Immagini della pagina

in disposition, and avoided the compan- intellectual phenomena and not by the ionship of young men of his own age. employınent of physical means. One

In his own account of the act, he said: great source of positiveness was there

" When I ascended to my room on the fore wanting. day of the crime, I was not thinking of Now for the sequel. any thing. I should not have gone up- On the 29th of January, 1859, over stairs if I had found a fire in the draw. five years after the homicide, Julius hasing-room. When I reached my room, tily quitted Brussels, where he had lived having no evil intertions, the notion of in great retirement, 'abandoned his farsuicide possessed me; then, my thoughts niture and all he possessed, and reëntered taking another direction, I threw aside France with nothing but his personal my fowling-piece, ran to my brother's attire. He went to Bordeaux, alighted chamber, armed myself with two pistols, at a hotel and passed the night there, and went back to the drawing-room acts visiting neither his father nor his brother, uated by I know not what force which who still lived in the city. In the morndragged me, and in spite of myself. If ing he purchased a brace of pistols, hired my father had addressed to me one word a cab, was driven to the cemetery, when I entered the drawing-roomn, a and at his request was conducted to single word, whatever it might have his stepmother's tomb. He then sent been, I should not have killed my step- away his guide, knelt down on the grave, mother."

and writing several sentences in his The circumstances of the act, it having memorandum-book, laid this on the monbeen committed in broad daylight in ument, and then with one of his pistols presence of his ther, and the fact of blew out his brains. Among the sentenhis having delivered himself up to justice, ces traced in his memorandum-book was were also adduced as tending to show an this: “I wish to die upon the tomb of absence of criminality.

her whom I have so much loved and reOn the other hand, there was the ha- gretted.” tred he was known to have entertained “How," asks Devergie, "shall we refor his stepmother; and this was argued concile this assertion, made at the moby the prosecution as a proof that the ment of committing suicide, with the act was premeditated and malicious. opinion entertained by some, that the

As I have said, the prisoner was ac- cause of the murder was the deep averquitted, but public opinion was very sion that the young man had nourished much against him, so much so that he towards his stepmother during ten left France and went to reside in Bel- years? gium. As is usual in such cases, the “Evidently the language, as well as press, conducted as it too frequently is by the termination of his life by suicide, are irresponsible persons, ignorant of the the work of a lunatic. Not the slightest first prir.ciples of mental science, raised doubt can now be felt even by the most a furious outcry against the medical ex- prejudiced concerning the correctness of perts. They were accused of having been the decision of the Assize Court at Pau, actuated by mercenary motives, and of and the scientific foresight which led to having let loose upon society a monster that judgment.” of iniquity, whose crime should have been expiated on the guillotine. They had On the evening of the 15th of Sepsimply expounded the sciences of mental tember, 1851, the drama entitled physiology and pathology as they under. Adrienne Lecouveur was being acted at stood them, but with nothing like the the theatre of the Celestins, in Lyons. certainty which in our day the ophthal. It was about half-past eight o'clock, and moscope, the dynamograph, and the the curtain had risen on the second act esthesiometer give to similar investiga- of the play. when a horrible event octions. They had arrived at their con- curred which threw actors and audience clusions solely by the observation of into a state of confusion and fright. A young lady had been stabbed to the served all the outward ordinances of reheart by a man who sat immediately be- ligion, but I was at heart a hypocrite. I hind her. Uttering a cry, she drew the led an abandoned and depraved life, and dagger from her breast and fell lifeless yet I deceived every body by my apparand covered with blood into the arms of ent devoutness. I became disgusted a lady near her. The man who had with myself, but had not the strength to killed her remained standing erect, his abstain from the shameful vices that enarms crossed on his chest, and his man

slaved me.

