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M. Frégier having assumed, as an admitted fact, that it is from the poor and vicious of the operative classes that the criminal portion of the community is chiefly recruited, it was necessary for him, in the first place, to ascertain the total numerical strength of those classes. Notwithstanding the numerous and well-organized police of Paris, and its elaborate system of civil administration, the functions of which are far more searching and extensive than with us, there appears to be great difficulty in exactly ascertaining the numerical value of the different classes of society; and indeed, after all his exertions to accomplish this object, M. Frégier was compelled to content himself with a somewhat vague approximation to the truth. The system of livrets, books analogous to the pocket-ledgers of our soldiers, afforded him little or no assistance : the possession of such books is not compulsory upon the working classes; and of the men who come to Paris from the Departments, bringing their books with them, a large proportion merely have them examined by the Prefecture of Police, and cannot be induced to exchange them for Paris books. The returns, therefore, of the number of livrets issued afford no data by which to ascertain the actual number of operatives resident in the capital. The approximation at which M. Frégier arrives is as follows :
There exists in Paris of male operatives a number varying from 75,000 to 105,000. Of these 50,000 are married, or live with female companions. Of female operatives the number is about 60,000: of these 40,000 are the wives or domesticated companions of workmen. Of apprentices the number is about 100,000, being assumed at the rate of two to each of the 50,000 workinen who live as family men. The number of chiffonniers is about 4000, one half of whom are men, the other half women and children. The above numbers give a total, varying according to the season of the year, the activity of work, especially of building, and other causes, of from 239,000 to 269,000 persons; and on this number M. Frégier bases his calculations.
We cannot but demur as to the validity of this mode of pro. cedure. Almost every page of his volumes proves the close resemblance between the vices and crimes of London and Paris ; and certainly we should consider as radically defective any calculations regarding our metropolitan population which were limited to its operatives only, even taking that appellation in its most extended sense. In all great cities there are numerous sections of the lower population, whose employments do not come under that category. To instance a few only: persons employed about public vehicles of all descriptions, or with horses; boatmen ; soldiers; the ranks of the police; the extremely numerous classes of servants, male and female, and more especially B 2
male servants out of place—a division of society which, we conceive, furnishes a contingent to crime larger in proportion to its numbers than any other. All these, and many others, should have been included; and the fallaciousness of not doing so will at once be apparent, when we consider that the total population of Paris exceeds 900,000 persons ; and that consequently the classes to which M. Frégier restricts himself are considerably less than one-third of the whole.
Of these classes of society, thus arbitrarily selected, M. Frégier supposes that the portion habitually devoted to the two kindred vices of idleness and intemperance is about one-third; viz. 35,000 men and 20,000 women—he takes no account of the apprentices--and that of these numbers, again, one-half of the men and two-thirds of the women are thoroughly vicious; as are also one-hali-2000-of the chiffonniers, men, women, and children; making altogether a total of about 33,000 persons, who constitute the very dregs of the population. Omitting any enumeration of the contingent of vice afforded by the remainder of the lower classes, those which, as he expresses it, are strangers to the industrious arts,' he next proceeds to state that the criminal part of the middle and upper ranks—les classes aisées'—may be taken as about equal to one-tenth of the above, that is 3300 persons. At this number he arrives by a different
The annual average of criminal prosecutions in Paris is 3500, and about one-half of these end in convictions. The average annual number of convictions in the middle and
classes is ascertained to be 157, which is very nearly one-eleventh of the whole : he therefore assumes that the total numbers of the thoroughly vicious in the lower and upper classes bear to each other the same proportion of ten to one; and consequently that, as the former amount to 33,000, the latter may be taken at 3300. All this appears to us to be very vague and arbitrary; and the more so from the palpable error which we have pointed out in the first element upon which it is based.
Such, however, being assumed as the numerical strength of the vicious class, the author next proceeds to estimate the component parts of the dangerous class. These are the gamblers, the prostitutes, the men whom they attach to themselves either as lovers or bullies—souteneurs-or in the double capacity; the mistresses of the houses of ill-fame; the vagabonds, smugglers, sharpers, pickpockets, robbers of both sexes; and the receivers of stolen goods, of both sexes also. The predominant vices of all these are idleness and debauchery-the power which puts them in motion is greediness of gain. Some of these persons follow useful occupations, and many of them with especial ability; but they labour only to obtain the means of indulging their vices.— La fainéantise et l'activité vicieuse,' says M. Frégier, quoique extrêmes
leur nature, se touchent dans leurs effets : elles aboutissent toutes deux au crime.
Many of the individuals of the dangerous class belong to several of its divisions: the same man is often gambler, bully, smuggler, sharper, pickpocket, and robber—the receiver of stolen goods is frequently a professed sharper; and many loose women are also robbers and receivers of stolen goods. It is this multiplicity of functions which has baffled every attempt to ascertain the numerical strength of the several departments of vice. One thing only is certain, that the gamblers, including not merely those who are such by profession, but the other bad characters who addict themselves to this vice, are the most numerous division of the whole. The contingent which the middle and higher classes furnish to the division of sharpers and gamblers is estimated at 100.
The number of registered prostitutes is 3800—of unregistered, or free, about 4000. One in twenty of these women is a foreigner. Paris and its environs give one-fourth; the rest are from the provinces : and the proportions which they furnish decrease as they are more remote, except in the case of some of the northern manufacturing districts, and certain garrison towns, the supply from which is disproportionally large.
