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Insanity and Imbecility, 









fok the last twenty-t"wo yeaks connected "with asylums fok the 

Treatment op the Insane ; 

An Ex-President of the Montreal Medico-Chirurgical Society ; 

Author OF "Howard onthe Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology of the Eye,: 

Published in Montreal by Armour & Kamsay in 1850. 





5tO^ Mg5> 
AUG27 iy^o 



^rc^itjent antr (touxt oi fExaminers 





On the i8th May, 1838, I had the honor of being enrolled as a mem- 
ber of the Royal College of Surgeons, in London. My examiners were : 
Anthony Carlisle, President ; John Leigh Thomas and Robert 
Keate, Vice-Presidents ; SiR Astley Cooper, John P. Vincent, 
Anthony White, John Goldwyer Andrews and Samuel Cooper. 

The diploma handed me next morning by the kind old gentleman, 
Wm. Balfour, Secretary, has carried ihe through forty years of life, 
during which time I have done my best to keep it honorably . 

Green in my memory is my examination, and the faces of those 
honored gentlemen, my examiners. And now in grateful remembrance of 
them, and for the love and respect I bear to the dear old College, I most 
humbly and respectfully dedicate this work to its President and Court of 
Examiners . 

I have the honor to be, 

Your most obedient servant, 

HENRY HOWARD, M.R.C.S., London, Eng. 

Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

Open Knowledge Commons and Harvard Medical School 


For many years I have been convinced that if we were ever to come 
to a rational idea of insanity we must begin by recognizing that 
animal mind, as we know it, is the product of organic matter ; that, 
consequently, insanity was a physical disease. These convictions have 
been the outcome of my physiological, psychological and pathological 
or clinical observations, and not the result of reading. While I 
gratefully acknowledge the great benefit that I have derived from 
reading and comparing the writings of other men — those great men 
who are so far above me intellectually, those great men whose 
experience and knowledge and fame are world-wide — men that 
I cannot reach ; yet I am not the follower of any man, nor have I 
taken my views from any other man's. My views, such as they are, 
are my own views, and are the outcome of my individual study of 
nature ; but I have been glad to use other men's experience in sup- 
port of my views, and glad when I found myself in accord with scien- 
tific men. While I am far from being in unison with those men 
who cannot believe in anything not of the material order nor demon- 
strable to the material senses, yet I respect such men, if they are 
gentlemen, and consider them much less dangerous to society than 
are the detractors, the fanatics^ who speak of all men who are not of 
their narrow views, who do not, like them, see nature and her works 
through the small end of a telescope, as materialists and somatists, in 
the widest sense of the term — the Dugilsonian sense. These are the 
men who are barring the way of progress and science, and, conse- 
quently, of civilization, of justice, benevolence and humanity. It is 
from these men the danger comes — men who are using the same cry 
as was used nearly two thousand years ago, and for the same purposes, 

6 Preface. 

" Great is Diana of the Ephesians ! " These are they who pretend to 
treat matter which God created as if it were something to be despised 
(although they nurture it pretty carefully), and try to draw away the 
attention of the scientist from it. These are they who, while they 
pretend to pity the offender, would punish him Avith the utmost rigor 
of the law, even unto death, who mistake the spirit of vengeance for 
justice, and all for the sake of their idol that they fall down and 
worship — Society. These are they who don't ■ want to know 
scientific truths themselves, nor wish others to know them, whose 
only weapon is the unmanly one we call ridicule. These are 
they who are constantly misrepresenting science and men of science, 
who, having themselves no fixed principles, but always in doubt, Hke 
to keep others in a similar state with themselves. I doubted that we 
knew what was insanity, and followed the advice of St. George Mivart : 
"When any man has become the victim of doubt he has no rational 
choice, as he has no duty, but to reason out his doubt to the end ; to 
seek to escape them by calling up a cloud of emotion is not only 
useless but blameworthy." If I have not the pleasure of removing 
the doubts of others I have had the pleasure of removing my own. 


Insanity ? 

The Chicago Medical Review ^ Vol. V., page (i^^^ makes the following 
statement : 

" Dr. Howard, like Dr. Nichols and others of the more scientific members of 
the Asylum Association, holds that imbecility is a result of teratological defects 
insanity a result of pathological defect ; they therefore classify the primary monor 
mania of the Germans with imbeciles as imbecility of the fiirst grade^ both being 
equally insane in the sense of the law." 

This is a correct statement of the views I hold. But while hold- 
ing these views I maintain that the teratological defect of the imbecile 
or idiot does not exempt them from pathological defect also. Conse- 
quently, we have imbeciles, who in the eye of the law are 
already insane, suffering like other men from pathological defect; 
which renders them insane from a pathological standpoint. Therefore^, 
when I speak of the imbecile as an irresponsible creature in the eye 
of the law, because of his teratological defect, I do not thereby mean', 
that he is necessarily insane according to my idea of insanity. I con- 
ceive insanity to be altogether due to pathological change in the 
mental organization, — to be a purely physical disease from which no 
man is exempt, although some, particularly those of an epileptic or 
hysterical neurosis, are more disposed to the disease than others. 
Every man is either an idiot, an imbecile, or an intellectual man — im-^ 
becility and intellectuality differing in degree. The idiot and imbecile 
are such because their mental organization have not attained their 
full development, — teratological defect. An ordinary intellectual 
man is such because his mental organization has attained near tO' 
its full development. There are, of course, diiferent degrees of 
imbecility, as there are different degrees of intellectuality, all depen- 
dent upon the different degrees of development of the mental organ- 
ization. Then, again, every man is either sane or insane, because, 
in every man's mental organization there is, or is not, pathological 
defect. The distinction I would make between the idiot and imbe- 
cile is that the idiot is born with a deformed imperfect brain, whereas; 
the imbecile is one whose brain from childhood never became fully 

S A Rational Materialistic Definition 

■developed. Imbecility, in its different degrees, might be very properly 
called the via media between idiocy and intellectuality. 

Before attempting a definition of insanity I must assume that my 
Teader recognizes the fact that for effect there must be a cause, and 
that when we see effect in material things it is legitimate in man to 
search for cause. I must, consequently, assume that for all physio- 
logical effects that we observe in man or any animal there must be 
anatomical cause. For example to walk, to talk, to see, to hear, to 
taste^ to think, are all physiological effects of anatomical cause. 
Again, if we find the physiological effects alter or change we must 
assume that it is due to anatomical change. For example the man 
Avho walked yesterday cannot walk to-day because he is paralyzed \ 
l)Ut what is paralysis ? A pathological change in an anatomical part, 
so that, in consequence, the anatomical part cannot perform its phy- 
siological functions. But the anatomical cause which heretofore 
produced its physiological functions could not have undergone 
pathological change without cause. So here again we have cause for 
•efiect. Now these are all scientific facts, and it is upon these 
scientific facts, and such as these, that I chiefly base my theory of 
insanity, for I do not presume to call it more than a theory. 

Before proceeding further I find it necessary to try and answer the 
■question, as far as I possibly can : what is man, and what is his 
place in nature? I speak of the anthropological material man just 
as we find him and as far as we know him, anatomically and physio- 
logically, for we do not know the physiology of man, because we do 
not know the perfect anatomy of the living man. From cadaveric 
•examinations we know the surgical anatomy of man, the names of all 
the different parts of man, and the relative positions of these parts 
microscopically ; but we do not know each and every minute part 
macroscopically. Again, we do not know the chemical anatomy of 
man, that is of each and every distinct part, even of the dead man, 
much less of the living man ; and until we know positively the anatomy 
and physiology of the normal living man we never can know for a 
■certainty the pathological changes that take place in him, producing 
disease, suffering and death, nor can we even be sure of the causes 
that produce these changes. We may, from certain clinical symptoms, 
from our own experience, and from the experience of others, assume 
that there are certain path ological changes taking place, but we never 
can be sure ; moreover we do not know the cause, or if we think we 
do, we do not know the why. 

Of Insanity and Imhecility. 9 

With the means we have at present at our disposal, can we ever 
know the anatomy and physiology of the Hving man, or of any other 
living animal, so as to affirm positively we know it? Certainly not, 
for we never can dissect a living normal animal, for the very attempt 
to do so renders the animal abnormal ; so while we owe something to 
the labors of vivisectionists, yet we must always remember that their 
experiments are necessarily upon abnormal animals. I don't know 
what time and art may develop, I cannot conceive the means that 
may be discovered by which the anatomy and physiology of the 
normal living man may become known, but until known, it is an 
absurdity for us to speak of the established principles of medical 
science which some medical men talk so largely about. The fact is, 
in this very practical and, I must add, money seeking age, we have 
been going too fast, we are not taking time to study natural laws as 
we should ; every one is crying out for something practical, something 
that there is money in, and the man of scientific views is pushed 
aside as an enthusiast ; yet all we do know we have learned from the 
despised scientific enthusiast ; and this truth the great thinking men of 
the age have discovered. So we find Dr. Struthers, at the Inter- 
national Medical Cong-ress held in London in 1881, recommending 
" that anatomy should be taught from the morphological as well as 
from the surgical point of view, microscopically as well as macrosco- 
pically." And very correctly so, for this is certainly our best chance 
at present. But that we may learn much, some one must invent or 
make a more powerful microscope than has as yet been invented. In 
the meantime we should make the most we can of the sciences of 
morphology and biology, physiology and pathology. 

If we would know what is a tree, it will not do for us to simply 
look at the outside of it, and admire its branches, foliage and fruit. 
We must begin by first learning the germ cell from which it grows, 
then we must learn its roots and stem ; we must examine every fibre of 
it, if we wish to arrive at the knowledge of what the tree is. Thus 
will we find, low as the organization of the tree is, that both 
anatomically and physiologically there is a resemblance between it 
and animal organisms ; we will find that it is very hard to define the 
line between the highest organized vegetable and the lowest organized 
animal formation. First, we will find that the germ cell of the tree 
must have its proper nidus before it will grow. So with the animal 
organization, the germ cell will not grow except it have its proper 

10 A national Materialistic Definition 

Secondly, the germ cell of the tree must be supplied with nutrition 
from the parent seed before it will grow ; so with the animal organ- 
ization, the germ cell will not grow without nutrition from the parent 
ovum. The more the stem of the tree grows, the more nutrition does 
it require ; as the animal germ grows, the more nutrition does 
it require. Thirdly, as the germ stem of the tree grows, it directs 
its course towards a new life, towards light and air, so it bursts 
forth from the earth and comes to the light of the sun to begin its 
new life ; so is it with the product of the animal cell, it directs 
its course towards the sunlight, and when the proper time comes, 
in obedience to Nature's laws, it bursts forth from the womb of 
darkness and comes into light and air, and from that moment 
begins a new life, and ever after there is a similarity between the 
animal and the tree. Each has a breathing system, and each 
will die if deprived of healthy air, oxygen and nitrogen ; each will 
require sunlight, or they equallv ci. Each reques reproduc- 

tive sustenance or they die from loss of vital force ; and each requires 
rest, so the animal and the tree have their seasons of rest. The tree 
in due time reproduces or brings forth after its kind, as the animal, in 
due time, reproduces or brings forth after its kind. The tree, like 
the animal, requires care and training in its youth ; never was there a 
greater truth than " as the twig is bent the tree is inclined," and many 
a tree, like the animal man, has been destroyed in its youth by over- 
forcing and over-bending, so that it grows a deformed tree, like the 
deformed animal man ; and once deformed, as a rule, it is impossible 
to make it straight again. 

According to the greatest naturalists, whose authority is undis- 
puted, as in animals so in plants^ the embryonic body is a simple leaf- 
like rudiment, so that the embryonic bodies, whether of animals or 
vegetables, are nearly similar. Wolff said " that all the various parts 
of plants may be traced back to the leaf as their common rudiment, 
or fundamental organs ; flower and fruit, with all their parts, consisting 
only of modified leaves." These facts are well known to every 

There is a zoological resemblance or type in the whole animal 
kingdom one with another ; and a morphological resemblance or type 
between the animal and vegetable. It is truly wonderful how like the 
tree is to the animal in the regularity of its fibres and tubes, like unto 
muscular fibres and tubes. But what strikes us most is the resem- 
blance between the animal's skin and the tree's skin or bark that 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. It 

envelops its body. It is the first part of the gerna formation, and 
envelops and protects all the other parts, giving dynamical life to the 
tree and sensation, not conscious sensation, for the tree has not an 
organ of consciousness, although sensation. It is also elastic, stretch- 
ing as the tree grows, and so adapting itself to the tree as the skin 
does to the animal. Girth the limbs of a tree, or even the trunk, that 
is, remove a circle of the bark, and the limb or trunk in time will surely 
die — positive proof that the tree receives Hfe through the skin or bark. 
Now, see the similarity between the tree and animal : let a chronic: 
ulcer destroy the whole circle of the skin of a man's leg or forearm, 
and temperature in the foot or hand falls below par, and if new skia 
is not formed by grafting, in time the very bones of the leg or fore- 
arm will become necrosed, that is, death will take place in the parts, 
and the limb have to be amputated. When I was a medical student 
forty-five years ago many a leg have I seen amputated from this cause, 
but skin grafting was not known then ; these facts prove that both the. 
tree and animal receives life from the skin that envelops them. There 
are various kinds of trees and plants, but there is but one natural law 
for them all ; and there are various kinds of animals, but there is one 
natural law for all. The more we study the vegetable kingdom, the 
greater will we find the similarity between it and the animal kingdom,, 
and that all are governed by the same natural laws ; in fact, we will 
find that nature is one great whole, of which each and every animate 
and inanimate portion forms a part, these parts always undergoing 
change, but never annihilation. That which once is never can cease 
to be, in one state or other : always and everlasting evolution or dis- 
solution but not annihilation. It is evident then that, if we would 
know man as he is, we must study nature more ; we must study man 
from a morphological as well as from a surgical standpoint ; and even: 
then we will not attain to a full knowledge of man, either anatomi- 
cally or physiologically, not even when we have studied the cadaver 
microscopically and chemically. We can see, already, what the study 
of man from a morphological standpoint has led to. For example,, 
there is a law of nature forbidding any union between living and dead 
animal or vegetable matter. The gardener wishes to graft upon an 
apple tree another species of apple than that which it already bears :; 
for this purpose he cuts a twig from the parent tree of the species he 
wishes to produce and grafts it on to another tree, and in time it 
becomes part and parcel of the tree upon which it has been grafted, 
yet it brings forth fruit similar to the tree from which it had been 

12 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

removed. Now, there are two important facts established by this act 
of grafting. First, that cutting the twig from the parent tree did not 
immediately cause the death of the detached part, for if it were dead 
it would not grow upon the tree upon which it was grafted. Secondly, 
that although it actually becomes part and parcel of the tree upon 
which it was grafted, it has not lost the place that nature had assigned 
it in the first instance ; its distinguishing character remains, so it con- 
tinues to bear the same sort of fruit that it did when on the parent tree. 

Reasoning from this fact surgeons have engrafted skin from one 
man on to another, and the engrafted skin has become part and 
parcel of the person upon whom it has been engrafted. Finding this 
experiment successful, surgeons have gone much further, they have 
taken a piece of skin from the cadaver, four hours after death, and 
grafted it successfully into the living man. They have also taken a 
piece of bone out of the tibia of the dead sheep, and engrafted it, 
successfully, into the tibia and humerus of children. 

Had the gardener removed the skin, or bark, from the twig of the 
tree that he wished to graft upon another tree, it would not have 
grown, it would have died, because in losing the skin it would have 
lost its life — not biological but dynamical life. So if the surgeon tore 
from the sheep's bone its periosteum, or skin, the engrafted piece of 
bone would have died, it would not have united with the living part. 
Again, if the piece of skin taken from the cadaver had not in it the 
principles of life * it would not have united with the living parts ; for 

* One of the most interesting parts of our very interesting and ably conducted 
journal, Tke Canada Medical and Surgical Journal, is the quarterly Retrospect 
of Surgery, prepared by Francis J. Sheppard, M.D., M.R.C.S. Eng. In one of 
these reviews, vol, X., page 474, he gives a lucid account of sponge grafting by 
D. J. Hamilton, M.D., pathologist to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. 

" It occurred to Mr. Hamilton if he could supply, instead of blood-clot or fibri- 
nous lymph, some dead porous animal tissue, it also v/ould, in the course of time, 
become vascularized and replaced by cicatricial tissue. He thought that sponge, if 
placed under proper conditions, ■would fulfil the object in view, for the following 
reasons : I. It is a porous tissue, and would imitate the interstices of the fibrinous 
network in a blood-clot, or in a fibrinous lymph. 2. It is an animal tissue, and 
like other (IwzVwa/ tissue, such as catgut, would, if placed under favorable conditions, 
become absorbed in the course of time, 3. It is a pliable texture, and can be easily 
adjusted to any surface. If therefore the blood-clot or fibrinous exudation merely 
acts mechanically in the process of organization, there is no reason why sponge or 
other porous texture should not similarly become vascular and organized." 

On the first view of this sponge grafting it might appear to be a contradiction 

Of Insanity and iTnhecility. 13 

it would be contrary to the natural law, that dead and living parts 
could join together. From these facts we have also another proof 
that life is not in the blood — for circulation had ceased in the cadaver 
four hours previous to the removal of the integument to be engrafted — 
but in the sensory nerves that originate in the skin, and which 
retained its living principle long after apparent death *. This is the 
science of morphology, that enables us to reason from the grafted 
branch of a tree to the propriety of grafting new parts into man, and 
doing so successfully. Thus we learn from observing nature and her 
laws the similarity between vegetable and animal organisms, in botk 
the one and the other for effect there must be cause. 

In answer, then, to the question what is man and what is his place 
in nature ? I answer that man is an animal, differing in kind and 
degree from all others. As the highest order of vegetable organisms 
differs from the lowest, so man's place in nature is the highest of 

to my views ; but upon closely examining into the matter it will be found that 
such is not the case. Dead animal tissue cannot be engrafted into, and become 
one, with living animal organisms. The engrafted tissue must be living. It is not 
necessary such tissue should have biological life, but it must have dynamical life. 
Now the dried sponge has no life, it is only the dried skeleton of the animal 
deprived of all its albumen, consequently its vital protoplasm, therefore the dried 
sponge cannot assimilate itself, grow into, and become part and parcel of a living- 
organism. We must therefore conclude that although dried sponge has been found 
very useful in the treatment of chronic ulcers, the term " sponge grafting " is a. 

* In speaking thus strongly that the life is in the nervous system and not in the 
blood, it may be said that I am putting my opinions exactly in contradistinction to 
the teachings of the great law giver Moses, but I don't think I am. I consider that 
Moses in the instance alluded to, as in many other instances, spoke from a sanitary 
point of view, and not from a scientific standpoint. Moses could not havebeert 
ignorant of the fact that there were many livmg animals of low organisms that were 
bloodless, that had no circulating system, for example the common star fish 
(Wraster rubens). Where Moses said the blood was the life, he spoke very differ- 
ently from the manner in which he spoke when he gave the ten commandments, 
which are alike accepted by Jew and Gentile. In like manner when it was said 
"the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." " From 
the heart proceeds all evil thoughts, etc., etc." We know very well we are not to 
accept such a statement in the literal sense, for the heart is a hollow muscle ; a 
muscular bag, for /z<w/?«^ and receiving blood, and does not think at all either 
good or bad . 

I consider it necessary to make these remarks least I should unintentionally 
wound the sensibilities of a class for whom I have the highest respect and esteem. 

14 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

animal organisms, in fact, man is the highest type of animal, although 
zoologically, in some respects, he resembles the lowest order of 
.animal, and, as we have seen, morphologically, the vegetable. 

Why is man the highest animal type ? In virtue of his physical 
formation, in other words, in virtue of the anatomical construction of 
his organisms, surgically and chemically, in virtue of which he is the 
only self-conscious animal. These are indisputable facts. True we 
■do not know the chemical composition of any of the organs of the 
normal man, no more than we do of other animals in their normal 
state ; and I am sorry to say we do not even know positively the 
organic chemistry even of the cadaver of man ; in fact, much remains 
to be done in this field of science. This, however, we may suppose : 
that there is a difference in the organic chemistry of all animals, and 
a greater difference in this respect between man and all other animals, 
than there is between all other animals. Reasoning from the 
probable we should expect that man differs chemically from all other 
animals, from the difference there is in his mode of living. Indeed 
from this fact, we may assume that men differ very much in this 
respect from one another, even when there is not pathological or 
clinical change*. Great, then, as is the similarity between man and 
other animals, anatomically, such as the ape, hog, dog, etc., yet there 
is a very great difference between them, not so much however in the 
vegetative, as in the animal organization. It is in the whole nervous 
system that man stands superior to all other animals, by which he is 
a self-conscious animal. 

The brain of man differs in size, shape and in its minute cells and 
convolutions from that of all other animals. Comparatively speaking, 
man has the largest brain of any animal, and the most perfect in its 
formation for intelligence : man's front brain, which is its most intel 

* Surely there must be a great chemical difference in the organisms of men who 
live so differently, as the Icelanders who live on fish and oil, the vegetarian who 
eats nothing but vegetable food, and those who partake of all sorts of animal and 
vegetable foods. True, that all sorts of food taken into the stomach does by assi- 
milation become transmuted, changed into part and parcel of ourselves, so that the 
vegetable that was yesterday in the garden, the ox that yesterday consumed the 
grass in the pasture, the fish that yesterday was in the deep seas, to-day is part and 
parcel of ourselves, to-day is bond fide living man, yet I conceive that there must be 
some chemical difference in the organisms of men who only live on fish and oil or 
upon vegetables, and those who live on food composed of both animal and vege- 

Of Insanity and Imhecility, 15 

lectual part, is the largest part of his brain, and it is the smallest part 
in the lower animals. In man the forebrain covers the posterior 
brain; in other words, the hemispheres of the cerebrum cover the 
cerebellum, except in some cases of imbecile criminals, where the 
cerebrum has been found not to cover the cerebellum, showing that 
such men more nearly approached the brute than the normal man*. 
The chief difference existing between man and all other animals is in 
his mental organization. Man's mental organization is composed of 
his brain, spinal marrow, and every nerve fibre in his whole body f ; 
tut the higher intellectual organs are in the cortical portion of the 
frontal and temporal divisions of the cerebrum (physiology and 
pathology prove this to be a fact), in those convolutions and parts in 
the immediate neighborhood of the fissures of Sylvian and Rolando. 
In many animals the forebrain or cerebrum is the smallest part of the 
whole, this is a proper provision of nature. All other animals have 
sufficient intelligence for their place in nature : some are for strength, 
others for swiftness ; but man's place is for intelligence, consequently 
his mental organization differs anatomically from all other animals, 
but very little more than men differ in the anatomy of their brains 
from one another, according to their different degrees of intelligence — 

* In the Chicago Medical Review, vol. V., page 9, the following occurs: 
" There being no further discussion, Dr. J. G. Kiernan read a paper on the occi- 
pital lobe in relation to intelligence, in which he called attention to the fact that 
the importance of the frontal lobes has been much over-estimated. He claimed that 
in the occipital lobe were to be found the great association centres of the brain, and 
as upon associating power depended man's intelligence, the full development of the 
occipital lobe was necessary to constitute a well-balanced cerebral system. He cited 
as corroboratory evidence the fact that the occipital lobes are the last to make their 
appearance in the foetus. The occipital lobe was markedly deficient in reasoning 
maniacs. In this connection the plaster cast of Guiteau's head was exhibited. 

t Brain, vol. V., page loo, by Dr. James Ross : "Prof. Strieker points out 
that nerve fibres as well as nerve cells are endowed with psychical functions, and 
■rery justly remarks that, were it otherwise, the feeling correlated to the functions 
of each cell in the same brain would be as distinct and independent as the consci- 
ousness of two individuals. He does not, however, hazard a conjecture as to the 
nature of the functions of the fibre. Mr. Herbert Spencer's theory of the respective 
functions of cells and fibres is by far the most rational we have seen. He maintains 
that the activities of the cells are the correlatives of feelings and those of the fibres 
the correlatives of the relations between feelings, and if thinking is the establishment 
of relations between simple and compound feelings, it will be seen that the struc- 
tural counterpart of abstract thinking must chiefly consist in the formation of new 
connections between nerve cells." 

16 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

from the idiot to the man of ordinary intelHgence. I assume, then, 
that it is a scientific, demonstrated fact that for all physiological 
effects observable in man there must be anatomical cause, therefore 
that a man is intellectually what he is in virtue of his mental physical 
organization, no matter what causes that organization to be normal 
or abnormal, as the case may be. 

* I shall now consider the physiology of man, as far as we know 

* By the term physiology of man I mean the function of animal organisms as it 
is generally understood by the members of the medical profession. When I wrote 
my manuscript I was ignorant of Dr. Sterry Hunt's learned treatise on "The 
Domain of Physiology," a copy of which treatise he has since then kindly 
presented me with, and, having read it, I am perfectly convinced of the correctness 
of his terminology in science, which if generally adopted would prevent much mis- 
understanding. Indeed, I am fully convinced, and said so in a paper I read before 
the Montreal Medico-Chirurgical Society, that much disputation would be avoid- 
ed if men would only agree upon the meaning of terms. 

For me now, however, to adopt the terminology of my learned friend, I would 
have to rewrite the ^vhole of my manuscript, moreover, I would have to explain my 
reason for so doing, and could only do so by reproducing the whole of Dr. Hunt's 
treatise. According to Dr. Hunt, " The term physiology is the science of natural 
things." He says, " We find the word physiologist used in a general sense as equi- 
valent to our modern term naturalist." He draws a wide distinction between the 
medical man, whom he calls a " mediciner," and the physician, and says, speaking 
of the mediciner, " It is to be wished that this word were generally adopted in our 
speech, since the name of physician is now given to empirics who, whatever their 
claims to be called curers, mediciners or medicantes, have no right to be called 

I am entirely in accord with Dr. Hunt, but hope the time will come that every 
mediciner will be so educated in natural laws as to be deserving the name of phy- 
sician. That is to say, that we retrace our steps and begin where Hippocrates left 
off. I again quote from Dr. Hunt's treatise, pages 9 and 10 : 

" Nature, in the language of the time, was spoken of as a vis jnedicatrix, or 
healing power, put Virchow justly remarks that, from careful perusal of the works 
left us by the great master, we cannot doubt that by nature he meant the whole 
bodily constitution of man. Hippocrates insisted upon a treatment of diseases based 
not upon magic nor upon supernatural agencies, but upon the belief that nature 
works according to a divine necessity. In other words, he taught a system of 
pathology founded on the recognition of physical laws, which he opposed to the 
superstitious notions of his caste and his age. The eatros or mediciner was 
henceforth no longer a magician, nor a priest, but a physiologist, physician or natu- 
rist, seeking for healing agencies in the study of the physical organization of the 

The pathology of the dogmatisists who were the disciples of Hippocrates was 
based upon a knowledge of the structure and functions of the human organism, 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 17 

it, recognizing the established fact that for physiological effect there 
must be anatomical cause. Man, from the moment he enters into this 
world until he leaves it, is always undergoing physical change. There 
is ever going on in the normal man v/aste of tissues, loss of force, a 
continual wear and tear from the secretions of his organs, from every 
action and from every thought, and a continual reproduction to supply 
the loss. 

What a beautiful machinery is the animal economy when in a 
normal state, always changing, yet ever apparently the same ; losing 
much, yet gaining more. The new-born infant grows until it becomes 
the fully developed man. Then comes a time of equal loss and equal 
supply, then greater loss than supply until the machinery wears out 
and comes to a stand-stHl, and the material animal man ceases to 

The whole material man is composed of animal and vegetative 
organs, and each of these organs has its distinct office, and its own 

and of the structural and functional modifications produced alike by disease and by 
the action of drugs." 

" But Hippocrates had still another claim to the title of physician or physiolo- 
gist, since, not content with studying the physical constitution of man, he insisted 
upon the importance of a knowledge of all his relations to external nature. In his 
celebrated treatise ' on Airs, Waters and Localities,' Hippocrates declares that 
whoever would understand medicine must study the movements of the heavenly 
bodies, and all meteorological phenomena, together with physical geography, 
including climate, soil, vegetation, rocks, minerals and waters ; to which he adds 
that the mediciner, if he would preserve the health of his patients and succeed in 
his art, would investigate ' everytliing else in nature.' 

" It follows from what has been said that the word physiology, as popularly 
limited to the functions of living beings, is made to include many phenomena which 
are not biotic, but are common to the organic and mineral kingdoms, and that we 
need some further definition to distinguish those which are characteristic of organic 
life. I therefore venture to designate the study of these by the distinctive name of 
biophysiology, while those phenomena which are recognized as simply dynamic, or 
dynamic and chemic, whether manifested in organisms or in mineral species, may 
be included under the name of abiophysiology. 

General physiology, comprehending these two divisions, will thus be restored 
to its original and proper signification, as an inquiry into the reason of all things 
in the material universe, and as distinguished from physiography, whose province 
is the description of universal nature. 

Scientific precision demands a reform in our terminology, and requires us tO' 
extend the name of physiology once more to the processes and the activities of the 
three kingdoms of nature. The inorganic, not less than the organic world, has its 


18 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

physiological use. Therefore, as there is a continual loss of force and 
tissues, and a continual reproduction, it is necessary for these constant 
changes that there be motion ; consequently we have in man, and in 
all other animals of that type, the three orders of motion, viz., 
•chemical, mechanical and molecular. The chemical in the assimila- 
tion of food in the whole of the digestive organs. The mechanical 
in the blood circulation^ and respiration. These two orders, properly 
speaking, belong to the vegetative organs, and are for the re-production 
of waste tissues and lost force. These motions and rest are the only 
means of the reproduction of vital forces. Molecular motion belongs 
to the animal organization, that is to the brain, spinal cord, and every 
nerve fibre in the animal economy. We have learned through Boer, 
and, later, through H/eckel, that there is no animal life without a 
nervous system, and that the functions of animal life are sensa- 
tion, perception and motion, so that mechanical motion in man, 
such as the circulation and respiration I have just sjDoken of, 
although in the vegetative organs, and for reproduction, is depen- 
dent for its motor power upon animal life, as derived from the 
nervous system. Therefore, when animal life ceases, vegetative life, 
or mechanical motion, must of necessity cease. We might as well expect 
a steam engine to move without steam as the heart or lungs to move 
without nerve force, and this nerve force is due to molecular motion. 
So that mechanical and chemical motion in man, and all other 
animals, are due to the primary cause, molecular motion. I do not say 
that chemical motion- is necessarily dependent upon molecular nerve 
motion only in the living animal, because chemical change and motion 
never cease, even after death, in animal organisms. 

We are also indebted to these naturalists for the facts that sen- 
sation, that portion of animal biotic hfe to which we owe all objective 
and subjective impressions, originates in the skin that covers our 
bodies ; consequently the skin, of itself, is sensitive, and from itself 
transmits sensation to every part of the body by means of the 
sensory nerves which take their origin from the skin. They have 
also demonstrated that these nerves run to the different parts, 
centripetal and centrifugal. But, according to Boer and Hseckel, the 
second functions of animal life also primarily originate in the skin, 
that is, the motor nerves. In fact, according to these authorities the 
first germ layer is the skin, from which proceeds the whole nervous 
system, brain, spinal cord, and all the different nerves, so that the 
whole phenomena of animal life is evolved from the same source, and 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 19 

the phenomena of animal hfe comprises sensation, thought , perception 
■or co7isciousness, and moticity. This is great knowledge to know the 
phenomena of animal life, and how evolved from the living germ. 
But we want, if possible, to know what is this animal life, what is 
this molecular motion. Du Bois Raymond says it is an electric fluid in 
the nerves. He calls it electro-motor nerve fluid, and from his experi- 
ments I assume he is correct, but we want further proof ; in fact we 
want a microscope strong enough to show us molecular motion, which 
now is invisible, although we know it to exist in the nerves, W. K. 
Clifford said : if we had a magnifying power of 16^000 we could see 
the molecular structure of water (the highest power we have I believe 
is 8,000), so I am afraid we will be a long time before we have a power 
to see molecular nerve structure, yet we know it exists, for modern bio- 
chemical research proves ^ its existence, and in virtue of it thought is 
produced, and intelligence borne from the objective and subjective to 
the organ of consciousness. 

Perfection in all these different motions, chemical, mechanical and 
molecular, is necessary for the normal man. It is impossible for a 
man to be in a normal state and have any of these motions arrested 
or rendered abnormal from any cause. But the one power or motion 
upon which thought is directly dependent is molecular or atomic 
electro-magnetic motion. If this motion is abnormal, thought must 
be abnormal also ; because thought is dependent for what it is upon 
intelligence. For example, intelligence is borne from the objective 
and subjective, by means of the sensory nerves, to the organ of con- 
sciousness, and intelligence is sent forth from one man to another by 
means of the motor nerves ; so the receiving and giving of intelligence 
is by means of molecular motion.* I don't forget what we owe to 
the organs of sense for the reception of intelligence, or what we can, 
for example, impart by the eye, but then all is due to molecular motion. 
Here then we have cause for effect. 

Body and mind are one, that is to say, mind, as we know it, is the 

* Professor Tyndall says : "I hardly imagine there exists^a profound scientific 
thinker who has reflected upon the subject unwilling to admit the extreme probabi- 
lity of the hypothesis, that for every fact of consciousness,whether in the domain of 
sense, of thought, or of emotion, a definite molecular condition of motion or struc- 
ture is set up in the brain, or who would be disposed even to deny that if the motion 
or structure be induced by internal cause instead of external, the effect of con- 
sciousness would be the same." 

20 A national Materialistic Definition 

product of matter, as we know and define matter.* I do not say 
that there may not be an order of matter, and consequently mind, in 
man that we cannot demonstrate ; indeed, I firmly believe there is. 
Nor would I be understood as seeming to deny Divine revelation,, 
which I most reverently accept ; I mean mind as constituted in ^/lis 
life, z. e., mind operating by symbols or representations derived from 
the senses^ in virtue of the organ of consciousness, without which, in 
our present state, no act of thought is possible. As a scientist, deal- 
ing with simply natural phenomena, I have nothing to do with their 
essences; their fundamental underlying '' su^s/an/ia" ; or with the 
supernatural order of intelligence which belongs exclusively to the 
region of faith. I am speaking of the material animal mind as we 
find it in health and disease ; the mind to which the physician is called 
upon to administer when diseased ; and why is a physician called 
upon to administer to a mind diseased ? But because mind is the 
product of matter, and abnormal mind is the effect of a cause ; and 
that cause, pathological change in mind matter. If this were not the 
case, a medical man would be either a knave or a fool to undertake 
the treatment of mind diseased. 

I have said that man's place in nature was the highest in animal crea- 
tion, and that because of his intelligence, and that his intelligence was 
due to his anatomical construction, which was the cause for the effect. 
Now, what is the meaning of intelligence ? We often make use of the 
expressions, he is an intelligent man, he is an intellectual man, without 
duly considering the meaning of the terms. Intellect, " intellectus " 
from " intellegere," to understand ; from "inter," between, and " legere," 
to gather, collect. The organ of consciousness or perception is the sub- 
jective organ, to receive intelligence or messages from the objective ; 
and the sensory nerves are the messengers that stand between the 
objective and organ of consciousness, to bear intelligence to the 
organ of consciousness, no matter what the objective may be, whether 
it is seen or heard, tasted or smelt or felt. All intelligence is carried 
to the organ of consciousness by means of the sensory nerves. For 
example, an object seen is pictured upon the retina, but the impres- 
sion of that picture is borne to the organ of consciousness by means 
of the sensory nerves, so that the organ of consciousness perceives 

* By this identity of mind and matter I refer simply to the manifestations of 
mind during this life through its material medium, viz., the body. And, in this 
respect^ mind and matter are one in operation and in condition. 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 21 

all things objective by means of the sensory nerves. Then what 
intelligence we receive, when we will, we impart through another 
channel, and that is through the medium of the motor nerves. So to 
constitute an intellectual man, it is necessary that the whole mental 
•organization should be normal, that is, anatomically normal ; neither 
pathological defect, which would be insanity, nor teratological defect, 
which would be imbecility. 

The organ of consciousness must be normal, the sensory nerves 
normal, and the motor nerves normal. When we remember that the 
development of the brain is a matter of time, and that some brains 
are never developed, as in the idiot and imbecile, and when we 
remember at what an early age the infant begins to observe the objec- 
tive, that is to receive intelligence from the objective to the organ of 
consciousness, we can easily understand the effect of education upon 
the organ of consciousness (I speak of education in its widest sense) , 
and recognize the fact that as the child grows up to maturity its mental 
organization must be affected to a great degree by its surroundings, 
hy its environment. Therefore, for a child to grow to be an intellec- 
tual man, he must not only have normal brain and nerve structure, 
but his surroundings, his environment^ his objective, from which he 
receives his intelligence, must be good, must be normal. How can 
we expect a child to grow up to be an intellectual man whose sur- 
roundings, from infancy to manhood, have been everything that was 
vile and criminal ? These are the causes of the different grades of 
society, classifying society by its different degrees of intelligence. 
And here I will give my idea of the highest order of intelligence. 
My idea of the most intellectual man is the man that does right 
because ii is right, the man of benevolence and justice, the man that 
lives closest to the good old golden rule, doing unto others as he 
would that others would do unto him, being humane and just in all 

Before answering the question, what is insanity ? it is necessary to 
ignore the idea that consciousness is something incomprehensible, 
and recognize that it is the product of an organ of the brain, situated 
in the cortical portion of the anterior hemispheres, in which terminates 
the afferent sensory nerves, and in virtue of this organ we obtain the 
knowledge of the objective and subjective. To me it is incompre- 
hensible why so many writers should speak of consciousness as some- 
thing inexplicable. I see no reason why there should not be an organ 
of consciousness, as well as organs for speech, seeing, hearing, tasting, 

22 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

smelling, etc. Once that we recognize that there is in the brain of 
man, an organ of consciousness, and that the sensory nerves are 
sensory /^r se, we remove all the obstacles that stand in the way of 
proving insanity to be a physical disease. That sensation exists 
independent of the brain is evident from the reflex action produced 
in the decapitated frog, from irritation of the sensory nerves. But in 
virtue of the organ of consciousness we are cognizant of sensation, 
and of all things objective and subjective — painful and pleasurable 

In the October No. of Bram, for 1881, Vol. IV., page 287, 
there is an article by Alexander James, M.D., entitled, " The Reflex 
Inhibitory Centre Theory," deserving the consideration of the mental 
scientist. The object of the writer is to show that reflex action is 
dependent upon the cord and caused by peripheral stimuli, and the 
less of cerebral influence the greater the reflex action. He says, 
" apart from the experimental evidence against it, viz., that stimulation 
of any afferent nerve will, in the absence of cerebrum, optic lobes and 
medulla oblongata, cause inhibition of reflex action on removal of 
the brain is to be expected. In the entire animal the effects of a 
peripheral stimulus are carried in part to the motor centres in the 
cord, and in part to the brain ; in the former resulting in motion, in 
the latter in sensation. In the decapitated animal, on the other hand, 
the nerve channels leading to the brain are cut, and have the effects 
of a peripheral stimulus are manifested as motion alone." At page 
301 he says (after proving his theory by experiments), " assuming 
now that this increase in the reflex function of the cord which ensues 
on the removal of the higher centres is due to the obstruction or 
cutting through of nerve channels, and consequent concentration, 
our next subject is to consider more in detail what these channels 

''' The first idea which is here hkely to occur is that they are sensory, 
inasmuch as we stated at the beginning of this paper that the im- 
pulse generated in the cord by peripheral stimulation is in part con- 
ducted to the brain, to produce consciousness, and in part in the 
muscles, to jDroduce motion." 

