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pected of the crime and arrested. With us, no process would be more simple than bringing these men to trial at the next sessions, and acquitting or condemning them on the evidence produced. Here, in no obscure corner of Germany, but in the centre of its civilisation, after an imprisonment of six years and three hundred and twenty-five days in fetters, the writings in the case forming twentyfive folio volumes, the men were found innocent of the crime imputed to them. The one however, not being able to prove the utter impossibility of his being guilty, is guilty of being suspected; and is left to pay his share of the expense of the proceedings which is equivalent to sentencing him to imprisonment for life for the debt, as lawyers do not write folio volumes for nothing.* The other is declared so entirely free even from the possibility of guilt, that government bears his share of the expense. In this case, a curious specimen of the German mode of bringing out the guilt of an
* In criminal procedure, the public prosecutor, or Actor, is appointed by the Court for each case, from among the advocates at its bar in rotation: and his expenses, which are awarded by the Court, and generally amount in the simplest cases to ten dollars, fall upon the accused party; unless, from very special circumstances, the Court order the expense to be paid by government. If the party have no property, government pays the advocate, and takes repayment out of the day-labour of the accused, who is detained with the convicts; and receives credit for the value of his work, after deducting his subsistence. A criminal who has served out his term of punishment, or a person acquitted altogether, may still be working as a convict for the expenses of his prosecution.
accused party is given in the 12th number of the Itzehoe Wochenblad. One of the prisoners is brought, after long solitary confinement in irons, before the public functionary, who has the duty of prosecuting criminals, who says, "There thou art with those huge fists which murdered this nobleman; thy comrade, Willer, has now confessed all. If thou dost not confess too, thou shalt be," &c. &c. This is the natural tendency and spirit of the administration of law by public functionaries, who have to show their own talents in the trade of discovering, and investigating crime.
June. Whatever may be the want of morals in this country, there is no want of manners. You see no blackguardism, no brutality, no revolting behaviour. You may travel through the country, and come to the conclusion that the people are among the most virtuous in Europe, and it is only when you examine the official records of their criminal courts, and compare these with the amount of similar crimes during the same period in other countries, that you are obliged to come reluctantly to another conclusion. In Stockholm the extraordinary proportion of illegitimate births places beyond all question the want of chastity in its female population; yet in walking through the streets I never see an immodest or even suspicious look or gesture among even the lowest class of people. For propriety of dress and demeanour the town might be peopled by vestals, yet one third of the infants are bastards. I confess I do not like this either in a people or in an individual. I prefer a little open
Irish blackguardism. The man is much nearer to virtue who appears worse than he is, than the man who appears better.
June. I have conversed with several enlightened Swedish gentlemen upon this extraordinary comparative state of the criminal calendar of the country. They all ascribe this apparent excess of crime entirely to faulty legislative or judicial arrangement, by which mere police transgressions (such, for instance, as the peasantry of a whole parish neglecting to mend their roads, or to appear with their horses in due time at the posting stations to forward travellers,) may be punished with fine, or even imprisonment on bread and water, and these cases are registered and accounted as crimes. In towns, in like manner, the neglect of sweeping chimneys, mending and cleaning streets, and so on, being punished by fines, and, if these are not paid, by imprisonment, the apparent catalogue of crimes they say is enlarged to what I state it to be; but that in reality the moral delinquency in Sweden is small. I got the perusal, however, of a copy of the report of the minister of justice to His Majesty, of the crimes committed in the kingdom in the year 1837. This annual report divides the crimes, for the first time I believe, into three distinct classes. The first and second classes comprehend the crimes against person or property, which are punished in all civilised communities. The third contains the offences against conventional laws, such as smuggling, or neglect of police regulations, in which fines or imprisonment are im
posed, but without moral guilt on the part of the offender. In this class, however, are included three rubrics which clearly belong to the second class, viz. fornication, assault and battery, and excessive drunkenness, which in all societies come, more or less, under penal law. Now, taking these two classes with the three rubrics which include none but moral offences, what results have we? Of the country population of 2,735,487 individuals, 1 in 460 has been punished in 1837 for criminal offence. Among these offences, as before stated, are 28 cases of murder, 10 of child murder, 13 of a horrible offence, and 4 of poisoning. Of the town population of 289,280 individuals in 84 towns, 1 in 78 has been condemned for criminal offence in 1837. This result is after throwing out altogether every offence not of a positively immoral nature, and all petty offences summarily punished by fines. The best informed individuals impute this extraordinary state of the criminal returns of the country to the excessive drunkenness of the lower class. This evil, they say, goes beyond the excess of all other nations, is the cause of three fourths of all the crimes committed, and is destroying the very race, physically as well as morally. I take these opinions cum grano salis. The educated Swedish gentleman appears to me so far removed by station and conventional distinction from the man of the lower class, that the condition of the latter is scarcely better known to him than to a foreigner. There is no middle class uniting, as in England, the two extremes, and in
communication with both, because each class, even the clerical, is a privileged body independent of the rest of society. They are masses which the geologist would describe as in juxtaposition, rather than leaning on, or passing into and mixing with each other. The Swedish educated class appears also very susceptible of the fashionable opinions of the day in the rest of Europe; and fond of applying them to Sweden as a part of Europe, without consideration of social or physical differences. There is a fashion of the day, we all know, in general opinions as in clothes. The ignorance and inebriety of the lower classes are the two topics which in other countries engage at this day the attention of all enlightened people. The Swedish gentry adopt the fashionable subjects without considering that infant schools and temperance societies, however useful in a dense manufacturing population like that of Britain, are inapplicable in a thinly peopled country, in which infants would have to be carried a day's journey to make up a number for a school; and people could not meet to be sober, without a vexatious loss of time, and a fatigue which would almost excuse their getting drunk. I venture to place to this account a good deal of the attributed drunkenness of the Swedish people, and believe them to be in this respect not worse than their neighbours. I travelled slowly across the country, stopping every eight or ten miles at the houses at which the people are supplied with spirits. At one place only in my whole journey, I saw a party of peasants rather tipsy,