Not being able to change ner perfectly impassible. The husband my conduct, I resolved to get rid of my of the young lady, ignorant of the fatal life. I could not think of suicide, for nature of the wound his wife had re- that crime would have resulted in my apceived, seized the assassin—“What have pearing before God loaded with sins. I we done to you," he exclaimed, “that therefore determined to do something you should commit this outrage ? " which would cause me to be condemned “Nothing," answered the man, “I do to death by the law. I would thus hare not even know you; I am a miserable a sufficient time for repentance, and I wretch—do with me as you wish ; I do was satisfied that I would also obtain not wish to escape.” He was at once pardon of God for all my offences.” arrested, and without opposing the least He then went on to state that he had resistance was conducted to the nearest endeavored to do as little barm as possipolice-station.

ble in obtaining his end. He had not The young lady, thus murdered, had killed a depraved person, because that only been married a few months, and was would have sent one unprepared for visiting Lyons with her husband, a pro- death into the presence of God. He had fessor in a college at Limoges.

thought of killing a priest just after he The murderer was named Antoine had celebrated mass. Accident had led Emanuel Jobard, and was a clerk in a him to Lyons and to the theatre. Here mercantile establishment at Dijon. Ile the victim and the opportunity were at was but twenty years old. His parent- once offered him. age was respectable, and his education When asked if he fully comprehended had been well cared for. During the the enormity of his crime, he replied that four years he had lived at Dijon, he had, he did, but that he intended to repent. to all appearances, conducted himself During the whole course of Jobard's well. His conduct, nevertheless, had not interrogation he remained perfectly calm been exemplary.

and apparently emotionless; his pulse Soon after his arrest Jobard was vis- was not accelerated above the normal ited by the magistrate, who interrogated standard—beating with regularity sixtybim minutely in regard to all the cir- six times a minute; his answers were cumstances in any way connected with given with deliberation and exactness. the crime. To all questions he replied The following day he was confronted calmly and respectfully, without evinc- with the corpse of the murdered woman. ing the least emotion. As he declared On his way to the hotel he expressed in the first instance, he did not even his disinclination for this ceremony, deknow his victim; seated behind her for claring that it was useless as he would an instant only, he had not seen her face. not be able to recognize her. In going He had only perceived that she wore a up the stairs his legs gave way under gray silk dress, and he had looked at her him; he trembled in every muscle, and a no longer than was sufficient for him to cold sweat broke out on his body. determine where to strike. "I have killed Brought face to face with the corpse, he her to be killed in return;" he repeated exclaimed that he did not recollect the many times, “to be killed after I kave face; he only knew that the wound was bad sufficient time for repentance." where he intended to make it. At the same

“In the midst of the pious family in time his countenance expressed horror which I lived," he continued, “I ob- and fright, and he fell to the floor weeping

and in a state of extreme prostration. again interrogated. He then declared His pulse was feeble, intermittent, and that he had always understood that his beating sixty-eight times a minute. crime was one for which he was respon

It is interesting to study the thoughts sible both to God and man. “But,” he of a person situated as was this young added, “my character was weak, impresman, who, being apparently rational on sionable and changeable. When I prayed, all other subjects, felt himself impelled I prayed like a saint; an instant afterby a power in regard to one which he wards sin claimed me, and I delivered was unable to resist. The report given myself without resistance to my false in the Causes Célèbres is full, and the cus- ideas. As to the liberty of acting freely, tom which prevails in France of fre- I was free certainly, and I would have quently interrogating a criminal, what stopped had I been able to comprehend ever its value in jurisprudence, is cer- the falsity of my reasoning. My action tainly capable of yielding fruitful results was criminal, I know, and I went on to mental science.

towards it without reflection. If I could Now Jobard begins the record of his have thought correctly, if I could have mental aberration with the statement confided my thoughts to some one and that he had contracted many grave vices been advised, I would never have comfrom which he was powerless to abstain. mitted the deed." Then he added, “The He assumes the impossibility of reform, course of my ideas is very different toand at the same time is conscious that he day from what it was yesterday. To-day, must arrest his course of depravity. if I could go back, I would not do what Clearly, if these premises are correct, I have done; I begin to see things difthere is but one alternative left, and ferently." that is death. He declares this with One night while in prison he had the perfect distinctness; the force of it over- hallucination that his victim appeared powers him; he constantly regrets the to him. He complained of headache, necessity, but his determination does not his vision was confused, thought of waver. At first he thinks of suicide, but every kind gave him pain in the head, he soon rejects this, for although he and he had a profuse hemorrhage from might repent of all his other sins, the nose, after which he felt better. the act of self-destruction is a crime of Several physicians examined him beso much magnitude as to condemn his fore his trial, and, as is usual in every soul to everlasting punishment, and from case which admits of a difference of this sip he would have no time to repent. judgment, and as always will be till

