Imatges de pÓgina

time relieving them ‘from any unnecessary hardships.' If only the public would shake free from the punishment-of-crime 'superstition, they would be content with a discipline which rigorously enforced both industry and good conduct.

At present criminals are being dealt with more capriciously than ever in our criminal courts. Some judges, recognising the uselessness, if not the harm, of short terms of imprisonment, are passing severer sentences than formerly; while others, under the influence of the “humanitarianism of the day, are allowing dangerous criminals to go free without any imprisonment whatever."

A judge who thus gives rein to his humanitarian proclivities, without regard to his duty to the community, reminds us of the philanthropist who' of his great bounty built a bridge at the expense of the county'

I have already suggested that Mr. Montgomery's criticisms upon Sir Alfred Wills' article are inspired by the 'humanitarians.' Every unprejudiced person will recognise that the measures advocated in that article are an immense advance in the direction of humanising our methods of dealing with offenders. Sir Alfred does not go as far as the proposals of my book; but he is better able than I am to judge what the public feeling would at present accept. The 'humanitarians, however, will tolerate nothing that does not reach up (or down) to the level of their maudlin sentimentality, and they are in full cry to thwart the proposed reforms. As soon as my book appeared their official press organ renewed the attack they made on me when my articles appeared in this Review. They now accuse me of 'personal hatred' of criminals, and they patronisingly account for my evil propensities by the figment that ‘I was once the victim of a burglary. Whether this is due to personal hatred' or to mere stupidity I do not know. For I have never been the victim of a burglary in my life. But the case given in my book, on which this charge is presumably based, affords such an admirable presentation of the crime problem in miniature that I will here repeat its main points.

The dramatis persone of the story represent precisely the three classes of offenders that I am dealing with in this article, corresponding with Sir Alfred Wills' categories two, three, and four. The first was a woman who had been for several



service as cook. The second was a man whom I had once befriended by obtaining employment for him in the public service, and who had borne a good character, and lived a good life, until corrupted by the villain of the piece.' This fellow, Kitchen by name--the number three of the groupwas a professional' of a very evil type. Though regularly employed as an auctioneer's porter, he used his position as a cloak for thieving, and he was also a trainer of thieves. My servant being left as usual

• There have been some flagrant cases of this in London lately. VoL, LXIII-No. 372


in charge of the house during our summer outing, was visited by number two, with whom she carried on an illicit amour.

This man introduced Kitchen ; and having plied the woman with drink, they collected a quantity of portable property and carried off their booty in a cab. The three were arrested, brought to trial, and convicted. Formerly they would all have gone to the gallows as a matter of course. And if it be the duty of a judge to 'fit the punishment to the sin,' the woman deserved hanging. But she was a good servant, and until depraved by these men she had borne an excellent character. Therefore I was sorry for her, and in response to a strong appeal I made to the Court on her behalf she was released on condition of entering a home. I also put in a plea for her lover. For though he came second as to moral guilt, he had done bis utmost to atone for his crime by enabling the police to recover a large share of the stolen property. But as there was a previous conviction recorded against him, he was technically an ' habitual,' and so he and Kitchen were treated alike and disposed of by sentences of the usual kind.

Now, under the punishment-of-crime system the Court was right in putting both men on the same footing, and wrong in letting the woman go unpunished. But I maintain that the decision was right respecting the woman, and wrong in the case of the men. If instead of dealing only with their crime the judge had investigated character and career, the one man would have received more pity and the other more punishment. Both were in a technical sense ‘habituals '; but Kitchen was a 'professional,' and he went to prison impenitent, determined that on his release he would resume the practice of his profession. The public interests would not have been served in any way by sending the woman to gaol, and nothing was gained by the sentence passed upon her friend. But I maintain that to turn a man like Kitchen loose again upon the community is as wicked as it is silly. If the hysterical plea were well founded, that 'society' made him what he was, the fact would supply a powerful reason for preventing his propagating and training a new generation of thieves. Whether such a man should have stirabout and cocoa, or beefsteaks and beer, is a question we can discuss with the humanitarians,' but not the question whether he ought to be at large. If the abandonment of measures hitherto effective in checking the spread of smallpox should hereafter lead to an epidemic, the smallpox patients of the future may fairly plead that 'society' is responsible for their condition. And that plea may entitle them to pity ; but will it be accepted as a reason for allowing them to mix with their neighbours?

While on this topic I would like to say with emphasis that while many offenders are in fact the product of hard circumstances, on account of which they never had a chance, police experience proves that these sorts of culprits usually accept their evil fate in silence, whereas, speaking generally, the criminals whose maudlin whining

draws tears from the sentimental and ignorant humanitarians are scoundrels who have sinned against light and gone wrong in spite of good opportunities. The worst of them are the bad boys' of good homes. And men like my friend Mr. William Wheatley, of the St. Giles's Mission, can testify that, in the case of discharged prisoners generally, those who whine loudest are usually the least deserving.

