Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

establish, from authority of previous Committees, and from the evidence as to recent facts, that there is a strong presumption in favour of a material change in the system of police which at present exists in the metropolis and its neighbourhood. The interval that has elapsed since the examinations of your Committee were concluded, has not been sufficient to enable them to mature a detailed arrangement, to be substituted in lieu of the present. But they are strongly inclined to recommend a plan, of which the following suggestions contain the general outline:-That there should be constituted an office of police acting under the immediate directions of the Secretary of State for the Home Department, upon which should be devolved the general control over the whole of the establishments of police of every denomination, including the nightly watch: that the immediate superintendence of this department should extend over a circumference comprising the whole of that thickly inhabited district which may be considered to include the metropolis and its environs: that the Magistrates attached to this office should be relieved from the discharge of those ordinary duties which necessarily occupy so much of the time of the present police Magistrates; and that they should be the centre of an intimate and constant communication with the other police offices on all matters relating to the disturbance of the public peace, and to the commission of all offences of a serious character. Your Committee is fully aware of the difficulty of interfering with the discretion of Magistrates in the performance of any duties of a strictly judicial nature. Magistrates are immediately responsible to the law for the exercise of the power committed to them in the ordinary administration of justice, and must be left to act according to the best of their judgment, uncontrolled in this respect by any extrinsic authority. But the police Magistrate in a great city, may be considered as an executive as well as a judicial officer; and one of the chief advantages of the establishment of a head office of police would consist, in the opinion of your Committee, in its possessing à general superintending authority in matters of police, which should remedy the inconvenience that at present results from the independent and unconnected action of the several police offices. Your Committee are disposed to recommend, that the entire control over the nightly watch should be assumed by this department, not immediately and simultaneously, but gradually; and that the powers which are now exercised with respect to the nightly watch, either by parish vestries or by Commissioners or Trustees appointed by local acts, should be continued to be exercised until an efficient substitute in each case shall have been provided, subject to such modifications as may be thought advisable. That authority should be given to the department of police to direct the discontinuance of the parochial watch in any parish, on certifying to the proper authorities of that parish that arrangements had been made for the due performance of the duties theretofore assigned to the watch. Your Committee are of opinion, that the public funds ought to continue to be charged with the amount of the expense not less than that to which they are at present subject on account of the police establishment of the metropolis, and that the charge which will be incurred by the increase of that establishment, at least as far as it ean be considered as contributing to local protection, ought to be a local charge, to be defrayed, according to certain principles to be hereafter determined, by the parishes or districts included within the superintendence of the new police. There will be a manifest advantage in considering the whole force, of whatever denomination it may consist, as one united establishment, in introducing an efficient system of control and inspection through a regular gradation of intermediate authorities, and in holding out every inducement to good conduct, by giving promotion as much as possible to the deserving officers.

In the benefit arising from a general establishment of this nature, it is impossible, we think, not to agree. There are not above one or

But we

two of the witnesses who do not express the strongest confidence in its success. One of them (Sir Thomas Farquhar) carries his sense of the evil of petty parochial divisions so far, that he even wishes the paving and lighting, as well as the watching, to be under the same general controul.

We confess we would not divert the attention of the general office to such minute matters. Lighting has something to say to the prevention of crime, and this head-establishment, whatever name it might bear, should have a summary power to prevent any neglect of the parish on that score-but really there are no more robberies committed on a roughly-paved street than on a smooth one. Sir Thomas shewed plainly enough that where, as is often the case, one half of a street was longitudinally in one parish, and one in another, the line of demarcation might be much more correctly called that where they separate than that where they unite. But we cannot but consider this a little beside the question of crime, and its prevention.

The other parts, however, of Sir Thomas's evidence, which is nearly all with reference to this question of generalization, is very sound and sensible.

Mr. Frederick Byng-who seems to have taken the most active part in the management of the watch of St. George's parish*, -and who gave a great many very valuable details, is also most strongly of opinion that a general board would be a most essential improvement. need not go into the opinions of individuals, except to notice their great unanimity on this point. It is a matter of principle, as is apparent at once.

