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QUARTERLY RECORD OF THE PROGRESS OF RE. FORMATORY AND RAGGED SCHOOLS, AND OF THE IMPROVEMENT OF PRISON DISCIPLINE.

Whilst we are debating and drawing up bills for Transportation at home, it may be well to observe what our Colonists think on the matter. We take the following from the Melbourne Argus of January 29th, 1857

A desperate attempt to escape was made by some of the prisoners confined on board the hulks at Williamstown, which ended in the death of two of the prisoners and one constable, and also, fortunately, in the capture of the whole party. The hulk President, or No 1, is appropriated to the most desperate ruffians, many of them the conditionally-pardoned men from Norfolk Island. One of these is known by the name of "Melville," but he is also called Thomas Smith; which of these may be, or whether either be his proper name I cannot say, but his notoriety has been chiefly acquired under the name of Melville. His accumulated sentences now amount to thirty-two years, which is, probably, more than his expectation of life. In the President the prisoners are shut up in strong cells, ironed with fifty pound weight, and chained to the solid timber of the ship. Melville had succeeded in persuading the gaolers that he was morally improved. He amused himself, or affected to amuse himself, by translating some part of the Scriptures into one of the native languages. The most desperate men are known to be the most prone to "go in for religion" as the readiest mode of "gammoning," and with Melville it succeeded, for he had been removed to the Success, No. 2, where the discipline is less severe, and the men are put to labour-a great alleviator of suffering in their case. A gang of prisoners had been on shore at Williamstown from the Success to break stone. At five p.m. about fifty of them were ordered into a launch to be towed back to the ship. More than a usual number were observed to crowd towards the bows of the launch, beyond which lay a small boat, manned by four boatmen (committed by the magistrate as refractory seamen), and attached to the launch by a towrope. When they got about 200 yards from the shore, the prisoners made a rush towards the boat, the prisoner Melville having drawn the launch and tow-boat nearer to each other by hauling upon the tow rope. At this moment Owen, one of the boatmen, cried for help, and Jackson,shipkeeper of one of the hulks,rushed forward through the prisoners on the launch. He was seized by Melville and thrown overboard. He swam back to the small boat, and was immediately

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seized by Melville and held under water, but he escaped to give evi. dence. Owen Owens, one of the seamen, was also thrown overboard; he too regained the boat, and clung to her, but his brains were beaten out by one of the prisoners. Several other sailors were thrown into the sea, but were saved. One of the prisoners jumped out of the boat and was drowned. The prisoners being masters of the small boat, having out the tow-rope plied the oars to seaward, and as they passed the last hulk the prisoner Melville stood up, kissed his hand, and cried out, "Adieu, Victoria, at last!" They were then fired at, and one prisoner was killed and another wounded. They were pursued by one of the boats from the hulks, and by the water-police boat, and were overtaken and captured after proceeding about eight hundred yards. One of the witnesses says, he saw Melville strike Owens with the hammer, but this he denies. He says he calculated the chances of escape as nine to one against him, and he gave the odds and lost. He says he is tired of his life, and knows that he must be hanged: but he seems very anxious to relieve himself from the imputation of being guilty of the cowardly act of beating a defenceless man's brains out. There are nine captured, all of whom will be tried for the murder of Owens, and they will probably end a life worse than death upon the scaffold. About a week before, a police-sergeant, M'Nally, was shot dead while attempting to secure a desperate bushranger named Turner or Smith, commonly called Gipsey Smith. Turner had been seen among the stores (shops) at Mount Ararat Diggings, and was traced by M'Nally and another policeman, named Moore, to a tent. Turner turned out, and was seized by the men, who are known as courageous fellows, and accustomed to that sort of work. They got Turner down. Moore at first quieted him by beating his head with the butt end of a pistol, but while M'Nally was putting the handcuffs on him he called out, "I am trapped; shoot the follows," when shots came from the direction of the tent, killing M Nally and wounding Moore. I mention this case-adding it to the Williamstown rush to introduce the subject of the scheme of the British Government sending out convicts once more to the Australian continent. The view we of Victoria take of this matter is, that even if Western Australia on the one side, and Moreton Bay on the other, should desire the cheap labour of convict slaves, we, 800,000 people of the other colonies, ought not to be called upon to submit to have any part of this continent polluted by the presence of a fresh batch of Gipsey Smiths, Rocky Whelans, and Melvilles, England must, sooner or later, learn to submit to keep her own felon class; her statesmen must strike at the root of the evil by spreading education much more extensively than has ever yet been attempted. Judging from the specimens of Irish who are sent out here, their system of education has been most defective. Obedience to the priesthood seems to be the virtue which is to cover all other defects. The women servants are so ignorant of the minor decencies of life in the way of clothing, cleanliness, cookery, and domestic economy, that they seem to me to be almost unfit for the grand offices, which they are nearly sure to accept, of wife and mother. It is not surprising that the proportion of crime to population has increased within the last century, and I repeat that Eng

land must not rely upon a free people like ourselves submitting to be made the recipients of the outcasts of British and Irish society. Let it not be forgotten that this colony has once beaten the mother country on the Convicts' Prevention Bill.

