Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/756

This page has been validated.

the period covered by the reports, 90 per centum of those arrested for disorderly conduct and intoxication were women.[1] It becomes evident at once that the excess of men over women, in crimes against the person, cannot to any extent be accounted for by the proneness of men to intoxication and disorderly conduct, and which we perceive does not so greatly exceed that of women. Instead of searching among accidental qualities for the causes of this difference, rather ought we to examine the mental and physical qualities which exist inherently in man. From the same source we may gain an idea which bears in another direction upon this matter. The ratio of drunkenness and disorderly conduct to total crime, for the sexes separately, furnishes nearly positive proof that it has but a restricted influence upon the tendency to crime in general. Thus, these offenses furnish 41 per centum of the total crime committed by men; while, of the total crime committed by women, 80 per centum is of the same nature. While the number of drunk and disorderly among men is larger by a small excess than the number of women so addicted, yet women considered by themselves exhibit twice the tendency to these offenses that men do. Here, the sex which affords the least measure of total crime gives the largest ratio, relatively to her own sex, of those offenses which are so generally supposed to underlie the criminal tendency. The explanation I would offer of this rather unexpected result is, that intoxication and disorderly conduct are offenses closely allied to vagrancy and its analogue, prostitution; that this class represents the effete among men and women who gravitate into vice from total lack of vitality and energy to keep themselves up to the level of the average. The active criminal requires mental and physical energy in order to pursue his course. Any of the conditions of life which depress the physical powers and deplete mental energy tend to remove those with criminal tendencies from the order of active criminals, and place them among those addicted to the minor degrees of crime. While habitual intoxication and disorderly conduct lead to the lighter offenses against property, the more serious crimes against property and persons are comparatively unaffected by these causes, either among men or women.



MOST people in this country have heard of Miss Caroline Herschel the astronomer. Without knowing much about her, she has been vaguely regarded by the public as a profound scientific genius, the strong-minded peer and coadjutor of her brother, the

  1. "Reports of the Prison Association of New York," Tables "C," "D," "E," "F," 1867, and Tables "C," "D," "E," "F," "G," "H," 1871 and 1873.