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3-283 (Text)

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author,male,Langton, E.,un addressee
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Clark, 1957
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And now, sir, as we have had the fanciful theory of Sir Archibald Alison as to the effect of education upon crime, I do not think it will be out of place to quote a little evidence on the other side. I have here the report of a commission appointed by Her Majesty to inquire into the education given in schools in England, edited by the Rev. James Fraser, assistant-commissioner, and I find in it this statement in reference to Prussia: - 
In 1819, compulsory laws requiring every parent to educate every child were enacted in Prussia. At first there was a violent opposition, and the usual hue-and-cry of 'invaded rights'; but in 12 years crime and pauperism had diminished 40 per cent. Now no person would dare to propose a repeal of these laws. 
I have here also, in a volume entitled Questions for a Reformed Parliament, an essay by the Rev. C. S. Parker, fellow of University College, Oxford, which contains a number of interesting statements, including the following, by Mr. Tuffnell, an inspector of education: 
It is well known the larger proportion of criminals have been orphans in early life, and yet the orphan class is precisely that which turns out best in district schools. Thus, if you do not educate them, they become thieves and paupers; if you- do, they become well conducted productive workpeople. - -
I also find, in the same work, this piece- of information: - 'In Switzerland a reformed system of education has almost emptied the gaols.' -MR. DUFFY. - What sort of education?
MR. LANGTON. - Any kind of education. 'In July 1863, there was not a soul in the prison of the Canton de Vaud; it was much the same at Zurich; at Neufchâtel there were two prisoners. In the Grand Duchy of Baden, where great efforts were made in 1834 for the improvement of education, the number of prisoners fell in eight years (1854 to 1861) from 1,426 to 691; the number of thefts from 1,009 became 460; pauperism decreased by one-fourth; and gaols had to be closed. . . - In Germany generally the number of criminal convictions was diminished between 1827 and 1862 by 30 per cent. In France and in England improvement of the same kind can be traced, standing in good proportion to the labour which has been expended on education.
When the honorable member for Dalhousie asks me what class of education is this of which I am speaking, I say it is the very class of education which the honorable member himself has been describing as tending to scepticism. The honorable member cannot choose to say that it is not a secular system of education that is given in those countries, because he has already pointed out that the system of education which exists there is diametrically opposed to that which he wishes to be established in this colony. But we need not go to any of those countries for the purpose of ascertaining what is the effect of instruction upon crime. We can turn to the statistics of our own colony, and obtain, close at home, information of a more valuable character. - Those statistics show that, in 1871, there were taken into custody in this colony 22,800 people.  Of that number, how many does the House suppose were possessed of a superior education? No more than 156. Only 5,500 could read and write well. The remaining 17,000 were so badly educated that either they could not read at all, or they could read only and not write. When we come to the number of those convicted, we find the same startling disparity. In 1871, there were tried and convicted 478 persons. How many of those were well instructed? Just seven. Now I don't think we shall hear any more, during this debate, of the tendency of instruction of any kind to encourage the growth of crime.