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Title: The Criminal
Author: Ellis, Havelock, 1859-1939
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Criminal" ***

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_By the same Author._



[Illustration: _Frontispiece._]




  743 & 745 BROADWAY,


  CHAPTER I.                                               PAGE
    INTRODUCTION                                              1

    THE STUDY OF THE CRIMINAL                                26

      § 2. THE FACE                                          63
      § 3. ANOMALIES OF THE HAIR                             72
      § 4. CRIMINAL PHYSIOGNOMY                              78
      § 5. THE BODY AND VISCERA                              88
      § 6. HEREDITY                                          90
      § 7. TATTOOING                                        102
      § 8. MOTOR ACTIVITY                                   108
      § 9. PHYSICAL SENSIBILITY                             112

      § 1. MORAL INSENSIBILITY                              124
      § 2. INTELLIGENCE                                     133
      § 3. VANITY                                           139
      § 4. EMOTIONAL INSTABILITY                            142
      § 5. SENTIMENT                                        152
      § 6. RELIGION                                         156
      § 7. THIEVES’ SLANG                                   161
      § 8. PRISON INSCRIPTIONS                              169
      § 9. CRIMINAL LITERATURE AND ART                      176
      § 10. CRIMINAL PHILOSOPHY                             193


    THE TREATMENT OF THE CRIMINAL                           233

    CONCLUSIONS                                             283

    A. EXPLANATION OF PLATES                                303
    D. SOME CASES OF CRIMINALITY                            318
    E. ELMIRA                                               329

  INDEX                                                     335


This little book is an attempt to present to the English reader a critical
summary of the results of the science now commonly called criminal
anthropology. In other words, it deals briefly with the problems connected
with the criminal as he is in himself and as he becomes in contact with
society; it also tries to indicate some of the practical social bearings
of such studies.

During the last fifteen years these studies have been carried on with
great activity. It seemed, therefore, that the time had come for a short
and comprehensive review of their present condition. Such a review of a
young and rapidly growing science cannot be expected to reveal any final
conclusions; yet by bringing together very various material from many
lands, it serves to show us how we stand, to indicate the progress already
made, and the nature of the path ahead. In these matters we in England
have of recent years fallen far behind; no book, scarcely a solitary
magazine article, dealing with this matter has appeared among us. It
seemed worth while to arouse interest in problems which are of personal
concern to every citizen, problems which are indeed the concern of every
person who cares about the reasonable organisation of social life.

I would willingly have given the task to abler hands. But I found no one
in England who was acquainted with the present aspects of these questions,
and was compelled, therefore, after considerable hesitation, to undertake
a task which had long appealed to me from various sides, medical,
anthropological, and social.

There is, I believe, nothing original in this book. It simply represents a
very large body of intelligent opinion in many countries. I have to
acknowledge with gratitude the assistance, always ungrudgingly rendered,
which I have received from very many directions. I would specially mention
those medical officers of prisons in Great Britain who answered my
Questions issued at the beginning of 1889, Dr. Hamilton Wey of the Elmira
Reformatory, Dr. Vans Clark, formerly Governor of Woking Prison, Professor
Lombroso of Turin, Dr. Antonio Marro, the Rev. J. W. Horsley, Dr. Langdon
Down, Dr. Hack Tuke, Dr. Francis Warner, etc. It would, however, be
impossible to enumerate all those to whom I am indebted. In such a task as
this the writer himself has the smallest part; the chief shares belong to
an innumerable company of workers, known and unknown.

H. E.




Of criminals, actual or nominal, there are many kinds. It is necessary,
first of all, to enumerate the chief varieties.

There is the _political criminal_. By this term is meant the victim of an
attempt by a more or less despotic Government to preserve its own
stability. The word “criminal” in this expression is usually a euphemism
to express the suppression of a small minority by the majority. The aims
of the “political criminal” may be anti-social, and in that case he is
simply an ordinary criminal, but he is not necessarily guilty of any
anti-social offence; he simply tries to overturn a certain political order
which may itself be anti-social. Consequently the “political criminal” of
our time or place may be the hero, martyr, saint, of another land or age.
The political criminal is, as Lombroso calls him, “the true precursor of
the progressive movement of humanity;” or, as Benedikt calls him, the
_homo nobilis_ of whom the highest type is Christ. From any scientific
point of view the use of the word crime, to express a difference of
national feeling or of political opinion, is an abuse of language. Such a
conception may be necessary to ensure the supremacy of a Government, just
as the conception of heresy is necessary to ensure the supremacy of a
Church; the prison for political dissentients corresponds to the stake for
religious dissentients. A criminality which is regulated partly by
chronology, partly by longitude, does not easily admit of scientific

We have, again, the _criminal by passion_. He is usually a man of
wholesome birth and of honest life, possessed of keen, even exaggerated
sensibilities, who, under the stress of some great, unmerited wrong, has
wrought justice for himself. Stung to sudden madness by some gross insult
to his wife or wrong to his daughter, he makes an attempt on the life of
the offender. The criminal by passion never becomes a recidivist; it is
the social, not the anti-social, instincts that are strong within him; his
crime is a solitary event in his life. Therefore he cannot figure as a
serious danger to society; in some respects he serves even to quicken the
social conscience and to check anti-social instincts. At the same time it
is not to the advantage of society that a private individual should in a
moment of passion even wreak justice; and the criminal by passion cannot
complain that he in his turn becomes the victim of a social reaction.

We have also the _insane criminal_; that is to say, the person who, being
already in a condition of recognisable mental alienation, performs some
flagrantly anti-social act. A very large number of crimes are committed by
persons who are impelled by delusions, or who have, before the commission
of the crime, been in a condition of mental alienation. Nearly a hundred
persons every year in this country are sent to prison to be found insane
on admission. The hanging of persons who are afterwards generally regarded
as insane has always, and is still, frequently carried on. In Germany Dr.
Richter has shown that out of 144 lunatics who were, as was afterwards
shown, at the date of their crimes in the highest degree insane, only 38
were recognised as insane before the judge--_i.e._, 106 madmen were, on
account of their madness, condemned to severe punishment. Out of 100
insane persons brought to the bar of justice only 26 to 28 are recognised
as insane.[1] The insane criminal is clearly in a category of his own. He
is only a criminal in the same sense as an infant or an animal who
performs some noxious act. The lunatic may be influenced by the same
motives that influence the sane person, but he is at the same time
impelled by other motives peculiar to himself, and to which we may have no
means of access. To bring all the solemn formalities of law to bear
against a madman, and to condemn him to severe punishment, is in a
civilised country unreasonable.

The political criminal may usually be recognised without difficulty when
we lay aside political prejudice; the criminal by passion can be
recognised at once when we know his history. There is not usually much
difficulty in ascertaining the insanity of the criminal who is insane in
the strict and perhaps the only legitimate sense of the word--_i.e._,
intellectually insane. But at this point we are no longer able to proceed
with quite the same clearness and certainty. We are approaching the
criminal in the proper sense, the criminal with whom we shall be chiefly

The uncertainty on this borderland may be illustrated by the following
case. W. T. is a boy of fifteen, a very small ugly-looking lad, with a
small head, low in the forehead, larger in the back, high narrow palate,
heavy sullen aspect, and slight external squint of left eye. His father
and mother are healthy and sober people; one of the father’s uncles died
in an asylum, and one of his aunts committed suicide. The boy had
convulsions at the age of eighteen months, and was very backward in
walking and speaking; at the age of twelve he could not dress himself. At
school he was very dull, apt to strike his companions if roused, solitary,
fond of reading, but not remembering what he had read. His schoolmaster,
an experienced teacher, had never known so peculiar a boy. But he was not
a bad or untruthful lad, and had no vices. When he left school his father
tried to teach him his own trade of shoemaking; but, though he had no
special distaste for the work, he could not learn even the most elementary
part of the trade. Other boys made fun of him, and he complained of his
little sister, ten years of age, doing the same. One day, when he had been
left quietly sitting alone with this sister, he took up his father’s
hammer, which was at his feet, and struck her, smashing in her skull. Then
he locked the back door, as he always did on leaving home, and went out,
closing the front door after him. He returned in an hour, wet from the
rain which had begun to fall. He was taken to prison, and from the first
displayed no emotion; he ate and slept well, and was a good, docile boy.
The judge who tried him (Lord Coleridge) was evidently in favour of a
verdict of manslaughter. The jury fell in with this suggestion, although
the authority of Dr. Savage was in favour of insanity, and the boy was
condemned to ten years’ penal servitude.[2] Such a case shows very well
the inaccuracy of our hard and fast lines of demarcation. Here was a
person clearly of abnormal or degenerate character, and liable to sudden
violent impulses; he would nowhere be popularly recognised as insane, and
possibly it is not desirable that he should be so recognised. On the other
hand, he cannot correctly be termed an instinctive criminal; he is on the
borderland between the two groups, and a touch may send him in either

Let us take another illustration. Miss B., nineteen years of age, the
daughter of a captain in the army, is described as a tall robust-looking
girl of lively temperament. When a few months old she had an attack of
meningitis. As a child she was always wilful and troublesome. When she was
eighteen years old she developed new instincts of mischief. She would
sometimes take off her clothes, stuff them up the chimney, and set fire to
them. When the servants rushed in she would be sitting on the hearth
clapping her hands: “What a fine blaze!” She had frequently destroyed
furniture, clothing, and books; she liked to cut carefully the strings
binding a book, so that it would fall to pieces in the hands of the
unsuspecting person who took it up. She drenched a baby, and frequently
her own room, with water, without any reason. She once attempted to
throttle the attendant in whose care she was put. She was backward for her
age, though her education had not been neglected; she could not keep
accounts, and was fond of reading children’s books. There was a history of
bad sexual habits, and she had a propensity to fall in love with every man
she saw. She was perfectly coherent and rational, and accused others of
doing the mischievous acts attributed to her. After being sent to a
clergyman’s house for some months she eventually recovered.[3] Here there
was, strictly speaking, no insanity; there were vicious and criminal
instincts which would no doubt have developed had the girl been sent to
prison instead of to a comfortable home, and there was (as there very
frequently is among instinctive criminals) a history of brain mischief.
How shall we classify her?

Let us take another example--this time from France--in which the
pathological element does not clearly appear. A gentleman named X., the
French paper informs us, has been passing the summer at his country house
with his daughter, aged twenty-two, and his son, aged twenty. From the
moment of his arrival devastations occurred everywhere on his property.
The shrubs were cut; garden plants and large branches of the birch trees
removed; the doors and walls of the house were soiled. The grounds and
dwellings of other persons in the neighbourhood were similarly treated.
Windows were broken; the emblems of religion were outrageously insulted;
the walls and doors of the church, the priest’s house, and even the altar,
were soiled with ordure. A drawing of the priest administering the
sacrament to a cow was found on the walls, and obscene letters,
containing also menaces of death and incendiarism, were received by M. X.,
the priest, and others. Terror overspread the parish, and no one dared to
go out by night. At last M. X.’s son and daughter were discovered in the
act. Alexis, the least guilty, having been drawn on by his sister,
confessed his part in what had been done; he was the accomplice and
confidant of his sister. She denied everything, even that she had aided
her brother. There was no motive for these acts, save the pleasure of
spreading terror through the country; they had had no intention of
accomplishing their threats. The girl carried her impudence and imprudence
so far as to send an insulting letter to the magistrate who was
investigating her misdeeds, and to break windows, unperceived, in his
presence.[4] This is an example of moral perversity, showing itself in
malevolent and unsocial acts. Possibly, if we possessed a scientific
history of the case, we might find a pathological element in it, but as it
stands it is but an extravagant example of anti-social instincts, on the
borderland of crime, which in a minor degree are far from uncommon.

I will now give, in some detail, the history of a more decisive and
significant example of this same moral insensibility. It is in a child,
and I take it from German records. Marie Schneider, a school-girl, twelve
years of age, was brought before the Berlin Criminal Court in 1886. She
was well developed for her age, of ordinary facial expression, not pretty,
nor yet ugly. Her head was round, the forehead receding slightly, the nose
rather small, the eyes brown and lively, the smooth, rather fair hair
combed back. With an intellectual clearness and precision very remarkable
for her age, she answered all the searching questions put by the President
of the Court without hesitation or shrinking. There was not the slightest
trace of any inner emotion or deep excitement. She spoke in the same quiet
equable tone in which a school-girl speaks to her teacher or repeats her
lesson. And when the questions put to her became of so serious a character
that the judge himself involuntarily altered his voice and tone, the
little girl still remained self-possessed, lucid, childlike. She was by no
means bold, but she knew that she had to answer as when her teacher spoke
to her, and what she said bore the impress of perfect truth, and agreed at
every point with the evidence already placed before the court. Her
statement was substantially as follows:--“My name is Marie Schneider. I
was born on the 1st of May 1874, in Berlin. My father died long ago, I do
not know when; I never knew him. My mother is still living; she is a
machinist. I also have a younger brother. I lost a sister a year ago. I
did not much like her, because she was better than I, and my mother
treated her better. My mother has several times whipped me for
naughtiness, and it is right that I should take away the stick with which
she beat me, and to beat her. I have gone to school since I was six years
old. I have been in the third class for two years. I stayed there from
idleness. I have been taught reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and
history, and also religion. I know the ten commandments. I know the sixth:
it is, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ I have some playfellows at school and in the
neighbourhood, and I am often with a young lady [believed to be of immoral
life] who is twenty years old and lives in the same house. She has told
me about her childhood, and that she was just as naughty as I am, and that
she struck the teacher who was going to punish her. Some time ago, in
playing in the yard, I came behind a child, held his eyes, and asked him
who I was. I pressed my thumbs deep in his eyes, so that he cried out and
had inflamed eyes. I knew that I hurt him, and, in spite of his crying, I
did not let go until I was made to. It did not give me special pleasure,
but I have not felt sorry. When I was a little child I have stuck forks in
the eyes of rabbits, and afterwards slit open the belly. At least so my
mother has often said; I do not remember it. I know that Conrad murdered
his wife and children, and that his head was cut off. I have heard my aunt
read the newspapers. I am very fond of sweets, and have several times
tried to get money to buy myself sweets. I told people the money was for
some one else who had no small change. I know that that was deceit. I know
too what theft is. Any one who kills is a murderer, and I am a murderess.
Murder is punished with death; the murderer is executed; his head is cut
off. My head will not be cut off, because I am still too young. On the 7th
of July my mother sent me on an errand. Then I met little Margarete
Dietrich, who was three and a half years old, and whom I had known since
March. I said to her that she must come with me, and I took her hand. I
wanted to take away her ear-rings. They were little gold ear-rings with a
coloured stone. I did not want the ear-rings for myself, but to sell at a
second-hand shop in the neighbourhood, to get money to buy some cakes.
When I reached the yard I wanted to go somewhere, and I called to my
mother to throw me down the key. She did so, and threw me down some money
too, for the errand that I was to go on. I left little Margarete on the
stairs, and there I found her again. From the yard I saw that the
second-floor window was half open. I went with her up the stairs to the
second floor to take away the ear-rings, and then to throw her out of the
window. I wanted to kill her, because I was afraid that she would betray
me. She could not talk very well, but she could point to me; and if it
came out, my mother would have beaten me. I went with her to the window,
opened it wide, and set her on the ledge. Then I heard some one coming
down. I quickly put the child on the ground and shut the window. The man
went by without noticing us. Then I opened the window and put the child on
the ledge, with her feet hanging out, and her face turned away from me. I
did that because I did not want to look in her face, and because I could
push her easier. I pulled the ear-rings out. Grete began to cry because I
hurt her. When I threatened to throw her out of the window she became
quiet. I took the ear-rings and put them in my pocket. Then I gave the
child a shove, and heard her strike the lamp and then the pavement. Then I
quickly ran downstairs to go on the errand my mother had sent me. I knew
that I should kill the child. I did not reflect that little Grete’s
parents would be sorry. It did not hurt me; I was not sorry; I was not
sorry all the time I was in prison; I am not sorry now. The next day a
policeman came to us and asked if I had thrown the child out of the
window. I said no, I knew nothing about it. Then I threw away the
ear-rings that I had kept hid; I was afraid they would search my pockets
and find them. Then there came another policeman, and I told him the
truth, because he said he would box my ears if I did not tell the truth.
Then I was taken away, and had to tell people how it happened. I was taken
in a cab to the mortuary. I ate a piece of bread they gave me with a good
appetite. I saw little Grete’s body, undressed, on a bed. I did not feel
any pain and was not sorry. They put me with four women, and I told them
the story. I laughed while I was telling it because they asked me such
curious questions. I wrote to my mother from prison, and asked her to send
me some money to buy some dripping, for we had dry bread.” That was what
little Marie Schneider told the judge, without either hesitation or
impudence, in a completely childlike manner, like a school-girl at
examination; and she seemed to find a certain satisfaction in being able
to answer long questions so nicely. Only once her eyes gleamed, and that
was when she told how in the prison they had given her dry bread to eat.
The medical officer of the prison, who had watched her carefully, declared
that he could find nothing intellectually wrong in her. She was
intelligent beyond her years, but had no sense of what she had done, and
was morally an idiot. And this was the opinion of the other medical men
who were called to examine her. The Court, bearing in mind that she was
perfectly able to understand the nature of the action she had committed,
condemned Marie Schneider to imprisonment for eight years. The question of
heredity was not raised. Nothing is known of the father except that he is

Marie Schneider differs from the previous cases, not merely by her
apparent freedom from pathological elements, but by her rational motives
and her intelligence. The young French woman intended nothing very serious
by her brutal and unfeeling practical jokes. Marie Schneider was as
thorough and as relentless in the satisfaction of her personal desires as
the Marquise de Brinvilliers. But she was a child, and she would very
generally be described as an example of “moral insanity.” It is still
necessary to take a further step, although a very slight one, to reach
what every one would be willing to accept as an instinctive criminal. The
example I will select is an Englishman, Thomas Wainewright, well known in
his time as an essayist, much better known as a forger and a murderer. R.
Griffiths, L.L.D., Wainewright’s maternal grandfather--to take his history
as far back as possible--was an energetic literary man and journalist,
whose daughter, Ann, born of a young second wife when he was well past
middle life, “is supposed to have understood the writings of Mr. Locke as
well as perhaps any person of either sex now living” (said the
_Gentleman’s Magazine_) and who married one Thomas Wainewright, and died
in child-bed at the age of twenty-one, the last survivor, even at that
age, of the second family. Thomas Wainewright, the father, himself died
very soon afterwards. Of him nothing is known, though there is some reason
to think that Dr. Griffiths regarded him with dislike or suspicion.

The child seems then to have been born of a failing and degenerating
stock. He was clever, possessed of some means, and grew up in a literary
and artistic circle; but he was vain and unstable, “ever to be wiled
away,” as he says himself, “by new and flashy gauds.” When still a lad, he
went into the army for a time. Then, after a while, being idle in town,
“my blessed Art touched her renegade; by her pure and high influences the
noisome mists were purged,” and he wept tears of happiness and gratitude
over Wordsworth’s poems. “But this serene state was broken,” he wrote,
several years before his career of crime had commenced, “like a vessel of
clay, by acute disease, succeeded by a relaxation of the muscles and
nerves, which depressed me

  As through the abysses of a joyless heart
  The heaviest plummet of despair could go,’--

hypochondriasis! ever shuddering on the horrible abyss of mere insanity!
But two excellent secondary agents--a kind and skilful physician, and a
most delicately affectionate and unwearied (though young and fragile)
nurse--brought me at length out of those dead black waters, nearly
exhausted with so sore a struggle. Steady pursuit was debarred me, and
varied amusement deemed essential to my complete revivification.” Then he
began to write his essays and criticisms, dealing chiefly with the later
Italian and the French artists, under the name of Janus Weathercock. He
was a man of many sentimentalities and super-refinements; he hated all
vulgarity and “sordid instincts.” His tastes were sensual in every
respect. Notwithstanding his means, they were not sufficient to satisfy
his desires for luxurious foods and drinks, for fine perfumes, for large
jewels to wear. He could not live without luxuries, just as little Marie
Schneider could not live without sweets. At about the date that his chief
literary activities ceased, and when he was about thirty years of age, he
forged a power of attorney with the names of his trustees, assigning to
himself the principal of £5000, of which he was enjoying the interest.
This was then a capital offence; it remained undetected for twelve years.
He is described at this time as “a smart, lively, clever, heartless,
voluptuous coxcomb.” He was tall, stooping slightly, of dark hair and
complexion, deeply set eyes, stealthy but fascinating, a large and massive
head. He married a young lady who was poor, but a gay and brilliant
person, and she had a widowed mother and two half-sisters. The young
couple lived improvidently, and an uncle, Mr. G. E. Griffiths, who was
well off, offered them a home in his own house. This welcome offer was
accepted. A year after, Mr. G. E. Griffiths, after a short illness, died
very unexpectedly, leaving his mansion and property to his nephew and
niece. This money, however, also went rather fast; and now too there were
no longer any expectations from relatives. The stepmother and her
daughters, the Abercrombies, were poor, and their schemes to make a living
were not successful. The Abercrombies were obliged to come and live with
the Wainewrights in the large mansion they had inherited, and a very few
months after this Mrs. Abercrombie died, like old Mr. Griffiths, very
suddenly, in a fit of convulsions. No benefits, however, followed this
death; affairs continued to grow worse, and soon the bailiffs were in the
house, and there was a bill of sale on the furniture. The Wainewrights and
Abercrombies migrated to handsome lodgings in Conduit Street, near Regent
Street. They frequently went to the play, and one night, very soon after
their arrival, Helen Abercrombie, who wore the thin shoes that women then
always wore, got her feet wet, became ill, and was assiduously attended by
Wainewright and his wife, who held frequent consultations as to her
treatment by means of certain powders; in a few days she was dead, with
the same symptoms as her mother, the same symptoms as Mr.
Griffiths--“brain mischief,” the doctor called it. She died on the very
day on which the bill of sale became due, and after her death it was found
that her life had, during the same year, been insured, in various offices,
for £18,000. Helen Abercrombie was a beautiful and very healthy girl, and
her death led to suspicions, and gave rise to law-suits, which on the
slighter but definite ground of misrepresentation were in favour of the
companies. In the meanwhile Wainewright found it convenient to leave
England (he had separated from his wife after the death of Helen
Abercrombie), and took refuge with a rather impecunious gentleman who
lived with his daughter at Boulogne. He persuaded this gentleman to obtain
money to effect a loan by insuring his life. One night, after the policy
had been effected, this gentleman suddenly died. We next hear of
Wainewright travelling in France, doubtless for excellent reasons, under
an assumed name. He fell into the hands of the police, and not being able
to give a good account of himself, was imprisoned for six months. The
French police found that he carried about with him a certain powder, at
that time little known, called strychnine; this was put down to English
eccentricity. At this time there was a warrant out against Wainewright for
forgery; he was lured over to England by a detective, with the aid of a
woman, and arrested. He was tried for forgery, and condemned to
transportation for life. At the same time the suspicions of the doctor
who attended Helen Abercrombie were roused, and Wainewright himself, after
his condemnation, admitted to visitors, with extraordinary vanity and
audacity, his achievements in poisoning, and elucidated his methods. It is
also said that he kept a diary in which he recorded his operations with
much complacency. The one thing that hurt little Marie Schneider was the
dry bread; the one thing that moved Wainewright was being placed in irons
in the hold of the ship. “They think me a desperado! Me! the companion of
poets, philosophers, artists, and musicians, a desperado! You will smile
at this--no, I think you will feel for the man, educated and reared as a
gentleman; now the mate of vulgar ruffians and country bumpkins.” At
Hobart Town on two occasions he endeavoured to remove by poison persons
who had excited his animosity. He is described at this time by one who
knew him well as “a man with a massive head, in which the animal
propensities were largely developed. His eyes were deeply set in his head;
he had a square solid jaw; he wore his hair long, stooped somewhat, and
had a snake-like expression which was at once repulsive and fascinating.
He rarely looked you in the face. His conversation and manner were winning
in the extreme; he was never intemperate, but nevertheless of grossly
sensual habits, and an opium-eater. As to moral character, he was a man of
the very lowest stamp. He seemed to be possessed by an ingrained malignity
of disposition which kept him constantly on the very confines of murder,
and he took a perverse pleasure in traducing persons who had befriended
him. He was a marked man in Hobart Town--dreaded, disliked, and shunned
by everybody. His sole living companion was a cat, for which he evinced an
extraordinary affection.” He died of apoplexy in 1852, at the age of
fifty-eight.[6] Wainewright presents to us a perfect picture of the
instinctive criminal in his most highly developed shape, fortunately a
rare phenomenon. It is this instinctive propensity to crime which is
sometimes called “moral insanity.” This is, however, by no means a happy
phrase, since it leads to much fruitless disputation. It is wiser at
present to apply to such an individual the more simple term, _instinctive
criminal_.[7] There is, however, distinct interest in noting that at one
period of his life Wainewright was on the verge of insanity, if not, as is
more likely, actually insane; it is extremely probable that he never
recovered from the effects of that illness. It may well be that if we
possessed a full knowledge of every instinctive criminal we should always
be able to put our hands on some definite organically morbid spot.

The instinctive criminal, in his fully developed form, is a moral monster.
In him the absence of guiding or inhibiting social instincts is
accompanied by unusual development of the sensual and self-seeking
impulses. The _occasional criminal_, as he is usually called, is a much
commoner and more normally constituted person. In him the sensual
instincts need not be stronger than usual, and the social elements, though
weaker than usual, need not be absent. Weakness is the chief
characteristic of the occasional criminal; when circumstances are not
quite favourable he succumbs to temptation. Occasional crime is one of the
commonest forms of crime; it is also that for whose existence and
development society is most directly responsible; very often it might
equally well be called social crime. Here is an example. Two lads of
honest life, the sons of agricultural labourers, being unable to obtain a
scanty subsistence at home, start one day in a fit of desperation for a
distant town in search of work. Without food or shelter, sleeping under a
hedge, they reach a farm-house. Looking through a window they see a
plum-pudding; they open the window, seize the pudding, and go a few yards
off to devour it. In a few hours they are on the way to the lock-up, to
receive, later on, a sentence of six months’ imprisonment. “At the close
of it they were provided with an outfit and an introduction to an employer
of labour in Canada; and when we last heard of them they were doing
extremely well, with excellent prospects before them.”[8] This sequel
(which would have been better had it come before the seizure of the
plum-pudding) proves that we are not dealing with instinctive criminals.
Take another case mentioned by the same writer. A woman with a drunken
husband who spends his last penny in the public-house, is driven by actual
starvation to commit her first crime. She steals a small piece of meat to
feed her hungry children. She is sent to prison. “We heard of her
afterwards leading a most consistent and almost saintly life.” These
persons, it is clear, were not the criminals but the victims; society was
the criminal. Now and then, as in the cases just cited, it happens that
the occasional criminal who is thus recklessly flung into prison is
assisted to live a human life. In the great majority of cases he is ruined
for life, familiarised with the prison, introduced to bad company. We
have, as well as we are able, manufactured him into what is called the
_habitual criminal_.

The steps by which the occasional criminal, aided on the one hand by
neglect, on the other by the hot-bed of the prison, develops into the
habitual criminal are slow and subtle; that is one of the tragedies of
life. M. Joly has recorded the experiences of the police concerning the
thefts that take place at the great Parisian shops, the Louvre, and the
Bon-Marché. “This is the beginning. From a gallery one sees a woman--rich
or well-to-do-who buys a certain number of objects and pays for them; but
without asking permission she takes some little, almost insignificant
object--a little ribbon to fasten a parcel, a more commodious paper-bag.
No one will say that she is stealing; no one will think of speaking to her
or disturbing her. But she is observed and even watched, for one expects
to see her again some time after taking, as she walks along, say, a flower
worth twenty-five centimes. A little later she will appropriate an article
of greater value, and henceforth she will take for the pleasure of taking.
The inclination, which at the beginning had in it nothing instinctive or
fatal, will grow as all habits grow. Another time a woman who had no
intention of stealing, but whose conscience is probably elastic, grows
impatient at the delay in attending to her wants. It is, let us suppose, a
purse worth ninety-five centimes, and the shopman is busy with purchasers
of more expensive objects. Suddenly the woman nervously yields to a swift
temptation; she does not wish to wait longer, but instead of replacing the
purse on the counter she slips it into her pocket and turns on her heels
without paying. ‘From that moment,’ said the inspector, ‘_she is lost_;
she will come back to steal, but she will steal intentionally and

The world and the criminal’s friends are startled some day by a great
crime, but that crime is linked on to a chain of slight, occasional,
sporadic vices and offences. Sometimes we can trace out these links. Barré
and Lebiez were two young French criminals who attracted attention some
years ago. They were both of good family, both very intelligent, the
former about to enter on a commercial life, the latter on the eve of
becoming a doctor of medicine. At this point they murdered an old woman to
rob her, and cut up the body to dispose of it. The crime was deliberate
and carefully prepared; there was nothing romantic or obviously morbid
about it, and a few days after the crime Lebiez delivered an able and
eloquent lecture on Darwinism and the Church. In each of these young men
there were, M. Joly observes, nine stages in the path of crime. Let us
first note those of Barré:--1. His employer is obliged to dismiss him on
account of misconduct with a servant girl. 2. He writes untruthful letters
to his family, describing habits of work which do not exist. 3. He
acquires an extravagant taste for speculation on the Stock Exchange. So
far his course, though not exemplary, was one that has often enough been
traversed by persons who have never reached the scaffold. 4. He
speculates with the savings which two girls had entrusted to him for
investment. 5. To obtain money from his father, to whom he talks of
establishing himself, he forges letters. 6. He embezzles various sums of
money by an aggravated form of the same process. 7. He steals a watch from
a prostitute’s rooms. 8. He steals eight francs from the same. 9. He
decides on the murder of the old milk-woman with whom he has had business
relations, and whose savings, as he knows, are considerable. Lebiez went
through the following stages:--1. His violent language to his mother is
remarked. 2. He is, notwithstanding very small means, known to be living
with a mistress, and he procures obscene photographs. 3. On account of
irregularity he is sent away from an institution where he gave lessons. 4.
He speculates on the Stock Exchange, which, being poor, he could only do
by accepting profit and refusing to meet loss. 5. He steals books from his
friends and sells them. 6. He several times leaves his lodgings
clandestinely, without paying the rent. 7. He participates in the theft of
the watch by Barré. 8. He shares the profits of the second theft. 9. They
decide on the murder together. Such are the slow steps by which the
occasional criminal becomes the _habitual criminal_ or the _professional
criminal_. It must be remembered that the lines which separate these from
each other, and both from the instinctive criminal, are often faint or
imperceptible. “Natural groups,” as Mr. Galton remarks, “have nuclei but
no outlines.” In the habitual criminal, who is usually unintelligent, the
conservative forces of habit predominate; the professional criminal, who
is usually intelligent, is guided by rational motives, and voluntarily
takes the chances of his mode of life; while in the instinctive criminal
the impulses usually appear so strong, and the moral element so
conspicuously absent, that we feel we are in the presence of a natural
monster. It is not, however, always possible to make these distinctions.

