10 OCTOBER 1840, Page 19


ORGAN IZATION ,kNi) S01.1.1L liEszPONSIIIILITY. sn4,1, n tlerimreinent front tit ii mnal moat .,f (le:: ,,:. -:, LETTER I.

Sr —anions the subjects ohielt have of late been forced np.in tile illliiii. Tile lir:WI:int IX :'_:il. NV It! I ',■1 El.1.1,,: wet:'.,'. ; attell I 11,11, that of Crimin 1 .litrisprudenco leis been the most conspicuous. 'FL, ., moo who has during his IvIn.: fi:i: been a nieli! e. want of a well-drlined and farolamental principle with regard to the treatment I exhibit an uncontrollable pre; :. it, 1.,n: thi...v1,:, of erinlinals is generally felt and admitted ; ,mid conflicting theories are every- of in=anily : le.tt that it a in .: :- ::.i.,1 where promulgated on the subject. The inti.otioni of Nature, however, are pensity fr, el :',... Il"-' •.:-• always simple, and lei ve only to he clearly stated to be tinders.; mei ; and as the contrary. b. c: e

theories hitherto pa;poundeil in relation to ;Is; teoatinent of criminals hate In ••.:.• I ,

almost all of them hi turn found advoc•ats.s e...; .e...t the most eminent men, of in Il. lvholii not any ttvo tIg1703 upon the matter. s - t se::: suspicion may reasonable . duty- . . be entertained, that amongst all the disco: ,I .. : -.L...ielas referred to, we shall pun: ' : t .:I attempt in rain to lied the trite one.

I propose, through the mediums of your columns, hi a series of half-a-dozen ,e...:::..:11,- ma - •- letters, to draw the attention of your 1.4.7a:1Ci7S 10 this important solject, and pair ::. :Le; o... to attempt to lay down some geneval prineioles in relation to it. In doing : ter.d, this, it will be ncees9.ity that I should ewer into a consideration of the mental distil . I: ...

organization of man in connexion with tile subjoct of Social Responsibility; who e s into . . and regarding the letter point, I shall be eble to show, by some import ant pite. : /bet l.

facts, the urgent rieees.sity which exists tier It ceeciee dr tinition of its nature rune .- and lannots, 1 :1:n11 then sugges.t a new view dr its mature, of a wider act es . re- ek:rat:ter than that whi,di at pre....nt o'■t;:i.os: and I tape to enfivince your 1.1r..A.,..,.:. readers that a system of evil:died treatment eley; be based upon it, Ii! neii, isliile takes a N i4.. ..:l..

it is unchangeable in its principles and cer:alli in its erects, xvill also harmo- been adonted I. s': r

the formation nil slate of health of its inaterial io:;runient the brain ; and that It i - all deranyeinentr; or this : 1.,:alt ,,,,,,.,,,, fro:0 , ii,..,,..5 ,:.11..11,,,..,ns to tla,:e ,sl,:elt pro • ot:.:'• duce ch.raiTettn.ilt of any oi!..... or ;;:n .r.' 0711' 1.1.:..,:t '..1 frame. 'Ile qin.,,i,,ii Illen th, ,,, arises, wily do ire Oct treat, irresidarities of the mind in the same way as N.'0 SIII I,. - treat all other idly rde 11 disl,rdors, viz. by confining ourselves solely: to au :it- ot t, --

tempt to eure I lie pi t ient ;

and why do ,re t:ip, „r p„„ish.,„,,„t „lieu, „.„, al, L. -, coli,illebi"ll: a ca,-Y of morbid actioe of the 1.,...dii. :env more th:m tvl..:11 we are I". :i

considering a case of morbid action of the lsart, the longs, or any other oreein ? bids:: '

Verollv enterftined regarding the social r..,141....,..ihility of man. all tending to any •

the hellef :hat 1 litre exists a middle ground. not to be doubted. vet never to be

defined, where resprosibilitv ends and irresponsibility begins. '1'restimptuous

mind and body were heallthlblly constituted and harmoniously developal, we should then behold a being wlei would realizo, humanly spoaking, our idi :is o:

and experience ;dike t;ontirlit ; lint some epptieich more nearly to it than others; caul: .-:-.:, bleat the se.... perfection. 'flat all ;nen fall far short of this standard, is a truth which religion ,kt' . • : to itr. s .