Then the idea that he must commit an human reason becomes infallible, differact which would forfeit his life to the ent opinions were formed of his mental state took possession of his mind. For condition. then, no matter what the crime, he Thus one of the physicians, M. Mawould have ample opportunity between gaud, saw in Jobard a man led away by the period of its commission and his a violent passion which he had allowed execution to make his peace with God. to assume a governing influence over his During six months he thought almost mind, but which at one time certainly continually of this subject, and the ne- he might have controlled; a man morecessity became daily more apparent. over who had had a clear idea of his He must die, and he must kill some one responsibility, and who had prepared in order to die with safety to his soul. with intelligence and with great firm“I wish,” he exclaimed during one of ness of will all the details of his crimihis interrogations, “that I could have nal scheme. been condemned to death for some The others, MM. Gromier and Tavertrifling offence. I regret having been nier, arrived at an entirely opposite conobliged to commit murder. It was, how- clusion. Taking into consideration the ever, necessary. I regret this necessity." antecedents of Jobard's life, the circum

On the 18th of September he was stances attending the commission of the murder, his subsequent conduct, and the In the two cases the particulars of physical and mental phenomena exhibit- which have been given, the plea of ined by him while in confinement, they sanity was urged by the accused and expressed the opinion that the act was considered, though with different results, committed while he was suffering from by the juries. In the one instance there an attack of homicidal and suicidal was an entire acquittal of all criminality; mania, and that he ought not to be held in the other, a verdict which carried with accountable for a violation of law per- it a penalty barely less than that awardpetrated without the influence of his ed to the highest degree of murder. If natural will.

the first was right and just, the second Dissatisfied with these contradictory was wrong and unjust; for Jobard was views, the Goverument commissioned Dr. certainly as insane when he killed the Gensoul to examine the prisoner, and lady in the theatre as was Julius when he coincided with MM. Gromier and he murdered his stepinother, and the Tavernier.

history of the case much more fully The conclusions of these three phy- supports the plea made in extenuation sicians were, 1st, That at the inoment of of his guilt. I am inclined to think that committing the murder Jobard was suf- the action in the case of Julius was as fering from a paroxysm of homicidal inadequate as that relative to Jobard mania. 2d, That he ought not to be was severe, and that both should have considered responsible for an act done been incarcerated in an insane asylum without the participation of his normal for the term of their natural lives. And will. 30, But as this kind of insanity is for the following reasons: dangerous to society, society has the The objects of punishment areright to put Jobard in such a position 1st. The safety of society. as will render it impossible for him to 2d. The reformation of the individual do further harm, and that therefore he who has offended against the law. should be placed for life in a lunatic asy- The latter is usually lost sight of even lum.

in the most civilized communities, or else Nevertheless, Jobard was indicted and is feebly attempted, and therefore need tried for murder with premeditation. not be dwelt upon in the present con

The trial was long, and several medi- nection. cal witnesses, including those mentioned, The safety of society is supposed to be appeared for one side or the other. The secured in two ways: jury, after an absence of only ten min- 1st. By the effect which punishment utes, came into court with a verdict

has upon the offending individual in of guilty as to the homicide and the pre- intimidating him, in causing him to sufmeditation, but with extenuating circum- fer mental or physical pain as a sort of

a stances. He was then condemned to recompense which he owes to society for imprisonment for life at hard labor. his crime, or in placing him in such &

