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CAUSES, CHARACTER, AND CURE,
SAMUEL PHILLIPS DAY.
“ Happy are those few nations, who have not waited till the slow
OUR criminal population (and especially the juvenile portion thereof) has for some time been seriously engaging public attention. The country has fairly taken alarm-not without just causeat the great growth of crime, notwithstanding all that is being done to punish and correct it. Should this evil be suffered to spread, as of late years, it was felt that disasters must ensue to the nation anything but agreeable to contemplate. Hence some schemes have been proposed, and a few plans adopted, with a view to arrest the threatened danger.
In order to stimulate the public mind, in some additional degree, to the consideration of a deeply important question, I have made this tentative effort to investigate the principal causes of juvenile crime; to exhibit its character ; and to propose such a cure as seemed at the same time the most simple and effectual; for, as an eminent foreign jurist observes, “It is not only the common in
terest of mankind that crimes should not be committed, but that crimes of every kind should be less frequent, in proportion to the evil they produce to society.” *
In the treatment of these several subjects it was necessary that I should bring to bear a large mass of evidence from Blue-books and other authoritative documents not easily available to the general public. So far, a variety of interesting information will be obtained from numerous sources to which the ordinary reader could not conveniently have access.
The chief aim I had in view in compiling this volume, was to throw an additional glimmer of light upon a very dark spot in our social system; believing with Dr. Arnold, that “While history looks generally at the political state of a nation, its social state, which is infinitely more important, and in which lie the seeds of the greatest revolutions, is too commonly neglected or unknown.”
I am aware that in some parts I have touched upon tender ground; but the step was inevitable. Should I have impugned the principles or offended the prejudices of any party, it was only out of regard to my conscientious convictions; and I only entreat that kind consideration for my opinions which I am ever ready to accord to those of my opponents.
* Beccaria dei Delitti e delle Pene, cap. vi.