Immagini della pagina

go on in this way, and that he must kill the crime, and that, therefore, he was not the Russian Finn, or they would never responsible. It was not contended that get to London. On no occasion had any he did not on ordinary occasions fully personal quarrel arisen, or ill-feeling been appreciate the difference between right manifested between the prisoner and the and wrong, but it was said that he was deceased. Matters continued to go on in laboring under a delusion, and that the the same manner, the delusion of the effect of this delusion was to compel him prisoner being well known to, and re- to commit the act. The jury have caregarded in a good-humored spirit by, bis fully considered the matter, and they shipmates. No one anticipated the ter- have arrived at the conclusion that they rible result. During the night of the are not justified, under the circumstances, 24th of November the prisoner had to in acquitting him on the ground of inwatch on deck, and when free to act and sanity, and it therefore became his duty unobserved, he seems to have gone to to pass upon him the sentence of the law the bunk where the unfortunate deceased for the crime of murder.” The prisoner man was sleeping, and attacked him with bowed to the judge, and was then rea carpenter's axe, inflicting five desperate moved. wounds upon his neck and shoulders, the The sentence of Anderson was subseeffect of the former injuries being nearly quently, on the recommendation of serto sever the head from the body. The eral medical gentlemen, commuted to prisoner was immediately suspected as imprisonment for life. the murderer. He was seen to be wash- In regard to the propriety of Andering blood from his hands, and to throw son's punishment there can be no reasonan axe overboard. He was at once seized able doubt. Delusions such as his do not and asked how he had come to murder justify homicide, and were a few like his comrade. The reply he made was, him severely punished, there would be that “if he had not done so, the ship less superstition and fewer delusions. would have gone on the rocks, and they while death is the penalty for murder, would all have been lost." There had such lunatics as Anderson should be made been a heavy gale of wind blowing at to suffer it. His crime was deliberate the time, and there appeared to be no and premeditated, and the fact that it doubt that he had committed the act un- originated in ignorance and false intelder the impression that if he did not kill lectual processes, though it may lessen the deceased, both his own safety and his criminality, does not make it any that of the crew would be endangered safer for society to remit the punishUnder these facts, notwithstanding the ment. charge of the learned judge, the Baron Again, some of the insane are such Channell, the jury found the accused monsters of depravity that they should guilty of wilful murder, ignoring the be slain, upon the same principle that we suggestion of any unsoundness of mind, slay wild and ferocious beasts. Such a and therefore withholding from the ver- one was the Alton murderer. On a fine dict any recommendation to mercy. afternoon a clerk in a lawyer's office took

The learned judge accompanied the a walk out of town. He saw some little sentence of death with such observations girls playing in a field near the road. as leave little doubt relative to the im- One of them, a bright and lively child, pression on his own mind, even though he persuaded to go with him into an adhe condemned the prisoner according to joining hop-garden, and sent the others law. He observed, “that the jury had home by giving them some half-pence. found themselves compelled to convict Shortly afterward he was seen alone, and the prisoner of wilful murder; and as to he returned to his office and made an enthe act itself, there was no doubt he had try in his diary. The little girl was committed it. The defence set up was, missed; her parents became alarmed. that all the time he was laboring under a Upon inquiry, it was ascertained that she delusion which compelled him to commit was last seen going toward the hop-gar


den, and on searching there, her body phases of mental aberration. The inwas found cut up into small pieces. What fluence of rewards and punishments is she underwent before the butchery could by no means nugatory, and a discipline not be ascertained, because parts of her very bealthful to their disordered intelbody could not be found at all. Suspicion lects or emotions can be thus brought to fell on the lawyer's clerk, and he was bear upon them. Every superintendent arrested. His desk was searched, and a of a lunatic asylum knows that many of diary found, in which was this newly- his worst patients can be improved in made entry: “Killed a little girl ; it was their conduct, mind, and character, by fine and hot."