The professional criminal, though not of modern development, adapts
himself to modern conditions. In intelligence, and in anthropological rank
generally, he represents the criminal aristocracy. He has deliberately
chosen a certain method of earning his living. It is a profession which
requires great skill, and in which, though the risks are great, the prizes
are equally great.[10]

Lacenaire, a famous criminal of the beginning of the century, has
sometimes been regarded as the type of the professional criminal, and to
complete this classificatory outline it may be well to sketch his career.
He was born at Lyons about the beginning of the century, received a good
average education, and was very intelligent, though not distinguishing
himself at college. He was ambitious and, at the same time, incapable of
sustained work. He came to Paris to study law; but his father’s resources
were inadequate, and he became a clerk, frequently changing his situation,
growing tired of work at length, and engaging as a soldier. So far no
offence is recorded. When he returned to France his father, become
bankrupt, had fled. Some friends came to the young man’s help, and gave
him 500 francs. He hastened to Paris and spent it in enjoyment. Then he
entered the literary Bohemia, and wrote verses and political articles,
fighting a duel with a nephew of Benjamin Constant and killing him. He
said, later on, that the sight of his victim’s agony had caused him no
emotion. Soon his love of enjoyment outran his means of getting money,
though these might have been considerable had he cared to work steadily,
and he obtained money by theft and swindling. Condemned to prison, he soon
formed connections with professional criminals, and associated them in his
schemes and joined them in their orgies. He adopted false names,
multiplied forgeries and disguises, and preyed actively on society. After
an orgy at this time he committed a murder, and he attempted to murder a
man who had won a large sum from him in gambling. The crime and the
attempt both remained unpunished. Gifted with intelligence, and still more
with vanity and audacity, Lacenaire continued his career of systematic
crime until finally he met the guillotine. He was a professional criminal,
but also, it will be seen, he was something of an habitual, something of
an instinctive criminal.[11]

We have glanced briefly at the circles of crime--circles that extend from
heaven to very murky depths of hell, and that yet are not far from any one
of us. It is still necessary to touch on the various ways in which the
causes and nature of this vast field of crime may be approached.

There are, first, the _cosmic_ causes of crime; that is to say, all the
influences of the external inorganic world, the influence of temperature
on crime, the increase of crimes of violence in hot weather, the
periodicity of other kinds of crime, the influence of climate, the
influence of diet.

Then there is the _biological_ factor. Under this head we include the
consideration of all the personal peculiarities of the individual,
anatomical, physiological, psychological. These peculiarities may be
atavistic, atypic, or morbid.

Lastly, there is the _social_ factor in crime. Criminal sociology deals
with the production of crime by social influences, and by economic
perturbations. Infanticide is nearly always related to the social factor;
and the study of the various social influences which promote or hinder
infanticide is extremely instructive. The relations between crimes against
the person and the price of alcohol, and between crimes against property
and the price of wheat, also belong to this department of the study of
crime. Society prepares crimes, as Quetelet said; the criminal is the
instrument that executes them. “The social environment,” Lacassagne has
well said, “is the cultivation medium of criminality; the criminal is the
microbe, an element which only becomes important when it finds the medium
which causes it to ferment: _every society has the criminals that it

It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of the social factor in
crime. To some extent it even embraces the others, and can be made to
regulate and neutralise them. But we cannot deal wisely with the social
factor of crime, nor estimate the vast importance of social influences in
the production or prevention of crime, unless we know something of the
biology of crime, of the criminal’s anatomical, physiological, and
psychological nature. This book is concerned with the study of the
criminal man.



When Homer described Thersites as ugly and deformed, with harsh or scanty
hair, and a pointed head, like a pot that had collapsed to a peak in the

        ἄισχιστος δὲ ἀνὴρ ὑπὸ Ἴλιον ἦλθεν.
  φολκὸς ἔην, χωλὸς δ’ ἕτερον πόδα. τὼ δέ οἱ ὤμω
  κυρτώ, ἐπὶ στῆθος συνοχωκότε. αὐτὰρ ὕπερθεν
  φοζὸς ἔην κεφαλὴν, ψεδνὴ δ’ ἐπενήνοθε λάχνη

--he furnished evidence as to the existence of a criminal type of man.
These physical characters of Thersites are among those which in these last
days have been submitted to scientific observation, and to statistics, and
have been largely justified. The epigrammatic utterances in which
primitive peoples crystallise and pass on their philosophy and science,
include many sayings which prove the remote period at which men began to
perceive the organic peculiarities which separate the criminal man from
the average man. There are some proverbs of this character, such as those
indicating the widespread dislike of the red-haired, for which no solid
justification has yet been found; but among various races, and in many
countries, numerous proverbs are in harmony with the results of modern
research: _A vultu vitium_, the old Roman saying; _Au vis_ [_visage_] _le
vice_, the old French saying; “Salute from afar the beardless man and the
bearded woman;” “Distrust the woman with a man’s voice;” “A pale face is
worse than the itch.” Such are a few that might be easily increased.

At a very early period such popular generalisations as these were embodied
in that empirical science of physiognomy, which found many professors
among the Greeks and Romans. According to the well-known story, a Greek
physiognomist who examined Socrates’ face judged that the philosopher was
brutal, sensuous, and inclined to drunkenness; and Socrates declared to
his disciples that such, although he had overcome it, was his natural
disposition. He was himself a physiognomist; he disliked a certain man who
was of pale and dark complexion, such signs, he said, indicating envy and
murder; the peculiar dark and pallid complexion of the instinctive
criminal has of late years been frequently noted.

Aristotle, that great master of all the sciences, clearly recognised not
merely the physiognomic signs of habits, vices, and crimes, including many
signs that are in accordance with modern scientific observation, but he
also observed a connection between the shape of the head and the mental
disposition, and he recognised the hereditary character of vicious and
criminal instincts. Galen, who inaugurated the experimental study of the
brain, adopted the views of Aristotle, and pointed out the influence of
the abuse of alcohol in the production of crime; he was of opinion, also,
anticipating a modern doctrine, that when the criminal is a criminal by
nature he ought to be destroyed, not in revenge, but for the same reason
that scorpions and vipers are destroyed.[12]

Although these feeble beginnings of criminal anthropology received the
sanction of the highest scientific authorities, as well as of the people,
and later on a mediæval law declared that if two persons fell under
suspicion of crime the uglier or more deformed was to be regarded as more
probably guilty, they were not universally admitted, and some, like Pliny,
regarded it as absurd that the outward form could indicate the inward
disposition. Whatever art or science there was in the matter was left,
then and long after, to the physiognomists, of whom Polemon may be taken
as a distinguished example, and these were ready to supply the most
elaborate physical signs to correspond to any vicious or criminal
disposition. Polemon wrote of the criminal that he was of pallid
complexion, with long hair, large ears, and small eyes, and he proceeded
to give the characteristics of various classes of criminals, his
observations often showing keen insight. This pseudo-science was passed on
from physiognomist to physiognomist, usually with added absurdities, until
in the sixteenth century we reach the Neapolitan Dalla Porta, at once the
greatest (and except Lavater the last) of the physiognomists of the old
school and the first of the new. He treated judicial astrology with
contempt, and at the same time wrote a treatise of celestial physiognomy;
he gathered up all that his predecessors had done, and at the same time
laid the foundations of a more scientific treatment.

Passing by Lavater, with his fine intuition and genial humanity, which
formed, however, no epoch in the scientific study of criminal
anthropology, at the beginning of the present century we reach Gall, a
very great figure in the history of science, and the representative of the
most important moment in the development of our knowledge of the brain.

Before speaking of Gall, however, it is necessary to give a word, in
passing, to Grohmann, who slightly preceded him, and who anticipated many
of the conclusions relative to facial and cranial characteristics reached
by modern criminal anthropologists. Thus, in 1820, he wrote:--“I have
often been impressed in criminals, and especially in those of defective
development, by the prominent ears, the shape of the cranium, the
projecting cheek-bones, the large lower jaws, the deeply-placed eyes, the
shifty, animal-like gaze.”

Gall thrust aside for ever the credulous fancies of the physiognomists;
and he has been described, not altogether without reason, as the founder
of the modern science of criminal anthropology. He was certainly its most
brilliant pioneer. Lavater believed in the homogeneity of the human
organism, but he was not a man of science, and he had been content to
study the surface of the body; Gall, with true scientific instinct, tried
to get to the root of the matter; following the great English anatomist,
Willis, who had made some attempt at cerebral localisation, he studied
the brain, sought to differentiate the functions of its various parts, and
the effects of its varying development on the skull.

For Gall the varying development of the brain was the cause of the
divergent mental and moral qualities of the individual; he was firmly
convinced that all the facts of psychical life are rooted in the physical
organisation; he wished to write the natural history of every primitive
moral and intellectual force, in health as well as in disease. To the best
of his ability he carried out this programme in detail, by an unceasing
study of all the varieties of the brain and of the living head that he
could find; he pursued his studies throughout Europe, in lunatic asylums
and in prisons, as well as among the ordinary population, and he foresaw
the extent of the applications of the science he was opening up to
medicine and to law, to morality and to education. While his work extended
far beyond the borders of what we should now call criminal
anthropology,[13] he devoted much attention to the problems of the
criminal organisation, and even to its varieties, many of his observations
according well with the results of recent investigation. More than this,
following Galen and Diderot (who had written, fifty years earlier, “The
evil-doer is one whom we must destroy, not punish”), he clearly advocated
a method of dealing with the criminal which is now widely regarded as the
only right and reasonable method. “There can be no question,” he said, “of
culpability or of justice in the severe sense; the question is of the
necessity of society preventing crime. The measure of culpability and the
measure of punishment cannot be determined by a study of the illegal act,
but only by a study of the individual committing it.” In his great work,
_Les Fonctions du Cerveau_ (1822), Gall has summed up his conclusions.

It has been the misfortune of this great and truly scientific investigator
to give origin to an empiric art of phrenology which took the place of the
old art of physiognomy he had done so much to destroy. He has
consequently, until recent years, been popularly known chiefly by his
mistakes, especially perhaps by his localisation of the sexual instinct in
the cerebellum--a localisation, however, which he supported by a large
body of evidence. The influence of dubious phrenological doctrines
hardened into a system somewhat impairs the value of Lauvergne’s _Les
Forçats_ (1841), which seems to have been the first book of any importance
devoted entirely to the study of convict nature, physical, moral, and
intellectual. Lauvergne, who was the chief medical officer to the hospital
for convicts at Toulon, appears to have been a man of humanitarian
instincts, whose wit and _bonhomie_ enabled him to maintain friendly
relations with the criminals he was studying; he had little capacity for
scientific analysis, but he wrote fully of what he had seen and known, and
his book contains many keen observations which have been since verified.
He fully recognises also the importance of the social factor in the
production of criminals.

Lauvergne had observed how many of his subjects were insane or diseased;
the students of the criminal who followed him all insisted on the
pathological element. Dally maintained that the criminal and the lunatic
are identical, and both equally irresponsible. Prosper Lucas, in his
valuable _Traité philosophique de l’hérédite_ (1847), showed how deeply
rooted in the organism are the morbid tendencies of crime. Lélut compared
the length and breadth of head in criminals. Voisin noted their defects in
cerebral organisation. It was, however, Morel who, in his _Des
Dégénérescences_ (1857), chiefly developed this aspect of criminality, and
his influence is still strong among French students of the criminal. Morel
regarded crime as one of the forms taken on by degeneration in the
individual or the family; and degeneration he defined as “a morbid
deviation from the normal type of humanity.” The causes of degeneration
which he recognised were intoxications, famines, social environment,
industries, unhealthy occupations, poverty, heredity, pathological
transformations, moral causes. “My principal aim,” he says, “has been the
study of these causes, and of the influences which they exercise, firstly
on the constitution of individuals, and afterwards on that of their
descendants.” Among these causes he gives a chief place to the manifold
effects on the children of alcoholism in the parents. In his pamphlet _De
la Formation du Type dans les variétés dégénérés_ (1864), Morel proposed
to give the name of morbid anthropology to “that part of the natural
science of man, the aim of which is to study the characters due to certain
special diseased influences, as well as to hereditary transmissions of
bad nature.”

Despine, by his great work, _Psychologie Naturelle_ (1868), made a new and
important step in criminology. Leaving aside the study of the criminal’s
physical nature, he sought to make an exhaustive study of his mental
nature. No one has done more than Despine to prove that what we should now
call the instinctive criminal is, on the psychological side, a natural
anomaly, a mental monstrosity. He brought into clear relief the
unforeseeing imprudence, the entire lack of moral sensibility and of
remorse, which characterise the instinctive criminal. He recognised that
the criminal is not necessarily an insane or diseased person, and he
showed that his abnormality is not of the kind that intellectual education
can remedy. “No physiologist,” he said, “has yet occupied himself with the
insanity of the sane;” he considered the criminal as “morally mad,” and
therefore irresponsible. Maudsley, from an opposite philosophic
standpoint, came to very similar conclusions. Without bringing any fresh
contribution of importance, he re-affirmed emphatically the conclusions
already reached. Speaking in his _Responsibility in Mental Disease_ (1872)
of instinctive criminals, he remarks, “It is a matter of observation that
this criminal class constitutes a degenerate or morbid variety of mankind,
marked by peculiarly low physical and mental characteristics.” Like
Despine, he drew from this the conclusion, since widely accepted, that the
criminal, being morally insane and usually incurable, should be treated in
the same way as the intellectually insane person. “If the matter be
considered deeply, it may appear that it would, perhaps, in the end make
little difference whether the offender were sentenced in anger and sent
to the seclusion of prison, or were sentenced more in sorrow than in
anger, and consigned to the same sort of seclusion under the name of an
asylum. The change would probably not lead to an increase or to a decrease
in the number of crimes committed in a year.” An artist as much as a man
of science, master of a sombre and weighty style, illumined by vivid
flashes of imagination, Maudsley by his numerous works popularised the new
ideas, and is justly regarded abroad as a pioneer of criminal

Broca, who, by initiating the Anthropological Society of Paris in 1859,
has been regarded as the founder of the modern science of anthropology,
gave attention also to the special science of criminal anthropology by
noting the peculiarities of the skulls and brains of criminals. At the
Exeter meeting of the British Association in 1869, Dr. G. Wilson read a
paper on “The Moral Imbecility of Habitual Criminals as exemplified by
cranial measurements.” He had measured 464 heads of criminals, and found
that habitual thieves presented well-marked signs of insufficient cranial
development, specially anteriorly. “The cranial deficiency,” he observed,
“is associated with real physical deterioration. Forty per cent. of all
the convicts are invalids, more or less; and that percentage is largely
increased in the professional thief class.” He argued that a prisoner must
be treated on reforming principles, and not allowed unrestricted liberty
until there was reasonable evidence to show that he would not prove
dangerous to society. About the same time, also (in 1870), J. Bruce
Thomson, Resident-Surgeon to the General Prison for Scotland at Perth,
published in the _Journal of Mental Science_ a summary of his observations
on over 5000 prisoners. From the decisiveness of his utterances and the
large number of prisoners of whom he was able to speak, this summary gave
a stimulus to the study of the criminal throughout Europe. Thomson
enumerated some of the physical characteristics of the instinctive
criminal now generally recognised, pointed out the semi-imbecility
prevalent among the juvenile criminals under his observation, the
frequency of accumulated morbid appearances at _post-mortem_ examinations,
and the large proportion of cases at Perth needing treatment for mental
diseases soon after admission, “apparently from congenital causes.”
Thomson’s facts and opinions were too curtly, and, probably, too
emphatically stated. Dr. Nicolson, writing also in the same journal from
1873 to 1875, dealt with the morbid psychology of the criminal, the
unstable, emotional element in him, his proneness to delusions, his
insensibility, and his weak-mindedness. Dr. Nicolson’s papers, all written
before the latest and most fruitful era of criminal anthropology began,
were, so far as I have been able to trace, the latest original
contributions from the scientific side made in England to the study of the
criminal. Such knowledge as has been furnished since has come from writers
who have, almost of necessity, dealt with what may be called the mental
and social symptomatology of criminals. Among the books which supply more
or less valuable or interesting information of this kind may be mentioned
the Rev. J. W. Horsley’s _Jottings from Jail_, Michael Davitt’s _Leaves
from a Prison Diary_, and the _Scenes from a Silent World_, by a Prison
Visitor, which appeared in _Blackwood’s Magazine_ during 1889. An earlier
book of this class, Mayhew’s _London Labour and the London Poor_ (vol.
iv.), is perhaps still the most valuable.

Italy is to-day the home of criminal anthropology, and not of criminal
anthropology only, but of all the sciences that are connected with crime
and the criminal; the Zanardelli criminal code, which has recently become
law, while by no means entirely satisfactory from the scientific point of
view, shows the influence of the new movement. In this respect Italy
remains true to traditions that are two thousand years old; in the
sixteenth century Italy was still the centre of studies in penal law, and,
to keep to modern times, it is enough to mention the great names of
Beccaria, and, still more recently, Romagnosi. It was under the auspices
of Beltrani-Scalia, well known in connection with prison reform, that the
earlier Italian studies in criminal anthropology were published, from 1870
onwards, in the _Rivista delle discipline carcerarie_, a journal which
continues to publish valuable monographs. In this journal Lombroso
published, in 1872, the results of some investigations which he had made
on prisoners at Padua.

Professor Cesare Lombroso, of Turin, occupies a position of such
importance in the development of criminal anthropology that it is
necessary to have a clear idea of his aims and methods and the nature of
his achievement. Born in 1836, of Venetian parentage, the various and
restless activities of Lombroso’s career are characteristic of the man who
has been all his life opening up new paths of investigation and enlarging
the horizon of human knowledge. At the age of eleven he composed
romances, poems, and tragedies in the manner of Alfieri; at twelve he
developed a passion for classical antiquity, and published two small works
on Roman archæology. At thirteen he was attracted to the study of
sociology from a linguistic point of view (chiefly, we are told, with
relation to Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, and Coptic); at the same time he was
drawn to natural science, being interested especially in the formation of
crystals, and before entering the University he had published two books of
a somewhat evolutionary character. While a student he was led, by the
combined study of ancient religions and of medicine, to the subject of
mental diseases. He began with studies on cretinism in Lombardy and
Liguria, his conclusions being afterwards adopted by Virchow and others.
In the eventful year of 1859 he became first a soldier, and afterwards a
military surgeon. In 1862 he was in charge of the department of mental
diseases at Pavia University, and he initiated there an institution for
the insane, a psychiatric museum, and a series of researches in the
application of exact methods to the study of insanity. This last attempt
was at the time received with general derision; it was said that he was
studying madness with a yard measure; but his methods gradually made
progress, and slowly met with general adoption. After this he made some
important investigations into the causes of pellagra. Called to direct the
asylum at Pesaro, he reformed it, and established a journal, written and
managed by the insane. He then returned to Pavia, where he continued his
psychiatric work, investigated the influence of atmospheric conditions on
the mind, invented an instrument to measure pain, and engaged in a great
number of studies, marked by extraordinary ingenuity, patience, and
insight. Even as a youth Lombroso possessed the art of divining fruitful
ideas, which at the time appeared absurd to scientific men as well as to
the public. Every line of investigation he took up was at the time
apparently opposed to the tendency of thought, and only received general
attention at a later date. This was true, to some extent, even of the
great achievement of his life.

In the year 1859--perhaps the most memorable of the century--Broca, who
had a decided influence on Lombroso, had inaugurated the naturalist method
of treating man with the Anthropological Society of Paris. The
illuminating genius of Virchow, and his prodigious energy, which has done
so much for anthropology and the methods of anthropology, also had its
influence on the Italian, in some respects a kindred spirit. And Darwin’s
_Origin of Species_, published in 1859, supplied, for the first time, an
indispensable biological basis, and furnished that atavistic key of which
Lombroso was tempted to make at first so much use, sometimes, it must be
added, so much abuse. These circumstances combined to render possible, for
the first time, the complete scientific treatment of the criminal man as a
human variety, while Lombroso’s own manifold studies and various faculties
had given him the best preparation for approaching this great task. It was
in 1859 that he first conceived this task; _L’Uomo Delinquente_ was not,
however, finally published until 1876, while the second volume only
appeared in 1889.

The influence of _L’Uomo Delinquente_ in Italy, France, and Germany seems
to have been as immediate and as decisive as that of _The Origin of
Species_. Despine’s _Psychologie Naturelle_, the greatest work on the
criminal that had appeared before Lombroso, was partial; the criminal was
therein regarded purely as a psychological anomaly. Lombroso first
perceived the criminal as, anatomically and physiologically, an organic
anomaly. He set about weighing him and measuring him, according to the
methods of anthropology. Even on the psychological side he gained new and
more exact results. He went back to the origins of crime among plants and
animals, among savages and children. He endeavoured to ascertain the place
of the criminal in nature, his causes, and his treatment. Lombroso’s work
is by no means free from faults. His style is abrupt; he is too impetuous,
arriving too rapidly at conclusions, lacking in critical faculty and in
balance. Thus he was led at the beginning to over-estimate the atavistic
element in the criminal, and at a later date he has pressed too strongly
the epileptic affinities of crime. His weaknesses have never been spared
rough handling from friendly or unfriendly hands. Thus Mantegazza, while
recognising his _ingegno potentemente apostolico e geniale_, denies that
Lombroso possesses any of the qualities of a scientific investigator, and
Dr. Napoleone Colajanni, who, from the socialistic left of the movement,
has, in his _Sociologia Criminale_ (1889-90) and elsewhere, bestowed much
elaborate and often valuable criticism on the centre, compares Lombroso’s
indiscriminate collection of facts to Charles IX.’s famous order on St.
Bartholomew’s eve: “Kill them all; God will know His own.” But his work
has been so rich, so laborious, so various; it has opened up so many new
lines of investigation, and has suggested so many more, that it has
everywhere been received as marking a new epoch. He was, as he has himself
expressed it, the pollen-conveying insect, and the new science which he
fecundated has grown with extraordinary rapidity. A continuous stream of
studies--from books of the most comprehensive character down to
investigations into minute points of criminal anatomy or physiology--is
constantly pouring forth. It is still impossible to gather up this mass of
investigation, often necessarily discordant, into more than a tentative
whole, but its existence is sufficient to prove the vitality of the new
science. It has of course met with fierce antagonism, and Lombroso himself
has declared that perhaps not one stone will remain upon another, but that
if this is to be the fate of his work, a better edifice will arise in its

Two other Italians must be mentioned with Lombroso. Enrico Ferri,
Professor of Penal Law at Rome and a Deputy in the Italian Parliament,
while doing valuable work as a criminal anthropologist, has at the same
time studied the social bearings of criminality in his best-known book,
_Nuovi Orizzonti del Diritto_. He has occupied himself less with the
instinctive than with the occasional criminal, and his clear and
philosophic spirit has placed him at the head of criminal sociologists.
Garofalo, a Neapolitan lawyer, accepting generally the conclusions reached
by Lombroso and Ferri, has become the most distinguished jurist of the
movement, the pioneer in that reform of law through the methods of natural
science which must eventually become so fruitful. His _Criminologie_ (the
new and enlarged edition is written in French) is marked by luminous yet
careful generalisation, and it contains many suggestions of wise reform.
Garofalo has brought into clear relief the inadequacy of legal maxims
founded on antiquated and unscientific conceptions, and he has shown that
not the nature of the crime, but the dangerousness (_temibilità_) of the
criminal constitutes the only reasonable legal criterion to guide the
inevitable social reaction against the criminal. This position is now
generally accepted as the legitimate outcome of the scientific study of
the criminal.

Among Italian workers in the department of criminal anthropology proper, a
very high place belongs to Dr. Antonio Marro, formerly surgeon to the
prison at Turin. _I Caratteri dei Delinquenti_ (1887) contains the results
of a carefully-detailed and methodic examination of more than five hundred
prisoners, men and women, and of over one hundred normal persons together
with an investigation into their ancestry and habits. All the data are
presented in tabular form, and his excellent methods and judicious
moderation in drawing conclusions impart great value to his work. His
exactness and impartiality have been admired even by those whose instincts
and training have led them to dread the invasions of this department of
science. Dr. Marro has made interesting contributions to the
differentiation of various criminal types, and he has brought out very
clearly the disastrous tendency to degeneration among the children of
parents who have passed middle age. Other Italian studies, among many that
might be mentioned, are Virgilio’s, dating from 1874, Dr. P. Penta’s
elaborate studies, the various works of Zuccarelli, the energetic
Neapolitan professor and editor of _L’Anomalo_, V. Rossi’s work, _Studio
sopra una Centuria di Criminali_, Salsotto’s on women delinquents, and
Ottolenghi’s investigations into the senses of criminals. The _Archivio di
Psichiatria_, a rich storehouse of elaborate observations, founded in
1880, directed by Lombroso, Ferri, Garofalo, and Morselli, edited by Rossi
and Ottolenghi, remains at the head of journals of criminal anthropology.

The first suggestion of an international congress of criminal anthropology
arose in Italy, and dates from the year 1882, when Salvatore Tommasi
published an important article in the _Rassegna Critica_. The first
congress, that of Rome, was not, however, actually held until 1885. It was
attended by all the most distinguished criminal anthropologists, criminal
sociologists, and jurists of the “positive” school, chiefly Italian,
French, and German, and its _Actes_ are of great interest. The second
international congress was held in August 1889, in Paris. It was of a more
cosmopolitan character than the first, and of even greater interest.[14]

France has always been a laboratory for the popularisation of great ideas,
and Tarde’s _La Criminalité Comparée_ is among the best of such attempts.
M. Tarde is a _juge d’instruction_, not an alienist or an anthropologist;
he touches on all the various problems of crime with ever-ready
intelligence and acuteness, and a rare charm of literary style,
illuminating with suggestive criticism everything that he touches. This
easily accessible little volume of the Libraire de Philosophie
Contemporaine is the most comprehensive introduction for those who would
go down to the _città dolente_ by a rose-strewn path. Lacassagne, the
eminent medico-legal expert of Lyons, and editor of the valuable
_Archives de l’Anthropologie Criminelle_, stands perhaps at the head of
French criminal anthropologists, although beyond his monograph, _Les
Tatouages_, he has published little. The judicial qualities of his mind,
and his power of expressing just and large conceptions in felicitous and
memorable phrases, impart value to all that he writes, and his forthcoming
work on the criminal man will, it is probable, for all practical purposes,
supersede other works. _De la Criminalité chez les Arabes_, by A. Kocher,
a pupil of Lacassagne’s, is a book of great interest, and the names of
Manouvrier, Bournet, Corre, Laurent, etc., are well known in connection
with criminal anthropology in France, while Féré ably represents the
French school which explains criminality by degeneration alone.

In Germany the serious study of the criminal may be said to have begun
with Krafft-Ebing, the distinguished professor of psychiatry, now at
Vienna, who, by laying down clearly in his _Grundzuge der Kriminal
Psychologie_ (1872), and other works, the doctrine of a criminal
psychosis, and pointing out its practical results, deserves, as Krauss
remarks, to be regarded as an important precursor of Lombroso. Knecht
studied over 1200 prisoners anthropologically. Dr. A. Krauss, who began
with investigations into criminal psychology, has since done much solid
work in criminal anthropology. Flesch made important observations on the
morbid pathology of criminals; Benedikt, known in connection with various
interesting investigations in criminal anthropology, began in 1879 with a
remarkable study of the criminal brain, in which he observed frequent
confluence of the fissures, as among some lower races, and also an
additional convolution in the frontal lobe, which he assimilated to that
of the carnivora. His conclusions in this difficult field of research
were, however, considerably shaken by Professor Giacomini, of Turin, and
others, who showed that similar anomalies are found, although not so
frequently, in normal persons. The brilliant Viennese professor has in his
recently-published _Kraniometrie und Kephalometrie_ shown himself the most
original and suggestive of living students of the architecture of the

In Holland, Professor Van Hamel, of Amsterdam, represents the new spirit
of approaching the problems of criminality.

In Belgium, where Quetelet’s great work, _Physique Sociale_, inaugurated
criminal sociology, and where prison reform, which has always attracted
much attention, is now ably represented by Professor Adolphe Prins, the
results of criminal anthropology have been received and discussed with
interest and sympathy, and various researches have been carried on.
Professor Héger and Dr. Semal of Mons should also be named here. In 1884
the Anthropological Society of Belgium nominated a commission for the
investigation of criminal anthropology. This led to various interesting
researches, none of them, however, of great importance.

In Spain and Portugal criminal anthropology is being prosecuted with much
zeal. Among its chief representatives may be named especially Vera and
Rafael Salillas (whose interesting book, _La Vida Penal en España_, gives
a very vivid picture of life in the Spanish prisons), and at Lisbon
Bernardo Lucas. D’Azevedo Castello Branco, sub-director of Lisbon prison,
should also be mentioned. In 1889, at a congress held in Lisbon, the
relation of criminal anthropology to penality, legal reform, and allied
problems was fully discussed.

In the rapidly-developing Spanish countries of South America, especially
in the Argentine Republic, criminal anthropology seems to be making great
progress. It is officially taught at the University of Buenos Ayres. Luis
del Drago, a judge in the Argentine Republic, with his _Los hombres de
Presa_ (1888), an able study of criminality, which has rapidly reached a
second edition, thus showing the interest generally felt in these studies,
and some other workers, witness to the progress made in this country. On
the initiative of Dr. del Drago, with influential coadjutors, a society
for the promotion of criminal anthropology was founded in Buenos Ayres in
1888, “to study the person of the criminal, to establish the degree of his
dangerousness and of his responsibility, and to effect the gradual and
progressive reform of penal law in accordance with the principles of the
new school.” In Brazil Professor Viejra de Aranjo of Pernambuco is the
chief representative of the science.

In Russia and Poland, although the study of criminal anthropology dates
from very recent years, it is making considerable progress. Bielakoff, in
the _Archives of Psichiatry_ of Kharkoff, studied 100 homicides. Professor
Troizki, of Warsaw, published a careful study of 350 prisoners. Dr.
Prascovia Tarnowskaia examined 100 female thieves, whom she compared with
150 prostitutes and 100 peasant women. On the legal side, Dimitri Drill is
engaged on a great work, of which one volume only is published at present,
in which he deals thoroughly with the organic factors of crime, and with
the social applications of criminal anthropology. The Russians seem to be
characteristically audacious in their applications of the new science, and
there is in Russia a feeling, not merely against imprisoning criminals,
but even against secluding them. In 1885 a young girl assassinated a
Jewish child to obtain possession for her lover of the money of the
child’s father, a rich usurer. Professor Babinski declared that she was
not mad, but entirely devoid of moral notions, that she was incurable, and
that it would be quite useless (useless, that is, from a medical point of
view) to put her in an asylum. She was acquitted.