On ne désigne pas des localités qui alimentent le libertinage plus particulièrement que d'autres, comme cela existe à Londres, où la malheureuse Irlande, décimée par la misère, au profit de la débauche, envoie un si grand nombre de prostituées qu'il est hors de toute proportion avec les contingens fournis par les autres parties de la Grande Bretagne.'
We are sorry to see the universal prejudice of the French against England peeping out in the statistics of such a book as this. Every magistrate in London well knows that what is here said as to Ireland is not only untrue, but flagrantly and diametrically opposed to the truth.
The number of the mistresses of houses of ill-fame is about 372, one-half only of whom have licensed houses. Each prostitute having, as an invariable rule, her lover or souteneur, these men—and they are the vilest of the vile-amount to 7800. Nearly all of them belong to one or more of the other categories of vice, being sharpers, thieves, or pickpockets, and gamblers also, as a matter of course.
From a similar blending of professions, it is impossible to ascertain the number of vagabonds who come within the dangerous class. Adults and children, they may be taken—limiting the title to its strictest sense-at about 1500.
The receivers of stolen goods are about 600. Adding to these specific divisions the Protean mass of gamblers, smugglers, sharpers, pickpockets, and robbers, the author fixes the total amount of the dangerous class at 30,072; making, with the 33,000 previously ascertained as being the thoroughly depraved portion of the working-class, a total of 63,072 persons of both sexes and all ages, composing the entire mass of Parisian crime and vice. But in this statement he omits to include the vicious of the middle and upper classes, which he has previously fixed as amounting to 3300. If these be added, the total number of persons either criminal or utterly vicious, and therefore dangerous or tending to danger, is 66,372; being somewhat more than one-fourteenth of the entire population of Paris.-Such are the numerical results to which our author's calculations lead us. We must again remark, that they appear to proceed on a very partial basis. The total population of Paris in 1836—the period to which these volumes refer—was 909,126 : the only classes of which he treats are the operatives, 265,000, the dangerous class, 30,072, and a portion of the middle classes, say 33,000, in all 328,072. If we estimate that the middle and upper classes amount altogether to 200,000 -a number probably far above the truth-there will remain no less than 381,054 persons in the lower walks of life totally excluded from our author's calculations.
The second division of the work commences with a general view of the operative classes; for it is of the operatives only that he still continues to speak :
'Those,' he says—we shall abridge rather than translate his pages'those who study them minutely and without prejudice will find among their ranks many examples of virtue. They are goodnatured, anxious to serve their comrades, devoted to the interest of their employers; and charitable, narrow as their means are, not only to their fellow-workmen when out of employment or sick, but to all who are near them, to all especially who lodge in the same house. They labour to reclaim their vicious comrade : they visit and console him in prison. When a manufacturer or a master artisan has the skill and good judgment to obtain the love of those whom he employs, there is no exertion they will not make to serve him. The warmth of heart of the operative renders him always eager to give his aid and to expose himself to danger, when accidents occur in the street, or casual tumults arise. There are no bounds to the sacrifices which they make to procure comforts for their wives and children when sick. The proportion of cases is very large in which a long period of cohabitation takes place before marriage. If a young couple find that they live happily together, sooner or later their union is rendered legal, and no distinction whatever is made between the children born before and after marriage; all alike are sent to school until the age of twelve, and then are bound apprentices. The operatives in Paris
are generally paid once a fortnight; the more orderly give over at once to their wives the whole of their wages, with the exception of a trifling sum for their own personal expenses; some give them the half; whilst others retain to themselves the control of the whole of their earnings, and allow their wives to dispose as they please of their own wages. The exhausting nature of the work to which many are exposed demands a liberal diet, and still more a sufficient but moderate portion of wholesome wine, which to a French artificer is one of the chief necessaries of life: it not only repairs his strength, but it renders him cheerful-it chases away his cares.'
This is the bright, but, alas! the smaller division of the picture. The proportion of the entire class which adopts and maintains this regular and orderly course of life is sadly limited. The attraction of the public-house is one of the most fatal to the labouring classes, and more than anything else decides their lot.
"The operative,' says M. Frégier, ‘rises before the day; he goes to his workshop; on his route he meets an old companion, whom he has not seen for some time; an affectionate greeting takes place; and “ Let us have a glass together” are among the first words which they both utter, for the idea is always uppermost in their minds. They talk of work of their masters—the conversation goes on, glass in hand—again their masters are criticised-their several and peculiar bad qualitieshow little they know how to conduct their trade—their stinginess—their irregularity in paying their workmen-their severity, which is declared to be beyond all bounds. As a matter of course each of the orators deems it a point of honour to “stand his turn." The philippics continue—from the masters they descend to the overseers and foremen; and from them to their fellow-workmen. The hour of labour arrives; one of the two friends fears the reproaches of his master if he enters the workshop too late, and prefers losing a third of his day; he seeks to entice bis companion to tarry with him, and proposes a third round of glasses; the prudence of the other by degrees gives way; they settle themselves at table; they breakfast ; they become heated with wine; and not the third part, but the whole of the day is lost; and they may deem themselves fortunate if they are in a state to work on the morrow.'
We have given this scene, not because it is painted in a lively manner, and is characteristic of the gay, talkative disposition of the French mechanic, but because it is one of never-ceasing recurrence. From such casual beginnings of indulgence and idleness, the author traces up the career of the operative, who gives way to intemperance, until he becomes an habitual drunkard, regardless of his wife and children, lost to all self-respect, selling everything he possesses, even his garments, to supply the means of gratifying his passion for wine; and frequently labouring for days together, half-clothed, with no other aim or intention than, when he obtains payment for his work, again to abandon himself