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If the past increase and present the days of its prosperity, what is it amount of crime in the British islands likely to become in those of its debe alone considered, it must afford cline, when this prodigious vent for grounds for the most melancholy fore- superfluous numbers has come to be bodings. When we recollect that in a great measure closed, and this since the year 1805, that is, during a unheard-of wealth and prosperity has period of less than forty years, in the ceased to gladden the land ? course of which population has ad- To discover to what causes this vanced about sixty-five per cent in extraordinary increase of crime is to Great Britain and Ireland, crime in be ascribed, we must first examine England has increased seven hundred the localities in which it has principer cent, in Ireland about eight hun- pally arisen, and endeavour to ascerdred per cent, and in Scotland above tain whether it is to be found chiefly three thousand six hundred per cent ;* in the agricultural, pastoral, or mait is difficult to say what is destined nufacturing districts. We must then to be the ultimate fate of a country in consider the condition of the labourwhich the progress of wickedness is ing classes, and the means provided so much more rapid than the increase to restrain them in the quarters where of the numbers of the people. Nor is the progress of crime has been most the alarming nature of the prospect alarming; and inquire whether the diminished by the reflection, that this existing evils are insurmountable and astonishing increase in human depra- unavoidable, or have arisen from the vity has taken place during a period supineness, the errors, and the selof unexampled prosperity and unpre- fishness of man. The inquiry is one cedented progress, during which the of the most interesting which can produce of the national industry had occupy the thoughts of the far-seeing tripled, and the labours of the hus- and humane; for it involves the tembandman kept pace with the vast poral and eternal welfare of millions increase in the population they were of their fellow-creatures ;--it may well to feed-in which the British empire arrest the attention of the selfish, and carried its victorious arms into every divert for a few minutes the profligate quarter of the globe, and colonies from their pursuits; for on it depends sprang up on all sides with unheard- whether the darling wealth of the of rapidity-in which a hundred thou- former is to be preserved or destroyed, sand emigrants came ultimately to mi- and the exciting enjoyments of the grate every year from the parent state other arrested or suffered to coninto the new regions conquered by its tinue. arms, or discovered by its adventure. To elucidate the first of these quesIf this is the progress of crime during tions, we subjoin a table, compiled
* See No. 343, Blackwood's Magazine, p, 534, Vol. lv. VOL. LVI. NO. CCCXLY.