We hope, then, that a general establishment will be formed on a grand, sound, and extensive scale. Let there be one chief establishment, with an able officer at its head; the jurisdiction to extend to such distance around London, as may, upon detailed investigation, be fixed upon. Let there be as many minor divisions as local circumstances of every description may render desirable. Let there be a corps of police officers, in different grades, so as to afford hope of promotion, but all amply paid, to put them above temptation; and, perhaps, an extra reward upon crimes involving property to a certain amount, would be advisable. The night-watch should be one branch of this corps, -responsible only to the division of the establishment in which its locality might place it, and wholly unconnected with the parish. The parishes, however, as is recommended by the Committee, should be rated for this protection--and they seem to think that the amount would not be greater than that they at present pay for so much worse a system. Those parishes in the outskirts, which have either an irregular or no arrangement of this nature, would, of course, have to contribute to the fund from which the expenses of this branch of the officers would be defrayed. For ourselves, however, we really think that in a matter of such vast national moment, as the due prevention of crime in the metropolis, “pecuniary considerations” should not be allowed to have any very great weight.

* Having come in rotation upon the committee of watch, he most laudably determined to exert himself, and appears to have been of the utmost service,

a

[ocr errors]

The Committee, it will have been seen, recommend that the magistrates “ should be relieved from the discharge of those ordinary duties which necessarily occupy so much of the time of the present police magistrates." We conclude this means those matters which all magistrates, as such, may be called upon to attend to-but which are foreign from the duties of the police. This,'we think, is very advisable. The establishment should, indeed, be in the nature of a Lieutenancy of Police—but, for many reasons, had better have a thoroughly English name. If, indeed, there were the remotest possibility that a system of preventive police, upon the principle of which the reader is now in possession, would tend to infringe upon what every one must respect under the term of the liberty of the subject,” we trust it is unnecessary for us to assure our readers, that nothing could induce us to advocate any such thing. But if anything approaching to a fair consideration of the subject be given to it, we have no shadow of doubt that the conviction the mind of the enquirers will come to, will be, that all honest folks will live in much greater security and peace, and that no liberty will be meddled with—except that of thieves.

The details of this proposed system are not entered into by the Committee, nor in so general a document as a report must necessarily be was it to be expected they should*. We hope, however, that (if anya thing can be attended to this Session but the Catholic Question) a few of its members will sit in council together, and, proceeding to exert the same admirable spirit which distinguishes their report, with the same industry and skill of detail for which the documents they have framed are singularly remarkable, bring in a bill for the regulation of the Police of the Metropolis, which shall gain the country's grateful thanks to every one concerned in its production.

Here we pause :-our purport is next to digest and investigate the report from the Committee on crime, in the remainder of England and Wales.--And, at the close, when we look at the subject in the mass, it is probable we may find need to say a few words on the hopes which may be formed of a gradual, but effectual, amelioration of morals through the means of Education.

One thing we may just mention. The Committee shrink from touching the ex. clusive jurisdiction of the city. We are quite aware that that respected enclosure is free from very many of the objections urged against the circumjacent territoryand that it has latterly shewn a disposition to improve. Still, we confess, we do not like imperium in imperio, even though the interior imperium be excellent. The civic authorities, the other day, refused to agree to a proposal that the warrants of the city and the county should run reciprocally into each. This is exactly in point. THE PHILOSOPHY OF STATISTICS.

We have adverted in former numbers to the deficiencies and inaccuracies of our statistical inquiries and documents, and we observed that our continental neighbours excel us in this essential branch of political science. Among statistical writers, Dupin, Maltebrun, and Balbi, stand prominent. The latter, an Italian long resident at Paris, published in 1822 an excellent statistical work on the kingdom of Portugal, and he has since undertaken a similar work on France, One of his countrymen, Gioia of Piacenza, has lately written an important work on the science itself, under the title of · The Philosophy of Statistics*,' in which he undertakes to fix its principies, course, and limits. Gioia was already known as the writer of several works on political economy; and he had, while employed in the admi, nistration of the kingdom of Italy, prepared models of tables which were to compose a complete statistical description of all the parts of the state. But the plan was considered as too vast, and was never executed. He has now collected and embodied his principles in the present work, on what we may call the theory of the science.