I have made the foregoing extract in support of my theory that 
consciousness is dependent upon an organ of the brain which is de- 
pending for sensation upon the afferent sensory nerves, or^ as James, 
says, an organ produced by them. 

I have said that sensation was suigeiieris of the skin that envelops 

Of Insanity and Imhecility. 23 

our bodies, but what is it that causes sensation? My theory is that 
it is due to the electric or vital fluid that is generated in the nerve 
cells of the skin, which nerve fluid is conducted by means of the 
sensory nerves to the brain by molecular motion. Thus the organ of 
consciousness receives messages from the objective by means of the 
afferent, and dispatches messages by means of the efferent nerves to 
all the motor nerves of the body by the same molecular motion, 
stimulating the motor nerves into action, producing mechanical 
motion. Immaterial whether this mechanical motion be voluntary 
or involuntary, it is produced by this electric fluid through the 
sensory nerves, whether passing first by means of the afferent nerves 
to the organ of consciousness, and from them, by means of the effer- 
ent nerves or by the sensory nerves, going directly to the motor nerve 
centres in the cord, causing reflex action. All thought and all motions 
of the body are, directly or indirectly, dependent upon this electric 
vital fluid generated or evolved in the nerve cells of the skin, and dis- 
charged from the body, by thought and mechanical motion, and, con- 
sequently, always requires to be reproduced or re-evolved. 

To arrive at a definition of insanity we must ignore the classification 
made of it from psychological symptoms, recognizing such symptoms 
only as symptoms of insanity, difiering in each individual, because 
each individual diflers from another, whether sane or insane. It is 
this classification of insanity that has caused the idea to take hold of 
us, that a man could be partially insane, that he could partially be 
responsible. It is this classification which caused the curious psycho- 
logical idea that the knowledge of right from wrong was a proof of 
sanity, and which caused the hanging of Hayvren and many other 
insane persons. But of this I will speak more particularly in the second 

Reason is to man what the helm is to the ship ? by it man steers 
his course through life's troubled sea, and avoids the rocks and quick- 
sands that are daily in his course. But a man cannot by his reason 
alone know these rocks and quicksands, he can only know them by 
his consciousness and by his organs of sense and sensory nerves which 
bear intelligence to his organ of consciousness, of all that is objective, 
so that when consciousness fails him reason is no longer of use, and 
the man, no longer cognizant of the danger which surrounds him, like 
a helmless ship at sea, is sure to be wrecked. Neither intuition nor 
instinct can save him, for both one and the other are the outcome of 

24 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

the sensory nerves : at least such is mybeUef, of instinct and intuition.* 
From what I have written the reader will understand my meaning 
when I say that body and mind are one, and that man is intellectually 
what he is in virtue of his physical organization : consequently, that 
insanity, being an abnormal state of mind, is the effect of pathological 
matter, therefore a purely physical disease, that whatever may be the 
symptoms presenting themselves, physiological, psychological or 
pathological, these symptoms are the effect of anatomical cause. That 
as the idiot, imbecile and intellectual man are such in virtue each of 
his physical mental organization, so a man becomes insane in virtue 
of a pathological change in his mental organization ; and as I accept 
the theory of double transmission to be correct — Dr. Mario Panizza 
to the contrary — my theory is that this physical, pathological change is 
due to a mechanical lesion or chemical change in the sensory nerves 
and organ of consciousness, or in the organ of consciousness alone, 

* What do we mean by instinct ? We don't like to admit that any animal but 
man reasons, consequently we are accustomed to say of other animals that they are 
guided by their instinct, although the more we study their actions — for example, 
the actions of the dog and the wise Ant — the more we are convinced there are 
other animals that reason as well as man. But we claim for ourselves both reason 
and instinct, and I consider we are correct in doing so. We are all aware how we 
instinctively avoid and escape a danger, and have no knowledge at the time that 
we were in danger, or what constituted the danger. Again, we ai^e instinctively 
repelled or attracted by a person or place for which we can assign no reason, and 
very frequently we find our reason and judgment yielding to instinctive impressions 
even against our will. 

Now my theory is that what we call instinct is nothing more or less than reflex 
nerve action caused by peripheral irritation, irritation that don't reach the organ 
of consciousness although it does a motor nerve centre, and probably the sympa- 
thetic nerve ganglion, and whether we are attracted or repelled depends upon what 
it is that stimulates the peripheral sensory nei-ves. It may be atmospheric matter 
which may be either magnetic-electric, electro-magnetic, or some atom possessing 
some chemical properties that we are ignorant of, so minute and subtle as not to 
be recognized by the organ of consciousness yet cause reflex nerve action, affecting 
our emotions, creating that feeling that for want of a better name we call instinct. 
This is all perfectly comprehensible in accordance with the established laws of 
chemical affinity or magnetic energy, considering the apparently trifling agencies that 
cause typhoid, typhus, and scarlet fevers, measles and small-pox, etc., etc., all of 
which are unconsciously received into the system, yet producing such fearful physi- 
cal effects. That reflex action can be produced from causes independent of con- 
sciousness, has been proved by experiment, and more particularly when it is an 
established fact that the less there is of consciousness the greater the reflex action- 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 25 

which mechanical lesion or chemical change renders this organ and 
nerves, or organ or nerves, analgeric or anaesthetic ; that, consequent- 
ly, false intelligence, if any, is borne by the sensory nerves to the 
organ of consciousness, or the organ itself, incapable of receiving 
intelligence because of its abnormal state. Under either or any of these 
circumstances consciousness is deranged or confused to a greater or 
less degree, intelligence is arrested or dethroned, reason has lost its 
pilot, reflex action to a great degree takes its place, and the result is 

There are different degrees or stages of insanity, depending of 
course upon the extent of the mechanical lesion or chemical change 
in the anatomical parts, but no partial insanity. A man has but one 
mind, and that mind, a unit, either is or is not insane. We might as 
well say that a man had a partial typhoid fever, as to say that a man 
was partially insane. This idea of partial insanity, of monomania has 
resvilted from the classification of insanity into different forms from 
psychological symptoms. The same may be said of what is called 
moral insanity, that is to say, that a man might be intellectually sane 
and morally insane, which is simply nonsense. Nature makes no such 
distinction : when a man is intellectually insane he is all insane. 

Before offering any of what I conceive to be positive proofs of the 
correctness of my theory of insanity I will try and exhaust the nega- 
tive. What have pathologists done to throw light upon the cause of 
insanity ? Very much : they have at least shown what was not the 
cause of insanity. In those who have died, while insane, in those 
who have died who, at some time of their life, had been insane, the 
pathologist in his examination of the cadaver, has, at times, found 
abnormal states of the skin, of the intestinal system, of the nerve 
system, of the muscular system, of the vascular system, of the glandu- 
lar system, of the sexual system, and even of the skeleton. 


In these parts, pathologists have found new growths, tumors, 
abscesses, softening, sclerosis, macroscopical and microscopical 
lesions of tissues and soft parts. But then all of these states have 
been found in the cadaver of persons who never had been insane ; 
and, on the other hand, in some persons who had been insane none 
of these pathological changes were found in the cadaver. 

26 A Rational Materialistic Definition 


Pathologists have found an abnormal state of the heart. The^ 
have found the brain ansemic at one time — at another time hyper^- 
mic ; they have found aneurisms, thrombus, embolisms, etc., in the 
cadaver of persons who have died insane. But they have found all 
these pathological changes in the cadaver of persons who never had 
been insane ; and insanity has existed and none of these pathological 
appearances have been found in the cadaver. 


The lungs have been found in a pathological state in those who 
have died insane, or had been insane at some period of their lives, 
particularly proofs of phthisis in its different stages have been found 
by the pathologist. But similar states of the lungs have been found 
where there had never been a symptom of insanity ; and insanity has 
existed in persons who never had any disease whatever of the respira- 
tory organs. 


All the different diseases to which the digestive organs are subject 
— and they are numerous — have, from time to time, been found in 
the cadaver of persons who have died insane, or who, at some time of 
their life, had been insane j but similar pathological states have been 
found where there never had been insanity, and persons have died 
insane in whom there was none of these pathological states to be found 
in the cadaver. The same remarks are applicable to the whole 
glandular and sexual system. But what is most remarkable is the 
fact that persons have died insane, and the very best pathologists 
have not been able to find any pathological change in the cadaver to 
account either for the insanity, or, still more strange, for the death.* 

* It is very gratifying to me to find by the Chicago Medical Record, Vol. V.,, 
page 235, such a scientist as Dr. Spitzka making the following statement ; 

"Is there any gauge by which the truth of an expert's opinions can be tested ; if 
an expeit pronounces a boiler safe and it soon after explodes, his opinion shares 
the fate of the boiler. In like manner if an expeil pronounces a criminal sane in 
whose brain evidence of disease is found in post-mortem examination, the expert 
can never again speak with authority. The question naturally falls into several 
sub-questions. The first is, whether insanity is always associated with visible evi- 
dences of brain disease ; the answer to this question is no. The second is, whether 
the morbid appearances found in the brains of insane persons are ever found in the 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 27 

Yet death cannot take place without a cause, and that cause must be 
a pathological cause. There must be physical change to cause death ; 
yet, notwithstanding that, the best pathological anatomists have often 
failed to find the change. With our present means we cannot demon- 
strate the physical change which causes death from insanity, yet I 
must assume the cause. We say he or she died from physical or 
nerve exhaustion, but that does not improve matters ; we must get 
at the immediate cause of death. I have said that in the living animal 
machinery there were three orders of motion, mechanical, chemicai 
and molecular or electro-magnetic. The two first are demonstrable ; 

brains of persons known to have been sane ; the answer to this question is that 
some of the appearances described by certain authorities as related to insanity are 
found in every sane adult, and still other of the common findings in the insane 
brain are found occasionally in the brains of persons of ordinary soundness 
of mind. The third is, whether there is any constancy in the association of any 
special disease of the brain with special forms and stages of insanity ; the answer 
to this question is, that with some forms of insanity the post-mortem almost attains 
the value of an exact test of the diagnosis, while in others it does not . This is 
owing to the constancy of certain signs of brain disease in some persons, and their 
inconstancy with other forms of insanity, I may represent the likelihood of finding 
structural changes in the insane brain as follows : in mania a disease which may 
lead to forgeries, thefts, extravagant expenditure and destruction of property, though 
rarely to homicide, that likelihood is as 5 : 100. In acute melancholia (strictly 
limited) leading to suicide, to murder of the most cherished relatives, and in the 
episodial frenzy, to attack on strangers, it is almost zero . In epileptic insanity, 
frequently responsible for the apparently most brutal acts, it is 20 : 100. Jn 
monomania, which may be at the basis of any crime from contempt of court and 
libel to the immolation of a cathedral, or the assassination of the ruler of a nation 
on the one hand, and of insanely fraudulent or absurd contracts and insane dispo- 
sitions of property on the other, it is as 5 : loo ; in the terminal states it is as 60 : 
100 ; in imbecility and idiocy as So : 100 ; in progressive paresis of the insane it 
reaches the figure 99 : 100, and here alone and in insanity with organic diseases does 
the autopsy approximate the dignity from every point of view of a scientifically 
positive test." 

I have made this note not that I by any means agree with all the statements made 
by Dr. Spitzka, for example when he speaks of an insane epileptic being responsi- 
ble. But as additional proof of how little pathology has done to enlighten us, as 
to the pathological changes that take place to cause insanity, I presume that when 
he speaks of imbeciles and idiots he means not pathological but teratological 
defects; and another first-class authority. Dr. Hammond, gives a tabular statement 
of seven hundred cases of post-mortem appearances collected from idiot asylums, 
in only 60 of which were the appearances normal, which is a pretty positive proof 
that idiocy and imbecility is the result of teratological defect. 

28 A Rational Materialistic Definition, 

they are macroscopical and microscopical, therefore,' when organic 
change takes place in the vascular or digestive organs, causing death, 
they are demonstrable in the cadaver. But when organic changes 
takes place in the molecular or electro-magnetic nerve motion, 
or in what Du Bois Raymond calls electro-nerve motion, we have no 
means of demonstrating that fact. We have no microscopical power 
sufficient to demonstrate the change that takes place^ yet change in 
it there .must be to cause death from insanity. My theory is that 
•death from insanity is caused by the arresting of molecular motion, 
and that the cause is due to coagulation of nerve fluid from either 
chemical change or mechanical lesion^ for animal life and coagulation 
are incompatible. 

This, in my mind, is the reason why anatomical pathologists have 
failed to find cause for death in those who have died o/, or more pro- 
perly speaking, from mania or insanity. 

We sometimes find persons become suddenly maniacal and dying 
in a few days, nay in a few hours, and society is shocked at the 
sudden death. Now why is this ? 

People are not surprised when they hear of a sudden death from 
apoplexy or disease of the heart ; why then when they hear of a 
sudden death from insanity ? Simply because they are not accustomed 
to consider insanity as a physical disease, because we cannot show in 
the cadaver the cause of death ; the mechanical lesions or chemical 
change are neither macroscopic nor microscopic. But after all, many 
other people die as well as maniacs, and we cannot show cause for their 
death. Yet people are not surprised. Pathology then has simply 
enabled us to exhaust the negative, that is, it has proved to us what 
are not the physical changes which cause insanity, and it thereby 
turns our attention to some other channel where happily we may find 
out the cause. Therefore the labors of the pathologist have rendered 
the greatest possible service to medical science, and no doubt but 
what it will yet do much more. 


What knowledge has the medical treatment of insanity afforded us 
towards giving us any idea of what is insanity ? Unfortunately very 
little. It has been purely a treatment of symptoms without know- 
ledge of cause, empirical treatment. At one time or another all 
the different medicines of the Pharmacopoeia have been recommended 

Of Insanity and Tmhecility. 29 

and tried for the cure of insanity : result ni/, and very frequently 
something worse. 

I must not overlook the fact of how difficult it is to find even 
two experts agree upon a man's mental state, when he is accused of 
crime, as the very strongest proof that, so far as clinical symptoms go,, 
there has been no definition of insanity as a physical disease. All 
the scientific world must, and no doubt does, admire the Constitution 
of the United States of America, that, under it, such latitude was- 
allowed in the trial of Guiteau. But the same world must have 
observed with regret the testimony given by the majority of the 
experts. All psychological symptoms, not an attempt made to define 
insanity as a physical disease. One expert only, as far as I saw, 
attempted a scientific explanation of the phenomenon on trial, and 
that was Dr. Spitzka, and he was insulted, most grossly insulted, by 
the District Attorney, and called a veterinary surgeon because he was- 
a student of morphology and zoology, taking the very best means of 
all others to enable him to arrive at a scientific conclusion, and, as he 
himself properly remarked, pursuing the same course as that pursued 
by such men as Huxley, Hugent, Haeckel, and other men of science 
such as they. All these facts, however, go to prove our great ignor- 
ance as to what is insanity. I have shown, I hope, that morbid 
pathology and histology have only taught us what is not insanity. 
Psychology has done something, but only in leading us to look for 
cause for effect, and Physiology has done the same, and no more- 
These as symptoms, with clinical or pathological symptoms, are 
actually necessary to lead us to look for cause for effect. But to find 
out cause we must have recourse to morphological and microscopical 
anatomy, to animal or organic chemistry, to experimental and patho- 
logical physiology ; but above all we must study closely clinical patho- 
logy (from clinical observations I have formed my views). All these 
are necessary before we can positively know the physical changes- 
which are taking place which cause insanity. 

Our ignorance of these is due to many causes. First, we have 
been educated to believe mind was something different from, and not. 
dependent upon matter ; in fact that insanity was not altogether a 
physical disease, but something more, something that we could not. 
reach if we would. That we must be very cautious how we toucli 
upon the subject of mind in man, or we might be guilty of 
materialism, a fine word which has been made to do good service^ 
causing many to shrink back in their search after scientific truth. 

so A Rational Materialistic Definition 

This idea has, however, lost ground since people began to discover it 
did not at all follow because a man recognized such a scientific truth 
as that the mind of man, as we know it, is the product of matter, as 
we know and define matter, he must necessarily be what these people 
call materialists, meaning thereby infidels. These people do not 
recognize that there is potentiality or latent power in matter, or that 
there can exist in man a self-conscious reason, in virtue of what 
Dr. T. S. Hunt would call biotic matter.* 

We have consequently been taught to believe that consciousness 
was not of the material order, was not of a brain organ, but some- 
thing beyond the bounds of scientific research, and again, as I have 
already said, we have been led very much astray by the classification 

* Since the foregoing was written we have to regret the loss of that gr^eat scien- 
tist and philosopher, Charles Robert Darwin, to whom the world is indebted for 
having established that philosophy, to be true must have for its basis or foundation 
scientific facts, and that science itself to be true must be based on facts, that in all 
-cases facts must precede inferences. 

How different and how reasonable the Darwinian philosophy to that of other 
philosophers, even from that of Descartes, who from his premises was a sound 
philosopher and logician. But Darwin by changing the basis of philosophy 
changed the whole system, and made it intelligible and comprehensible. 

Descartes said (cogito ergo sum) : "I think, therefore I am," the converse of 
which would be, if I do not think, I am not, therefore when I sleep, when under 
the influence of an anaesthetic, when comatose, when a maniac, I do not think, 
therefore I am not, which would be an absurdity. Fichts, and apparently Balmes, 
said the explanation of " Cogito ergo sum," was " whoever does not exist cannot 
think," which would be still a greater absurdity, for if there is a whoever, he must 
exist ; the very term whoever implies person, and person implies existence. 

Had Descartes, like Darwin, based his philosophy upon scientific facts, he 
would have known that as there was in all matter potentiality, so mind was in all 
things that existed, whether organic matter or otherwise ; but that through organic 
living matter mind was developed. Therefore while the capacity of thinking is to 
each individual a proof that he exists, existence can be without the capacity of 
thinking. It is as impossible for us to conceive mind without matter, as for us to 
conceive matter without mind. 

The great Darwin is dead, and England has opened its great national temple, 
Westminster Abbey, to give his remains its last resting place. Wonderful working 
time ! What will the fanatics and bigots say now ? These small-minded ridiculers, 
whom I spoke of in my lecture on Evolution before the Montreal Medico-Chirurgi- 
•cal Society, and which is published in the Canada Medical Record for January, 
l88i, those who called Darwin's philosophy " the gospel of dirt." 

Gentlemen, Darwin and his works will be remembered when you are all for- 

Of Insanity and Imhecility. 31 

made of insanity as found in our text books. Having, as I conceive, 
exhausted the negative, I will now give such positive proofs as I 
have to offer in support of my theory, that insanity is a physical dis- 
ease, caused by a pathological defect /// the sensory nerves and the 
•organ of consciousness, or 0/ the sensory nerves or organ of conscious- 
ness, and that the pathological defect is due to either mechanical 
lesion or chemical change of one or more of these anatomical parts ; 
that as a man has but one mind, and it is the product of matter, when 
that mind is diseased (insane), it is all diseased. So that, when a 
man is insane he is all insane, there being different degrees or stages 
of insanity, but no such thing as partial insanity, no different forms 
of insanity, except we would call mania from mechanical lesion one 
form, and from chemical change another form. There might be good 
practical results from recognizing these two forms, because they are 
founded upon pathological change in mind matter. 

I cannot conceive any such thing as functional insanity. To be 
insanity there must be pathological defect, which cannot take place 
without organic modification. Neither can I conceive mechanical or 
•chemical change of nerve tissue, or mechanical or chemical change of 
any tissue, without traumatism. I do not beheve in idiopathic 
insanity any more than I believe in functional insanity. For 
that matter I believe that all diseases are from traumatic cause. 
But I am only writing on insanity, and I speak of insanity pure and 
simple^ without being complicated with other diseases. But while 
ignoring all classification of insanity except these two forms founded 
upon pathological change of mind matter, I consider it important to 
recognize stages of insanity, such as acute, sub-acute, and chronic, 
and the final stage, dementia. Sometimes the acute stage will last for 
months, and finally the patient recover. Sometimes it is very hard 
to say where the acute stage becomes sub-acute and then chronic. I 
have seen cases where the first two stages did not last many days, 
nay many hours, before the chronic stage set in. And I have very 
frequently seen the chronic stage change to acute. Now I confess 
I know of no clinical symptoms by which these different stages can 
loe diagnosticated. I judge of these stages from the psychological 
symptoms that each stage presents. The clinical symptoms, as far as 
I have observed, are pretty equal in all stages, insomnia, analgesia and 
low temperature, but all these symptoms become more marked as the 
-disease advances to its final stage, dementia, with the exception of 
insomnia. The foregoing clinical symptoms I have so frequently 

32 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

found are the firs^ facts I have to offer as proofs of my theory, that 
insanity is a physical disease, the result of an abnormal state of the 
sensory nerves and organ of consciousness. 

I have said that I know of no clinical symptoms by which I could 
diagnose mania in its different stages ; and that it was from the his- 
tory of the case, and psychological symptoms, that I classified these 
different stages. But the question has constantly suggested itself to 
me, can there be mechanical lesion of a sensory nerve or of the organ 
of consciousness, and such lesion not be followed by inflammation ; 
or can there be chemical changes in the molecular nerve fluid causing 
displacement of molecules or atoms or turbidity of the electric fluid, 
without producing inflammation, whether the morbid changes be the 
result of poison or otherwise ? 

Although changes in tissue must not necessarily cause, or be the 
result of, inflammation, yet I must confess I find it hard to conceive 
a nerve lesion not followed by inflammation, but I know of no clinical 
symptoms that would enable me to diagnose inflammatory action ; 
yet there may be symptoms that as yet we are ignorant of. Then, on 
the other hand, it is equally hard to conceive inflammation in attacks 
of temporary or recurrent mania, and if inflammation was necessary 
in one case it would be equally necessary in another ; moreover, we 
know that paralysis can take place without inflammation. The more 
I have reasoned on this question the more I have found it surrounded 
with difficulties. If, however, I see a case in the early acute stage of 
mania, I treat the case as if there were possible inflammation, conceiv- 
ing if I do err, I err on the safe side. It is at such times, in the early 
stage, that I recommend perfect repose, hot baths, laxatives and seda- 
tives ; I do not then use electricity or any preparation of strychnine 
such as nux vomica — although in a later stage I use both the one 
and the other, according to circumstances. 

As I have already said, the question of inflammation in any stage 
of mania is surrounded with difficulties which will only be solved by 
close clinical observations, for until we have a much more powerful 
microscope than we now possess we need not expect much informa- 
tion on that point from pathological examination of the cadaver. 

A still more important question is one which has suggested itself 
to me, and no doubt will also to the reader, and that is, what particu- 
lar sort of lesion of the sensory nerves renders the electric vital 
fluid turbid or opaque, causing insanity ? For we know that all nerve 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 33 

lesions do not cause insanity, or every person the victim of lacerated 
wounds should become insane. 

I do not know what particular description of lesion of the afferent 
nerve or organ of consciousness causes mania, no more than I know 
what particular lesion of the efferent nerve causes motor paralysis. 
Eut clinical observation shows that in both cases there is paralysis — 
in one case of the sensory nerves, in another of the motor. Again, 
we do not know why some lesions of the sensory nerves produce 
tetanus, the injured nerve directly communicating centripetally with 
the motor nerve centres in the spinal cord, causing convulsions and 
■death, yet the intellect during life remaining intact, — all these ques- 
tions are yet to be solved. But my theory is, that the lesion of the 
afferent nerve that causes insanity, or mania, is due to some change 
of chemical atoms in the nerve tubes and cells more than to any 
lesion of nerve fibres, consequently, I am inclined to believe all cases 
of mania are caused either by chemical change of nerve fluid, as, for 
example, what is understood as toxic mania, or by some germ, whether 
generated in the system and finding its way into the nerve cells or 
tubes, or admitted into those sensitive parts from without. Indeed I 
see no means of accounting for recurrent mania, or for those periodi- 
cal attacks of mania, when the patient is for a short time a violent 
maniac and is suddenly restored, for a time, to a perfect state of 
intelligence, except by recognizing the germ theory ; and as the germ 
theory in all other diseases is now so well established, particularly in 
tubercles of the lungs, I see no reason why we should not recognize 
the germ theory, that is, germs in the nerve cells or tubes, as one 
great cause of insanity. It requires no very great stretch of our 
imagination to conceive a germ in the fluid of the afferent nerves pro- 
pelled by molecular motion to the organ of consciousness, and, while 
remaining in that organ, producing violent mania, said mania subsiding 
when the germ by the same process becomes removed from the organ 
of consciousness. Thus could we easily account for periodic or recurrent 
mania, each attack depending on one of these germs in the organ of 
consciousness ; thus could we account for lapses of consciousness and 
intellectual confusion, which is insanity. On the other hand those cases 
of mania that run their course either to recovery or dementia or death, 
without periodical changes, we might well assume to be of a toxic 
nature, producing chemical changes such as I have spoken of in the 
sensory nerves and organ of consciousness, whether that poison was 
anaesthetics taken by the mouth, such as whiskey, etc., or by respira- 


34 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

tion, such as chloroform, etc. ; or that the poison was due to some 
atmospheric materia morbi or to some electro-magnetic influence^ 
matters not, it would be toxic mania, the mania caused by chemical 
change in the electro-motor nerve fluid, the mania disappearing as 
the nerve fluid becomes restored to its normal pellucid consistency. 

This being my theory, I maintain that all cases of mania, if not all 
other diseases, are due to traumatism, but that some persons are so 
constituted, or from some cause, such as suffering, so predisposed, that 
they are perhaps more Hable to become insane from these causes 
than are others ; yet holding the theory of insanity that I hold, I 
maintain that no person can claim exemption from insanity. I regret, 
from the position I now hold, I am debarred from the opportunities 
so necessary to investigate more closely into all these points ; I hope, 
however, that some of my confreres will apply themselves to such an 
investigation. Secondly, I observed that a drunken man by his con- 
duct, his psychological and physiological symptoms, gave proof that 
he was insane, and that he passed through three stages of insanity, 
acute, subacute and dementia. That this mania was toxic mania, 
the result of an ansesthetic taken into the stomach, and that his clini- 
cal symptoms were insomnia, at least in the first two stages, and in 
all the stages, analgesia and low temperature. Again, the temporary 
paralysis of the drunken man I found similar to the temporary 
paralysis very frequently found in the insane, and I concluded both 
were from the same cause, — paralysis first of the peripheral sensory 
nerves, which go to the motor centres in the cord^ producing a like 
effect on the motor nerves, or irritation of the peripheral sensory 
nerves, which causes either paralysis of the motor or convulsions by 
reflex action. Thirdly, I had observed, and have had my observations 
confirmed by the observations of others, particularly by Lyman in his 
valuable work on artificial ansesthesia, that during artificial anaesthesia, 
whether from chloroform, ether, etc., the ansesthetized person was 
rendered temporarily insane, and passed through the same three stages 
of insanity. Fourthly, I have found a fall of temperature in all cases 
of insanity where there was no complication, and that as the different 
stages advanced the lower became the temperature. I have found 
the same phenomena in the drunken man, and Lyman has found it in 
the temporary insanity produced by ansesthetics. But it may be said, 
might not this temperature be caused by the heart's action, and have 
nothing whatever to do with the sensory nerves ? I don't think so, 
for the following reasons : I have found analgesia and low tempertaure 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 35 

where the pulse was accelerated, and equally so where the pulse was 
normal, where respiration was accelerated and where respiration 
was normal, where digestion was normal and where it was abnormal, 
where pupils were normal and where they were abnormal, where 
locomotion was normal and where it was abnormal. From all these 
facts I concluded that in insanity external low temperature and exter- 
nal analgesia were due to pathological changes of the sensory nerves. 
Low temperature in the insane where there is no complication is 
now no longer a theory, but is recognized as an established fact, 
particularly since the appearance of Charcot's published lectures on 
the diseases of old age, although I was laughed at when I declared it 
a symptom of insanity in the trial of Hay vern. 

The following cases, taken from my note book, will elucidate my 
views : 

No. I. — ^J. N., aged 26. — Well nourished, greatly excited— mania acute. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 100 — Axillary temperature 

No. 2. — ^J. R., aged 50. — Well nourished, not much excited, ym^z^j, impotent 
— subacute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 104 — Temperature, 97. 

No. 3. — M. B., aged 63. — Had been an inebriate in his youth, loss of memory, 
early stage of paresis, — says he knows he is becoming insane. Pupils normal, res 
piration normal, digestion normal, well nourished — chronic mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse,'90 — Temperature, 95 — 4.5, 

No. 4. — Mrs. A., aged 24. — Well nourished, of a suicidal tendency — subacute 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 80 — Temperature, 97 — 2.5. 

No. 5. — Madame J. L., aged 25. — Nursing, well nourished, suicidal — subacute 

Clinical symptoms — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 90 — Temperature, 98 . 

No. 6. Miss A. B., aged 23.^Well nourished, much excited, very uncontrol 
able, delirious — acute mania in a hysterical girl. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 120 — Temperature, 97 — 

No. 7. — W. B., aged 46. — Well nourished, bad history, sister died insane, 
brother hung himself. Has suicidal desire — subacute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 90 — Temperature, 98. 

No. 8. — L. C, aged 26. — Had been an inebriate up to the last two years, had 
two fits, were told they were epileptic, remembers nothing of them . Drank no 
liquors for the time mentioned, feels he is going mad. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 90 — Temperature, 97 — 3.5.. 

No. 9. — Miss M., aged 34. — Body well nourished, melanchohc mania in a 
hysterical girl. 

36 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 120 — Temperature, 97. 
No. 10. — Mrs. G., aged 39. — Badly nourished, very excitable, prognosive 
paresis — chronic mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 90 — Temperature, 97. 
No. II. — D. L., aged 24. — Fairly well nourished, very much excited — acute 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 1 10 — Temperature, 97 — 

No. 12. — P. M., aged 18. — Badly nourished, gi-eatly excited — acute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 100 — Temperature, 97. 

No. 13. — Miss M., aged 40. — Well nourished, loss of memory, cannot collect 
her thoughts, always feels cold, is suspicious and unhappy, not excitable — subacute 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 80 — Temperature, 96. 

The following are cases in asylum : 

No. 14 M. C, aged 23. — In asylum three years. — Fairly well nourished — 

subacute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 100 — Temperature, 96. 

No. 15. — M. C, aged 34. — In asylum four months. Moderately nourished — 
acute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 110 — Temperature, 98. 

No. 16. — D. P., aged 24. — Well developed and well Lnourished girl. In asy- 
lum six months — acute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, no — Temperature, 96. 

No. 17. — J. M., aged 35. — Well nurtured. In asylum four days. Second ad- 
mission. Acute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia— Analgesia — Pulse, 80 — Temperature, 98. 

No. 18. — S. A., aged, she says, 103— looks it. Dementia. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Pulse, no — Temperature, 96. 

No. 19. — A. J., aged 25. — A well developed young girl. In asylum two days. 
Very excited. Had been three months in prison. Acute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia. — Analgesia — Pulse, no — Temperature, 98. 

No. 20. — Miss P., aged 20. — Well nourished, very excited, violent and noisy. 
In asylum one month. Acute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 120— Temperature, 97 — 

No. 21. — Miss G., aged 20. — Badly nourished, yet general health good. In 
asylum two years. Very quiet — chronic mania. 

Clinical symptoms — Analgesia — Pulse, 80 — Temperature, 97 — 4.5. 

No. 22. — Miss D., aged 22. — Well nourished. In asylum two months. Very 
violent and excitable — acute mania. 

Clinical symptoms. — Insomnia — Analgesia — Pulse, 120 — Temperature, 97 — 


No. 23. — Miss B., aged 22. — Her mother insane since the girl was born. Girl 

in asylum two years. When admitted was a well looking girl, suffering from a 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 37 

subacute mania. Never could make any clinical examination till now, when she 
is literally dying. 

Clinical symptoms. — *Pulse, 120 — Temperature, 102 — 2.5. 

From the twenty-three foregoing cases, it will be seen that none 
were imbeciles. All were cases of insanity from pathological defect, as 
I considered these the proper cases to prove or disprove my theory. 
I have the record of many other cases with similar results. But from 
these alone I think I have the right to assume that low temperature is 
a clinical symptom of insanity, and that the fall of temperature is due 
to the abnormal state of the sensory nerves. 

But the question is by no means settled whether temperature, 
under any circumstances, is due to cardiac action and not to the 
sensory nerves. I consider temperature dependent upon the latter 
for many reasons. First. The properties of life are not in the vegitative 
but the animal system, and one of the properties of life in the animal 
IS heat. Secondly. From the fact that, in the insane, we find low 
temperature where there is increased cardiac and normal cardiac 
action. Thirdly. That where there is extensive ulceration of the 
integuments surrounding the leg, there is low temperature below the 
ulcerated part, although no defect in circulation. Fourthly. That 
certain medicines, such as quinine and whiskey, in large doses, 
diminish temperature without diminishing cardiac action. 

According to Charcot, strong black coffee and tea increase 
animal heat. I have proved this to be the case without increasing 
heart's action, and, according to Professor Charcot, both central and 
external algidity can exist, and temperature can be increased, quite 
independent of the action of the heart. Charcot says : " Magendie 
has proved by experiments which Claude Bernard has confirmed that 
all severe irritation of the peripheral nerves has the effect of lowering 
cardiac pressure, which according to Mentigazza diminishes central 
temperature." Now, it is a well-known fact that all severe irritation 
of the peripheral nerves, such as scalds, burns, laceration of the 
integuments, severe flogging, etc., cause fall of temperature, sometimes 
even to collapse, and also a lowering of cardiac pressure, but I fail 
to see the sense of Mentigazza's conclusions, that the diminished 
temperature was in any way the result of lowering of cardiac pres- 
sure. The old theory that the blood was the animal life is now 
exploded, thanks to the researches of Boer and Hseckel, and the 

* When I speak of acute and subacute mania, I mean stages of mania and all tem- 
perature below 98 — 2.5, abnormal or low temperature. 

38 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

scientific fact has been established that animal life is in the nervous 
system, consequently animal heat ; and that the blood is the reproduc- 
tive fluid of the body. In J^rain, Vol. IV., page 398, " Dr. Maclagan 
argues that there is a special thermic centre high up in the cord, 
controlling and regulating the temperature of the body ; that this 
centre is endowed with heat-producing and heat inhibitory powers ; 
that it has intimate physiological and anatomical relations with other 
important centres ; that it has connected with it a special set of 
thermal nerves, distinct from the ordinary nerves of sensation, that 
these nerves are very freely distributed to the skin." Dr. Maclagan 
may be right, and even if he is, it does not affect my theory of 
insanity that it is due to an anesthetic state of the sensory nerves and 
organs of consciousness, and that where there is cutaneous analgesia 
there is cutaneous algidity. Admitting his theory, it is only another 
proof that the temperature is dependent upon the nervous not on the 
circulating system. 

In the Journal of Science for March, 1882, there is an article, 
the " Distinctions between Organisms and Minerals," from which I 
quote in support of my views of morphology and temperature : " If 
we examine the intimate structure of the plants or the animal, we 
find tubes somethimes hollow, sometimes containing a fluid, or some- 
times a solid matter, differing in its nature from the enclosing walls ; 
we find also round or oval vesicles known as cellules, and generally 

containing fluid matter." " It may here be well to remark, for 

the benefit of such readers as are not conversant with modern bio- 
chemical research, that protoplasm is not an abstract idea or a mere 
theoretical body. It is a substance which can be obtained from 
certain plants, /. e. Ethalmm Septicujn, and submitted to the investi- 
gations of the chemist and the microscopist. The idea was taken up 
by H. H. O. Lowe and Thomas Bokorny of Munich. The former 
of those chemists in establishing a rational formula for albumen was 
struck by the circumstance that it contained a number of aldehyde 
groups immediately bordering upon amide groups. Such groups, 
according to modern chemical philosophy, must be distinguished 
by intense atomic motion. Hence argued Herr Loew, this motion 
constitutes life, whilst the respective displacement of the aldehyde 
and amide groups, and the necessary cessation of the atomic 
motion involves death, it may be of a mere molecule or protoplasm, 

or of a large portion, or of the entire animal or plant Apparently 

trifling agencies displace the molecules and their action ceases. 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 39 

During every such molecular displacement, which is in fact a com- 
bustion, heat is liberated. Hence the rise of temperature in fevers 
and that which occurs upon death. On the other hand, when lifeless 
albumen is assimilated, and converted into the protoplasm of a 
living cell, heat becomes latent." 

The reader will perceive from my standpoint, clinical observations, 
that I arrived at the same conclusions, with regard to life, death, and 
temperature, as does Herr Loewand Bokorny of Munich from chemi- 
cal observations. I said that life and heat were dependent upon 
molecular or atomic motion, and that the arrest of this motion was 
the cause of death, at least in insanity proper, consequently patholo- 
gists could not demonstrate the cause of death from examination of 
the cadaver. 

Fifthly. I have found in all cases of insanity that there was to a 
greater or lesser degree loss of consciousness, or rather confusion or 
lapse of consciousness, which I attribute to the pathological state of 
the sensory nerves and organ of consciousness. 