In Great Britain alone during the last fifteen years there is no
scientific work in criminal anthropology to be recorded. When Dr. Coutagne
inaugurated, in 1888, a “Chronique Anglaise” in the _Archives de
l’Anthropologie Criminelle_, he could not conceal his embarrassment. While
the Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian summaries are founded on a
large series of works in criminal anthropology, in England there is
absolutely no centre for the scientific study of criminality. “Legal
medicine,” he remarks, “has there inspired no special publication, nor any
learned society. At the International Medical Congress of London, in 1881,
although so remarkably organised, it was less well treated than
laryngology or dentistry, and formed the object of no section, state
medicine being almost synonymous with hygiene. If we consult the
scientific journals of England dealing with allied subjects, our baggage
will receive very few additions.” In 1889 the International Association of
Criminal Law was founded by Professor G. A. Van Hamel of Amsterdam,
Professor Fr. von Liszt of Marburg, and Professor Adolphe Prins of
Brussels. This association, which has a great future before it,
represents, from the scientific and practical standpoint, the movement of
reform in matters that relate to the criminal. It maintains that
criminality and the repression of crime must be regarded as much from the
social as from the legal point of view. It endeavours to establish this
principle and its consequences in the science of criminal law as well as
in penal legislation. The association already numbers between three and
four hundred members, and includes well-known representatives from
twenty-one different countries in Europe and America. England is among the
least well represented of all; the English members rank in number with the
Portuguese, Servian, and Argentine members. Germany is more than twenty
times better represented.[15] No interest was felt in England in the
International Congress of Criminal Anthropology recently held in Paris. At
this Congress official delegates came from all parts of the civilised
world, from Russia to Hawaii, but although there were two from the United
States, there was not one from Great Britain. When some twelve months
since I issued a series of Questions, dealing with some of the main points
in the investigation of the criminal, to the medical officers of the
larger prisons in Great Britain and Ireland, the answers that I received,
while sometimes of much interest--and I am indebted to my correspondents
for their anxiety to answer to the best of their ability--were amply
sufficient to show that criminal anthropology as an exact science is yet
unknown in England. Some of my correspondents, I fear, had not so much as
heard whether there be a criminal anthropology.[16] England has, however,
in the past been a home of studies connected with the condition of the
criminal. The centenary of John Howard, which we have lately celebrated,
is a brilliant witness to this fact. Fifty years ago Englishmen sought to
distinguish themselves by the invention of patent improved tread-mills and
similar now antiquated devices to benefit the criminal. We began zealously
with the therapeutics of crime; it is now time to study the criminal’s
symptomatology, his diagnosis, his pathology, and it is scarcely possible
to imagine that in these studies England will long continue to lag so far
behind the rest of the civilised world.



§ 1. _Cranial and Cerebral Characteristics._

Considerably greater importance was formerly attributed to the shape and
measurements of the head than we can now accord to them, although the
subject still retains much interest. A vast quantity of data has
accumulated concerning the heads of criminals; some of the results are
contradictory, but certain definite conclusions clearly emerge.

The _average_ size of criminals’ heads is probably about the same as that
of ordinary people’s heads; but both small and large heads are found in
greater proportion, the medium-sized heads being deficient. The same is
true, as Tigges and others have shown, of the insane, though among these
the larger preponderate to a greater extent. Thieves more frequently have
small heads; the large heads are usually found among murderers.

Nothing very definite can be said of the cephalic indices save that they
are frequently an exaggeration of those of the race to which the criminal
belongs; those of long-headed race being sometimes very long, and those of
broad-headed race sometimes very broad; the Corsican criminal being often
very dolichocephalic, and the Breton criminal often very brachycephalic.

There is a generally recognised tendency to the pointed (oxycephalic) or
sugar-loaf form of head. Though this form is probably, as Benedikt points
out, an effort at compensation, it is an effort that testifies to
defective organisation. The opposite defect of low or flat-roofed skull is
also found among criminals, and is characteristic of degeneration.
Lauvergne, in his old book on criminals, has a vivid and picturesque
sketch of a variety of this kind of head, which he called the satanic
type, and which he found among many of the worst criminals: “Such are the
heads which painters throw into their pictures, and call ‘heads of the
other world.’ I have recognised them in mediæval pictures, and in all the
museums in which the products of early art are preserved. You will see
them on old cathedrals, in which devils play a part, or wherever the
artist has received some diabolical inspiration, as in the Campo Santo at
Pisa. One cannot, indeed, better represent the genius of evil, Satan, the
fallen angel, than by giving him such a head.... Behind the frontal bones
the head seems to have been tied with a band to compress it around and to
force the swelling of the hemispheres upwards and backwards. It is the
head vulgarly called sugar-loaf. When it is complete, that is to say, when
it presents a prominent base supporting an inclined pyramid, more or less
truncated, this head announces the monstrous alliance of the most eminent
faculty of man, genius, with the most pronounced impulses to rape, murder,
and theft.” Benedikt regards the bilateral elevation of the sagittal
suture as, though rare, “significant of profound perversity of brain
function.” He also regards disproportionate development of the occipital
part of the skull as a characteristic mark of degeneration.[17] It
appears that the posterior half of the skull varies much more in different
individuals than the anterior half.

The orbital capacity has been noted by Lombroso and others to be
frequently larger than normal (as among birds of prey and some savages),
especially among thieves. There is marked exaggeration of the orbital
arches and frontal sinuses which may be related, at all events in the
cases of individuals living in the country, with energy of the respiratory

Receding foreheads, very commonly observed among criminals, have always
been regarded as evidence of low mental and moral organisation, not
without reason, though it must be remembered, as Ten-Kate and Benedikt
point out, that the breadth, vaulting, and general size of the head must
be taken into consideration. Many men of marked intellectual power have
had receding foreheads.

Tenchini has pointed out (and the observation has since been confirmed)
that the frontal crest is often stronger and more prominent in criminals.
In normal skulls he found it 3-4 millimetres in length; in criminals
frequently 5-6 mm. It is also larger in the insane and lower races, and
relatively larger in orang-outangs. It may signify precocious union of the
two parts of the frontal bone with consequent arrest of brain development.

The presence of a median occipital fossa has been specially noted by
Lombroso, sometimes in connection with hypertrophy of the vermis of the
cerebellum, as among the lower apes, in the human fœtus between the third
and fourth months, and in some lower races.

Lack of cranial symmetry is one of the most marked features of the
criminal skull, although it has not often at present been subjected to
exact measurement.[18] It must be remembered that every skull, criminal or
non-criminal, is deficient in strict symmetry (and, indeed, every part of
the body likewise), and that statistics therefore are here of little
value; it is simply a question of the amount of asymmetry; and two
observers going over the same series of skulls would almost certainly come
to different conclusions. They would probably, however, both find the
proportion of asymmetrical heads greater in the criminal than in the
ordinary series.

All these cranial abnormalities are found occasionally in ordinary
persons; very rarely are they found combined in normal persons to the
extent that they are found among instinctive criminals. Thus Lombroso,
when he examined the skull of Gasparone, a famous brigand of the beginning
of the century, whose name still lives in legends and poems, found
microcephaly of the frontal region, a wormian bone, eurigmatism, increase
in the orbital capacity, oxycephaly, and extreme dolichocephaly.
Mingazzini found that out of thirty criminals eight presented brains and
skulls of a weight and capacity only found in submicrocephalic subjects;
that several of these showed, either in brain or skull, or both, the union
of several anomalies; and that in the skulls of other six the abnormal
appearances were so manifold as to present an aspect which might be
called “completely teratologic.”[19] Most of these anomalies are found
much more frequently in the male than in the female skull. If, however,
the criminal woman is compared with the normal woman, she is found to
approach more closely to the normal man than the latter does; while the
corresponding character (feminility) is not found so often in the criminal
as in the normal man, except among pæderasts and some thieves. It may also
be mentioned that nearly all these anomalies are much more rarely found in
the insane.

In Plates I.-VI. will be found a series of convicts’ heads--concerning
which information may be found in Appendix A--illustrating in a very
remarkable manner many of the peculiarities noted in this and subsequent
sections. They are reproduced from sketches made by Dr. Vans Clarke,
formerly governor of Woking Prison. The thirty-six here reproduced I have
selected from 111 of a similar character in Dr. Clarke’s note-books. They
are, as Dr. Clarke remarks, exceptional rather than typical heads; but as
he discontinued making the sketches after he had seen about a thousand
men, the specimens given are evidently by no means very exceptional. They
represent at the least 10 per cent. of the criminals examined. “My
sketches,” he writes, “were taken at the ‘model prison’ of Pentonville,
where the duty of filling up the medical history-sheet of every convict on
his arrival devolved upon me, and I was prompted to use my sketch-book
during the physical examination, on the observation of remarkable
peculiarities in many of the heads and faces of the criminals. The
portraits were necessarily taken in haste, but they were true, and were
considered to be successful as likenesses. I may say that I was compelled
to make a selection rather from want of time than the lack of material. In
a less marked degree the instances of misshapen heads and repulsive facial
characters were very common.” Some of the cranial and facial
characteristics noted by criminal anthropologists are brought out in these
sketches in so well-marked a form that it may be as well to say that they
were taken some years ago, before the publication of Lombroso’s work, and
it was therefore impossible for Dr. Clarke to have been unconsciously
influenced by any preconceived notions on the subject.

As far back as 1836 Lélut weighed ten brains of criminals, and his results
show, according to Topinard, a result below that of the normal. Bischoff,
in 1880, published the results of an important series of observations he
had made on the weight of the brain in criminals. He weighed the brains of
137 criminals and 422 normal persons. He found that small-sized and
medium-sized brains were about equally common in criminals and in normal
subjects; while among the heavier brains, weighing from 1400 to 1500
grammes, the criminals were in the proportion of 24 per cent., the normal
persons of 20 per cent. Topinard, putting together the results of several
series of observations on the weight of the brain in criminals, and
comparing them with those of Broca for ordinary individuals of the same
age, finds that in criminals there is an inferiority of some 30 grammes.
There is some reason to suppose that the weight of the cerebellum in
criminals is often decidedly superior to the normal savage. It is clear,
on the whole, that little importance attaches to the weight of the brain
in criminals, a conclusion which harmonises with such a fact as that
Gambetta’s brain resembled in weight that of a microcephalic idiot.

[Illustration: PLATE I.]

[Illustration: PLATE II.]

[Illustration: PLATE III.]

[Illustration: PLATE IV.]

[Illustration: PLATE V.]

[Illustration: PLATE VI.]

There is more evidence in favour of attaching some importance to the shape
of the brain, to its relative development, to the condition and relations
of its convolutions. Broca, Topinard, and many other eminent
anthropologists and anatomists have attributed great value to these
relations. Gall was perhaps the first to suspect their significance.
Benedikt, in 1879, published some interesting generalisations on the
brains of criminals which he had examined. He found special frequency of
confluent fissures; that is to say, according to his own description, if
we imagine the fissures of the brain to be channels of water, a swimmer
might with ease pass through all these channels. Benedikt also found in
the brains of his criminals that the frontal lobe frequently presented
four convolutions, a peculiarity which he considered as a reversion to the
carnivorous type; the investigations of Hanot and Bouchard confirmed these
results. But Benedikt neglected to make an adequate comparison with the
normal brain, and Giacomini, Corre, Fallot, and Féré have shown that these
peculiarities are not very rare in ordinary subjects. The question of
confluent fissures had before this time attracted the attention of Broca,
and his conclusions may probably still be accepted:--“One or more of these
communications,” he said, “do not prevent a brain from being at once very
intelligent and very well balanced, but when they are numerous, and when
they affect important parts, they indicate defective development. They are
often seen in the small brains of the weak-minded and idiots, very
frequently also in the brains of murderers, with this difference, that in
the first case they are related to the smallness of the convolutions and
of the brain generally; while in the second case they coincide with
convolutions for the most part ample in size, and bear witness to
irregularity in cerebral development.” Flesch studied the brains of fifty
criminals, and found that every one presented some anomaly, sometimes of a
remarkable character, as incomplete covering of cerebellum by cerebrum. He
found two kinds of deviations common, one characterised by less richness
of convolution than is found usually in ordinary brains, the other
characterised by much greater richness of convolution than he had ever
observed in normal brains. On the whole we may agree with Hervé, that
“what the brains of criminals present, not characteristically but in
common with those of other individuals badly endowed though by no means
criminals, is a frequent totality of defective conditions from the point
of view of their regular functions, and which renders them inferior.”[20]

Although a very considerable mass of evidence is now accumulating, we know
considerably less of the brains of criminals than of their skulls. This is
in large measure due to the fact that there is at present insufficient
evidence regarding the condition of the normal and healthy brain, and
unless controlled by careful series of observations on normal persons,
observations on criminal brains cannot be interpreted.

The important matter of the vascular supply of the brain in criminals has
yet received little attention, but a variety of pathological features have
been found in the cerebral substance and membranes--pigmentation,
degenerating capillaries, cysts, thickened and adherent membranes, the
vestiges of old hyperæmia and hæmorrhages. Some of these conditions are
found with great frequency, much oftener than in the insane; meningitis,
for instance, being found, according to Lombroso’s experience, in 50 per
cent. of the cases examined; while Flesch has obtained very similar
results. The frequency of meningitis was noticed in some of the answers to
my Questions, especially by one prison surgeon who wrote of
“well-organised adhesions between the dura mater and vault of cranium,
localised but more extensive than one would expect to find.”
Unfortunately, he was unable to supply exact figures as to the frequency
of such signs. It must be added, as a point of considerable importance,
that in very few cases have these pathological lesions produced any
traceable symptoms during life.

§ 2. _The Face._

Prognathism has frequently been noted as a prominent characteristic of the
criminal face, both in men and women. This is, however, a point that
requires further study; giving due weight to racial characteristics, to
the proportion of prognathous individuals among the general population,
and to method and uniformity in measurement.

There is little doubt that the lower jaw is often remarkably well
developed in those guilty of crimes of violence. The squareness and
prominence of the jaw are obvious to the eye, and this is verified by
weighing after death, as has been shown by Manouvrier. The average weight
of the Parisian criminal skull is, if anything, below that of the ordinary
Parisian, but while the average weight of the lower jaw in the latter is
about 80 grammes, it is about 94 grammes among murderers. In this respect
the criminal resembles the savage and the prehistoric man; among the
insane the jaw weighs rather less than the normal average. A type of
receding chin is also found frequently among petty criminals, the
occasional or habitual, who are criminals by weakness; such heads
Lauvergne called _têtes moutonnes_.

Prominence of the zigoma or cheek-bone has been noted by many observers,
especially in sexual offenders, among whom Marro found it in 30 per cent.
as against 22 per cent. in normal persons. This recalls a remark made many
years ago by Charles Kingsley: “I have generally seen with strong animal
passion a tendency to high cheek-bone;” but he confines this
generalisation to women, and to those who are dark-complexioned. Virchow
believes that the large development of the jaws and the cheek-bones (to
which powerful muscles are attached) is favoured by coarse and hard food
through many generations.

A few isolated observations have been made on the teeth of criminals by
Lombroso, Zuccarelli, and others, who have observed certain anomalies,
such as exaggerated or deficient development of the canines; and Dr.
Prascovia Tarnowskaia, in her one hundred women thieves, found defects of
the bony palate and undeveloped teeth among the most frequent anomalies.
So far as I know, however, no extensive and careful series of observations
has yet been made on the teeth of criminals. It is desirable that this
should be done. The course of dental evolution among the higher mammals is
now fairly well known. Atavism in dental anomalies is well recognised
among the races of man; a fourth molar, for instance, found generally
among the platyrhine apes, is occasionally found in man: in what
proportion is it found among criminals? What, again, is the relative
condition of the canine teeth? The wisdom-teeth are dying out; they are
only absent among lower races in 19 per cent. cases, while in the higher
races they are absent in 42 per cent. of the observed cases (Mantegazza).
How do criminals stand in this respect? The development of the teeth is
very closely related to the development of the nerves and brain. The
extraordinary frequency of dental and palatal anomalies in idiots was
pointed out in England in 1860 by Ballard and Langdon Down, and they have
been carefully studied of recent years by Dr. Talbot, of Chicago, and by
Dr. Alice Sollier at the Bicêtre in Paris. It is worth noting, in
reference to the undeveloped teeth so frequently found by Dr. Tarnowskaia
among women thieves, that Dr. Sollier found abnormally small teeth in 13
per cent. of her idiots. Among the insane dental anomalies are
comparatively rare.

[Illustration: 1. Darwinian tubercle and absence of helix. 2. Absence of
lobule and antitragus. (Féré and Séglas.)]

Even non-scientific observers have noted the frequency among criminals of
projecting or of long and voluminous ears. In the answers to my Questions
issued to medical officers of prisons I found that the prominent ears of
criminals were more generally recognised than any other abnormality. Thus
Dr. V. Clarke says--“The largely developed external ear is a common
feature;” others speak of “ears often large and outstanding,” etc.
Lombroso finds the ear _ad ansa_, as he calls it--the handle-shaped
ear--in 28 per cent. of his criminals; Knecht in 22 per cent.; Marro not
more frequently than among ordinary people. Ottolenghi, who has recently
examined the ears of nearly 600 criminals and of 200 normal persons, finds
that while among the latter it is found in 20 per cent., among the former
it is found in 39 per cent., the percentage varying from 35 among thieves
to 42 among those convicted of assault and wounding. This observation is
indeed by no means of recent date. In reading lately that curious treatise
of mediæval physiology, Michael Scott’s _De Secretis Naturæ_, I found that
a very bad character is given to those persons whose ears are uncommonly
long, or ample transversely; they are bold, vain, foolish, incapable of
work. To come down to comparatively recent times, Grohmann in 1820 noted
the prominent ear as a marked characteristic of the criminal. Morel
studied the abnormalities of the ear, especially in relation to heredity;
Foville, as Dr. Barnes informs me, was accustomed to point out their
significance in the insane; and in England Laycock fully appreciated their
value as indications of degeneration.[21] Dr. Langdon Down, working on the
same lines as Laycock, points out in _Mental Diseases of Childhood_ the
frequency of congenital ear deformities in idiots and the feeble-minded,
associated often with webbed toes and fingers; also an implantation of the
ears farther back than is normal, giving an exaggerated facial
development. In France, Italy, and Germany there has within the last two
or three years sprung up a considerable literature on the subject, of
which Frigerio’s little book, _L’Oreille Externe: Étude d’Anthropologie
Criminelle_ (Paris, 1888), is perhaps the most valuable. Dr. Frigerio, who
has devoted special attention to this feature both among criminals and the
insane, finds certain peculiarities very common, and also notes various
anomalies of movement in the pinna and its partial hyperæmia, especially
in neurotic subjects. From the examination of several hundred subjects, he
concludes that the auriculo-temporal angle (measured by a special otometer
from the edge of the pinna to the mastoid) undergoes a gradual progression
from below 90° in the normal person, above 90° among criminals and the
insane, up to above 100° among apes. He found the large angle very marked
in homicides; less so in thieves. The longest ear Frigerio has ever seen
in man or woman was in a woman convicted of complicity in the murder of
her husband; the left ear was 78 mm., the right 81 mm. (the normal being
50-60 mm.) in length. Her father, her two sisters, and three cousins all
possessed excessively large ears, and were all convicts. The degenerative
variations to which he attributes most importance are the Darwinian
tubercle--_i.e._, a pointed projection in the outer margin of the
ear--frequent among the insane and criminals, the doubling of the
posterior branch of the fork of the antihelix, and a conical tragus (very
frequent in childhood and among apes) often found among the insane and
criminals. Féré and Séglas,[22] who examined over 1200 subjects--healthy,
insane, idiot, and epileptic--found anomalies frequent among epileptics,
and especially so among idiots; but not notably more frequent among the
insane than among the sane. They especially noted the number of
abnormalities frequently found in the same subject; and also a connection
between defects in the ear and sexual abnormalities. The committee
appointed by the British Medical Association to investigate the
development and condition of brain function among the children in primary
schools, found that ear-defects were especially frequent in connection
with nerve-defects and mental weakness.[23]

[Illustration: 1. Darwinian tubercle. 2. Root of the helix dividing the
concha into two distinct cavities. 3. Adherent lobule. (Féré and Séglas.)]

The most common (so-called) atavistic abnormalities of the ear--_i.e._,
those most frequently and prominently seen among the anthropoid and other
apes--are the Darwinian tubercle,[24] absence of one of the branches of
the fork, absence of helix, effacement of antihelix, exaggerated
development of root of helix, absence of lobule. Adherent lobule may
frequently be observed in well-developed individuals; it is not found
among apes, and appears to have no special significance.

The projecting ear has usually been considered as an atavistic character,
and with considerable reason, as it is found in many apes, in some of the
lower races, and it corresponds to the usual disposition of the ear in the
fœtus. Marro prefers to regard it as a morbid character because it is so
frequently united with true degenerative abnormalities, and because it is
not always found in the lowest human races; Hartmann, for instance, having
found it frequently among the European peasants, and in Africa more
frequently among Turks, Greeks, and Maltese than among the indigenous
fellaheen, Berbers, and negroes of the Soudan. Among so low a race as the
Australians the ear is often, I have noticed, very well shaped. At the
same time the projecting ear frequently accompanies deaf-mutism, Dr.
Albertotti having found it in sixteen out of thirty-three deaf-mutes.

[Illustration: 1. Forking of the root of the helix. (Féré and Sêglas.)]

The ear, it is well known, is very sensitive to vasomotor changes, slight
changes serving to affect the circulation visibly; so that in pale,
nervous people a trifling emotion will cause the ears to blush. Galton
tells us of a schoolmistress who judges of the fatigue of her pupils by
the condition of their ears. If the ears are white, flabby, and pendent,
she concludes that the children are very fatigued; if they are relaxed
but red, that they are suffering, not from overwork, but from a struggle
with their nervous systems, rarely under control at the age of fourteen or
fifteen. If this kind of sensitiveness is not common among criminals, a
few of neurotic temperament, as well as some lunatics, possess the power,
rare among normal persons, of moving the ear. Frigerio notes movements of
the superior and posterior muscles, especially when touched; in apes the
transverse muscle also acts. Frigerio connects this power of movement with
perpetual fear, always on the look-out; many of the criminals with this
peculiarity were recidivists, and three of the lunatics had delusions of

The interest of these investigations, now so actively carried on, into the
malformations of the pinna among criminals is obvious. A few ingenious
persons have sought to explain some of them by the influence of the
headgear, pulling of the ears, etc.; but on the whole it is generally
recognised that they are congenital. The study of them, therefore, is of
distinct value in enabling us to fix the natural relationships of the
criminal man. There is still need for careful series of observations on
criminals, the insane, epileptics, and idiots, and every such series
should be controlled by a similar series of observations, by the same
observer, on ordinary subjects.

The criminal nose has been measured and studied with great care and
enthusiasm by Ottolenghi.[25] He finds that the criminal nose in general
is rectilinear, more rarely undulating, with horizontal base, of medium
length, rather large and frequently deviating to one side, and he
describes several varieties. Thus the typical thief’s nose is rectilinear,
often incurved, short, large, and often twisted, with lifted base. The
sexual offender presents the most rectilinear nose, though he shows the
undulating profile of nose more frequently than any other group of
criminals, of medium length and rather large. Ottolenghi believes that his
observations help to show, both in the skeleton and in life, an anatomical
relationship between criminals against the person and epileptics and
monomaniacs; also a relationship between thieves and sexual offenders and
cretins. His observations are full and interesting, but the matter needs
further investigation; the anthropological importance of the nose has
scarcely yet been fully realised.

Most writers on criminals speak of the pallor of the skin; this has been
noted at a very remote period by Polemon, l’Ingegneri, and other early
physiognomists. Marro has found it in 14 per cent. of his criminals, as
against 3 per cent. among the ordinary population. He considers that it is
related to habitual cerebral congestion. Pallor is also caused (as
Colajanni points out, and testifies to from personal experience) by
prolonged imprisonment, even under favourable circumstances. It is
probable that the influence of this cause has not yet been eliminated with
sufficient care.

Ottolenghi has investigated the wrinkles on the faces of 200 criminals as
compared with 200 normal persons. He finds that they are much more
frequent and much more marked in the criminal than in the non-criminal
person, and this must have struck many persons who have seen a large
number of criminals or photographs of criminals. The relative frequency is
especially marked in zygomatic and genio-mental wrinkles, while the
foreheads, even of youthful criminals, and when the face is in a state of
repose, sometimes present a curiously marked and scored appearance. The
precocity of these wrinkles is worthy of note. “We found young criminals
of fourteen,” Ottolenghi remarks, “with wrinkles more evident and marked
than are met with in many normal men above thirty. It is these precocious
wrinkles which give to young criminals that aspect of premature virility
which Lombroso and Marro have already noticed.” “It is worthy of note,” he
remarks also, “that the part of the face which, by the prevalence of
wrinkles, shows more active expression in criminals as in other
degenerated persons, is that corresponding to the region of the nose and
mouth--that is to say, the less contemplative, more material, part of the
face; and, in fact, we see that, with the exception of some murderers, who
have a surly look and corrugated forehead, the typical delinquent presents
habitually in the more rational and contemplative part of his face the
least degree of active expression, this corresponding to his limited
psychical sensibility.”

§ 3. _Anomalies of the Hair._

The beard in criminals is usually scanty. As against 1.5 per cent. cases
of absence of beard in normal persons, Marro found 13.9 per cent. in
criminals, and a very large proportion having scanty beard. The largest
proportion of full beards among criminals was found by Marro in sexual

On the head the hair is usually, on the contrary, abundant. Marro has
observed a notable proportion of woolly-haired persons, a character very
rarely found in normal individuals. The same character has been noted
among idiots. In contrast with what is found among the insane, baldness is
very rare. Among criminal women remarkable abundance of hair is frequently
noted, and it has sometimes formed their most characteristic physical
feature, accompanied by an unusual development of fine hair on the face
and body. Salsotto, who has given special attention to criminal women,
finds a considerable distribution of hair between the pubes and the
umbilicus (as in men) in 10 per cent. of the forty women he examined as to
this character; such distribution among normal women only occurring
(according to Schulze) in 5 per cent. cases. Salsotto also found abundant
hair in seven out of the forty around the anus, a part in normal women
rarely supplied with hair. The excess of down on the face is found with
special frequency in women guilty of infanticide. It is worth while
pointing out that (as Dr. Langdon Down notes) there are frequent anomalies
in the development of hair among idiots. Some are hirsute over the entire
body; 11 per cent. have continuous eye-brows.

This abundance of hair seems to be correlated with the animal vigour which
is often so noticeable among criminals. It may at the same time be to some
extent explained by arrest of development or atavism leading to the
deficiency of beard which in its fully developed form marks, with few
exceptions, only the highest human races. Strong sexual instincts are but
the effervescence of this animal vigour; hence, perhaps, the connection
between the presence of an unusual amount of hair and infanticide. In the
case selected by Bucknill and Tuke as a typical example of insanity in
women due to repressed sexual instinct, the chief physical characteristic
noted was the amount of hair on the body; and in a case recorded by Dr. H.
Sutherland (_West Riding Asylum Reports_, vol. vi.) of a girl whose
illness and subsequent death were in his opinion due to “unsatisfied
sexual desire,” the long fair hair, which she delighted in letting flow
down to her knees, was specially noted. It was observed of the French
writer, Restif de la Bretonne, of whose extraordinary and abnormal sexual
proclivities, even at an early age, he has himself left ample evidence in
his autobiographical book, _Monsieur Nicolas_, that his body was
remarkably hairy.

In regard to colours, the proportion of dark-haired persons is considered
greater among criminals than among the ordinary population in England,
Italy, and Germany. An exception to this general rule in the case of
sexual offenders (rape and pæderasty) appears to be well marked in Italy;
though, so far as I have been able to ascertain, it has not been
frequently observed in England. Marro associates the fair hair of sexual
offenders with the precocious puberty of fair-haired women, as shown by
the investigations of Professor Pagliani. The researches of Marro and
Ottolenghi over a very considerable field give the following results for
North Italy:--

                           Chestnut Hair.      Fair.       Black.

  Normal persons (900)    90.78 per cent.     9.22 per cent.
  Criminals (1620)        93.83     "         6.17   "
  Sexual offenders (100)  81.85     "        16.67   "     1.48 per cent.

Ottolenghi notes that the prevailing fair colour is reddish.[26]

Grey hair was found by Ottolenghi to be vastly more frequent at an early
age among ordinary working men and peasants than among the 200 male
criminals he examined: thus, between the ages of 30 to 33 it was 60 per
cent. for the former, only 12 per cent. for the latter. This does not hold
true for criminal women, who become grey more quickly than ordinary women.
The male criminal in this respect resembles the epileptic, and especially
the cretin, in whom grey hair is seldom seen. Baldness, Ottolenghi shows,
is very rare, comparatively, in the criminal, in relation not only to the
normal man but even to the epileptic and the cretin. In this respect the
criminal differs greatly from the ordinary professional man, in whom
baldness is frequently found.[27]

To the existing statistics of the colour of hair among criminals, taken as
a whole, it is not possible at present to attach much value. There is no
uniform system of description and nomenclature; it is difficult to make
full allowance for ethnic divergence, and there rarely exists an adequate
standard of comparison for the normal persons of corresponding race. Of
129 persons “wanted” at Scotland Yard, I find that 45 have “dark brown”
hair, and of these 17 (_i.e._, 37.7 per cent.) are described as
“dangerous,” “desperate,” “expert,” or “notorious”; 46 have “brown” hair,
and of these 14 (_i.e._, 30 per cent.) are “dangerous,” etc.; 11 are
“dark” (9) or “black” (2), and of these 3 (_i.e._, 27.2 per cent.) are
“dangerous”; 27 are described as “light brown,” “light,” “sandy,” “fair,”
“auburn” (one, a woman), “red” (one, a man, who is “dangerous”), and of
these 9 (_i.e._, 33.3 per cent.) are “dangerous,” etc. This gives a
proportion of red-haired persons about the same, according to my
observations, as is found among middle-class men in the city, but
considerably lower than is found, according to Dr. Beddoe, the chief
authority on this subject (in his _Races of Britain_), among the lower
classes in London--_i.e._, about 4 per cent. This is the class from which
the criminals in question were chiefly drawn, but they do not exclusively
belong to London; many come from the northern towns, and in many of these,
Leeds, for instance,[28] according to my observations, the proportion of
red-haired persons is decidedly larger than in London, and certainly not

It is interesting to compare these statistics of the hair of London
criminals with a body of statistics concerning the colour of the hair of
1220 insane persons (omitting the grey-haired) in the New Brunswick
Asylum; although as the racial mixture is certainly not quite identical,
and the nomenclature probably varies, no strict comparison is possible. Of
these 1220 insane persons the hair of 1050 is described as “dark,” “dark
brown,” “brown,” while 170 have “light,” “auburn,” or “red” hair. One
person in seven among the insane persons has fair hair, one in five among
criminals; one person in fifty among the insane has red hair, one in 129
among the criminals; one in forty among the insane has auburn hair, one in
129 among the criminals. So that while the proportion of fair-haired is
distinctly smaller among the insane, the proportion of red-haired and
auburn-haired is very decidedly larger than among the criminals.

So far as exact evidence on the colour of the hair goes, it points chiefly
to a relative deficiency of red-haired persons among criminals. This may
perhaps be accounted for. There seems to be a lessened power of resistance
to disease among persons of brilliant pigmentation. The extensive
anthropological statistics of the American War showed a very marked
inferiority on the part of fair persons. These statistics have been
criticised by De Candolle, who believes, however, that even with
deductions they may probably still be accepted. Our evidence as to the
proportion of bright-haired people in lunatic asylums seems to point in
this direction. These red-haired people, with their “sanguine” temperament
of body, are peculiarly susceptible to zymotic disease; they take scarlet
fever, for instance, very easily, and suffer from it severely. Among the
manifold risks of a criminal life the brightly pigmented person, with his
sensitive vascular system, seems to be soon eliminated.