being rewarded when they deserve comThe evidence at the trial showed that mendation, and punished when they have a near relative of his father was in con- incurred censure. These rewards and finement, suffering from homicidal niania, punishments not only influence the paand that his father had also been insane. tients directly concerned, but are underIt was likewise proved by many witness- stood and commented upon by many of es that the prisoner was unlike other the others. people; that he was subject to attacks of Now the same is true of the insane melancholy, during which he would weep outside of asylums—and there are many without evident cause; that his conduct such who pass through life scarcely sushad been capricious, and that it had been pected of being the subjects of mental necessary to watch him, for fear that he aberration, but who simply wait for the would commit suicide. Taking these exciting cause which is to bring their circumstances into consideration, there is latent susceptibilities into action. Let more than a reasonable probability that them understand that insanity does not this wretch was insane. But the jury license an individual to do what he disregarded them; a verdict of guilty pleases without punishment, and a power was rendered, and he was executed. is brought to the aid of their wavering

All psychologists recognize the force intellects which may turn the scale defiof example. A man commits suicide in nitely in their favor. It is not only for some unusual manner, and straightway the safety of society, therefore, that inthis becomes the prevailing mode of ac- sane criminals should be punished. complishing self-destruction.

Of course, the punishments should be likewise familiar with the principle called adapted to the nature of the crime and the “ force of suggestion.” An individ- the character of the insanity. Without ual becomes melancholic from an exag- pretending at this time to go into details, geration of his selfish instincts. His it may be stated as the opinion of the emotion might carry him no farther, till writer that an insane person who commits suddenly he hears that a terrible murder murder should never again be allowed to has been committed. He eagerly reads go at large. He should be incarcerated the details ; he broods over all the minu- for the term of his natural life in a penitiæ, till they are assimilated to his own tentiary asylum, both as a means of promorbid thoughts. He perhaps learns tecting society and as providing opporthat the perpetrator is insane, and will, tunities for his cure. thus, probably escape punishment. No- One word in regard to the duties of thing is therefore more in consonance medical experts. with his ideas than to go and do likewise, They have nothing to do with the law. and the suggestion soon ripens into a It is their business to expound the science frightful reality. Let it be understood of the subject regardless of the consethat such murderers will be punished, quences either to the prisoner or society. and they will the better control their They do this by answering questions morbid impulses.

that are put to them on the witnessThat many of the insane possess great stand, and after they have studied the powers of self-control is well known to facts or alleged facts of the case. So all those who have studied the various far, therefore, as regards their opinions

All are

[ocr errors]


in the matter at issue, they are based Courts in England, in California, and in upon testimony, or what they are told Illinois, lave distinctly recognized the by counsel is testimony. It thus fre- right of experts to compensation far quently happens that experts called on greater than ordinary witness-fees, and the two sides of a case give answers that have ordered the payment of satisfactory apparently are diametrically opposite, Medical experts regard it as their and this not because there is any essential duty to testify to all facts within their difference in their views, but because the knowledge when called on so to do. But same hypothetical questions are not put their opinions are their capital, just as to each. The way to avoid this great opinions are a lawyer's or judge's capidifficulty is for the hypothetical questions tal, and neither society nor individuals which are supposed to embrace the facts have a right to take them by force. A to be put by the court, and not by the great deal of unwarrantable criticism on lawyers; or for the judge rigidly to ex- this point has recently been indulged in clude statements that are not in evidence. by a portion of the newspaper press.