Sixthly. As a general rule, I have found insomnia to be a marked 
symptom of insanity, indeed I consider insane persons in a kind of 
half sleep, so we find those insane persons who don't take two hours, 
-sleep in the twenty-four insisting they sleep the whole night, and 
frequently during the day. This state of insomnia I also attribute to 
the pathological state of the organ of consciousness and sensory 

Recapitulation : — I define insanity to be a physical disease caused 
by a pathological change in the sensory nerves and organ of conscious- 
ness, or either, consequently loss of consciousness, increased reflex 
action, confusion of intellect, loss of intellect, necessarily loss of nor- 
mal reason, insanity. From the same state of these organs we have 
low temperature and insomnia. So far then I have shown cause for 
■effect in the clinical symptoms I have found in the insane, at least, I 
conceive I have ; and now can fairly assume that all the physiologi- 
cal and psychological symptoms observable in the insane may be attri- 
buted to these physical changes in a man's mental organization. When 
we remember that the motor nerves of the face take their origin from 
the highest source of our intellectual organization, and that this organi- 
zation is no longer capable of sending messages through these nerves, 
or if at all so, false intelligence or still more probable that their actions 
become reflex, we know the anatomical cause for the physiological 
changes that are so marked in the features of the maniac ; a change so 

40 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

great, a stamp of insanity so clear, as to be sufficient to satisfy the ex- 
perienced alienists that the person is insane without further examina- 
tion. Yet remarkable as it is, it is impossible artistically to describe. It 
must be seen to be known. A Michael Angelo or a Raphael might repre- 
sent the physiological features of the insane, but I cannot find words to 
describe them ; yet in insanity as in sanity, the ruling passions are 
indelibly stamped on the human face, if we only learn to read them. 

Various as are the physiological and psychological changes and 
symptoms in the insane, they are not more various than the difference 
recognised between men not insane, all depending upon the changes 
taking place in the mental organization. 

After all that has been said and written upon the various forms 
of insanity, and the classifications from extraneous causes and psycho- 
logical symptoms, the monomaniacs, the partial insanities, the moral 
and intellectual insanities, it all comes to this, according to my 
theory, that all are insane from the same physical cause, viz., an 
abnormal or pathological state of the organ of consciousness and the 
sensory nerves, and that all the different physiological and psycholo- 
gical symptoms, no matter how they differ in different individuals, are 
due to this anatomical cause, this pathological change which causes 
lapse of consciousness, consequently the actions of the insane are 
chiefly reflex. When man's mental organization is normal, his mind 
is sane, his desires are sane, his instincts and impulses are sane, and 
consequently his conduct is sane. 

When a man's mental organization is abnormal, his mind is insane^ 
his desires are insane, his impulses and instincts are insane, and 
consequently his conduct is insane. And, as a rule, all the desires, 
instincts and impulses of an insane man are exactly the contrary of a 
sane man, and he proves these facts by his conduct — he has no will, 
properly speaking . Next to man perhaps the dog is the most intelli- 
gent animal. When it becomes insane it portrays its insanity by its 
conduct. Both man and dog when insane become suspicious of their 
best friends^ and turn upon them to rend them. The dog's master 
knows the dog is mad from its conduct, because its conduct is at 
variance with the dog's habitual conduct. As with the dog so with 
the man. We judge of the sanity of the latter also by his conducts 
knowing that his conduct is the outcome of his mental organization, 
and that it gives evidence of what that organization is. Therefore, 
when we see a man living in breach of all the natural and social laws 
by which society is governed and kept together, we naturally conclude 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 4:1 

that such a man is either imbecile or insane. In the former case he 
is what he is in virture of teratological defect in his mental organiza- 
tion, in the latter case he is what he is in virtue of pathological defect 
in his mental organization. In either case^, he is an irresponsible 
creature, because of his abnormal mental organization ; a man not fit 
to live in society ; a man from whom society should be protected ; 
and a man that society should protect from himself. 

Insane desires are very variable. One man's desire is for drink^ 
another is to commit murder, another is suicide, another is to set fire 
to buildings, another has perverted sexual desire — all the result of an 
abnormal mental organization and consequent reflex action. Some of 
those insane and imbecile persons will know the nature of their act, 
know right from wrong ; they will tell you they know they have done 
wrong, but that they could not help it. Their cry is, " volo non valeo ; "' 
they have no freedom of the will. 

The reader will understand that I fully recognize the fact that any 
organic disease of the substance of the brain or its membranes, or its 
vessels, or of the cavity of the cranium, can by pressing upon the 
organ of consciousness produce insanity, but in these cases the insan- 
ity is the symptom of another disease, but is caused by the injury to 
the organ of consciousness ; this would be insanity complicated with 
other diseases. Thus I explain what is termed the general paralysis 
of the insane, which according to Dr. Mendel is atrophy of the brain ; 
the same diseased state of the brain causes the paralysis of the organ 
of consciousness and the motor nerves. But there are a great many 
cases of insanity where there is paraplegia, yet there is no organic 
disease of the brain ; and the only connection between the insanity 
and the paraplegia is that the same abnormal state of the sensory 
nerves which causes the abnormal state of the organ of consciousness 
causes a similar state of the motor centres in the spinal cord, which 
they pierce directly without taking a course through the organ of 
consciousness. Thus do we account for the unconscious reflex action 
in the lower extremities in cases of insanity. Many insane persons 
die in convulsions, particularly those in whom the cause of the trau- 
matic state of the sensory nerves was poison, such as alcohol or hydro- 
phobic poison. Insanity may be complicated with any other disease. 
Having disease of any organ does not exempt a person from the 
disease which causes insanity. For example, all epileptics and hysterical 
persons are not necessarily insane, but they are certainly predisposed 
to insanity, and we frequently find those persons subject to fits of 

42 A Rational Materialistio Definition 

recurrent mania. So much is this the case that all writers speak of 
epileptic mania and hysterical mania as distinct forms of insanity, and 
this purely from psychological symptoms. Now, I do not see that 
there is necessarily any connection between insanity and epilepsy ; 
more than this, that the nerve explosion which would otherwise 
culminate in a convulsive fit culminates in an impulsive act in those 
who are already insane. No doubt the psychological symptoms of 
an insane epileptic differ in many respects from those of other insane 
persons, but not more than should have been expected from the 
abnormal physical condition of an epileptic. The same may be said 
■of an hysterical person who most undoubtedly suffers from patho- 
logical changes in some nerve tissues, although we do not see these 
changes. What I wish to point out is this, that although hysterical 
patients and epileptics are persons evidently predisposed to insanity, 
and when insane exhibit pecuHar physiological and psychological 
symptoms, yet epilepsy and hysteria are diseases distinct from insanity, 
and do not result from the same pathological cause or defect in the 
nervous system or mental organization. But, in reality, we hardly 
ever find two insane persons presenting the same psychological 
symptoms as I have already said more than once, but the most 
dangerous, because the most impulsive, of all maniacs is the maniacal 
epileptic. In a letter received from Dr. Kiernan, editor of the 
Chicago Medical Review., he propounded to me the following question 
with regard to Hayvern : " Was the patient's face asymmetrical, and 
was it that which led you to suspect possible epilepsy ? " The fore- 
going question led me to make a special examination of the faces of 
fifty-three (53) maniacal epileptics ; of these twenty-three were females, 
out of which fifteen had the asymmetrical faces^ the remaining eight 
nothing remarkable. Then there were thirty males, all maniacal 
epileptics ; of these twenty-five had the asymmetrical face, the remain- 
ing five nothing remarkable. From the foregoing facts I feel satisfied 
that the asymmetrical face is sometimes a most important physiologi- 
cal symptom in the maniacal epileptic. I remarked in every case that 
the contour of the face seemed to deviate towards the right side from 
the mesian line, leaving the left side apparently flattened. Now for 
this physiological effect there must be cause ; it must be due to some 
abnormal state of the facial nerves at their centre, and this should lead 
pathologists to search in the regions of those centres for the cause of 
epilepsy. I sincerely thank Dr. Kiernan for drawing my attention to 
this physiological symptom in cases of epilepsy, and for the honorable 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 43 

and scientific manner in which he reviewed the evidence given in the 
case of the unfortunate man Hayvern. I also render my most grate- 
ful thanks to Dr. D. Hack Tuke, editor of the Journal of Mental 
Science, for his more than kind remarks in that journal on the Hayvern 
case.* I have endeavored to explain the physical cause, the patho- 
logical defects, for the physiological effect insanity. 

I shall now consider what are the predisposing and direct causes 
producing the anatomical change. There is no doubt but some are 
more predisposed to this disease than others, For example, it is im- 
possible, with the examples we have before us, to ignore hereditary 
taint, a hereditary predisposition, yet there are hundreds of cases 
where we can trace no heredity, consequently there must be many 
persons predisposed without heredity. St. George Mivart says, " No 
one thing can act on any other except that in such other there is an 
innate capacity of being acted on." Now, accepting this physical 
truism, we must recognize that there must be a predisposition, per- 
haps, in all men, but certainly more in some than others, to insanity. 
If we divide society into three classes, that is from an intellectual 
standpoint, we may designate them as follows, the imbecile class, the 
criminal class, and the intellectual class, taking my definition of an 
intellectual man. Now, according to my theory, the imbecile and 
criminal class are the result of teratological. defect, the intellectual are 
so because of their normal m.ental organization. These are certainly 
three distinct classes. Now, judging by our asylums, there is no 
doubt but that the imbecile class are the most likely to become insane, 
next the criminal class, and lastly the intellectual class. Why is this? 
Simply because the imbecile and criminal classes have already defec- 
tive physical mental organization, whether that defective state be due 
to defective convolutions, according to Bendikt, or to asymmetries, 

* I received a letter from Dr. Kiernan, bearing date May 19th, 1882, in which 
the following occurs : "A notice of my article in the Chicago Medical Review , on 
the Hayvern case, appears in the Centralblatt fiir nei'venheilkiettd de^'M.B.y i, 1882, 
page 2, vol. 7, in which Dr. Voigt takes the groundthat Hayvern was an epileptic, 
and cites the following old observation about epileptic insanity, which is something 
new to me, from Paul Zacchias (Quest, med. legal. Tome III., cons. 27, n. 7, 8. 
Frankfurt, 1688) : Epileptici gravi morbo occasione tentati ante occaiionem et post 
occasiojietn per aliquot dies extra mentem sunt." 

"July 5, 1882, Dr. Mendel's Centralblatt tzkes the same ground as you did in 
the Hayvern case, and regards him as an epileptic. G. J. Kiernan." 

So England, Germany and America have supported my diagnosis made in the 
case of the unfortunate Hayvern. 

44 A national Materialistic Definition 

according to many other physiologists, particularly Dr. Spitzka. The 
fact is then that as in the imbecile class, so in the criminal class, there 
is cerebral defect which must predispose such persons to insanity.* 

* In the Journal of Mental Science, Vol. XXV., page 1 19, there occurs the fol- 
lowing : " ^ New Type of Insanity. At a meeting of the Verin of German physi- 
cians, who occupy themselves with the treatment of insanity, held at Nuremberg^ 
in Sept., 1877, there was a good deal of debating about the different forms of 
insanity, and the following resolution proposed by Dr. Meynerte, was unanimous- 
ly adopted : "The members of the Verin of Psychiatrie agree in recognizing 
besides melancholia and mania a third original form of mental disease, primary 
craziness or insanity Cpremare verlickheit), what Tigges described as Walsium." 

As it would not do to treat with disrespect this creation of so many learned 
physicians, it is incumbent on me to introduce our new friend to English readers, 
as he is exhibited in the Psychiatresches Centralblait for December, 1877 : 

' ' In these subjects there is a hereditary neurotic tendency, and something strange 
about the disposition from infancy. They are quiet, soft children, the delight of their 
mothers, and at a later time their bitterest sorrow; theyshun the society of other 
children and indulge in day dreams ; their bodily growth is normal, but even trifling 
diseases take in cerebral symptoms. Some of them towards the end of the period of 
development have illusions or hallucinations of the senses, indulge in false ideas 
and sink rapidly into mental weakness ; others reach their twentieth year without 
any marked derangement- 

They may show talent in special directions, but their intelligence never passes 
out of the puerile stage . 

They become morbidly sensitive ; often they brood over some feminine ideal, 
generally a girl with whom perhaps they have never exchanged a word, though 
fancying they have tokens of encouragement ; they are apt to endeavor to attract 
the attention of others by an affected carriage ; they want energy to resist bold 
opposition, though they get rapidly into a state of theatrical exaltation, spasmodic 
weeping and hysterical fits ; there is a greater or lesser degree of hypochondria. 

They are always thinking of the conduct of strangers towards them, hear 
their names called in the streets, find reference to themselves in everything, and 
notice allusions to their doings in the newspapers. A young man of this sort ima- 
gines that a secret society persecutes him because he is in their way, not because he 
is unworthy and deserves punishment, as a melancholia would put it. 

The friends of the object of his afiections puts impediments in his way, slander 
and persecute him, on which account his own family look upon him with dislike ? 
often he disguises his feelings, his conduct passes as incomprehensible eccentricity, 
and from his softness of disposition violent outbursts are rare, though sometimes an 
accident brings out the morbid condition. At a later time illusions of the senses fal- 
sify the whole relations of the patient with the outer world : this or that person 
of distinction has looked at him in a meaning manner ; a portrait of the ruling 
prince resembles him ; every change in the outer world has something to do with 
him ; political events, natural appearances and calamities are sent to punish his 

Of Insanity and Imbecility . 45 

But we find amongst persons of ordinary intelligence persons of 
an ordinary physical mental organization, that some are more pre- 
disposed to insanity than others. How can we account for this ? It 
is very hard to say, except that some people suffer more than others ; 
not that they have more cause of suffering than others, but that what 
would not cause much suffering in others would cause great suffering in 
them, because of their being more highly organized. St. George Mivart 
says, " But even in men and women, suffering depends mainly on the 
mental state of the sufferer. Only during consciousness does it exist at 
all, and only in the most highly organized men does it reach its acme." 
This being a scientific fact, we can very well believe that whatever causes 
great suffering to highly organized persons may not only predispose 

persecutors, or serve for his final triumph ; God Almighty takes him under his pro- 
tection, and has a blessed mission in store for him ; people have had dealings with 
him under other names. 

The progress of the disease is gradual : sometimes symptoms take a lull, again 
suddenly to break out ; sometimes the lunatics are very shy of bringing out their 
•delusions, which are only shown in some unwonted state of excitement . " 

"Dr. Meynert remarks that this form of alienative is not confined to males 
alone, and Dr. Fritsch {Pyschiatrisches Centralblatt, Oct., 1877) gives an example 
■of it in a womaii who had been married although the vagina ended in a blind sack, 
and she was believed to have neither uterus nor ovaries. The woman had undoubt- 
ed sexual feelings, which indeed were very marked, was hysterical, and had the 
■delusion of suspicion." 

"Any physician of experience must know cases which might very well be included 
under this new form. It cannot be confounded with mania or dementia, and is 
■distinguished from melancholia by the conceited deportment of the patient, and his 
want of self-accusation or depreciation as well as by the character of the delusions. 
Primary insanity may be combined with imbecility . It would appear that in 
Vienna asylums the cases classed under this new type were as numerous as those of 
mania and melancholia put together. Often it remains in the initial stage or 
retrocedes, and the patient never reaches an asylum." 

This so-called primary insanity is nothing more or less than what I call insanity 
in an imbecile, in other words pathological change taking place where teratological 
•defect already existed, consequently there are more of these cases to be found in 
•every insane asylum as well as the asylums of Vienna. I cannot conceive why 
wonder should be expressed in the case of the woman refened to. Sexual desire 
■don't exist in the organs of generation in either man or woman . 

All desire is centered in the brain, irritating or stimulating certain peripheral 
nerves in certain portions of the body ; the female breast, for example, excites 
sexual desire in the organ of desire, and the effect is developed in the sexual organs 
through the efferent nerves. I have found impotent men as well as sterile women 
liaving strong sexual desire. 

46 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

them to become insane, but such suffering may be the cause of insanity, 
as we suffer in virtue of our sensory nerves and organ of consciousness 
and the suffering, or its cause, will probably cause normal molecular 
motion to become abnormal. 

Now, if I am correct that suffering, if not an actual cause of insanity, 
predisposes a person to become insane, it can be easily understood 
that, after the imbecile and criminal classes, insanity is more frequently 
found amongst the poor than the affluent, speaking socially. 

We have so many evidences of insanity from poison that it would 
be absurd to ignore the fact. The examples of alcohol, opium, syphiHs, 
hydrophobia, puerperal mania, and the different anesthetics that pro- 
duce temporary insanity and sometimes more, are all sufficient proofs 
of what is called toxic mania, that is, the physical changes that I have 
described as causing insanity have resulted from poison traumatism, 
and this being the case I see no reason why some atmospheric materia 
morbi, some specific poison, some pathogenic germ^ should not 
be a cause of producing this abnormal state of the sensory nerves 
and organ of consciousness, which is the cause of insanity, any 
more than that it should produce any other physical change in 
animal organisms. We know there is a link between the organic 
and the inorganic world, an affinity which in all probability is 
chemical, and to this fact may be due that at one time and in one 
place we are more susceptible of atmospheric influences'than at another 
time and in another place. I have constantly remarked how that at 
different times there will be a rush into the asylum from some particu- 
lar locahty. We also know that some persons never get good health 
in some localities, while they get the best of health in others. This 
must be due to some atmospheric influence, or possibly geological in- 
fluence from electro-magnetic cause, and seeing the chemical affinity 
known to exist between organisms and minerals, or between organic 
and inorganic matter, I don't consider we have paid sufflcient 
attention to possible geological influences upon health and disease. 

While I recognize the great importance of physiological and 
psychological symptoms in enabling us to diagnose insanity, I only con- 
sider such symptoms as the effect of pathological cause, and when I 
find another group of clinical symptoms in an insane person other 
than those I have enumerated, I do not attribute the insanity in any 
degree to the causes of those other symptoms, any more than I con- 
sider the case is complicated with other diseases or some other 
disease. It is in these complicated cases where there is pyrexia, which 

Of Insanity and Imhecility. 4:7 

is not a symptom of insanity, that we will not find maniacal or low 

Of course it is hardly possible to conceive any one continuing in. 
a state of insanity from these physical changes for any length of time 
without other complications making their appearance. I said three 
orders of motion were necessary for normal animal existence, viz.^ 
molecular, mechanical and chemical. It is wonderful, however, how 
long vegetative life will continue in man, even after the intellectual 
organs have become completely wrecked. We can only suppose that,, 
in these cases, after the vital electric fluid has come to a certain stage 
of opacity it remains so, till suddenly, perhaps after years, it changes 
coagulation sets in, and this is followed by death. On the other hand,, 
we sometimes see death come very suddenly to the insane, when it 
may be assumed that the morbid state of the vital fluid runs its course- 
rapidly ending in coagulation and consequent death;, from the arrest, 
of atomic or molecular motion. I am speaking of a person who dies, 
from insanity ; of course an insane, as well as a sane, person can die 
from other diseases. I presume, however, that death from insanity is 
due to the coagulation of the vital nerve fluid, as I assume sudden 
death from artificial anesthesia to be due to the same cause. But this 
naturally transparent fluid passes through many stages of opacity 
before it arrives at the coagulating stage ; and my theory is that the 
different degrees or stages of insanity, from acute mania to dementia,, 
are due to the different degrees of opacity which this fluid undergoes, 
and the greater the degree of diminished pellucidity, the greater the 
degree of insanity, because the greater the loss of vital or atomic 
molecular motion. Du Bois Raymond found by experiments upon 
electric fishes that the vital fluid in the nerve cells could be rendered 
gelatinous by either chemical or mechanical injury, causing loss of 
electricity or vital force, consequently there is no reason why mechan- 
ical lesion or chemical injury should not produce a similar change irt 
the vital fluid generated in the nerve cells of man. 

In all I have written I have endeavored to show cause for effect,, 
and from the morphological, anatomical, physiological, psychological, 
pathological and biological facts which I have set forth I consider 
that I am justified in drawing the following conclusions : 

Firstly. That body and mind are one, that is, that the mind of man,. 
as we know it, is the product of matter, as we know and define matter- 
Secondly. That insanity is abnormal mind, the consequence of 
abnormal matter — therefore, a purely physical disease. 

48 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

Thirdly. That the matter abnormal is the sensory nerves and 
organ of consciousness. 

Fourthly. That these parts are rendered morbid directly, either by 
mechanical lesion or chemical change, which renders the electric vital 
fluid opaquC; and thereby molecular motion is arrested to a greater or 
Jesser degree, consequently there is analgeria or anesthesia of the 
•organ of consciousness and the sensory nerves. 

Fifthly. That while recognizing in many an hereditary predisposi- 
tion to insanity, yet, from observation, I am satisfied that physical 
.suffering is not only a predisposing, but an actual cause, of rendering 
the organ of consciousness and the sensory nerves abnormal, and is 
thereby an actual cause of insanity. 

Sixthly. That it being an established fact that toxia is capable of 
rendering the organ of consciousness and the sensory nerves abnormal, 
as heretofore explained, I believe one cause of toxia to be due to some 
atmospheric materies morbi, some specific poison, some pathogenic 

Seventhly. That as man's mind is a unit, and when insane it is 
all insane, not in part but wholly ; consequently, although insanity 
-differs in degree, there is no such thing as partial insanity. 

Eighthly. That the physiological symptoms and effects of insanity 
are merely the result of anatomical cause, consequently an insane man 
is not responsible for his acts. 

Ninthly. That every normal man has under certain circumstances 
a free will, but every intellectual man, according to my definition of 
an intellectual man, has a free will by which he controls all his 
desires, consequently such a man would not, if he could, and could 
not, because he would not, be guilty of a crime against society. Before 
he could be a criminal there must be a physical change in his mental 
•organization, rendering him insane, and consequently irresponsible for 
Lis acts.* 

* This question of a free will in man is an all-important question. No intelligent 
man can possibly believe that a man's will is always free, where we see the number 
of persons whose whole lives have been controlled by the will of others, or by habit 
or circumstances, which deprived them of all will, so that they became mere auto- 
matons. Who if he had a free will would ever allow memory to haunt him, 
thinking of a thousand things of the past that render him unhappy and miserable. 
Who if he had a free will would not prefer to think of the pure and the good to 
the vile and evil. Most certainly we cannot always govern our thoughts by our will. 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 49 

Tenthly. That idiots, imbeciles and habitual criminals are such in 
virtue of abnormal defective mental organizations, as the insane 
criminals are such in virtue of pathological defect in their mental 
organization. How far such persons should be held legally respon- 
sible for their crimes I leave to our law makers to decide. Let them 
take the responsibility. I am sure, however, that for their own sake and 
for the sake of society such creatures should be entirely separated 
from society, and, judging from the past, I think I am justified in 
assuming that the fear of punishment as it has not in the past, neither 
will it in the future, prevent such persons from the commission of 
-crime. And here I might ask the question ; does the fear of punish- 
ment act as a preventative to crime in any person ? This is a hard 
question to answer, and answer it correctly ; answer it not in the 
flippant manner that some answer it without considering what they 
are saying when they answer : " Of course, it prevents crime." But 
ask such persons for proof and they can give none. Ask such a 
person, are non-criminals such because they fear punishment, and 
they have no answer to give, because if they answered in the affirma- 
tive they would be admitting that they themselves were non-criminal 
because they feared punishment. Seeing, however, that so many per- 
sons commit crime who are not idiots^ imbeciles, insane or yet 
liabitual criminals, it would lead us to believe that the fear of punish- 
ment does not prevent crime, yet I would not say positively that there 
^re not some criminally disposed, we might call them a semi-criminal 
class, persons so constituted that they would be criminals only for 
fear of punishment, but I do sincerely befieve that the large majority 
of the non-criminal class are such because they prefer right to wrong, 
and that they have a higher motive for abstaining from crime than 
the fear of punishment. If ever any means had a fair trial for the 
prevention of crime it has been punishment, with what effect criminal 
history can answer. 

Eleventhly. I consider from the foregoing I have a right to assume 
that the physiological symptoms of insanity differ in each individual 
as every individual differs one from another, each exhibiting his 
peculiar characteristics when mind is free from the control of the will 
and its actions are purely from reflex stimuli, and thus we account 

and it is equally certain that we cannot by our will govern our desires, words and 

Mere children have no will, yet we in our folly treat them as if they had. A 
man with a really free will must be a man of an extraordinary mental organization. 


50 A Rational Materialistic Definition 

for hallucinations, illusions and delusions. (See note on Instinct,, 
page 24.) 

Twelfthly. That what is termed epileptic and hysterical maniay 
would be more properly expressed as mania in an epileptic or in an 
hysterical person, and that mania paralytica should be understood to 
mean mania and paralysis from the same cause — organic disease of 
the brain extending to the organ of consciousness and motor centres- 
in the brain and cord. That in all other cases it should be mania 
with paralysis. 

Thirteenthly. As the mania of authors is only a psychological 
symptom of insanity, and not a form, I think the term would be 
better abolished, but as this would be difficult, the terms mania and 
insanity should be synonymous. 

Fourteenthly. As idiots, imbeciles and habitual criminals are 
subject to attacks of insanity, the epileptic imbecile for example, I 
think it is better we should look upon them as a distinct anthropo- 
logical variety of their species, subject to attacks of insanity like unto 
the intellectual man, differing only in so far as to render them, if 
possible, more impulsive and more dangerous than they otherwise 
would be. To make insanity the more clearly comprehensible as a 
physical disease, I considej this is preferable to speaking of the idiot 
and imbecile as the congenital insane. With my views of insanity, 
the term congenital insanity would cause confusion in the mind of 
the reader, aiid my object is to simplify the subject. 

Fifteenthly. — That our treatment of insanity should be directed 
towards restoring the sensory nerves to their normal state, and not to^ 
the treatment of the symptoms. There is a loss of vital nerve force 
which we must try to recuperate, and the best treatment I have found 
to produce this desired effect has been good nutritious food, rest, pure 
air and moderate exercise, and to avoid all medicines that might 
possibly derange the digestive organs. 

From experience, I have great faith in percutaneous treatment, 
such as hot mustard baths, electro-magnetic stimuli, mechanical 
stimuli, friction of the skin with brushes and coarse towels, mechanico- 
chemical stimuh, rubbing the whole body, particularly along the 
sensory tract, with stimulating sedative hniments and antiseptic lini- 
ments, generally containing carbolic acid. 

When I want to have the bowels relaxed^ I use enemata, and if 
there is hysteria I give a good dose of assafcetida in the enema. I have 
found benefit from arsenic, whether as a tonic or a specific or alter- 

Of Insanity and Imbecility. 51 

ative I do not know. Of course when I have reason to suspect 
syphihtic poison I give a specific, such as iodide of potassium, which 
I have found to be the most effectual medicine. But I know of no 
specific treatment for restoring the abnormal sensory nerves and organ 
of consciousness. I try, as far as I can, to treat insanity upon scienti- 
fic principles, keeping always in view what I consider the cause for 
the effect. I never administer hypnotics or narcotics. I have never 
seen any benefit from opium or chloral, but the very contrary. But 
I have had wonderfully good effects from electro-magnetism. I con- 
sider, if there is a specific, it has a specific action in restoring mole- 
cular motion and nerve force. But we have much yet to learn of how 
electricity and electro-magnetism acts upon animal organism. Per- 
haps it is in the affinity that is known to exist in electric molecules or 
atoms. I have to the best of my ability endeavored to give a rational 
materialistic definition of insanity, basing my theory upon clinical 
observations in the insane, and upon the anatomy and physiology of 
man as far as we know it, cal\m^:(pr^v;s^d the sciences of morpho- 
logy, zoology and biologyy^^*^ *- '^''^/,\^ 

I have endeavored tcVmOw that for all physio}(ygi'cal effects in man 
there must be anatomical cau^iJ G'QiItt i|y\y^ in'^man, as we know 
it, is the physiological e^Jct of matter, and tha:^rn4nd insane is the 
effect of pathological matteS^t^b^miu^ is^^/;;//^*^^ when insane is 
all insane : that consequently tD^T T - ianM^^W tmng as partial insanity, 
but that there are different degrees of insanity. I have also endea- 
vored to show that the different classifications of insanity as found in 
our text-books have not only not been of any practical benefit, but 
the very contrary, causing confusion and conveying a wrong idea of 
what insanity is, and I consider a very great evil has thereby resulted 
to the advancement of mental science. If we were to divide and 
subdivide insanity from the different psychological symptoms that we 
find in the insane, every insane person would present a different form 
of insanity, for every insane person has different psychological symp- 
toms, simply because no two sane persons in the world think exactly 
alike on matters involving sentiment or prejudice, though both would 
agree that 2 and 2 make 4, consequently no two insane persons think 
alike if they think at all ; therefore the difference in psychological 

As I began, so do I conclude, by stating that in my attempt to 
define insanity I have only presumed to advance a theory, not to 
demonstrate a fact. 

52 A Rational Materialistic Definition, &c. 

My next chapter will be upon legal criminality and responsibility, 

treating the subject from my views of insanity and imbecility. 


Fahrenheit and Centigrade Scales. 

Wahr. Cent. Farh. Cent. 

^6 30 99 371 

^7--.-- 3oi 100 379 

88.- 311 loi 38I 

89 3if 102 38I 

90 32I 103 391 

'91—- ZA 104 40 

92......... 331 105 4ot 

'93 33f 106 41^ 

'94. .•^- 34| 107 4if 

'95 • 35 108 42| 

96 35f 109 42J 

,97--- 36^ "o 439 

.98 36? 

To xonvert Fahrenheit into Centigrade : subtract from No. of 
(3egK£es iiahrenheit 32, multiply the remainder by 5 and divide by 9. 

Say, Fahrenheit no 

Subtract « 32 

Multiply by 5 

Divide by 9)39° 

'To icoavert (Centigrade into Fahrenheit : multiply the Centigrade 
sgreesby 9, divide by 5 and add 32. 

43^ C. 

Divide by 5)39° 

Add 32 

The reason 15 that Centigrade runs from freezing point o to boiling 
rpoint 100. 'Fat-enheit runs from freezing point 32 to boiling point 

:2\Z. 100 C -=: 180 F. 



Before entering upon the subject of crime, and, consequently^, 
responsibility, I find it necessary to make some preparatory remarks^ 
without which the reader and myself would be sure to come to a 

We recognize two distinct orders of responsibility, which we term 
legal and moral. All peoples recognize these distinctions, therefore 
it is to be assumed that they had cause for so doing. But if there 
were to be two orders of responsibility (and I recognize two such 
orders) there must of necessity be two distinct tribunals, one before 
which man is arraigned for his legal responsibilities, the other before 
which man is arraigned for his moral responsibilities. Again, it is 
evident, from these facts, that a man may be guilty of moral crime 
and not guilty of legal crime ; and he may be guilty of legal crime 
and not be guilty of moral crim.e. Now, in what I have to write as a 
Medical Jurist, I have nothing whatever to do with man's moral 
responsibility — that is a question for quite a different tribunal than our 
Courts of law. Therefore, when I speak of a man's responsibility,, 
in this essay, I simply mean it in the latter sense, because, as I have 
already said, Courts of Law cannot adjudicate upon moral responsi- 
bility, for the simple reason that the Court cannot know by any 
process of reasoning, or by the testimony of any witness, what is the 
conscience of the accused. Every man is morally responsible to act 
in accordance with his conscientious convictions ; to do that which he 
conscientiously believes to be right, and not to do that which he con- 
scientiously believes to be wrong. Every man knows his own 
conscience ; but no other man can know it, unless it is by the former 
expressly and distinctly revealed. My conscience is my subjective, 
but it is not another man's objective ; therefore another man can 
have no conception of what my conscience really is unless I tell it to 
him. Consequently a judge and jury cannot adjudicate upon my 

54 Pfdlosophy of Insanity. 

moral responsibility no more than I can adjudicate upon theirs. 
Each man's moral responsibiHty depends upon his conscience, and 
each man's conscience depends upon his education. Consequently 
what would be morally wrong in one man would be morally right in 
another. For example, what would be morally right to the Jew would 
be morally wrong to the Christian, and vice versa ; that which 
would be morally wrong in the Catholic would be morally right in the 
non-Catholic. For example, the Catholic would commit a moral 
wrong, if he could, and did not, assist at Mass every holiday of 
obligation throughout the year ; but there is no moral wrong in the 
Jews or non-Catholics not assisting at Mass^ if so be they are in good 
faith. I conceive that every man is morally responsible not to live in a 
state of doubt, and that every man is bound to do his best to discover 
truth and morally bound to aspire to do right because it is right, and 
not merely through fear of punishment or hope of reward. A man's 
highest motive for doing right should simply be that it is right. 
When a reasoning and reasonable man does that which he is convinced 
is right, for right's sake only, it is to him right, and when a man does 
that which he is convinced is wrong, although the SiCtper se may not 
be wrong, it is to him wrong. 

All men, like unto that provincial governor, Pontius Pilate, ask 
" What is truth ? " and the large majority of men, like unto Pilate, do 
not want to know it, when it is contrary to their preconceived 
opinions. No man should be afraid to hear scientific truth, no man 
should be afraid to learn and know all that he possibly can know of 
natural laws. Truth is truth, and has nothing to fear from candor in 
the careful pursuit of the study of those laws ; for though, at times, 
there may be an apparent clashing between one set of facts and that 
of another, yet patient investigation will eventually discover the secret 
hidden links which unite them into one harmonious and congruous 
whole. Truth is one, and can never be in conflict with itself. 

I considered it necessary to point out what I conceive to be the 
difference between moral and legal responsibility. Courts of law have 
to deal with the latter and latter only, and in this treatise when I 
speak of responsibility, I confine myself to what is understood as legal 

On the 29th of June, 1881, there were in the Penitentiary of St. 
Vincent de Paul two convicts, viz., Hugh Hayvern and Thomas 
Salter. On that day, in the presence of witnesses, the former killed 
the latter by plunging a knife into his heart. At the October term of 

Crime and Responsibility. 55 

the Court of Queen's Bench, 1881, held in the city of Montreal, their 
Honors Justices Monk and Cross presiding, Hugh Hayvern was 
tried and found guilty of the murder of Salter. The prosecuting 
lawyers were Messrs. Davidson and Ouimet, Q.C. Mr. J. J. Curran, 
Q.C., for the defence. His plea was that the prisoner was an insane 
imbecile, who committed the crime under an uncontrollable epileptic 
impulse, and consequently was irresponsible for his act. Mr. Curran 
called upon me as a mental expert to prove the correctness of his 

On the 6th December, 1881,° Hugh Hayvern was hanged, and on 
the 6th January, 1882, that indefatigable and enthusiastic pathologist, 
Professor Osier of McGill University, exhibited to the members of the 
Montreal Medico-Chirurgical Society the left hemisphere of Hayvern's 
brain with the following remarks, as reported in the Medical News, 
Philadelphia : " That Hayvern was a low, dissolute fellow, addicted 
.to drink, with no special neurosis in his family, who, on June 29, 
stabbed a fellow convict. The brain weighed 46^ ounces, and was 
fairly well formed. The cerebellum was completely covered by the 
cerebrum. On examination it was found to conform in many respects 
to Benedikt's cases, and was typical according to his views in the 
following particulars : the union of the Sylvian fissure with the first 
frontal gyrus ; the junction of the inter-parietal with the parieto- 
occipital and first temporal fissures ; the extension of the calcarine 
iissure into the scissura hippocampi ; the union of the collateral and 
calcarine sulci, and in the fusion of the first frontal gyrus, so that there 
.appeared to be four frontal convolutions arising from the ascending 
frontal or anterior central gyrus." The reader will perceive that no 
matter how we may differ as to anatomical cause for physiological 
effect, that the brain of Hayvern was a very abnormal brain, which 
Dr. Osier admitted in reply to my question, " Was it not an abnormal 
.brain?" saying that it was. I quote again from the News: "Dr. 
Henry Howard believed in a criminal class as distinct a class as a 
mercantile class, and regarded the mental and moral condition of the 
individuals belonging to it as dependent absolutely on their physical 
organization. Hayvern was not responsible for his act, it was not 
premeditated, but was performed under the influence of an uncontrol- 
lable impulse, and he thought that there was evidence to show that it 
may have been connected with an epileptic neurosis." Of course who- 
ever made this report made it from memory, and in good faith, but I 
■certainly have no recollection of saying " moral condition," and I am 

56 Philosophy of Insanity. 

sure I said 7aas instead of piay have been connected with an epilep- 
tic neurosis. Now, under our laws an insane man is not held to be 
responsible for his acts, consequently the judge and jury did not 
consider Hayvern insane, in other words they did not consider my 
evidence conclusive. Therefore they hanged Hayvern. 

I have commenced this chapter with the foregoing historical fact, 
because I mean to elucidate my views by the living and dead Hay- 
vren, and to make this chapter the more interesting, and give both 
sides of the question, as well as the peculiarities of Hayvern's brain, 
I will take the liberty of reproducing a paper read by Professor Osier 
before the Medico-Chirurgical Society of Montreal on the 6th Janu- 
ary, 1882, when he exhibited the brains of two criminals, viz., Hay- 
vren and Moreau. I shall also reproduce an article from the Chicago' 
Medical Review by Dr. Kiernan, and also the remarks of Dr. Hack 
Tuke (editor of the Joicrnal of Mental Science, published in London, 
England), whose remarks, I need hardly say, I feel to be a great 
honor conferred upon me. 

Reprinted from the " Canada Medical and Surgical Journal" Montreal, February 





Professor of the Institutes of Medcine in McGill University, and Physician to- 
THE Montreal GeNERAL Hospital. 

\_Read before the Medico- Chirtirgical Society of Montreal. ] 

" Mentally and bodily, we are largely the result of an hereditary 
organization, and the environment in which we have been reared. 
The child of a bushman nurtured in the family of a philosopher will 
not be able, with favourable surroundings, to rise much above his 
race level ; the child of a philosopher, reared among the bushmen, 
will not reach his paternal standard, but the grossness of the savage 
natures around him will have weight to pull him down, and what is 
fine will learn to sympathize with the clay. In the former case the 
individual cannot transcend his organization ; and in the latter he 
cannot burst the iron bars of his environment. That the mental and 
moral status of a man is determined by the conformation and devel- 

Ci-ime and Responsibility. 57 

opment of his brain is an axiom with the school of physiological 
psychologists. The conformation is a matter of inheritance ; the 
development, of education (in its widest sense). The different mental 
conditions of individuals are the expression of subtle differences in 
cerebral structure, just as the diversity in the features of men is the 
result of minute variations in the arrangement of the tissues of the 
face. That a faulty physical basis can have no other sequence than a 
faulty mental and moral constitution is acknowledged and acted upon 
by every one, so far as idiots and imbeciles are concerned, but that 
mental and moral obliquity is invariably the outcome of an ill-con- 
formed or ill-developed brain is a doctrine novel and startling, though 
logical enough from the stand-point of modern physical fataHsm> 
Endeavors have recently been made to put this theory on firm 
grounds by showing that in a large number of criminals the type of 
brain differs from that in the law-abiding members of the community.. 
Anatomists and physiologists have of late paid much attention to 
the conformation of the brain surface, and the convolutions and 
fissures are now studied with care and minuteness. In a typical 
European brain, the cerebellum is completely covered by the cere- 
brum, and the general arrangement of the gyri and sulci is such that 
there is rarely any difficulty in mapping them out and assigning their 
proper names to each. Thus, on the external surface of each hemi- 
sphere we recognize two fissures which are constant and invariable in 
position — the fissures of Sylvius and of Rolando {central sulcus^ ^ 
Other fissures constantly present, but less definite in their arrange- 
ment, are : the inter-par let al^ which passes through the parietal lobe ; 
the farieto-occipital, separating the parietal and occipital lobes, best 
seen from the median surface, the superior (ist), inferior (2nd), and 
ascending (3rd) frontal sulci and the 1st and 2nd temporal. 