§ 4. _Criminal Physiognomy._

The science of physiognomy is still in a vague and rudimentary condition,
although the art has long been practised with more or less success. There
are, for instance, a large number of proverbs in which some of the most
recent results reached by the criminal anthropologists of to-day were long
ages back crystallised by the popular intelligence. Such are the Roman
saying, “Little beard and little colour; there is nothing worse under
heaven;” the French, “God preserve me from the beardless man;” the Tuscan,
“Salute from afar the beardless man and the bearded woman;” the Venetian,
“Trust not the woman with a man’s voice.”

Many of the old physiognomists, especially the two greatest, Dalla Porta
and Lavater, tell us how they immediately recognised criminals, although
they sometimes ludicrously failed; and Lavater once mistook the portrait
of an executed assassin for Herder’s. A criminal anthropologist of to-day,
Professor Enrico Ferri, declares that out of several hundred soldiers whom
he examined, he found one, and one only, whom his face declared to be a
murderer; he was told that this man had, in fact, been found guilty of
murder. Garofalo, the Neapolitan jurist, observes that he is scarcely
deceived twice out of ten times. Nor is this acuteness of perception by
any means confined to skilled observers. It is very commonly found among
women. Many persons, on first meeting an individual, are conscious of an
unfavourable impression which they succeed in out-living, but which is
subsequently justified. Sometimes the revealing glance is found, perhaps
with a shock of horror, in a face already familiar. It is a mistake to
attempt to stifle such instinctive impressions as irrational. They are
part of the organised experiences of the race, and, subject to
intellectual control, they are legitimate guides to conduct.

Professor Lombroso tells us that his mother, who had always lived far from
the world, was twice able to discover the criminal character of young
people whom as yet no one had suspected. A more curious example, he goes
on to remark, occurred in connection with the murderer Francesconi. There
was nothing remarkable about him, nothing to indicate ferocity or a temper
unlike that of other people; his beard was abundant and forehead high; one
just perceived a slight degree of prognathism and some prominence of the
frontal eminences. Yet years before his crime, a young girl of sixteen
(afterwards the Countess della Rocca), who had never quitted the paternal
home, and had no experience of life, refused to speak to him when every
one welcomed him on account of his wit. When asked why she treated him as
though he were a scoundrel, she replied: “If he is not a murderer he will
become one.” When Lombroso afterwards asked her by what sign she was
guided to this too speedily verified prophecy, she replied: “By his eyes.”
Lombroso once asked an intelligent schoolmistress to submit to thirty-two
young girls twenty portraits of thieves and twenty of great men. Eighty
per cent. of these children recognised the first as bad people, the second
as good. On another occasion he showed two hundred photographs of youths
to three medical men, and they all selected one as of the criminal type; a
little girl of twelve also selected the same. This youth had never
appeared in a court of justice, but he had cruelly betrayed those who had
assisted him to obtain a good position in life. He was not legally a
criminal, but, as Lombroso remarks, he was so anthropologically.

Beautiful faces, it is well known, are rarely found among criminals. The
prejudice against the ugly and also against the deformed is not without
sound foundation. What Hepworth Dixon wrote in 1850 on this point is still
of general application in all civilised countries:--“The population of
Millbank is always numerous and always changing; but its character remains
substantially the same. Year after year the visitor might drop in and see
no difference. There is a certain monotony and family likeness in the
criminal countenance which is at once repulsive and interesting. No person
can be long in the habit of seeing masses of criminals together without
being struck with the sameness of their appearance. A handsome face is a
thing rarely seen in a prison; and never in a person who has been a
law-breaker from childhood. Well-formed heads, round and massive, denoting
intellectual power, may be seen occasionally, but a pleasing, well-formed
face, never.”

In looking through the large number of photographs in Lombroso’s great
work, _L’Uomo Delinquente_, very few pleasant faces can be found. The two
or three attractive ones are those of women in whom the glow of youth,
plumpness, and abundant hair serve as a disguise to features that will
scarcely bear examination. The proportion of good-looking faces among the
excellent photographs in Inspector Byrnes’ _Professional Criminals of
America_, is much larger. As the able chief of the Detective Department of
New York, who, however, distinctly recognises a criminal type of face,
remarked to a visitor: “Look through the pictures in the Rogues’ Gallery
and see how many rascals you find there who resemble the best people in
the country. Why, you can find some of them, I daresay, sufficiently like
personal acquaintances to admit of mistaking the one for the other.”
Those, however, belong to the aristocracy of crime; they are criminals by
calculation; they have achieved a certain amount of success, and a
passable face is part of their stock-in-trade. Yet even among these the
proportion of faces that will bear examination is by no means large.

Émile Gautier, who was with Prince Krapotkine in the Lyons prison, remarks
that he is not acquainted with the anatomical peculiarities of criminals,
but that he knows that prisoners are not like the rest of the world.
“Their cringing and timid ways, the mobility and cunning of their looks, a
something feline about them, something cowardly, humble, suppliant, and
crushed, makes them a class apart. One would say, dogs who had been
whipped; hardly, here and there, a few energetic and brutal heads of

A curious fixed look of the eye has often been considered a characteristic
mark of, more especially, the instinctive criminal, a mark which cannot be
disguised. “I do not need to see the whole of a criminal’s face,” said
Vidocq, “to recognise him as such; it is enough for me to catch his eye.”
Lombroso finds that the eyes of assassins resemble those of the feline
animals at the moment of ambush or struggle; he has often observed it
when the man has been making a muscular effort, as in compressing a
dynamometer. Sometimes this feline and ferocious glance alternates with a
gentle, almost feminine gaze; this combination giving them a strange power
of fascination which has often been exercised on women.

Insistence on the feline aspect is very frequent among those who describe
criminals. Thus, for instance, Professor Sergi:--“I have had occasion
lately to observe a homicide, aged fifteen, who three months before
committing this murder had attempted another, and at another time showed
his ferocious nature by attacking a cow with a bill-hook and wounding it
in several places. He has been condemned to eleven years’ imprisonment, is
well developed for his age, and apparently has no morphological
abnormalities, but he is prognathous, his nose is depressed, and all the
lower part of the face, from the upper jaw down, has a savage cast. What
most distinguishes him is his look; his eye is cruel and feline in the
true sense of the word. Reserved, taciturn, even when he was free, now
that he is in prison he has the appearance of a wild beast, the glance of
a tiger.”

An interesting point in connection with the criminal physiognomy is that
it is to a large extent independent of nationality. The German criminal is
not very unlike the Italian, nor is the French unlike the English
criminal. M. Joly remarks, “I should say that in M. A. Bertillon’s office
I was shown nearly sixty photographs of Irish, English, and American
thieves. It would have been difficult in many cases to discern the
Anglo-Saxon rather than any other physiognomy.”

There is, in the opinion of many of the Italian criminal anthropologists,
a special physiognomy for different crimes, though this statement is
qualified by the well-known fact that quite different crimes may be
committed by the same person. Dr. Marro, in his _Caratteri dei
Delinquenti_, describes no fewer than eleven different classes of
criminals, though the distinctions are not all physiognomical. Professor
Lombroso’s descriptions are however the most vigorous and picturesque,
though it is scarcely possible to receive them without qualification.
Thieves he describes as frequently remarkable for the mobility of their
features and of their hands; the eyes are small and very restless; the
eyebrows thick and close; the nose often crooked or incurved; the beard
thin; the forehead nearly always narrow and receding; the complexion pale
or yellowish, and incapable of blushing. In those guilty of sexual
offences Lombroso finds the eyes nearly always bright; the voice either
rough or cracked; the face generally delicate, except in the development
of the jaws, and the lips and eyelids swollen; occasionally they are
humpbacked or otherwise deformed. Sometimes in incendiaries Lombroso has
noted a peculiar delicacy of the skin, an infantile aspect, and abundance
of hair, occasionally resembling a woman’s. The eye of the habitual
homicide is glassy, cold, and fixed; his nose is often aquiline, beaked,
reminding one of a bird of prey, always voluminous; the jaws are strong;
the ears long; the cheek-bones large; the hair dark, curling, abundant;
the beard often thin; the canine teeth much developed; the lips thin;
nystagmus frequent; also spasmodic contractions on one side of the face,
by which the canine teeth are exposed. The forger and sharper, on the
other hand, has frequently a singular air of _bonhomie_, a kind of
clerical appearance, which is indeed necessary in his business, because it
inspires confidence. Some have angelic faces; others are small, pale, and
haggard. The poisoner also frequently has a peculiarly benevolent aspect.
“In general,” Lombroso concludes, “born criminals have projecting ears,
thick hair, a thin beard, projecting frontal eminences, enormous jaws, a
square and projecting chin, large cheek-bones, and frequent gesticulation.
It is, in short, a type resembling the Mongolian, or sometimes the

It is very interesting to compare this concluding remark with some
observations made by Dr. Langdon Down, who has carefully studied and
endeavoured to classify the facial characteristics of idiots. Dr. Down
finds a resemblance between feeble-minded children and the various ethnic
types of the human family; he specially refers both to a Mongolian and a
Negroid type. Just as Professor Lombroso finds the Mongolian type most
common among his criminals, so Dr. Down finds it most common among his
idiots: “more than 10 per cent. of congenital feeble-minded children are
typical Mongols. Their resemblance is infinitely greater to one another
than to the members of their own families.” Their characteristics are very
marked: the hair is brownish (not black, as in the Mongol), straight, and
sparse, the face flat and broad, the cheeks rounded and widened laterally,
the eyes obliquely placed, and the fissure between the eyelids very
narrow, the forehead wrinkled transversely, the lips large and thick, the
nose small, the skin tawny. In Dr. Down’s Negroid type of idiot there are
characteristic cheek-bones, prominent eyes, puffy lips, retreating chins,
woolly but not black hair, and no pigmentation of skin. These points of
resemblance are of considerable interest if we are of opinion that the
instinctive criminal is best defined as a moral idiot.

As to the causes and indelibility of the criminal expression there is much
divergence of opinion. Certain writers have spoken too incautiously on
this point. Thus Professor Sergi, in the description of the homicidal lad,
already quoted in part, goes on to remark: “In him nothing is acquired,
everything is congenital.” And Maudsley, in a sombre and powerful
description of the criminal physiognomy which has often been quoted,
speaks of it as branded by the hand of nature. “Everything is congenital,”
says Professor Sergi; yet we rarely hear of a baby who looks round from
its mother’s breast with fierce and feline air. We have to distinguish
between the anatomical physiognomy and the expression or _mimique_. To the
ordinary observer the latter is far more striking; he notices at once if a
countenance is sad or merry, angry or good-tempered, cowed or elate; he
does not so readily observe the shape of the jaws, or the cut of the ears,
or the lines of the forehead, yet such marks as these are alone strictly
organic and can safely be called congenital.

M. Joly cites some interesting examples of discrepancy in the descriptions
of the same criminal under varying conditions, even when the descriptions
are the work of good observers. Some years ago a youth of nineteen, named
Menesclou, was executed for having violated and killed a little girl, whom
he afterwards cut up and burnt. A journalist on the staff of the _Figaro_,
whose reports are considered very exact, thus described him at the trial:
“Imagine a sort of abortion, bent and wrinkled, with earthy complexion,
stealthy eyes, a face gnawed by scrofula, of cunning, dissipated, and
cruel aspect. The forehead is low, the beard sparse and slovenly; the
hair, black and thrown backwards, reaches to the shoulders; it is a head
absolutely repulsive.” On the other hand, the chaplain of the prison, the
Abbé Crozes, thus wrote:--“Menesclou by no means resembles the portraits
which the journalists have drawn of him. Far from being repulsive,
hideous, repugnant, he had a sympathetic and prepossessing physiognomy,
the air of a young man who has been well brought up, a gentle, honest,
_naïve_ face; he looked, to me, like a page in a good house.”

In another example the varying descriptions have the advantage of being
written by the same person, the Abbé Moreau, successor to the Abbé Crozes
as chaplain to the Roquette Prison, and author of the valuable and
interesting book, _Le Monde des Prisons_. “At the trial of Campi,” he
wrote, “I had only perceived a coarse demoniac, brutal, cynical, making
violent repartees. His repellant head was photographed on my memory; a
slovenly beard framing a yellow, bilious face, the muscles of a beast of
prey, and, lighting up the livid features with sinister gleam, two small
piercing mobile eyes, of a ferocity which I could scarcely bear to see.
Campi left on me the most melancholy impression; his head had appeared to
me enormous; his shoulders of extraordinary breadth.” Here is another
portrait by the same hand of Campi as he appeared in prison:--“I had now
before me a young man of ordinary size, slim rather than broad, with a
calm face lighted by a good-natured smile; the eyes had lost their
ferocity. He approached me with a certain timidity, holding his cap in his
hand; and waited respectfully until I spoke to him.”

It is clear that several factors go to make up our impressions of
physiognomy. It is well known that it is difficult to estimate the
dimensions of an individual seen alone at a distance, whether a criminal
at the bar or an actor on the stage. An actor off the stage is as
commonplace as a criminal in the streets. Add to this the horror of the
spectator, to whose mental vision the crime is present, and the probable
perturbation of the criminal whose fate is being argued. Would the
conscientious reporter of the _Figaro_ have written such a description had
he simply met Menesclou as a stranger in the streets? And would the worthy
Abbé’s impression of Campi have changed so greatly if the latter had not,
when in complete command of himself, chosen to appear in an attitude of
respectful humility?

In the Middle Ages there was a law by which, when two persons were
suspected of a crime, the ugliest was to be selected for punishment. At
the present day judges are, consciously or unconsciously, influenced by
physiognomy, and ordinary human beings, who also in a humble way sit in
judgment on their fellows, are influenced in the same manner. The modern
criminal anthropologists, with all their minute and patient
investigations, have not yet, however, succeeded in making criminal
physiognomy a very exact science, and the more criminal amongst us may
still find consolation in the reflection that there are no unfailing
criteria by which our crimes may be read upon our faces.

§ 5. _The Body and Viscera._

Notwithstanding their agility and spasmodic activity, the muscular system
of criminals is generally feeble. Such few observations as have yet been
made show that muscular anomalies are found with remarkable frequency.
Thus the investigations of Guerra on the bodies of 12 normal persons and
18 criminals, showed 11 anomalous muscular conditions in the latter as
against 5 in the former.

Lacassagne some years ago pointed out the remarkable length of the
extended arms (_la grande envergure_). Although many observers refer to
this peculiarity, and in many isolated cases it is marked and doubtless
connected with the agility of criminals, as among some lower races and the
apes, I am not acquainted with any extended series of observations in
which criminals and normal persons are fairly compared in this respect.
Marro’s series, although the normal persons are in too small number, as he
himself points out, is as reliable as any, and does not in the average
show any preponderance of long-armed individuals among criminals. There
is, however, reason to believe that individuals with exceptionally long
arms are more often met with among criminals.

“Among the inmates of the Elmira Reformatory,” remarks Dr. H. Wey, “the
greatest physical deficiency and least resistive power is found in the
respiratory apparatus. Pigeon-breasts, imperfectly developed chests, and
stooping shoulders abound. During a period of eight years, with 26 deaths,
13, or 50 per cent., were from diseases of the chest, not including
affections of the heart.”

In his answers to my Questions a prison surgeon remarks, “Many men have
large nipples and large well-marked areolæ. This is often very
remarkable.” I am not aware that this has been noticed by any other
observer, and the point deserves further examination.

Heart disease is common among criminals. Out of 54 examined by Flesch, 20
per cent. died of heart disease, 50 per cent. showed affections of the
heart. Valvular insufficiency and cardiac atrophy seem to be remarkably
prevalent. Penta found endarteritis and atheroma in 82 of his 184
instinctive criminals, _i.e._ 44 per cent., although many of them were
young. The condition, he says, was diffused and pronounced; 20 of these 82
showed aortic insufficiency. It may be noted that arterial anomalies are
extremely frequent. Thus Guerra found 14 arterial anomalies in his 18
criminals as against 4 in his 12 normal persons. Heart disease is also
common among the insane. Its tendency to produce mental alterations has
often been noted; pride, egotism, and an inclination to violence are
found, especially (according to Witkowski) among those affected with
ventricular hypertrophy; with aortic disease, neurotic and hysterical
states; with mitral disease, melancholy and attacks of violence. This is
not surprising when we remember the intimate connection that subsists
normally between the heart and the brain, the vascular system forming, as
it were, the basis of the brain.

The sexual organs in women criminals very frequently reveal pathological
conditions. Undescended testis has been frequently found by one of the
medical officers who answered my Questions. Unusual size of penis by
another. It is interesting to note in this connection that Drs.
Bourneville and Sollier found exaggerated development of the glans penis
extremely common among the idiots at the Bicêtre, and that among 728
individuals examined they found no fewer than 262 presenting anomalies of
the sexual organs, an enormous proportion when compared with the ordinary
population.[29] Ottolenghi believes that “on the whole anomalies of the
genital organs have in sexual offenders no small diagnostic importance,
especially when united to other characters which distinguish them from the
honest and from criminals in general--as the greater frequency of fair
hair, of malformed ears, of bichromatism of the iris, of blue eyes, of
twisted noses, of facial asymmetry, of voluminous lower jaws, and of
various neuroses, especially epilepsy.”[30]

It may be noted here that Marro and Ottolenghi have recently studied
metabolism in criminals. The chief point that comes out is an augmented
elimination of phosphoric acid in the urine. The same has been observed in
chronic alcoholism. These researches will, no doubt, be continued.[31]

§ 6. _Heredity._

The detailed study of criminal heredity and of criminal habit, or
recidivism, scarcely forms part of criminal anthropology. It is an
important branch of criminal sociology. But the facts of heredity form
part of the evidence in favour of the reality of the criminal
anthropologist’s conclusions, and it is not possible to ignore them here
entirely. Moreover, the attitude of society towards the individual
criminal and his peculiarities must be to some extent determined by our
knowledge of criminal heredity.

The hereditary character of crime, and the organic penalties of natural
law, were recognised even in remote antiquity. They were involved in the
old Hebrew conception, which seems to have played a vital part in Hebrew
life, of a God who visited the sins of the parents upon the children unto
the third and fourth generation. We know also the story in Aristotle of
the man who, when his son dragged him by his hair to the door,
exclaimed--“Enough, enough, my son; I did not drag my father beyond this.”
And Plutarch puts the doctrine of heredity in a shape that is both ancient
and modern--“That which is engendered is made of the very substance of the
generating being, so that he bears in him something which is very justly
punished or recompensed for him, for this something is he.” Or
again--“There is between the generating being and the generated a sort of
hidden identity, capable of justly committing the second to all the
consequences of an action committed by the first.”

There are two factors, it must be remembered, in criminal heredity, as we
commonly use the expression. There is the element of innate disposition,
and there is the element of contagion from social environment. Both these
factors clearly had their part in Sbro ... who is regarded by Lombroso as
the classical type of “moral insanity.” His grandfather had committed
murder from jealousy; his father, condemned for rape, had killed a woman
to test a gun. He in his turn killed his father and his brother.
Practically, it is not always possible to disentangle these two factors; a
bad home will usually mean something bad in the heredity in the strict
sense. Frequently the one element alone, whether the heredity or the
contagion, is not sufficient to determine the child in the direction of
crime. A case given by Prosper Lucas seems to show this: “In November 1845
the Assize Court of the Seine condemned three members out of five of a
family of thieves, the Robert family. This case presented a circumstance
worthy of remark. The father had not found among all his children the
disposition that he would have desired; he had to use force with his wife
and the two younger children, who up to the last were rebellious to his
infamous orders. The eldest daughter, on the other hand, followed, as if
by instinct, her father’s example, and was as ardent and violent as he in
attempting to bend the family to his odious tastes. But in one part of the
family the instinct was lacking; they inherited from their mother.”

The influence of heredity, even in the strict sense of the word, in the
production of criminals, does not always lie in the passing on of
developed proclivities. Sometimes a generation of criminals is merely one
stage in the progressive degeneration of a family. Sometimes crime seems
to be the method by which the degenerating organism seeks to escape from
an insane taint in the parents. Of the inmates of the Elmira Reformatory,
499, or 13.7 per cent., have been of insane or epileptic heredity. Of 233
prisoners at Auburn, New York, 23.03 per cent. were clearly of neurotic
(insane, epileptic, etc.) origin; in reality many more. Virgilio found
that 195 out of 266 criminals were affected by diseases that are usually
hereditary. Rossi found 5 insane parents to 71 criminals, 6 insane
brothers and sisters, and 14 cases of insanity among more distant
relatives. Kock found morbid inheritance in 46 per cent. of criminals.
Marro, who has examined the matter very carefully, found the proportion 77
per cent., and by taking into consideration a large range of abnormal
characters in the parents, the proportion of criminals with bad heredity
rose to 90 per cent. He found that an unusually large proportion of the
parents had died from cerebro-spinal diseases, and from phthisis. Sichard,
examining nearly 4000 German criminals in the prison of which he is
Director, found an insane, epileptic, suicidal, and alcoholic heredity in
36.8 per cent. incendiaries, 32.2 per cent. thieves, 28.7 per cent. sexual
offenders, 23.6 per cent. sharpers. Penta found among the parents of 184
criminals only 4 to 5 per cent. who were quite healthy.

Even when well-marked disease is absent in the parents, exhausting and
debilitating influences, age at time of conception and overwork, may play
a disastrous part. Dr. Langdon Down (_Mental Diseases of Childhood_) has
shown how the same influences play a part in the production of idiocy;
how, for instance, a man may during periods of strain and overwork
conceive idiot children, and at other periods healthy children. Marro has
made some interesting investigations into the ages of the father at the
period of conception of criminals, as compared with ordinary persons and
with the insane. He divided the fathers into three groups, according to
age at conception: the first included those in the period of immaturity,
which he reckoned as below 25 years of age; the second was the period of
maturity from 26 to 40; the third from 41 onwards, the period of
decadence. Plate VII. represents in a graphic form the percentage of
fathers belonging to each period in various groups; the first column in
each group representing the proportion of fathers belonging to the period
of immaturity, the second those belonging to the period of maturity, the
third those belonging to the period of decadence. It will be seen that the
largest proportion of immature parents is among the class of thieves,
although among the insane the proportion is still larger. More remarkable
is the abnormally large proportion of criminals with parents belonging to
the period of decadence. It is most marked among the murderers, 52.9 per
cent. of whose fathers had passed the period of maturity; but it is very
large also, exceeding the insane among those convicted of assault and
wounding (not represented in the Plate), and among sharpers. Sexual
offenders have the largest proportion of mature fathers, the smallest of
youthful fathers. Suspecting that among idiots a very large proportion of
elderly fathers would be found, I applied to Dr. Langdon Down, who has
kindly gone through the notes of one thousand cases, and confirmed this
suspicion. He finds that in 23 per cent. cases there has been a disparity
of age of more than ten years at the birth of the idiot child, the father
in nearly every case being the elder, and that in many cases this
disparity has reached more than 25 years. It appears, then, Dr. Down adds,
that the disparity of age is a factor in the production of idiocy. It may
be added that the elderly parent, by dying and leaving his children
young and unprotected, has also a social influence in the creation of

[Illustration: PLATE VII.


It is interesting to compare these results with those of Korosi, Director
of the Hungarian Statistical Bureau, on the ordinary population. He has
investigated 24,000 cases, and found that the children of fathers below 20
are of feeble constitution; that fathers aged from 25 to 40 produce the
strongest children, and that above 40 fathers tend to beget weak children.
The most healthy children have a mother below the age of 35; the children
born between 35 and 40 are 8 per cent. weaker; after 40, 10 per cent.
weaker. The children born of old fathers and young mothers, it should,
however, be added, are generally of strong constitution. If the parents
are of the same age the children are less robust.

Such hereditary influences as these seem to have played a part in the
production of that typical criminal by instinct, T. G. Wainewright, who
appears to have had no criminals or lunatics among his ancestry. The
often-quoted case of the criminal family, first mentioned by Despine in
his _Psychologie Naturelle_, is interesting in this connection. Three
brothers, the sons of one Jean Chrétien, had children and grandchildren as

              {Jean-François, thief.
              {Claire, thief.
  Jean Joseph {Marie-Renée, thief.
              {Marie-Rose, thief.
              {Victor, thief.
              {Victorine. ---- Victor, murderer.

              {François, murderer.
       Thomas {Martin, murderer ---- (son, thief).

      Pierre--Jean-François, thief and murderer.

Nothing is told us of the man and his three sons who produced this awful
brood, save that they were not themselves condemned criminals; but
whatever the influence was, it existed in all three of the brothers, who
each begat murderers and thieves. It is by subtle hereditary influences,
as well as by the instinctive habits of a lifetime, that we must explain
the influence of criminal contagion on men of honest life and clean
record. M. Émile Gautier, a political prisoner with Prince Krapotkine and
a number of French working-men in the great prison of Clairvaux, has
recorded an experience which is of interest in this connection. “Out of
fifty political prisoners,” he writes in his interesting and thoughtful
impressions published in the _Archives de l’Anthropologie Criminelle_ in
1888, “belonging to the average, or even the _élite_, of the working-class
population of a large town like Lyons, a good half-dozen will be found who
feel themselves at home in prison, and go immediately towards the
criminal-law prisoners, assuming at once, in virtue of I do not know what
equivocal predestination, their language, their appearance, their habits,
their mental dispositions, even the same negative morality, savagery,
treachery, artfulness, rapacity, and unnatural vice.”

Alcoholism in either of the parents is one of the most fruitful causes of
crime in the child. To the drunkenness of Jupiter when Vulcan was
conceived the Romans attributed the deformity of that god; in the words of
the old Latin poet:--

  “Quis nescit crudo distentum nectare quondam
   Indulsisse Jovem Junoni; atque inde creatum
   Vulcanum turpem, coelique ex arce ruendum?”

There is to-day no doubt whatever that chronic alcoholism as well as
temporary intoxication at the time of conception modifies profoundly the
brain and nervous system of both parent and offspring. Some of the most
characteristic cases of instinctive criminality are solely or chiefly due
to alcoholism in one of the parents. When insanity and alcoholism are
combined in the parents, a rich and awful legacy of degeneration is left
to the offspring. Thus, one among many instances, Morel quotes a case in
which the father was alcoholic, the mother insane, and of the five
children one committed suicide, two became convicts, one daughter was mad,
and another semi-imbecile. Carefully-drawn statistics of the 4000
criminals who have passed through Elmira, New York, show drunkenness
clearly existing in the parents in 38.7 per cent., and probably in 11.1
per cent. more. Out of seventy-one criminals whose ancestry Rossi was able
to trace, in twenty the father was a drunkard, in eleven the mother. Marro
found that on an average 41 per cent. of the criminals he examined had a
drunken parent, as against 16 per cent. for normal persons.

Nor is it necessary that the alcoholism should be carried so far as to
produce great obvious injury to the parent. The action of the poison may
be slow and carried on from generation to generation. The fathers eat sour
grapes; the children’s teeth are set on edge.

The relation of alcoholism to criminality is by no means so simple as is
sometimes thought; alcoholism is an effect as well as a cause. It is part
of a vicious circle. For a well-conditioned person of wholesome heredity
to become an inebriate is not altogether an easy matter. It is facilitated
by a predisposition, and alcoholism becomes thus a symptom as well as a
cause of degeneration. The conclusions of Dr. Crothers, who has devoted
considerable study to this subject, are worthy of attention. He believes
that we do not sufficiently study the origin of inebriety. His conclusions
are--(1) that inebriety is itself evidence of more or less unsoundness;
(2) in a large proportion of cases it is only a sign of slow and insidious
brain disease; (3) when crime is committed by inebriates, the probability
of mental disease is very strong; (4) using spirits to procure
intoxication for the purpose of committing crime is evidence of the most
dangerous form of reasoning mania. The crime and the inebriety are only
symptoms of disease and degeneration, “whose footprints can be traced back
from stage to stage.”[32] It may be added that the danger of alcoholism,
from the present point of view, lies not in any mysterious prompting to
crime which it gives, but in the manner in which the poison lets loose the
individual’s natural or morbid impulses, whatever these may be.

If we set aside these slow and subtle causes and symptoms of
degeneration--causes which, while they may have long been recognised, are
only now beginning to be understood--there is no doubt whatever that the
criminal parent tends to produce a criminal child. There are, as Vidocq
said, families in which crime is transmitted from generation to
generation, and which seem to exist merely in order to prove the truth of
the old proverb: _bon chien chasse de race_. The investigations at Elmira
showed that in 51.8 per cent. the home was “positively bad,” and only
“good” in 8.3 per cent. A large number of the criminals investigated by
Rossi (_Studio sopra una Centuria di Criminali_) belonged to criminal
families. Two typical examples may be given:--N. N., condemned for fraud
and violence; father, alcoholic, convicted of fraud; mother, healthy; six
brothers, died young; one brother, a monster; another brother, born with
webbed fingers; another brother, highway-robber; another brother,
convicted of wounding; two sisters, one insane, the other a prostitute. R.
S., a thief, camorrista, convicted of wounding, etc; father, convicted of
wounding; paternal uncle, a thief; mother, a drunkard, convicted for fraud
and wounding; maternal grandfather, insane; maternal uncles, camorrista;
one brother, pickpocket, who five times feigned madness; another brother,
camorrista, convicted of fraud; another, thief; another, receiver;
another, camorrista and thief; a sister, honest and healthy.

Sometimes the criminal tradition is carried on through many generations
and with great skill, a kind of professional caste being formed. The
Johnson family of counterfeiters in America is an example of this. The
grandfather was a famous counterfeiter in his day; the next generation
were well known to the police; in the third generation criminal audacity
and skill appear to have reached a very high degree in seven brothers and
sisters, one of them, especially, being considered one of the most expert
counterfeiters of the day; he has spent a large part of his life in
various prisons.

The so-called “Jukes” family of America is the largest criminal family
known, and its history, which has been carefully studied, is full of
instruction.[33] The ancestral breeding-place of this family was in a
rocky inaccessible spot in the state of New York. Here they lived in log
or stone houses, sleeping indiscriminately round the hearth in winter,
like so many radii, with their feet to the fire. The ancestor of the
family, a descendant of early Dutch settlers, was born here between 1720
and 1740. He is described as living the life of a backwoodsman, “a hunter
and fisher, a hard drinker, jolly and companionable, averse to steady
toil,” working by fits and starts. This intermittent work is
characteristic of that primitive mode of life led among savages by the men
always, if not by the women, and it is the mode of life which the
instinctive criminal naturally adopts. This man lived to old age, when he
became blind, and he left a numerous, more or less illegitimate, progeny.
Two of his sons married two out of five more or less illegitimate sisters;
these sisters were the “Jukes.” The descendants of these five sisters have
been traced with varying completeness through five subsequent generations.
The number of individuals thus traced reaches 709; the real aggregate is
probably 1200. This vast family, while it has included a certain
proportion of honest workers, has been on the whole a family of criminals
and prostitutes, of vagabonds and paupers. Of all the men not twenty were
skilled workmen, and ten of these learnt their trade in prison; 180
received out-door relief to the extent of an aggregate of 800 years; or,
making allowances for the omissions in the record, 2300 years.[34] Of the
709 there were 76 criminals, committing 115 offences. The average of
prostitution among the marriageable women down to the sixth generation was
52.40 per cent.; the normal average has been estimated at 1.66 per cent.
There is no more instructive study in criminal heredity than that of the
Jukes family.