Again, an expert gives his opinions However, when a prominent case comes after having devoted time and labor to into court-one which involves much the study of the science and circum- popular feeling, it will generally be found stances on which they are based. His that the losing side spares neither judge, appearance on the witness-stand is jury, counsel, nor experts in their unjust therefore but a small part of his labor. attempts to manufacture public opinion.



and prosecuted. Napoleon was bent on Of course, there is but one question war, and he made war for no other for comment this month, and that is reason than his own will. Knowing the infamous war which the French that the French people were jealous of Mephistopheles has managed to stir up the growth and consolidation of Prussia, between the two leading Christian and knowing that a successful war would nations of Europe. A more needless, facilitate the establishment of his dycauseless, heartless, unprincipled war nasty, he took advantage of that popular was never precipitated by human ambi- jealousy in order to compass his own tion and wickedness upon innocent ends. He has called hundreds of thounations. It is absolutely without a sands of soldiers to the field; he has decent pretext; the nominal justification excited the bad passions of Europe ; he of it put forth by the principal insti- has imperilled the prosperity and peace gator,-the choice of a Hohenzollern of the world, that he might snatch, froin for the Spanish throne,-has no more success, the imperial crown for his son. substance in it than the complaint of the No considerations of the awful interests wolf against the lamb for muddling the involved, no regards for the lives of men, water below him. Even if Prussia bad no Christian principles, no humanities, directly countenanced and promoted withhold him for a moment from the that solution of the Spanish difficulty, desperate game which he has determined with the consent of the Spanish people, to play. A gambler from the outset, it was no business of France, whose a perjurer and a murderer, he carries ruler has so loudly proclaimed the auto- the motives and the methods of his nomy of each people. But Prussia dis- original coup d'état into the politics claimed all pretension of mixing in of the world. Let us hope, as a recomSpanish affairs as soon as it was signal. pense, that the world will at length disled that her act would give offence. Yet cover the magnitude of his meanness the war was none the less proclaimed and malignity. The disclosures made as

to the secret treaties ought to open the of this kind, how shall we measure the eyes of all mankind to the real character injury inflicted upon a community by of this imperial Jack Sheppard. Eng. the habit, now becoming more and land, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, more prevalent, of turning every thing -all ought to see that in him they have of private life into food for the newstheir worst enemy,--an enemy ready for papers? It would seem as if no privacy any foul scheme to be accomplished by were possible any more, either to indiany execrable means. That gallant and viduals or families. Let any event occur noble nation, upon whose liberties he has to bring a person in any degree before sat like an incubus for twenty years, the public, and instantly he is converted ought to shake herself free of the gigan- into a sort of public property or show. tic oppression. The United States, which Whatever concerns him, his past life, his he would have throttled to death if he domestic relations, his interior thoughts, had been able, in the great struggle for are made the subjects of curiosity and union and liberty, should regard him of exposition. The reporters swarm only with loathing and hate. The most about him as the flies in summer about stupendous of public criminals—the a piece of carrion. They are more numeshabbiest of private intriguers—the rous, persecuting, and pestiferous than most monstrous of egotists,—the whole the tax-gatherers of the later days of race of man should vomit him forth as the Roman Empire. They insist not its greatest opprobrium and pest. What only upon entering his house, questionis to come of the war, no man as yet ing his servants, looking into his closknows; but if it shall have the effect of ets, rifling his drawers, and feeling his destroying the prestige of the treacher- pockets, but they put him through a ous and blood-thirsty Bonapartes, it will series of cross-examinations, as if he perhaps be worth the temporary miseries were a criminal upon the stand, or a it will cost.

victim of the inquisition. If he refuses to respond, he has the pleasure of see

ing himself caricatured or vilified in Miss Cobbe, in her “ Ethical and the next day's edition of a morning Social Studies," complains of the free print; and if he is placable and comdom with which the biographers of municative, he finds his confessions eminent persons often detail the most tricked out with all manner of exagsecret actions of life. She argues that geration and embellishment. The frogs while the cause of truth may be sub- in the kneading-troughs of the Egypserved by this minuteness of inquiry, tians could scarcely have been a greater another far more important cause,--that nuisance than these Bohemians are getof reverence for the privacy of the ting to be; but sometimes they are human soul,-is outraged. The man's more than a mere annoyance,—they bemost secret life," she says, "bis most come defamers and assassins of characprivate memoranda, his letters written ter. They do not scruple to insinuate in the haste of passion or remorse to or to proclaim openly charges that unhis closest intimates, are violated and justly blast the reputations of innocent thrown open to the world. The public men and women, or which, when they have got the truth; but they have lost are not wholly unfounded, inflict a vast something almost equally precious,-the amount of needless anguish. Surely, sense of the sanctity of the heart's and the editors of our journals ought to soul's secrets. Or, rather, we may say have self-respect enough to prevent this that a special and individual truth has abuse from going any further. been insured by the sacrifice of the universal principle of truthfulness and con