On the median surface, Xh& calloso-marginal, the parietal-occipital,. 
the calcarine and collateral are well marked and distinctive. 

The convolutions or gyri separated by these fissures are remark- 
ably uniform, and, though often intersected by subsidiary sulci, can 
usually be determined without difficulty. Of these the only ones 
which need be now mentioned are the three frontal, ist, 2nd and 3rd, 
the general direction of which is parallel to the longitudinal fissure 
and the two central gyri which bound the fissure of Rolando on either 

In the typical brain the main fissures are unconnected with each 
other J thus the fissure of Rolando is isolated and does not unite witk 

58 Philosophy of Insanity. 

the Sylvian fissure below, or the ascending frontal or ascending parie- 
tal sulci on either side. The Sylvian fissure does not join with any 
■of the sulci above or below it. 

Prof. Benedikt of Vienna has made a special study of the brains 
•of criminals,* and believes that he has met with peculiarities sufli" 
•ciently marked to warrant the following proposition : " T/ie brains 
sf crimiiials exhibit a deviation from the norjual type., and criminals 
are to be viewed as an anthropological variety of their species, at 
least amongst the cultured races." The two peculiarities on which he 
lays stress are : (ist) the confluence of many of the primary fissures ; 
and (2nd) the existence of four horizontal frontal gyri. He proposes 
to establish a confluent fissure type of brain, and he illustrates its 
most important characteristic by saying, " that if we imagine the 
fissures to be water-courses, it might be said that a body floating in 
any one of them could enter almost all the others." This, of course, 
means the absence of numerous bridges of nerve matter which 
normally separate the fissures — defects, marking an inferior develop- 
ment of the brain. Between the normal type with isolated fissures 
and the type with confluent fissures there wifl naturally be transitions, 
but he calls attention to the number and variety of the connections in 
his series of the brains of 22 criminals as supporting the truth of his 
proposition. He states that the brains of individuals in the lower 
grades of society approach nearer to the 2nd type, and it is probable, 
though as yet full data are wanting, that the brains of the inferior 
races of men also conform more closely to this than to the type with 
isolated fissures. Let us see now how far he has been able to estab- 
lish the truth of this view. Of 38 hemispheres from the 22 criminals 
the following were some of the most interesting points : — 

I. "Ih-Q fissure of Rolando communicated with : 

{a) fis. Syl. completely in 18, incompletely in 6. 
(b) with 3;'^ or ascending frontal, complete in 11, incomplete 
in 2. 
(^r) with the \st or superior frojital sulcus, complete in 9, 

incomplete in i. 
(^) with inter par ietalis, complete in 7, incomplete in 4. 
Of the 19 brains there was not one in which ikit fissure of Rolando 

* On the Brains of Criminals, Vienna, 1879. Translated by Dr. Fowler. 
Wood &= Co., New York, 1881. Cent. f. d. med. IVissenschaften, 1876, and 
No. 46, 1 880. 

Crime and liesponsihility. 59 

had not on one side a connection with some other fissure. Altogether 
there were 58 connections, 35 on the left and 23 on the right side. 

II. The Sylvian fissure communicated with : 

{a) fis. R. in x8 completely, in 6 incompletely, 

(b) With frontal sulci Vii 18, incomplete in 7. 

In 7 brains it existed on both sides ; only absent on both sides in 3. 

(c) \V\\hfis. inter-parietalis in 22, incomplete in 6. 
{d) with \st te7nporal\n 18, incompletely in 4. 

III. T\i^ fis. iiiter-parietaliscoxa\-mm\Q.2A.Q.dL with: 

{a) fis. R. complete in 7, incomplete 4. 
(Ji) fis. Sylv. complete 22, incomplete 7. 
(c) Tst. T. complete 19, incomplete 6. 
In the 38 hemispheres there were 51 complete and 16 shallow con- 
nections of the inter-parietalis. 

IV. The scissura hippocampi communicated with : 

parieto-occipital, complete 17, incomplete 2. 

V. The calloso-viargijial fissure : 

\Y\ih. parieto-occipital, complete 8. 

VI. The parieto-occipital : 

with inter-parietalis and horizontal occipital, complete 21, 
incomplete 6. 
These were the most important connections ; the others I shall not 
refer to. 

The second pecuharity which Prof. Benedikt has noted in the 
brains of criminals is the existence of 4 horizontal gyri springing from 
the ascending frontal or anterior central convolution. This he regards 
as an animal similarity, and a reversion, so to speak, to the typical 
four primitive gyri ot the brains of carnivora. The fourth gyrus is 
formed by the sphtting, by a deep fissure, of either the ist or 2nd 
■convolution. In his latest communication on this point,* the results 
are given of the examination of 87 hemispheres (from 44 criminals), 
of which only 42 presented the normal type of frontal convolutions, 
and 27 showed four gyri. In these the additional gyrus resulted in 8 
from the splitting of the superior ; in 16 from the division of the middle 
convolution. In 13 there was an imperfect division into four gyri. 
In two hemispheres there were five frontal convolutions. 

Through the courtesy of Dr. Desmarteau, Jail Surgeon, I was pre- 
sent at the autopsy, and secured the brain of the man Hay vern who 

* Centralb.f.d. vied. Wissenschjt., No. 46, 1880. 

60 Philosophy of Insanity. 

Avas executed for the murder of a fellow-convict ; and the Department 
of Justice permitted me to secure the brain of Moreau, who was 
executed at Rimouski. 

I. — Hayvern, aged 28, was a medium-sized man, of no trade ; 
Irish descent ; parents living, and respectable ; no insanity^ inebriety 
or neurotic disease in the family. He had been a hard drinker, and 
as a child was stated to have had fits. There is no evidence of the 
recurrence of these in adult life. He was serving a term in the Peni- 
tentiary, having been sentenced for highway robbery in 1879. -^^ 
had previously been in jail more than twenty times, and may be taken 
as a good representative of the criminal class. The details of the 
murder show deliberation, and there was no evidence to show that 
the act was performed during a paroxysm of epileptic mania. 

The skull was somewhat ovoid in shape, dolicho-cephalic ; the 
forehead rather low and retreating. The calvaria was of moderate 
thickness ; no signs of injury, old or recent. 

Brain last organ examined. PL I. — Vessels were empty ; drained 
of blood by the opening of the vessels of the neck, both in front and 
behind. Membranes were normal. Weight of organ, 1326 grammes 
(46^ ozs.). Cerebellum completely covered by cerebrum. I obtained 
the left hemisphere for special study, and the details of its structure 
are as follows : — 

Anlero-posterior diameter i6-5 cm. 

Hemispheric arch 24 . 8 " 

Anterior curve (tip of Fr. lobe to Fis. Rol.). . . 14 " 
Middle curve (from Fis. Rol. to Par.-occip. Fis.) 6.2 " 
Posterior curve (from Par.-oc. to tip of Occip. lobe) 4.8 " 

Sylvian fissure (Fig. i), in addition to the normal ascending and 
horizonal xd>m\, presents a radial branch which passes into Xh^ frontal 
gyrl (aj, a. short radial extension into the asc parietal (b), and a 
shallow communication with retro-central sulcus (c) . 

The fisszire of Rolando (F.R.) or central sulcus is separated from 
the F.S. by a very narrow bridge of brain substance. It has no 
other connections. 

There are four well-marked yr<?;z^'(7/^_>'r/ (i, 2, 3 and 4) ; the extra 
one (2) appears to be formed by the splitting of the superior or 1st 
gyrus, though its base, where it joins the asc front, gyrus, is in the 
position of the ?niddle or 2nd fr. gyr. As can be seen in the plate 
there are two radial sulci which pass from a point just behind asc. 
ra^nus oi fis. Sylv. and ascend almost to the long. fis. They are 

Crime and Besponsibility. 61 

deep, and the hinder one has a crucial extension in the position of 
the 2nd fr. sid. 

The sulcus inter-parietal is presents a well-marked radial portion 
which passes up behind the ascending parietal convolution in its 
whole length {asc pariet. or retro-central sulcus); the sagittal part 
passes back into the parietal lobe and divides into two branches, one 
•of which (^d) curves round the supra-marginal gyrus and unites 
with the ^st temporalis. ; the other (^) ascends to the median bor- 
der, and is continuous with a sulcus which joins the parieto-occipital. 

The asc. par. gyrus (retro-central) is well developed, as are also 
the angularis and supra-marginal. 

The horizonal (or sup^ occipital sulcus is well developed ; it 
-does not join the par. occip., but sends branches into the gy. cimeus. 
It appears to join the 2nd temp, sulcus, but the brain is lacerated at 
this point, and it is difficult to make out the connection. 

The \st te^nporal sulcus is strongly marked, passes up and joins 
the inter-parietal. The 2nd temp, cannot be well made out on 
account of the laceration. 

On the median surface {Fig. 2), the calloso-margi7ial sulcus is 
strongly developed, presents numerous perpendicular branches, and 
terminates by two, one of which (_/) ascends to the usual position 
behind the retro-central gyrus, the other (^) curves round and divides 
\h& gyrus fornicatusixom. the pre-cicfieus (or quadrilateral), extending 
to within a short distance of the calcarine fissure, and uniting with the 
Jis. crucial a. 

The gyrus fornicatus, in the anterior half of its extent, presents a 
well-marked sulcus running along its centre. 

T:\i& parieto-occipital is deep and well marked ; it has a branch (Ji) 
which curves over the border and unites with the inter-parietal. The 
calcarine fi'a'aWXQ. unites with \}ci.t. par. occip., and the conjoined sulcus 
communicates with the scissura hippocampi by a wide groove {i). 

The sulcus collateralis joins the calcarine by a large fissure (J), 
which ends just at the handle of the fork of t\\Q par. -occip. and calcar- 
ine. Another sulcus (k) passes from it round the under surface of 
the occipital lobe, dividing the temporal gyri from the occipital- 

The orbital gyi-i are separated from the frontal anteriorly, by a 
well-marked fissure (fronto-marginal of Wernicke). 

The convolutions of the insula, normal. 

According to Benedikt's views, this hemisphere is a-typ'cal in the 
following particulars : — 

62 Philosophy of Insanity. 

(a) The union of the Sylvian with the \st frontal sulcus. 

{h) The junction of the inte?--parietal vfith.\heparieto-occipital ssid 
with the 1st temporal. 

(c) The extension of the calcarlne fissure into the scissura hip- 

{d) The extension of the callo so -marginal fissure between the 
gyrus fornicatus and t\\& pre-cimens. 

(e) The union of the collateral and calcarine fissures. 

(/) The fission of the ist frontal convolution into two parts, so 
that there appear to be four frontal gyri — a condition which Benedikt 
lays great stress upon as a marked animal similarity in the human 

II. — Moreau, a small farmer in the county of Rimouski, aged 40, 
French-Canadian, murdered his wife last summer, and was executed 
on the 13th of January. He was a short, very powerfully-built man, 
uneducated, and of a morose disposition j was temperate, and had 
never before been convicted of any crime. He had not lived happily 
with his wife, and quarrels had been frequent ; one day, when in the 
woods together, he cut her head open with an axe. The deed was 
apparently premeditated, as it came out in evidence that he had 
offered money to a man to do it for him. After the act and during 
the trial he maintained his usual stolidity, and did not appear to 
take a very deep interest in the proceedings. Indeed, it is stated that 
he was unaware, until some time after the sentence, that he was to be 
hanged. The autopsy was performed, about an hour after his deaths 
by Dr. Belleau, and the brain was secured by H. V. Ogden^ B.A., 
and brought to me in excellent condition for examination. 

Organ large, weighed about 1587 grms. (56 ozs.) {PL II.) 
The hemispheres, though large, did not completely cover the cere- 
bellum. Membranes were normal ; vessels of the pia mater and the 
subjacent grey matter deeply engorged. 

Left hemisphere {PL II., fig 3). — Pis Sylv. is separated from 
ascending /fl;r/^/<^/ by a very narrow and grooved gyrus, and joins the 
inf. front, by a shallow sulcus («). 

Pis. Polafido sends a deep fissure (b) across the upper end of asc. 
par. gyr., which curves round the margin and unites with fis. cruciata 
of the pre-cuneiis. There is not a well-marked asc. or yd front sul. 
The 1st fr. sul. has a short vertical branch, and only extends for 2.5 
cm. from asc. front gyr., when the ist and 2nd convolutions fuse, but 
beyond this it is again apparent. 2nd front, sul. has a short vertical 

Crime and Responsibility. 63 

branch, and joins the fis. Sylv. by a narrow groove. Its anterior 
extension is well developed. The yd front, gyr. is large in compari- 
son with the ist and 2nd. The asc. front, gyr. is large. 

The asc. par. sul. (retro-central), which is usually united with the 
inter-parietal, and called its radial portion, is isolated, and only joins 
the fis. Sylv. by a shallow furrow (f). The asc. par. gyr. is narrow. 

The inter-parietal fis. runs almost parallel to the asc. par. andj^j-.. 
RoL, being separated from the former by a narrow convolution 
which joins the sup. parietal lobule. Below it joins the 1st temp, 
sul. {d); above it does not extend to the margin. Gyri of parietal lobe 
well developed. 

The 1st temp. sul. is crossed in two place by bridging gyri uniting" 
the 1st and 2nd convolutions. Posteriorly this sulcus has two 
branches — one which joins the i. par.., the other the inf. occip. The 
2nd temp. sul. is not well marked. 

The sup. occip. sul. joins the/^r. occip. ; the inf. occip. sul. the 1st 

On median surface, /«r. occip. fis. unites with sup. occip., and by a 
shallow sulcus \N\\}i\fis. cricciata of pre-cuneus. 

Calcarine fis. normal ; cuneus small. 

Fis. collateralis long, and sends numerous fissures into gyri liit- 
gualis dJidifusiformis. 

Sul. calloso-marg. has many fissures entering the 1st front, gyr^ 
Gyr. for?iicatus is fissured longitudinally. Orbital gyri normal ; well 
marked frontal marginal sul. No external orbital fissure. Insidcc 
well developed, and has 9 gyri. 

Right hemisphere {^P I. II., fig. 4). — Fis. Sylv. joins 3rt/ or asc 
front sul. (a), and the asc. par. {h) (retro-central) by shallow 
furrows. Fis. Rol. unites with 1st front, {c) and asc. par. (d) sulsl 
by narrow grooves. 

The asc. front, sul. arises by a shallow fisure from the fis. Sylv.^ 
and then at the base of the 2nd front, gyr. joins the 2nd front. suL 
1st, 2nd and 2,'>'d frontal gyri are well developed and distinct poster- 
iorly. Anteriorly they are fused and crossed by many secondary sulci> 
Asc. frontal gyr. is very narrow in its centre. 

I7iter-parietal fis. has a well marked radial portion (the asc. par. 
or retro-central). The sagittal part passes back, and presents three 
divisions — one {e) enters the sup. par. lobule, a second (_/) passes 
directly back and joins a fissure in the position of itif. occip., which 
reaches to the tip of occip. lobe, and the third (^) part passes verti- 

64 Philosophy of Insanity. 

■cally down and unites with ist temp. suL, and has a branch which 
■crosses the 27id temp. gyr. 

Asc-par. convokition is large below, narrow above. The angular., 
supra-marginal and sup. par. lobule are much fissured. 

\st temp. sul. joins i.-par ; the 2nd is not marked. Several 
oblique sulci cross the 2nd and 3rd temp. gyr. Sup. occip. sul. joins 
^ar. occip. 

On the median surface, /«?'. occip. fis. joins i-z//. occip.; the cal- 
.carine enters scissura hippocampi and joins the fis. collateralis by a 
shallow groove. Fis. collateralis large and deep. 

The cuneus is small ; pre-cuneus (lob. quad.) is large and its 
.anterior boundary ill-defined. 

Calloso-marginal fis. extends to level of base of ist frontal, and 
then curves up to the margin of the hemisphere, being interrupted by 
-a broad annectant uniting thegyr.fornicat. with -ist front. Beyond 
this there is a short extension which joins a complex series of sulci in 
X\ie p7'e'CHneus. 

Orbital gyri normal. There is a narrow fronto-marginal sul. 
There is a well-marked external orbital fis sicre. 

The chief points to be noted are : — 

1. The absence of complete covering of cerebellum by cerebrum. 

2. On both sides the/r^ and retro-central fissures were separated 
from fis. of Sylvius by very narrow and grooved gyri. 

3. The left fis. Rolando joins fis. crucial a of pre-cuneus, and 
■on the right side it is imperfectly separated from 1st front, and asc. 
J>ar. sulci. 

4. The inter-parietal, on both sides, joins the ist temp, sul., and 
on the right side is much more developed and joins the occipital. 

5. On the median surface the calcarine on the right side enters 
the scissura hippocampi. 

There remain two questions for consideration : first, to what extent 
■does Professor Benedikt's confluent fissure type of brain prevail among 
ordinary members of the community, and how far is it reliable as an 
indication of defective development ? 

With a view of ascertaining how far the confluent fissure type of 
brain exists among the lower classes in this community, I have 
^examined carefully d-^ hemispheres from 34 individuals, all of whom 
were patients in and died at the General Hospital. Most of these 
■were preserved by Giacomini's method, and as no special note exists as 
to the social standing or character of any of the individuals from whom 

Crime and Responsibility. 65 

they were obtained, the results are of value only so far as they show 
to what extent confluence of fissure occurs in that class from which 
the Hospital wards are recruited. 

1. The Fissure of Rolando communicated with — 

a. Fissure of Sylvius^ in 3 completely, in 7 incompletely. 

b. Frontal sulci ^ complete in 12; incomplete, 9. 

c. Inter-parietal sulci, complete in 7 ; incomplete, 9. 

2. The Fissure of Sylvius joined — 

a. The F. R. [see above.] 

b. The frontal in 20. 

c. The i/iter-parietal, complete in 26 ; incomplete, 8. 

d. The 1st temporal, in 15. 

3. The Inter-parietal united with — 

a. The F. F. [see above]. 

b. The F. S. [see above]. 

c. The parieto-occipital in iS. 

d. The horizonalor sup. occipital in 14. 

e. The \st temporal in 19. 

4. The Calcarine entered the scisstira hippocampi in 5. 

5. The calloso-margi?ial ]oine6. ihe par. -occipital in i. 

6. Th.Q. parieto-occipital ioinedi — 

a. The inter-parietal in 18. 

b. The horizonal occipital in 3. 

From these limited observations we may conclude — 

1. That a considerable proportion of the brains of Hospital cases 
are of the confluent fissure type. 

2. The chief difference to be noted between Prof. Benedikt's; 
series of criminals' brains, and those which I have just gone over, is 
the somewhat greater number of unions between typical fissures, 
more particularly between ihefis. Rol. and contiguous ones. Thus in 
his set this fissure connected, completely or incompletely, with the 
fis. Syl. in 24 instances ; in my series in only 10. In the other 

fissures the disproportion is not nearly so great. 

3. Considering the number of brains of ordinary Hospital patients- 
which present in some degree the confluent fissure type, it would 
seem more reasonable not to assign as yet any special significance to« 
it until we have fuller information about the arrangement of the con- 
volutions in the various races, and until a much larger number of the 
brains of criminals of all countries have been examined. 

Professor Benedikt's cases were nearly all Slavonians or Hungar- 

'%Q Philosophy of Insanity. 

ians, and though Betz of Kieff, a leading authority, acknowledged 
the atypy of his specimens, it would have been more satisfactory to 
liave had a comparison between these specimens and an equal number 
taken from law-abiding members of the same races. It may be urged 
that in Hospital patients the brains should conform in considerable 
numbers to this 2nd or confluent fissure type, as many of them are 
individuals in the lower ranks of life, and not a few belong to the 
criminal class. This applies, however, much more forcibly to dis- 
secting-room material, which, as Dr. Benedikt says, " consists of the 
remains of those who have suffered complete shipwreck in life through 
low grade of intelligence, imperfect motor development, or through 
crimes and vice." In the series of brains which I examined, there 
were no dissecting-room specimens, and it did not include the brain 
of any notorious criminal so far as I am aware. 

As to how far confluence of fissures is indicative of a low type of 
cerebral organization we also want fuller information. When existing 
in high degree, there is certainly an absence of many important annec- 
tants or bridging areas of brain substance ; but when we consider the 
variable size of convolutions bounding the typical fissures, it is easy 
to see that defect in one part might be more than compensated for by 
excess in another part, and even a neighboring part. In several of 
the brains which I examined, notably No. 10, the confluent fissure 
type existed in an organ with a rich convolution system. In the brain 
of Moreau, the retro-central fissure on the left side was separated 
from the inter-parietal by a distinct gyrus, which might as well be 
regarded as an excess, as absence of an annectant and confluence of 
two fissures might be considered a defect. 

With reference to the type of four frontal convolutions which 
Prof. Benedikt has found in such a large number of his specimens, I 
will only say that in 10 of the hemispheres examined it was observed 
in a greater or less degree of development. Nowhere was it better 
sse-en than in the brain of Hayvern. To enter upon the anatomical 
significance of this would be beside the question on this occasion. 

Professor Benedikt's conclusions are those of a thorough-going 
somatist, who would bring all human conduct within the range of 
orgaiiic action. "The consUtutional criminal," he says, '^is a 
biArdened individual, and has the same relation to crime as his next of 
blood kin, the epileptic, and his cousin, the idiot, have to their 
encephalopathic conditions." And, again, " the essential ground of 
abnormal action of the brain " {i.e., I take it, bad conduct) " is abnor- 

Crime and Mesponsihility. 67 

mal brain structure. His 44 criminals were what they were because 
of defects in the organization of their hemispheres : they belonged to 
the crimmal variety oi the ge7ius homo. No wonder, he says, "that 
this proposition is likely to create a veritable revolution in ethics, 
psychology, jurisprudence and criminalities." He wisely adds that 
it should not yet serve as a premise, and should not, for the present, 
leave the hands of the anatomists, since it must be repeatedly proven 
before it can finally rank as an undoubted addition to human science. 

Crime is commonly regarded as the result of yielding to an evil 
impulse which could have been controlled ; and this element oi possi- 
ble co7itrol is what, in the eyes of the law, separates the responsible 
criminal from the irresponsible lunatic. The belief in a criminal 
psychosis is spreading, and is the outcome of sounder views of the 
relation of mind to brain ; and these investigations of Prof Benedikt, 
to which I have so frequently referred, may serve as a foundation to 
a natural history of crime. But if this is the case, how are we to 
regard our criminals ? What degree of responsibility can be attached 
to the actions of a man with a defective cerebral organization? Where 
is there scope to eschew the evil and to do the good, when men are 
" villains by necessity, fools by heavenly compulsion, knaves, thieves 
and treachers by spherical predominance." Any one who believes 
that with all our mental and moral processes there is an unbroken 
material succession, must consistently be a determinisf, and hold, 
with Spinoza, that " in the mind there is no such thing as absolute or 
free will, but the mind is determined to will this or that by a cause 
which is determined by another cause, this by yet another, and so on 
to infinity." For a long time to come, however, the majority of 
individuals — including some who are inconsistent in so doing — will 
continue to hold the intuitionist view, nowhere better expressed than 
by Shakespeare, when he puts into the mouth of that arch-criminal, 
lago, the words : " 'Tis in ourselves that we are thus and thus. Our 
bodies are our gardens to the which our wills are gardeners ; so that 
if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, 
supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many, either to 
have it sterile with idleness or manured with industry, why, the power 
and corrigible authority of this lies in our will." 

" Theft and murder," as Huxley well says, " would be none the 
less objectionable were it possible to prove that they were the result 
of the activity of special theft and murder cells in the grey pulp." One 
thing is certain, that, as society is at present constituted, it cannot 

68 Philosophy of Insanity. 

afford to have a class of criminal automata., and to have every rascal 
pleading faulty grey matter in extenuation of some crime. The law- 
should continue to be a " terror to evil-doers," and to let this anthro- 
pological variety (as Benedikt calls criminals) know positively that 
punishment will follow the commission of certain acts, should prove 
an effectual deterent in many cases, just as with our dogs, the fear of 
the whip exercises a restraining influence — immediate as well as pros- 
pective — on the commission of canine crimes." 

" The Brains of Criminals. — Dr. Osier read a paper on this 
subject, and recorded the results of an examination of the brain of 
the murderer Hayvern, who was executed at Montreal on nth 
December, 1881. He first referred to the observations of Bene- 
dikt of Vienna, who, in 87 hemispheres from 44 criminals, has found 
certain peculiarities which he regards as indicative of a lower type of 
cerebral organization. The points upon which he most dwells are the 
confluence of many of the principal fissures, and the existence in a 
considerable proportion (27 of the 87) of four frontal gyri, the fourth 
being formed by the splitting of the first or second gyrus. This is- 
regarded as an animal similarity. Hayvern was a low, dissolute fellowr 
addicted to drink, with no special neurosis in his family, who, on 
June 29, stabbed a fellow convict. The brain weighed 46 ^^ ozs., and 
was fairly well formed ; the cerebellum was completely covered by the 
cerebrum. On examination it was found to conform in many respects 
to Benedikt's cases, and was atypical, according to his views, in the 
following particulars : The union of the Sylvian fissure with the first 
frontal gyrus ; the junction of the inter-parietal with the parieto-occi- 
pital and first temporal fissures ; the extension of the calcarine fissure 
into the scissura hippocampi ; the union of the collateral and calcarine 
sulci, and in the fusion of the first frontal gyrus, so that there appeared 
to be four frontal convolutions arising from the ascending frontal or 
anterior central gyrus. To ascertain how far these peculiarities existed 
in the brains of hospital patients, Dr. Osier examined 43 hemispheres 
from 24 individuals, and found that a very considerable proportion 
were of the confluent fissure type. Thus, the Sylvian fissure joined 
the fissure of Rolando in 8 hemispheres, the frontal sulci in 18, the 
interparietal in 19, and the first temporal in 12. The chief difference 
between Benedikt's series of brains of criminals and those examined 
was a greater number of unions between the typical fissures, more 
particularly the fissure of Rolando, which in the former joined con- 
tiguous sulci in 24 instances. In 9 of the 43 hemispheres there were 

Crime and Responsibility. 69 

four more or less distinct frontal gyri. He thought that much fuller 
information was needed about the arrangement of the sulci in the 
different races, and many more criminals would have to be examined 
before any positive result was arrived at as to the constant atypical 
character of the brain in members of this class. Speaking of Bene- 
dikt's conclusions, he questioned whether it was wise to speak of 
criminals as an anthropological variety of their species. On his views 
there is no place left for responsibility ; but society cannot afford to 
have a class of criminal automata, and every rascal pleading faulty 
grey matter in extenuation of his crimes. 

Dr. Henry Howard (Government Visiting Physician, Longue 
Pointe Asylum) asked if it were known how many of the brains of the 
series of hospital cases were from criminals, and whether a larger pro- 
portion presented abnormalities than could be reasonably thought to 
belong to this class. He believed in a criminal class as distinct as a 
mercantile class, and regarded the mental and moral condition of the 
individuals belonging to it as dependent absolutely on their physical 
organization. Hayvern was not responsible for his act ; it was not 
premeditated, but performed under the influence of an uncontrollable 
impulse ; and he thought that there was evidence to show that it may 
have been connected with the epileptic neurosis. 

Dr. Kingston wanted to know how it was, if viciousness and crime 
were the product of defective cerebral organization, that some 
notoriously wicked men had reformed and lived sober and honorable 
lives ? Was it probable that with such a change there was any alter- 
ation in the structure of the brain ? To which Dr. Howard answered 

Dr. Osier, in reply to Dr. Howard's question, stated that the series 
of brains which he had examined were nearly all preserved by Gia- 
■comini's method, and no data existed from which the social status of 
the individuals could be ascertained. In the 43 hemispheres (19 
perfect brains and 5 halves), 19 presented one or more atypical 


The evidence in this now celebrated case is reviewed at length in 
the last number of the Jouf-nal of Mental Science (January, 1882). 
Our readers are well aware, through the general press and through 
the controversy carried on in the columns of some of our medical 
contemporaries, of the wide divergence between the opinions held by 

70 Philosophy of Insanity. 

the medical experts for the prosecution and defence respectively. They 
know that Dr. Henry Howard took very strong ground in asserting 
Hayvern's insanity^ and that his evidence was entirely overborne by 
the conjoint statements to the contrary of several others who have 
given the subject of mental disease some attention, and the man was 
executed. It will, therefore, interest them to hear the result arrived 
at by \}a.t Journal of Mental Science^ after a review of the whole case. 
It says : — 

" Legal opinion in regard to the test of insanity does not appear 
to have made so much progress in Canada as in some of the States of 
America, where the test of knowledge of right and wrong has been 
departed from in a marked manner. Dr. Howard, who has had long 
experience of the insane, has done good service by ventilating more 
advanced views on the subject. We hesitate to express a decided 
opinion on the irresponsibility of this particular prisoner, seeing that 
several physicians on the spot differed from the conclusion arrived at 
by Dr. Howard, that he was insane and unaccountable. At the same 
time the history of the case strongly suggests epilepsy, and the intem- 
perate habits were probably symptoms rather than causes of the low 
mental condition present. The absence of motive for the crime is a 
striking feature of the case, as well as the prisoner's indifference to 
the verdict pronounced upon him.'' 





Infpar Fis 


Fiff. 2. 

ris Cruc 

Par.pc Fis 


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Plate 2. 

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Retro-cent fis. 

inter ft an el a/ 


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Fig. 4. 


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1 \' Temp. Fis 

Fis. Sjk 


A Study of the Hayvern-Salter Homicide. 


The position which the law holds respecting epilepsy is, like that 
which it holds on any individual psychosis, a most doubtful one. 
Epileptics are, of all classes of the insane, those to whom the absurd 
right and wrong dictum of the law does most injustice. An epileptic 
may perform an act apparently premeditated, and may appear to know 
the exact legal consequences of his act, and yet the act be the direct 
result of the disease. Even in some of the lower mental states there- 
is an apparent premeditation that to the law lords would, from their 
a priori ideas and dicta, appear inconsistent with the real mental con- 
dition. In a case reported by Spitzka*, a patient, who was absolutely 
unconscious, and was held by three persons, his wife holding his 
head to prevent biting at the others, was seen " to put out his tongue,, 
like a tentacle, to feel where a portion of his wife's hand was available 
for biting." This man was in a condition of complete unconsciousness^ 
yet there were, as will be seen, skilfully co-ordinated automatic move- 
ments. When epilepsy is spoken of in connection with homicide, the 
first idea that strikes the amateur alienist is, was the act committed in 
a state of epileptic mania ? for this or epileptic dementia are the only 
forms they recognize. This is something strange, as an old attendant 
soon learns to recognize the various mental disturbances of epileptics^ 
and in my early studies I obtained hints from an old attendant on the 
subject that were more in accordance with the dicta of modern science 
than are the ordinary text books on the subject. 

The demarcation which has been drawn in epilepsy by Spitzka f , 
Samt|, Falret § and Sommer || is as follows: The pre-epileptic 

* Medical Record, December 31, 1881. 

t St. Louis Clinical Record, May, 1879. 

% Etat Mental des Epileptiques. Archives Gdn^rales de Medecine, 1860-lS 

§ Archiv fuer Psychiatric, Band V . und VI. 

II Archiv fuer Psychiatric, Band XI., Heft. 2. 

■74 Philosophy of Insanity. 

"insanity which precedes an attack of epilepsy. The post-epileptic, 
'which succeeds an attack. The psychic equivalent, which takes the 
iplace of a convulsion. The intervallary insanity, which comes between 
'the attacks. These mental phenomena may vary in duration from a 
few hours to weeks, and in character from a single act of violence to 
■ a long continued maniacal attack. A crime resulting from epileptic 
may be preceded by a feeling of depression, may be accomplished 
with comparative deliberation, followed by excitement. The patient 
may lose all consciousness of the same until a return of the insanity, 
when he may remember the circumstances of the crime, of which he 
was ignorant during the period of sanity. It is unnecessary to allude 
to the fact that epileptic attacks are often extremely slight. 

As the crime I propose to discuss was committed in a prison it 
might be well to enquire what psychoses are ordinarily found among 
convicts. Perhaps the most valuable contribution to this subject is 
that of Heimann^. He found that the insane criminals coming under 
his observation had been epileptic during childhood, and that many 
were not regarded as either epileptic or insane until long after their 
:f[rst crime, when the full history of the case was obtained. The cir- 
•cumstances of the crime were as follows : A convict named Hayvern 
anurdered another convict named Salter. The deceased and the 
prisoner were, as a rule, good friends, but the prisoner is reported by 
^one witness to have said " that he would never go to Kingston, and 
that he had stabbed Salter because Salter wanted to send him to 
Kingston, and that Salter would never call him insulting names 
again." The convicts entertain a dread of being sent to the peni- 
tentiary at Kingston, but it does not appear that there was any inten- 
tion, nor had Salter any power to send the prisoner there, nor was it 
:shown that the prisoner was called "insulting names." The murder 
was committed openly in presence of a number of witnesses. Hayvern 
ihad convulsive attacks of some kind during childhood and youth. 
Although the patient himself had been a criminal, from his youth up, 
•of a low grade, his family are very respectable people. The deed was 
•committed with a knife made out of an old file, a kind of weapon very 
■common, at least in the United States, among convicts, work-house 
men and other criminal and semi-criminal classes under confinement. 
It appears from the evidence that the prisoner had abundant oppor- 
tunity to commit the homicide under more favorable circumstances ; 

* Zeitschrift filer Psychiatrie. Band XXXVII., Heft 2. 

Crime and Responsibility. 75 

that " the prisoner stood perfectly still for a minute after committing 
the deed." 

The defence was epileptic insanity, and the case presents many 
elements of interest. Dr. H. Howard, of Montreal, was the first 
medical expert called. He testified that the first thing which struck 
him was the prisoner's peculiar epileptic pallor. He at once saw the 
prisoner was an imbecile. From private friends, public and police 
reports, he found the man's conduct to have been very bad. He 
found the prisoner to have been an habitual inebriate from youth i 
constantly in prison, and, lastly, sentenced for five years to the 
Penitentiary ; while in the Montreal prison, previous to his removal 
to St, Vincent de Paul, he attempted to escape through a sky-light, by 
means of a small cord, which broke, causing him to fall a distance of 
thirty feet. It was natural for the man to try and escape from prison. 
The insane in lunatic asylums all over the world try every day to 
escape, and very frequently successfully. But the means employed 
for the end prove the fool. No intelligent man of the size and 
weight of Hay vern would venture his life with the piece of small cord 
which he used. In the infirmary of the penitentiary, while under 
medical treatment, he requested the nurse to take a club and strike 
him with it on the back of the head. One witness said that he 
(Hayvern) confessed to him that he did premeditate it ; but such a 
confession from an insane man must be taken " cum grano salis." 
Insane persons not only accuse others but themselves of impossible 

But if Hayvern did, from some supposed injury of which he was 
the victim, premeditate revenge upon Salter, it would be no proof that 
the murder was not an unpremeditated, uncontrollable, impulsive act, 
an impulse called into existence at the moment by the appearance 
of Salter, so that there would be no connection whatever between the 
premeditation and the act. Again, if he did premeditate the act, 
and was in the passage waiting and watching for Salter, with the 
intention of pouncing upon his victim, that would not prove that he 
was not insane, or that he could control his insane desire ; on the 
contrary, it might be a still stronger proof of his insanity, that under 
the circumstances in which he was placed he would do an act from 
the fearful consequences of which it was impossible for him to escape. 
Every day there are examples in lunatic asylums of insane persons 
committing crimes that they have premeditated. Premeditation is 
no more a proof of a man's sanity than is the right and wrong test 

76 Philosophy of Insanity. 

which has so long disgraced the statute books. If the knowledge of 
right and wrong be the test of insanity then one-third at least of all 
those in asylums all over the world should be set at large, and if 
giving an intelligible answer to a question be a proof of sanity then a 
still greater number should be discharged. 

Hayvern made a poor attempt at com.mitting suicide, showing that 
lilic all insane persons he was a moral coward, he wanted to die, or 
thought he did, as when he wanted the nurse to strike him on the 
head. Then, when the kind-hearted acting warden went to him for 
the knife after the homicide, he actually tried to get that officer to 
shoot him, all only positive proof that, like all insane persons, the 
man was a -moral coward. The Rev. Father Knox, who obtained the 
knife from Hayvern, testified that when he saw the man in his cell he 
was a raving maniac. Psychologically there was not much to be 
observed. He spoke but little, and that little did not show intelli- 
gence. He said " there was something alive in his belly," and asked 
the doctor to cut it out. In reply to the question, "Did he sleep? " 
he answered, " No, he could not sleep." He complained of being 
tired ; he wished to sleep. The keepers in charge told Dr. Howard 
he was seen every half hour, and whenever spoken to always answered, 
showing that he did not sleep. Insomnia is one of the most marked 
symptoms of insanity. He was very nervous and excitable, picking 
up bits of thread and dividing every fibre. His face and body were 
anemic ; perspiration was pouring from every pore, cold and clammy ; 
his pupils were dilated and sluggish in action ; locomotion was normal. 
His pulse was a hundred and ten ; temperature 93.8*^ ; respiration 
thirty-six. The radial artery could be seen pulsating. The abdo- 
minal aorta was clearly visible when he stood; sat or was in a recum- 
bent position ; this was the something alive in his bowels which he 
wished removed. Five days after Dr. Howard's examination was 
continued. His pulse was then one hundred; temperature 92.4°;. 
respiration, thirty-six ; heart sounds at base normal, at arch of aorta, 
something like a bellows sound ; apex of heart_, first sound, strong ; 
second, weak ; the abdominal aorta, abnormal. These are frequently 
found in persons of an epileptic neurosis, but they may be early 
symptoms of aneurism. Here, however, was an abnormal state of 
the vascular system, caused probably by a fall from the roof of the 
prison ; but whatever the cause, it might suffice to produce, at least,, 
functional if not organic derangement of the mental organization, to 
account for the man's actions. When it is considered what a weak 

Crime and Responsibility. 7T 

mind he has always had, it is easy to understand what havoc such a 
diseased vascular system might produce upon such a mental organ- 
ization. Dr. Howard examined the nervous system by electricity 
and ffisthesiometer, and found motility normal ; the patient was found 
to be partially analgesic. This is one of the unfaiHng symptoms, 
always to be found in the intellectually insane; it can never be 
feigned, no more than can temperature, which is always below par 
in the insane, except where there is fever, which is by no means a 
symptom of insanity. 