§ 7. _Tattooing._

The practice of tattooing is very common among criminals, and is
frequently carried to an extraordinary extent, twenty or thirty designs
being occasionally found on the same subject. Lombroso was the first to
point out the full biological and psychical significance of this practice.

[Illustration: Arms of criminal whose whole body was more or less
tattooed. (Lombroso.)]

Alborghetti found 15 per cent. of the inmates of the prison at Bergamo
tattooed. Lombroso examined 100 children at the reformatory at Turin, and
found 40 of them tattooed. Among 235 other youthful criminals he found 32
per cent. tattooed. Among the ordinary population tattooed children are
very rarely seen. Rossi found 23 tattooed among the 100 criminals whom he
has so carefully studied. Lacassagne among 800 convicted French soldiers
found 40 per cent. tattooed.[35]

The designs vary in character, but certain emblems are frequently
repeated. Tardieu out of 160 designs found 20 relating to love, 20 to war,
8 to religion, 8 to occupation, 6 to obscene practices.

[Illustration: A French glazier, thief, deserter from army; had been in
Africa. The chief figure on breast is St. George. (Lombroso.)]

Dr. Greaves, the medical officer of Derby Prison, has kindly noted details
of the tattoo marks observed on the prisoners received there during three
months. Out of 555 persons admitted, 41 (40 men and one woman) were
tattooed; _i.e._, 7.3 per cent. The tattooed individuals were chiefly
soldiers, with a few miners and sailors. The favourite devices were
flags, ships, anchors, female figures, bracelets, and initials. There were
two inscriptions, “Love” and “Jesus wept”; and among the less common
devices were a crucifix, Maltese crosses, a ballet girl, a mermaid, and
Chinese flower-pots. The most numerous and complex figures were all found
on soldiers.

The designs most frequently found by Rossi among his 23 tattooed criminals
were--portrait of mistress or nude woman (8); initials, either of self,
mistress, or friend (9); a transfixed heart, an emblem sometimes of love,
sometimes of vengeance (5); flowers, comets, swords, serpents, etc.

Tattooed inscriptions, as noted by Lacassagne, who has given special
attention to this matter, are frequently characteristic of the criminal’s
mental attitude; here are a few of the commonest: “Son of misfortune,” “No
luck,” “Death to unfaithful women,” “Vengeance,” “Son of disgrace,” “Born
under an unlucky star,” “Child of joy,” “The past has deceived me.”

The favourite position for tattooing, among the ordinary population, is
the front of the forearm; to a less degree the shoulders, the chest
(especially sailors), or the fingers. All who are tattooed on the back or
the sexual organs (according to Lombroso) have without exception either
been among the Pacific islands or sojourned in a prison. The greater
number of tattooed criminals are naturally found among recidivists and
instinctive criminals, especially those who have committed crimes against
the person. The fewest are found among swindlers and forgers, the most
intelligent class of criminals. There is evidence that criminals
frequently refrain from tattooing themselves because they know these
marks form an easy method of recognition in the hands of the police. It
appears that, in Italy at all events, the connection between tattoo marks
and crime has been of late recognised by the common soldiers. In 1848 the
soldiers of the Piedmontese army considered tattooing a mark of virility.
Recently, when Lombroso asked a soldier why he was not tattooed, he
replied: “Because those are the things that lead to the galleys;” and an
army doctor assured Lombroso that tattooed men were considered _a priori_
as bad soldiers.

[Illustration: PLATE VIII.

Right arm of G., French thief, etc., expelled from France, and wandered in
Africa and Australia. (Lombroso.)

M. J., French sailor and deserter; the nature of his crime is unknown.

The causes that produce tattooing are doubtless of a complex kind.
Religion, formerly and still among some races a chief cause of the
practice, was up to 1688 practised at Bethlehem by the Christian pilgrims,
and still survives at Loretto. Of 102 tattooed criminals, 31 bore
religious emblems. Vengeance frequently leads to it among criminals, and
among the feebler ones the spirit of imitation. Idleness often explains it
among prisoners, shepherds, and sailors.[36] Vanity is almost as powerful
a cause among criminals as among savages. “The more one is tattooed,” said
a Neapolitan soldier to Rossi, “the more one is esteemed and feared by
one’s companions, because it shows greater progress in the path of
crime.” Higher emotions always play a considerable part; and recollections
of childhood and the memory of loved friends are thus recorded. Lacassagne
attributes considerable importance to tattooing as a species of heraldry
used by uneducated people, analogous to the banners and seals of
corporations. Erotic passion is a very frequent--probably the most
frequent--cause of tattooing. All sorts of symbols of love, from the
initials of the loved one to the grossest emblems of unnatural passion,
are very common. The tattoo designs among prostitutes are usually of this
character; and such emblems are common among pæderasts and tribades. Among
savages nudity is of course one of the predisposing causes, and the same
cause acts among sailors and prostitutes. Lombroso attaches prime
importance to atavism. In the strict sense of the word, however, I doubt
very much whether we can legitimately accept the atavistic explanation.
The criminal is exposed to many of the influences which lead the savage to
adopt the practice, the chief of which have been already enumerated; this
is a sufficient explanation of the similarity of habit, and it seems
scarcely accurate to describe it as atavism. It is better described as a
survival. “I regard it,” Lacassagne well says in his instructive work,
_Les Tatouages_, “as the uninterrupted and successive transformation of an
instinct. The construction and material expression of metaphor and
emblematic language were first adopted by the most elevated classes, who
had no other means of communicating or materialising their thoughts.
Little by little this method took refuge with those lower classes who
have as yet no better means of expressing what they feel and experience.
It is in these classes also that vanity, or the need of approbation,
predominates, and this has a marked influence in maintaining the custom.”

Tattooing is exceedingly rare among women. Out of 300 women criminals at
Turin, Gamba found only five tattooed. Soresina, who examined 1000
prostitutes at Milan, did not find one tattooed. Lombroso, out of 200
criminal women, found only one tattooed; she came from Chioggia, was an
adultress who had killed her lover from jealousy, and she had associated
much with sailors.[37]

Among the insane tattooing does not seem always to be uncommon. In the
lunatic asylum at Ancona, we learn from Dr. Riva,[38] out of 184 men and
147 women no fewer than 16.30 per cent. of the former, and 6.80 of the
latter, were tattooed. It is worthy of note that it was chiefly among the
more severe and incurable cases of mental degeneration (dementia,
alcoholism, epilepsy, congenital mental weakness) that these signs were
found. In character and position they differed from those usually found
among criminals, by being exclusively worked on the arms and hands, and
consisting only of religious symbols, especially the Madonna of Loretto.

§ 8. _Motor Activity._

Extraordinary and ape-like agility has frequently been noted among
criminals. Every one is familiar with the daring feats of agility by which
prisoners frequently escape scatheless from the hands of their guardians.
This characteristic appears to be sometimes favoured by unusual length of
arm. A thief, incendiary, violator, and murderer, examined by Marandon de
Monthyel, showed little abnormal or criminal in his physical character,
except an extraordinary agility.

Left-handedness has, by instinct or from accurate observation, been
regarded with disfavour in the proverbial sayings of many nations. It is
decidedly common among criminals. Examining 81 normal persons, Marro found
70 right-handed, 7 left-handed, and 4 ambidextrous. Examining 190
working-men, he only found 6 left-handed. Altogether the proportion of
normal left-handed and ambidextrous persons was 6.2 per cent. Among
criminals, on the other hand, with the single exception of highwaymen, the
proportion of left-handed and ambidextrous persons was in every case
higher. Among 40 assassins in 17.5 per cent.; among 7 incendiaries in 28.5
per cent.; among 44 burglars in 18.1 percent. This corresponds with a
greater sensory obtuseness, which has also been observed on the right
side among criminals. It is also interesting to note the ambidextrous
tendency among children, savages, and idiots.

With the dynamometer, also, there appears to be a slightly greater
prevalence of excess of the left hand over the right, judging from Marro’s
experiences. It may be of interest to note here that among normal persons
the proportion in which the left hand is stronger than the right is by no
means small. Thus at the International Exhibition in London in 1884
observations made under Mr. Galton’s superintendence on 400 male
adults--artisans, clerks, professional men, etc.--between the ages of
twenty-three and twenty-six, showed that in 253 cases the right hand was
stronger than the left in squeezing power; in 147 the left was stronger;
in 28 both hands were equal. If we divide the individuals thus examined
according to occupation the results vary curiously. Of 18 chemists, in 12
the right hand was stronger, in 5 the left, in 1 both were equal. Of 9
carpenters and joiners, in 4 the right hand was stronger, in 3 the left,
in 2 both were equal. Of 87 clerks, in 52 the right hand was stronger, in
29 the left, in 6 both were equal. Of 9 medical men, in 5 the right hand
was stronger, in 4 the left. Of 7 clergymen and ministers, in 3 the right
hand was stronger, in 3 the left, in 1 both were equal. The high
proportion of right-handed squeezers among the chemists is no doubt due to
the effects of occupation, to the constant practice of gripping heavy
bottles with the right hand. Occupation also, no doubt, among the
carpenters and joiners, favours squeezing power in the left hand. The
factor of occupation is less obvious among clerks, but would no doubt
favour the right hand, and among these the proportion keeps very close to
the average among the 400. The doctors are almost as left-handed in this
respect as the carpenters, though the result can scarcely be influenced by
occupation; while the clergymen, who are certainly most free from the
influence of occupation in this respect, are the most left-handed of all,
although here the figures are too small to allow of any very reliable

It seems that sufficient care has not yet been taken to determine what
constitutes left-handedness. The relative strength of the two hands is not
enough to decide this, for mancinism, or left-sidedness, is a matter of
relative skill as well as of relative strength. It is quite possible for a
person to be left-handed in some respects, right-handed in others; thus
(as happens to be the case with the present writer) he may be right-handed
in regard to all those actions which are exercised habitually and
socially, or which are the result of training, and left-handed in all
other respects. In such a case there appears to be a natural tendency to
left-sidedness, which is controlled and concealed by training, but which
takes every opportunity to assert itself in more unguarded directions. It
appears to me that the act of throwing a stone, an act requiring delicate
nervous adjustment as well as muscular force, and which is not subjected
to the influence of artificial training, is for practical purposes the
most convenient and accurate test for determining left-handedness. This
was the test adopted by Clapham and Clarke; they found that 6 per cent. of
the 500 criminals examined were left-handed.[39]

Ottolenghi has recently investigated the anatomical mancinism of
criminals. At the suggestion of Lombroso, he has measured with Bertillon’s
instruments, which give the maximum of precision, the length of the hands,
the middle fingers, and the feet in 100 criminals and 50 normal persons.
Differences of less than a millimetre he disregarded. He found that while
the right hand was longer in 14 per cent. of the normal persons, it was so
in only 5 per cent. of the criminals generally, and in none of the thieves
and pickpockets. In 35 per cent. of the pickpockets the left hand was
longer as against 11 per cent. in the normal persons. Very similar results
came out in regard to the fingers. In 38 per cent. of the normal persons
the right foot was longer, in only 27 per cent. of the criminals; in this
respect, however, the pickpockets (35 per cent.) most nearly approach the
normal, while those convicted of wounding, who in regard to the hand are
nearest to the normal, are in this respect farthest from the normal. In 15
per cent. of the normal persons the left foot was longer, in 35 per cent.
of the criminals, including 55 per cent. of the cases for wounding, and in
56 per cent. of the sexual offenders. It should be added that this
anatomical mancinism is not necessarily related with motor mancinism.[40]

Anomalies of the tendon reflex of the knee are very common among
criminals; they are either exaggerated or, very frequently, absent.
Lombroso found feeble tendon reflexes especially common among thieves, and
a very large proportion of exaggerated tendon reflexes among sexual
offenders. Marro also found the highest proportion of exaggerated
reflexes (the enormous proportion of 40 per cent.) among sexual offenders.
There was an alcoholic or insane parentage among 79 per cent. of those
with exaggerated reflexes.

§ 9. _Physical Sensibility._

The extent to which tattooing is carried out among criminals, sometimes
not sparing parts so sensitive as the sexual organs, which are rarely
touched even in extensive tattooing among barbarous races, serves to show
the deficient sensibility of criminals to pain.[41] The physical
insensibility of the criminal has indeed been observed by every one who is
familiar with prisons. In this respect the instinctive criminal resembles
the idiot to whom, as Galton remarks, pain is “a welcome surprise.” He may
even be compared with many lower races, such as those Maoris who did not
hesitate to chop off a toe or two, in order to be able to wear European
boots. Dr. Felkin found the maximum distance at which two points of a
compass could be distinguished at the tip of the tongue was in an average
European 1.1 mm., in a Soudanese 2.6 mm., in a negro 3 mm.

Lauvergne mentions a convict, imprisoned for life, who smiled with
pleasure when, moxas having been applied to him, he saw his skin burning
and heard it crack. Sbro ... (who killed his brother and his father),
Lombroso’s favourite typical case of “moral insanity,” was found by
Tamburini and Seppilli to be without perception of pain when tested with
a needle. Other criminals have been found very deficient in sensibility to
the electric current. Dr. Nicolson remarked: “They are comparatively free
from that agitation and tremulousness which are so apt to arise under
circumstances involving suspense and painful foreboding. The prisoner with
the knowledge of a probable flogging on the morrow, instead of giving way
to restlessness and anxiety, maintains a calm and stolid behaviour.” It is
not uncommon to read in the newspapers of criminals who hold out their
hands to be handcuffed without the slightest trembling, and who eat
heartily on the eve of execution, or even while the jury above are still
deliberating on their fate.

One of Rossi’s hundred criminals received when a child his father’s blows
“as caresses,” and he was able to walk with a dislocated foot from Genoa
to Novi (some thirty miles); another wounded himself severely and declared
that it gave him no pain. Dr. Penta, in the course of his elaborate
researches, found that the majority of his 184 instinctive criminals at
Santo Stefano were insensible to the pain of punctures, burns, cuts, and
even grave surgical operations. “I have extirpated tumours,” he remarks,
“of considerable size, in the back and the neck, without the necessity of
producing anæsthesia, and without causing pain; in a case of feigned
epilepsy ammonia to the nose caused no reflex phenomenon, and deep
puncture and burning of the skin produced no painful contraction.”

This insensibility shows itself also in disvulnerability, or rapid
recovery from wounds, first pointed out by Benedikt, which appears to be a
frequently observed phenomenon among criminals; thus it had been noticed
by several of the medical officers of prisons who answered my
Questions.[42] In this respect the instinctive criminal resembles the
lower animals as well as the lower races of man; among the Egyptians,
Chinese, and Annamites, and other races, wounds heal much more rapidly
than in Europe. Thus Mr. Tregear remarks:--“I have seen a Maori speared
with a big rafting-spear (an iron-shod pole thicker than the wrist), the
point driven through the breast, just under the collar-bone, and coming
out at the back. In a week’s time he walked fifteen miles, crossing a
mountain range, the wound being healed.”[43] Benedikt speaks of a brigand
who, in a revolt of prisoners, had several vertebræ broken; all his wounds
healed, and the giant of former days became a dwarf, but he could work at
the forge with a heavy hammer with all his old vigour. Lombroso knew a
thief whose frontal bone was cloven laterally with a hatchet; in fifteen
days he was cured without any relapse. He speaks also of a murderer who,
when working as a mason, was reproved for some fault; he threw himself
from the third storey into the court; every one supposed he was killed,
but he got up, smiling, and asked to be allowed to continue work. A
pregnant woman performed on herself Cæsarean section with a kitchen knife,
subsequently killing the child; she recovered without dressings and
without fever. We hear also of a criminal with a fractured rib and
pleurisy who could hew wood and travel in a cart over rough mountain
roads. “Individuals who possess this quality,” Lombroso remarks, “consider
themselves privileged, and treat with contempt those who appear delicate
and sensitive. It is a pleasure to such men to torment others whom they
regard as inferior beings.”

Though loud in their complaints of trivial ailments, they are often
unconscious of severe illness. At Chatham, in 1888, a prisoner dropped
down dead on returning from labour; both lungs were found in an early
stage of pneumonia, and death was probably due to syncope; he had made no
complaints to any one. Prisoners will inflict severe injuries on
themselves in order to gain some very trifling object. At Chatham, in
1871-72, 841 voluntary wounds or contusions are recorded; 27 prisoners
voluntarily fractured a limb, and 17 of them had to submit to amputation;
62 tried to mutilate themselves, and 101 produced wounds by means of
corrosive substances. Lombroso found the general sensibility decreased in
38 out of 66. Working with Du-Bois Reymond’s electrical apparatus, in
conjunction with Marro, he found the sensibility of the criminals much
inferior to that of the normal persons examined. Swindlers possessed much
greater sensibility than murderers and thieves. Marro found sensibility,
measured by an esthesiometer, most obtuse in murderers and incendiaries.
Similar results were obtained by Ramlot, in reference to tactile
sensibility; he examined 103 criminals and 27 normal persons, and found
obtusity in 44 per cent. of the former, and in only 29 per cent. of the
latter.[44] It should be noted that cases of excessive sensibility, due
either to extreme pusillanimity, or to some morbid condition of the skin
or brain, are also found among criminals.

The eyesight of criminals was found by Bono to be superior to the normal.
He examined 190 youthful delinquents, and compared them with over 100
youths of similar age in an agricultural institute, the examination in all
cases being made under the same conditions. The visual acuity of 49 per
cent. of the criminals was superior to 1.5 Snellen; only 31 per cent. of
the honest youths possessed an equal acuteness.

Ottolenghi obtained similar results.[45] He examined 100 criminals with
Snellen’s types in the open air, using various precautions to ensure
uniformity and accuracy. The results were--

  Visus (average) for 82 thieves   = 1.8
    "       "         18 homicides = 2.2
    "       "        100 criminals = 2.0

In one of the homicides sight was exceedingly keen (V = 3). He examined 15
warders, between the ages of 27 and 45, under the same conditions, and
found vision = 1.5. Further observations on this point are needed, as
previous observers (Bielakoff, for instance) have found the sight of
criminals inferior to the normal. If Ottolenghi’s results are confirmed by
extended observation, there is an interesting analogy on this point
between criminals and many lower races. Thus examinations by Seggel in
1881 yielded the following results--

  Terra del Fuegians       V = 5
  Nubians                  V = 3
  Georgians                V = 1¾

while among German and Russian soldiers the average varied between 1⅖ and

Ottolenghi also found colour-blindness very rare; he met with one case
(green-blindness) among 460 criminals tested with Holmgren’s wools. This
result also corresponds with examinations of lower races, such as
Samoyeds, Lapps, Esquimaux, Nubians, etc. It should be added that this
result also needs confirmation, as it does not correspond with other
observations. Thus Holmgren found that colour-blindness existed in 5.60
per cent. of 321 criminals, while among 32,000 of the ordinary population
the proportion was scarcely 3.25 per cent. Dyschromatopsia has been found
common, a fact of great significance, since this disorder is so frequently
connected with grave disturbance of the nervous system.

The healthiness of eye in criminals, if confirmed, may be compared with a
similar condition in imbeciles. In a study of twenty young adult male
imbeciles of a minor degree than idiocy, Dr. Oliver found vision normal
and colour perception apparently normal, and the eyes singularly free from
the slight morbid changes so common in the eye. This condition, “which is
shown by a proper balance of muscular action, a persistence of congenital
hypermetropia, and an abnormally healthy appearance of the eye-ground
(presenting a picture that is almost identical to the one seen during
infantile existence), may be considered as significant of a type of
unused, healthy, adult human eye.”[46]

The hearing of criminals is relatively obtuse, and they are prone to
disease of the ear. Thus Dr. Gradenigo, at the request of Lombroso,
undertook a series of researches into the matter,[47] in 110 instinctive
and occasional criminals. Of the 82 criminal men he examined, 55 (67.3 per
cent.) proved to be inferior to the normal. Of these 82, there were 40 who
were instinctive criminals, and of these 29 (72.5 per cent.) had defective
hearing. Of the 28 women, 15 (53.5 per cent.) possessed hearing inferior
to the normal. Four of the women, however, possessed hearing much superior
to the normal average.[48] Gradenigo found that the defective hearing was
due in the great majority of cases to inflammatory affections of the
middle and internal ear. He found no constant relation between defective
hearing and obtusity of touch, taste, and smell, frequently found among

Ottolenghi has examined the olfactory acuteness of 80 instinctive
criminals (50 men and 30 women) and 50 normal persons of the middle and
lower classes. He constructed a kind of osmometer consisting of twelve
acqueous solutions of essence of cloves, contained in similar bottles in
similar quantities. The solutions were graduated from 1/50000 to
1/100.[49] Beginning with the weakest solution he noted when olfactory
sensation commenced; and he also used the method of Nichols and Bailey,
inviting the subject to arrange the bottles in order of intensity. The
result, unlike what he had expected, was to show distinctly that the
olfactory sense is less developed in the criminal than in the normal
person, and slightly less in the criminal women than in the criminal men.
Among normal persons (as Nichols and Bailey had previously found) the
olfactory sense of women is less keen than that of men. Among the 80
criminals, 8 (6 men and 2 women) possessed no olfactory sensibility; in 2
of these there was entire absence of perception, in 6 absence of specific

Ottolenghi has also investigated the sense of taste in criminals.[50] He
examined 60 instinctive criminals, 20 occasional criminals, 20 normal
persons of the lower class, 50 students and professional men, 20 criminal
women and 20 normal women, all healthy and robust, and for the most part
between the ages of twenty and fifty. The three test substances used were
sulphate of strychnia, saccharine, and common salt; various precautions
(attention to uniformity of amount of solution used, temperature of
solution, cleanliness of mouth, etc.) were adopted in order to make a
series of experiments, full of practical difficulties, as reliable as
possible. From these experiments, it appeared that the sense of taste is
more developed in the normal man than in the criminal, and more developed
in the occasional criminal than in the instinctive criminal. He found
gustatory obtuseness in 38.3 per cent. of the instinctive criminals, in 25
per cent. of the lower class men examined, and in 14 per cent. of the
professional men. The criminal women also showed a larger proportion of
gustatory obtuseness than the normal women. He noted, however, that the
women who passed as normal, but who were given to vice and prostitution,
showed an even larger percentage of gustatory obtuseness than criminal
women. The defect in gustatory acuteness seemed to him generally to be
rather of a qualitative than quantitative character. The generic
excitation was produced in a large number of cases as soon as in the
normal person, but the specific sensation was very retarded. The subject
was conscious of a taste, but could not tell of what kind it was; that is
to say, the defect was situated centrally, in the cerebral cortex, rather
than in the sensorial apparatus.

It is worthy of note that criminals begin to use tobacco at an early age.
Thus among a population which normally begins to smoke before the age of
thirty only in the proportion of 14 per cent. (and the insane 7.2 per
cent.), 22 per cent. of criminals smoke before the age of thirty, and
nearly all (279 out of 300 males and 32 out of 32 women) before entering
prison. Venturi[51] found tobacco used by 14.3 per cent. of normal men,
1.5 of normal women; 45.8 of criminal men, 15.9 of criminal women.
Marambat[52] concluded that the love of tobacco was the first passion that
rooted itself in the youthful criminal. Out of 603 juvenile delinquents,
between the ages of eight and fifteen, 51 per cent. had acquired the
custom of using tobacco before their detention.

Lombroso notes that the sensibility of criminals to the weather appears to
be greater than that of the ordinary population. He found it in 29 out of
112. There were 9 who became quarrelsome shortly before storms, and one
of these remarked that his companions always foretold bad weather when he
sought to quarrel. Dostoieffsky observed that quarrels and disturbances
were particularly common among the convicts in the spring. What is true of
the Russian prisoners in Siberia seems also to be true of American
prisoners at New York. From some tables given by Dr. Wey of Elmira it
appears that marks for bad conduct are specially numerous in the spring,
and also, to some extent, in the autumn.

_Vaso-motor Sensibility._--Inability to blush has always been considered
the accompaniment of crime and shamelessness. Blushing is also very rare
among idiots and savages; the Spaniards used to say of the South American
Indians: “How can one trust men who do not know how to blush?” From the
investigations of Amadei, Tonnini, and Bergesio, it appears that if we
compare lunatics and criminals, twice as many of the latter are incapable
of blushing. Pasini, in his examinations of women, noted blushing in 21
per cent. of murderers, 20 per cent. of poisoners, 18 per cent. of
infanticides, and only 10 per cent. of thieves. It was not at the mention
of their offences that they blushed, but when questioned concerning their
menstrual functions. Out of 130 criminal women examined by Salsotto, 50
blushed when spoken to concerning their offences. Dr. Andronico of Messina
communicated to Lombroso some interesting, though too general,
observations concerning the prostitutes and young female criminals in
prison under his charge. “Among the inscribed prostitutes,” he remarks,
“none blushed when questioned concerning their occupation. I have seen
some of them blush when reproached for unnatural practices. I have noted
that female homicides narrate their deeds ingenuously and without
blushing; those who have poisoned their husbands blush, but partially.
Among female prisoners condemned for theft, blushing shows itself first on
the ears, then on the face; those who are condemned for excitation to
prostitution do not blush.”

In order to test the vaso-motor reactions of the criminal to various
thoughts and emotions, Lombroso made a series of very interesting
experiments, during the course of a year, with the sphygmograph and with
Mosso’s ingenious and valuable instrument, the plethysmograph. With the
sphygmograph (or, rather, the hydrosphygmograph) he observed the degree of
excitement produced on various individuals by the sight of wine, cigars,
food, money, and photographs of nude women. The plethysmograph is a
delicate instrument for measuring mental excitement, depending on the fact
that the slightest emotion causes an alteration in the amount of blood
present in any part of the body.[53] With the plethysmograph Lombroso
found that the strongest impressions (superior to the normal) were
produced by cowardice, fear of the judge, some favourite mode of
excitement (wine or women), but above all, by vanity. It is not, however,
easy to generalise from his observations; it is necessary for such
observations to be carried on during a long period on a great number of
persons, normal as well as criminal, and to be carefully controlled. They
are of very great interest, for they enable us to penetrate into the most
secret recesses of the mind, and to measure the force of the motives that
move it. It is to be hoped that they will be conducted on a much larger
scale than they have hitherto been.

All these researches into the physical sensibilities of the criminal are
of the first importance, and it is necessary that they should be greatly
extended and carefully checked. So far they nearly all converge to show
that the criminal is markedly deficient in physical sensibility. On this
physical insensibility rests that moral insensibility, or psychical
analgesia, as it has been called, which is, as we shall see, the
criminal’s most fundamental mental characteristic.



§ 1. _Moral Insensibility._

The moral insensibility of the instinctive and habitual criminal, his lack
of forethought, his absence of remorse, his cheerfulness, had been noted
long before they were exhaustively studied by Despine. In the _argot_ of
French criminals, conscience is _la muette_, and to induce any one to lead
a dishonest life is _l’affranchir_. This moral insensibility is, indeed, a
commonplace of observation with all who have come in close contact with
criminals. Gall remarked: “If criminals have remorse, it is that they have
not committed more crimes, or that they have let themselves be caught.”
Dostoieffsky, speaking from his intimate and sympathetic acquaintance with
convicts in Siberia, said: “During so many years I ought to have been able
to seize some indication, however fugitive, of regret, of moral suffering.
I have perceived positively nothing. Seclusion and excessive work only
develop among those people a profound hatred, the thirst of forbidden
pleasures, and a terrible indifference.” He goes on to tell of a parricide
who remarked carelessly, in the course of conversation: “Take my father,
for example; he was never ill up to the day of his death.” “Scenes of
heartrending despair are hardly ever witnessed among prisoners,” observes
Dr. Wey of Elmira; “their sleep is disturbed by no uneasy dreams, but is
easy and sound; their appetites, also, are excellent.”[54] “It is a most
singular thing,” remarks Mr. Davitt, “that I have met very few individuals
in prison who gave evidence in appearance or talk of being _truly_
miserable, no matter what the length of their sentence, amount of extra
punishment, or contrast between their previous and their convict life may
have been.”[55] Mr. Davitt seems inclined to attribute this sinister
contentment to a sort of heroic fortitude providentially implanted in the
criminal breast. He refers, however, to one man who never smiled during
the time he was in Dartmoor. “His existence seemed to be one perpetual
sorrow, and he formed altogether the most striking exception to the rule
of non-despairing prisoners which came under my notice during my long
intercourse with Dartmoor’s criminal population.” Now this man was a
Swansea stone-mason who had come home one Saturday evening “a little
fresh,” but not drunk, to find his wife in tears, and on learning that she
had been insulted by a man who lived on the other side of the street, he
rushed out, chisel in hand, to the man’s house and left him desperately
wounded. It is clear that this man, who was sentenced to seven years’
penal servitude, was not an instinctive criminal, or an habitual criminal
at all; it was the strength of his social, and not of his anti-social,
instincts which had caused his crime. He was merely a criminal by passion,
and his case forms, therefore, no exception to the general rule.

On the whole we may conclude that the practice of the instinctive and
habitual criminal corresponds very closely with the faith of that
religious sect who in Commonwealth days held “that heaven and all
happiness consists in the acting of those things which are sin and
wickedness,” and “that such men and women are most perfect and like to God
or eternity which do commit the greatest sins with least remorse.”

Despine, in his _Psychologie Naturelle_ (1868), studied this question on
the largest scale in order to obtain exact results. “I addressed myself
for this purpose,” he tells us, “to the collection of the _Gazette des
Tribunaux_, going back to 1825, and I soon acquired certainty that this
psychical peculiarity is an invariable rule among these criminals.... I
acquired the certainty that those who premeditate and commit crime in cold
blood never experience moral remorse. I found also that those who manifest
acute sorrow and real remorse after a criminal act, have committed that
act either under the influence of a violent passion which has momentarily
stifled the moral sense, or by accident, without intention.” He concludes
that the two great psychical conditions for crime are moral insensibility
and perversity, with two accessory moral anomalies, imprudence and lack of

“You premeditated your crime?” said the judge. “Yes, for eighteen months.”
“But that is monstrous.” “I know; I ought to have done it in April, but
having no money, I arranged it for January.” A murderer, after receiving
sentence, was led out in the midst of a crowd who hurled imprecations at
him. He saw a comrade and shouted to him, almost laughing--“Hallo! I’ve
just been condemned to death.” An Albanian, after having killed a
traveller to rob him, lamented that the expense of the shot amounted to
five paras; he had only found four paras on the victim; that was his one
regret. An assassin after his crime passed two days eating and drinking
with a comrade; “he was as gay as a lark,” said the latter. “But,” said
the judge to the accused, “one fact indicates remorse on your part: you
were about to cut your throat when arrested.” “That was that I might not
be taken to prison.”