We turn now to our own shores, and find much to be thankful. for in the details of the Criminal Statistics of 1855.

The usual annual criminal tables have been recently laid before Parliament, and contain tabulated statements of the amount and nature of crime during 1855. These are highly satisfactory, as they shew a decrease of offences compared with the return of previous years. Adopting the last two quinquennial periods in conformity with our former notices of these tables, we have the following figures:

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It is necessary to state that a portion of the decrease in the number of commitments in 1855 as compared with those in 1854, is due to the power given to justices to punish summarily in cases of larceny. The law giving this power came into operation on the 14th of August, 1855. We are not informed what number should be eliminated from the commitments in 1855, in consequence of this law, in order to institute a fair comparison between the offences of that and the preceding year, but the law giving magistrates summary jurisdiction relates to the largest class of offences, comprising two-thirds of the commitments. This must be borne in mind with reference to the following remarks:

The decrease in the last year has been general as the increase proved in the previous year; only nine of the English counties are exempted from it. In Middlesex, where the system of stipendiary magistracy would give the earliest effect to the new summary powers of the Criminal Justice Act of 1855, the decrease was 22.3 per cent.; in Surrey and Kent, where the same cause would be more partially in operation, the decrease was respectively 20.3 per cent. and 11.6 per cent. But that this was not the only reason to be assigned for such a marked decrease is seen by a reference to some of the larger manu.

facturing counties. In Monmouth the decrease per cent. was 20-2, Cheshire 192, Glamorganshire 11.2, Staffordshire 9.4, Lancashire 8.7, Warwickshire 7.6, and Yorkshire 4.0. The decrease was not, however, less remarkable in some of the agricultural counties. In Suffolk it amounted to 30.2 per cent.; in Dorsetshire, following a large increase in the preceding year, to 29-6; Berkshire 19-2, Somersetshire 18.3, Lincolnshire 177, Sussex 17.0, and Norfolk 13.4. The counties in which the commitments for trial increased last year were Bedford; Bucks; Derby; Durham, where the increase amounted to 21.9 per cent.; and Northumberland where it was 18.0 per cent.; Northampton, Nottingham, Southampton, and Worcester, in the latter county reaching 13.1 per cent. Such considerable fluctuations are unusual, and the increased commitments in the latter counties must be referred to other causes, not so apparent as those to which the increase or decrease of commitments in the greater part of England has been attributed. In the nature of the different offences committed there has been as much fluctuation as in their number; and it should be borne in mind that the prisoners tried at the Winter Special Assize were charged with the gravest description of crimes, the increase of which should be partly attributed to the extended Winter Circuit in 1855. The offences against the person, Class I., show an increase of small amount for murder and attempts to murder; but in malicious stabbing and wounding an increase of 88 per cent., and in manslaughter 14 per cent. In the unnatural offences the numbers have slightly increased. In rape and attempts to ravish there is a small increase. In bigamy the commitments are nearly stationary; and this offence is a curious illustration of the uniform recurrence of certain crimes. In the last ten years the average commitments have been 82.7, and the numbers have been in each of three years 83, two years 82, and once 84. The assaults have decreased 18 per cent.. arising on the common assaults; the newly defined offence of assaulting and inflicting bodily harm having increased nearly 10 per cent.The violent offences against property, Class II., have slightly decreased. Burglary, which for the three previous years had continued without variation, increased 7.7 per cent.; breaking within the curtilage 69.0 per cent., and shop and warehouse breaking 90 per cent., while in housebreaking, the largest offence in the class, there was a decrease of 23.5 per cent. The robberies increased 7.7 per cent.In the offences against property without violence, Class III., the decrease on the year has mainly arisen. It amounts to 13.7 per cent., and includes every offence, except stealing fixtures and receiving stolen goods. In simple larceny it amounts to 18.4 per cent., larceny by servants 4.1 per cent., and larceny from the person 7.2 per cent.; these three offences being those to which the summary powers of the Criminal Justice Act of 1855 apply.—In the malicious offences against property, Class IV., there is a decrease of 3.2 per cent., which extends to the chief offences of the class, except the maliciously killing and wounding cattle.-In forgery and offences against the currency, Class V., the decrease is 5'4 per cent., arising on uttering counterfeit coin, and is for that offence nearly 9.0 per cent. On the other hand, the forging and uttering forged Bank of England notes in.

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