Judging the mental state of John Hayvern by his conduct,, 
by his physiological symptoms, by his psychological symptoms ,^ 
by his pathological symptoms, Dr. Howard did not hesitate 
to declare him to be a man of unsound mental organization ; 
that he was intellectually and morally insane, a mere creature of 
impulse, and if he did kill Thomas Salter in the manner in 
which he is said to have done, he killed him while laboring under 
an insane epileptiform uncontrollable impulse, for which he was not 
responsible, and his mental aberration was due to three causes :. 
heredity, to his being an inebriate from his youth up, and third, it 
had been aggravated by his fall from the roof of the jail previous to 
his having committed the crime of which he is accused. 

The use of instruments, though here justifiable, it must be con- 
fessed looks something like clap-trap. Many of these statements 
must strike the alienist reader as being too positive, and some of them 
as being even slightly contradictory or fanciful. For example, the 
fact that the prisoner attempted to escape from the prison by such 
imperfect means is not inconsistent with sanity. Many desperate 
criminals are known to have attempted escape by similarly imperfect 
means. The evidence given by the witness that the prisoner said 
he premeditated the murder is, as Dr. Howard claimed, no evidence 
that the murder was not committed during an epileptic state, but at the 
same time it is a very suspicious circumstance where the burden of 
proof certainly lies on the insanity theory. As Dr. Howard claims, 
an epileptic may premeditate a homicide, and yet carry out that 
homicide at a time and under circumstances which could not fail to 
show the homicide was then unintentional, and the direct outcome of 
an epileptic explosion. 

Dr. Howard's statement that all insane persons are moral cowards 
is certainly not to be proven. Had he said many epileptics, he would 
have been nearer the truth. The statement about analgesia being 

78 Philosophy of Insanity. 

always a symptom of intellectual insanity is demonstrably erroneous. 
The statement that the man was an imbecile, and the assignment of 
the amount of intelligence Dr. Howard does to the prisoner, are, 
however, not necessarily incompatible. Dr. Howard, like Dr. 
Nichols and others of the more scientific members of the Asylum 
Association, holds that imbecility is a result of teratological defect ; 
insanity a result of pathological defect ; they therefore classify the 
primary monomania of the Germans with the imbeciles as imbecility 
of the first grade ; both being equally insane in the sense of the law. 

Dr. Howard may have positive reasons for saying that in his 
•opinion the temperature of the chronic insane is always below par ; 
this has not yet been established. That in certain cases it is cannot 
be denied, and this is undeniably the case with epileptics and paretics. 
Among certain of the insane and certain neurotic subjects the 
temperature may fall very low. Lowenhardt* reports two cases of 
insanity in which the temperature was at various times 87.5° F., 
89.6° F. and 90.5° F. ; these were cases of maniacal excitement. 
Mendenhall f cites a case of dementia in which the temperature was 
•90.5° F. Zenker I has studied nine cases of insanity where the 
bodily heat was found to sink easily ; it fell in three cases as low as 
90.6° F., and in one instance as low as 87.06° F. Phenomena of 
this kind, from what is now known of the action of the nervous system 
on temperature, are nothing more than might be expected. It may 
therefore be admitted that a patient having a temperature below 96° 
not in collapse, must be assumed suffering from some neurosis pre 
sumably of a psychical kind. 

Some things are to be noticed in his evidence in favor of the theory 
of the prisoner's epilepsy. First : The peculiar pallor observed by 
Dr. Howard. Second : The existence of neurotic symptoms, low 
temperature and analgesia. Third: The convulsive attacks during 
childhood and youth. Fourth : The patient's standing still after the 
attack ; and Fifth : His violence coming on after the comparatively 
calm manner in which the crime was executed. Before discussing 
Dr. Howard's evidence further, it is best to examine the evidence of 
the other experts. 

Dr. Angus Macdonald, after having read Dr. Howard's report 

* Allgemeine Zeitschrift fuer Psychiatric, 1868. 

+ Medical Record, June 4, 1881. 

i Journal of Mental Science, October, 1877. 

Crime and Responsibility. 79 

and examined the prisoner, testified that he entirely agreed with Dr. 
Howard, that the prisoner was insane when he committed the crime. 

Dr. Edmond Robillard testified that he was the Government 
Inspector of Insanity at the Montreal Jail ; he examined the prisoner on 
the 17th, 19th, 20th, 2ist, 22nd and 23rd September; prisoner was 
nervous and uncomfortable, and reluctant to converse; however, he said 
he did not suffer from headache ; during the two or three first visits his- 
pulse was agitated and he was in perspiration ; at the end of each 
examination his pulse would fall to seventy or seventy-two and the 
perspiration would all cease, as if the fright was over ; at each visit 
told witness he was all right, except that he had something in the 
abdomen which pained him ; the muscular system was that of a strong 
man. He discovered the dilatation of the aorta ; prisoner's respira- 
tion was eighteen or nineteen, and was natural ; after being with the 
prisoner for some time he did not deem it necessary to further test it, 
as it was normal. All the perspiration had been caused by fright at 
the sight of a stranger ; on being asked why he killed Salter, he 
always answered " I do not know," and could not be brought to 
speak on this question very much ; at another examination he was 
asked if he knew Salter was dead, and he answered he did not know.. 

Dr. Robillard came to the conclusion that he was a very wicked 
man with greatly perverted morals, and would do anything to attain, 
his object. He did not see any symptoms of epilepsy ; prisoner 
could distinguish right from wrong. Dr. Robillard was of opinion 
that half of the epileptics become insane ; uncontrollable impulses are 
very rarely met with in imbeciles or idiots ; an epileptic does not 
remember what he does during one of these uncontrollable imiDulses. 
He believed that prisoner was perfectly conscious of his act, but that 
immediately after he became greatly excited, and this fact moved his 
dormant impulses ; and that the prisoner was neither an imbecile nor 
an idiot, but that the muddle in which he passed the greater part of 
his life made of him a most depraved character. Dr. Robillard would 
not have sent him to the lunatic asylum as insane after his examina- 

On cross-examination. Dr. Robillard said that he had great respect 
for the opinion of Dr. Howard, but he did not accept certain theories 
of his respecting the nervous system ; Dr. Robillard did not make 
any examination for the partial paralysis of sensation. He found the 
prisoner to have an aneurism. He agreed with Dr. Howard that 
intellectual and moral insanity are the same, but did not believe ia 

so Philosophy of Insanity. 

the theory that the mind was the product of the body, and beHeved 
that the prisoner was a man in whom all the noble attributes of man 
■were wanting. 

Dr. PominviUe testified he had seen the prisoner almost daily in 
the Penitentiary, but had not noticed any mental derangement ; the 
prisoner was taciturn and morose, but that was not extraordinary ; he 
was debased morally and mentally, like most of the convicts^ the results 
of vice ; he knew right from wrong, and was responsible for his acts ; he 
was cool and collected after the murder, and seemed to be looking in 
a looking-glass at the slight wound that he had inflicted on his throat. 

On cross-examination he stated he had not made a special study 
of mental science ; had paid attention to ordinary diseases ; had 
never seen and would not know how to use the aesthesiometer referred 
to by Dr. Howard ; was not shaken in his belief by the evidence of Dr. 
Howard ; could not speak as to the partial paralysis of sensation ; 
Dr. Howard had not used these instruments when he pronounced 
twenty-five convicts in the Penitentiary insane. He (PominviUe) had 
:SOlicited a specialist to examine them. He had not followed the progress 
of psychiatry^ and did not wish to pronounce an opiiiion on what was 
ier?ned "' uncontrollable imptdse," but did not believe any such thing 
j)ccurred in the prisoner' s case. 

He, in answer to a question by the Court said, that he thought that 
en the 2gth of June last , priso7ier was sane, and knew right from wrong, 
although, at the very moment the act was committed, he might not have 
thought of either ; both before and after the deed he thought he was 
perfectly sane. 

Dr. Vallee testified that after hearing all the evidence he was of 
■opinion that the prisoner was not insane at the moment he committed 
the deed, and was perfectly able to distinguish between right and 
wrong. A man whose temperature is at ninety-five and two-thirds 
must be suffering greatly ; at Beauport Asylum the epileptic maniacs 
are considered the most dangerous ; in cases of epileptic fits the im- 
pulses are momentary ; the acts are automatic, violent and without 
motive ; an epileptic man never remembers the acts he has committed ; 
imbeciles are subject to these uncontrollable impulses. He had 
observed the appearance in Court of the prisoner, and found that he, 
as a rule, manifested a great indifference, but when pointed remarks 
were made had further observed that prisoner paid greater attention. 
Dr. Vallee, on cross-examination, said he had studied his profession 
in Paris, under Professor Charcot, one of the authorities on nervous 

Crime and Responsibility. 81 

matters ; in London he had attended St. Thomas Hospital ; he was 
physician of Beauport Asylum for two years ; has had occasion to use 
the instruments mentioned by Dr. Howard ; there are insane people 
who appear sane to any one except alienist physicians. Insane people 
are sometimes endowed with cunning. Dr. Vallee's views as further 
given by him* are as follows : No matter how marked the depres- 
sion of temperature, of itself it does not constitute aproof of insanity. 
Dr. Howard arrived at the conclusion that the prisoner struck the 
blow while under a fit of epileptic mania ; and, consequently, could 
not be held responsible for this act, Admitting this hypothesis, the 
fit must have been epileptic dizziness or veiled epilepsy. Now, the 
unsettled state of the mind, the obtuseness of ideas, the confusion of 
memory, are the essential characteristics of such attack ; nothing 
analogous can be detected in Hayvern ; on the contrary, every thing 
indicates most clearly that his crime was designed beforehand. He 
chose his victim, fixed his hour, and after striking down Salter, 
explained his reason for so doing : " You'll never call me C — S — ■ 

Dr. William Gardner next testified : Has practised for sixteen 
years, and is Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at McGill College ; 
has known Dr. Howard and heard him read papers on the subject of 
insanity ; he has the reputation of knowing his subject very well, but 
of holding extreme views ; there were no facts in the evidence to 
warrant the opinion that the prisoner was an epileptic maniac or im- 
becile, but he was certainly stupid, and of a low order of intelligence ; 
from the evidence he has heard he would not have made such a 
diagnosis as Dr. Howard's, but had he done so would consider the 
prisoner a fit subject for an insane asylum ; he himself would not have 
sent him to a lunatic asylum ; witness is of the opinion that prisoner 
can distinguish between right and wrong ; it is possible to be partially 
insane or monomaniac ; insomnia is not a sign of insanity. He was 
of opinion that all the isolated symptoms combined would not pro- 
duce insanity. In all his experience and reading never knew of a case 
where the temperature was so low, except in cases where death was 
impending. On cross-examination he said he never was connected 
with an insane asylum, but has treated about thirty insane patients. 

Dr. Charles Cameron next testified. Had practised for eight years, 
five of which he passed in the Montreal General Hospital ; is Pro- 

* Canada Medical Record, November, i88r. 

82 Philosophy of Insanity. 

fessor of Medical Jurisprudence at Bishop's College. Has heard the 
evidence of Dr. Howard, and was of opinion that the prisoner was 
not insane, and has heard nothing to prove that the prisoner was 
incapable of distinguishing right from wrong on the 29th of June last. 
On cross-examination, said that he agreed with Dr. Gardner on the 
subject of low temperature ; the lowest temperature on record is 
92.2°. As a supplement to Dr. Cameron's evidence should in justice 
be taken the following expression of his views* : " A man must be 
the measure of himself; his mind must be the standard of comparison 
by which to determine his sanity or insanity, responsibility or irre- 
sponsibility. The only safe way in such cases is to compare the 
individual with his former self. " 

Such is the evidence given in the case. The statements of Dr. 
Vallee respecting the unsettled state of mind, obtuseness of ideas, 
confusion of memory, are true as regards many of the epileptic psy- 
choses, but they are wanting just where they are needed, in many of 
the psychic equivalents of an epileptic attack. As an element of 
differential diagnosis their value is but a very, very relative one. Dr. 
Robillard's statement that impulses are rare with imbeciles, using the 
latter term either in the sense of Dr. Howard or the ordinary sense, 
is not in accordance with the views held by alienists. His testimony 
that the prisoner was nervous and disinclined to converse, and was so 
frightened that his pulse and perspiration were affected, disposes of 
the theory that the prisoner was a hardened criminal who would com- 
mit a crime in a reckless, brutal manner. No reckless, hardened 
criminal would act in such a manner, and no sane criminal of any 
other type would have committed such a desperate crime for such a 
more than dubious motive. What Dr. Robillard means by saying 
'' the prisoner was perfectly conscious of his act, but became immedi- 
ately excited and that roused his dormant impulses," can not well be 
determined, but it is obvious Dr. Robillard was endeavoring to explain 
some psychic phenomena of the prisoner to his own satisfaction. There 
is here, then, first a crime performed with great calmness, then great 
excitement, and then very great stupidity ; but it may well be asked, 
does not this correspond ideally with certain epileptic psychic pheno- 
mena ? The meaning of the paragraph, " The muddle in which the 
prisoner passed the greater part of his life made of him a most de- 
praved character " is very obscure ; perhaps it alludes to the prisoner's 

* Canada Medical Record, December, 1881. 

Crime and Besponsibility. 83 

intoxication. It was obvious Dr. Robillard did not make a thorough 
examination of the prisoner, or he would have determined the same 
analgesia found by Dr. Howard. 

According to the statement of Dr. Pominville, the prisoner was 
cool and collected after the murder, but was taciturn and morose 
naturally, and was debased morally and mentally, whatever that may 
mean. He evidently did not believe that the prisoner premeditated 
the act, or he would not have said that the prisoner at the time of the 
act never thought of wrong or right. If he did not weigh the con- 
sequences of the act, it was not premeditated^ and by this evidence 
the theory that the act was more than impulsive receives a severe 
shock. It must be remembered, in weighing the value of the state- 
ment that " Dr. Pominville never saw any evidence of mental derange- 
ment in the prisoner," that in Canada, as in the United States, politics 
determine appointment to medical positions in jails,fand that as a rule, 
mental derangement is not first noticed by the jail physicians, but by 
the keeper, who naturally requires tremendous evidence to make him 
believe that a convict, ill physically or mentally, is not feigning. 
Hayvern, however, was placed in the infirmary soon after his attempt 
to escape. While there he, as testified by Dr. Howard, asked the 
infirmary nurse to strike him on the head, and made many other 
strange requests to this man, who said he at first thought he was 
joking, but finally _^ concluded that the man was mad. These facts, 
however, are not proof positive, for I have known prisoners to make 
prison-keepers believe them insane, but there always has been some 
question in my mind as to the existence of epilepsy in these cases. 
It is, therefore, evident that Dr. Pominville's testimony is not beyond 
impeachment on this point. 

Dr. Gardner appears from his testimony to consider the man of a 
low order of intelfigence but not an imbecile, although even from the 
standpoint of a low order of intelligence he is very stupid. How 
this differs from imbecility, I must confess I cannot determine. Dr. 
Gardner's reading respecting temperatures did not embrace the 
Jouriial of Mental Science nor the Zeitschrift fur Psychiatric^ nor the 
Medical Record, or he would not have made the statement that 
death must be impending if such a temperature existed. The same 
remark will apply to Dr. Cameron's evidence. As to Dr. Cameron's 
statement that a man must be the measure of himself, etc., a little 
reflection will show that while this is true in a very limited sense, 
considered as an absolute rule it is a failure. The primary mono- 


84 Philosophy of Insanity. 

maniacs are always monomaniacs, and the imbeciles are always imbe- 
ciles. The attempt to compare them with their former selves is an 
absurdity. This idea of change of character being an absolute rule 
is an enormous hindrance to progress, and has caused not a little 
injustice in forensic psychiatry. Dr. Cameron, in his editorial com- 
ments, seems to have forgotten that there is such a thing as an 
'epileptic countenance and a pallor peculiar to epileptics, and that a 
^Bound and scientific diagnosis of epilepsy inight be made on this 
(■evidence, although the patient was never seen in a " fit." 

Taking into consideration that this patient presented an epileptic 
pallor, that he had a convulsive disorder during childhood and youth, 
that the alleged motive was baseless, that immediately after the crime 
;he was at first cool and collected, standing perfectly still for a 
minute, and then markedly and violently excited, so that an intel- 
ligent observer (the Catholic clergyman) claimed that the man was 
maniacal, and the subsequent stupidity, the presumption that the 
crime was the offspring of an epileptic psychosis, seems the most pro- 
bable one, but it must be admitted the case is a difficult one. 

Apart from the testimony directly bearing on the case itself and 
from the question of temperature, the evidence on both sides was 
much more in harmony with the present state of medical science than 
the expert testimony of the more recent trials. The prisoner's 
statement that his aneurism was something alive which .needed 
cutting out, was not necessarily a delusion. In a man of his intel- 
ligence, the supposition that it might be a parasite was a not 
•unnatural one, and the belief that it needed cutting out was fully in 
accordance with many popular ideas on surgery. The prisoner was 
found guilty and executed. 

The brain presented the following features : The Sylvian was 
ranited with the first frontal gyrus; there was a junction of the inter- 
iparietal with the parieto-occipital and first temporal fissures ] an 
vextension of the calcarine fissure into the scissura hippocampi; a 
mriion of the collateral and calcarine sulci, and there was a fusion of 
'ihe first frontal gyrus so that there appeared to be four frontal con- 
volutions arising from the ascending frontal or anterior central gyrus. 
The results of this examination have but little value from an anthro- 
pological standpoint, and none at all from the standpoint of the 

* I must differ with the views of the learned Reviewer as expressed in the four 
last lines. True, the examination was valueless pathologically speaking, but cer- 

Crime and Responsibility. 85 

The reader, having read the foregoing, will be in a better position 
to understand the following : 

I have said that under the English law an insane man is not held 
responsible for his acts, indeed I believe this is the rule in all coun- 
tries ; but the trouble is to prove a criminal insane, that is, to satisfy 
a judge and jury that a person accused of crime is insane. I failed 
to do so in the case of Hayvern, although I did ray best not only to 
prove him insane, but an epileptic and an imbecile. His brain proved 
the latter, according to my definition of what constitutes an imbecile, 
viz., a teratological defect in brain structure.* That there was a 

tainly of the very utmost importance from a teratological standpoint. The brain 
was not a normal but abnormal brain, an undeveloped brain, not that I by any 
means consider it necessary that the cadaver should reveal either teratological 
or pathological defect to prove that a man when living was insane, for, as I have 
already said, thousands of persons have lived and died insane and the cadaver has 
revealed no cause. But in this particular case the cadaver revealed, at least, tera- 
tological defect. 

* During the early part of the sitting of the Court of Queen's Bench, when the 
unfortunate Hayvern was tried, same judge presiding, the same lawyer prosecuting, 
a man of the name of William Buhner was tried for having premeditated and with 
malice aforethought discharged a pistol at the foreman of the establishment (Messrs. 
Lovell 6^ Co . ) in which he was employed, with the felonious intent of doing him 
grievous bodily harm. Bulmer was defended by Mr. W. Polette, advocate, a son 
of Judge Polette, and his defense was the plea of insanity, and he called upon me 
to prove to Court and jury that the man was insane. I visited the man in prison, 
carefully examined his features and his manner, spoke a few words to him and pro- 
nounced him insane. These facts, when the man was on trial, I stated to the Court 
and jury, adding that from the fact that I found him insane when in prison, a few 
days before, that he was insane when at the bar on trial, and from the evidence I 
heard in Court of how the man conducted himself at the time he fired the pistol, 
I had no doubt but that the man was insane when he committed the alleged crime, 
and that he acted from an irresistible impulse. My friend. Dr. Robillard, Govern- 
ment Inspector of the insane in the prisons of Montreal, differed from me. He did 
not think the man insane at all, nor that he acted from an irresistible impulse. Of 
course, none of the jail offtcials saw anything insane in the man's conduct while in 
prison . His Honor Judge Monk charged strongly against the prisoner, assured 
the jury of his very high opinion of me as a mental scientist, but at the same time 
warned the jury against accepting the dangerous doctrine of irresistible impulse. The 
jury found the prisoner guilty, that is that he was not insane. Mr. Polette, the 
lawyer for the prisoner, opposed sentence being passed, finally I believe had the 
indictment squashed, but this is of no interest, so far as the sanity of the man was 

Well, notwithstanding my friend, Dr. Robillard's evidence, the evidence of the 

86 Philosophy of Insanity. 

defect in brain structure no one denied, and Dr. Osier admitted it 
was an abnormal brain, in answer to a question of mine, although 
such question does not appear in the published minutes of the meet- 
ing — indeed, the whole minutes are mixed up in a most strange 
manner. I only asked Dr. Osier two questions. One was, did he 
recognize the brain to be abnormal ? To which he answered, yes. 
The other was, considering that the hospital was open to all classes 
of persons, was it not probable that in those in whom he found the 
brain to correspond with the atypical brain described by Benedikt, 
and not having any history of their social standing or character, 
might we not be justified in assuming that these persons belonged to 
the criminal class of society ? To which he answered, we might 
assume it, more particularly as it was a fact that some of them had 
been prostitutes. I never asked any such absurd question as to how 
the brains were preserved. I say absurd, because Dr. Osier had 
informed the Society at different times that it was by Giacommini's 

jail officials. His Honor's charge, and the intelligent jury's verdict, the man was 
mad, mad as a march hare, suffering from acute mania, and I knew it, bat I could 
afford to bide my time. I knew that time would justify my diagnosis. But has it ? 
Yes, the man, after being kept in the Montreal jail, in a state of insanity, from Sept.^ 
1881, to June, 1882, has been sent by order of the Hon. Attorney General to the 
Lunatic Asylum at Longue Pointe, where I saw him this 12th of June, 1882, about 
as insane a man as there is in the asylum-mania in the chronic stage. I said my friend. 
Dr. Robillard, was Government Inspector of the msane of the piisons of Montreal ; 
now, his duty is to recommend the insane that he finds in the prisons to be removed to 
the asylum, so I presume it was at his recommendation that Bulmer has been sent 
there. Of course, for a few days after the trial public opinion, through the papers, 
approved highly of the verdict, of the wisdom of the. Bench, and the intelligence 
of the jury, in giving no heed to the plea of insanity and that most dangerous doc- 
trine put forward by Dr. Howard of irresistible impzclse. If such a plea was 
allowed, every scoundrel that wished could shoot down his neighbor, and then 
plead irresistible impulse. Much more of such nonsense was written which was not 
very complimentary to myself. 

I hope now public opinion will express itself through the same medium, the 
press, and acknowledge its error, and that it will be a lesson to public opinion in 
future not to interfere in matters that it knows nothing about. 

Although naturally pleased that time should justify me, I write this with no 
spirit of triumph, but to give another proof of the utter absurdity of our system — a 
judge and jury to decide whether a man is or is not insane, whether he is or is not 
legally responsible for his acts. 

Surely no one can deny, but in this case justice made a great mistake, but not 
one jot greater than it did in the case of Hugh Hayvern, although it fortunately had 
not such a tragical ending. 

Crime and Resi^onsihility . 87 

method. Moreover, more than once I have had the pleasure of seeing 
Dr. Osier preparing these brains. In the course of this chapter it 
will appear that all my trouble in the case of Hayvern arose from the 
fact that neither judge, nor jury, nor doctors (at least judging by their 
evidence) had ever before heard that insanity was a physical disease, 
to be diagnosed by cHnical symptoms ; and that physiological 
and psychological symptoms were only effect of an anatomical 
cause, and an abnormal state of the mental physical organization. 
Now should my theory of insanity prove to be correct, the result will 
alter our whole teachings of Medical Jurisprudence, so far as the 
question of insanity is concerned ; and assuming, as I must do, that 
my theory is correct, it is upon this hypothesis that I base my reason- 
ing of the Medical Jurisprudence of criminal responsibility or legal 
•criminality. Perhaps the better heading of this chapter would have 
been the philosophy of crime and legal responsibility, but 
that is not of much consequence. 

I cannot conceive any man being placed in a more unenviable 
position than is a medical expert when he undertakes to defend a 
criminal whom he conscientiously believes to be irresponsible for his 
crime, because that he is an imbecile or insane^ or both imbecile and 
insane — in either case incapable to control by any effort of his will, or 
even have the will to control his insane or imbecile desire, or his insane 
and imbecile impulse. Society in the aggregate is a multiple of 
individuals, and, like unto individuals, subject to normal and abnormal 
states, depending upon various objective causes. Society Ukes excite- 
ment, likes anything that administers to its morbid curiosity. It 
delights in a good well hunted up and well discovered scandal, as 
when some frail one (loving, not wisely, but too well) strays from the 
fold and is lost. But society gluts and gormandizes over a murder, 
and the more brutal the murder the better for society. Society does 
not in reality care a row of pins for the victim, as exemplified in the 
case of Hayvern, who killed Salter, when they were both convicts in 
the Penitentiary of St. Vincent de Paul, Province of Quebec. When 
Salter was sent to the Penitentiary society was well pleased and said, 
■served him right, every scoundrel of his sort must be punished, or 
what will become of society. Society is respectable^ very ; so, to show 
its abhorrence of crime, it shouted with the voice of a trumpet — served 
the scoundrel Salter right. But then, on the 29th June, 1881, society 
was again roused from its state of lethargy, and happy security. The 
telegraph wires flashed the news from St. Vincent de Paul that Salter, 

88 Philosophy of Insanity. 

the convict, had been cruelly and brutally murdered by another con- 
vict named Hugh Hayvern. Then society forgot all about the 
villain Salter, and the dead Salter became the poor Salter, and now 
society thirsted for the blood of Hayvern. Nothing less could satisfy 
it. Nothing must stand between society and Hayvern. Any one 
who dared to do so must be marked down as the enemy of society. 
Did not the " old women " of both sexes go to sleep at night and 
dream of Hayvern escaping from prison, and with a long, sharp 
knife, prepared out of an " old file, ground down and sharpened to a 
fine point, fixed in a rough wooden handle" (see Canada Medical 
Record, Vol. X., page i8, speaking for society) stabbing them all in 
the heart. So society could not rest till it had the blood of Hayvern. 
Society was also greatly excited at this time about Guiteau who killed 
President Garfield. So it cried out with a loud voice : whoever stands 
between Hayvern and death is the friend of Guiteau. So society 
worked itself up to a boiling-point — ice could not cool it down» 
Reason only added fuel to the flame. Nothing could cool it down 
but the blood of Hayvern. Then society got another terrible shock. 
It heard that a criminal lawyer of great repute was going to defend 
Hayvern, on the plea that he was an imbecile, and committed the crime 
without malice aforethought, without premeditation, but under an in- 
sane, uncontrollable impulse, and that he, the lawyer, had called to his 
assistance Dr. H., as an expert in mental science, to render him assis- 
tance, that he might, if possible, prove to the Court and jury, through 
'him, that Hayvern was irresponsible for his act, So society literally 
boiled over and declared it would not be baulked, it must have the 
blood of Hayvern, if for no other reason than to set an example to 
the American jury who would try that villain Guiteau. Society waS' 
not surprised at the lawyer, that, of course, was his business ; but who 
could or would have believed that Dr. H. could be guilty of such a. 
crime against society. Did he want to let that murdering villain loose 
upon society to murder some other innocent person ? Whose turn would 
it be next ? Where was the security when such a man as Dr. H. would 
try to save such a villain from the gallovvs ? The very look of the 
wretch was enough to condemn him. Is he not described in the loth 
Vol. of the Canada Medical Record, page 17, by one of society's 
thousand mouth-pieces, " as a stout, thick set, muscular man, twenty- 
eight years of age, with black hair and whiskers, small deep-set rest- 
less eyes, and a sullen dogged look." How could Dr. H, think of 
standing between this villain and the gallows ? But to the different 

Crime and Responsibility. 89* 

mouth-pieces of society who kindly came to me, to warn me to have 
nothing to do with the case, I answered : The man is an imbecile and 
he is insane ; and I believe he committed the crime under an insane, 
epileptic, uncontrollable impulse, consequently is not responsible for 
the murder ; and for the sake of our comman humanity, and for the 
sake of science, I must tell these facts to the Court and jury. " Stuff 
and nonsense," say society's representatives; imbecile or not, mad or 
not mad, let the fellow be hanged ; it is the only proper thing to be 
done with him. Hang every murderer, sir, mad or not mad ; that's 
my doctrine, and I speak for society, and I tell you, you are going to 
injure yourself by doing this thing which you are about to do. Already 
there are some strange things said about you. I have heard different 
doctors say you were an advanced materialist, meaning thereby an. 
infidel, and one doctor of your own rehgion said every such murderer 
as Hayvern should be hung, because the old Book, which we all 
reverence and believe, said, "Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by 
man shall his blood be shed : an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. "^ 
After all this what could I say to satisfy society. Society never did 
listen to reason, she had enlisted on her side many other doctors, and 
they consequently wanted the blood of Hayvern. All I could reply 
to society was that in my ignorance I thought the blood for blood law- 
had been repealed by another Law-giver, whose history was written: 
in the same old Book. I also ventured to speak of the first recorded 
murder ; that the murderer was not put to death, but, on the contrary j- 
a mark was put upon him, " lest anyone finding him should slay him." 
All to no use, society had made up its mind ; it wanted the blood of 
Hayvern and the blood of Guiteau. I tried to make them under- 
stand that to a very great extent society was itself responsible for 
much of the evil that it complained of; that for thousands of years the 
only remedy society provided to arrest crime was punishment, and 
that society was bhnded by its own prejudice j that it would not see 
that punishment was a failure, and worse than a failure, that it 
increased crime ; that, in fine, society never attempted to make a 
scientific investigation and find out what was the cause of crime. 
They saw effect and assumed they knew the cause, and although they 
were, in truth, perfectly ignorant of the cause, on their absurd assump- 
tion they followed up the treatment of their pagan forefathers,* and 

* In the days of Epicurus, that philosopher that lived 341 ^B. C, physical 
suffering was considered the most conceivable of all evils, and it was believed that 
punishment, that is, the infliction of physical suffering, was the best preventative of 

90 Philosophy of Insanity. 

thought they could arrest crime by punishment, and that by punish- 
ment, seasoned with hypocrisy, they could make a good man out of a 
bad man, a normal out of an anbormal man. So society went on 
punishing and so crime increased ; and now when science tells society 
that every man is what he is in virtue of his physical mental organ. 
ization, society is shocked, and turns its eyes skywards to see why a 
thunderbolt does not strike down the presumptuous scientist at the 
feet of society, but it doesn't. There is no thunderbolt, so poor society 
stands amazed and sorrowful. 

I have written thus much, as the best illustration of what any 
medical expert has to expect from society who will dare to come 

crime, but that the certainty of punishment Mas a greater deterrent than the seve- 

Now the criminal code of to-day is just where it was two thousand years ago, 
and yet we boast of our Christian civilization — we should rather call it our non- 
Christian civilization. All our laws are based upon the Roman law, yet our pagan 
forefathers never even di^eamt of the crimes that have to be dealt with in the present 

But society will say, we have been educating the people for the last fifty years, 
and education should diminish crime. So it should to a degree, but not the sort of 
education the people are receiving : it is producing the very contrary effect ; it is 
increasing crime ; it is creating in the people a spirit of bigotry and fanaticism — a 
spirit of envy, hatred and malice, a spirit of rivalry, of competition, and of the most 
gross extravagance ; it is creating a spirit of oppression, and causing unjust and 
oppressive taxation upon the people ; it is rendeiing the people more narrow- 
minded and more prejudiced. 

The man of sixty years ago who could not write his name was not half as igno- 
rant as many of the so-called educated men of the present day, because the man of 
the past learned from nature and studied her laws, where the man of the present 
linows nothing, practically, of nature and her laws. 

Pride and extravagance is the order of the day, and our system of education is 
responsible for it : our educational institutions are built extravagantly, not for the 
comfort and health of the students, but for show, for competition, that they may be 
seen and spoken of by strangers. Then the yearly exhibition in all our schools, 
they are simply a sAow, a public show of extravagance,— parents virtually plunder- 
ed that schools may have a good public show. 

If our present system of education was a preventative of crime — crime in its 
vilest forms — then money should be paid liberally for it. But all statistics show 
that it is not a preventative, that crime keeps pace with education, therefore the 
sooner our present system is broken down the better. 

There never will be a sound system of education that is not based upon natural 
laws. There never will be a remedy found for the prevention of crime till we 
recognize the scientific fact that every man is what he is in virtue of his physical 

Crime and Eesponsibility. 91 

forward in the defense of an unfortunate criminal to defend him on 
the grounds of insanity or imbecility. 

Advice to Experts. — I will suppose the expert, as in duty 
bound, takes means to learn the history of the accused man. This 
the expert will find no easy task. He must get from friends and 
acquaintances all he possibly can of the history of the accused, 
from his childhood up to the date that he committed the crime 
of which he is accused. In doing this he must be cautious to ask 
no leading questions ; for friends will naturally be cautious, and 
try to discover, by the questions asked, what answer is expected, 
such as would be favorable to the accused ; consequently he will, as 
a rule, find better information from acquaintances than from the im- 
mediate family. On the other hand, the expert must be very cautious 
as to how much weight he gives to the reports he derives from any 
person who maybe justly or otherwise prejudiced against the accused. 
All the information he thus receives, whether of the accused himself 
or of his parents or relatives, should by him be carefully noted ; then 
without bias, and with the simple object of arriving at truth, search 
into the question of hereditary taint or predisposition as heredity or 
predisposition to insanity, as it is now no longer a mere hypothesis 
or theory, but a settled scientific fact, and so far confirms my view of 
the physical nature and cause of insanity, which is one of the main 
objects of this essay — the proving that mind and body are ofie opera.- 
tively, though not essentially. 

He should also be most particular to learn the habits of the 
accused, particularly whether he was, or was not, an habitual drunk- 
ard ; bearing in mind that habitual drunkards establish in themselves 
an epileptic neurosis, which they very frequently leave as an inheri- 
tance to their offspring, and that this neurosis may develop itself 
either in epileptic convulsions or in impulsive maniacal attacks. He 
should also bear in mind that his mental organization may be the 
cause, not the consequence, of his inebriety ; that the lower the organ- 
ization, supposing him to be an imbecile, the more likely, from abuse 
of alcohol, is he apt to become an ei^ileptic. After the medical expert 
has obtained all the information he possibly can of the life of the 
accused from his infancy up to the time he committed the crime of 
which he stands accused, and the history of his parents and relations, 
his next step should be to go and examine the Police sheet, to learn 
if the accused was an habitual criminal, or an habitual drunkard, and 
if found to be so, what were the peculiar characteristics of his crimes. 

92 Philosoiohy of Insanity. 

and what punishment he received for his crimes or crime, supposing 
it to be his first crime. His social position and surroundings should 
be also taken into consideration. 

Now, why should the expert take all this trouble ? Because if a 
well-read man, a man of experience, he knows from his observations of 
the imbecile, the insane and the sane man, that one of his best guides 
as to a man's mental condition is his conduct. He knows that the 
idiot and the imbecile are each such as they are in consequence of 
abnormal physical organization, teratological defect ; that the man of 
ordinary intelligence is such in virtue of his normal physical organiza- 
tion, and that the man of extraordinary intelligence is such in virtue of 
the same endowment. He knows that a man's actions are prompted 
by his physical organization, and he, the expert, is therefore to a great 
degree enabled to decide the measure of his mental capacity and his 
peculiar propensities whether to this virtue or that vice, and by his 
conduct is he judged as to his sanity and legal responsibility. 

If the experienced educated expert finds the history of the 
man upon whose mental state he is called upon to adjudicate to be 
that he had what his parents called epileptic fits or convulsions when 
a child of eight years old, or at any other age ; that from the age of ten 
till twenty-eight he had been an habitual drunkard and habitual crim- 
inal who could not be controlled either by parental entreaties or fear 
of punishment ; that he preferred a vagabond life without shelter from 
cold and the inclemencies of a Canadian winter, choosing to spend 
the greater part of his life in the highways and byways rather than in 
a comfortable home ; that he was a real Ishmalite, his hand against 
every man and every man's hand against him. Under such circum- 
stances, with such a history, the experienced expert will find no great 
difficulty in giving such a man, even before he sees him, his place in 

He knows from experience that no man leading such a life could 
have a normal physical mental organization, that it would be actually 
impossible for an ordinary intelligent man to lead such a life, therefore 
he will at once conclude such a man must be an imbecile, must be a 
man with an abnormal mental organization, teratological defect ; 
whether it be an abnormal brain, as pointed out by Benedikt to be 
found in the skulls of every great habitual criminal, and which I call 
imbecile, or asymmetrical brain, or whether it be some abnormal state 
of some other portion of the mental organization, not so easily 
demonstrated in the cadaver, or perhaps not demonstrable at all. 