In conclusion I must not omit to notice Mr. Montgomery's fireworks about the proposal to require a thief to disclose what he has done with his booty. I cannot repeat here what I have written on that subject in my book, and I will not be guilty of the impertinence of defending the attack made on Sir Alfred's restatement of it. Personally I am in this strange position, that some of my critics suggest that my police experience has destroyed my Christianity, and others that my Christianity leads me to propose reforms so favourable to criminals that a level-headed public will scout them. May I say that I have derived my facts from Scotland Yard, and my principles from 'the Sermon on the Mount'?-not the Socialistic perversion of it current in the popular theology of the day, but the teaching of the Master as recorded in the Gospel. His gracious precepts in rebuke of those who made the criminal code of the theocracy the standard of their conduct as citizens and neighbours is prefaced by declaring in unequivocal terms the continuing authority of the law of Sinai. Turning to that code, therefore, I seize upon two of its characteristic features. The one is the marked distinction it draws between offences deliberately planned and offences due to sudden temptation or other accidental circumstances. That law had nothing but stern severity for deliberate lawbreakers, but in its treatment of the erring and the weak it was the most merciful code ever framed.

The other characteristic to which I refer is that in every case an offender was required to make restitution or compensation to the citizen injured by his crime. Let me contrast this with our own system. The fiction of law prevails that a crime is committed against the Crown; and as the result, while there is careful thought for the criminal, and the interests of the community are not entirely forgotten, the unfortunate victim of the crime, who ought to be considered first and most, is absolutely ignored. Neither restitution nor compensation is ever enforced. When the rich are robbed, efforts may be made to recover their property, but the victims of most of the housebreakings, for example, are humble folk whose earnings are smaller than are those of the criminals who prey on them. An unanswered ring at the door bell giving proof that there is no one in the house, the thief forces the door and strips the home of all its petty trcasures, articles of comparatively little intrinsic value, but greatly prized by the losers, and wholly irreplaceable. Here is a case reported in a newspaper lying before me where a wife is robbed of all her trinkets and the medals of her soldier husband. Here is another where a poor

woman is robbed of some 901. which she has scraped together as a provision for her old age. While I was at Scotland Yard never a day passed that cases of this kind did not come before me. In view of them the humanitarians have nothing but maudlin sympathy for the criminals and doctrinaire talk about their rights and wrongs. My sympathy is for their victims. I hold that in every case a thief should, on conviction, be required to make a full and truthful disclosure as to his disposal of his booty, and that a refusal to give the information ought to make him liable to perpetual imprisonment. “Why not? Where would be the injustice ?' Sir Alfred Wills demands, and the question awaits an answer.

That legislation and philanthropy will ever put an end to crime in a world like ours is the dream of visionaries. But criminals of the type that cause most trouble to the police, and most injury to the public, are entirely the creatures of a stupid system stupidly administered. And we need not wait for a Solon to legislate for us, or a Cæsar to enforce our laws. Nothing is required but that the governing authority, by which I mean of course the man in the street,' shall shake free from the superstitions and prejudices which now prevail in this sphere, and face the problem in the light of ordinary intelligence and common sense. If everyone who by deliberately following a career of crime has declared himself an outlaw were treated as an outlaw, Sir James Stephen's forecast would come true, 'that really bad offenders might in a few years be made as rare as wolves.' And if effect were systematically given to that other feature of the code of the theocracy, and the interests and rights of the victims of crime were always remembered and enforced, the trade of the professional thief and professional receiver would be destroyed. Crimes in plenty would remain, but they would be of the kind that spring from the weaknesses and passions of human nature, and the great volume of crime, which is now such a burden and such a scandal, would be sensibly and rapidly diminished.

For details of my scheme I must take the liberty of referring to my previous articles in this Review and my recent book. I arraign our present methods, first, because they utterly fail to protect the community from organised and systematic crime; and secondly, because they operate most cruelly in the case of offenders who are deserving of pity and help. And in the interests of this class I plead for changes in prison administration such as Sir Evelyn RugglesBrise is introducing in regard to the young. I can personally vouch that the reforms I advocate are practicable from a police point of view; and in proof that they will receive favourable consideration from the highest judicial authorities I need only appeal to Sir Alfred Wills' epoch-making article.




It has been objected by some critics of late that, inasmuch as Shakspeare is known to us, mainly, as a dramatic poet, and as the function of dramatic poetry is to represent imaginary characters objectively, and without intruding the personality of the poet, we have no right to make deductions from the poetry as to the principles of the poet. But however this may appear true in the abstract, it has pleased God to make great dramatic poets with more human nature in them than to shut up their souls in an aesthetic abstraction. In his greatest works Shakspeare is no doubt the most truly dramatic of all dramatists ; he certainly never intrudes himself on the reader unseasonably ; but in all his plays there are passages in which his real feeling and conviction seems to boil up to the top, and we feel that for the moment we are face to face with the man Shakspeare speaking from his own heart. It has been a matter of interest to me for some time past to collocate and compare some of the passages in the plays which seem to represent Shakspeare's own opinion on the conduct of life, or which throw light on the accepted morality of his day, though this is the first time that I have put any of these observations into written form.

It is hardly necessary to say that in speaking of the morality, or, as I might rather put it, the moral teaching, of Shakspeare I am using the word “morality' in the broad sense, as referring to the general conduct of life, not in its usual restriction, in popular parlance, to questions of the relations of the sexes, though that subject of course comes into the

programme. But how are we to discriminate the passages in which Shakspeare speaks his own thought ? It is perhaps rather a matter for instinctive perception than for critical analysis. To some extent we may trace his moral convictions in his whole manner of treating a special character. Independently of that, when we come upon passages of special fervour of diction and splendour of imagery, which do not necessarily arise out of the action and do not further it, we can hardly doubt that we have come across a moment in the play when the poet was impelled to speak his own thought, either in the moral or in the poetic sense.

Coleridge said of Shakspeare: 'He could never have written an epic; he would have died of plethora of thought,' in a form of

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