Considerable sympathy was manifest- condition that it will be impossible for ed for Jobard throughout France, and him ever again or for a limited period to even the Government exhibited an ex- break the laws. ceptional leniency towards him. He 2d. By the example which is afforded was allowed to delay his departure for to others who might feel inclined to the galleys, and soon after his arrival at commit crimes, but whose vicious incliToulon, ostensibly as a reward for good nations are kept in check by the cerconduct, was permitted to open a small tainty or probability of the law taking shop and sell tobacco and little articles hold of them should they pass the preof various kinds to the convicts. He scribed bounds. remained, however, incapable of fixing In providing for its safety, society has his attention, and still continued to suf- almost invariably carried out the maxim fer from pain in the head. He had no of securing the greatest good to the further exacerbation of his malady. greatest number, and has therefore to a

great extent disregarded the natural In reference to such lunatics, a distinrights of individual persons. For exam- guished French magistrate observed to ple, it is certainly unjust to the individ- Maro, an eminent alienist,“ l'hese men are ual to punish him for the violation of a madmen ; but it is necessary to cure their law the very existence of which is un- mad acts in the Place de Grève." known to him. Society does not care These judicial opinions are adduced for this; safety for the property and not as meriting full approval, but merely lives of the majority is of paramount to show how selfishly society protects importance, and therefore the offender is itself even against insane violators of its fined, incarcerated, or put to death, ac- laws. cording to the extent of his crime, not- The existence of a delusion is regarded withstanding the fact of his ignorance. in law as evidence of insanity, and the And this it does not so much for the fact that an individual accused of crime purpose of avenging the violation of the has such a false conception of his mind, law as to act upon others by the force is considered a valid defence. This is of example and to prevent the escape of doubtless correct practice in many cases, criminals by a plea which it would be but it should be understood that an act difficult in many cases to disprove. may be the direct and logical consequence

The laws which formerly prevailed of a delusion, and still be criminal. For extensively, relative to attainder of blood instance, if I entertain the delusion that for certain crimes, and which still exist a certain person has injured me, I may in a more or less modified form in some be insane, but even if I am, I ought to countries, were likewise unjust to indi- be punished if I kill the individual who viduals. For acts of high treason, not I imagine has done me a wrong. only were the offenders themselves put A case illustrative of the view here to death, but all their kindred within expressed occurred a couple of years ago. certain degrees were killed or banished, The following outline of the circumstanwith forfeiture of estates; and even now, ces was published at the time in the in the most enlightened nations of the London Lancet. earth-except our own the heirs of a The prisoner, Charles Anderson, was traitor who is punished with death are convicted of deliberately taking the life deprived of the property which in the of James Marchin, one of the crew of natural course of events would have the ship Raby Castle, on her homeward descended to them. Individuals are thus voyage from Penang. The circumstances punished for a relation wholly beyond of the case were of an extraordinary their control, in order that treason may character. The prisoner, on the 28th of be "made odious" and society protected. September, 1866, shipped in the vessel

Looking at the matter, therefore, from as an able seaman and carpenter. It ap. a similar point of view, no valid argu- peared that during the voyage he gave ment can be adduced against the punish- many indications of an eccentric though ment of the insane, even though they be weak intellect, of a perfectly harmless morally irresponsible for their acts by character. The deceased was a mulatto. reason of delirium, dementia, or morbid The prisoner regarded him with appreimpulse. It is reported of an English hension, and was said to be under the jadge that he once addressed a criminal delusion that Marchin was a Russian in these words :

Fion. It appears that there is some ex“ You have been convicted of the traordinary superstition among sailors, crime of murder. It has been alleged that the presence of a Russian Finn on in your defence that you were actuated board a vessel is likely to lead to the deby an irresistible impulse. This may be struction of that vessel, together with true, but the law has an irresistible im- the loss of the crew. The prisoner bepulse to punish you, and it therefore lieved this. He was frequently heard to becomes my duty to sentence you to be mutter to himself some incoherent exhanged."

pressions, to the effect that he could not

[ocr errors]
« IndietroContinua »