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poverty would become universal, and Society would be dissolved. Surely, Society isentitled to defend itself against such lamentable consequences. Aversion to labour is the cause of half of the vices of low life. This aversion should be removed by every encouragement which the State can adopt both as regards making the life of the great mass of the people cheerful and endurable, and as regards the punishments which should be established to conquer this disposition. To make labour pleasant and agreeable, all should be entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labours. But where there is poverty, there will be theft; and where there is ignorance, there will be violence.
Certainty of Punishment m0stIzn.;5ortant.—The most effective antidote to the commission of crimes is the certainty of punishment. This is most effectually secured by a vigilant magistracy, and a well disciplined force for the prevention and detection of crime. As the perpetual wars of neighbouring States are prevented by large and well disciplined armies, so internal disorders and breaches of the Criminal law will be effectually prevented by a well disciplined police force. The escape of an offender against the Criminal law should be reduced as nearly as possible to an impossibility ; and the prevention of the crime should be the main end of all Criminal legislation. The security of life, property and reputation is the greatest blessing which any Government can bestow on its subjects. But we must never forget that public opinion may nullify the best of laws, and may cause grave and serious crimes to be looked upon as no crimes at all, and that excellent measures of political, civil and criminal law may be opposed by a gross and ignorant people. \/Vhat a deception, for example, often lies concealed in the much abused words, Equality and Liberty! Again, what a mass of lies has been concealed under the venerable names of Religion, Art, Science, and Literature!
In this Article I cannot discuss all the classes or kinds of crimes, and point out their natures, qualities and consequences; but I would here wish to draw the reader's attention to a grave Civil offence which is no longer a Criminal offence in England.
Adultery.—Adultery is the violation of conjugal fidelity promised by both spouses, committed by one or other, or both, of the spouses. It affords an excellent example of the progress of civilisation, and the action and re-action of public opinion and law. It involves families in grave and serious troubles. It concerns not only the parties themselves and their families, but the Public as well. It breaks up domestic life. It causes family duties to be neglected. It introduces doubt and suspicion where there should be faith and confidence. It inflicts grave suffering on one of the primary elements of society. Its prevalence is a clear evidence of the corruption of the social state; and its absence indicates a healthy condition of society. In ancient times, the woman was the slave of the husband; and the husband was the master and lord of the woman. Then, the women alone were bound to fidelity and love; but the men were restrained by nothing. This idea of dominion has become less and less as society has advanced in civilisation, and it is being gradually eliminated from the legislation of eveIy civilised country in Europe. No doubt it still exists here and there, and even in England ; but the hour is fast approaching when Adultery, pure and simple, by a husband, will be as good a ground for divorce in England as it is now in the case of a woman. The end of Marriage, says Boresco, is to establish a perfect unity between a man and a woman, who contract with each other the obligations of fidelity, assistance and succour. Anyone, he says, who breaks any of these primary obligations breaks one of the fundamental conditions of the Marriage, and is responsible for the breach, and is liable to punishment. Where is the boasted equality of the Law as regards the sexes, when the wife cannot be freed in England from her adulterous husband until he strikes and endangers her life, or acts with an equivalent or outrageous violence? Vida Divorce Act, 20 and 21 Vict., c. 85, § 27. No doubt a wife, by her adultery, may introduce a spurious offspring into her husband’s family, and a husband by his adultery cannot foist his bastard children upon his lawful wife and her children. But, all the same, I submit that the nature of the simple fault should determine the punishment, and that a wife is as much entitled to a divorce by her husband’s adultery as a husband by his wife’s adultery. Such has long been the law of Scotland, and no bad consequences have ensued. Nay more, desertion for four years is a good ground for divorce in Scotland, whether at the suit ofthe husband or of the wife. Most people in England do not, I verily believe, know the law of England as to Divorce. I hope and believe that the present state of the English Law on this subject will be repealed before long. The present Law of Divorce in England rests on the ancient idea of lordship, and ought to be abolished without delay. But it is for the interest of Society that reconciliation between spouses should not be discouraged.
Prevention of Cm'mes.—-Crimes are more effectually prevented by the certainty than by the severity of punishment; for the certainty of a smaller punishment will make a stronger impression than the fear of a severe one, attended with the hope of escape. But insensibility of character brings about insensibility to punishment, and the hardened criminal becomes incorrigible. Punishment should bear some definite ratio to the offence, and should never be so great as to excite pity for the criminal, or indignation against the Law for its severity. Punishments should be of a nature to prevent the commission of crimes; and are just or unjust in proportion as this great end is fulfilled. When crimes are numerous, they must be supported by the opinion of the district or county, as no crimes at all; and in that case, mere punishments are ineffectual to bring about a cure. The bases ofthe crimes must be eradicated, and new views of life and things must be substituted for old habits and opinions. Great crimes, as well as great virtues, are necessarily based on great vigour of mind. If we could only manage to get on the side of Order the powers and energy which are bestowed on the commission of crimes, what a happy world this would be ! How necessary, then, to adopt the means known to us, and proved by experience, for the extirpation of crime, and for the augmentation of virtue. Moreover, may I not go a step further, and question the justice of the punishment of a crime, unless Society has endeavoured to prevent that crime by the best means which it has at its command? When laws are ineffectual, they should not be promulgated. When they are useless, they tend to degrade the general body of useful laws. We cannot imprison a nation; but we can eradicate evil propensities by a moral régime and new habits and customs. That it is better to prevent than to punish crimes is a fundamental principle of all good legislation. Still, it is chimerical to suppose that, in this our imperfect state of existence, we can make and enforce laws, and compel them to be obeyed, in all cases. But we must do all we can to extirpate vice, and establish virtue in all our acts and dealings with each other as individuals and as nations.
Means of Preventing €rimes.—If we would prevent many crimes, we must make the laws clear and simple, and enforce them vigorously with all the national forces, and we must enact laws for the advantage of the nation, and not for an individual, or a limited class of individuals. If we would prevent crimes, let us spread abroad the light of a good, sound, moral, and religious education amongst all classes of the people; and
give freedom to all the citizens to make the best use of the powers which God has conferred on them for the benefit of themselves and the community. Some Legislators would banish religion out of all national education. Let them remember that religion has done more for the liberty and freedom of mankind than all other kinds of education put together; and that our own, and all other national religions, worthy of the name, have been founded on the great principles of sacrifice by one generation, for the benefit of the generations which have succeeded. I firmly hold that the most certain method of preventing crimes is to perfect the system of National Education.
To prevent the commission of crimes, these things are above all things required, namely, good government, morality, dissemination of education, protection and encouragement to the sciences, and good police regulations. Crimes spring from states of mind more or less permanent, and from the state of existing society. Vice is always father to crime. Let us correct national morals, and we shall diminish crime. Let us encourage industry and simplicity, and we shall encourage virtue. Montesquieu wisely says that “ A good legislator wishes less to punish crimes than to prevent them.”
Moral and Industrial Training required.—A man who is in want and misery will steal; a man who has no feeling of pain, will recklessly inflict pain on others; and a man who is drunken and dissipated will be a ready tool in the hands of others, and even of his own evil lusts and passions, for the commission of the greatest crimes against individuals and society. Before we can hope to put an end to theft, we must provide a means of livelihood for all; before we can hope to put an end to assaults and batteries, assassinations and murders, we must train and civilise the lowest as well as the highest class of society; and before we can expect men to act with wisdom and