Crime and Responsibility. ^o^ 

Such was the history of the man Hayvern, who killed Salter in 
the Penitentiary, and when I learned the history before I saw him, I 
had no difficulty in giving him his place in nature, a low imbecile, 
whose mental organization, anatomically speaking, approached nearer 
to the ape than the ordinary intelligent man ; a type of a man whose 
antetype is to be found in numbers in every imbecile asylum, and. 
who are saved from being criminals because they are deprived of the 
opportunity. But suppose that the man accused of murder, or some 
other horrible crime, or attempt at murder or some other horrible 
crime, that the expert is called upon to adjudicate upon his mental- 
state, should have previously to this crime led a most exemplary 
life, living in obedience to all the known natural and social laws :. 
what assistance would the history of such a man's case be to the 
expert? The educated and experienced expert recognizing that the 
mind of man, as we know it, is the product of matter, as we know and 
define matter, and that man's actions are the outcome of his physical 
organization ; that the matter which produces the mind is subject to 
physical changes, rendering matter which heretofore was normal 
abnormal ; recognizing these facts, he would naturally conclude that 
as the man's whole nature had changed^, such change must be due to- 
pathological change in his mental organization, whether mechanical 
or chemical, so that he could no longer direct or control his actions 
by his will ; in fact he must conclude that the man was insane when 
he committed the crime ; that, otherwise, it would be impossible to 
conceive such a man committing such a crime. The experienced, 
mental scientist knows how little it takes to change a man's whole 
physical organization from a normal to an abnormal state. It may 
be a spoonful of brandy or whiskey, a whiff of carbonic acid gas, of 
chloroform or ether, or^ as an esteemed young medical friend wrote 
to me, after hearing my reply to the question, " If a wicked man 
became converted, did I attribute it to a physical change in his- 
mental organization ? " My reply was, " Yes." " I fail to see why the. 
members of the Society should have laughed at your reply to- 
question ; but I recognized at once the fact that not one of them 
could have been familiar with the writings and views of such men 
as Tuke, Rutherford, Bain, etc., or they would have known that 
in this respect, at least, you were in perfect accord with writers 
of that stamp. I do not pretend to know much of insanity ; but 
when I think of the vast results that come not from minute but 
indiscernible nerve alterations, I do not see why decided perma- 

94 Philosophy of Insanity. 

nent changes in a man's thought and conduct cannot flow from similar 
permanent changes in his brain matter. What constant definite anato- 
mical tissue alteration results from a dose of 3 of shelic acid or i gr, 
of aconita, or a dose of scarlatina poison, or concussion of the spine ? 
Absolutely none, yet all the serious train of symptoms that arise in 
each case is the direct result of some subtle and unobservable alteration 
in the tissues of the brain and cord." The reader will now under- 
stand what I mean when I say that should the expert find the history 
of the criminal upon whose mental capacity he has been called upon 
to adjudicate such as the hypothetical case that I have assumed, he 
will naturally conclude that the man must have been insane when he 
committed such a crime ; that his crime itself would be a proof of his 
insanity. Those gentlemen who declaim against this assumption as 
something that shocks society should do something more than declaim, 
they should propose some rational means of solving the problem of 
what is the cause of man's " mental obliquity." What we want is not 
what society cannot afford to admit ; but we want an explanation of 
cause for effect. Any one can declaim against thieves and rascals, 
any one can call out for hanging, flogging and all other sorts of punish- 
ments, but that is not science. What we want is a scientific defini- 
tion of cause for effect. Declamation does not remove doubt, and I 
have invariably found the loudest declaimers to be in reality the great- 
est doubters. I would recommend these gentlemen to take a lesson 
from St. George Mivart, when he says, " When any man has become 
a victim to doubts he has no rational choice, as he has no duty but to 
reason out his doubts to the end ; to seek to escape them, by calling up 
a cloud of emotions^ is not only useless, but blameworthy." 

The expert having learned the general condicd of the accused, his 
next duty, assuming the case to be murder, will be to learn all he pos- 
sibly can of how the crime was committed, with what instrument, 
whether with a weapon usually in the possession of the murderer for 
any ordinary purpose, such as an axe, a crowbar, a spade, etc.^ or an 
instrument which the murderer was not lawfully entitled to carry, such 
as a pistol or dagger, which, if in his possession, must be either for self- 
defence or murder. He must learn what were the surroundings of the 
accused when he committed the crime ; whether the accused could have 
a reasonable hope of concealing or otherwise escaping from the con- 
sequence of his crime. He should as far as possible also learn whether 
there had been any previous quarrel between the accused and the mur- 
dered man, and if they had been on friendly terms ; whether the accused 

Crime and Responsibility. 95 

could have had any object or motive in view, such as to gratify revenge 
for a real or supposed injury, or expect he would derive any benefit 
from the death of the murdered man, such as inheriting money or 
property. He should learn how the accused behaved himself imme- 
diately before and immediately after he committed the crime. He 
should also learn as to his general state of health, and whether he slept 
well or ill before or since the murder. To obtain all this knowledge 
he should have recourse to the evidence given at the Coroner's 
inquest. I would warn him to be cautious how he receives any state- 
ment of prison or court officials, not that I would imply that such 
persons would willfully state that which was wrong, but that from their 
very surroundings they are led to look upon all accused persons as 
guilty persons. Then they are Government officials, and they know 
they will be called upon by the Crown to give evidence against the 
accused, and whatever they say must not be in favor of the accused. 
They know they will lose nothing in the estimation of the Government 
or the estimation of the public if by any evidence of theirs the accused 
is condemned to death, consequently they too often consider it their 
duty to play the spy on the accused, and, under the pretence of friend- 
ship, get the accused to make a confession to them, that they may 
use it against the accused when on his trial. We had an example of 
this in the trial of Hayvern ; indeed up to the hour of the man's death 
every effort was made to get him to confess and declare a lie, that he 
premeditated the act and killed the man for revenge. But the dying 
man refused to lie, and to the last declared he had no ill-will against 
the man he killed ; he did not premeditate the deed, he had not the 
knife for that purpose, and he did not know why he had killed the 
man. It appears the same game of spy has been practised upon 
Guiteau. Again officials know that under our law the Prosecuting 
Counsel has to assume the accused guilty, and to leave no stone 
unturned to prosecute to the death, and they know that he expects 
every assistance from officials to enable him to secure a conviction. 
Therefore it is that I would warn the expert who goes forward to 
give his testimony for the accused to be very guarded in what he 
says to legal officials, and to weigh very cautiously what information 
he may get from them that may be against the accused.* 

* In the yournal of Mental Science for April, 1882, page 35, there is one of those 
powerfully written articles, by D. H. TuKE, M.D., F.R.C.P., designated, Mental 
Experts and Criminal Responsibility, from which I make the following extracts : 

" As regards Lord Campbell's dictum, I shall venture to interpret it to mean. 

^6 Philosophy of Insanity. 

The expert having learned all he possibly can with regard to the 
actual perpetration of the crime, if he finds that it has been sudden 
and violent, like an animal springing on his prey, will naturally look 
to find in the accused an epileptic neurosis. This supposition will 
t)e strengthened by the immediate action of the murderer after com- 
rnitting the crime. He will hardly alter his position but stand like 
one surprised, like one who does not realize the enormity of his act, 
•and if the crime was committed under an insane or epileptic impulse, 
he does not for a moment realize the enormity of his crime. He is^ 
-at the moment, stunned by the violence of the nerve explosion which 
impelled him to the crime. Thus was it with the man Hayvern 
when he stabbed Salter. He seemed at the moment stupefied, made 
no attempt to escape, but walked off quietly to his cell. After being 
there for a while he seemed to begin to realize what he had done, 
and the first effect of it was a poor attempt to cut his throat ; but, 
like all his class, he was too great a coward to do so. But he wanted 
rsome one to kill him at the moment, and encouraged the acting warden 

not that science should be held to possess hardly any weight, but only science as 
:now seen in the " witness box," " cribb'd, cabbin'd, and confin'd," by legal con- 
ditions unfavorable to her powers, conditions, as I shall show, as unnecessary as 
■they are injurious, seeing they do not exist in some of the countries of the modern 
world. So far, then, from being disheartened by Campbell's opinion, I am con- 
firmed in the judgment that our present system works badly, and that it is time 
we should endeavor to rectify it," 

" Having considered the position of an insane prisoner before the magistrate, let 
us now regard him before the judge and jury at the Assizes. The plea of insanity 
is set up. If the jury find him unable to plead on arraignment (39 and 40 George 
III., cap. 94, sec. 2) he is sent to Broadmoor until he recovers, or so long as he 
a-emains insane. If, on the other hand, he is considered fit to plead, one or more 
•medical witnesses are called by the defence to establish his insanity. Probably 
counter-evidence by the prosecution to show that the accused is of sound mind. 
The surgeon of the gaol, if called, is called by one or other side, accoi-ding to the 
opinion he holds. As is natural under the circumstances, counsel on both sides do 
all in their power to perplex the medical witness in cross-examinations, and the 
subject is treated as if it were as easy of determination and of a reply — yes or no — 
-without qualification, as the dimension of a wall or the soundness of a piece of 

Under such condition— science converted into a partizan and medicine into an 
advocate — the question of the criminal responsibility of the prisoner is considered 
and is fully decided by the jury, can I ask, the present method of ascertaining cri- 
■minal responsibility in our courts of law be improved. 

Is it not, as I have intimated, inadequate and inconsistent ; is it not an 
inconvenient and unsatisfactory method of procedure for scientific witnesses to be 

Crir)ie and Responsibility. 97 

to fire upon him with his revolver. But suppose tlie expert in his 
examination should find it, as a fact, that the murder was actually 
premeditated, planned and executed, as in the case of Guiteau's 
insane desire^ and every effort made at concealment, would that be a 
proof of the murderer's sanity? Even to go further, let us suppose 
that the murderer knew the nature of his act, would that be proof of 
the murderer's sanity ? No. An insane man is as capable of 
premeditating, planning, executing, and concealing his crime, or 
trying to do so, as is a sane man. That the expert must bear in mind 
and not conclude because of the premeditation, etc., that the man 
was sane. In such a case the expert will be driven to look for 
motive, and if the murderer be insane, nine chances out of ten but 
he will trace the motive to some insane delusion of the murderer, 
such as that he was persecuted by the murdered man, who was always 
■after him day and night, accusing him of being guilty of the most 
horrible crimes, and threatening to kill him, etc., or, like Guiteau, 
impelled by God to commit the crime, or the expert may trace the 
cause to jealousy. When insanity assumes the psychological phase of 
jealousy, whether in the man or woman, the insane person will as coolly 

■called by the defence and prosecution instead of the Court itself; is it not 
to place science in a totally false position ; is not the result likely to be 
partizanship, however improper it may be that it should have this effect on men 
of science ; is tliere not something in the very atmosphere of a law court (possibly 
sophisticated germs) with which the scientific witness too often becomes contamin- 
ated — the evil communications of the advocate corrupting the good manners of the 
physician ; and, apart from all this, are not oral evidence and a captious cross-exam- 
ination little suited for a subtile disease, and the education of truth in regard to 

" I would here recall the fact that a great amount of time is wasted in the 
examination of a large number of medical witnesses, when the report of two experts 
would occupy very much less time ; that the value of the opinions thus procured is 
infinitely less than if obtained from men selected for the purpose." 

" I wish to secure a calm statement in writing in the first instance, but not to 
avoid a fair questioning afterwards — ^judicial, not captious ; and I bring forward this 
-as well as the other proposals, as putting in a claim for science before our tribunals 
in the intei'ests of humanity." 

Those who were present at the trial of Hayvern will remember that I proposed 
to read my report to the Court, and then submit to be questioned, but the Crown 
Trosecutor objected, and of course the Court refused. 

" When Dr. Howard entered the witness box he held in his hand a voluminous 
document, which was promptly challenged by Mr. Davidson, and disallowed by 
lie Court." — Ca7iada Medical Record, Vol. X., page 38. 

98 Philosophy of Insanity. 

and deliberately plan the murder of their supposed rival, or of their 
wife or husband, as the case may be, as they will prepare to go to bed 
and coolly execute the murder ; and yet such insane persons, although 
wholly insane, show no other symptom of insanity, I mean 
psychological symptoms. There are at this moment in the Longue 
Pointe Lunatic Asylum two most remarkable cases of this type, one 
a man, the other a woman. The man would kill his wife, the woman 
would kill her husband, or some one else ; yet they present no other 
psychological symptoms of mania, and it is an undoubted fact that 
the woman's husband is a man of the most exemplary character, and 
the man's wife a woman of equally good character. The proof of 
the insane delusion consists in that neither of the unfortunates are 
jealous of any one in particular, but of every one in general. Now 
under our law, if either of these persons committed murder no 
person could save them from being hung, for they do know right 
from wrong, and they would know the character of their crime, and they 
would not act from impulse but from premeditation, yet are they both 
insane, from the tops of their heads to the soles of their feet. They 
are not imbeciles, they are not criminals, socially ; they belong to a 
respectable class of society, and were persons of ordinary intelligence 
before they became insane, and from present appearances they seem 
likely to remain insane the rest of their lives. If either of these 
committed homicide they would simply plead justification. Insane 
imbecile homicides always plead justification, or "I could not help 
it," or " I have no knowledge of it." 

The next step to be taken by the expert is to make a per- 
sonal examination of the accused person. In the advice I here 
offer I must assume that the expert accepts my definition of in- 
sanity and imbecility. To the expert who does not recognize these 
facts I would be talking in the same unknown language that I 
did to the medical men employed by the Crown in the case of 
Hayvern. They expected me to speak by the book, and did not 
understand me when I spoke from my observations of nature, and 
experience. They expected me to follow the books written upon medi- 
cal jurisprudence, recognizing that there was a distinction to be drawn 
between what they call medical insanity and legal insanity, and were 
disappointed to find that I recognized no such definition, that I only 
pretended to say if a man was, or was not, insane, was or was not an 
imbecile. They expected me to recognize the book classification of 
insanity, such as moral and intellectual insanity, the monomania of sus- 

Crime and Responsibility. 99 

picion and the monomania of pride,religious mania and partial insanity, 
and did not understand me when I denied all these as forms of mania, 
but simply as psychological phases or symptoms of mania. They did 
not understand me when I said that a man to be insane was wholly 
insane, that man had but one mind, a unit, the product of matter, and 
when that mind was abnormal it was altogether abnormal, differing 
only in degree of abnormity. The matter in one case being simply 
in a more abnormal state than another, either from mechanical lesion 
or chemical change in some part of the mental organization. They 
expected me to speak of mind and consciousness, as the books they 
had read spoke of mind and consciousness as something incompre- 
hensible, something beyond the sphere of medical. science, and could 
not understand me when I said the mind of man, as we know it, is 
the product of matter, as we know and define matter, and that con- 
sciousness was an organ of the brain in which terminated the afferent 
■sensory nerves. 

They had read in books that the knowledge of right from wrong 
in the abstract constitutes responsibihty, and could not understand 
me when, in accordance with the views of Dr. Bucknell, I maintained 
that " responsibility " depends upon power and not upon knowledge 
and feeling, and that a man is responsible to do that which he can do, 
not that which he feels or knows it right to do. 

They expected me to speak by the book, and go over the old worn- 
out track, and evidently prepared themselves for the encounter by 
reading up the different authors on medical jurisprudence — indeed they 
were all professors in one or other of the different numerous univer- 
sities, on Medical Jurisprudence, and, therefore, it is to be presumed, 
could speak by the book, and the book only, for they had no experi- 
ence. Therefore, they did not understand me when, speaking from 
my own experience, I said, "body and mind were one^ and that 
insanity was a physical disease." In fact, in so far as they were con- 
cerned, I was speaking in an unknown language. 

No wonder, therefore, that the three experts on the part of the 
Crown should give the answers they did. I quote from the Canada 
Medical Record, as reported by one of the experts : " Assuming all 
the evidence that had been adduced in the case to be true they were 
asked to give an opinion on the following points : \st. From the evi- 
dence adduced does it appear that Hayvern is an imbecile ? 2ndly. 
Is he an epileptic jnatiiac ? $rdly. Does it appear from evidence 
that on the 29th June the murder was the result of an irresistible 


100 Philosophy of Insanity. 

impulse on the part of the prisoner? 4t/i/j. On the 29th June 
was the prisoner capable oi distingidshing between right and wrong 7 
^thly. Throughout the trial has sufficient evidence been brought 
forward to prove the prisoner's insa7iity and irresponsibility? 
In reply to these queries the three medical experts testified that 
in their opinion sufficient evidence had not been adduced to prove 
that the prisoner was either an imbecile or an epileptic maniac, or that 
the murder was the result of an irresistible impulse ; they believed 
that at the time of the murder he was quite capable of distinguishing 
between right and wrong ; they furthermore did not consider that 
the evidence v.^as sufficient to prove the prisoner's insanity or irre- 
sponsibility." No one but must admit that the questions were well 
chosen and carefully put by the Counsel for the Crown. It must be 
also admitted that the three experts were explicit in their reply, they 
took in their position at once and saw that every thing depended on 
the manner in which they replied to these questions. They had 
heard me over and over again say that I assumed Hayvern did know 
right from wrong, as the majority of insane persons knew right from 
wrong, bict that the knowledge of right from wrong did not cojistitute 
sanity or respojisibility. But they answered in such a way as to leave 
the impression on the Court and Jury that the knowledge of right 
from wrong constituted sanity and consequent responsibility, so did 
the Counsel for the Crown understand it, so did the Court under- 
stand them, and so Were the jury impressed upon by both Court and 

Soon after Dr. Vallee gave his definition of epileptic mania, Vol. 
X., page 58, Canada Medical Record : " Dr. Howard arrives at the 
conclusion that the prisoner struck the blow while under a fit of 
epileptic mania, and consequently could not be held responsible for 
his act. Admitting this hypothesis the fit must have been epileptic 
dizziness or veiled epilepsy (I called it veiled or masked epilepsy) 
— now the unsettled state of mind, the obtuseness of its ideas, the 
confusion of souvenirs are the essential characteristics of such 

No wonder he could not see that I had established that Hayvern's 
act was an insane^ epileptic, impulsive act. 

In the same Vol., page 65^ Dr. Cameron gives his definition of in- 
sanity. " A man must be the measure of himself , his mindinust be the 
standard of co7nparison by which to determine his sanity or i?isanity, 
respofisibility or irresponsibility. The only safe way in such cases is 

Crime and Besponsihility. 101 

to compare the individual with his former self : any measures which 
divert the attention of the medical man from this, his principal duty, 
are detrimental rather than helpful." 

The itahcs are mine. 

Hayvern was simply Hayvern from his boyhood to his death, as 
it appears to me that Guiteau was always Guiteau, and will be so tO' 
the end of the chapter, whatever that end may be, and it appears 
pretty certain that he will be hanged, and we will have another 
criminal or imbecile brain to add to the number already existing, 

I have written sufficient to prove to the reader the correctness of 
what I have stated, that the experts for the Crown in the Hayvern 
case did not understand my evidence, when I spoke of clinical symp- 
toms in insanity. 

Assuming that the expert reader recognizes my definition of 
insanity, I would recommend him when he goes to make a personal 
examination of the prisoner to remember that he is in a prison, sur- 
rounded by prison officials, and, if possible, to have none of these 
officials present. The prisoner, naturally, would be suspicious of 
them, and their presence would make him suspicious of the expert, 
and render him uncommunicative. This would be no proof that he 
was not insane, for an insane man can be as suspicious as a sane 
man. The expert should divest himself of all feeling in the matter, 
so as to have no bias one way or the other, but simply to arrive at a 
knowledge of the mental state of the prisoner, that he may make a 
correct report to his lawyer. Bearing in mind, from the reasons 
already given, that the face is the index of the mind, his first examin- 
ation should be physiological, to read the face well, and remember 
the first impression made is the most important. If the expert be a 
man accustomed to the insane, and, as it were, living amongst them, 
at the very first look he will see whether the man is or is not an 
imbecile, is or is not insane ; he will see it as plainly as the child does 
pleasure or displeasure in the face of their parent or teacher, no 
matter what effort the parent or teacher may take to conceal their 
feelings. He will see it, as plainly as the wife does anger depicted in 
the face of her husband, or the husband sees it depicted in the face 
of the wife. Memory will supply him at once with numerous cases 
of which the person before him is the antetype, so it was with me the 
moment I saw Hayvern, and in my report to his lawyer, Mr. Curran, 
I made the following statement as reported in the Montreal Gazette^ 
Oct. 6, 1881 : 

102 Philosophy of Insanity. 

"On the 26th of August, 1881, I visited Hayvern in the prison 
of Montreal. On the first view of the man I was struck with the 
palor of his countenance, one great proof of the epileptic neurosis. 
[Explains neurosis as a man's peculiar nervous state from heredity, or 
he may make it for himself by drink.] Remembering the physio- 
logical fact that " the face was the index to the mind," I studied it well, 
not only when I was speaking to him, but while conversing with Mr. 
Payette. // was a blank face to look upon. It did not reveal intelli- 
gence; moral, insane cowardice was porirayed on it ; ititellectual and 
moral imbecility was stamped there ; there was not 07ie syj7ipt07n to 
shew that I was looking vito the face of an intelligefit, reasoning beitig ; 
there was Jiot one mark to show that intelligejice ever did exist there, 
or, if ever, it had been obliterated. There was nothing to shew that 
■even in childhood it had been a cheerful happy countenance. It ivas 
■animal, purely anijnal, and that an animal of a very low intellectual 
.organization. I never saw a face jnore completely portray a low animal 
desire, unc07itrollable by any force of will. Looking upon his face 
I could not conceive that he ever used his Avill except as it was 
guided by his desire. I could not conceive that a generous thought 
ever existed in his mind. I was not surprised at the character I got 
of him when I looked upon that face, and I said to myself, surely 
that man is the victim of his organization — evil to him is good — he 
is intellectually and morally insane — a veritable imbecile. Such was 
the impression left on me by my examination of the face of Hayvern." 
Was I correct in my physiological reading of the face of Hayvern ? 
Dr. Osier answered that question when on Friday evening, the 6th of 
January, 1882, he, before the Medico-Chirurgical Society, produced 
the brain of Hayvern, and pointed out that it was an atypical brain, 
a type of the criminal brain as written upon by Benedikt, a brain 
which in its formation more nearly approached that of the lower 
animal, the ape, than it did the brain of a man with ordinary intelli- 
gence. Again I quote from the report in the Canada Medical Record, 
Vol. X., page 19 : '^ On cross-examination, Dr. Howard afiirmed his 
ability to diagnose imbecility by inspection." These facts explain to 
the reader, to my supposed expert, how he should make his physiolo- 
gical examination, and how important it is for the mental scientist to 
make a careful study of the face of all persons, particularly the faces 
of idiots, imbeciles, and insane persons ; and I would particularly 
recommend, when oppoitunity occurs, a close study of the faces of 
the criminal class of society which are found in our Jails and Peni- 

Crime and Responsibility. 103 

tentiaries. Such a study will well repay the mental scientist. Let him 
always bear in mind that there can be no physiological effect without 
anatomical cause, and if the face be the index of the mind, it is from 
the anatomical fact that the motor nerves of the face take their origin 
from the most intellectual portion of the brain. 

After the expert has concluded his physiological examinations 
he should next proceed to his psychological examinations ; 
indeed his psychological examination may be going on while 
he is making his physiological examination. By this time the 
prisoner will have become accustomed to his presence, and will 
probably enter into conversation with him. The expert should give 
a lead to the conversation : talking upon any subject except the one 
he is thinking most of ; at the same time, however, without letting the 
prisoner observe it, he should be carefully watching every motion of 
the prisoner. There is an extraordinary feature that I have observed 
in all insane persons, and that is they are always trying to act sane, 
and sometimes they succeed so as to deceive the very best experts. 
Guiteau succeeded so well that he not only deceived the judge and 
jury but many experts. They could not see that his very boast of 
being sane was a proof that he was insane. One of our Montreal 
papers very gravely informed its readers, after Guiteau had been 
found guilty : " Why the man doesn't pretend to be insane," as if 
any insane tvl2M pretended to be insane. How can a man pretend to 
be what he already is ? Very frequently when examining patients in 
the Asylum, to see if they are fit to be discharged, I am puzzled to 
know, in some particular case, whether sanity has been recovered or 
not, and only by a chance word or act, on the part of the patient, 
are my suspicions or doubts, with regard to the question, decided and 
settled, i. e.., as to perfect recovery. Thus, it is often, by little acts 
and words, that the expert, making a psychological examination of 
the prisoner, will discover symptoms of insanity. It does not neces- 
sarily follow that insanity should reveal itself in wild or violent 
behavior, as when prisoners suspected of insanity act in this way 
I always suspect sham., for it must be remembered that those who 
sham, or try to sham, insanity, it is in pyschological symptoms, and 
those only, that they can feign ; and in ninety-nine cases out of a 
hundred they over-do it, and are thus discovered. And here I would 
again speak of Guiteau whose trial is now over, although not yet 
sentenced in accordance with the verdict of " guilty '' pronounced by 
the jury before whom he was tried. Seriously I do not think this 

104 Philosophy of Insanity. 

man was at any time ever feigning or playing a part ; he was verit- 
ably and simply what he appeared to the public, the bona fide 
Guiteau, an miintelligent '^ crack brain," but no more responsible for 
3iis actions than is the most evident maniac in tlie Lunatic Asylum 
with which I am officially connected. I consider him as a man with 
an imbecile teratological brain, subject to recurrent attacks of mania, 
which, when he killed the President, developed into a homicidal 
tendency. Having read all the evidence in his case, it appears to me 
he gave sufficient evidence of insanity, for a long time before he 
committed the crime, to justify the authorities in locking him up in 
.an insane asylum. Had that been done he would have gone on 
with the same insane talk and actions in the Asylum as he exhibited 
in the law court. The only difference would be that the public 
would, after a time, be unanimous that he was no sliam, but a genuine 
i^aniac. It is purely on conduct and psychological symptoms that 
lawyers rest in their badgering of medical experts, whom they some- 
times outrageously insult by the impertinence of their silly questions : 
'' Do you deny, Dr., that a sane man could not do this, could not do 
that ? " Lawyers always beg the question, and in abstract questions, 
assume the possible, instead of the probable. But of this I will speak 
again. For the psychological symptoms of Hayvern^ they were very 
few. Sufficient were they, however, to satisfy me, although not a 
prosecuting counsel. The following is from my report taken from the 
Mojitreal Gazette : 

" Psychologically there was not much to be observed. He spoke 
but very little, and that little did not show intelligence. He said 
^' there was something alive in his belly," which he asked the doctor 
to cut out. In reply to the question " Did he sleep ? " he answered, 
" No, he could not sleep." He complained of being tired ; he wished 
to sleep. Here I may remark that when I asked the keepers in 
charge if he slept I was told he was seen every half hour and when- 
ever spoken to always answered, showing that he did not sleep. Want 
of sleep, that is, insomnia, is one of the most marked symptoms of 
insanity. His manner portrayed nervous excitability, picking up bits 
of thread and dividing every fibre ; he did not attempt playing a 
maniac, but all his words and actions portrayed a creature of impulse, 
who would be guilty of any impulsive act." 

Next comes the pathological or clinical examination of the ac- 
cused. And here I would remark that I believe I am the first person 
who has advanced the theory that insanity is the symptom of a 

Crime and Mesponsibility. 105 

physical disease; in fact, that abnormal mind, which insanity is, is the 
outcome of abnormal matter — teratological matter in the imbecile, as 
in the case of Hayvern, pathological in the insane — from either 
mechanical lesion or chemical change, in some part or parts of the 
mental organization. If any one before me has made such a defini- 
tion of insanity I am unaware of the fact ; and I presume that if such 
a definition had, by any writer on the subject, been previously given, 
some one of the numerous experts employed in the case of Guiteau 
v/ould have spoken of it ; and it is because there has been no such 
■definition that experts seem to have trusted solely to psychological 
symptoms — consequently, the great difference of opinions between 
■experts in their evidence. The only one that hinted at an abnormal 
brain was Dr. Spitzka, and he was, as I have already stated, insulted 
and called a " horse doctor^' because he was known to be a student 
of morphology and zoology. 

I would recommend the expert to make, as I did, in the case of 
Hayvern, a most particular clinical examination of the whole vege- 
tative and animal organization of the person to be examined ; begin- 
ning, however, by finding out, from himself and guardian, if he does 
or does not sleep. I consider insomnia as a most important symptom 
in the insane, not in imbecility, unless accompanied by insanity^ but 
in the insane. I will best explain my views by giving an extract from 
my report of my clinical examinations of Hayvern. 

In my pathological examination I found not only his face but his 
whole body ansemic; that is to say, he was not making sufficient 
blood for the healthy support of his system ; perspiration was pouring 
from every pore in his body, cold and clammy ; his pupils were round 
in shape, but sluggish in action, and his organs of locomotion were 
normal^ that is, there was no paralysis of the motor nerves. Pulse, 
no j normal pulse would be about 70 ; axillary temperature 93 4-5, 
normal temperature 98 2-5 ; respiration 36, normal respiration 18. 
Radial artery, that is the pulse in his wrist, was observable, and 
could be seen pulsating. Abdominal aorta, that is, the large main 
•artery from the heart, was clearly visible when he stood, sat or lay in 
a recumbent position ; this is the something alive in his bowels which 
he wished removed. Five days after, on the 31st of August, my 
examination was continued. I found his pulse at 100 j temperature, 
92 2-5 ; respiration, 36 ; heart sound at base normal, at arch of aorta 
something like a bellows; sound, apex of heart; first sound, strong; 
second, weak ; sound in the abdominal aorta, abnormal. These are 

106 Philosophy of Insanity. 

the sounds that Dr. Pominville so ably described to you, and are 
frequently found in persons of an epileptic neurosis, but they may be 
early symptoms of aneurism. Here, however, is an abnormal state of 
the vascular system, of which the proprietor is not to be envied, 
caused probably by his fall from the roof of the prison ; but whatever 
the cause, it is sufficient to produce, at least, functional derangement 
of the mental organization, if not organic, to account for the man's 
actions ; and then, when we consider what a weak mind he has 
proved himself always to have had, it is the easier to understand 
what havoc such a diseased vascular system would produce upon such 
a mental organization. I examined the nervous system by means of 
electro-magnetism and an sesthesiometer ; I found all the motor 
nerves normal, but I found all the sensory nerves, particularly along 
the sensory tract, abnormal ; that is to say, analgesic, partially 
paralyzed. This, you will remember, is one of the unfailing symptoms- 
always to be found in the insane ; this is a symptom that can never 
be feigned, no more than can temperature, which is always below par 
in the insane, except where there is fever, which is by no means a 
symptom of insanity. 

After the death of Hayvern, and after I had published some 
remarks from Charcot, suppHed to me by my friend Dr. Workman^ 
of Toronto, the father of Canadian alienists, upon old age or low 

temperature in the insane, Dr tried to make it appear that 

as I did not take rectal temperature in the case of Hayvern my 
observations were "utterly worthless." Now I do not admit this from 
the fact that according to my theory of insanity it is not central 
algidity, the presence of which is all-important in other diseases, but 
external algidity, which is the important symptom. Therefore in the 
clinical examination made by the expert axillary temperature is quite 
sufficient. Moreover, it is not every insane man that would submit 
to having his temperature taken per rectum, nor for that matter not 
every sane man, except he was actually in a state of collapse. If it 
were possible I would recommend the expert to make four or five 
examinations, not as a necessity for him to diagnose his case, but to 
be prepared to meet objections raised by the prosecuting Counsel. 
For example, the pulse is not at all a symptom of insanity, but it is 
well to take it if only for the very purpose of showing it is not a 
symptom, for in insanity we as often find normal pulse, normal pupils 
and normal respiration and normal digestion as we find any of them 
abnormal, and when we do find them abnormal their abnormity is 

Crime and JResponsihility. 107" 

not a cause or a consequence of the insanity, insanity being solely 
dependent upon the whole nei'vous system, yet as I have already said 
it is well that the expert for the defence, should take every precaution,, 
for if there is one broken link in his armor, the prosecuting lawyer 
will find it out. 

When the expert has completed his pathological or clinical 
examination of the prisoner he should carefully examine all his notes, 
and then make an exhaustive report to the lawyer who has called upon 
him for his services. He should be most cautious that the lawyer 
should know his views in every particular, and why he drew the con- 
clusions he did from the history of the prisoner and his personal 
examination of him. I did so with Mr. Curran, who defended Hay- 
vern. My report covered over twenty-five pages of foolscap, closely 
written, which I concluded as follows : 

Judging the mental state of John Hayvern by his conduct, by his 
physiological symptoms, by his psychological symptoms, by his patho- 
logical symptoms, I do not hesitate to declare him to be a man of 
unsound mental organization ; that he is intellectually and morally 
insane — a mere creature of impulse, and if he did kill Thomas Salter 
in the manner in which he is said to have done, he killed him while 
laboring under an insane, epileptiform, uncontrollable impulse, for 
which he is not responsible, and I consider the cause of his mental 
aberration to be due to three causes : first, his heredity ; second, to 
the fact of his being an inebriate from his youth up ; and third, that it 
has been aggravated by his fall from the roof of the jail previous to 
his having committed the crime of which he is accused. 

The expert in giving the Counsel his report should explain to him- 
that it was his thesis, and that he was prepared to support it but not 
go one iota beyond that ; if he, the Counsel, was satisfied with that, he 
could go on with his case. If the Counsel saw any broken links he 
should call the attention of the expert to it, and see if the breach could 
not be mended without interfering with the general tenor of the report. 
There should be a perfect understanding between the expert and 
Counsel before they went into Court. 

I would warn the expert not to go into Court having the same 
ideas that a great many persons have, and that is that the object of 
the trial of the accused is to arrive at imf/i ; to first find out if the 
accused did really commit the crime with which he is charged, and 
secondly, if he did so was he responsible for his act, that is to say 
was he overpowered by an impulse stronger than his will, and this 

108 Philosophy of Insanity. 

impulse the result of a teratological defect in his mental organization 
or a pathological defect, and was it the result of an insane or imbecile 
desire without malice or rational motive. If the expert expects this 
he will be disappointed. Under our laws every accused person is 
assumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty. That is the theory 
of our law, but it is not so in practice. From the moment the 
accused enters the Court he is in every respect treated as if he were 
.guilty. The Crown Counsel accuses him of being guilty and assumes 
he is guilty, and does all he possibly can to prove him guilty, and 
-throws every obstacle he can in the way of his proving himself 
innocent, so that practically the accused has to prove his innocence. 

Again, every man is assumed to know the law, and to be capable 
of fulfilling the law, until it is proved by himself, or others, that in 
virtue of his abnormal mental organization he was incapable of 
fulfilling the law. 

Now, it is a very easy thing to assume that a man can fulfill the 
obligations that the law imposes upon him, but it is quite a different 
thing to prove that, in virtue of his physical organization, he was 
incapacitated, and this is what the medical expert is called upon to do ; 
he is called upon to satisfy the Court and jury that the accused was 
incapacitated, and therefore not responsible for his act ; in fact he 
has to prove that the act was not his act, but the act of his abnormal 
organization. The expert may have a moral conviction, as I had in 
the case of Hayvern, of the man's irresponsibility, but to convince 
the Court and jury of that fact is quite another affair. There are a 
great many causes for this. The first and greatest cause is that 
medical men have not themselves agreed upon what constitutes 
insanity, what constitutes imbecility, what constitutes irresponsibility. 
Then the law does not define what mental state of a man renders him 
responsible. The law leaves it as a rule to the Court to define as it 
pleases on this point ; so that one judge defines one standard, another 
judge defines another standard. The legal dictum has been changed 
five or six times within the last century, a proof that it is not based 
on common law, and certainly not on common sense. But the general 
legal dictum has been that every person who knows right from wrong 
is to be held responsible for his act. It was this legal dictum which 
caused Hayvern to be found guilty and hanged. But what a dictum ! 
One that it is impossible to escape from ; one that makes the whole 
trial a screaming farce ending in a tragedy ; one that would put an 
end to the whole trial in five minutes if in the very beginning of the 
defence the question was put to the expert. 

Crime and Responsibility. 109 

'' Does the prisoner at the bar know right from wrong ? " The expert 
would at once answer as I did, that I assumed he did know right 
from wrong, as the large majority of insane persons knew right from 
wrong, which should settle the whole question. The Court might 
then charge the jury thus : " The expert brought up for the defence 
admits the prisoner knows right from wrong, therefore he is respon- 
sible for his act ; therefore, gentlemen of the jury, your duty is to bring 
in a verdict of guilty. This would save any further trouble. Lest I 
should appear to be exaggerating I will give His Honor's charge to the 
jury in the case of Hayvern : 

"Mr. Justice Monk began to deliver his charge at 9.30 p.m. He 
said he would not make any lengthy remarks. I'he killing of 
Salter by Hayvern, the prisoner, was proved beyond doubt, and was 
admitted by the counsel for the defence. The remark that the crime 
was only manslaughter had no foundation at all. There was murder 
or there was not. It had been proved beyond doubt that there was 
premeditation and malice aforethought. Hayvern prepared his knife, 
waited for his victim, and executed his crime most effectually. The 
deed was one of the most skillfully performed tragedies on record. 
The preparation of the instrument which was to pierce the heart was 
also artistically effected. But there arises another point, and that is 
the plea of insanity. It is the opinion of enthusiastic scientists that 
insanity is on the increase. // is admitted by the physicians that he 
could discer?i between right and wrong. The convulsions have not 
been shown to have been epileptic fits. Dr. Howard is a man of great 
experience, but he is one of those scientific enthusiasts whose mind 
on this subject is formed of many theories, and it was for them to 
■decide whether it is corroborated by facts. It is the first time that 
the prisoner is known to have had an uncontrollable impulse. It is 
strange that in the whole period of his criminal life he should have 
chosen the moment when he was in possession of a deadly weapon 
and premeditated the assassination of the man whose murder he 
accomplished. His opinion was that the prisoner at the bar was 
guilty of the murder of Salter, and that he had no faith at all in the 
plea of uncontrollable impulse, which, after all, has never been 
admitted in Canada, and only in special cases in England. After' 
speaking for twenty minutes, he left the matter in the hands of the 

* " We glean from a report in the Journal of Mental Science, the editors of 
that quarterly refraining from commenting much on the report, that expert testi- 

110 Philosophy of Insanity. 

It is evident then, that no matter what proof an expert may 
bring forward as evidence of an accused person's insanity or imbe- 
cihty, so long as he had to admit that the accused knew right from 
wrong, at the time that the expert examined him, at the time he was 
undergoing his trial, and assumedly when he committed the crime, 
seeing that the majority of the insane knew right from wrong, all other 
proofs of insanity must go for nothing. 

The insane man is responsible for his acts because he knows right 
from wrong. Hayvern knew right from wrong, yet he had an undeve- 
loped brain, an imbecile criminal brain, a brain in virtue of which he 
was what he was; and he did not make his own brain, yet he was held 

mony in cases of disputed insanity in Canadian Courts is on a level scarcely higher 

than in some of our own Our esteemed contemporary confines its criticisms 

of the case to the legal opinions pronounced in the course of the trial ; and, indeed, 
it would have required great self restraint to refrain from condemming the assump- 
tion of a judge who in his charge to the jury flippantly spoke of Dr. Howard as 
' one of those scientific enthusiasts, whose mind on this subject is formed of many 

We think that Dr. Howard merits positive indorsement, and we do not 
believe that a stronger support could be given to our colleague than the furnishing 
of a bare statement of the undisputed facts, on the strength of which he and Dr- 
Angus Macdonell pronounced Hayvern insane." 

