Imatges de pàgina


of cases, he was convinced the more the traders of London, though, in the lenient punishment would more effec- opinion of this witness, there is scarcely tually prevent forgery.

a shopkeeper from Cornhill to CharingMr Collins and Mr Crowther, con- cross who does not suffer from shopsiderable and very respectable traders lifting. in Westminster, gave evidence which Mr Jacob, who has lately travelled the Committee consider as of pecu. through England on business, and Mr liar value. Mr Collins has suffered Jennings, for some time shopkeeper both from larcenies and forgeries, and. near Bridgewater, gave some evidence was restrained by the state of the pe. tending to shew that the general sennal law from bringing the offenders timents of traders in the country were, to justice, which he would otherwise on capital punishments, the same which have taken the pains to do. He the Committee had such ample reason thinks that the laws of God do not to consider as the prevalent opinion permit life to be taken


for of the same valuable class of persons offences against property and that in the metropolis. Mr Jennings obamong his

friends, many of whom are served, that these opinions prevailed traders in London and Westminster, among farmers as well as shopkeepers, he does not know a single exception and that the capital punishment prefrom concurrence in such sentiments. vented prosecutions for horse, cattle, Mr Crowther stated, that no porter and sheep-stealing, as well as from had left their establishment for twen- privately stealing in shops and dwellty years for any other cause than ing-houses, and in constructive burtheft ; that a prosecution had taken glaries. place in one instance, and terminated Mr Joseph Harmer, who has pracin conviction and condemnation. “The tised for twenty years as a solicitor at pain and anxiety," he adds, “occa- the Old Bailey, gave a testimony which sioned by that event, until we obtain the Committee cannot but recommend ed for him the royal mercy, none can

to the most serious consideration of describe but ourselves ; which made the House. He informed the Comus resolve never to prosecute again for mittee, that he knew many instances a similar offence." The general opi- of persons injured by larcenies and nion of the traders in London and forgeries, declining to prosecute on Westminster is the same with his own. account of the punishment; that the He declared, that if he received a same consideration strongly disinclines forged bank note, he should be pre- many persons to serve as jurors at the vented from prosecution by the pu- Old Bailey, and induces them to bribe nishment of death, and that if the the summoning officer not to summon punishment were less than death, he them; and that he has seen juries, inshould undoubtedly consider it as his Auenced, as he believes, by the seve. absolute duty to bring the offender to rity of the punishment in numerous justice. He believes that nine trades- capital cases, but especially in formen out of ten agree with him. geries, give verdicts of acquittal where

Mr Stephen Curtis, a leather-factor the proofs of the prisoner's guilt were in London, stated several cases of for- perfectly clear. Old professed thieves, gery, fraudulent bankruptcy, and lar- aware of the compassionate feelings of ceny, where the persons injured de- juries, are, he says, desirous of being clined to prosecute, from apprehen- prosecuted on capital indictments rasions that the offenders might suffer ther than otherwise. death; this is the general opinion of In addition to the general evidence

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above stated, to notorious facts, and to prosecute. Mr Fryexplicitly stated, to obvious conclusions of reason, the what is indeed implied in the evidence Committee have to state the testimony of the preceding witnesses, that as a of some witnesses of peculiar weight, banker, be should consider his procn forgery. Mr John Smith, a mem. perty as much more secure if the ber of the House, and banker in Lon- nishment of forgery were mitigated to don, stated, that he knew instances such a degree that the law against where prosecutions for private for that offence would be generally en. geries were relinquished on account of forced ; in nine cases out of ten of forthe punishment, and had no doubt that gery which he has known, there has if the punishment was less, prosecu- been an indisposition to prosecute. tion would have taken place.

Dr Lushington declared that he Mr Barnett, also a member of the knew, that in the minds of many perHouse, and a banker in London, is of sons there is a strong indisposition to opinion, that capital punishment goes prosecute, on account of the severity extremely to discourage prosecutions of the punishment ; and that he had in forgery; he knows many instances heard from the mouths of prosecutors of this ; scarcely a year passed with themselves, who have prosecuted for out something of the kind; he is of capital offences, where there was a opinion that the majority of private danger of the persons being executed, forgeries pass unpunished, on account the greatest regret that they had so of the severity of the punishment. done ; and many times they have es. The punishment of death tends, in his pressed a wish, that they had been opinion, to prevent prosecution, and able to have foreseen the consequences

, to increase the crime.