THE OLDEN TIMES. fidence between man and man, whereby No doubt our Right-Reverend correwe trust cach other with things sacred.” spondent, who writes so interesting an But if there is ground for a complaint account of the ancient ways of New


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



York society, believes those times to have fewer thoroughly educated men, there been superior to the present. But the are more who have some education; actual generation will scarcely share in and if there are fewer real gentlemen, his opinion. The patriarchal forms of there are more who have some knowlsocial life had their advantages and edge of what good manners are. In the their charms, but they had also their older and earlier times, one man in a evils and miseries. For the patriarchs thousand may have been a model for themselves, or the leading families, who the Christian and the scholar; but now possessed wealth, culture, refinement, it is the thousand who are undergoing easy and courteous manners, and all the a transition, not into models, but into a means and appliances of agreeable inter- better state. The light which touches course, it was doubtless very pleasant; the pinnacles of the Alps may be a but for the common sort, for the work- purer and brighter light than that ing-people, the servants, the slaves, we which is mingled with the vapors of hardly think it so pleasant. Then, as the vales; but the latter is still light, now, they had to toil, but to toil with which will gradually purify itself from out the conveniences and the comforts miasmas and mists, and yet shine with a and the hopes of rising which relieve beautiful radiance. The civilization of the strain in our modern societies. Be- a community is to be measured not sides, in all cases, we look at the past, alone by the degrees of altitude, but by as we do at the remote, with some de- the degrees of latitude; not by the gree of illusion. We see its salient and scattered elevations to which it has prominent features only, its general climbed, but by the broadness of the characteristics, and not its details, fields over which it has been diffused. which are often ugly and harsh and repulsive. Sir Walter Scott, by the vigor of his poetic imagination, contrived to invest even feudalism with a One of the most interesting and senmost attractive garb; he got us in love sible papers read at a recent meeting of with knights and barons and tourna- the Social Science Association, was that ments and minstrels; but the readers by Mr. Fred. Law Olmstead on Public of history know that the feudal times, Parks and the Enlargement of Towns, in spite of their pomp and color and and we are glad to see that it bas been blazon, were the most awfully wretch- published in a pamphlet. It is full of ed times for the debased and ignorant suggestion and sound thought, the result masses that the world ever saw. They of many years of experience operating were times of universal rapine, blood- upon a vigorous brain and a noble heart. shed, cruelty, superstition, famine, and Mr. Olmstead begins by referring to the want. So our colonial societies may be almost irresistible tondency of populamade to take on a charming simplicity tion in all countries to gather into and heartiness and decorum ; but when towns. The time was when the best we come to look closer into them, as we sort of people liked living in the counare able to do now and then by private try, and the rural gentry were not only letters, &c. &c., we see them every whit the most cultivated, but the ruling class. as full of suffering and wrong as the Even in England, which has so long present times, with infinitely more been celebrated for its snug country

As society grows in wealth homes, and beautiful estates, on which and numbers, the lower sort, that is, the the owners resided all the year round, rude and uncultivated sort, come more inaintaining a hospitable cheer, and keepand more to the top; they give a tone ing up the amusements of field and to the prevailing manners; vulgarity of hall, people are rushing to the cities. speech and bearing is more conspicuous; Our farmers' sons and daughters are not but all the while civilization is diffus- happy unless they have the prospect being itself and spreading. If there are fore them of ultimately settling in town.


« IndietroContinua »