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mittals, consequent upon the greater facilities afforded for the administration of justice. He showed that, taking the mean of crime for the years 1826–1828, and comparing it with the mean for the years 1836–1838, and allowing for the increase of the population, there had been a decrease as follows:
Decrease. Murder and manslaughter,
10 per cent. Shooting and stabbing,
46 Conspiracy to murder,
29 Burglary, .
56 Assembling armed and appearing armed by night,
26 Housebreaking, &c.,
86 Stealing cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and calves, 34 Assaults with intent to rob,
54 There was an increase of common assaults, riots, breaches of the peace, misdemeanours, and larceny ; but with regard to these, Mr Drummond showed that the increase was directly ascribable to the increased activity and efficiency of the police. How this appears may be seen in regard to the head, riots, &c. “This includes,” he says, “all those offenders who are arrested at fairs, markets, &c., for disturbing the public peace; and as those arrests are now made with a vigour unknown in former periods, every fair and market being latterly attended by the police in force, whereas, formerly, the police were either withdrawn from fairs and markets, or did not take the active part they now do in arresting offenders, it is manifest, looking to the great number of fairs in Ireland, that the number of offenders of this class committed to prison must be greatly increased. If it were not, the fact would show that the police had not acted up to the orders they had received.”
He concludes :
“ The fact which has thus been shown of a decrease in the aggravated crimes, and an increase in the minor offences, is
illustrated very strikingly by what has happened in Dublin since the establishment of the new police. Burglary has diminished from 54 to 38; combination assaults (the worst description of assaults), from 95 to 8; horse and cattle stealing, from 31 to 15; infants exposing, &c., from 38 to 26; murder and homicide, from 16 to 5. There was not, I think, one case of murder, but the two denominations of crimes are thus classed together in the returns. The homicides generally rose from frays between hostile parties. Riot has decreased from 95 to 29; highway robbery, from 16 to 9. An increase, on the other hand, appears in larceny, from 5710 to 6101; misdemeanours and trespass, from 2408 to 3666; the number of persons taken up for disturbing the peace, from 4986 to 9720. The increase in these minor offences is directly ascribable to the vigilance of the police. Looking at the fact, then, of the constabulary having been rendered more effective, and looking to Dublin as illustrating what has taken place in a less degree throughout the country, I think it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that the state of the country, as regards crime and outrage in the years 1836-38, is very satisfactory as compared with its state in 1826–28. It will further be recollected that, with respect to that class of the people from whom the criminals chiefly come, there is no reason to believe that their condition has improved. That was one of the points to which the Railway Commissioners (of whom I was one), had to turn their attention, and the result of our inquiries was, that while there was a great increase in the commercial transactions of the country, the condition as to comfort of the class of the peasantry had not been improved ; indeed, I should rather say, it had been deteriorated. Taking all these things into consideration, namely, that the condition of the people of that class has not improved, that serious crimes have diminished, and that a greater number of minor offenders have been made amenable through the vigilance of the police, and farther, that there is an increase in the proportion of convictions to committals, it appears to me impossible to come to any other conclusion (if the numbers be correct, as I have taken some pains to see that they are), than that the state of the country in the latter period is very satisfactory as compared with the foriner.”
The only subject connected with the action of the Administration on crime, that remains to be disposed of, is Ribbonism or Ribandism. In moving the commission of inquiry which evoked this evidence, Lord Roden had insisted, with great emphasis, on the magnitude, systemisation, and treasonable objects of the Riband conspiracy in Ireland. He said—“The subject to which he would now call the attention of their lordships is that of a conspiracy in Ireland — a conspiracy systematic, organised, and secret, and which is directed
* Mr Drummond's handling of criminal statistics shows the value of scientific education as a preliminary training for political and social inquiries. The present writer was led, in 1856, to examine somewhat strictly the statistics which are commonly relied on as indicating the variations from time to time in the amount of crime. The results he arrived at will be found briefly stated in the article Law (Section on Jurisprudence) in the 8th edition of the “Encyclopædia Britannica.” A more elaborate exposition of these results will be found in a paper, also by the present writer, on “Scottish Criminal Statistics,” p. 384 of the “Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science, 1863.” When these papers were written, the author was unacquainted with Mr Drummond's examination of the Irish criminal statistics in his evidence before the Roden Committee. He now finds that in almost everything he had to say on the subject he had been anticipated by Mr Drummond. The statistics adduced before the Roden Committee fill upwards of 200 folio pages. They exhibit, as all criminal statistics ought to do, in order to be capable of interpretation, the whole of the agencies for repressing crime, their force (numerically), and the conditions of their efficiency from year to year of the period embraced in the inquiry. The Irish criminal statistics, which as now issued under the superintendence of Dr Hancock, are the only criminal statistics worth anything issued in the United Kingdom, had thus early assumed a shape in which the figures might give some indication whether crime was advancing or receding.
against the life and property of all who will not join it, and support the treasonable objects which its members have in view. The poor farmers, however anxious for peace and quiet they may be, yet, if they refuse to join this conspiracy, are visited at night, beaten, maltreated, and exposed to the greatest cruelties.
The objects and ultimate aim of the conspiracy are exactly the same as those of the Precursor Association, viz., separation from England, in which is involved the annihilation of the Protestant faith!” His lordship, at the same time, represented crime in Ireland as having attained a height unprecedented even in that country.
It has already been seen how improbable was his lordship's account of Ribandism, and how false was his statement as to crime in Ireland. We can contrast Mr Drummond's views founded on all the facts, with those of Earl Roden formed in ignorance or disregard of them. So far, it was true that the habit of secret combinations for illegal purposes belonged to the Irishhad become a second nature to them. There were Riband societies, though there was no general bond between them. In many districts, what was called Ribandism nowise differed in its effects from the Whiteboyism of the earlier times. Combinations of the miserable evicted tenants against the evicting landlords, or against the tenants who came to occupy
the lands of which they had been dispossessed, were formed wherever evictions were being carried out, even in districts where there was not the smallest ground for suspecting the existence of Ribandism, properly so called. So, in districts where the Protestant and Catholic populations were mixed, and more particularly where they were evenly balanced, there was a permanent confederacy on each side against the other, the parties being
respectively designated Orangemen and Ribbonmen or Ribandmen. But these confederacies had no political objects, and were generally of social rather than political significance. Of the Riband societies, properly so called, organised with secret oaths and pass-words, Drummond's view, founded on a careful study of every fact known about them, was, as we have seen, that they were simply organisations, headed mostly by publicans, for swindling the common people out of their money. . But, of course, it may be remarked that the capacity of the people for being swindled in this way implied popular discontentment, and readiness for insurrection on an opportunity presenting itself.
The Government had been specially charged with dereliction of duty in regard to these societies—a charge which Mr Drummond was resolved to rebut. His examination on this point commenced on the fourth day of his appearance before the committee, and was continued for four days. On the question being put, “To what extent has the system of Ribandism come to your knowledge ?” he said, “I have with me every case of Ribandism that has come under the notice of the Government since 1835, and I should wish to mention, that if any suspicion exists on the mind of
any member of the committee that the Government has neglected to take every possible precaution, or to make every possible exertion to put down the societies distinguished by the name of Ribandism, I would beg permission to go, step by step, through every single report submitted to Government, in order to show the proceedings taken
After consultation, and a number of general questions regarding the course taken by the Government, it was resolved to hear him on the details of every case that had arisen. With admirable clear