and the question that we have to consider in estimating lice qualities of our thior.eli it is e.;17' : ..• V..: ! . tellOW 1111.11, is IIIIt ..h..ther :HIV 0110 eXi,t,.. W110.9,0 mind and body are tints per- is co:A:med. 1 i.e.: e. : type which we have ,,,,,p0,:,.•.l. The tendency to evil, which, nitre or less, is . In the li ;.- ' ness of mind can consist. False impressions, nugovernable desires, deficiencies geneity. : of ititellect or feeling—in short, all that males up the sum of human errors— arises from an unbalanced action of the various fiteulties of the mind : and to '112:2 of a The l'ictcrial IIistory ty• Palestine, Part XIV. in 011 cases transmitted in an imperfect and unhealthy state; and the subsc- The Pictorial History of Enyhool, Part X LIV. (rent effect of defective pits:sic:II education and accidents ageravates the pre- The Pictorial Edition of ShakSpere, Part X X1V.—King 110111•) VIII. disposition to morbid action which was thus orieinally e.stal ;:.lied. If a child Part X X V.--Introduction to Histories. Vol. II. is born with au ire, Or,r1Illiz-iti.r. of brain, (and to say 1;, .: . \ ,ry child is f2llain's Series of Anatomical I'lates, Five:m11as L XX XIV. born thus, is merely to ;tree that none arc barn perfect,) ie, i soles iato the .1Leads of die l'enple. New Series. Nos. XI., XII., and XIII. tvoilil to the extent of flea iris gal bitty insane ; aid as by til.-, so, tit educe- Sibson's Illustrations of :Vaster .11-oniphrey.s Clock, N0.1". tion that irregularity may be reduced or increased, so will 1",:s ins: pity he lkath's li'arerley Galleq, Part VII. I am aware that one of the most stiecessful and philosopl.i.• 2 i, :.. : ' ours of Le Reux's -11i.morials ql 0(1111,1411ge, No. VII. the presetteday, Shy WILLIAM E141.1^, in treating of ins.y. '.7:, . 1:1'. • at the conclusion, that, " independently of cases of idiocy, hides:dirs.. , is's:rieity, 1111d 11101,11 evil, man is ,I1110 while tLe manifestation of his inind, hi, ,i,i.liments, to the latest (late. liy :t ltesitlent in China. passions, and ,i.,,eiteral conduct continue either to improve or to h....p ii.:::;.o..c.sotrild: MKT with the exhibition of his previous powers and lir'•:: , -; I. :• is .: , ■1:illeUlt !,, cools law of hereilitary transmission, and says, " As we 11111 that C1.1 Parliamentary Debate on a Resolution for the admission of' Ladies to the their parents in conformation of the body, in feature. and ,,, ': :,::::::. that cond edition.

there should be a like resemblance in the structure ..:' t i. • ' I:: t here-

• - fore, the possible transmission Of a defective form of loci!: eau We in fairneis limit the plea of insanity to the ,i. ':.:j1..1';.irthisto‘aav J'ar,:a vs' ini;.robos t,ereert■ p. wt, aiAi pr,,..vs (Skins disr;pung, deree;ive tthz;iioll edannit (Th...., tu which, ,..:. . .....::ru:inao-t.

lion, they love exhibilvd. an hivari.ille tendon y. :.11.: ;or tl,...

which they certainly cannot be considered responsible to a gre .■ ,. than

. . :::;I:ti;

II is mow aelniowledireil as an unquesti000lde truth, that all the manlibsta- of i.- r . . ::a se

. .

...:',1,:i?'s .' „t is ' , :::: lL,I.Yr t


The differenee hes tiriseti from the confased no;:oles which have been uni- ono:, - .ssor of : '''13111';



• • the ;..