Wainewright unblushingly avowed his atrocities. How could he kill such an
innocent and trustful creature as Helen Abercrombie, he was asked once.
After a moment’s reflection he replied, “Upon my soul I don’t know, unless
it was because she had such thick legs.”

It would be easy to give many similar stories exhibiting the moral
insensibility of the instinctive criminal, frequently manifested in brutal
bravado. They are, however, easily accessible and of sufficient notoriety.
It is enough to give one more. A corporal at Paris killed an old woman,
the landlady of an inn, in order to rob her. He was condemned to death
without any hope that his penalty would be commuted. He knew this, but was
not disturbed, and was proud of his calmness and _sangfroid_; he talked to
his warders on the most various subjects, without reference, however, to
his crime; read books from the prison library, and finally devoted himself
to what he called the literary labours of his last hours. He had a taste
for verse, and wrote a drama concerning his crime. “Death!” he often said
to those around him; “I cannot fear it either as a soldier or as a
philosopher. Yet it is overtaking me in my youth and strength. It is a
terrible thing, but I am prepared, and I shall go to my execution
courageously and with head erect.” The acts of this Socratic criminal
agreed with his words. He slept peacefully, rose and dressed himself with
a smile on his lips, glad, as he said, to find himself still in this
world, where it is, after all, so pleasant to live. His appetite was
always good, and he joked with the warder who attended him about the small
amount of food supplied to him. “Patience!” he exclaimed, “_à la guerre
comme à la guerre_.”

An executioner told Lombroso that all the highwaymen and murderers went to
their deaths joking. It would, however, be a mistake to trace moral
insensibility in the tranquil avocations and _bon-mots_ of men who,
whatever their crimes, are about to pay the extreme forfeit for them. One
criminal occupied his last hours with arranging his unpublished literary
works; another gave lessons in hygiene to the warders; a third remarked to
those who sought to hurry him to the place of execution, “Do not be
disturbed; they will not begin without me.” Such stories have, however,
been recorded of the most eminent political offenders in all countries.

[Illustration: PLATE IX.]

Dr. Corre, in his interesting work, _Les Criminels_, has investigated the
historic and judicial documents relative to the last moments of 88
criminals condemned to death, of whom 64 were men and 24 women. Of the men
25 died in a cowardly manner, already half-dead with fear, or else after a
despairing struggle with the executioner. These were more than two-fifths
of the whole number, and included many of the chief criminal celebrities,
some of them educated men, doctors and priests. Four accepted their fate
in a state of extreme nervous excitement, accompanied by loquacity. Twelve
maintained to the end a cynical and theatrical attitude; these were
vain individuals, often with some pretensions to literary ability;
Lacenaire is the type of them. Five died with indifference, an impassivity
which recalls the insensibility of the brute or the unconsciousness of the
madman. Eighteen went out of the world with a calm and resigned courage,
often repentant, and prepared by the exhortations of the priest. They
belonged to various social classes. Those of the lower classes were
generally more sincere, and publicly avowed their guilt, holding
themselves up as warnings to others; those belonging to the middle
classes, anxious to leave behind a doubt as to their guilt, declared
themselves innocent; others were silent. Of the 24 women, only 5 (about
one-fifth) showed cowardice. Only one, a poisoner, showed “revolting
cynicism.” The rest, 18 in number, were self-possessed and resigned,
frequently repentant, and generally consoled by religious administrations.
In this category is included the Marquise de Brinvilliers, who for a long
quarter of an hour was exposed to an immense crowd nearly naked--“mirodée,
rasée, dressée et redressée par le bourreau,” wrote Mme. de Sevigné--with
unshaken firmness. Three-fourths of the women, little more than one-fourth
of the men, are among those who died with resigned self-possession. The
cynicism, cowardice, and brutal passivity of the others alike testify to
moral insensibility.

Out of more than 400 murderers Bruce Thomson had known, only three
expressed remorse. Of the 4000 criminals who have passed through Elmira,
36.2 per cent. showed on admission positively no susceptibility to moral
impressions; only 23.4 per cent. were “ordinarily susceptible.” Dr.
Salsotto, in his recent study of 130 women condemned for premeditated
assassination or complicity in such assassination,[56] was only able to
recognise genuine penitence in six. He is careful to point out that
precise statistics on this point are of no great value, unless they are
associated with a very intimate knowledge of individual criminals; the
assumed penitence is seldom real, and the real penitence is not obtrusive.
Dostoieffsky, the most profound student of the human heart who has ever
studied criminals intimately, has noted this fact--“In one prison there
were men whom I had known for several years, whom I believed to be savage
beasts, and for whom, as such, I felt contempt; yet at the most unexpected
moment their souls would involuntarily expand at the surface with such a
wealth of sentiment and cordiality, with such a vivid sense of their own
and others’ suffering, that scales seemed to fall from one’s eyes; for an
instant the stupefaction was so great that one hesitated to believe what
one had seen and heard.”

The moral insensibility of the instinctive criminal is the cause of his
cruelty, a cruelty which he frequently displays from his childhood. Rossi
found in ten of his 100 criminals an exaggerated and precocious cruelty;
one of them, as a child, used to take young birds, pull out their
feathers, and roast them alive; another revenged himself on birds for the
punishments imposed on him by his parents. A certain amount of cruelty is,
however, almost normal in healthy children. The instinctive criminal is
more distinctively marked by his continuance of the same practices
throughout life. At Buenos Ayres a man killed his father in order to rob
him, and not finding the money, he placed his mother’s feet on the fire to
make her confess that of which she was ignorant. Another, after killing an
entire family, played with the corpses of the children by throwing them in
the air and catching them alternately. Another, mentioned by Lombroso,
when shown a photograph of his wife whom he had murdered, testified to the
identity without the tremor of an eyelid, tranquilly adding that after
inflicting the fatal wound he had asked for forgiveness, which had not
been granted. A little nursemaid poisoned the twin children under her care
with the phosphorus from a box of matches, in order to procure the
excitement of going out to the doctor’s and the chemist’s.[57]

In India no motive for murder seems too unnatural or too far-fetched to be
occasionally true. “A village schoolmaster in Aligarh (1881) killed one of
his pupils; and a stepfather in the same district threw his two stepsons
into the Ganges because he was tired of them. A man in Jhansi (1885)
killed his daughter because his neighbour had slandered her, in order that
the girl’s blood might be upon the neighbour’s head. A master murdered his
servant (1881) and threw the body before his enemy’s door, solely in order
to bring a false charge against the latter. A similar case occurred in
Azamgarh five years later: a boy was murdered by his grandfather and
uncle; they threw the body into a sugar-cane field, and then charged the
owner with the crime. A still stranger story comes from the Mutha
District: Randbir, a Jat, who had once been a thriving man in Randbirpur,
fell into the hands of the moneylenders, lost his property and his house,
and became for some crooked reason embittered against his old
fellow-villagers. He made up his mind to bring them into trouble. Taking
his chopper with him, he met a little Chamar girl, whom he took into a
temple in Bahadurpur. There he cut her throat and slightly wounded
himself, and then brought a charge of dacoity and murder against the
people of his old village.”[58]

Such moral insensibility is, no doubt, intimately related to the physical
insensibility already noted, and is of an equally morbid or atypical
character. It passes far beyond that of the savage with which the moral
insensibility involved in deliberately killing or injuring a
fellow-creature may fairly be compared. “How you snore!” said one person
to another. “Do it again, and I kill you.” An hour afterwards he killed
him. Lord Gifford mentions an Australian woman of the Muliana tribe who
admitted having killed and eaten two of her own children, who annoyed her
by crying. (The Australian aborigines are, however, usually very tender to
their children.) A Maori chief said to Mr. Tregear--“If I go out for a
morning walk with my spear, and I see a man, and I push my spear through
him, _that_ isn’t murder--that is ‘_killing_.’ But if I invite him to my
home, give him food, tell him to sleep, and then kill him, _that_ is
‘_murder_.’”[59] Such a clear-cut distinction as this testifies to a
considerable degree of moral insensibility. It must be noted, however,
that while in this respect the criminal approximates to the savage, he is
at the same time related to those more or less civilised persons who
tolerate killing with equanimity when it is called war.

§ 2. _Intelligence._

The two most characteristic features in the intelligence of the average
criminal are at first sight inconsistent. On the one hand he is stupid,
inexact, lacking in forethought, astoundingly imprudent. On the other hand
he is cunning, hypocritical, delighting in falsehood, even for its own
sake, abounding in ruses. These characteristics are fully illustrated in
the numerous anecdotal books which have been written concerning crime and

Several attempts have been made to attain accurate figures as to the
relative intelligence of criminals, but there must be a considerable
element of guess-work in such calculations. Dr. Marro, a reliable
observer, detected a notable defect of intelligence in 21 cases out of
500. He found that incendiaries and then murderers yielded the largest
proportion of individuals with defective intelligence; then came
vagabonds, sexual offenders, those convicted of assault, highwaymen, and
those convicted of simple theft. The fraudulent class, as well as
pickpockets and burglars, showed no instances of defective intelligence.
That is to say that criminals against the person show a much lower level
of intelligence than criminals against property.

The stupidity and the cunning of the criminal are in reality closely
related, and they approximate him to savages and to the lower animals.
Like the savage, the criminal is lacking in curiosity, the foundation of
science, and one of the very highest acquisitions of the highly-developed
man. He is constantly compared in this respect to animals. Macé, a former
chief of the Parisian _police de sûreté_, remarks: “In spite of the
cunning and tricks, which are too gratuitously credited to thieves, their
stupidity generally is scarcely credible; they nearly all resemble the
ostrich who, when his head is hidden behind a leaf, thinks that he is not
seen because he cannot see.” Dr. Corre remarks: “There is something feline
in the criminal: like the cat, indolent and capricious, yet ardent in the
pursuit of an aim, the anti-social being knows only how to satisfy his
impulsive instincts.” Dr. Wey of Elmira says: “It is a mistake to suppose
that the criminal is naturally bright. If bright, it is usually in a
narrow line and self-repeating. Like the cunning of the fox, his smartness
displays itself in furthering his schemes, and personal gratification and
comfort.” “Many criminal illiterates,” he remarks elsewhere, “are so
densely stupid as to be unable to tell the right hand from the left.” M.
Joly, discussing the criminal’s delight in ruse, adds: “Animals are of all
living things fondest of ruse when their special instincts are in action.
Idle and untrained children, resolved to deceive their teachers and to
amuse themselves at all risks, are more _rusé_ than their comrades at the
head of the class. Women make use of ruse much more than men.” I will
quote, finally, on this point some words of Dr. A. Krauss[60]:--“The
specialists say that criminals are more astute than intelligent. But what
is this astuteness? It is an instinctive, innate faculty, which does not
depend on real intelligence, and which is already found precociously
perfected in children, in the lowest savages, in women, and also in
imbeciles; although experience comes to its aid, it is never capable of
artificial culture. It is essentially a faculty limited to the
consideration of concrete cases, and which is chiefly concerned with the
deception of others. The mental inertia so often combined with this
faculty is recognised in this, that a criminal, in planning a crime, does
not calculate all the possible eventualities, and immediately after the
success of his action he loses all caution, as if the energy of his mind
directed to the project and its execution was exhausted at one stroke.
Beside this instinctive faculty, intelligence is a faculty of infinite
variety, which matures slowly, and gradually affects language and
questions of abstract culture. It needs to be cultivated with diligence,
and with the help of a happy organisation of the nervous centres. It often
develops late even in highly-gifted men.”

At the same time men of undoubted intellectual power are sometimes found
among criminals. Villon, one of the truest, if not one of the greatest of
poets, was a criminal, a man perpetually in danger of the gallows; it does
not seem to me, however, by any means clear that he was what we should
call an instinctive criminal. Vidocq, a clever criminal who became an
equally successful police official, and wrote his interesting and
instructive _Memoirs_, may not have been, as Lombroso claims, a man of
genius, but he was certainly a man of great ability. Eugene Aram is now
generally recognised as a comparative philologist who foresaw and to some
extent inaugurated some of the later advances of that science.

[Illustration: PLATE X.]

Jonathan Wild is an interesting example of a criminal of great practical
ability, a man whose genius for organisation would have made him equal to
any position in which he might have been placed. “In the republic of the
thieves’ guild”--I quote Mr. Pike’s excellent summary of his
career[61]--“Jonathan Wild became as it were a dictator; but like many of
the great men of the middle ages, he owed his greatness to double dealing.
From small beginnings he became, in London at least, the receiver-in-chief
of all stolen goods. He acquired and maintained this position by the
persistent application of two simple principles: he did his best to aid
the law in convicting all those misdoers who would not recognise his
authority, and he did his best to repair the losses of all those who had
been plundered and who took him into their confidence. By degrees he set
up an office for the recovery of missing property, at which the government
must, for a time, have connived. Here the robbed sought an audience of the
only man who could promise them restitution; here the robbers congregated
like workmen at a workshop, to receive the pay for the work they had done.
Wild was, in some respects, more autocratic than many kings, for he had
the power of life and death. If he could reward the thief who submitted to
him, he could hang the robber who omitted to seek his protection. If he
could, for a sufficient fee, discover what had been lost, he could, when
his claims were forgotten, make the losers repent their want of worldly
wisdom. He was not above his position, and never allowed such a sentiment
as generosity to interfere with the plain rules of business. He carried
a wand of office, made of silver, which he asserted to be an indication of
authority given to him by the government. Valuable goods he carefully
stowed away in some of his numerous warehouses; and when there was no
market for them in England, through the apathy of the persons robbed, or
the dangers to dishonest purchasers, he despatched them on board a ship of
his own to Holland, where he employed a trustworthy agent. Like barbarian
monarchs, he gave presents when he wished to express a desire for
friendship and assistance; and in order that the recipients of these
favours might not be compromised, he retained a staff of skilled artizans,
who could so change the appearance of a snuff-box, a ring, or a watch,
that not even the real owner could recognise it. When satisfied with the
good service of any of his subordinates who might be in danger, he gave
them posts in his own household, with money and clothing, and found
employment for them in clipping and counterfeiting coin. He did not even
restrict his operations to London, but, in imitation of other great
conquerors and pillagers, or perhaps through the independent working of
his own intellect, he divided England into districts, and assigned a gang
to each; each had to account to him, as the counties of old to the king,
for the revenue collected. And as a well-appointed army has its artillery,
its cavalry, and its infantry, so among Jonathan Wild’s retainers there
was a special corps for robbing in church, another for various festivities
in London, and a third with a peculiar aptitude for making the most of a
country fair. The body-guards of a sovereign are usually chosen for their
appearance, or for tried valour in the field. Wild’s principle of
selection was somewhat different. He considered that fidelity to himself
was the first virtue in a follower, and that fidelity was certain only
when there was absolute inability to be unfaithful. For this reason the
greatest recommendation which any recruit could possess was that he had
been a convict, had been transported, and had returned before the time of
his sentence had expired. Such a man as this not only had experience in
his profession, but was legally incapable of giving evidence against his
employer. Through his actions he was always in the power of Wild, who, as
the law stood, could never be in his power. Thus Wild’s authority was in
two ways supreme. Nor was he the first man who ever abused such authority.
He did what political parties had done in earlier times. He used without
stint or scruple all the means at his disposal, either to ensure his own
safety, or to crush any one whom he suspected. It was necessary, according
to the public opinion of his time, that a considerable number of thieves
and robbers should be hanged; he satisfied at once the popular notions of
justice and his own principles by bringing to the gallows all who
concealed their booty, or refused to share it with himself. When required,
he provided also a few additional victims in the form of persons who had
committed no offence whatever. Sometimes he destroyed them because they
were unfortunately in possession of evidence against himself, sometimes
only because a heavy reward had been offered for the conviction of any one
who might have perpetrated a great crime, and because, with the gang at
his back, it was quite as easy to prove the case against the innocent as
against the guilty, and not less convenient.” Wild’s greatness had a
sudden fall. He was arrested for coming to the rescue of a highwayman near
Bow, and his enemies at once took courage. He was speedily overwhelmed
with evidence, and was hanged in 1725.

§ 3. _Vanity._

The vanity of criminals is at once an intellectual and an emotional fact.
It witnesses at once to their false estimate of life and of themselves,
and to their egotistic delight in admiration. They share this character
with a large proportion of artist and literary men, though, as Lombroso
remarks, they decidedly excel them in this respect. The vanity of the
artist and literary man marks the abnormal element, the tendency in them
to degeneration. It reveals in them the weak points of a mental
organisation, which at other points is highly developed. Vanity may exist
in the well-developed ordinary man, but it is unobtrusive; in its extreme
forms it marks the abnormal man, the man of unbalanced mental
organisation, artist or criminal.

George Borrow, who was so keen a student of men, has some remarks on the
vanity of criminals in regard to dress:--“There is not a set of people in
the world more vain than robbers in general, more fond of cutting a figure
whenever they have an opportunity, and of attracting the eyes of their
fellow-creatures by the gallantry of their appearance. The famous Sheppard
of olden times delighted in sporting a suit of Genoese velvet, and when he
appeared in public generally wore a silver-hilted sword at his side;
whilst Vaux and Hayward, heroes of a later day, were the best-dressed men
on the _pavē_ of London. Many of the Italian bandits go splendidly
decorated, and the very gipsy robber has a feeling for the charms of
dress; the cap alone of the Haram Pasha, a leader of the cannibal gipsy
band which infested Hungary towards the conclusion of the last century,
was adorned with gold and jewels to the value of four thousand guilders.
Observe, ye vain and frivolous, how vanity and crime harmonise. The
Spanish robbers are as fond of this species of display as their brethren
of other lands, and, whether in prison or out of it, are never so happy as
when, decked out in a profusion of white linen, they can loll in the sun,
or walk jauntily up and down.” He then describes the principal features of
Spanish robber foppery.[62]

More significant and even more widely spread is the moral vanity of
criminals. “In ordinary society,” said Vidocq, “infamy is dreaded; among a
body of prisoners the only shame is not to be infamous; to be an _escarpe_
(assassin) is the highest praise.” This is universally true among every
group of murderers or of thieves; the author of a large criminal
transaction is regarded by all his fellows as a hero, and he looks down
upon the others with contempt; the man who has had the misfortune to be
imprisoned for a small or, in the opinion of criminal society,
disreputable offence, represents himself as the author of some crime of

A Russian youth of nineteen killed an entire family. When he heard that
all St. Petersburg was talking of him, he said: “Now, my schoolfellows
will see how unfair it was of them to say that I should never be heard
of.” It is this same weak-minded desire to excite interest and sympathy
which leads young men and women of ill-balanced mental organisation to
commit suicide in some public and startling fashion. The same feeling, and
also, doubtless, the need for expression, leads to the frequency with
which criminals keep diaries. The Marquise de Brinvilliers wrote a minute
account of her vices and crimes which was brought up in evidence against
her; Wainewright appears to have kept a diary of this kind which also fell
into other hands; John Wilkes Booth, the shallow-brained young actor who
killed President Lincoln, had, with his stagy patriotism, some of the
characteristics of the instinctive criminals, showing themselves
especially in his morbid vanity. The chief suffering he felt after the
deed was to his vanity. He wrote in his diary: “I struck boldly, and not
as the papers say; I walked with a firm step through thousands of his
friends; was stopped, but pushed on. A colonel was at his side. I shouted
_Sic Semper_ before I fired. In jumping broke my leg. I passed all the
pickets. Rode sixty miles that night, with the bone of my leg tearing the
flesh at every jump.” And again he writes: “After being hunted like a dog
through swamps, woods, and last night chased by gun-boats till I was
forced to return, wet, cold, and starving, with every man’s hand against
me, I am here in despair. And why? For doing what Brutus was honoured
for--what made Tell a hero.” And again: “I am abandoned, with the curse of
Cain upon me, when, if the world knew my heart, that one blow would have
made me great.”

The excessive vanity of the criminal sometimes leads him to commit the
imprudence of talking about his plans beforehand, and so courting
detection. Before killing three rich men, a murderer was heard to say, “I
want to do something great: oh, I shall be talked about!” We hear of
Wainewright’s “insatiable and morbid self-esteem.” He enjoyed the respect
paid to him in prison, and insisted upon being treated as a gentleman. A
prisoner concluded a letter to her accomplice, “Your Lucrezia Borgia.”
Sometimes the vanity of the criminal shows itself in the artistic or
dramatic representations which he makes of his crime. Perhaps the most
curious and audacious attempt is that recorded by Lombroso, who gives a
representation of it: three assassins had themselves photographed as they
appeared with knives in their hands and looks of resolute villainy, when
about to commit the deed.

The Abbé Moreau has described the reception of a great criminal by his
fellows at the prison of La Grande Roquette. He is immediately surrounded,
though the curiosity remains respectful; “he is a king in the midst of his
subjects; envious looks are cast at those privileged individuals who have
succeeded in placing themselves near him; they listen eagerly for his
slightest word; they do not speak their admiration for fear of
interrupting him, and he knows that he dominates and fascinates them.”

§ 4. _Emotional Instability._

The criminal everywhere is incapable of prolonged and sustained exertion;
an amount of regular work which would utterly exhaust the most vigorous
and rebellious would be easily accomplished by an ordinary workman. He is
essentially idle; the whole art of crime lies in the endeavour to avoid
the necessity of labour. This constitutional laziness is therefore one of
the chief organic bases of crime. Make idleness impossible and you have
done much to make the criminal impossible. It is not without reason that
French criminals call themselves _pègres_ (from _pigritia_), the idle.
Lemaire, a notorious French criminal of the beginning of the century, was
speaking for all his class when he said to his judges: “I have always been
lazy; it is a shame, I admit, but I am not adapted for work; to work one
needs an effort, and I am incapable of it; I only have energy for evil; if
one must work I do not care about life; I would rather be condemned to

While he is essentially lazy, and exhibits this even in his general
neglect of personal cleanliness (though sometimes dressed outwardly as an
ordinary man of the world), the criminal is capable of moments of violent
activity. He cannot, indeed, live without them; they are the chief events
of his spiritual life.

Louis Desprez, an unfortunate _littérateur_, imprisoned at Saint-Pélagie
for a literary offence, “summed up the psychology of criminals,” remarks
M. Émile Gautier, “in one picturesque formula: They see the world under
the aspect of an immense gaol alternating with an immense brothel. And
this is true. For them imprisonment is the normal condition. Liberty is
their holiday, an occasional transitory holiday, during which they wallow
in the _far niente_ and debauch, like sailors who consume in three days
the earnings of eighteen months, but a holiday which will have an end, a
foreseen and expected end.”

The criminal craves for some powerful stimulus, excitement, uproar, to
lift him out of his habitual inertia. That is why the love of alcohol is
in all countries so strong among criminals. The man who is organised as we
have seen the criminal to be must have some powerful stimulant to take him
out of himself, to give him a joy which is otherwise beyond his grasp, and
alcohol is the stimulant which comes easiest to hand. When, as frequently
happens, he is the child of alcoholic parents, the craving for drink soon
obtains morbid intensity. Crime and drink are intimately bound together,
although we must beware of too unreservedly setting down drink as the
cause of crime. Both crime and drink are the morbid manifestations of
organic defects which for the most part precede birth. The abuse of
alcohol is not, however, universal among criminals, at all events when any
intellectual ability is required. “It would not do to drink in our
business,” said a sharper to Lombroso.

The criminal finds another strong form of excitement in gambling. The love
of cards is even more widely spread among criminals than the love of
drink. It frequently becomes a passion. Lauvergne tells of a band of
criminals who played for two days without intermission. We hear of a
French prisoner who gambled away his meagre rations of bread and wine and
at last died of starvation; of another who in the excitement of the game
forgot his approaching execution.

To all forms of sexual excitement, natural and unnatural, criminals of
both sexes resort, often from a very early age. The prison, in which the
criminal is confined alone, or with persons of the same sex, serves to
develop perverted sexual habits to a high degree. Prince Krapotkine,
speaking of the moral influence of prisons on prisoners in France,
writes:--“The facts which we came across during our prison life surpass
all that the most frenzied imagination could invent. One must have been
for long years in a prison, secluded from all higher influences and
abandoned to one’s own and that of a thousand convicts’ imaginations, to
come to the incredible state of mind which is witnessed among some
prisoners. And I suppose that I shall say only what will be supported by
all intelligent and frank governors of prisons, if I say that the prisons
are _the_ nurseries for the most revolting category of breaches of moral
law.”[63] There is unquestionable evidence that the same practices exist,
notwithstanding all discipline, in English prisons.

Such practices grow up chiefly as a means of excitement and diversion in
vacuous lives. Love, in its highest and strongest forms, seems to be
extremely rare. This is true even when love is the cause of the crime. The
love, even when strong, remains rather brutal. When a man was asked if he
really loved the woman for whose sake he had murdered her husband, he
replied: “Oh, if you had seen her naked!”

The craving for excitement, for intoxication, for uproar, finds its chief
satisfaction in the love of orgy, which is now almost confined, at all
events in its extreme forms, to the criminal and his intimate ally, the
prostitute. The orgy is the criminal’s most sacred festival; here he
attains his highest experiences of forgetful exhilaration. Vidocq, still
a criminal at heart, even after he had become a police official, has
described the orgy in his _Memoirs_:--“Imagine a rather large square hall,
with walls, once white, now blackened by exhalations of every kind: such
is, in all its simplicity, the aspect of a temple of Bacchus and
Terpsichore. At first by a very natural optical illusion, one is only
struck by the smallness of the place, but when the eye succeeds in
piercing the atmosphere, thick with a thousand vapours which are not
inodorous, the size becomes manifest by the details which escape from the
chaos. This is the moment of creation; everything clears up; the mist
dissipates, becomes peopled and animated; there is movement, agitation,
not of empty shadows but of substantial forms which cross and interlace in
every direction. What beatitude! What a joyous life! Never for epicureans
were so many felicities gathered together as here for those who love to
wallow in mire. Around, rows of tables, on which, without their ever being
cleaned, disgusting libations are renewed a hundred times a day, serve to
frame in a space which is reserved for what are called the dancers. At the
end of this infectious den rises, supported by four worm-eaten pillars, a
kind of platform, its construction hidden by two or three fragments of old
tapestry. On this hencoop the musicians are perched, two clarinettes, a
fiddle, a loud trombone, and a deafening drum.... In this receptacle one
finds none but prostitutes and their bullies, sharpers of all kinds,
swindlers of the lowest sort, and a good many of those disturbers of the
night whose lives are divided into two parts, one consecrated to rowdyism,
the other to robbery.”

More interesting than this resort to external sources of stimulus, and
more significant of emotional instability, are the spontaneous outbursts
of excitement common among criminals, curious self-evolved intoxications
springing from mysterious and incalculable depths of the organism.
Dostoieffsky has studied these outbursts and admirably described them. “A
prisoner has lived tranquilly,” he tells us,[64] “for several consecutive
years, and his conduct has been exemplary. All at once, to the great
astonishment of his guardians, he mutinies and recoils before no crime,
even murder or rape. Every one is astonished. This unexpected explosion is
the anguished, convulsive manifestation of personality, an instinctive
melancholy, a desire to affirm the degraded _ego_, an emotion which
obscures the judgment. It is like a spasm, an access of epilepsy; the man
who is buried alive and who suddenly awakes strikes in despair against his
coffin-lid; he strives to push it back, to raise it; his reason convinces
him of the uselessness of all his efforts, but reason has nothing to do
with his convulsions. It must not be forgotten that nearly every
manifestation of the personality of the prisoner is considered a crime;
also that the question whether the manifestation is important or
insignificant is perfectly indifferent to the prisoner. Risk for risk, it
is better to go to the extreme, even to murder. It is only the first step
that costs; little by little the man is carried away and can no longer be
held in.” The prison has much to answer for in the development of these
emotional outbreaks, and it is only in prison that there is opportunity of
studying them. It would, however, be rash to conclude that they are
entirely due to prison conditions. They are in harmony with all that we
know of criminal psychology, and it is not alone under prison conditions
that they are the causes of crime.

In Germany these periodic explosions (known as _Zuchthaus-Knall_) have
been described by Delbrück and Krafft-Ebing. In Italy they have been noted
by Lombroso, especially in very hot weather and at such times as epileptic
attacks are most frequent, and he regards them as fresh proof of a close
relationship between the instinctive criminal and the epileptic. In
England they appear to be rare in men, but, on the other hand, common in
women who have, in prison language, “broken out.” This wild fit of
maniacal violence which from time to time seizes on the women confined in
prisons, and might almost be regarded as an exaggerated or vicarious form
of orgy, has been studied with some care in England. Here as well as
abroad it is frequently supposed to be a voluntary insubordination
deserving punishment.

A lady superintendent thus described the “breaking out” to
Mayhew:--“Sometimes they know when the fit is coming on, and will
themselves ask to be locked up in the refractory wards. When they’re in
these fits they’re terribly violent indeed; they tear up and break
everything they can lay their hands on. The younger they are the worse
they behave. The most violent age, I think, is from seventeen to two or
three and twenty;--indeed they are like fiends at that age very often.”
The medical officer told him that “4 per cent. of the whole of the
prisoners, or 20 in 600, were subject to such fits of violent passion, and
these were almost invariably from fifteen to twenty-five years of age.”
“Women,” he added, “seldom injure themselves or those around them, though
they will break their windows, and even occasionally tear their own
clothing to ribbons.”[65]

Miss Mary Carpenter, in her _Female Life in Prison_, reproduces what she
tells us is a characteristic dialogue:--

“‘Miss G., I’m going to break out to-night.’

“‘Oh, nonsense; you won’t think of any such folly, I’m sure.’

“‘I’m sure I shall.’

“‘What for?’

“‘Well, I’ve made up my mind, that’s what for. I shall break out
to-night--see if I don’t.’

“‘Has any one offended you or said anything?’

“‘N-no. But I _must_ break out. It’s so dull here. I’m sure to break out.’

“‘And then you’ll go to the “dark” [cell].’

“‘I want to go to the “dark.”’

“And the breaking out often occurs as promised; the glass shatters out of
the window frames; strips of sheets and blankets are passed through or
left in a heap in the cell; the guards are sent for, and there is a
scuffling and fighting and scratching and screaming that Pandemonium might
equal, nothing else.”

Dr. Nicolson has made an interesting observation as to the periods when
these “breakings-out” are most liable to occur. “At dates corresponding
with the menstrual period there is a greater likelihood of their
occurrence. Besides having verified this in several cases myself, I have
the testimony of experienced prison matrons to the same effect.” These
maniacal outbursts of hysteria may be compared to the somewhat similar
effects observed especially at the menstrual periods among the epileptic,
the insane, and the imbecile. Thus Dr. H. Sutherland (_West Riding Asylum
Reports_, vol. ii.), from observations on 500 inmates of the West Riding
Asylum, remarks that in epileptic insanity the fits are generally
increased in number, and the patients generally become excited at the
catamenial period; while the mania exacerbations usually occur at this
time. He notes the frequency of excitement, violence, indecent language,
tearing up clothes, etc., among insane women generally at this period. In
a girl with congenital imbecility, who became violent, cruel, and
capricious at puberty, Dr. Langdon Down noted that the monthly period was
always marked by insubordination, violent language, rude gestures, and
untruthfulness. In ordinary healthy young girls the onset of the monthly
period is often marked by a fit of unusual boisterousness.