they would never have resorted to the Mr J. F. Forster, a Russia mer. laws. chant, and Mr E. Forster, a banker Mr Charles Attwood, a manufac. in London, gave some remarkable ex- turer of window glass at Newcastle, amples of the repugnance to prose- and a seller of window glass in Loncute in forgery. In one, by the con- don, had observed a very considerable nivance of the prosecutor, a person indisposition to prosecute in capital who was introduced to the magistrate cases among the traders of London as a friend of the prisoner's, desired generally ; and conceives that this reto see the forged cheque, snatched it luctance would abate, if the capital away, and threw it into the fire ;-a punishment were mitigated to somemode of avoiding prosecution which, thing less than death. from other parts of the evidence, does Mr Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, a broker not seem to be uncommon. In ano. to the Bank, and to merchants, whose ther, a forgery to the large amount of experience in the transactions of bank15001. where the forger and the ut- ers is very extensive, entertains no terer were both in custody, the pro. doubt that the punishment of death secution was relinquished merely be. has a tendency generally to prevent cause the offence was capital,

prosecution, and thinks that evidence Mr Fry, a banker in London, men- to that effect might be discovered in tioned four cases of prosecution for hundreds of instances. forgery which were prevented by the Mr Daniel Gurney, a banker in the capital punishment, in one of which county of Norfolk, declared his own the party injured swallowed the forged reluctance, and had observed a similar note, that he might not be compelled reluctance among many bankers and

a great deal of

traders in the country, to prosecute in frate solicitations in the street for chacases of forgery, in consequence of the rity, than is earned by the sober and severity of the law. The dread of be- most industrious artificers and labour. ing instrumental in inflicting death ers, by their utmost application to the had, with himself, and to his know- work in which they are employed. ledge with others, operated as a pro- The profits of mendicity are so great tection to the criminal.

as to afford a strong incitement to folThere are several points on which low the practice. the Committee are desirous of offering Beggars on their being searched some observation to the House ; two when brought before the magistrates, of these are of great importance; the


has been found first relates to the best means of ena- about them, in their pockets, and in bling judges to pronounce sentence of their clothes. death only in those cases where they Beggars make great profits by vathink it probable that death will be rious practices, such as changing their inflicted; the second, whether the es- clothes two or three times a-day, and tablishment of unexpensive and acces- getting money intended for others. sible jurisdictions, for the trial of small Clear proof that a blind man and a offences, with the help of juries, but dog got 30s. in one day. with simple forms of proceeding and Another man got 5s. a-day ; he corrective punishments, might be a could with ease go through 60 streets means of checking the first steps to. a-day. wards criminality. These and other Another man 6.s. a-day. parts of this great subject, the Com- Two houses in the parish of St mittee hope that the House will al- Giles frequented by from 200 to 300 low them to consider, by permitting beggars ; receipts from 3s. to 5s. athem, in the next session, to resume, day; they could not be supposed to and, if possible, to complete their in- spend less than 2s. 6d. at night, and quiries.

pay 6d. for their bed.

A negro beggar retired to the West Indies with a fortune, it was supposed, of 15001.

Beggars gain 3s. or 4s. a-day by

begging shoes. ABSTRACT

Considerable sums of money pulled out, and shared amongst beggars.

Gains of beggars, 68., 7s., or 8s., and of the Report of the Select Committee

sometimes more. appointed to Inquire into the State of

The value of 15s., 20s., and 30s., Mendicity in the Metropolis.


them ; they get more by

begging than they can by work; they The body of evidence ascertains be- get so much by begging, that they yond all possibility of doubt, the gross never apply for parochial relief. and monstrous frauds practised by Found upon beggars, 8s., 10s., and mendicants in the capital, and in its 12s., that they had gained in the course immediate neighbourhood; the success of the day. of which affords a direct encourage- The beggars state that they get ment to vice, idleness, and profligacy, more by begging than they can by as much more is gained by importu- work.

They get 4s. or 5s. a-day.

A girl of 12 years of age had been 9s. and 10s. gained in a day, mark- six years engaged in begging ; oa ed on a pass.

some days got 3s. or 4s. a-day; someA woman alleged she could go times more, usually 18d. or ls.; on through 60 streets in a day, and that Christmas-day, 4s. 6d. was a bad street that did not yield ld. One man will collect 3, 4, or 5

Beggars get from 10s. to 20s. a- children from different parents, paying day sometimes.

6d. and 9d. for each, to go begging A beggar would spend 50s. a-week with. Parents beat their children if for his board.

they do not carry home the sum reBeggars have said they go through quired. 40 streets in a day, and that it is a A woman in a constant state of inpoor street that does not yield 2d. toxication with S children.