Our author defines the science of statistics to consist in collecting, classifying, and comparing those facts which influence the economy of a country and the condition of its inhabitants, and in distinguishing between those that are uncontrollable by man, and those which are susceptible of alteration. Statistics has its fixed principles, its axioms, according to which certain causes will always produce certain effects; and this is what Gioia has demonstrated against the assertion of Say, who, in his “ Traité d'Economie Politique," having confounded permanent statistics with annual reports, had pronounced somewhat hastily, that “ statistical descriptions, even supposing them to be perfectly accurate at the moment of their being collected, are no longer so by the time they are consulted.”. In these words, observes Gioia, there is a manifest error, which is contradicted by a thousand facts. Among statistical agencies there are many and most important ones, which will continue as long as the present system of our globe. There are others which cannot undergo alteration but after a period of ages, which period may be ascertained by calculation. Lastly, we have other agents which are liable to vicissitudes, though seldom sudden or unforeseen, The advantages of statistical knowledge are not confined to statesmen and political cconomists; they affect all classes of citizens, and concern every individual who has an interest in the welfare of his nation.

In the distribution of his work, Gioia first places topographywhich includes the latitude of a country, its geographical position, its extent, and geodetical surface, its geology and hydraulics, and its atmosphere and climate. In the second part he treats of popu

Filosofia della Statistica, esposta da Melchiorre Gioia. 2 vols. 8vo., Milano, 1827. MARCH, 1829

T

lation and all its phenomena. He afterwards considers the productions and industry of the country, then its institutions, finances, and administration; and, lastly, the character and habits of the people, influenced as they are by all the causes above enumerated. The latter sentence explains in fact the object of statistics. Whatever influences permanently the physical and moral condition of a country or nation, ought to be noticed in a complete statistical account of the same. It is upon such information that the legislator and the political economist must frame their plans of administration, and establish their measures for the improvement of the community. Statistics are to political science what the principles of drawing and perspective are to painting and architecture. The proper definition and arrangement of the signs and value of statistical elements would save much waste labour, and loads of useless papers covered with figures, which the agents of government transmit to their superiors without order or discrimination, and which tend to no purpose but to perplex and confuse the mind. Such is the object of our author. We shall now proceed to extract some of the many interesting facts which he states, and some of the inferences which he draws from these facts.

Under the head of topography, we find a scale of the growth of the most useful plants, such as the date, the sugar-cane, cotton, olive, rice, wheat, the vine, &c., as limited within certain parallels of latitude, and also by certain limits of height above the level of the sea, These must of course influence the commercial relations between countries. The north wants the wines and the other produce of the south, the plains want the timber and charcoal from the mountains, and the mountains the corn from the plains. In most countries the cattle migrate from the lowlands to the highlands in the summer, and return to the plains at the approach of winter. Hence a change of intercourse, and the relations of commerce between the various countries and districts.

As we ascend in latitude we find that heat and light decrease, and this fact has a powerful influence on all living creatures. It also creates two branches of additional expense, fuel and artificial light. In countries placed near the tropics, day and night being nearly even, the wants, the pleasures, the occupations of life are more uniform ; and this may partly account for the immutability in the habits of the inhabitants of those countries.

In the ratio of the height of level, heat decreases, and therefore seed-time is earlier, and harvest later. At the same time, the power of contagious and epidemic diseases diminishes also; the fevers of the coast of Mexico do not spread beyond a certain height of the central table land. The power of defence, however, increases in the same proportion ; and several of the victories of the Swiss, and other mountaineers, must be, in great measure, attributed to the disadvantage under which an aggressor lies who has to ascend a steep bill, and to fight at the same time.

The exposure of a district influences its climate and productions: thus the French side of the Pyrenees experiences a much severer winter than the Spanish reverse of the same mountains. In the vallies to the south of the Apennines, the orange, lemon, and olive

« ForrigeFortsæt »