22 AUGUST 1885, Page 1

A great Conference was to be held yesterday in St.

James's Hall, and a great Hyde Park demonstration wilt, processions will be held to-day, on behalf of the objects of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. Of these demonstrations we can only say that we wish they may not multiply the crimes they are intended to suppress. No one who has watched the recent increase in the number of such crimes, as reported in all the country papers, can doubt that this is one of the exceptional cases in which publicity and agitation do infinitely more to foster morbid excitement than even to strengthen the righteous indignation before which criminals quail. The Bishop of St. David's (Dr. Basil Jones) has expressed our deep conviction on the subject so powerfully, in his answer to the invitation of those who summoned the Conference, that we cannot do better than quote his wise and impressive words, in refusing the place which had been offered him on the General Council of the Conference and Demonstration :—" I am sure I shall not be regarded as indifferent to the important object which the promoters of the scheme have in view, when I say that I am unable to accept the position thus conferred upon me, partly because I am unwilling, by accepting it, to be supposed to express indirect approval of the recent action of the Pall Mall Gazette (which I regard as

perhaps, the gravest offence against public decency and morality which has ever been committed in any even nominally Christian country), and partly because I do not think a public demonstra- tion, such as it is proposed to hold on the 22nd inst., either desirable in connection with such a subject, or a promising mode of bringing about the end which the promoters have in view, and which I agree with them in desiring with all my heart." We are well aware that there are some who have the same end as deeply at heart as we have ourselves, who wholly disagree with the Bishop of St. David's. All we can do is to entreat them to watch carefully the results of all this agitation and publicity, and to remember how awful is the responsibility of giving rise to one additional crime, in the endeavour to strengthen the means of punishing and repressing such crimes.