-t. and 1: is the -;..ak of neees- i. hag ;:a- :11 a the esan of his father. Respecting this mall, Dr. enAwrortn, Substitute Physician at the Asylum, made the following remarks. "Ire never was different from what he now is; he has never evinced the slightest mental incoherence on any one point, nor any kind of hallucination. It is one of those cases where there is great difficulty in drawing the line between extreme moral depravity and insanity, and in deciding at what point an individual should cease to be considered as a responsible moral agent, and amenable to the laws. The governors and medical gentlemen of the Asylum have often had doubts whether they were justified keeping him as a lunatic, thinking him a more fit subject for a bridewell. He appears, however, so totally callous with regard to every moral principle and feeling, so thoroughly unconscious of ever having dune any thing wrong, so completely destitute at all sense of shame or remorse when reproved fin' his vices or crimes, and has proved himself so utterly incorrigible throughout life, that it is almost certain that any jury before whom he might be brought, would satisfy their doubts by returning him insane, which in such a case is the most humane Hue to pursue. He was dismissed several times from the Asylum, and sent there for the last time for attempting to poison his father; and it se:Ans fit he should be kept there for life as a moral lunatic : but there has never been the least symptom of diseased action of the brain, which is the general con- comitant of what is listd!y understood as insanity. This, 1 censider, might with propriety be made the foundation for a division of lunatics into two great classes,—those who were insane from original constitution, and never were otherwise ; and those who have been insane at sonic period of life from diseased action of the brain, either permanent or intermittent." In coming to the conclusion that au affection or disease of any kind exists in one of the internal organs of the body, our only means of judging arises from the observation that the functions which we have been accustomed to attribute 0 that organ, are not efficiently conducted. We know, for instance, that it is the function of the liver to secrete bile; and when we perceive from external signs that this function is irregularly performed, we do not hesi- tate to infer that there must at least be diseased action going on in that organ. We also know that it is the function of a healthy brain (it must not lie forgot- ten that rill the inanifestatioes of the mind are dependent on the brain as its instrument) to guide its possessor to at least an average fulfilment of all the duties of life : that it is not, for example, the function of a healthy brain, (and by a healthy brain I mean one of average form and quality,) to be the instrument of pleasurable emotions at the centsmplation of murder, fraud, or rapine, as was the brain of the subject of the foregoing case. Hence, when a desire for these acts becomes a ruling feature of the mind, to the almost total suppression of its higher powers., we should—h in forming a judgment of derangement of the brain we were to follow the same course as we now pursue in judging of the derangement ul any other organ—infer, from the irregularity that is visible in outward signs, that some wrong action is going on in the organ itself.

One great source of error in considering the proper treatment of criminals, Las arisen from the fallacious opinion that insanity k limited to the operations of intellect No ; and that if no hallucination of the reaian can be proved to have existed, the criminal could have been impelled by no impulse but such as Lis will might hare restrained; and that his intellect being in an average state with the intellects of his fellow men, he might have resisted the temptation to crime with as much ease as any other person. Now, however, that it known that the operation of the feelings and passions, which alone furnish motives to the intellect, depend upon the physical system rte less than the understanding, our views in this rsspset must undergo alteration. \lr. S. B. WoonwAno, the Superintendent of the State Lunatic Asylum of Massachusetts, in a Report dated December le, 3;, has the following remarks- " Is it not well known that the rassioas and propensities are even more aMetcd by disease than the mental powers? Is it unphilesophie,i1 or irrational to supi,oie that these f„..itia Can he StibjCe. to 8itch impairment as to be beyond the control of the reasoning powers and the judgment s "

And again-

" Besides this dis_ase of the moral powers, there seems to be in some cases something like aurae. IDIOCY, or such an lints:tile state of the moral faculties from birth, as to make the individual irresponsil;I.: fir hi: moral conduct. The persons to whom 1 allude have rarely In tich v•ii.miu! of wind, although they are by no means idiots in understauding,. Or the lank that have come under toy care, there have Leeu some whose minds are very imbecile, who seem to have considerably correct views of moral ohli-ation, and whose moral powers are susceptible of culture. There are others, who, havicg nitwit better powers of understanding, are captd,le of learning to read and of understanding what they read, vet seem to have little or no moral sense.

