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with offences against property, the males are seventy-nine, and the females only twenty-one. In descanting on the causes of this difference between the criminal dispositions of the two sexes, the author does not hesitate to tell us that the minority on the part of women does not proceed, by any means, from their being possessed of less wickedness than the men; but that, from the sort of education which the women of France receive, and particularly from the weakness of their physical constitution, they are less in the way than the males of committing a certain class of offences. For instance, how seldom do we hear of females being accused of forgery, or of impositions by destroying signatures, &c. This crime is rendered difficult to women because they are not sufficiently conversant with civil transactions. Again, such a thing is never heard of as the case of a woman going on the high-road as a freebooter, of engaging in a political insurrection, or of taking up arms at all for
Women have too much timidity not to be prevented from such a course by the state of immediate danger into which it would plunge them. But it is curious that women will be usually found guilty of such crimes only as can be perpetrated with the greatest chance of concealment, and where no instant peril appears ready to involve them; and a singular proof that this theory must be correct, is furnished in the fact, that, out of every fourteen cases of the administration of poison, no less than twelve have been those of women.
The latter also commit a great number of domestic robberies; in fact, this description of crime forms two-thirds of the acts of guilt perpetrated by females in France, while the proportion of those acts amongst men amounts to no more than a fifth of the general average of male offences.
The next of the tables which deserves attention, is that in which is arranged the number of crimes committed by persons of
It appears that the maximum of offences is attained by that class in the one sex and the other, whose age is between twenty-five and thirty years: it is further shewn by the author, that, if the impulse to commit crime is developed much earlier in the males than the females, this impulse subsides much more rapidly in the former; and lastly, he seems to have made out, that from the age of fifty to the time of death, the tendency to perpetrate crime is exactly the same in both sexes. curious and ingeniously conducted inquiry has been instituted by M. Guerry, as to whether or not the seasons of the year exercise any influence on the disposition to commit crime, and he is satisfied that he has found that a regular increase of crimes against the person takes place in summer, as compared with those which occur in winter; and, on the other hand, that the number of crimes against property is much greater in winter than in summer. In spring and autumn, the amount of the offences committed is pretty nearly on an equality.
* FREE POD
It is an important fact, resulting from the labours of this author, that, amongst the crimes committed against the person, that of making an attempt on female chastity is the one most strikingly modified by the revolutions of seasons. In fact, it appears, that out of one hundred cases of offences of this nature, the
very considerable proportion of thirty-six were committed in summer, whilst twenty-five were perpetrated in spring, twenty-one in autumn, and in winter no more than eighteen.
Upon the very difficult, but still most important of all subjects connected with the statistics of crime, namely, the estimate of the motives which lead to it, M. Guerry has contrived to form a table which very ingeniously serves as a model whereby the great mystery of the springs of criminal actions may be found out. He gives a table of the causes of twelve crimes, which he places in the order of their frequency. Thus, hatred and revenge, which stand first in the catalogue, are found to be the origin of more than a fourth part of the crimes of poisoning, murder, and arson; whilst, of cases of poisoning, about thirty-five out of every one hundred are committed as accompaniments of adultery. Again, whatever be the nature of the crime which is suggested by the same cause, whether against the husbands or their accomplices, it almost always happens that nearly the half of these crimes are committed upon the husband whose confidence has been violated; whereas, the attempts on the lives of concubines, or seduced females, are chiefly those which take place by men who retain them in a state of concubinage.
Having concluded this general classification of crime in France, as regards differences of persons, M. Guerry proceeds to consider the grounds of comparison between the state of crime in each of the five regions into which, as we have already shewn, he has separated France. Calculating the number of crimes as they bear a proportion to the number of the population in each of those divisions, M. Guerry presents us with the results which he has deduced from tables of both, including a period of six years, from 1825 to 1830, both inclusive. These results are:
No. of Crimes, in proportion to Population.
1 in 11,003
1 17,349 Northern
From this table it will be seen, that, in the Southern division, the number of crimes committed, as compared with the number in the Central division, is nearly double. But the differences in this respect will be found still greater if we examine the departments separately; and they are seen, as it were, carefully distinguished in M. Guerry's plates by the deeper or lighter shade of the co
louring in which the departments are presented. The department De la Corse, for example, where there is one committal for every two thousand one hundred and ninety-nine inbabitants, the colour is deepest, while the department De la Creuse, where there is one committal for every thirty seven thousand inhabitants, is scarcely affected by the slightest hue.
With respect to the crimes against property, in the same period as before-mentioned, namely, from 1825 to 1830, inclusively, the number of the committals has been as follows:
No. of Committals, in proportion to Population.
1 in 3,984
1— 6,949 Southern
1 – 8,265 In this table it will be readily seen that the region in which the greatest number of crimes against property are committed, is that very northern one, which, in the former list, stands third in succession in the number of crimes committed against persons. The central, it appears, is the division where also the number of crimes against property is least: but we find from the tables, on the other hand, that the department of the Seine, more boldly coloured than all the others, reckons one committal to every one thousand three hundred and sixty-eight of the population, whilst that of La Creuse, without any colour at all, presents only one committal for crime against property, out of every twenty thousand two hundred and thirty-five individuals.
