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Friedrich August Ludwig von der Marwitz: Excerpt from the Essay "On the Causes of Crime Getting out of Hand" (1836)

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I myself have for years committed the error of looking for servants who were praised for their abilities in school, and every time I was deceived. They were lazy, practically useless, noticed nothing and comprehended nothing. Yet they were arrogant, show-offs, and sometimes rogues.

Now I never take on a so-called clever one, but instead hire quiet ones who otherwise perform everything very well, but cannot grasp anything to do with school learning. These ones are practical and notice and comprehend everything that they see, but not what they are lectured about.

I expressed my astonishment at this to a civil servant and his wife. He said, "Certainly, I've known this for a long time, who would hire a servant who was bright in school? For a long time now I've hired only the dumb ones, who are clever in exactly the things I need." And his wife said, "I never hire smart maids; they are never hardworking and modest."

I have already noted that, when a child has taken such a bad direction on account of his studies, the most diligent religious instruction by a preacher cannot change anything on its own. One of the bright young lads I had hired as a servant and whom I hoped to enlighten could discuss the New Testament as well as any preacher. Indeed, he was able to transcribe the content of a sermon, but when I pointed out his mistakes to him he was as stubborn as a mule and sinned just as he had before.

How can such a person be helped? Religion must once again be made the sole foundation of all school lessons, so that every person learns: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and thy neighbor as thyself, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house."

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