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year, 1834, was 3547 persons, or one in every 540 persons of the population; while in the rural population of Sweden 1 in every 174, and in the town population 1 in every 46 persons, persons, were
committed for criminal offence.
In Ireland the population in 1834 is stated in a parliamentary report at 7,943,940 individuals. The committals for criminal offences in that year were 21,381 or 1 person in every 371 of the population, and the convictions were 14,253, or 1 person in every 557. In the five In the five years from 1830 to 1834 inclusive, the average yearly number of committals in Ireland is 1 in every 455 persons, and of convictions 1 in every 723 of the whole population. The great difference between the numbers of committals and convictions in Ireland proves that the laws are badly administered that many persons are wrongfully accused, or else wrongfully acquitted. In despite, however, of the demoralising effects of a mal-administration of law, and of religious and political discord and excitement to outrage, the Irish nation stands very far above the Swedish in the moral scale. In the nearly eight millions of the Irish there are 5644 fewer committals for criminal offences, and 8039 fewer convictions, within one year, than in the scarcely three millions of the Swedish nation. These are singular results, and very unexpected, when we consider the cuckoo-cry, repeated until nothing else can be heard, of the crime, vice, and social disorganisation of Ireland, which by common consent is placed at the very bottom of the list of civilised nations; while
Sweden is as generally held to be a country eminently moral. I can see no mistake in the results drawn from these official statements, although they overturn all my former notions of the comparative morality of different states of society, and of different nations. It appears an unavoidable inference from them, that the moral condition of Sweden is extremely low.
The proportion also of illegitimate to legitimate births in this country leads to the same conclusion. It is as 1 to 2 in Stockholm. In no other Christian community is there a state of female morals approaching to this. In Paris the illegitimate are reckoned by Puchet to be one in five births, and in the other towns of France 1 in 7. In England and Wales it is reckoned there is one illegitimate to nineteen legitimate, and in London and Middlesex one to thirty-eight legitimate births. Much weight cannot be given to the English returns as an index of the morality of the people, because the old poor-law held out in fact a premium to illicit intercourse among the lower classes, if it was followed by subsequent marriage, by the parish allowance for each child born in wedlock. But making all allowance for this, the difference of 1 in 2 and 1 in 38 is so enormous, and, considering the two towns, Stockholm and London, so unexpected, that it must excite the curiosity of the most careless traveller. I have been inquiring anxiously into the reality and the supposed causes of this extraordinary fact in moral statistics. Taking all Sweden,
the proportion of illegitimate to legitimate births in the ten years from 1800 to 1810, was 1 in 16 births; from 1810 to 1820, 1 in 14; from 1820 to 1830, 1 in 14. In England and Wales it is but 1 in 19, which, considering the state of our population (much higher fed, yet more restrained from matrimony, by the expense of supporting families), is an extraordinary difference; but still it shows that the excess of immorality in Sweden must be reckoned against its town populations, especially that of Stockholm. If their proportions could be subtracted from the account, the proportion of illegitimate to legitimate births in the country would probably be the same nearly as in any other rural population. But why should this city of 80,000 people be so remarkably demoralised, in an age when all other European communities are undoubtedly advancing rapidly in an opposite direction? No man, who recollects the state of our manufacturing or sea-port towns of similar size twenty-five or thirty years ago, will hesitate in saying that moral and religious feeling has advanced prodigiously during that period among our lower classes. Figures do not bring home to our imaginations the moral condition of a population so depraved as that of Stockholm. In such a society, the offspring of secret adultery, and the births merely saved from illegitimacy by the tardy marriage of the parents, must be numerous in proportion to the general profligacy. If it were possible to deduct these from the one side of the account and add them to the other, to which morally they
belong, what a singular picture of depravity on a great scale this city presents. Suppose a traveller standing in the streets of Edinburgh, and able to say, from undeniable public returns, 66 one out of every three persons passing me is, on an average, the offspring of illicit intercourse; and one out of every forty-nine has been convicted within these twelve months of some criminal offence!" The remarkably low moral feeling in this community appears from the following fact. In all large cities, in the present age, houses of ill fame - brothels, where they do exist are silently tolerated by the local authorities, as evils which the police must watch over, and which the growing sense of decency, of religion, of morality, among the lower classes, their better education, greater temperance, and higher civilisation, can alone remedy. openly establish such where they did not exist before, under authority of government, and as one of its public institutions, for the health or morals of the people; to hire an hotel for such a purpose in a principal street; collect unfortunate females to live in it, and give out a code of regulations for their conduct towards the public, -appears a trait rather from the history of the twelfth than of the nineteenth century. It is scarcely credible, yet this was done within these three years here; and the establishment was only abandoned because the wretched inmates fell victims to the barbarity of the regulations. It would be difficult to find perhaps in any town in Europe, at the present day, such another instance of low moral feeling in the
governing and governed. There are two minor causes, both however showing a degraded moral feeling, which were stated to me as contributing much to this lax state of female morals. One is, that no woman in the middle or higher ranks, or who can afford to do otherwise, ever nurses her own child. A girl who has got a child is therefore not in a worse but in a better situation, as she is pretty sure of getting a place for two years, which is the ordinary time of nursing. The illegitimacy of the child is in this community rather a recommendation of the mother, as the family is not troubled with the father or friends. As to the girl's own child, there is a foundling hospital-the second minor cause in which it can be placed at a trifling expense for the time the mother is out nursing. The unchaste are, therefore, in fact, better off than the chaste of the female sex in this town.
What are the causes of this diseased moral condition of a nation cut off by nature from many contaminating influences to which others are exposed; such as commerce, wealth, wars, or redundant physical enjoyments from soil or climate? The traveller is but the pioneer to the historian and political philosopher, and he does wisely when he contents himself with merely collecting and authenticating materials for their reasonings. He falls into the stupid, when he philosophises and proses on his own account, and stops to talk wisdom on the highways. But some of the causes would only occur to a person in the country itself; and as they illustrate the actual state of the society and institutions