It was a question of the deepest importance to determine how far ignorance in the lower orders tended to the production of crime, and M. Guerry sought to ascertain the truth of this opinion, in a manner similar to that whereby the proportion of crimes in different parts of the kingdom was estimated before; but, instead of relying for his materials, and founding his conclusions, as to the state of education, on the number of pupils who frequent the schools of the various departments, M. Guerry adopted a very different, and a far more genuine authority, for, he referred to the records collected since the year 1827, by order of the Minister of War, respecting the number of young men who could read and write at the period when they were summoned to form a part of the conscription. From these registers, the author has drawn the materials of one of his tables, from which it appears, that, during the three years, 1827, 1828, and 1829, of one hundred young men summoned as conscripts, fifty-three in the department of the East could read and write, fifty-two in the Northern department, thirty in the Southern, and twenty-five in the Central. Now, it so happened, that, out of one hundred persons who were tried for crimes in the Eastern division at the assize courts, fifty could
read and write, whilst out of the same number, the same thing could be done only by forty-seven out of a hundred in the Northern division, twenty-nine in the Southern division, twenty-six in the Western division, and twenty-four in the Central division. Now, here, in these five divisions of the general kingdom of France, we have, out of one hundred persons who are committed, and out of one hundred persons who are not committed, very nearly in the one and the other the same amount of education; and hence we are under the necessity of concluding that at least the present mode of education by no means produces any sensible effect in diminishing the amount of crime. But this conclusion, whilst it weakens a very general impression, will, no doubt, in its turn, be proved to be unfounded by future investigations. M. Guerry, however, in his table of the departments, gives several examples of those in which the conscripts can read and write to a greater extent; he shows, for example, that, out of one hundred conscripts in the department of the Meuse, there are seventyfour who can read and write, whilst only twelve who can do so are found in the department of Correze, where the means ofeducation are more limited than any where else.
One of the most curious of M. Guerry's tables is that which, contains a register of the number of the births of illegitimate children, as compared with the number of those born in wedlock; and it is found, that, in the departments of the Seine, Rhone, Lower Seine, the North, the Mouths of the Rhone and the Gironde, the number of illegitimate children is by far the greatest as compared with the remaining departments of France. This peculiarity of the above departments is explained—first, by the fact that in them the population is much more accumulated, particularly in the large cities of Paris, Lyons, Rouen, Lisle, Marseilles, and Bordeaux, which respectively belong to the departments just named-and secondly, because in those cities there is a great abundance of facilities for disposing of illegitimate children, in consequence of the number of Foundling Hospitals which they contain. And in this very way is it that, in England, charity, the compulsory effect of the law, increases to an indefinite extent the number of paupers. The only compensatory benefit, which, under these circumstances, we can possibly derive from foundling establishments, and it is by no means of a mean value, is, that their existence affords such a resource to the guilty parents as in very many instances, we firmly believe, prevents the commission of such crimes or processes (sometimes fatal to the mother) to procure abortion, and the far more heinous enormity of murdering the new-born infant.
In the concluding portion of his work, M. Guerry presents to us the important results of his inquiries respecting the crime of suicide in France. It appears on evidence of the most authentic description, that, from the year 1827 to that of 1830, there were committed throughout France no less than six thousand nine
hundred suicides !—that is to say, an average of nearly one thousand eight hundred per annum! But, let it be remembered that this calculation is founded only upon judicial documents, in which are included merely those cases of suicide in which death has followed, or in which legal proceedings were taken; so that it is not improbable that many more attempts were made to perpetrate this crime, of which the public is quite ignorant. Taking up this fact, let us only consider that the number of crimes against the person amounts yearly in France to nineteen hundred. Now, it appears that no more than six hundred of these crimes consist of attempts on the lives of others; so that the conclusion cannot possibly be resisted, that, every time an individual in France meets with a violent death in any other way than by accident, or mere homicide, there are three chances to one that he has perpetrated suicide. From the general view of the crime of suicide, M. Guerry makes a transition to the geographical distribution of this crime throughout the several arbitrary divisions which we have so frequently brought before the reader in the present article: and he finds the state of the case to be as follows:
Out of every one hundred suicides which take place on the average every year, there are committed in the
11 Eastern division
16 Western division
13 Central division
9 Another view of the proportion of suicides in France, is, that which takes in the number of them as compared with the number of the population. This is as follows:
Suicides, in proportion to Population.
1 in 9,853
-1- 21,734 Central
1 — 27,393 Western
1 - 30,499 Southern
1 — 30,876 It is proper to bear in mind, that, in the single department of the Seine, there are perpetrated every year very nearly the sixth part of the whole number of the suicides which take place in all the eighty-six departments of France. But we must in fairness state also that the greater portion of those persons who commit suicide in this department are altogether strangers to the capital. We come then to this general conclusion, that, of the thousand individuals who are guilty of the crime of suicide, no less than five hundred and five take place in the department of the North, one hundred and sixty-eight occur in the Southern division, sixtyfive in the Western, and fifty-two in the Central-a distribution which shows that there is, if not the same proportion, certainly