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trade, are driven into the streets every morning, and dare not return home without plunder; others are orphans, or completely abandoned by their parents, who subsist by begging or pilfering, and at night sleep under the sheds, in the streets, and in the market places; when in prison no one visits them, nor do they seem to possess one friend in the world: they are occasionally treated with severity, sometimes sentenced to be flogged, a practice than which nothing tends more to harden and degrade. Mr. Crauford, who gives this affecting picture of the sufferings of these children, adds, that many of them occasionally apply to the members of the committee solicit ing their advice and relief, and declaring their readiness to shun their former connexions, and to abandon their vicious pursuits; but how are they to subsist; without friends or character, who will give them employment? Without temporary aid, where can they procure food? He is convinced that many are driven to renew their depredations by their necessities. He knows of several instances in which this has been the case; and thus some boys are no sooner discharged from prison than they are again brought in, for in reality a prison is their only home.
Your committee decline entering at present, even if at any time it was within their province, into a minute investigation of the various causes which have produced this alarming increase of juvenile delinquency: many of these causes may be traced to the peculiar situa tion of the country, and to the existence of poverty and distress,
unknown perhaps at any former period to the same extent. But your commitee hope, that with the gradual removal of these causes, their lamentable effects will cease. They, however, feel it their duty to observe, that as long as any means are left untried, by which those who are of authority in a state have it in their power to check, indirectly by education, or the enforcement of religious observances, the tendency which the young and the ignorant have to fall into the snares and allurements which are spread around them by the guilty and designing, the delinquencies that are the result of such neglect are not wholly to be set to the account of the offenders; and that till all the ways are exhausted by which the morals and manners of a people can be reformed, the existence of an augmented state of crime, the severity of the penal law, and the frequency of capital punishment, are evidences little creditable to the sstem of which such evils are the result. In order, then, to remedy, if possible, some of these ev ls, and more particularly those which result from the deplorable state and management of the different prisons of the metropolis, your committee have examined various plans that have been offered to their inspection, for the establishment of a penitentiary, or place of separate confinement for juvenile offenders; and they are of opinion, that it is expedient to construct a prison to be peculiarly set apart for that purpose. They have thought fit to print two plane of prisons of this description in their appendix: both have their separate advantages; but your
committee prefer that delivered in by Mr. Bevans, which seems to them to unite nearly all the different arrangements which have been generally approved, and which combines these advantages with the strictest economy. whole cost for the construction of a building capable of containing 400 boys will amount at furthest to 24,000l. which sum they cannot help contrasting with the expense of erecting a penitentiary at Mil bank, which is estimated to cost 350,000/ and which is only intended to contain 800 persons of both sexes.
Your committee have examined much evidence as to the general management of the various penitentiary establishments supported by private benevolence which exist in the metropolis. They refer generally to the testimony of those best qualified to give the most correct information as to these places; and the concurrent opinion of all is favourable to measures such as they think it their duty to recommend. The Refuge for the Destitute, and the Philanthropic, have fully answered the views of their charitable founders and benefactors. They have redeemed hundreds from the ruin and misery into which they were plunged; and it is with peculiar satisfaction your committee have learnt, that the only check to the further progress of this great work is to be found in the deficiency of the funds at present appropriated for that purpose. That deficiency it is the object of your committee to supply; and they feel convinced that the government cannot more economically employ the funds of the
public, than in the construction of places of penitential y confinement
Your committee have inquired into the expenses of the maintenance of the persons in the different penitentiary establishments, as well as the number of individuals they are calculated to hold: with the exception of that at Milbank, they are all supported by voluntary contributions.
The Refuge for the Destitute, on the 14th of May last, contained 40 males, and 60 females. The former cost annually for food and clothing 231. 17s. and the latter 281. 11s.; the difference arises from a greater allowance of food being given to the females, who work extra hours. The success of this society has been considerable; and it has been found that about two-thirds of the persons confined and employed there have been reformed, and returned to habits of industry.
Your committee have also learnt that the applications from persons of both sexes to enter into this establishment are most numerous, both from the criminal as well as the destitute poor; and that if the funds of the institution were greater, a much larger proportion of those persons would be received.
The Philanthropic Society contains at present 41 girls and 160 boys, the children of convicts, and those who are convicts themselves: the expense per head, dividing the cost of the whole establishment by the number of persons, is about 35l. per annum. But your committee observe, that the apprentices to the number of 60 maintain themselves, having earned near 2,000l. last year, the principal ex
pense being incurred for the younger part of the community. This institution has fully answered the views of its benevolent founders. By much the greater proportion of those who have been brought up turn out well, and fully warrant the remark of one of those who had deviated a little from the rules of discretion and good conduct, "that within its walls the society taught them habits which they could not get rid of if they would "
Your committee wish to direct the attention of the public to this excellent institution, which is well deserving a more extended patronage, not only for the end which the establishment has in view, but also for the success which has attended its labours, arising from the excellence of its regulations, and the frugal manner in which its funds are administered.
The Magdalen Hospital contains 80 females: it has been established from the year 1758, and has from that period to the present day admitted about 4,594 persons, of whom 3,012 have been restored to their friends or placed in reputable service; 912 have been discharged at their own request ; 556 for improper behaviour; and 85 have died while in the hospital. Of 246 women who were discharged in the last four years, of every description, 157 are reformed; 74 have relapsed; four are insane; one is dead, and of ten the situation is not known; so that it may be estimated that twothirds of the women who enter into this society are permanently reclaimed the average age of those unfortunate females is from
17 to 18. They apply very young, some few at even 13 or 14, but generally from 15 to 25; some have been admitted there of 12 years of age
The London Female Penitentiary contains 100 persons, at an average expense per head of 23!. This institution has been established about ten years; in that time 2,000 persons have petitioned to be admitted, and 1,565 alone have been received; of whom 265 have been reconciled to their friends and placed out to service; 18 have married; 87 have been discharged from various causes; 17 have eloped; 66 left the house at their own request, and 14 have died.