A bad day that does not yield the A woman with twins who never beggars 8s. and more.

grew older; sat for ten years. Twins The evils attending mendicity are not the children of the beggars one not, however, confined to adults ; chil. time in a hundred. dren of different ages are made use of A blind child hired to excite chato excite compassion; sometimes by rity: 1s., 1s. 6d., or 2s. 6d., gained by themselves, and at other times are car- each in a day. ried about by their parents, or per.

Children let out by the day, who sons pretending to be so. This use of carried to their parents 2s. 6d. a-day, children is not a novel one ; in a sta- as the price paid by the persons who tute of 1st Edward VI. c. 3, it is hired them; of course their gains must recited, that divers women and men

have been more. go on begging, wayfaring, of which A little boy and a little girl earned some be impotent and be lame, and 8s. a-day. some able enough to labour, which do An instance is stated of an old wocarry children about with them, some man who keeps a night-school for infour or five


of age, or younger structing children in the street-lanor older, which, brought up in idle- guage. ness, might be so rooted in it, that of the numbers of beggars in the hardly they may be brought after to streets in the metropolis, a probable good thrift and labour. And a simi- conjecture only can be formed. Mr lar recital in the 3d and 4th Edward Martin, who has been extremely acVI. c. 16.

tive in the department of inquiry about Beggars are furnished with children mendicity, stated them, thirteen years at houses in Whitechapel, Shoreditch; ago, at 15,000, of which 5300 were some who look like twins ; children Irish ; but the Committee will have frequently on women's backs. occasion to refer, in a subsequent part

A woman had four children with of this Report, to a statement which her begging ; much use made of chil. will shew the probability of the numdren.

ber being considerably more. They Children are annually instructed in are most numerous in the outskirts of idleness and drinking, and of course the town; thirty or forty sleep in a lying ; idleness is sure to bring on ly- large round bed. ing and theft.

In the neighbourhood of WhiteChildren frequently sent out to beg, chapel, thirty or forty houses, appaand not to return with less than 6d. rently crowded, in which are not less

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than 2000 people, one half of whom They eat no broken victuals, but
live by prostitution and beggary ; the have ham, beef, &c."
remainder Irish labouring people. Forty or fifty sleep in a house, and

It appears by the evidence of the are locked in lest they should carry
person who contracts for carrying va. any thing away, and are let out in the
grants in and through the county of morning all at once
Middlesex, that he has passed as many The beggars, mostly of a despe-
às 12,000 or 13,000 in a year ; but rately bad character, frequently, sell
no estimate can be formed from thatclothes that are given to them.
as many of them are passed several Tear their clothes for an appearance
times in the course of a year.

of distress. And it is proved that these people Beggars assemble in a morning, and are, in the course of eight or ten days, agree what route each shall take. in the same situation, as they find no At some of the houses the knives difficulty in escaping as soon as they and forks chained to the tables, and are out of the hands of the Middlesex other articles chained to the walls.

The walks are sold. A magistrate in the office at White- In the summer they emigrate a good chapel thinks there is not one who is deal. not worthless. It certainly appears A variety of practices stated. uncontrovertible that an immense pro- Worthy persons, however distress

portion of them are idle, profligate, ed, will not have recourse to begging. this and lazy, and living in great dissipa. Street beggars, with very few extion.

ceptions, utterly worthless and incorThe rector of Saint Clement Danes rigible. describes them as living very well, es

Luxurious living pecially if they are pretty well maim- Advantages of begging are such, de ed, blind, or if they have children; he that the parties would rather be imdescribes various practices of the beg- prisoned three months in the year

than gars.

relinquish it. The beggars, after having peram- Beggars evade the Vagrant Act by bulated their circuits, live well, spend. carrying matches and articles of little ing a considerable portion of money ; intrinsic value for sale. have hot suppers, and regale them- Gainful practices of a man who is selves with various liquors.

something of an attorney. From 200 to 300 beggars frequent Various practices for obtaining motwo public-houses in St Giles's, divi- ney by beggars who are complete imded into companies, and subdivided postors. into walks ; live luxuriously at night. Out of 400 beggars in St Giles's,

Beggars scarify their feet to make 350 are capable of earning their own the blood come; they change their living. routes every day; share considerable In the course of this inquiry, it ap. sums of money, and get scandalously peared that in almost all of the city drunk ; quarrel and fight; and one parishes, and in some of those in the teaches the other the mode of extort- neighbourhood, the poor are farmed ; ing money ; they are the worst of to which there appear to be considercharacters, blasphemous, and abusive ; able objections ; and, among others, when they are detected as impostors'adding to the numbers of beggars in in one parish, they go into another. the streets, as the persons who take


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