed to after removal, the privilege of the Minute of July 26th, 1858, for the rest of the two years.
“As regards payment during that period, probationers are exempt from none of the rules that apply to augmentation, (that is to say)
“1. Probationary teachers entering schools are conditionally entitled to grants from the month next following the date of notice to the Committee of Council from the managers of the exact time at which such probationers entered.
“2. The inspection of the school will take place within one year, and if the period appointed for the annual visit of Her Majesty's Inspector does not harmonise with the date at which the probationary teacher entered, he will receive a proportionate payment for the intervening months.
* 3. Proportionate payments will be made for the first year only. The rule is, that grants are conditionally due to probationers for periods of twelve months, such periods being reckoned from the month allotted for the annual visit of Her Majesty's Inspector in one year to the same month in the following year, and probationers who quit their schools in the course of one of these periods will not be allowed payment for any portion of the incomplete period. As soon as two reports have been made upon a probationary teacher under the Minute of July 26th, 1858, in the same school, his (or her) certificate can be fixed, and the augmentation corresponding to it will begin to run from the 31st of December, at which the exceptional stipend ends.
" Example.-A student who passed in December, 1858, enters, with the usual notice from the managers to the Committee of Council, in February, 1859, upon a probationary charge in a school of which the inspection falls due in June.
** In June, 1859, a report is made upon him, and he is paid for th:ee months at the rate of £25.
“ Again, in June, 1860, a second report is made upon him, he is paid for twelve months at the rate of £25, and his certificate is fixed.
“In June, 1861, he is paid for seven months at the rate of £25, which then ceases, and for five months at the rate corresponding to his certificate.
“ A copy of this circular has been sent to each of the Training Schools under inspection.
" I have the honour to be, Sir,
* Your obedient servant,
"R. R. W. L'XGEX."
NEW TEACHERS' ASSOCIATION IN WARWICKSHIRE.- Ou Saturday, September 10th, a meeting of teachers took place at Leamington, when it was resolved that they would form themselves into an association to be called the Central Warwickshire Public School Teachers' Association. The objects of the association are the promotion of the social intercourse of teachers, discussions on educational subjects, model lessons, &c. The meetings will be held at Leamington and Coventry alternately, as the most central places, on the 1st Saturday in December, March, June, and September. All teachers wishing to join the association can do so by applying to D. S. Simms, British School, Coventry. Great interest was exhibited by the teachers present at the meeting, and the association has commenced under hopeful auspices.
DISCIPLINE.-Perhaps there is scarcely any one point in which greater improvement has been made under the present Minutes of the Committee of Council, than in the order and discipline of the schools under inspection. I am not unfrequently made sensible of this when called upon to inspect new schools, and to note the great imperfection in the discipline which these more frequently than not present. During the earlier years of my inspection, I was frequently in despair as to the possibility of doing anything or hearing anything in the school-room in which the inspection had to be carried on. The noise of the children, which the teachers had got the singular habit of designating "the hum of work," most effectually prevented any efforts which I could make to find out what the work really was, or how far the scholars had advanced in it. Such difficulties I hardly ever encounter now, except in new schools, and not by any means uniformly in them. There are still
, however, one or two points in which some schools are still defective; one very scrious defect I still meet with, is the permission of under-talking in the classes, a habit fearfully destructive of conifort to the teacher himself, as well as order and quiet to the school as a whole. Another habit which ought to be fonglet against, as involving an important moral principle, is that of children looking over each other's slates, and deriving assistance when in doubt or difficulty from other boys. The difficulty which an inspector has in getting a true result of each boy's labour, particularly in the case of arithmetie, would not be by any means so great, if the teachers uniformly schooled the children into the idea of trusting each to his own knowicdge, and hek up the dishonesiy of borrowing help whicuerer a test of progress was being applied.-Mr. Morell's Kepurta
THE BROKEN PANE.
A LESSON IN ECONOMICS.
HAVE you ever witnessed the rage of the worthy citizen Jacques Bonhomme,* when his rogue of a son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have ever been present at this spectacle, assuredly you must have observed that all the bystanders, were they as many as thirty, made haste with one accord to offer to the unfortunate owner this never-varying consolation,—" It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Such accidents do good to industry. Every body must live. What would become of the glaziers if windows were never broken?"
Now, in this form of condolence there is an entire theory, which it is well to take flagrante delicto, in this very simple case.
Supposing that six francs (five shillings) are required to repair the damage, if it is meant that the accident brings six francs to the glazier, and encourages his industry to the extent of six francs, I grant it readily]; the reasoning is just. The glacier comes, he finishes the job, he pockets six francs, rubs his hands, and in his heart blesses the mischievous urchin. This is what is seen. But if, by way of inference, it be concluded, as it is too often, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it makes money circulate, that the result is an encouragement to industry in general, I am obliged to cry, Halt! your theory stops at what is seen, it takes no account of what is not seen.
It is not seen that since our citizen has spent six francs on one thing, he cannot spend them on another. It is not seen that if he had not had that pane of glass to replace, he would have replaced, for example, his shoes—now down at heel, or would have placed another book in his library. In short, he would have made of those six francs some use which now he cannot make.
Let us now make the reckoning of industry in general. The pane of glass being broken, the industry of the glazier is encouraged to the extent of six francs ; That is what is seen.
If the window had not been broken, the industry of the shoemaker (or some other) would have been encouraged to the extent of six francs; This is what is not seen.
And if one took into consideration what is not seen, because it is a negative fact, as well as what is seen, because it is a positive fact, one would understand that it is of no consequence whatever to industry in general, or to the sum of national industry, that windows should be broken or should not be broken.
Let us now make the reckoning of Jacques Bonhomme.
In the first case supposed, that of the broken pane, he spends six francs, and has neither more nor less than before—the enjoyment of a pane of glass. In the second, that is, if the accident had not happened, he would have spent six francs on shoes, and would have had at once the enjoyment of a pair of shoes and that of a pane of glass.
Now, as Jacques Bonhomme forms part of society, it must thence be concluded that, considered in its totality, and the balance of its labours and enjoyments being fairly struck, society has lost the value of the broken pane.
Hence, by the process of generalising, we arrive at this unexpected conclusion“ Society loses the value of objects uselessly destroyed,” and at this aphorism, “ To break, to destroy, to dissipate, is not to encourage the national industry,” or, more briefly, destruction is not profit.
The reader must try to establish_clearly that there are not two persons only, but three, in the little drama to which I have called his attention. The first, Jacques Bonhomme, represents the consumer reduced by destruction to one enjoyment instead of two. The second, the glazier, shows us the producer whose industry is encouraged by the accident. The third is the shoemaker (or any other craftsman) whose industry is discouraged to the same extent by the same cause. It is the third person who is always kept in the shade, and who, personifying what is not seen, is a necessary element in the problem. It is he who shows us how absurd it is to see a profit in a restriction, which is after all only a partial destruction. In fine, go to the bottom of all the arguments which are wielded in its favour, you will find only the paraphrase of that vulgar saying, “What would become of the glaziers if windows were never broken.”-- From the French of M. Frederic Bastiat, translated by Dr. Hodgson.
* Jacques Bonhomme is to the French what John Bull is to the English.