The period of the year seems also to have some influence on the emotional
instability. Miss Carpenter remarks that “the prisoners are always the
most ill-behaved at Christmas time,” perhaps because this period has, even
before the days of Christianity, been associated with excesses. Among the
men at Elmira, judging from the charts given by Dr. Wey, there is a
tendency to insubordination in the autumn, and also in the spring. In
Spanish prisons, it appears from Salillas’s _Vida Penal en España_,
quarrels and arrests are much more common in spring and summer than at any
other season. Thus, to take one record: March-May, 8; June-Aug., 9;
Sept.-Nov., 4; Dec.-Feb., 3. Two suicides both occurred in September.

Very interesting is the instinctive and irresistible character of
criminal impulses, as shown by evidence which there is no good reason to
impeach. Casanova, speaking of his clever schemes of fraud, says: “When I
put into execution a spontaneous idea which I had not premeditated, it
seemed to me that I was following the laws of destiny, and yielding to a
supreme will.” Several pickpockets have said to Lombroso: “You see, in
those moments of inspiration (_sic_) we cannot restrain ourselves, we have
to steal.” “I did try very hard, Miss,” the women will sometimes say to
the matron, remarks Miss Carpenter, “but it wasn’t to be. I was obliged to
steal, or to watch some one there was a chance of stealing from. I did try
my best, but it couldn’t be helped, and here I am. It wasn’t my fault
exactly, because I _did_ try.” A pickpocket said to Marro: “When I see any
one pass with a watch in his pocket, even though I have no need of money,
I feel a real need to take it.” Dostoieffsky, giving a minute account of
one of the convicts who was most feared, but who was sincerely devoted to
him, says: “He sometimes stole from me, but it was always _involuntary_;
he scarcely ever borrowed from me, so that what attracted him was not
money or other interested motive.” Once it was a Bible which he sold to
obtain drink. “Probably he felt a strong desire for drink that day, and
when he felt a strong desire for anything it had to be satisfied. I
endeavoured to reproach him as he deserved, for I regretted my Bible. He
listened to me without irritation, very peacefully; he agreed with me that
the Bible is a very useful book, and he sincerely regretted that I no
longer possessed it, but he felt no repentance, not even for an instant,
for having stolen it; he looked at me with such assurance that I
immediately ceased to scold him. He bore my reproaches because he judged
that it could not be otherwise, that he deserved to be blamed for such an
action, and that I ought to abuse him, in order to relieve myself, as a
consolation for the loss; but privately he esteemed it a folly, a folly
which a serious man would have been ashamed to speak of. I even think he
regarded me as a child, an urchin who does not understand the simplest
things in the world.”

Precisely the same instinctive and involuntary impulses, unaccompanied by
shame, are found among various lower races. Of the natives of British New
Guinea, for instance, it has been said, “They are inveterate thieves, but
they experience no sense of shame when they are discovered. They
frequently say that they can feel an irresistible power which compels them
to put out their hand and close it upon some article which they covet, but
which does not belong to them.”[66]

§ 5. _Sentiment._

It may seem a curious contradiction of what has already been set down
concerning the criminal’s moral insensibility, his cruelty, and his
incapacity to experience remorse, when it is added that he is frequently
open to sentiment. It is, however, true. Whatever refinement or tenderness
of feeling criminals attain to reveals itself as what we should call
sentiment or sentimentality. Their cynicism allies itself with sentiment
in their literary productions. Their unnatural loves are often
sentimental, as revealed in the character of the tattoo marks. Two
interesting examples of criminal sentiment have recently been recorded by
Dr. Lindau. A German criminal (it is perhaps as well to note that he was a
German), having murdered his sweetheart most cruelly, went back to her
house to let out a canary which might suffer from want of food. Another,
after having killed a woman, stayed behind to feed her child which was
crying. Lacenaire, on the same day that he committed a murder, risked his
own life to save that of a cat. Eugene Aram was very indulgent to animals.
Wainewright was always very fond of cats; in his last days “his sole
companion was a cat for which he evinced an extraordinary affection.” One
of the chief characters of Wainewright’s essays is their sentimentality.
Himself, when in prison, he described as the possessor of “a soul whose
nutriment is love, and its offspring art, music, divine song, and still
holier philosophy.”

[Illustration: PLATE XI.]

All prisoners make pets of birds, or animals, or flowers, if they get the
chance. This is simply the result of solitude, and has no connection
whatever with criminal psychology. It is found, if anything, more
frequently among non-criminal prisoners. No one has described better than
Dostoieffsky, in his _Recollections of the Dead-House_, the part that
animals play in the lives of prisoners. He describes at length the goat,
the horse, the dogs, the ducks, the eagle. No one who has once read it may
forget the history of the eagle. The eagle would not be tamed; solitary
and inconsolable he refused all food; at last his mournful despair aroused
the sympathy of the convicts; they resolved to liberate him, bore him to
the ramparts on the cold and grey autumn afternoon, and stood long and
wistfully watching him as he winged his way across the steppes, free.

Family affection is by no means rare among criminals. Often indeed, as is
well known, it constitutes the motive for the crime. It is very rare to
find a prisoner who is not touched by an allusion to his mother. Inspector
Byrnes, of New York, says: “Remember that nearly all the great criminals
of the country are men who lead double lives. Strange as it may appear, it
is the fact that some of the most unscrupulous rascals who ever cracked a
safe, or turned out a counterfeit, were at home model husbands and
fathers. In a great many cases wives have aided their guilty partners in
their villainy, and the children too have taken a hand in it. But in as
many all suggestions of the criminal’s calling was left outside the front
door. There was George Engles, the forger. His family lived quietly and
respectably, mingled with the best of people, and were liked by all they
met. George Leonidas Leslie, _alias_ Howard, who was found dead near
Yonkers, probably made away with by his pals, was a fine-looking man, with
cultured tastes and refined manners. Billy Porter and Johnny Irving were
not so spruce, but they would pass for artisans; and Irving is said, in
all his villainy, to have well provided for his old mother and his
sisters. Johnny the Greek paid for his little girls’ tuition at a convent
in Canada, and had them brought up as ladies, without even a suspicion of
their father’s business reaching them. I know this same thing to be done
by some of the hardest cases we have to contend with.”

Inspector Byrnes also mentions a celebrated burglar and forger of
America, called by the fraternity “the Prince of Thieves,” on account of
his great liberality; “it is a well-known fact that he has always
contributed to the support of the wives and families of his associates
when they were in trouble.”

The criminal appreciates sympathy. Dostoieffsky tells how immediately the
convicts responded to a governor who was affable and good-natured, and
treated the prisoners as equals: “They did not love him, they adored
him.... I do not remember that they ever permitted themselves to be
disrespectful or familiar. On the contrary. When he met the governor the
convict’s face suddenly lighted up; he smiled largely, cap in hand, even
to see him approach.” Prince Krapotkine quotes and confirms the
observations of Dr. Campbell, an experienced prison surgeon. By mild
treatment, says Dr. Campbell, “with as much consideration as if they had
been delicate ladies, the greatest order was generally maintained in the
hospital.” He was struck with that “estimable trait in the character of
prisoners--observable even among the roughest criminals; I mean the great
attention they bestow on the sick. The most hardened criminals,” he adds,
“are not exempt from this feeling.”

Such sentiment as this--limited, imperfect, fantastic, as it may sometimes
seem--is the pleasantest spot in criminal psychology. It is also the most
hopeful. In the development of this tenderness lies a point of departure
for the moralisation of the criminal. What a ruined fund of fine feeling,
for instance, was concealed in the young thief, recorded by Lombroso, who
committed suicide by hanging, having first set his shoes on the bed
between two straw crosses, as though to say, “I am going; pray for me.”
“If one thinks of it,” adds Lombroso, “it is a pathetic poem.”

§ 6. _Religion._

In all countries religion, or superstition, is closely related with crime.
The Sansya dacoits, in the Highlands of Central India, would spill a
little liquor on the ground before starting on an expedition, in order to
propitiate Devi. “If any one sneezed, or any other very bad omen was
observed, the start was postponed. If they heard a jackal, or the bray of
the village donkey, their hearts were cheered; but a funeral or a snake
turned them back. They were also very superstitious about their oil. The
vessel was not allowed to touch the ground until the oil had been poured
upon the torch, and then it was dashed on the earth; and from that moment
until the job was finished no water touched their lips.”[67]

Among 200 Italian murderers Ferri did not find one who was irreligious. “A
Russian peasant,” remarks Mr. Kennan, “may be a highway robber or a
murderer, but he continues nevertheless to cross himself and say his
prayers.” Dostoieffsky also notes the religious ardour with which the
convicts gave candles and gifts to the church. All those who live by
unlawful methods, said Casanova, confide in the help of God. Naples is the
most criminal city in Europe for crimes against the person; the number of
murderers there is about 16 in 100,000, while in Italy generally it is
8.12; and in Ireland (the least criminal land in Europe) it is about 5.
Naples is also the most religious city in Europe. “No other city,”
observes Garofalo,[68] “can boast of such frequent processions; no other,
perhaps, is so zealous an observer of the practices of the church. But
unfortunately--as an illustrious historian [Sismondi], speaking of the
Italians of his day, wrote--‘the murderer, still stained with the blood he
has just shed, devoutly fasts, even while he is meditating a fresh
assassination; the prostitute places the image of the Virgin near her bed,
and recites her rosary devoutly before it; the priest, convicted of
perjury, is never inadvertently guilty of drinking a glass of water before
mass.’ Those words of Sismondi’s,” Garofalo adds, “are as true to-day as
when they were written.” Of Marro’s 500 criminals, 46 per cent. were
regular frequenters of church, 25 per cent. went irregularly. Among sexual
offenders the proportion of frequenters rose to 61 per cent. A man of
sixty, known to Marro, imprisoned for rape on a child of eight, was much
scandalised at the irreligious talk of some of his companions. “I do not
imitate them,” he said; “morning and evening I say my prayers.”

Among women, the governor of Saint Lazare remarked to M. Joly, it is
especially the criminals by passion who are superstitious, thieves very
slightly so; they are practical women.

It must not be supposed that there is insincerity or hypocrisy in the
religion of criminals. For the man of low culture the divine powers lend
themselves easily to the succour of the individual, and it is always as
well to propitiate them. German murderers believe they can do this
crudely, according to Casper, by leaving their excrement at the spot of
the crime. A rather higher grade of intelligence will effect the same end
by prayer. A wife who was poisoning her husband wrote to her
accomplice:--“He is not well ... if God wished it. Oh, if God would have
pity on us, how I would bless Him! When he complains [of the effects of
the poison] I thank God in my heart.” And he answers, “I will pray to
Heaven to aid us.” And she again, “He was ill yesterday. I thought that
God was beginning His work. I have wept so much that it is not possible
God should not have pity on my tears.” Lombroso found 248 tattooed
prisoners out of 2480 bearing religious symbols, while the slang of
criminals witnesses to a faith in God, in the immortality of the soul, and
in the church. When a woman who had strangled and dismembered a child, in
order to spite its relations, heard her sentence of death pronounced, she
turned to her advocates and said, “Death is nothing. It is the salvation
of the soul that is everything. When that is safe, the rest is of no

It is clear how easily religious beliefs and religious observances,
especially in Catholic countries, lend themselves to the practices of the
ignorant criminal, and it very rarely happens that the criminal condemned
to death fails to avail himself of the ministrations of the chaplain (only
once in more than thirty years at La Roquette), and frequently to respond
to them with gratifying eagerness. In religion his primitive emotional
nature, with its instability and love of sentiment, easily finds what it
needs. A French chaplain of experience and intelligence told M. Joly that
he had “more satisfaction” with his prisoners than with people of the
world. The Rev. E. Payson Hammond, who has conducted many missions to
prisoners, finds very great aptitude for conversion among them. Of the
convicts of the State Prison of Jefferson City, in the United States, for
instance, he remarks:--“Many hearts were melted to tears, and I believe
that a very large number were converted.” “Convicts at their last hour,”
wrote Lauvergne, “nine times out of ten die religiously. Whatever the
enormity of their crimes, they all leave durable recollections in the
heart of the priest who assists them. He sees them long afterwards in his
dreams, beautiful and happy.”

When the criminal is not superstitiously devout, he is usually stupidly or
brutally indifferent. Maxime du Camp, during a visit to the prison of
Mazas, at service time on Sunday, had the curiosity to look into
thirty-three cellules, to observe the effect of the ceremony: three were
reading the mass; one stood up, with covered head, looking at the altar;
one was on his knees; one displayed a prayer-book, but was reading a
pamphlet; one wept with head buried in his arms; twenty-six sat at their
tables, working or reading.

It seems extremely rare to find intelligently irreligious men in prison.
The sublime criminals whom we meet with in Elizabethan dramas, arguing
haughtily concerning Divine things and performing unheard-of atrocities,
are not found in our prisons. Free-thinkers are rarely found. A trifle
will induce the prisoner to inscribe himself as Protestant, instead of
Catholic, or _vice versâ_, or to change from one side to the other; but
out of 28,351 admissions to three large metropolitan prisons, remarks the
Rev. J. W. Horsley, only fifty-seven described themselves as atheists, and
this number, he adds, must be further reduced as containing some Chinese
and Mahommedans. It should be noted that a profession of atheism would
deprive the prisoner of no advantage or privilege open to the others. Mr.
Horsley once resolved to keep notes of the first twelve consecutive cases
of those who on entrance described themselves either positively as
atheists or negatively as of no religion. The results were interesting: 1
was a thief, a rather ignorant person, whose chief reason for being an
infidel was that his parents had “crammed religion down his throat.” 2 an
ex-soldier, a heavy drinker, and when asked why he had described himself
as an atheist, “he said he only called himself mad;” he was actually
insane. 3 a burglar, who said he meant that he never attended church
because he had seen so much hypocrisy among professing Christians; in a
few days he gave up the designation of atheist. 4 was a swindler, a great
liar, and probably insane. 5 was a lad of nineteen, of very little
intellect, who had deserted from the army; his father had been “a follower
of Bradlaugh.” 6 a German Jew, who frequented Christian churches, but not
having been baptised, simply did not know how to describe himself. 7 an
intemperate schoolmaster, charged with deserting his family; he meant that
he had ceased to attend religious worship because he was conscious that
his religion was merely formal; his “atheism” was simply a form of
penitent self-abnegation. 8 a conceited lad of seventeen who had assaulted
his guardian, and had adopted atheism to justify his spirit of revenge. 9
a young man who had robbed his employer; he was brought up under religious
influences, but having attracted attention by objecting to revealed
religions, became a Secularist lecturer. 10 a prostitute and
dipsomaniac with 150 convictions; always called herself an atheist when
she was in a bad temper or drunk. 11 a young baker who had taken poison;
called himself an atheist under influence of laudanum; goes regularly to a
Congregational Chapel. 12 a girl of fifteen; she meant that she rarely, if
ever, attended any place of worship. So that only in two or three, or at
most four cases out of the twelve, was there profession of atheism in any
legitimate sense of the word.

[Illustration: PLATE XII.]

§ 7. _Thieves’ Slang._

Every profession, every isolated group of persons, almost every family
possesses a more or less extended set of words and phrases which are
unintelligible to strangers. This dialect is termed in English _slang_, in
French _argot_, in Italian _gergo_. The most highly developed and the most
widely extended slang of this kind is that used by habitual criminals.
Every country has its own thieves’ slang, but within the bounds of that
country the slang is generally intelligible; the Lombard thief, Lombroso
remarks, can understand the Calabrian; Parisian _argot_ is intelligible at
Marseilles. The use of criminals’ slang marks the recidivist. “When a man
talks _argot_,” said the Abbé Crozes, “he is registered in the army of

“I was jogging down a blooming slum in the Chapel, when I butted a reeler,
who was sporting a red slang. I broke off his jerry, and boned the clock,
which was a red one, but I was spotted by a copper, who claimed me. I was
lugged before the beak, who gave me six doss in the Steel. The week after
I was chucked up I did a snatch near St. Paul’s, was collared, lagged, and
got this bit of seven stretch.” That is a pickpocket’s history of his
arrest as narrated to Mr. Davitt. Here is the translation:--“As I was
walking down a narrow alley in Whitechapel, I ran up against a drunken
man, who had a gold watch-guard. I stole his watch, which was gold, but
was seen by a policeman, who caught me and took me before the magistrate,
who gave me six months in the Bastille [the old House of Correction,
Coldbath Fields]. When I was released I attempted to steal a watch near
St. Paul’s, but was taken again, convicted, and sentenced to seven years’
penal servitude.”

Mr. Horsley has an interesting passage on English thieves’ slang, which I
will transcribe at length:--“Of multifold origin, it is yet mainly derived
from Romany or gipsy talk, and thereby contains a large Eastern element,
in which old Sanskrit roots may readily be traced. Many of these words
would be unintelligible to ordinary folk, but some have passed into common
speech. For instance, the words bamboozle, pal (companion, a friend), mull
(to make a mull or mess of a thing), bosh (from the Persian), are pure
gipsy words, but have found some lodging, if not a home, in our
vernacular. Then there are survivals (not always of the fittest) from the
tongue of our Teutonic ancestors, so that Dr. Latham, the philologist,
says--‘The thieves of London’ (and he might still more have said the
professional tramps) ‘are the conservators of Anglo-Saxonisms. Next there
are the cosmopolitan absorptions from many a tongue. From the French
_bouilli_ we probably get the prison slang term ‘bull’ for a ration of
meat. ‘Chat,’ thieves’ term for house, is obviously _château_. ‘Steel,’
the familiar name for Coldbath Fields Prison, is an appropriation and
abbreviation of Bastille; and he who ‘does a tray’ (serves three months’
imprisonment) therein, borrows his word from our Gallican neighbours. So
from the Italian we get _casa_ for house, filly (_figlia_) for daughter,
donny (_donna_) for woman, and omee (_uomo_) for man. The Spanish gives us
_don_, which the universities have not despised as a useful term. From the
German we get durrynacker, for a female hawker, from _dorf_, a village,
and _nachgehen_, to run after. From Scotland we borrow _duds_ for clothes,
and from the Hebrew _shoful_ for base coin. Purely of native manufacture,
however, and entirely artificial, are the two classes of rhyming and
back-slang which mingle with cant to make a whole. By the former, any word
that rhymes with the one you mean to use is put in its place, and
gradually becomes accepted. This has the merit of unintelligibility when
it is desired not to let chance passers-by know of what we are speaking,
which naturally occurs not seldom in the days of detectives and
plain-clothes constables. Suppose I have ‘touched’ (_i.e._, been
successful in some robbery), and feel inclined for some relaxation in
company with my sweetheart (or one of them), I might address her
thus--‘Come, cows and kisses, put the battle of the Nile on your Barnet
Fair, and a rogue and villain in your sky-rocket; call a flounder and dab
with a tidy Charing Cross, and we’ll go for a Bushey Park along the frog
and toad into the live eels.’ This would apparently be but a pendant to
the celebrated bit of nonsense extemporised by Foote, but, as a matter of
fact, to a master or mistress of rhyming slang it would at once be
understood as--‘Come, missus, put a tile (hat) on your hair, and a
shilling in your pocket; call a cab with a tidy horse, and we’ll go for a
lark along the road into the fields.’ And the second class of manufactured
slang is that largely patronised by costermongers. It is called
back-slang, and simply consists of spelling (more or less accurately)
words backwards. Thus--‘Hi, yob! kool that enif elrig with the nael ekom.
Sap her a top o’ reeb and a tib of occabot,’ is only, ‘Hi, boy! look at
that fine girl with the lean moke (donkey). Pass her a pot of beer and a
bit of tobacco.’ The art or merit of this form of slang consists in the
rapidity, often remarkable, with which such words can be reversed. Thus a
gentleman, wishing to test the skill of a professor of the art with a word
not in common use in the market, asked his coster friend what was the back
slang for hippopotamus. At once he answered, ‘Summatopoppy,’ the _y_ being
euphoniously put for _ih_.”[69] Mr. Davitt thus describes a form of slang
(“thieves’ Latin”) commonly used by professional burglars and the superior
order of thieves:--“Its chief peculiarity consists in reversing the
position of the syllables of a word containing more than one syllable, and
making two syllables of all words having only one in ordinary
pronunciation, by adding a vowel or liquid consonant to the first or
second part of such word. By the application of this simple rule to slang
words, the ‘lingo’ becomes too complicated for any but the initiated to
understand. For instance, if two thieves were hunting for game, and one
were to see a policeman, he would shout to his comrade--‘Islema! Ogda the
opperca!’ which in slang is--‘Misle! Dog the copper!’ Otherwise--‘Vanish!
See the policeman!’”[70] Very similar practices prevail in the thieves’
slang of France, Italy, Spain, and India. It is doubtless, indeed,
universal. Closely allied is the kind of slang called _largongi_, by
which, for example, _macaroni_ becomes _lacaronimique_, and _vache_,

The chief interest of the slang of habitual criminals is psychological. It
furnishes us with a curious insight into the mental processes of those who
invent and use it; it is itself an embodiment of criminal tendencies; in
Victor Hugo’s vigorous phrase, “C’est le verbe devenu forçat.” It is full
of metaphorical expressions, of objects named after their attributes.
Nearly everything is degraded, sometimes with coarse and fantastic wit.
“While the imagination of the poet gives a soul to animate objects,”
remarks M. Joly, “the imagination of the criminal transforms living forms
into things, assimilates man to animals.” Thus the skin for them is
leather, the face _un mufle_, the mouth _un bec_, the arm _un aileron_.
The body is called the corpse, and to eat is to put something in one’s
corpse. The woman who supports a bully is called his saucepan (_marmite_),
a friend _un poteau_; _ne pas être méchant_ means to be a fool. Everything
is thus vulgarised. The criminal instinctively depreciates the precious
coinage of language, just as to his imagination money is at Paris “zinc,”
and in the Argentine Republic “iron.”

The soul in French _argot_ is significantly called _la fausse_, and the
conscience _la muette_; shame is simply _la rouge_. In English slang, as
Mr. Horsley remarks, “the delicate expression ‘fingersmith’ is descriptive
of a trade which a blunt world might call that of a pickpocket. Or, again,
to get three months’ hard labour is more pleasantly described as getting
thirteen clean shirts, one being served out in prison each week. The
tread-wheel again is more politely called the everlasting staircase, or
the wheel of life, or the vertical care-grinder. Penal servitude is
dignified with the appellation of serving her Majesty for nothing, and an
attempt is even made to lighten the horror of the climax of a criminal
career by speaking of dying in a horse’s night-cap--_i.e._, a halter.” So
that while the better things of life are degraded, there is a tendency to
elevate those that truly indicate degradation.

The criminal slang of France and Italy has been studied in its
psychological bearings much more thoroughly than the English, by Mayor,
Lombroso, and others. Lombroso considers that the most marked and most
curious characteristic of criminal slang is that already noted by which a
thing is designated by its most salient qualities from the criminal point
of view. Thus the advocate becomes the _blanchisseur_ or _imbiancatore_
(washerman); the _juge d’instruction_, the _curicux_ or the _père
sondeur_; the sermon, _l’ennuyeuse_ or _tediosa_; the purse is _la santa_;
the court, _la juste_. “The guillotine,” remarks M. Joly, “is designated
without imprecation, without contempt, without hatred, but with a wealth
of expressions and with a resignation, one might almost say a fatalistic
humour, which is not reassuring for them--or for others. The executioner
himself is called the _juge de la paix_.”

_Etrangler un perroquet_ is to drink a glass of absinth, the allusion
being to the colour (green), and also, it is said, to the sensation in
swallowing the absinth, and to other minute points. A prostitute is the
_hôtel du besoin_, a _Louis-quinze_, and also the _bourre-de-soie_, in
allusion, it is said, to murmured offers and a silk dress; the brothel is
_le cloaque_. In Venetian slang a promise is called a shadow. In Bavarian
cant a playing card is _karzerweg_--the road to prison.

Very strange, remote, and bizarre are some of these slang synonyms, full
of coarse ironies and jests. _Paradouze = paradis_ (_douze_ instead of
_dise_); _saucisse = moi_ (by way of _moi-s-aussi_); _crottard =
trottoir_; _blanchir du foie_ = to intend betrayal (play on _foi_);
_perdreau = pederaste_ (_pedro-pédero_); _herbe sainte = absinthe_; _être
dans l’infanterie_ = to be pregnant (_enfanter_); _moulin à vent =
derrière_; _pape = verre de rhum_ (_Rome_); _veronique = lanterne_
(_verre_); _vert-de-gris = absinthe_ (play on _vert_ and _verre_, with
allusion to its deleterious properties); _demoiselle du Pont-neuf_ (that
all may go over) = prostitute; _apaier_ = to assassinate; _boire dans la
grande tasse_ = to drown oneself; a knife is a _lingre_ (from Langres, the
French Sheffield); the _souteneur_ (a prostitute’s bully) is called by the
English word _fish_, or some similar name (_poisson_, _goujon_,
_baraillon_, _maquereau_); the prostitute is called _morue_, and _Banc de
Terre-Neuve_ is applied to that portion of the Parisian boulevards lying
between the Madeleine and the Porte Saint-Denis.

Sometimes the slang of criminals, like that of the rest of the world,
commemorates an historical fact. To dethrone in France is _juilletiser_.
The sun is _le grand Jablo_, Jablochoff’s electric lamps having been the
first used to illuminate Paris. A _coup de Raguse_ is a defection, in
allusion to the Duke of Ragusa. In Italy a drunkard is called a Frenchman,
a beggar a Spaniard, a card-sharper a Greek. In Spain a thief is called a
_Murcio_, from the province of Murcia.

Words are frequently abbreviated. As examples, Lombroso mentions _tra =
travail_; _ces mess = ces Messieurs_ = the police; _chand = marchand_;
_lubre = lugubre_; _abs = absinthe_; _avoir ses aff = avoir ses affaires_
(_menstrues_); _mac = maquereau = souteneur_, of a prostitute.

Very curious are the large number of foreign words, in more or less
corrupted form generally, which are to be found in criminal slang. In the
German cant Hebrew words are numerous; German and French in Italian;
German and English in French; Italian and Romany in English. “Hebrew, or
rather Yiddish,” Lombroso observes, “supplies the half of Dutch slang, and
nearly a fourth of German, in which I counted 156 out of 700, and in which
all the terms for various crimes (except _band-spicler_ for a cheater at
dice) are Jewish.” The presence of archaisms, classical and mediæval, is
also curious.

It is more interesting to find a revelation of the things in which the
criminal is most intimately interested by noting the wealth and variety of
synonyms for certain words. Thus Cougnet and Righini found 17 words for
warders or police; 9 for the act of sodomy; 7 for plunder. French cant has
44 synonyms for drunkenness, besides 20 for drinking, and 8 for wine, in
all 72; while there are only 19 for water and 36 for money.

This slang is largely of ephemeral life, but a considerable proportion is
permanent. Its tendency is, however, to die out. The modern
professional criminal avoids slang as he avoids tattooing.

[Illustration: PLATE XIII.]

§ 8. _Prison Inscriptions._

Whenever the average human being is secluded for any considerable length
of time from his fellows, he experiences the need of embodying some
literary or artistic expression of himself. This instinct seems to be
deeper and more wide-spread than that which induces some people to leave
their names or other sign manual--the frothiest efflorescence of vain
moments--on the places they visit. There is no vanity here, and it is an
instinct from which no individual, whatever his degree of culture, is
exempt; it is indeed scarcely distinguishable from the instinct which
leads to the production of heroic works of art. The expression must vary
with the individual. I knew a room, the residence of a long succession of
medical students during certain weeks of seclusion involved by hospital
duty, of which the walls were covered by inscriptions, humorous or broadly
witty, cleverly artistic sketches, happy lines from the classics. Each
person’s inscription is after his kind: Mgr. Darboy, the Archbishop of
Paris, writes in the form of a cross, “O crux, mentis robur, ave;” Bill
Sykes at Clerkenwell writes, “Lads, your only friend here is your brown
lofe and pint of thick.”

In general, it seems, the lower the order of culture the more complete and
trustworthy is the inscription as an expression of individual
peculiarities. “The child loves to speak to himself,” as Dr. Corre
remarks; “the negro, and especially the negress, think aloud; and if from
restraint or distrust the criminal keeps silent his most intimate
thoughts, he feels himself compelled to fix them wherever he may find
himself, on the walls of his prison, or on the books that are lent to him.
It is for himself, for himself alone, that he writes what he cannot or
dare not say, and these revelations are very curious for the
psychologist.” His desires and lusts, his aspirations, his coarse satires
and imprecations, his bitter reflections, his judgments of life, are all
recorded in these prison inscriptions on whitewashed walls, cell doors,
margins of books, tin knives, and the bottoms of skilly cans and dinner
tins. In Italy they have been studied in reference to their psychological
significance with characteristic thoroughness by Lombroso; and in England
Mr. Horsley and Mr. Davitt have recorded a considerable number.[71] The
Italian inscriptions, on the whole, are marked by a greater preponderance
of the sentimental, reflective, and imprecatory elements; the English are
generally very practical and material, dealing with food questions, or
giving a concise statement of the event which led to the individual’s
incarceration, with occasional tendency to moral aspiration and didactic
exhortation. Mr. Horsley notes that comparatively few inscriptions are
found on the women’s side, but that these are obscene much more frequently
than on the men’s side. I conclude from Lombroso’s very comprehensive
collection that this remark also holds good of the Italian inscriptions.
It should be added that every inscription is an infringement of prison
regulations; it is “a vulgar question of bread and water to the hungry
author,” and the impulse which produces it must therefore be of
considerable strength.

Here are a few terse English examples of exploits, probably the work of
old hands, and recorded by Mr. Davitt and Mr. Horsley:--

    “A burst in the City. Copped while boning the swag. 7 stretch, 1869.
    Roll on 1876. Cheer up, pals.”

    “Little Dicky from the New Cut. 10 and a ticket. Put away by a Moll”
    (_i.e._, sold by a prostitute).

    “Fullied for a clock and slang” (_i.e._, committed for trial for
    stealing watch and chain).

    “Poor old Jim, the lob crawler, fell from Racker, and got pinched”
    (_i.e._, James and Racker having gone out to commit till robberies,
    the former was apprehended, and the latter escaped).

    “For seven long years have I served them,
     And seven long years I have to stay,
     For meeting a bloke in our Alley,
     And taking his ticker away.”

    “The judge he seven years gave me,
     Transported to Van Diemen’s Land,
     Far away from my friends and relations,
     And the girl with the dark velvet band.”

The last writer was at Dartmoor, and introduced Van Diemen’s Land because
of the exigencies of rhyme.

The delights of food inspire much verse, and dissatisfaction with its
quality or quantity a large number of remarks:--

    “I had for my dinner, ochone! ochone!
     One ounce of mutton and three ounce of bone!”

    “Here’s luck to the pint of skilly!”

    “Lord save me from starvashun!”

