POLES TRIED BY BRITISH PENAL COURTS AT THE TIME OF THE GREAT EMIGRATION (1831-1862)
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The article deals with the crime rate registered among representatives of the Polish emigration after the November Uprising, who in 1831-1862 sought refuge in England. The author made use of government material available in The National Archives in London, court sources from the London Metropolitan Archives, the press of the period, and assorted unofficial documents in order to attain three objectives. The first is the construction of reliable statistics concerning Poles tried by the penal courts of London, Middlesex and Hampshire, localities with the largest concentrations of Polish emigres. This statistic encompasses not only the number of trials but also the characteristic and circumstances of the felonies committed by the Poles. The next, equally essential element of the reflections is a sui generis group portrait of the Polish defendants, with particular attention paid to their social status and insurgent past. The last part of the article deals with the various manners of penalisation and the attitude of the British courts and public opinion to those Poles who broke the law. The author also tried to answer a question about the part played by pathological behaviour in shaping the image of the Poles in England. The data presented in the article demonstrate that crimes perpetrated by Polish emigres in the years 1831-1862 were, as a rule, petty misdemeanours against health and property, and that the percentage of Poles tried for felonies did not exceed the average for British males at the time.
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