"There is ,dio what I dein/nth:ate INSANE IMPULSE; which is an uncontrol- lable propen,ity, a t tiat,itory as it is sudden, by which an act is committed without one mmacalfs refiectimi or tueunditation, the individual being some- times perfectly comcinus of what he is dohig, and !a:m.4;111er; apparently not at all co. The mind in such it ev-e tray Le imder the of a dela:Inn, „r it may not : even when it exists, the yelp-its: de; s out :tlways impel to the used of outrage; nor 1,:, it in eases, as liar a: tau L.: di covered, any connexion with it itt the tohnl," When a man conaalls a (rime, it is the custom to exela:m that 0 he ought to have known Letter." Now, if I.! was from natue•:I tl.•licitmey of the reasuoitlg or moral power: tumble to p recite that he we- date; a.ruug, it cannot be dis- puted aut he was cosmual or partially idimi.• mind. If, on the other baud, c did po-:e=s the power to perceive the right coon- foul yet was unable to act up to his convicti.m, it is evident that he posse-. •i a ! rain of such an hug:dim formatint that the hi;Ja r me;ital powers bore no :...t t-Lo ion to the lower

properetities e. i their d!,ty to control ; alt .t r, ben :nu:1,A

by the pre-clams! Heir ova Aitettibitos-s•-.,1 .1: proportionate as completely ts . pse sr the 1iiruIero .La'r, commiLi tt

crime, lie wid . •• 01,111 not II. :;1 ■■■• Ile• Devil e. the cerebral organ . prope:,:ity) ii; ; too .a..110- for him. merit, in fmt, tt. h, 111111a Inqihary eirento-tance,, to I t•arlt him

the erroneous tr: - tat it ,Itorg lo prevent his falling, when ! l fo ;:i --pi up,: ...ma:, action, be- came suddenly ■ ,m1, mem, th... mental balance is coml.' ..,1 Le Sr. (L. Under tl•ese vin !le• "re r Me% nfiachts to the of Lis conduet slo.• ;older the maratioo ot the Ifimi'.c DNA ceriMoly shared by ti,: g too ignorant to et,tithate natnt.l. of hi tutu nail r, buffered / h o /1171.(701 in .11,1,;r1 01. (1, ueuoriog to Term,. -a the a • -I the overt-ohm! propensit witldie!;lim• the: objects of

teroptatioo, am. • 1,-Ifit.g to I.: t higher but hitherto itegleeted power,t.

(lime !IMO, at hortlii ocher be forgotttli by thoze who 171/11111,11111 Lim; and that ;-, I. • .!at birth the y hail received a brain or it gustily and formation to 1:. t %%Lich the unfortunate criminal received at his birth,

they w.sibl, ,..•■■ subsequmitly sarr000ded by the -ame external in-

fluents ., h 7 7 in a t•iolilmr manlier. It is v:11 to say that he may 1 • - • ..t 1111011 IliflIsIlf; by pit iii way to tempta- difference of conduct between the two boys arises solely from the difference of their cerebral organization as transmitted to them at birth. if the two boys could have changed heads, the conduct of each would have been reversed. lie, therefore, who pursues the upright course, has no cause for self-pride and no claitn for reward, since Ile reaps his reward in the innate sensations of pleasure which such a course alone can generate ; and he has no cause for pride, because had he been originally similarly circumstanced in all respects whin his less for- tunate companion, he would then have fallen into a similar fate. In the writings of JEREN1Y TAYLOR, of whom it has been truly remarked, that his in- fluence and authority in the Church, whether for power and spleudour of mind, orthodoxy of belief, or sanctity of deportment, hate never been surpassed, I find the following passage—" if a man be exalted by reason of any excellence in his soul, he may please to remember that all souls are equal ; and their dif- fering operations are because their instrument is its better tune and their body is more healthful or better tempered ; which is no more praise to him than it is that lie was born in Italy." On the other hand, if his course entitles him to no reward in this world beyond the natural one of the inevitable happiness of mind which !leaven has decreed to lie the consequence of its physical health, so it is but fair to allow that the opposite course can merit no punishment beyond the inevitable pain which Heaven has decreed to be (lie consequence of its phy- sical derangement. if the argument is good for any things it must tell both ways with equal force. In any next communication, I shall give several further illustrations of the fait. that the manifestation of the moral powers and the propensities depends on the formation and state of health of their material instruments in the brain; and I shall call the attention of your readers to the contradictory ideas and la- mentable results which have arisen from the want of a due consideration oh' this point, in the tteatment of cilium:11$ and in the consideration of time great ques- tion asocial responsibility.

I am, &c.

ChOuttn X:10 Park,Vith September ISO. M. B. S.