"In his youth Hayvern had epileptic fits twice a week, began drinking 

heavily at sixteen, and had spells of furor, in which he had to be tied ; a few days 
before the murder, he rushed up to a fellow convict, opened his shirt and asked him 
to run his knife through his breast. One of the medical witnesses for the prose- 
cution inadvertently sustained Dr. Howard's view by describing the patient to 
have been in a perspiration with fright at sight of a stranger, and attributing the 
depravity of the prisoner to the ^muddle' in which he had passed the greater part 
of his life. The low state of his intellect was vouched for by witnesses called by 
the defence as well as those called by the prosecution. The convict was executed, 
and profound deviations fi^om the normal convolutional type discovered in the 
cerebral hemispheres. The gentleman conducting the examination did not, unfor- 
tunately, limit himself to chronicling the appearances found after death, but accom- 
panied his post-mortem record by several itncalled for and univa^-rantable statements, 
whose general tenor is best characterized by mentioning the fact that Professor 
Huxley, who, although an excellent comparative anatomist, is not usually regarded 
as an alienist, seems to be Dr. Osler's chief authority for making them. It is 
greatly to be regretted that, in view of the nature of the deformity found, their 
interpretation, should be confused by attempting to bring them into relation with 
the findings of Benedikt, which have now received their coup de grace in Austria, 
in England, and in this country." — American Journal of Neurology and Psychia- 
try, May I, 1882. 

Crime and Responsibility. Ill 

by the law responsible for the physiological effects of his abnormal 
brain, and was hanged. 

" The convulsions have not been shown to have been epileptic fits^ 
Shown as far as it was possible to be shown by me, who did not see 
the child in fits years before. I have as good a right to say it was 
not shown that they were not epileptic fits. I could only assume they 
were epileptic from the description given of them, and considering 
what the man's whole life had been. I had a perfect right to assume 
an epileptic neurosis ; and then the character of the crime itself, its 
suddenness, and violence, confirmed my convictions of an epileptic 

" It is the first time the prisoner is known to have an uncontrollable 
impulse." Why the man's whole criminal life was only a succession of 
uncontrollable impulses . With regard to the preparing of the knife for 
his victim, later events have shown that every single guard and prisoner 
in the Penitentiary, who came to Court to give testimony against 
Hayvern, knew that the ex-warden of the Penitentiary permitted 
Hayvern and a great number of the prisoners, to have these knives 
for the purpose of carving bones, hard wood, etc., to sell to visitors, 
and that the very evening, previous to the day of the murder, there 
were of these knives, with files, upwards of two hundred taken off the 
prisoners and from out their cells, and the worst feature in the whole 
trial was, that these very officials were silent in that matter, some of 
them testifying that he could not have had the knife except for the 
purpose of murder. From such evidence His Honor was obliged to 
assume that Hayvern prepared the knife for the murder. When the 
man was about to die, when all hope of pardon was over, and he 
knew it, when he had nothing to gain by stating a falsehood, he 
solemnly declared, cahing upon his God to witness, that he never 
premeditated the crime; that he had had no ill-will against Salter; that 
he had the knife for months ; that the other convicts had similar 
knives ; that he and Salter were friends ; that there was no cause for 
malice, and that God knew, but he did not, why he killed Salter. 

I had written so far when I took up the Mojttreal Witness for 
January 13th, 1882, and clipped from it the following : 

" The Guiteau trial has thoroughly disgusted the United States 
with the plea of insanity, which is always put forward in the case of 
criminals, for whom no other defence can possibly be made. A bill 
was introduced in the House on Monday last, which provides that no 
person indicted in the District of Columbia or any territory, or in any 

112 Philosophy of Insanity. 

court of the United States, shall be acquitted on the ground of insanity 
except on proof that at the time the offence was committed he did 
not know the quaHty or nature of the act, or did not know that it was 
wrong. Should this bill pass it will greatly lessen the number of those 
who are acquitted on this plea, hecaiise it will be extremely hard to 
prove in the case of a really iiisa7ie person that he did not k?iow right 
from wrong. Many who might be dubbed insane on account of their 
ill-balanced behavior know quite well the difference between right and 
wrong, but in most cases they have lost or impaired the power of 
resisting wrong impulses, and this loss is owing in a great measure to 
long-continued wrong-doing of some kind, and there can be no doubt 
of the restraining influence of punishment for crime in the case of many 
people who are commonly excused as insane. Guiteau is not sane in 
the sense of having a healthy fnind, but it is certain that he is as res- 
ponsible as any sane person for the murder which he committed.^' 

I do not believe that an enlightened people like the Americans 
will ever permit the passing of such a barbarous law.* They might 
just as well make a law at once holding every insane person respon- 
sible for their acts, and that would be an advancement in civilization 
with a vengeance, but preferable to the proposed law. But, fortun- 
ately for the unfortunate imbecile and insane classes, all judges do 
not take this view of the question of right and wrong. When Presi- 
dent of the Montreal Medico-Chirurgical Society I read a paper, Febru- 
ary 7, 1879, entitled Responsibility and IrresponsibiHty in Crime and 
Insanity, when I made the following statement : 

But if I have no hope to get legislation upon the criminal class of 
society, I have strong hope of having legislation upon the question of 

* Guiteau, as every one expected, has been hanged, and the autopsy showed 
teratological and pathological defect of the brain. The former finding, as in the 
case of Hayvern, proving him to be an imbecile. The latter finding being more 
than probable sufficient to account for the man's insanity, probably recurrent 
mania ; at all events his insanity is now an established scientific fact, as much so as 
tlie insanity of Hayvern, and that he was insane has, as I have shown, been recog- 
nized by the leading authorities of Europe and America. 

I would not have it supposed that I consider these post-mortem findings neces- 
sary to prove either Hayvern or Guiteau to have been insane, but their being found 
is a satisfaction to those who diagnosed their imbecility and insanity while living. 
While, if not a reproach, a warning to the inexperienced to be more cautions in 
the future in giving their testimony in a disputed case of insanity, and a warning to 
all not to allow their judgments to be biased by public prosecutors on the howls of 

Crime and Responsibility. 113^. 

insanity, if for no other reason than to put a stop to our judges mak- 
ing themselves ridiculous before the whole Avorld in their differen t 
definitions of what causes irresponsibiHty in the insan-e. Could there 
be anything more absurd than to find a Judge in the Province of New 
Brunswick making a statement the very contrary of that made a few 
months before by the Lord Chief Justice of England, "the Judge- 
instructed the jury that unless there was an entire lack of knowledge 
to distinguish between rig/i^ and wrong, they could not but find the- 
prisoner guilty," the Lord Chief Justice of England said : " I coin- 
cide most cordially in the proposed alteration of the law, having been 
always strongly of opinion that, as the pathology of insanity abund- 
antly establishes, there are forms of mental disease in which, thougb 
the patient is quite aware he is about to do wrong, the will becomes, 
overpowered by the force of irresistible impulse." Here, gentlemen, 
is a difference, but is the Provincial Judge to be found fault with ? I 
certainly think not ; the fault lies with the Dominion Government for" 
never having defined where responsibility terminated. I will now, for 
your information, and in support of my views, given before this Socity- 
three years ago, and for the information of our Legislature, quote the 
highest authority in England, both legal and medical. In The Jour- 
nal of Mental Science (edited by Drs. Mandsley and Clouston) for 
April, 1878, page 22, is the following from the pen of David Nicolson 
M.D., Deputy Superintendent State Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Broad- 
moor, England, " a bill introduced into the House of Commons in 
1874, by Mr. Russell Gurney, with the view of amending the Law of 
Homicide led to the appointment of a committee, before which most 
important and hopeful evidence was given. The following evidence- 
of Lord Justice Blackburn speaks for itself, and virtually displaces the- 
legal dictu7n of right a?id wrong." " We cannot fail to see that there- 
are cases where the person is not clearly responsible, and yet knows- 
right from wrong. I can give you an instance. It was in the case of 
that woman of whom I was speaking, who was tried for wounding a. 
girl with intent to murder. The facts were these : The woman had. 
more than once been insane, the insanity being principally brought 
on by suckling her child too long, which was the cause that had pro- 
duced it before. She was living with her husband and had the charge 
of this girl, of about fifteen who lay in bed all day ; she was very kind 
to her, and had treated her very well ; they were miserably poor, and 
very much owing to that, she continued to nurse her boy till he was- 
nearly two years old ; and suddenly, when in this state, she, one 

114 Philosophy of Insanity. 

morning, about eleven o'clock, went to the child lying in bed, aged 
fifteen, and deliberately cut her throat ; then she went towards her 
own child, a girl of five or six years of age, of whom she was exceed- 
ingly fond, and the girl hearing a noise, looked up and said : " What 
are you doing?" " I have killed Olivia, and I am going to kill 
jou," was the answer. The child, fortunately, instead of screaming, 
threw her arms round her mother's neck and said : " No. I know you 
would not hurt your little Mopsy." The woman dropped the child, 
-went down and told a neighbor what she had done^ that she " had 
k;illed Olivia, and was going to kill Mary ; but when the darling threw 
its arms round my neck, I had not the heart to do it." She clearly 
knew right from wrong, and knew the character of her act. For some 
little time after that she talked rationally enough, but before night she 
was sent to a lunatic asylum raving mad, and having recovered she 
was brought to be tried before me at a subsequent Assize. She did 
know the quality of her act, and was quite aware of what she had done, 
but I felt it impossible to say she should be punished. If I had read 
the deposition in Magnantin's case, and said , " Do you bring her 
within that ? " the jury would have taken the bit in their own teeth, 
and said, " Not guilty on the ground of insanity," and I think rightly. 
He is well borne out by the following extract made from a statement 
sent to the Committee by the Lord Chief Justice of England (Sir A. 
Cockburn) : "As the law as expounded by the Judges in the House 
of Lords now stands, it is only when mental diseases produce incapa- 
city to distinguish between right and wrong that immunity from the 
penal consequences of crime is admitted. The p7'eseiit Bill introdicces 
anew element; the absence of potver of self-denial. I concur most 
cordially in the proposed alteration of the law, having been always 
strongly of opinion that, as the pathology of insanity abtmdantly 
establishes, there are forms of mental disease in which, though the 
patient is quite aware he is about to do wrong, the will becomes over- 
powered by the force of irresistible impulse, the power of self-co7itrol 
when destroyed or suspended by mental disease beco?nes, I thi^ik, an 
essential element of respOJisibility." 

In the July number of the same journal (1875), page 258, is the 
following from the pen of Dr. Bucknill : " ResponsibiUty depends 
upon power and not upon knowledge and feeling, and a man is 
responsible to do that which he ca?i do ; not that which he feels, or 
k.nows it right to do." 

There is the other side of the question. There are the facts I 

Crime and Responsibility. 115 

placed in the hands of Mr. Curran, Q.C., and which he brought before 
the Court in the trial of Hayvern. The highest legal authority in 
England, Lord Justice Blackburn, and the Lord Chief Justice of 
England (Sir A. Cockburn) by their evidence displaced the legal 
dictum of right and wrong as a test of sanity. 

If then, as I have already said, the medical expert for the defence 
can possibly know that it is the intention of the Court to declare in 
his charge to the Jury every man responsible for his acts who knows 
the difference between right and wrong, or even who knows that the 
act he is doing is wrong, unless the expert can prove the contrary, 
which is hard to do, he had better at once drop the case and spare 
him-elf further argument. I will suppose the expert to have gone 
through his examination-in-chief in reply to his own lawyer, and that 
he has closely adhered to the report he made to said lawyer ; that he 
has clearly and distinctly laid down all his reasons why, from the 
man's conduct, his whole life conduct ; why from the character of the 
crime, the manner in which it was, and the circumstances under which 
it was, committed ; why from his examination of him, physiologically, 
psychologically and pathologically or clinically, he came to the conclu 
sion that when the man committed the crime he was irresponsible for his 
act. Because he committed it under an uncontrollable insatte or imbecile 
desire, or under an uncontrollable insane or imbecile impulse. Then 
comes the cross-examination by the prosecuting counsel. We will sup- 
pose the case to be an imbecile, whose whole hfe had been the life of an 
habitual criminal, as was Hayvern' s life. The prosecuting counsel asks 
the question, " Do you mean to say that a man with ordinary intelli- 
gence could not, if he wished, live such a life of recklessness and crime 
as the prisoner has led? " No ; in the first place, in abstract questions 
you have no right to assume the possible. I say no, because a man of 
ordinary intelligence would be so in virtue of his physical mental 
organization, as the prisoner at the bar is an imbecile and criminal 
because of the structural defects in his mental organization ; and as the 
criminal at the bar is what he is in virtue of his physical organization, 
the intellectual man would be the very contrary in virtue of his mental 
organization ; therefore the intellectual man, the man, as you put it, 
with ordinary intelligence, could not wish and consequently could not 
live such a life as has been led by the prisoner at the bar. The 
prisoner at the bar obeyed his ab?iormal mental organization, the man 
of ordinary intelligence obeys his normal mental organization. For 
every physiological effect there must be anatomical cause ; therefore 


116 Philosophy of Insanity. 

the man of ordinary intelligence is so from anatomical cause, and his 
physiological actions are the outcome of anatomical cause. He 
consequently recognizes that he owes a duty to society, of which he 
is part^ the duty to do his best to live in obedience to all natural and 
social laws, and in doing his best he very generally succeeds. We do 
hot find such men criminals. Moreover, an intellectual man's physical 
organization would suffer so acutely from such a life, from such priva- 
tion, from exposure to the inclemency of the weather, that he would 
die of suffering, when the man of a low imbecile organization would 
not suffer at all ; therefore from physical reasons it would be impossible 
for the intellectual man to lead such a life. But, says the prosecuting 
counsel, do you not, Doctor, recognize the historical fact that some 
of the greatest criminals who ever lived were rhen of not only ordinary 
but even extraordinary intelligence ? It altogether depends upon 
what you should define as a proof of intelligence. I recognize that 
some great criminals have exhibited great knowledge, great cunning, 
great talent for deception, great memory, even great eloquence. I even 
agree with that very cleverwriter Helen Campbell: "That love of the 
fine arts could exist in men capable of every social crime ; and that 
music, being the last and most artificial of all arts, had an infinite 
power to charm and fascinate those who had exhausted the other 
avenues of sensation." 

But that is not the definition I have given of intelligence. I call the 
■intelligent man, the man with an even-balanced mental organization, the 
man who seeks for truth for truth's sake, the man who does his best to do 
right because it is right, and who avoids, as far as he can, wrong because 
it is wrong, the man of benevolence, justice, and charity ; such would 
be the characteristics of the man that I would call an intelligent man, 
the man of an intellectual organization ; and I deny that such a man 
could be an habitual criminal, could live in the breach of all natural 
and social laws, could prefer evil to good. When such a man commits 
crime, he does it in virtue of a pathological change in his physical 
mental organization. I maintain that the more a man lives in accord- 
ance with this standard that I have just given, the greater proof does 
he give that he is an intelligent man ; and that the nearer does he live 
to this standard, the more perfect is his physical mental organization. 
In answer then to your question, could not a man of ordinary intelli- 
gence, if he wished, live as did the prisoner at the bar, a life of crime 
in the breach of all natural and social laws ? I answer, no. 

Then, Doctor, you deny that man is a free agent, and that he has a 

Crime and Respo7isibility. 117 

free will ? I deny nothing of the sort, on the contrary, I hold that 
every man has a free will, but I deny that every man under all and 
every circumstances can control his imbecile or insane desire by the 
force of his will, or his imbecile or insane impulses by the force of his 
will. Moreover, I maintain that an imbecile or insane desire or impulse 
very frequently, indeed generally, is quite independent of the will. * 
But what of the man of ordinary inteUigence? The man of ordinary 
intelligence, as a rule, controls his desire by his v/ill. I do not deny 
but that such men are, sometimes, under extraordinary circumstances, 
at least extraordinary one's to him, led to be guilty of crime, and that 
they are responsible for their act. But I deny that such men ever 
can become habitual criminals. I maintain that the habitual criminal 
is such in virtue of his undeveloped organization, or in virtue of a 
pathological mental organization. In either case they are what they 
are, in virtue of their mental organization, and consequently should 
not be held responsible (legally) for their criminal acts. Nevertheless, 
the non-criminal class of society should be protected from the criminal 

But, says the prosecuting lawyer, I suppose, Doctor, you have 
heard of very wicked men being converted and becoming very great 
saints, how do you account for such a change? I have not heard of 
very wicked men becoming very great saints, that is, I never heard of 
an habitual criminal becoming a saint. I would not myself like to 
trust such saints. However, if an habitual criminal become a saint, 
no matter what the remote cause of such a change might be, I would 
certainly consider the immediate cause to be a physical change in his 
mental organization. I cannot conceive a saint with -a defective brain, 
or a distorted one like an imbecile, more particularly as the history 
we have of saints has been the history of men of the very highest 
order of intellect. But with your views. Doctor, where comes in legal 
responsibility ? Just where I have already placed it, a man is legally 
responsible to do what he can do, not that which he knows it is right 
to do. Therefore I maintain that the insane man is not legally 
responsible for his acts because he is insane in virtue of pathological 
defect in his mental organization. The imbecile and habitual criminals 
are not legally responsible for their acts, because of a teratological 
defect in their mental organization, but the man of ordinary intelligence 

* See note to page 48. 

118 Philosophy of Insanity. 

is, at least under ordinary circumstances, responsible to the law for 
his acts, because, in virtue of his normal mental organization, he can 
control his desires and actions by his will. 

But who is capable of deciding in each individual case whether a 
man has a normal or abnormal mental organization ? Not a judge 
and jury most decidedly. To decide this question belongs to the 
medical profession; yet I would be far from saying that every medical 
man is or should be capable of deciding so grave a question. No 
medical man, no matter how talented he may be, no matter how well 
read he may be, could possibly be capable of deciding such a ques- 
tion, unless he had years of experience in the treatment of the insane, 
in an insane asylum, and even that would not be sufficient, unless the 
man were a hard-working student, who studied and labored for his 
very love of his profession. In fact, he must be an enthusiast — but an 
enthusiast with wide views, nothing small or contracted in his ideas — an 
intellectual man, as I have defined an intellectual man, and he must 
necessarily be a benevolent man, basing his benevolence upon justice. 
To such a man or a board of such men the Governments of every country 
should submit for examination all habitual criminals, all persons accused 
of heinous crimes against the person, more particularly all those in 
whose defence the plea of insanity has been set up. For him or them 
to adjudicate upon the mental capacity of the accused, before any sen- 
tence was passed upon them for their crime, and the adjudicating of 
such a man, or such a board of men, should be final. Then would be 
prevented such scandals as took place on the trials of Hayvern and Gui- 
teau ; then would the insane man be sent to an insane asylum, to be 
treated for his pathological mental organization, and when recovered 
returned to society ; then would the imbecile be sent to a proper 
asylum to be cared for, and if ever his defective mental organization 
became so developed, which is very improbable, as to fit him for 
society, he would be restored to it ; then would there be provision 
made for the habitual criminal, who is such in virtue of his defective 
or deformed mental organization, whereby he would be completely 
separated from society till such time as his deformed or defective 
organization became normal, when he could be restored to society. 
But in the case of the insane, in the case of the imbecile, and in 
the case of the habitual criminal, if the insane never recovered, 
and if the imbecile intellect never became developed, and the 
criminal brain never became developed, then they could never be 

Crime and Responsibility. 119 

restored to society; but they must be treated with humanity and not 
harshness ; they must be treated as classes deserving: of pity and not of 

A move in the right direction.— 1 clipped the following from the 
Montreal 6^«2;^//^ of February 17, 1882: 

" Departmental Reports — Penitentiaries. — The acting 
warden states that the discipline has suffered very much from the 
conduct of ' half-witted convicts.' In examining the report book, 
during one of my visits of inspection, I found that, by far the greatest 
number of reports for violation of rule, misconduct, etc., had been 
rolled up by a comparatively few prisoners, nearly all of the class — 
' half-witted ' — mentioned by the acting warden. It is a very difficult 
task to deal properly with these characters. They are not so far gone 
as to warrant their being sent to the lunatic asylum ; they are not 
sensible enough to hold them to strict observation of rule, or punish 
them for its violation. It would be well were there some asylum for 
imbeciles, other than the mad-house or penitentiary, where those 
unfortunate beings could be cared for, without being, on the one hand, 
forced to become the companions of raving maniacs, or, on the other, 
of habitual and vicious criminals." 

So far so good, and just what might be expected from such an intel- 
ligent and humane man as the Inspector of Penitentiaries, Mr. Moylan. 
It is to be hoped that the Government will do that which he recom- 
mended — it would be an earnest of something more in the near future. 

So much for criminal irresponsibility. What is to be done with 
the criminals, if there are any, respor.sible for their acts ? It is a 
hard question to answer, one thing is certain, and that is, having made 
proper provision for the irresponsible criminals, crime would be 
reduced to such a minimum that there would be ample time to con- 
sider what had best be done with such criminals. Of course if there 
were proof that the law and punishment has been a terror to evil- 
doers, that punishment has prevented crime, and not only turned 
the criminal from the commission of one form of crime to the 
commission of another, then punishment would be justifiable. 
I)Ut that is the question. As for my part I believe that it would 
be impossible to prove any thing of the sort ; and here I would 
say a few words on the philosophy of crime and punishment. What 
is legal criminality ? One word can answer this question : all 
crime comes under one head disobedience. Why is it the nature of 
every man to resist obedience, for it is every man's nature ; no man 

120 Philosophy of Insanity. 

wishes to be controlled, and when men consent to be controlled it is 
because, from experience and education, they find it is good for all to 
be under control ; therefore the intellectual man finds it no burthen to 
submit to control, to submit to the law ; providing he finds the law, 
to be just, and not contrary to what he considers a higher law, the 
law of conscience. But with the non-intellectual man it is different : 
he is incapable of reasoning himself to the conviction that it is for his 
good to be controlled : he consequently obeys his abnormal nature and 
1 esists the law, and becomes a criminal in the eye of the law. His 
desire is to be free, and to be a law unto himself. From whence comes 
the idea that such a class of individuals could be brought to 
obey the law by inflicting on them punishment? I suppose 
it originated with our barbarian forefathers having discovered that 
the nature of every man and every other animal was to shrink 
from suffering,* and they got the happy idea that men could be 
brought into subjection by the fear of punishment, consequently 
we have had punishment in every shape and form inflicted by man on 
his fellow for thousands upon thousands of years, that the stronger 
might bring the weaker into subjection and obedience. From this 
origin, no doubt, came the idea to which we yet hold, that the criminal 
can be rendered non-criminal by the fear of punishment. It has 
never entered into our philosophy to search and see the reason for 
men being criminals, if we had we would have seen that we never 
could remove the cause by the fear of punishment ; that punishment, 
nor the fear of it, never could develop an undeveloped mental 
organization ; nor could punishment, or the fear of it, remove a 
pathological defect from a mental organization. It must be under- 
stood that in these remarks I do not allude to what is well understood 
as political crimes, the cause of which is now and always has been 
C/ESARisM trying to destroy individuaHsm and individualism always 
resisting Csesarism since ever we have had a history of man. The 
stronger have endeavored to lord it over the weaker, and have always 
succeeded ; and the weaker, when they had the opportunity, have 
taken revenge upon the stronger, when the stronger have treated the 
weaker as criminals, for having, as they maintained, resisted and 
broken the law. But what law ? A law made by their oppressors to 
keep them in subjection, a law to which the oppressed was never 
asked to consent. f A law in the forming or framing of which the 

* See note page t Russia for example. 

Crime and Responsibility. 121 

oppressed had no voice whatever, and to which they never assented. 
These so-called criminals I am not speaking of, nor would I classify 
them as criminals, much as I might regret and condemn their acts. 
I fully recognize that every man who claims the protection of the law 
should not only support but submit to the law, but I do not believe 
in Ceesarism and the destruction of individualism. No laws can be 
just that are not made for the good of the people, as a whole, and 
received and assented to by the people, as a whole ; neither can any 
laws be just that will not bear the test of scientific truth. There can 
be no fact in law that is not a fact in science. 

In \ki^ Journal of Mental Science for January, 1882, page 5581, 
there is one of those lucid editorials, not uncommon in that periodical, 
which no man can read and not feel refreshed from the perusal there- 
of ; in fact, it gives him food for thought. The article in question is 
headed, " The Case of Lefroy alias Mapleton." The author says 
" Criminal responsibility, says Gasper, is the psychological possibility 
of the efificaciousnessof the Penal Code." 

" It is not a question of disputing whether the existing Penal Code 
has or has not, with respect to the community at large, any efficacy 
in restraining from crime. We trust that it has, or, as good citizens, it 
would be our duty to endeavor to induce our legislators to introduce 
such modifications into it as would imbue it with such efiacacy. But 
putting to ourselves the question whether there existed in the case of 
Lefroy such mental defect as destroys the possibility of any restrain- 
ing influence being exercised by the Penal Code of England, as it at 
present stands, we can come to no other conclusion than that his con- 
duct gave a very decided negative to such a question." (H. Tuke.) 

No doubt of it, and the same thing can be said of every man who, 
having ordinary intelligence, is guilty of crime ; statistics show 
very clearly that the Penal Code is not efficacious in restraining the 
imbecile class of society, and in the case of Lefroy we have proof, if 
indeed proof were required, that the Penal Code is not efficacious in 
restraining the supposed-to-be man of ordinary intelligence. No man 
will have the hardihood to say that those who do not commit crime, 
or the non-criminal class, would commit it were it not for the res- 
training influence of the Penal Code, yet of two things one : the non- 
criminal is non-criminal either in virtue of, or independent of, the 
Penal Code. Now I maintain that as the Penal Code has proved itself 
inefficacious in restraining from crime the criminally disposed, so it 
is not in virtue of the Criminal Code that the non-criminal is not 

122 Philosophy of Insanity. 

criminal, consequently that the Criminal Code, as it now stands, is not 
only useless but burthensome to society, therefore, I conceive it to be 
the duty of every good citizen to endeavor to induce our legislators 
to introduce such modifications into it as would imbue it with such 
eflficacy. But how is this to be done ? By legislators recognizing the 
scientific truth, so well established by the Penal Code, that every man 
is what he is in virtue of his physical organization — the idiot, the 
imbecile, the insane, the criminal, and non-criminal ; and, having 
recognized this as a scientific truth, to legislate accordingly, and make 
provisions to completely separate the criminal from the non-criminal 
class of society, that the latter, being protected from the former, 
might live in peace and security, and that the former might be pro- 
tected from themselves. 

No doubt but that very many, even a large majority of the com- 
munity, will differ very widely from my views ; and, amongst those, 
men of high scientific attainments, whose teachings will be, as they 
now are, to add to the severity of the Penal Code ; to whip and starve 
the criminal. But these persons forget that all this has been tried in 
the past and has f^iiled ; that the more severe the Penal Code^ the 
greater were the number of criminals : that when men were hanged for 
the stealing of a sheep, there were more sheep stolen than there have 
been since that barbarous law was wiped off the statute books. 
However, all men of science who recognize that every man is what he 
is in virtue of his mental physical organization, to be logical, must 
accept my views, and if he be honest must maintain them ; bearing 
in mind, what I have already said, that nothing can be a fact in law 
which is not a fact in '' science." 

During this month, March, 1882, the Court of Queen's Bench 
was held in this city of Montreal, when a man by the name of 
Smith was found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to twenty 
years in the Penitentiary. Now if the learned judge hoped by 
this sentence he would set an example to evil-doers, that the law 
would be a terror to them, he will surely meet with a bitter disap- 
pointment. Why should Smith's punishment strike terror into the 
criminally disposed, when the hanging of Hayvern, in the month of 
December, 1881, and the hanging of Moreau, in the month of January, 
1882, not two months past, did not strike terror into Smith and save 
him from being a homicide ? In one month from the day of Smith's 
incarceration, not one out of a thousand will remember that Smith 
ever existed, and in one year society will not remember there ever 

Crime and Responsibility. 123 

was such a man. If the learned judge considered Smith to be man 
who could not control his actions, and consequently was dangerous to 
society, then it were better he should have sentenced him to prison 
for life, or during the Queen's pleasure. For if he be such a man, he 
will not be the less dangerous after he has been in the prison for 
twenty years. But then such a sentence, for such a cause, would be 
recognizing that Smith was not responsible for his acts or for the 
particular act which made him a homicide. 

It appears to me that there is one new theory upon which the 
punishment can be justified, and that is the theory of retributive 
justice, that Smith should suffer because he had caused others to suffer. 
But is this the object of the Penal Code ? The pretence is otherwise. 
Smith, however, gave another proof that the Penal Code is not effica- 
cious in restraining crime, as has the Lunatic McLean who fired at 
our gracious Queen, and in this case England will show how far civil- 
ization is in advance of our American cousins.* We are proud that 
no sane man would try to injure Her Majesty, that no one ever has 
attempted to injure her but lunatics. Our American friends would 
not have Guiteau insane, they preferred to believe that their President 
was killed by a sane man. If ever there was a retrograde movement 
it is treating Guiteau as a sane, responsible being. As far as I can 
judge, every crime that is committed, no matter by whom committed, 
gives additional proof that the Penal Code as it now stands is ineffi- 
cacious in restraining crime, and that it should therefore be modified; 
and it appears to me that if every criminal was considered as such, 
whether he be the habitual criminal, the habitual drunkard, or the 
impulsive criminal, or the occasional criminal, in virtue of his abnormal 
mental organization, in virtue of teratological or pathological defect, 
and treated accordingly, that it would be the most efficacious, because 
the most scientific, means of restraining crime. 

There can be no possible doubt of the great differences that there 
are in men, and no doubt but that such differences are due to the differ- 
ences in men's mental organization. Whether this be the result of here- 
dity, accident before birth, during birth, or after birth, whether it be 
the result of education or habit, whether it be due to teratologic^ or 
pathological defect, has nothing to do with the question. The fact is 
there, that man intellectually is what he is in virtue of his mental, 

* Since the above was written England has shown her civilization ; she has 
properly treated McLean as a lunatic. 

124 Philosophy of Insanity. 

organization, and that this fact should never be lost'sight of by law- 
makers or those who administer the laws. They should remember, to 
quote Dr. Bucknill again, that ''Responsibility depends uvon power 
and not upon knowledge and feeling ; that a man is responsible to do 
that which he can do, not that which he feels or knows it right to do." 
And we never again should hear of the legal dictum, that the know- 
ledge of right from wrong constitutes responsibility. The question of 
man's responsibility is not a matter of law but science, and it should 
be sufficient for judge and jury, when qualified medical mental experts 
pronounce a person insane or an imbecile, for judge and jury to treat 
the accused as one irresponsible for his acts. Until this is the law, 
my advice to a mental scientist, if called upon by a lawyer to 
examine into the mental capacity of a man accused of crime, is not 
to accept the proffered honor, to have nothing whatever to do with 
the case. The medical expert can do no good no matter how great 
may be his experience, no matter how clear may be his evidence of 
the man's insanity or imbecility. The Crown can bring forward any 
number of medical men to contradict all that the experienced expert 
has sworn to ; and as a Doctor is a Doctor and nothing more nor less, 
to a jury, the jury will give a verdict with the majority. It was so in 
the case of Hayvern, it was so in the case of Guiteau, and it was so 
in the case of Bulmer, * and it will be so as long as the law remains as 
it is. Bringing medical experts into Court, while the law remains as it 
is, is simply a farce, and it is much better that the medical expert should 
refuse to play a part in it. Let the expert leave the responsibility to 
the judge and jury, until human laws are made or founded on the 
basis of benevolence and justice. The mental scientist must be con- 
tent to teach scientific truth because it is truth, and hope that in time 
men will learn to do right because it is right, and not because they fear 
punishment or hope for reward. Until that time comes I, for my part, 
should be glad to see the Penal Code so modified that all criminals 
should be considered such in virtue of a teratological or pathological 
defect in their mental organization, and be separated from the non- 
criminal class of society, not for any given period, but during Her 
Majesty's pleasure, till such time as there was scientific assurance 
that such unfortunates were fit to be restored to society. And as 
drunkenness is temporary insanity, I would make it a criminal act for 
any man to sell sufficient liquor to be drunk in his tavern or bar- 

* See note to page 85. 

Crime and Responsibility. 125 

room to another person that would render him drunk. Teratologi- 
cal defect causes a man to be a drunkard and a criminal, and on the 
other hand, drunkenness produces pathological defect in the mental 
organization, rendering a man insane and a criminal. As the law 
now stands, punishment is most unjustly meeted out to the unfortunate 
drunkard, when it is those who supply the liquor who are the actual 
criminals. I do not speak of liquor dealers as a class, far from it, but 

1 hold the man, who will for money supply liquor to a man till 
he becomes drunk, to be a criminal of the worst sort ; and a liquor 
dealer, who supplies liquor to a man whom he knows is an habitual 
drunkard, is, if possible, a greater criminal still. I conceive such a 
man to be the meanest of all mean men ; as mean as the man who, 
having no argument to use against the science of evolution, or any 
other science, resorts to ridicule. 

If any one doubts the inefficacy of the Penal Code in the Domin- 
ion of Canada for the prevention of crime, the following statistics will 
remove those doubts : 

The report of criminal statistics of the Dominion for the year end- 
ing 30th September, 1880, is just out. It shows for the year previous : 
— Charged with offence against the person, 6,622 ; convicted, 4,507. 
Of those convicted, Ontario had 3,030 : Quebec, 907 ; Nova Scotia, 
229 j New Brunswick, 187; Prince Edward Island, 74; Manitoba, 
64 ; British Columbia, 5 ; Keewatin, 7 ; North- West, 4. Of those con- 
victed, 2,136 lived in cities and towns and 496 in rural districts ; 182 
were agricultural men, 432 commercial, 174 domestic, 590 industrial, 
2,(i professional and 943 laborers; 1,199 were married, 94 widowed, 
and 1,359 single. Charged with murder in the Dominion, 32 ; Ontario, 
19 ; Quebec, 10 ; Manitoba, i ; British Columbia, i ; North- West, i. 
Convicted of murder, 5 ; Ontario, 4 ; Quebec, i ; resident in cities and 
towns, 3 ; in rural districts, 2 ; natives of Canada, 2 ; United States, 

2 J Ireland, i. Convicted of manslaughter in Canada, 7 ; charged with 
ditto, 18 ; charged with shooting and stabbing, wounding, etc., with 
intent. 139; convicted, 47; charged with rape, 39; convicted, 9; 
charL:ed vvith endangering safety of passengers on railways, 18; con- 
victed, 8 ; charged with concealing birth of infant, 8 ; convicted, 4 ; 
charged with abortion and attempt to procure the same, 9 ; convicted, 
5 ; charged with sodomy and bestiality, 7 ; convicted, 4 ; charged 
with bigamy, 10; convicted, 4; charged with abduction, 7 ; convicted, 
2 ; charged with aggravated assault and inflicting bodily harm, 253 ; 

126 Philosophy of Insanity. 

convicted, 120; charged with indecent assault and attempt to rape, 
67 ; convicted, 37 ; charged with assault and battery, 5,576 ; convicted, 
3,957 ; charged with robbery and demanding money with menace, 
104; convicted, 45 ; charged with burglary and having burglars' tools, 
114; convicted, 53; charged with house and shop breaking, 132; 
convicted, 78 ; charged with horse, cattle and sheep stealing, 82 ; con- 
victed, 43 ; charged with larceny and receiving, 4,104; convicted, 
2,248; charged with embezzlement, fraud and false pretences, 377 ; 
convicted, 89; charged with arson, etc., 70; convicted, 14; charged 
with kilHng and maiming cattle and other malicious injury to property, 
987 ; convicted, 624 ; charged with counterfeiting, forgery and utter- 
ing, 125 ; convicted, 41 ; charged with drunkenness, 11.655 i convicted, 
8,435 i charged with keeping houses of ill-fame, inmates and frequen- 
ters, 1,045; convicted, 721; charged with cruelty to animals, 216; 
convicted, 165; grand total of persons charged with all kinds of 
crimes and offences, 40,874; convicted, 28.209. Of those convicted 
Ontario furnished, 18,311 ; Quebec, 5.866 ; Nova Scotia, 1,655 > New 
Brunswick, 1,473 ; P. E. 1 , 469 ; Manitoba, 271 ; British Columbia ; 
47 ; Keewatin, 98 ; and the North-West, 17. Resident in cities and 
towns, 16,856; in rural districts, 3,059; agricultural persons, 998; 
commercial, 3,307 ; domestic, 1,563; industrial, 4,100 ; professional, 
228; laborers, 7,213; married, 7,683; widowed, 1,242; single, 11,- 
279 ; unable to read or write, 4.877 ; elementary education, 14,762 ; 
superior education, 289 ; under 16 years, 1,046; between 16 and 21 
years, 2,671 ; between 21 and 40 years, 10,816 ; over 40 years, 5,860 ; 
age not given, 7,814 ; males, 25,059 ; females, 3,140 ; users of liquors, 
moderately, 7,411 ; users of Hquors, immoderately, 11,736; natives of 
England and Wales, 2,112 ; Ireland, 3.833 ; Scotland, 874; Canada, 
12,296 ; United States, 942 ; other foreign countries, 372 ; other 
British possessions, 102 ; religions : Baptists, 507 ; Roman Catholics, 
10,826 ; Church of England^ 2.497 j Methodists, 1,406 ; Presbyterians, 



I had finished my manuscript, and had it ready for the printer, 
when a book bearing the foregoing title was put into my hands by a 
very valued friend. Dr. David. A more interesting or entertaining 

Crir.te and Responsibility. 127 

book it has never been my good fortune to read. But to me it has 
been more particularly interesting for many reasons : First, that I 
have such a lively recollection of so many of the incidents recorded 
in it. Secondly, that so many of the characters were personally known 
to me, one most intimately, in his youth, the splendid handsome boy 
of fourteen years old, William Howard, who met with so sad an end, 
son of one of the most honorable, kind-hearted gentlemen that ever 
Hved, quite independent of his title, one who was very kind to my 
father and to me in my youthful days. When I think of William 
Howard as I knew him it is hard to conceive that Serjeant Ballantine 
should have been able to write such a sad history of him, yet it is all 
true. Thirdly, it has interested me because I find my views of 
criminal insanity sustained by so great a lawyer, a man of such 
wonderful legal experience, as Mr. Serjeant Ballantine. My readers 
will thank me that I quote largely from his book, entertaining to any 
reader, but to the Bench and Bar a gem of the first water. 


In the commencement of the year 1843, ^^ ^ gentleman named 
Drummond was walking down Parliament street, he was fatally 
wounded by a pistol-shot, fired by a man of the name of MacNaghten, 
a Scotchman. It was clear that he was mistaken by him for Sir 
Robert Peel, whom it was his intention to have killed. As Mr. 
Drummond was a man generally respected, and of the most inoffen- 
sive habits, it was not unnatural that a storm of indignation should 
arise against the perpetrator of the act, whilst the patience exhibited 
by his victim during the few days that he survived the attack added 
to the general sympathy of the public. 