Your committee observe that the labour of the women of this latter institution produced 6651., while that of the Magdalen was only 1671, during last year.
The General Penitentiary, Millbank, contained 52 males and 76 females, total 128, cn the 994 May last. The cost of each pri soner as to food is sixpence to sevenpence a day, or about 9l. 2s. 6d. per annum. Your committee were informed that the clothing and maintenance of each prisoner would not exceed 201. per annum. This establishment is of so recent a date, as not yet to furnish much evidence of the beneficial result of its regulations. But your committee cannot refrain from inserting the following extract from the journal of the chaplain, who states, that during the ten or twelve months that the prisoners have been under his direction, he has observed a great alteration in ther manner, appearance, and character, and that the practical advantages of the system are far beyond
his expectation. "The chaplain feels much pleasure in closing his journal at the expiration of the year, with stating, that the general conduct of the prisoners during their confinement in the penitentiary has been most satisfactory. The repentance and amendment of many of them is visible; and there is every reason to presume, that on their leaving the prison they will become honest and industrious members of society."
Your committee are fully aware of the expense which the plan of building a new prison will entail on the finances of the country, but they cannot consider the cost entirely additional, or one of which, if the object to be attained is brought into account, the public can have any right to complain. At present the children committed to the different prisons are maintained at the county or city charges. And your committee do not propose to shift that cost on the public treasury; they have been informed by persons who have taken pains to obtain a correct estimate as to the expense of the maintenance of prisoners, that on an average, the cost at the Philan thropic, the Refuge for the Destitute, and the common prisons, may be taken at 127. per annum ; and that part of that expense may be defrayed by the labours of the prisoners.
Upon the important question of employing convicts in the different prisons, as well as on board the hulks, both as to the moral no less than the economical conse quences, your committee at present wish to give no decisive opinion. They, however, entertain little doubt that the whole system VOL. LIX.
of maintaining the convicts of the country is susceptible of great improvement, and they trust they shall be enabled to enter more fully into that subject early in the ensuing session.
Your committee feel conscious that they have not made as full a report upon the various subjects of their inquiries as perhaps might have been expected from them; they have thought fit to separate these subjects into distinct heads, and they have brought them before the House in the order of their importance. There are, however, many points which they are anxious to take into their serious consideration; viz. the establishments of the police; the attendance of the magistrates; the duties of the inferior parish officers; the state of the public streets; the laws concerning the suppression of disorderly houses; all of them are, in their view, objects of great public importance; and in order to bring them in the most advantageous manner under the view and consideration of parliament, your committee trust they shall be permitted to renew their labours in the ensuing session.
EXTENTS IN AID.
The Select Committee appointed to inquire into the mode of issuing Extents in Aid, the nature of the Process, its effects, and the expediency of regulating or of discontinuing the same, and to report their observations thereupon to the House, together with the Minutes of the Evidence taken before them; and to whom the several peti2 B tions
tions regarding Extents in Aid, which have been presented to the House in this Session of Parliament, were referred; have, pursuant to the order of the House, examined the matters to them referred, and have agreed to the following report:In the execution of their duty, your committee, adverting to the specific terms of their appointment, have considered it as directing their attention not so much to speculative or historical inquiries, as to points more immediately practical; they have therefore refrained from going more at large into the origin and history of extents in aid than seemed necessary to the elucidation of the subject; and they have the more willingly adopted this course, because these writs having commenced in the early ages of our monarchy, when the frame of society differed so widely, in almost every point, from that state of things which we now witness. However interesting such an inquiry might be as a subject of antiquarian research, it could not be expected to afford much practical instruction. They might perhaps even suggest, that the very antiquity, which in some cases might be regarded as a sanction to legal proceedings, would be more likely in the present instance, if held up as a precedent, or proposed as an example, to delude and mislead.
When our monarchs, in the days of the Edwards and Henrys, depended for the success of their expeditions on the produce of the estates of the crown, of scutages on knights' fees, and other feudal services performed or commuted, or of duties let out to farm, and a
thousand occasional exactions, in which neither justice nor the convenience of the subject were much regarded, it will not appear surprising if the sheriffs, or other arbitrary collectors of such revenues, were vested with very summary powers; especially as the king himself was, in reality as well as in theory, too much engaged about the "ardua regni” to pay the necessary attention to his treasury; and matters of finance were not then systematized as now, and placed under the management of public officers assembled in boards, whose only business is to superintend the different departments, so as to ensure just, regular, and efficient collection. There seems also reason to apprehend that the sheriffs were sometimes compelled to undertake this task, and made in some degree responsible for its execution; but the officer, his duties, and his powers, were known. His most frequent debtors seem also to have been the persons he was obliged to employ in the temporary custody or transmission of his receipts, who, if they became defaulters, had probably been either negligent or criminal; and of whom, therefore, there was some colour for seeking the repayment of the king's monies with despatch and even rigour. In those times, too, little national inconvenience, comparatively, could arise from such proceedings; commerce, so far from forming, as in the present day, a main pillar of our national strength and prosperity, being then unimportant.
Even in 1433, during the me morable reign of Henry V., as appears from the records of Parliament,