MacNaghten was placed upon his trial for murder in the following 
February, Sir Nicholas Conyngham Tindal, Chief Justice of the Com- 
mon Pleas, presiding. I have had occasion to refer to this judge, 
although not at any length, when giving an account of the Courvoisier 
trial. He was certainly not a man of startling characteristics, but 
upon the bench presented a singularly calm and equable appearance. 
I never saw him yield to irritabiHty, or exhibit impatience. I should 
say in fact that he was made for the position that he filled, and sound 
law and substantial justice were sure, as far as human power could 
prevail, to be administered under his presidency. 

It required a judge of this calibre to control the violent feelings of 
indignation launched not unnaturally against the accused. Sir William 

128 Philosophy of Insanity. 

Follet conducted the prosecution, and the late Lord Chief Justice, 
then Mr. Cockburn, was retained for the defence. 

The facts were easily proved, and the only question that was in 
issue was whether the prisoner at the time of the commission of the 
crime was of sound mind, and the onus of showing the contrary prac- 
tically devolved upon the prisoner's counsel. MacNaghten had 
been treated as a lunatic, and he appears to have imagined that Sir 
Robert Peel was bent upon his destruction, which he intended to 
prevent by the assassination. There was no ground whatever for 
even the belief that Sir Robert Peel knew him. 

In a case not altogether analogous, but bearing some similarity to 
it, Erskine had made a most masterly and argumentative speech, 
dealing with the different phases of insanity, and Cockburn in his 
defense of MacNaghten had the advantage of this great advocate's 
views and treatment of the subject. This^ however, did not detract 
from the merit of one of the most masterly argumenis ever heard at 
the Enghsh bar. Several witnesses were called, and the facts that I 
have briefly stated were fully proved. Before the evidence was con- 
cluded, the Chief Justice appealed to Sir William Follet, who admitted 
that he must submit to a verdict acquitting the prisoner upon the 
ground of insanity, and this verdict was accordingly pronounced A 
storm of indignation followed it. Mad or not, the prisoner ought to 
have been hanged. Such was no uncommon expression, and a general 
denunciation of mad doctors, and some not very complimentary 
remarks upon lawyers, might not unfrequently be heard, 'i his outcry 
resulted in a very singular proceeding on the part of the House of 
Lords, which had no precedent, and fortunately has never been 
repeated. The judges were summoned by their lordships to express 
their opinions upon the law applicable to insanity in criminal cases. 
It seems to me surprising that they did not point out that such a pro- 
ceeding was extra judicial, and that their opinions could only properly 
be given upon certain facts arising before them in their judicial capa- 
city, and that what was asked of them was to make a law in anticipa- 
tion of facts that might hereafter arise. The same proceeding also 
might be adopted in relation to any subject, civil or criminal. How- 
ever, the judges went and sat in solemn conclave, but as might be 
expected, being called upon to found abstract opinions with no facts 
to go upon, they have not greatly assisted the administration of justice. 
The important points propounded by the judges seem to be as 
follows : — 

Crime and Responsibility. 129 

' The only ground upon which an alleged lunatic is entitled to an 
acquittal is that he did not know the difference between right and 
wrong in the act that he committed.' If they had proceeded to say 
upon what principles this question was to be determined, some benefit 
might have arisen from their opinions. 

The judges further say, ' that although a person may in a particu- 
lar matter act under an insane delusion, and act in consequence 
thereof, he is equally liable with a person of sane mind.' I presume 
this to mean that unless it be shown that the delusion destroyed his 
knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, which is to be 
discovered and proved independently of the admitted delusion, he 
must be considered of sane mind. If these dicta are to be received as 
law, then a totally different principle governs civil and criminal cases, 
and a person incapable of making a will or executing a deed may, 
nevertheless, be liable to be executed for the commission of what in a 
sane person would be a crime. However startling this proposition 
is, it cannot be controverted, and it appears to me that the subject is 
one worthy of further consideration and much m.ore careful analysis 
than have ever been applied to it. In the observations that I have 
already made, and in those that follow, I do not pretend to lay down 
any proposition or dictate any solution of the difficulty, but merely 
wish to suggest certain matters that in the course of my practice have 
presented themselves to my mind, with a view of attracting the atten- 
tion of better informed and more experienced men. 

That insanity exists to a most deplorable extent is testified by the 
numerous establishments, both public and private, for the care of 
lunatics, and the question of how far mental derangement, admitted 
to exist upon a particular point, affects the conduct of an individual 
beyond the scope of that point, is a subject worthy of the research 
both of medical men and lawyers. Doctors have introduced the 
term ' uncontrollable impulse/ and an excuse has been sought under 
this term for violent bursts of passion rising from natural causes ; but 
are not such symptoms also the result of insanity? Have we not 
numerous instances in which under such influences the victims have 
destroyed themselves ? It is not difficult to presume that they knew 
they were doing wrong ; and, indeed, the cunning that in many cases 
attends their acts indicates that they did ; but assuming one of the 
qualities of the sane human mind to be self-restraint, and supposing 
this barrier has been removed by insanity, ought the sufferer to be 

130 Philosophy of Insanity. 

held criminally liable for his acts, although evidence existed that he 
was conscious of the difference between right and wrong ? 

When Ravaillac assassinated Henry IV. of France, he believed 
that in doing so he was commending himself to God, and as many 
enthusiasts at all times and in all countries have acted under such 
impressions, it would be a dangerous doctrine to declare that because 
the sense of right and wrong had disappeared, a criminal should be 
deemed irresponsible ; and yet, on the other hand, an utter lunatic 
may possess a sense of right and wrong in many actions of his life. 
The case is well known of a madman who was cross-examined by 
Erskine ineffectually for some time. At last the counsel obtained the 
clew, and in answer to a question he put the witness said, " I am the 
Christ." Upon a subsequent occasion, when again cross-examined, 
he carefully avoided the admission that had defeated him upon the 
former occasion. He was admittedly a lunatic, but certainly if he 
had been charged with a crime it might fairly have been contended 
that he knew the difference between right and wrong. 

As I have said already, a civil act is destroyed by proof that the 
person performing it was at the time subject to mental delusion upon 
one subject, although in every other perfectly reasonable. The only 
principle upon which this rule can be founded is that the mind is one 
and entire, and if diseased it is impossible, whatever may be the 
external signs, to say to what extent, and in what direction, the dis- 
ease extends. If this be good reasoning, surely it is equally applic- 
able to the mind of a person charged with a crime. I cannot think 
that where an insane delusion is clearly proved, although numerous 
facts may be brought forward to show that the lunatic distinguished, 
up to the time of the offence, the difference between right and wrong, 
he ought to be consigned to the gallows. The gout that has taken 
possession of a man's toe suddenly leaps to his heart. When a man 
believes himself to be the Saviour how is it possible for human skill 
to tell what thought or opinion is likely to control any act of his life ? 
The law must yield to the dispensations of Providence, however much 
prejudice and passion may seek to sway its administration. 

I was witness of the result of the outcry that Drummond's assas- 
sination occasioned in a case tried before Baron Alderson at the 
Central Criminal Court, That very learned judge summed up strongly 
for an acquittal upon the ground of insanity. The jury, however, 
took the matter into their own hands, and convicted the prisoner. 
The judge made urgent recommendations to the Home Secretary, but, 

Crime and Responsibility. 131 

nevertheless, the man was executed. It will not, I think, be uninter- 
esting to record here one or two cases involving these questions, and 
in which 1 have at different periods of my career been engaged as 
counsel. One of them was of a very distressing character. 

A lady of the name of Ramsbottom, the wife of an eminent physi- 
cian, herself of middle age and generally respected, was suspected of 
pilfering from a draper's shop in Baker street, Portman Square, She 
was watched, followed, and her person was searched^ and several 
small articles were found concealed in different parts of her dress. 
She was given into custody, went through the painful ordeal of an 
inquiry at the Marylebone Police Court, and was committed for trial 
at the Middlesex sessions. At the period when this occurred, Mr. 
Serjeant Adams was the presiding judge. He was thoroughly impar- 
tial and knew all the law necessary for his position, but it was not 
very well packed in the receptacle of his brain, and the particles con- 
stantly came out at wrong times and places. The case, however, 
could hardly have been confused ; the facts were perfectly clear, the 
whole of the lady's life, as far as its history was known, was not only 
free from reproach, but thoroughly rational. The only point that 
could be relied upon for the defense was that the articles stolen were 
so trivial that no sane object could exist for intentional theft, and the 
only suggestion that could be made in her favor was that she was not 
responsible for her actions, being compelled by an uncontrollable 
impulse, or, to use a technical term, that she was the victim of klepto- 
mania, not a very popular defence before a jury of tradesmen. How- 
ever, after having been locked up for some hours, they were ultimate- 
ly discharged without giving a verdict, a result arising probably more 
from compassion for the lady's husband than any doubt about the 

I thought at the time that if, instead of laying a trap for her, the 
proprietor of the shop had conveyed a hint either to herself or to the 
doctor, it would have been the kinder course, and subsequent circum- 
stances showed that in reality her conduct was attributable to insant 
influences, although certainly she knew thoroughly well that she was 
acting wrongly. 

She died very shortly after the ordeal she had undergone, broken 
down in health and spirit with the shame and disgrace, and I was 
consulted, after her death had taken place, by Dr. Ramsbottom under 
the following circumstances. Every drawer and cupboard in the 
house was found to be full of new goods, which she must have been 


132 Philosophy of Insanity. 

in the habit of abstracting during many years, and I beheve that in 
every instance they were contained in their original wrappers. Mrs. 
Ramsbottom was a rehgious woman, and I cannot doubt that every 
Sunday she listened with respect and veneration to the lessons taught 
in the church, and fully realized the commandment of " Thou shalt 
not steal." And it is clear that she by the acts she committed incurred 
danger and obtained no advantage. I advised Dr. Ramsbottom not 
to make the discovery public, and the articles found were distributed 
amongst different charitable institutions. Can any one doubt that 
insanity irresistibly controlled her conduct ? 

Many instances are upon record in which this extraordinary mania 
is alleged to have developed itself. And one case is known where an 
attendant always accompanied a lady of high rank when she went out 
shopping, and paid for the articles she stole. Supposing in any of 
these instances the parties had committed a crime of a different 
description, would it be just to hold them responsible ? The question 
is not unimportant, as such acts, if clearly proved^ would, as the law 
now stands, invalidate a will. 

Certainly the most remarkable and interesting case connected with 
mental derangement in which I acted as counsel was in connection 
with a will of a lady named Thwaites. She died at an advanced age, 
leaving a very large fortune, which she bequeathed to different per- 
sons with whom she associated during her lifetime, and none of whom 
were her relatives ; and her next of kin disputed the will upon the 
ground that she was insane at the time of making it. 

She had inherited the fortune in early life, unexpectedly, upon the 
death of her husband, and had administered it with judgment and 
discretion. She was neither niggardly nor profuse- She was chari- 
table without being reckless, and kept her accounts, which were some- 
what complicated, with accuracy and in excellent order. No restraint 
of any kind was ever placed upon her. She played whist, and, I am 
told, played it fairly well. She endured pain on different occasions 
with great resignation, and moreover there was nothing extraordinary 
in the disposition of her property, as she had never held much inter- 
course with her own relatives. 

Unquestionably, however, she was guilty of some very extraor- 
ninary proceedings, and expressed some singular views. She asserted 
that she had been chosen by our Saviour to receive Him upon His 
return to earth, and that this event would therefore occur during her 
lifetime, and she indicated the reality of this belief by making very 

Crime and Iiesj)onsibility. 133 

extensive preparations for His reception, principally in the upholstery 
line, and there was a great deal of absurdity exhibited in the arrange- 
ments she made. Lord Penzance, before whom the case was tried, 
left it to the jury to say whether she was laboring under an insane 
delusion, and they found that she was, and he accordingly held that her 
will was invalid. The circumstances of this case suggest reflections as 
to how far religious opinions, absurd and ridiculous as they may appear 
to others, are to be accepted as proof of insanity. The main idea round 
which every thought and act rotated in her mind was the approaching 
return of the Saviour to earth. This surely cannot be treated as insane. 
The notion that she was selected to receive Him might be the pro- 
duct of vanity and the misunderstanding of some of the mysterious 
passages that occur in portions of the Scripture, whilst the prepara- 
tions she made were only the natural consequences of such a behef 
on the part of a person of utterly unrefined ideas ; and it is to be 
noted that she was a woman of no education, and from her earliest 
youth had been the object of fulsome attentions and flattery. 

But a grave doubt has occurred to me as to whether the behef in 
question really had full and undivided possession of her mind, and 
whether there was not rather a pride in putting forward the claim. She 
sacrificed nothing of personal interest and comfort, and never 
appeared to undervalue the good things of this world in consequence 
of the great honor that was in store for her. 

These speculations, however, are beside my main object in dis- 
cussing the subject. For that purpose I assume that a delusion, 
. utterly inconsistent with sanity, had taken possession of her senses, 
and that, therefore, she was unfit to execute any legal document. In 
what manner ought she to have been dealt with if she had committed 
what in a sane person would have been a crime ? Her whole life 
showed that she understood the distinction between right and wrong, 
and if the issue left to a jury had been narrowed to that question, 
unless the fact that she was under a delusion upon the subject of the 
Saviour's returning to earth and becoming her guest could be treated 
as evidence that she was unable to tell right from wrong, she must 
have been convicted. 

I have been engaged in many cases of interest since the constitution 
of the Probate and Divorce Court, before the three judges who have 
severally presided, and, amongst others, the very unhappy one of Lady 
Mordaunt. This unfortunate lady became insane after a confinement, 
and continued hopelessly so from that period. This was an instance 

134 Philosophy of Insanity, 

where the mind was entirely destroyed, and therefore it presented none 
of those difficuhies which I have pointed out in other cases, and which 
I venture to think deserve the attention both of those who make the 
laws and those who administer them. 

Having mentioned the Court of Probate and Divorce, this may 
not be an improper place to allude to its formation and the judges 
who have presided in it. When first constituted, Mr. Justice Cress- 
well, then a member of the Court of Common Pleas, was selected as 
its head, and it would have been difficult to make a better choice. He 
was a most able lawyer and a man of the world. He had been a 
successful leader at the bar, was an acute cross-examiner, and an utter 
despiser of all shams. He narrowly watched the demeanor of the 
witnesses who gave evidence before him, and usually formed just con- 
clusions. I wish I could finish my sketch without a word of reproach 
or blame, but, in justice, I must say that his manner was too often 
supercilious, thus detracting from his high qualities. At the same time 
he was eminently just, and never carried any feeling he might have 
shown against either counsel or witness into the comments he made 
to the jury, and his perfect impartiahty will, I am sure, be admitted 
and remembered by every one who knew him. He tried one very 
remarkable probate case, in which I opposed a will propounded by a 
person named Smethurst, presenting features which I think are of a 
very singular character. This man succeeded in upholding the will, 
which I attribute to one of the most admirable speeches I ever heard 
from Dr., now Sir John, Phillimore, who was his counsel. 

Lord Penzance, a Baron of the Exchequer, succeeded Cresswell, 
who died from the result of an accident. He possessed all the high 
judicial qualities of his predecessor, whilst his demeanor was most 
courteous to every one, and, if it was his duty to differ from counsel, 
he did so with good taste and gentlemanly bearing. He had mixed 
much in the world, and thus obtained that knowledge which in the 
Divorce Court is peculiarly required. It was a matter of sincere 
regret when, in consequence of ill health, he was obliged to retire 
from office. 

It would not become me to discuss the merits of Sir James Hannen, 
the present presiding judge, but I may say that I have been engaged 
with and against him in many cases, whilst he was at the bar, and I 
never knew a more conscientious or painstaking advocate.'' 

" When first I met the subject of the above sketch, there was a 
contemporary of his, moving in the same circles, also accomplished 

Crime and Responsibility. 135 

and popular. His name was Walsh. When I was in the lowest class 
at St. Paul's School he was in the highest, and when I joined the Home 
Circuit he was leader of the Kent Sessions. He married a lady of 
mature age, but possessing considerable fortune. When, many years 
after meeting him in London society, I was staying in Florence, I 
heard he had a villa there, and sought him out. He was in a deplor- 
ably hypochondriacal state, and nothing seemed capable of rousing 
him. Some time after this I was taken professionally to the house of 
a medical man in the Finchley Road, to assist in the examination of 
an alleged lunatic, and there I found my poor friend, hopelessly and 
miserably insane. I have every reason to believe that he was treated 
with skill and kindness, although I utterly disapprove of private 
lunatic asylums, it being naturally to the advantage of their keepers 
that the patient should remain under their care. 

It is not many years ago that I became acquainted with a pregnant 
example of this evil. I was asked by a member of the bar to visit his 
brother at a private lunatic asylum of high class. He was confined 
there contrary to his brother's wishes, who did not think he was judi- 
ciously treated or required confinement. The family were wealthy, 
and a large sum was paid for the maintenance of the gentleman in 
question. I accordingly went down, and, calHng at the house and 
sending in my card; requested permission to see the patient. I was 
told that the proprietor was not at home, and that in his absence I 
could not be permitted to do so, although I produced the brother's 
authority. I insisted, and threatened to move the Court of Queen's 
Bench if the refusal was persisted in, and at last I was admitted, and 
found the patient lodged in a very handsome suite of apartments, 
opening out upon some beautiful grounds. He made no complaint 
of his treatment, and was manifestly under the influence of insane 
impulses ; but my astonishment was extreme, upon looking at the 
literature with which he was supplied, to find that it was of a charac- 
ter eminently calculated to foster the peculiar form of disease to which 
he was subject. An inquiry was subsequently held before a master 
in lunacy ; the result was that he was released from the asylum, and 
put under the charge of a skilled person, and, subsequent to such 
superintendence, permitted his liberty. His removal was opposed by 
the proprietor, who lost by it a net profit of at least ;£6oo per annum. 

My old friend Charles Reade has described in works of fiction, 
with great power and ability, the evils that may arise from these 
institutions when in unscrupulous hands ; and the existence of such 

136 Philosophy of Insanity. 

men as Dr. Tuke, and others whom I could name, whose sense of 
honor and general character place them above all suspicion, does not 
in my judgment make the system one to be trusted or approved of, 
and I am afraid that the protection intended by the law to be afforded 
by independent opinions is too often imperiled by a near connection 
existing between the proprietors of these asylums and the medical men 
who certify for the reception of persons supposed to be lunatics. 

The whole subject of insanity, as I have elsewhere endeavored to 
show, deserves supervision — the nature of it, its obligations, and its 
treatment ; and if the statistics upon it are correct — and it is true that 
of late years there has been a great increase of the malady — no social 
evil better deserves a thorough legislative investigation." 


During the year 1864 a trial took place at the Central Criminal 
Court which presents features worthy, for more reasons than one, to be 
recorded. In the first place, the life of a perfectly innocent man was 
placed in jeopardy, and in the next the course pursued by the police 
deserves attention and calls for remark. 

It appeared that upon the 26th of December in the previous year 
a serious disturbance had taken place in a public-house situated on 
Saffron Hill, Clerkenwell. This locality was at the time inhabited 
by the humbler class of Italians, and a squabble arose between them 
and some Englishmen in the neighborhood, resulting in the death of 
a man named Harrington, who was mortally wounded, and in serious 
injury to another man of the name of Rebbeck. 

In both cases the injuries inflicted were by some sharp instrument, 
and in all probability by the same one. An Italian named Pellizzioni 
was found lying upon the body of the deceased man, and was then 
seized by the police, who naturally inferred that he was the perpe- 
trator of the acts. He, however^ declared that he had only come in 
after they were committed, was endeavoring to quell the disturbance, 
and in the scuffle still going on was thrown upon the body of Harring- 
ton, who was not quite dead. No weapon of any kind was found near 
the spot. After some examinations at the police court Pellizzioni was 
committed for trial, and tried before Mr. Baron Martin upon the charge 
of wilful murder. 

This learned judge had been a very successful advocate upon the 
Northern Circuit, where, however, he had not had any experience in 
the criminal courts, and, although essentially humane and kind-hearted, 

Crime and Responsibility. 137 

was hasty in forming opinions^ and slow in changing them ; and it was 
obvious that very early in the case he took a strong view against the 
prisoner, and summing up in accordance with it, a verdict of guilty 
was pronounced. Sentence of death was passed, the judge stating in 
the course of it that " he had never known more direct or conclusive 
evidence in any case." It would serve no useful purpose to discuss 
the testimony given by the various witnesses called, and I shall dismiss 
the question with this remark — that it was extremely conflicting, and 
there must have existed upon one side or the other very gross perjury. 
Several policemen were called and were examined at great length. 
JVo knife was produced or alluded to on the part of the prosecution. 

The conviction of Pellizzioni produced a great sensation in the 
neighborhood where he resided, and where he bore the character of a 
singularly inoffensive man, and those who have known him entertained 
a very different opinion from Mr. Baron Martin, and a shrewd sus- 
picion, if not a certainty, existed amongst them as to who the culprit 
really was. Doubts were ventilated through the columns of the Daily 
Telegraph, and the proprietors of that journal took a strong personal 
interest in the matter. Mr. Negretti, the well-known optician, who 
was also a countryman of the convict, was indefatigable in his behalf, 
and ultimately the force of public opinion in the neighborhood, and 
the interference of a Catholic priest, induced a man named Gregorio 
Mogni to confess that he was the person who had committed the crime, 
although, as he alleged, in self-defense. 

Mogni was committed and tried at the following sessions of the 
Central Court upon a charge of manslaughter. It fell to the lot of 
Mr. Justice Byles to try the case. This learned judge possessed great 
acuteness, but showed very clearly that he was influenced by the 
strong view previously taken by Mr. Baron Martin. 

I was instructed by the friends of Pellizzioni to prosecute, and 
Mr. Montagu Williams, upon very slight materials, and with very great 
ability, defended. Mogni was convicted, nor can I see how any other 
result could have been arrived at. This, however, brought about a 
very peculiar state of things^ as there were two men now lying in 
Newgate convicted of the same crime. In the one case the judge had 
declared that he had no doubt of Pellizzioni's guilt j in the other Mogni» 
who could not be mistaken, declared that he alone committed the 
crime. Fortunately for the ends of justice, whoever killed Harrington 
also stabbed Rebbeck, and so, to solve the difficulty, the Government 
put Pellizzioni through the ordeal of a trial for this latter offence, and 

138 Philosophy of Insanity. 

Mr. Giffard prosecuted on their behalf, which insured the certainty 
that the evidence would be fully sifted. The case occupied some time, 
I forget how long, and Mogni was called, and adhered to his confes- 
sion. He was cross-examined very rigidly, but in the end the jury 
without hesitation acquitted the prisoner ; and I do not entertain the 
slightest doubt that he was perfectly innocent, and very unpleasantly 
for himself, and at the risk of his neck, illustrated the old lines com- 
mencing " Those who in quarrels interpose." It is, however, very 
seldom that a man who has engaged solely in the endeavor to prevent 
strife has been placed in such jeopardy, and it is worthy of consider- 
ation to what this can fairly be attributed ; I beHeve it arose from the 
haste and impetuosity with which the police first adopted a conclusion 
and afterward adhered to it, although they were well aware of circum- 
stances that strongly militated against its correctness. 

It will be remembered that upon the first trial no weapon was 
produced or alluded to on the part of the prosecution, though it will 
scarcely be credited that the knife with which both injuries were 
inflicted had been for some time before in the hands of the police. 
This fact was not brought before those who conducted the prosecution, 
nor before the jury who tried the case, and it is difficult to find satis- 
factory reasons for this concealment. The knife had been found at 
some distance from the spot where the crime had been committed, and 
could not have been conveyed there by Pellizzioni. It was known 
throughout the neighborhood that it was Mogul's knife, and it is 
difficult to believe that the police alone were ignorant of this fact. 

Upon the subsequent trials it was produced, and identified by 
Mogni, He had^ after stabbing the two men, handed it to a fellow-coun- 
tryman named Cetti, who had thrown it in an out-of-the-way place, 
where it was subsequently found. 

The public house in which the occurrence took place was evidently 
of a very low description, and the witnesses called upon the trial were 
not unlikely to be influenced by the opinion of the police. The police 
had the practical management of the prosecution before it came into 
court ; and I have felt that in calling attention to its remarkable details, 
I am performing a useful duty to society. 

It must be borne in mind that very few in the position of Pellizzioni 
would be likely to receive the aid of a powerful journal, or obtain the 
sympathy and assistance of influential friends. 

Upon the original trial certain death-bed statements made by 
Harrington, when in extremis, were sworn to by a policeman, which 

Crime and Besponsihility . 139 

inculpated the prisoner, and which were said to be taken down by 
another constable. This circumstance doubtless was instrumental in 
obtaining the first verdict, but through the conduct exhibited by these 
witnesses it was entirely discredited by the juries upon the two sub- 
sequent investigations. 

A short time after the acquittal of Pellizzioni I received a visit 
from the Marquis D'Azeglio, the Sardinian Minister, who was instructed 
to convey to me the thanks of his Government for my exertions in the 
case. This was the means of my forming a most agreeable acquaint- 
ance. The Marquis was very popular in English society, and I met 
him occasionally in London, and subsequently at Homburg, where, 
through his introduction, I passed many pleasant hours. 

I understood from him that the services rendered to Pellizzioni in 
this country had been very warmly appreciated in his own. I believe 
that the Marquis died not very long after I had the pleasure of know- 
ing him, and, if so, it must have been in the prime of life. 

It is manifest that in all investigations in criminal matters, the 
police must form a very material element, and the correctness of the 
result must greatly depend upon their truth and accuracy. It is, there- 
fore, most important that those who preside upon such inquiries should 
understand the characteristics of the body, and know something of 
their organizations. I fear that without such knowledge very serious 
mischances, and perhaps fatal ones, are likely to arise. I have had 
constant opportunities, of forming a judgment, and my remarks are 
not founded upon any prejudice against a necessary, and in many 
respects trustworthy, body of men ; but from the conclusions that my 
experience has forced upon me I am obliged to say that the evidence 
given by the police ought to be viewed with a considerable amount of 

Wherever men are associated in a common object, as in their case, 
an esprzf de corps naturally arises, and this not unfrequently colors 
the testimony of individual members. Their duties are extremely try- 
ing, and calculated frequently to cause anger and irritation, feelings 
which almost invariably induce those possessed by them to exaggerate, 
if not to invent. The classes against whom they appear are usually 
without the position that commands consideration, and consequently 
statements made to their prejudice meet with the more ready belief. 

The feeling of sanctity that probably once attached to an oath 
becomes deadened in the minds of those who are taking it every day, 
and an easy manner and composed demeanor are acquired by persons 

140 Philosophy of Insanity. 

constantly in the witness-box. There exists a very bad habit in the 
force of communicating their opinions at the outset of an inquiry, 
thus pledging themselves to views which it is damaging to their saga- 
city to retract. The Pellizzioni case furnishes an example of the evil 
arising from this habit. Everybody knows that " an experienced and 
intelligent officer has, with his accustomed acuteness," secured the 
murderer, etc.; and in this case the police did not like publishing the 
fact that they had committed a flagrant blunder, and so an innocent 
man was very nearly being executed. On the other hand, in many 
cases where constables have discharged their duties in a most exem- 
plary manner, and may have been either disabled or killed, I cannot 
think that their services are sufficiently considered or properly reward- 
ed ; and, as I have said in a former portion of these pages, I do not 
think that nearly sufficient protection is thrown around them by ade- 
quate punishments being meted out to those from whom they have 
been subjected to serious injuries. In the earUer days of their exist- 
tence they were very unpopular, and it was only natural that the 
Executive should use every effort to support them, and magistrates 
were censured occasionally for the views they took in certain cases 
against members of the force. Now, however, I am sure that as 
efficient a control as is possible is exercised by the Commissioners, 
and the magistrates perform their duties without dread of the Home 
Secretary, formerly a feeling not wholly without justification. As far 
as my observation has enabled me to form a judgment, the police pre- 
serve order in the streets with good temper and firmness. 

The preceding reflections are made in no unkind or unfriendly 
spirit, but now especially, when judges who have never been inside a 
criminal court are called upon to preside in trials where the issues 
possibly involve the life of a human being, and where the police per- 
haps are material witnesses, my observations may not be altogether 
out of place or unworthy of consideration. 

I am unable to furnish the date of the following case, in which I 
was engaged on the part of the defendant, a policeman ; it was, how- 
ever, after the trials of which I have in the last chapter given an 
account. In relating the circumstances I shall not express any belief 
as to the truth or falsehood of the charge made, but the view taken by 
the jury justifies me in quoting it as an illustration of some of the 
observations that I have presented to the reader. 

In a certain district in St. John's Wood, shortly before the case I 
am recording, a number of burglaries had occurred, and great indig- 

Crinie and Mesponsibility. 141 

nation had been expressed at the supmeness of the pohce, not unac- 
companied by insinuations of a graver kind. 

Two young men, of perfect respectability, as far as appeared from 
evidence that was adduced, were walking on their way home some- 
what late one night in the neighborhood which had been the scene of 
the burglaries, and, according to their own account, they had done 
nothing that was calculated to excite suspicion, nor had anything upon 
their persons unusual for respectable people to possess. To their 
astonishment they were seized by three poHcemen, and charged with 
attempting to break into a house. 

The three officers declared that they had watched them, and caught 
them in the act, and had actually taken from them the implements of 

It is obvious that, if the young men told the truth, one of the most 
wicked cases of conspiracy ever known had been planned by the police, 
and was carried out by flagrant perjury. 

The accused were discharged, and they, in their turn, prose- 
cuted the three officers at the Central Court. The case stood for trial 
before the Recorder, Mr. Russell Gurney, whose name I have pre- 
viously mentioned, and who, whilst thoroughly impartial, was rather 
inclined to the side of authority than otherwise. 

The charges were for perjury, and it is right that I should mention, 
for the benefit of the general reader, that only one person can be 
included in an indictment for that particular offence. 

This being so, the defendant charged was able to call, and did 
call, his two companions. The case was very ably conducted by Mr. 
Serjeant Sleigh, and he had the advantage, not on such an occasion a 
small one, of a reply. A very clear summing-up followed, and the jury, 
after some deliberation, convicted the accused. 

It will be quite understood that I express no opinion as to the 
correctness or the reverse of this verdict. I thought, however, that it 
was of such very grave importance that I advised that the two remain- 
ing indictments should be removed into the Court of Queen's Bench, 
which was accordingly done, and the sentence upon the person already 
tried was postponed until the result of the further investigations. These 
were not, however, proceeded with, no public prosecutor existing at 
the time, and it is likely that the expense deterred the young men, 
who had sufficiently vindicated their characters, from proceeding any 
further in the matter." 

I have in former chapters taken occasion to refer to the character 

142 Philosophy of Insanity. 

of particular classes of witnesses, to the temptations that exist in some 
matters to falsify facts, and the occasional deliberate manner in which 
this is attempted. And it ought to be remembered that the Crown 
Courts are the arena upon which beginners are launched in the pro- 
fession. Unlike the Civil Court, the judge may not have, and gener- 
ally has notj the assistance of the ablest and most experienced advo- 
cates to take all human care that nothing shall escape notice that 
requires consideration, and therefore much more must necessarily be 
left to his experience and a mind assumed to be practiced. In a civil 
proceeding, however small the stake, he can be corrected if he should 
err, and upon this ground new trials frequently take place. But no 
court of appeal exists to which a fellow-creature condemned to expiate 
a real or supposed crime upon the scaffold has a right to resort for 
correction of erroneous law or a wrong conclusion of fact. 

In the account I have given of a previous case, I have shown the 
imperfect means existing in the hands of the Home Secretary, and 
the mischievous results that occurred from there being no others. 

I wish that my observations should be of service and produce 
inquiry, and this object would not be attained by any exaggeration. 
I am confident of the earnest desire of those who are called upon to 
fulfil their novel duties to accomplish the object, but they cannot by 
intuition jump into the knowledge that is required to do so. 

As I conscientiously believe that the employment of untrained 
men to try grave criminal charges is a great and serious evil, I wish 
to show my entire absence of prejudice by quoting the admission 
from all quarters of the bar of the agreeable manner in which they 
have hitherto presided, but this is only what would be expected of 
highly-educated, kindly gentlemen. And I am by no means sure that 
a barrister likes a judge the less because now and then he lets him 
get a verdict that he has no right to expect. 

I have often :hought over the subject of an appeal in criminal cases 
before it was forced so prominently forward as it now is by the appoint- 
ment of barristers to the bench who have no experience in this class 
of work, and I beUeve no one doubts for a moment the principle, but, 
as I am aware, great and serious difficulties surround the subject, 
and it threatens an inquiry into the whole system of criminal proce- 
dure : and although I have neither the pretension nor ability to be a 
law reformer, my experience may enable me to give some hints not 
altogether useless to those who may be called upon elsewhere to deal 
with this subject. 

Crime and Responsibility. 143 

Let me lay down some axioms which I beh'eve are sound : 

Harshness and over-severity affect seriously the administration of 
justice, by rendering juries unwilling to convict, and acquittals obtained 
through weakness eJicourage the criminal classes in the pier suit of their 

In grave crimes, such as murder, a faihire on one side or the 
other, through want of experience on the part of the judge, is always 
damaging, and may produce shocking consequences. 

A commission composed of very learned men has been engaged 
lately in preparing suggestions for a code of the criminal law; and no 
doubt if such a production could be accomplished, it might materially 
facilitate the administration of justice throughout its different channels. 
I am doubtful, however, notwithstanding the energy and labor of Sir 
James Fitzjames Stej)hen and his associates, whether we shall ever 
see it accomplished. But I think that at very little expense or trouble 
much simplicity might be introduced where it is greatly wanted, and 
that in many instances tolerably accurate definitions might be secured. 
I think, also, that many offences clearly defined might be accurately 
classified, and that each person before his trial might, with advantage, 
be supplied with a statement of his offence in intelligible everyday 
terms. I do not think any real, substantial good can be effected without 
the creation of more judges, and it has occurred tome that this might 
really be made the means of saving, instead of creating, expense, and 
at the same time effecting the much-desired object of a court of appeal. 
I think that members of the new body should sit throughout the year, 
as the police magistrates do — a quorum of them to hear appeals, and 
the others reheving the different jails. I should give the right of appeal 
in all cases, subject to certain hmitations determined by the punish- 
ment inflicted — at all events, to begin with. 

The court of appeal ought to have the power of both diminishing 
and increasing the punishments inflicted by the judges of first instance. 
It would not be called upon to rehear the cases, but decide as is done 
at present by the tribunals who hear motions for new trials in 
civil suits, members of the Criminal Appeal Court being embodied 
with the High Court of Justice, and receiving aid from their brother 
judges. In the above sketch of a plan that has long occurred 
to my mind as being a basis to go upon and in any endeavor to 
amend the present state of things, I should not, of course, interfere 
with the privilege of the Crown to remit sentences, but should give it 

144 PhilosoijJiy of Insanity. 

the assistance now so fatally wanting in coming to a conclusion upon 
substantial grounds. 

The facilities and cheapness with which the metropolis can now 
be reached induce me to think that the ambit of the Central Court 
might be extended with advantage to further distances, and that a 
court upon similar principles might be established in the larger 
towns. There would be no objection to the aldermen still pursuing 
the duties that they now so innocently perform, but elective judges 
ought summarily to be aboHshed. 

I wish also that our legislators would give their attention to the 
question whether a system of transportation could not be estabUshed. 
I am confident, as I have said already, that it is the most preventive 
punishment (unless death is excepted) that has been inflicted in 
modern times, and I look upon convict prisons and the system pur- 
sued in them with great misgivings. The inmates appear to me to 
have a sodden appearance, and there is a painful similarity in their 
faces to those whom a visitor will see grouped in lunatic asylums. I 
beheve that with no small proportion of the criminal class the hope 
of their being reformed is utterly contradicted by experience, and yet 
the idea of imprisonment for life is repugnant to our feelings, and in 
many instances would be unjust. How can society be benefited by the 
convict of some four or five years being handed back to his old asso- 
ciates ? Even if he have the desire to reform^ he has overiuhelming 
temptation to follow his old courses. 

Society, too, gives him no aid in an honest endeavor. Where is 
the householder who will, knowingly, take the released felon into his 
establishment ? And, therefore, if he succeed in obtaining any em- 
ployment, he must do so by concealment, really amounting to a fraud 
upon the employer — a bad beginning for an honest service. And there 
are the eyes of two sections of mankind constantly upon him — his 
former accomplices, and his more recent, but not less dangerous, 
acquaintances, the police." 

Crime and Responsibility. 145 


I have read my manuscript over for the last time, before placing 
it in the hands of the printer, and I am not satisfied with it. I find I 
have not said all I have to say, and that what I have said could very 
easily have been better said ; yet I am determined to let it stand, for 
if I once began to alter and change there would be no end of it, and 
probably I would only make it worse instead of better. I am afraid 
Dr. Bucknell, if he considers it worth his notice at all, will say my 
facts are thrown together " like a heap of stones." Well, I had some- 
thing to say, or I thought I had, and I had to say it in my own way, 
certainly not elegant or stylish, nor yet sentimental, but I lay claim to 
truthfulness, and to having done my best ; moreover, I have not " set 
down aught in malice," nor have I presumed to try and raise the veil 
between the natural and supernatural ; I have confined my investiga- 
tions to the natural order. To me science is one thing, my faith is 
another. I am very much indebted to a large number of my friends 
for assistance rendered me, amongst whom are John Reade, Esq.^ 
Doctors F. W. Campbell, R. P. Howard, C. A. Wood, Geo. Ross, 
Angus C. Macdonald, A. H. David, W. de M. Marler, Esq., and 
the very learned Dr. T. Sterry Hunt, of Montreal, also to Dr. J. G. 
Kiernan, of Chicago ; and Dr. Workman, of Toronto ; to these 
last six named gentlemen my thanks are more particularly due as 
they have in various ways rendered me such valuable assistance, and 
given me, from time to time, such useful information, that I feel I 
owe to each and all of them a debt that I never can repay except by 

To those gentlemen, judicial, legal and medical, who differed 
from me in the views I held of the mental state of Bulmer and the 
unfortunate Hay vern, I beg to assure them of my highest respect and 
esteem ; and if during the heat of discussion I made use of one 
word that caused any of them annoyance, I did so unintentionally, 
and ask to be permitted to withdraw that word.