    “One more month then out we go,
     Then for feed of hot Coco;
     Fried Bread and steak, Plenty of Beer,
     Better luck than we get here.”

    “Cheer up, boys, down with sorrow,
     Beef to-day, Soup to-morrow.”

    “O for a pot of beer!”

    “Love is a great thing,” writes an Italian philosopher, “but hunger
    surpasses everything.”

    “O who can tell the panes I feel,
       A poor and harmless sailor,
     I miss my grog and every meal;
       Here comes the blooming jailer.”

A poet, Crutchy Quinn by name, known to Mr. Davitt, and who was himself
acquainted with seven of the prisons he characterises, wrote as follows
with a nail on the bottom of a dinner can:--

  “Millbank for thick shins and graft at the pump;
   Broadmoor for all laggs as go off their chump;
   Brixton for good toke and cocoa with fat;
   Dartmoor for bad grub but plenty of chat;
   Portsmouth, a blooming bad place for hard work;
   Chatham on Sunday gives four ounce of pork;
   Portland is worst of the lot for to joke in--
   For fetching a lagging there’s no place like Woking.”

Quinn, in spite of his name, was not an Irishman, but two-thirds of the
prison-poets, Mr. Davitt found, are Irish.

From the more miscellaneous group of sentimental, religious, moral,
didactic, and reflective sayings may be quoted the following:--

  “The heart may breake, yet may brokenly live on.”

Mr. Davitt found a book at Newgate with “Good-bye, Lucy dear,” written
throughout it, and at the end--

  “Good-bye, Lucy dear,
   I’m parted from you for seven long year.
                                    ALF. JONES.”

A poet of a more caustic school had added beneath this--

  “If Lucy dear is like most gals,
     She’ll give few sighs or moans,
   But soon will find among your pals
     Another Alfred Jones.”

Remarks against women are by no means rare, as the following given by

    “La donna è un essere inutile; io la stima soltanto quando la ch...


And another Italian writes--

    “He is a poor deluded fool who believes in the love and honour of

But the women reciprocate this sentiment, and in an Italian illustrated
magazine a woman writes--

    “In this stormy sea which is called the world I have only found
    fleeting pleasures and cruel disillusions. And if I felt any happiness
    I had to pay for it with bitter tears. Never believe in the love of
    men: for them love is a pastime. When you have sacrificed for them
    honour, family, religion, interest, youth, they will turn their
    shoulders to you with contempt, in search of other loves. That is the
    kind of thing that man is.”

But the same woman writes passionately to her accomplice in murder,
robbery, and adultery--

  “Questo foglio dal cuor ti mando,
   L’ho scritto ieri sera lacrimando,
   L’ho scritto avante cena,
   Senza inchiostro e senza penna.
   La punta del mio cuore era la penna,
   Il sangue delle mia vene era l’ inchiostro,
   Se penna e calamaio poco ti costa,
   Se merito pietà ti prego d’ una riposta.
           Addio, Addio,
           Addio, mio bene,
           Addio, mio amore,
           Tu sei il mio cuore,
           Per ti morirò.

Another woman’s inscription is a pathetic recollection of an old ballad--

  “I wish to God my baby was born,
     And smiling on its father’s knee,
   And I, poor girl, lay in my grave,
     The green grass growing over me.”

Beneath a design of a funeral monument a thief wrote this inscription
(translated from Lombroso)--

    “Here lies the body of poor Tulac Who, tired of stealing in this
    world, Goes to steal in another. His happy relatives have erected this

Very significant of mental vacuity in solitude are some inscriptions given
by Mr. Horsley:--

    “21,000 times have I walked round this cell in a week.”

    “3330 bricks in this cell.”

    “131 black tiles, 150 red tiles in this cell.”

Good resolutions and moral exhortations are not uncommon:--

    “It’s no good crying, you have got to do it, then after you have done
    it don’t do it any more; I wont.”

    “Cheer up, girls; it’s no use to fret.”

    “Brethren in adversity, turn your heart to God and be happy.”

    “Good-bye all. Give up drink.”

    “½ pint whisky brought me here--took the pledge for 2 years--renewable
    for ever.”

    “The Lord saith, It is good to be here.”

    “The Almighty for master, the devil for servant. Amen.”

    “Fear God and scorn the Devil, then you will not be here again.”

The Italian inscriptions supply a more dubious exhortation:--

    “O thieves! our profession is ruined by those rascally judges. But
    courage! Forward!”

This brief account would not be complete if I neglected to give some
specimens of the imprecations, crude erotic aspirations, and perverse
instincts which occupy some considerable space in Lombroso’s collection. I
will leave them untranslated:--

    “Abbasso il direttore delle carcere e il capo-guardia, che sono due
    avanzi di galera. A morte le gafe [warders] e tutti le spie, a morte
    il capo-guardiano delle carcere, a morte l’Arca che sono la rovina di
    tanti giovani.”

    “Mia adorata stella, quando potrô ch...?”

    “Pensare che in questo stesso luogo vi sono tante bighe [women] che
    hanno volontà di farsi infilzare e non possono e tanti p... che
    infilzerebbero un cane altro che una f... e non possono farlo.”

    “Pare impossible. Che si possa stare tanto tempo senza piantare il
    membro in una f... od in un culo. Eppure sono già 22 mesi che me lo
    meno due volte ogni quattro giorno e non sono ancora tisico.”

The last I will give was written by a woman in a religious book, and is
translated by Lombroso from the Piedmontese dialect--

    “La Marietta del taglio salute le sue amiche che fanno la porca come
    lei, e saluta tutti i giovanotti che l’hanno ch... Menatevi una volta
    l’uccello al mio gusto, che io me la meno al vostro, e quando sarô
    libera venite a trovarmi che ce l’ho sempra calda e stretta tanto che
    volete. Allegri!”

§ 9. _Criminal Literature and Art._

M. Joly has made some interesting investigations (which he has recorded
recently in the _Archives de l’Anthropologie Criminelle_) concerning the
favourite reading of French prisoners. He found that such criminals do not
read either Molière or Voltaire. Nor do they care for the psychological
novel of character and analysis; they have no taste and no capacity for
introspection; they prefer the _rococo_ style, and an old romance in five
or six volumes called _Épreuves du Sentiment_ is a great favourite at La
Grande Roquette. This is what we should expect from that sentimentalism
which has already been noted. But among the favourite prison novelists
Alexandre Dumas is _facile princeps_. We must not seek to explain this by
finding in Dumas a response to specific criminal instincts. In this matter
prisoners are at one with a very large body of non-prisoners, with George
Sand, Tolstoï, and Rossetti at their head. It is the universally human
quality in the prolific novelist, the anodyne of his entrancing and
unflagging interest, the satisfaction which he offers to the love of
adventure, by which Dumas fetters the criminal as well as the man of
genius. The female prisoners at Saint Lazare, unlike the male prisoners,
are constantly asking for Voltaire’s books, which, however, the sisters
are not able to supply. They are very fond of Henri Conscience, the
Flemish Walter Scott, a preference which is also by no means shared by
the men, and they delight in all sorts of innocent and sentimental
love-stories, although their marginal annotations to these do not always
admit of reproduction.

If the favourite reading of those whose criminal career is decided is of
so innocent a character, the same cannot always be said of the literature
read by the immature. There is ample and unquestionable evidence to show
that a low-class literature in which the criminal is glorified, as well as
the minute knowledge of criminal arts disseminated by newspapers, have a
very distinct influence in the production of young criminals.[72]
Tropmann, a notorious French murderer, was influenced by novels. The
famous criminal Lacenaire, who glorified himself and was glorified by
others, has had an influence in the production of crime down to our own
day. After every celebrated or startling crime, some weak-minded and
impressionable persons go and commit the like, or give themselves up to
the police under the impression that they have been guilty of the crime.
It is youths and children who are especially prone to the imitation of
criminal events from books or from real life. After the murders associated
with the name of Jack the Ripper several murders by young children took
place throughout the country.

It is not, usually, until he is in prison that the criminal tries to find
literary expression for himself. This expression takes chiefly the form of
verse, nearly always of a rude character, often affected or boastful, but
not seldom vigorous or pathetic. A criminal has been known to declaim from
the scaffold a poem on his own death; another asked and obtained
permission to present his defence in verse. It would be difficult to give
stronger proof of a predilection for verse forms.

A song, of which this is a translation, was heard in a Russian prison:--

“In this spot where infamy has placed for ever her dwelling, two angels
pant, having in their hands a cross.... But at night, with measured steps,
slowly, slowly, watching the prison, the sentinels turn. Within these
walls are sadness and terror. Without are life, gold, and liberty.... But
the black echo of that slow, slow step warns me: Thou shalt stay, stay.”
This was written and most sweetly sung by a man who had cruelly murdered
his wife.

The poetic productions of English criminals, however numerous, are of no
great interest; they seem to appear at their best in the inscriptions
already given. Mr. Davitt has a chapter on “Prison ‘Poets,’” but what he
has to say of them is not encouraging, although he tells us that
Portsmouth has the reputation of being “a community of imprisoned
songsters,” and such a specimen as the following does not produce much
desire for more--

  “’Twas one fine morning I left Wakefield Jail,
   Myself and comrades we did cry our fill,” etc.

One could write as well as that without being a convict.

Lamb and other good judges thought well of Thomas Wainewright, the forger
and poisoner. As a man of letters he enjoyed considerable reputation as a
critic, and was certainly a man of refined artistic tastes.[73] It is
to-day not easy to detect in him many signs of critical insight or fine
literary ability. He was one of the writers of that “Dandy and Silver Fork
School” of whom Hazlitt says:--“Macassar Oil, Eau de Cologne, Hock and
Seltzer Water, Atta of Roses, Pomade Divine, glance through the page in
inexhaustible confusion, and make your head giddy.” His writing is but the
vain froth of a nauseous life. The following extract is fairly
characteristic:--“It appears to us that the time requireth not the hand of
genius to give it a gusto for the tastes and feelings of what are called
the lower orders,--rather the reverse! We want more macaroni and
champagne, less boxing and bull beef. Now, Mr. Drama [Hazlitt] of the
_London_ seems determined to show his readers that his stomach is
hearty--that he can relish bread and cheese and porter, which certainly
are very fine things in the country, and--when we can get nothing
else--and so far, all this is very well. But surely, in the centre of
fashion, we might be now and then indulged with more elegant
fare,--something that would suit better with the diamond rings on our
fingers, the antique cameos in our breast-pins, our cambric
pocket-handkerchief breathing forth Attargul, our pale lemon-coloured kid
gloves! some chicken fricaseed white, for instance; a bottle of Hock or
Moselle, and a glass of Maraschino.” These things and the like of these
were for Wainewright the only things in the world that seemed desirable,
and his passion for them lay at the root of his crimes.

In Italy we meet with a genuine, and often traditional body of criminal
songs which is of great interest. It is found in chief perfection in Italy
and the large neighbouring islands, Sardinia, Corsica, and especially
Sicily, where the civilisation is more primitive, and the level of
criminality much higher. In the _Canti Siculi_ of the able and
enthusiastic folklorist, Pitré, there are twenty-seven which he describes
as Prison Songs; with others rather similar in the same collection, the
total amounts to forty-one (4 per cent. of the whole), mostly declarations
of vengeance, laments for lost liberty, imprecations against judges and
police. Some are in praise of prison, as the following:--

  “Carcere, vita mia, cara, felice!
   Lo starmi entro di te come mi piace!
   Se spiechi il capo a quel che mal ne dice,
   O pensa che far perdere la pace.
   Qua sol travi i fratelli e qua gli amici,” etc.

There are also fine notes of despair, and sweet recollections of the
absent mother or sweetheart. Sardinia, a land of brigandism and
assassination, has produced numerous criminal songs of interest. “The
Corsican songs collected by Tommaseo,” remarks Lombroso, “might be said to
be almost all the creation of brigands. Nearly all breathe vengeance for a
slain friend, or hatred against an enemy, and admiration for murder.” A
ferocious Corsican brigand, named Peverone, who used to leave his mark
behind by covering his victim with capsicums (peperoni), wrote verses
which, says Lombroso, “would not be unworthy of Laura’s sweet singer.” In
such a case as that of Corsica, we must, however, be very cautious how we
use the word “criminal.” In that land barbarous conceptions still rule; a
child is brought up from its earliest days in an atmosphere of robbery and
bloodshed; what in a more civilised country we call “crime” is there to a
large extent the normal social state. It is in Corsica that a parish may
vote a pension to a brigand (the _commune_ of Ciammance, for example, in
1886); that more than half the persons liable to serve as jurymen in an
_arrondissement_ (4400 out of 8000 in one instance) may themselves have
appeared behind the bar; and where a mayor (_arrondissement_ of Sartène)
may issue a proclamation in the following terms:--“Art. I. The carrying of
arms is formally forbidden on the territory of the commune of Levie. Art.
II. Exception is made in the case of persons notoriously in a state of

As a specimen of French criminal literature I will give a poem by Lebiez,
the young murderer spoken of in Chapter I.; it is addressed to a young
girl’s skull:--

  “De quelque belle enfant restes froids et sans vie,
     Beau crâne apprêté par mes mains,
   Dont j’ai sali les os et la surface blanchie
     D’un tas de noms grecs et latins,
   Compagnon triste et froid de mes heures d’étude,
     Toi que je viens de rejeter
   Dans un coin, ah! reviens tromper ma solitude,
     Réponds à ma curiosité.
   Dis-moi combien de fois ta bouche s’est offerte
     Aux doux baisers de ton amant;
   Dis-moi quels jolis mots de ta bouche entr’ ouverte
     Dans des heurs d’égarement ...
   Insensé!... Tu ne peux répondre, pauvre fille;
     Ta bouche est close maintenant,
   Et la mort, en passant, de sa triste faucille
     A brisé tes charmes naissants.
   Triste leçon pour nons, qui croyons que la vie
     Peut durer pendant de longs jours!
   Et jeunesse, et bonheur, et beauté qu’on envie,
     Tout passe ainsi que les amours!
   Aussi, quand, vers le soir, âpre et dur à la tache,
     Je travaille silencieux,
   Mon esprit suit le monde et, tout inquiet, s’attache
     A des pensers plus sérieux,
   Je rêve au temps qui passe ... alors je te regarde,
     Et, songeant aux coups de destin,
   Sur ton front nu je crois lire en tremblant: ‘Prends garde,
     Mortel, ton tour viendra demain.’”

When his papers were returned to him by the police, Lebiez wrote on the
margin of this: “Poor verses! but, bad as they are, they are a faithful
picture of the state of my mind in moments of solitude. In the world I am
amiable and gay. I am taken for a wild fellow, who mocks at everything;
but if they knew my character thoroughly, if they were aware that when I
laugh and joke I have just come out of a solitude of despair and tears! If
they knew that there are sobs at the bottom of my heart when smiles cover
my lips, they would not say that I mock at everything. My gaiety is only a
mask which hides the anguish which has for so long torn my heart.”

There are one or two examples of newspapers written and conducted by
prisoners. The Abbé Crozes, in his _Souvenirs de la Petite et de la Grande
Roquette_, gives us specimens and a facsimile page of one of these, the
_Tam-Tam_, which, however, only lasted a very short time. Here are a
couple of fragments from this remarkable journal:--


    “Un grand tambour-major, pressé par la famine,
                 Dinait d’une maigre sardine
                 Et s’en régalait sur ma foi!
     _Morale._--On a souvent besoin d’un plus petit que soi.”


    “Nons apprenons avec plaisir à nos lecteurs le projet formé par la
    Société Agricole de France, de se servir des oreilles de Transparent,
    pour se livrer à des essais sur la culture des champignons.

    L’abondance et la qualité du fumier que contiennent ces vastes
    esgourdes, leur grandeur, leur système d’aération promettent aux
    amateurs de cèpes les résultats les plus satisfaisants.”

Very different from the _Tam-Tam_ is the _Summary_, a newspaper published
at the Elmira Reformatory, New York. This newspaper, largely written by
prisoners and, at one time at all events, edited by a prisoner, contains,
besides original contributions and the news of the Reformatory, a summary
of general news; and by its tone and its method of selection, it compares
favourably, as it has been said, with many newspapers published outside
prison-walls. The following contribution to the _Summary_ is from “a
bright young burglar,” about eighteen years old, and is entitled “God and
the Robin”; it has an allegorical and personal significance:--

    “Early in the morning, long before the lazy cock crows, you may hear
    the robin singing his welcome to the sun. He has been watching through
    the darkness for the first rays of coming day, and as they appear he
    pours forth the melody as an expression of his joy. All is quiet till
    his music rends the air, and as you listen you are inspired with
    thoughts of Him who made the robin and you. Perhaps the sweet song is
    a prayer of thanks to God for sheltering him from the dangers of the
    night. Do they know of God? Who can tell? Perhaps He is the cause of
    what we in our ignorance call instinct. Once as I listened to their
    music I fell asleep, and dreamt of a house near the sea. It had a lawn
    in front, on which was a robin hopping in search of food for her
    young. But as she hopped about the sky seemed to grow darker. I knew
    that a storm was approaching, and when it came I saw the robin cling
    to the tree for shelter. But the wind was fierce, and it tore her from
    the branch, and in spite of all her efforts it bore her away out over
    the ocean, farther and farther from the land, till at last, when its
    energy was spent, its fury gone, it left her on the ocean with no land
    in sight to guide her to her home; and as she flew she thought of her
    little ones at home, and of her mate. She thought she was flying to
    them, but every little effort was taking her farther away, though she
    knew it not. When at last she began to tire, she looked at the
    restless waters, but they offered her no relief; and in her frightened
    cry I seemed to hear her say, ‘O where shall I rest my weary wing?’
    But in the murmuring of the ocean she heard no reply, so she could but
    fly on till darkness came, when, utterly exhausted, she fell upon the
    cruel waves and died. And He who made her will receive her when the
    course of life is past. Cannot the little robin find in that house of
    many mansions a place to rest her weary wing? Is heaven made for man
    alone? Are not these little creatures who never offend God, but
    worship Him with the purity and happiness of their little hearts,
    entitled to the joys of hereafter? Who can doubt it?”

The following interesting dialogue in the Socratic manner--“An Imaginary
Conversation between two Members of the Casuistry Class”--is also by a
very young criminal, who was also something of a poet:--

    “Did you not agree last Sunday with the member of our class who said
    that life in prison is a state of slavery?

    No, I did not. In fact, I am astonished at your question. I rather
    think it is _not_ a state of slavery.

    That is a very curious belief.

    It may appear to be; but I think it can be proved to be logical. You
    say that imprisonment for wrong-doing is slavery; but what is slavery?

    I should define it to be the involuntary subjection of one person to
    the will of another.

    But cannot a person be a slave to passion and to other qualities of
    mind as well as to persons?


    Then your definition is obviously incorrect. I would define slavery as
    a state in which one’s actions are regulated by some power over which
    he has no control. Would you agree with me?

    Well, I think I would.

    Very well. Having agreed upon a definition of slavery, we will discuss
    whether life in prison is slavery. Now, let me ask, why are men sent
    to prison?

    Usually for violating the law.

    Well, do you believe that men steal, for instance, voluntarily?


    Your tone is rather confident, so I daresay you can tell me _why_ men

    In order to get certain articles that will enable them to live more
    comfortably, or which they desire to have.

    That is, you mean that they have certain feelings--such as laziness,
    love of gain, etc.--which they wish to gratify?

    Well, yes.

    But if a man had not these feelings he would not steal?

    I think not.

    Then these feelings regulate his conduct in stealing?

    It seems so.

    But you agreed that he whose conduct is regulated by some power other
    than his own free will is a slave.

    Well, I am afraid you have caught me again.

    But do you admit it?

    I do.

    Then he who prevents this man from stealing is emancipating him, not
    enslaving him?

    I see you are right.

    Then one who is in prison for wrong-doing is a free man, not a slave?

    Yes. But suppose that the man has been sent to prison unjustly; what

    To answer your question, I should have to know what your conception of
    true freedom is. True freedom is, as it appears to me, the triumphing
    of the spirit or better part of man over the flesh or weaker part;
    that is, acting according to one’s highest conception of what is
    right. Do you agree with me?

    I do.

    Then do you not think that the truly righteous man, be he in prison or
    out, is free? Do you not see that a man who does right, even though he
    lose fortune or life by doing so, is freer than the one who allows his
    conduct to be regulated by fear, malice, or other passions? Remember
    that a man may be free in a dungeon and bound down with chains, and
    that he may be an abject slave and be clothed in purple.”

The _Summary_ perhaps does something to encourage priggishness, but
priggishness, it need scarcely be said, indicates a far higher moral level
than the vacuous brutality which lies behind so large a proportion of
prison inscriptions.

So far we have been dealing with writers who are first and above all
criminals. It is necessary to mention a few artists and men of letters
who, while distinctly criminals, are not primarily criminals. Villon is
generally named at the head of these, and with good reason, as he has
himself supplied the evidence by which he must be counted a criminal. But
Villon was a poet, and a great poet; his crimes never degraded his art. It
is worth noting that almost the only passage[74] which Lombroso quotes to
prove such degradation is, on independent grounds and apparently with
good reason, regarded by Jannet, Villon’s editor, as spurious.

Cellini, as self-revealed in his wonderful autobiography, bears more
distinct marks than Villon of instinctive criminality. Crime is, however,
rare among great sculptors; on the other hand it has been, as Lombroso
points out, very common among painters; numerous are the examples of
murder, cruelty, theft, sexual offences, among distinguished painters;
alcoholism is also very common.

Casanova, a man of various and extraordinary abilities, has in his
_Memoirs_, of which the strict historical accuracy is now generally
accepted, produced one of the most valuable and interesting records of the
eighteenth century, and at the same time a most complete and complaisant
history of his own criminal offences. It is difficult to say whether in
him the criminal or the man of genius is most prominent.

A living poet of some eminence, M. Paul Verlaine, furnishes an interesting
example of the man of genius who is also distinctly a criminal. M.
Verlaine is the chief of the so-called “Decadant” school. The precise rank
that he will ultimately take as a poet is not yet clear; while on the one
hand he has been unduly neglected, on the other he has been unduly
extolled. At his best he excels in delicate passages of vague and mystic
reverie, in sudden lines of poignant emotion. His style, a curious mixture
of simplicity and obscurity, is studded with words borrowed from the
criminal’s argot. His latest volume[75] contains poems which well show his
curious power of expressing the most delicate _nuances_ of sentiment side
by side with the crudest, most unabashed impulses of cynical depravity,
self-revelations of sexual perversity, which might have earned for the
book a title in a line of its own, “L’embarquement pour Sodome et
Gomorrhe.” I do not propose to quote any of these but from a short but
interesting series written during an imprisonment of several years at
Brussels. Here is a poem describing the life of the prisoner:--

  “La cour se fleurit de souci
       Comme le front
       De tous ceux-ci
       Qui vont en rond
   En flageolant sur leur fémur
       Le long du mur
       Fou de clartè.

   Tournez, Samsons sans Dalila,
       Sans Philistin,
       Tournez bien la
       Meule au destin.
   Vaincu risible de la loi,
       Mouds tour à tour
       Ton cœur, ta foi
       Et ton amour!

   Ils vont! et leurs pauvres souliers
       Font un bruit sec,
       La pipe au bec.
   Pas un mot ou bien le cachot,
       Pas un soupir.
       Il fait si chand
       Qu’on croit mourir.

   J’en suis de ce cirque effaré,
       Soumis d’ailleurs
       Et préparé
       A tous malheurs.
   Et pourquir si j’ai contristé
       Ton vœu tetu,
       Me choierais tu?

   Allons, frères, bons vieux voleurs,
       Doux vagabonds,
       Filons en fleur,
       Mes chers, mes bons,
   Fumons philosophiquement,
       Rien faire est doux.”

I do not know any more interesting document in criminal literature than
one poem, _Læti et Errabundi_, contained in this volume. Fully to
understand the significance of this remarkable poem, it is necessary to
state that Verlaine’s imprisonment was due to an attempt on the life of
his comrade in sexual perversity, himself also a poet of some note. The
latter left Europe, and it is not now known whether he is alive or dead.
To him _Læti et Errabundi_ is addressed.

I quote the concluding lines:--

  “On vous dit mort, vous. Que le Diable
   Emporte avec qui la colporte
   La nouvelle irrémédiable
   Qui vient ainsi battre ma porte!

   Je n’y veux rien croire. Mort, vous,
   Toi, dieu parmi les demi-dieux!
   Ceux qui le disent sont des fous.
   Mort, mon grand péché radieux.

   Tout ce passé brûlant encore
   Dans mes veines et ma cervelle
   Et qui rayonne et qui fulgore
   Sur ma ferveur toujours nouvelle!

   Mort tout ce triomphe inouï
   Retentissant sans frein ni fin
   Sur l’air jamais évanoui
   Que bat mon cœur qui fut divin!

   Quoi le miraculeux poème
   Et la toute-philosophie,
   Et ma patrie et ma bohème
   Morts? Allons donc! tu vis ma vie!”

Verlaine’s very remarkable head, though large, is the head of a criminal
much more than of a man of genius, with its heavy jaw, projecting orbital
arches and acrocephalic occiput, with central ridge--the head which the
acute Lauvergne called Satanic, and which, in its extreme form, he
believed to announce the monstrous alliance of the most eminent faculty of
man, genius, with the most pronounced tendencies to crime. M. Verlaine has
long been a victim to chronic alcoholism, and the author of the _Fêtes
Galantes_ and of some of the most tender lines written in our day is now
most often found within the wards of Parisian hospitals.

  “Je compte parmi les maladroits.

   J’ai perdu ma vie et je sais bien
   Que tout blâme sur moi s’en va fondre:
   A cela je ne puis que répondre
   Qui je suis vraiment né Saturnien.”

A few words may be added concerning criminal art as shown in design.
Lombroso reproduces numerous drawings, etc., made in prison. They are
generally very rough and slight, never beautiful, but frequently
expressive, rendering character, now and then, in face and attitude, with
ease and felicity. Scenes of murder or robbery, law courts, men hanging
from the gallows, women, mostly nude, with huge or pendent breasts, men or
women in extravagantly perverse sexual attitudes--these are the visions
which come to the criminal in prison, and to which he seeks, by such means
as may be within his reach, to give artistic expression. Sexual imagery,
not beautiful but gross and ugly, undoubtedly has the chief part in these
designs; but it is scarcely necessary to point out that the artificial
conditions under which the prisoner lives is largely responsible for this
characteristic of his art, although not for its generally deliberate

Dr. Laurent, in his work, _Les Habitués des Prisons_, has treated this
matter more completely than any other writer known to me, and has
reproduced some very characteristic and instructive examples of this art,
although he has not dared to reproduce the more extravagant designs which
he describes. What has chiefly impressed him among the large number of
drawings by prisoners which have passed through his hands is the absence
of any elevated thought, of any noble sentiment. In the erotic designs
there is occasionally an imaginative audacity, but love is always regarded
as a purely physiological act, and everywhere else the design is
pathetically commonplace; it is naturalistic in the lowest sense of the
word, adding nothing, suppressing nothing; and these drawings have
therefore a remarkable family likeness. If there is any great artist of
whom they ever remind us it is Ostade, with his perpetual research of the
mean and degraded, physically and morally, in humanity. Dr. Laurent draws
special attention to a design which appears to represent some winged
angel of hope; there is something in the bold, predaceous face of this
vulgar fairy, in the coarse firm attitude, so suggestive of the things
that alone have left a firm impress on the artist’s mind, that is very
pathetic. In one of those designs only is it possible to catch a glimpse
of the ideal; it is the figure of a woman by a clerk of some education,
and possessed of personal qualities which brought him into relation with
women of a somewhat superior type. The face in this drawing has a tender
and melancholy air; even here, however, the body is drawn in too crude and
realistic a manner. Where these artists succeed best is in the
photographic delineation of commonplace or unpleasant human types, such as
may be seen in large cities, especially after nightfall. There is usually
something hard, cynical, degraded in these types, in their whole bodies as
well as their faces; they remind us of what was said of portraits executed
by Wainewright, that he had contrived to put the expression of his own
wickedness into them.

These artists also do not succeed in caricature, and rarely attempt it. To
be successful here involves some judgment, delicacy, and insight, and
these the prison artists do not appear to possess.

In the nude, as I have already mentioned, prison artists take great
delight, and they even achieve a certain amount of success. There is a
certain Hogarthian vigour and ease with which the faces and forms of these
coarse, low-browed, animal, energetic women, with their large pendent
breasts, are brought before us. The only prison sketch I have seen showing
anything more than a crude sense of beauty, any real appeal to the
imagination, or distinct science of form and composition, is a group of
nude women in extravagant attitudes, which Dr. Laurent reproduces; he says
nothing of the artist, except that he was probably a Saint Anthony by
necessity, who, in this scene as of a Sabbath of witches, has given
expression to the dreams that tormented him. It is a genuine piece of
fantastic art, and seems to recall certain designs of the Belgian artist,
Félicien Rops. This design escapes to some extent--and to some extent
only--from the judgment which Dr. Laurent pronounces on the treatment of
sex by criminals:--“Sex is not for them a sacred and mysterious thing, a
mystic rose hidden beneath the obscure vault of the body, like a strange
and precious talisman enclosed in a tabernacle. For them it is a thing of
ugliness, which they drag into the light of day and laugh at.”

§ 10. _Criminal Philosophy._

One of the most interesting and instructive departments of criminal
literature is that dealing with the criminal’s mental attitude towards
crime. In considering the problems of crime, and the way to deal with
them, it is of no little importance to have a clear conception of the
social justification for crime from the criminal’s point of view. Not only
is he free from remorse; he either denies his crime or justifies it as a
duty, at all events as a trifle. He has a practical and empirical way of
his own of regarding the matter, as Dostoieffsky remarks, and excuses
these accidents by his destiny, by fate. “What contributes to justify the
criminal in his own eyes is that he is quite certain that the public
opinion of the class in which he was born and lives will acquit him; he
is sure that he will not be judged definitely lost unless his crime is
against one of his own class, his brothers. He is secure on that side, and
with so good a conscience he will never lose his moral assurance, which is
the main thing. He feels himself on solid ground, and by no means hates
the knout which is administered to him. He looks upon it as inevitable,
and consoles himself by thinking that he is not the first nor the last to
receive it. Does the soldier hate the Turk who sabres him? By no means!”

To be caught is the foolish part of the business. “You are a lot of fools
to get in here, myself included,” is one of the prison inscriptions noted
by Mr. Horsley. “Had God wished me to be different, He would have made me
different,” said Goethe. In the same spirit is the philosophy of crime set
forth by a man known to Lombroso: “If God has given to us the instinct to
steal, He has given to others the instinct to imprison us; the world is an
amusing theatre!” It is rare, however, for the criminal to take so lofty a
standpoint as this; more usually he bases the justification for his own
existence on the vices of respectable society--“the ignorance and cupidity
of the public,” as one prisoner expressed it--that he is shrewd enough to
perceive; “it is a game of rogue catch rogue,” a convict told Mr. Davitt.
A youthful French brigand in the days of Charles IX., as he impassively
ascended the scaffold, declared that he was innocent, because he had never
robbed poor people but only princes and lords, the greatest robbers in the
world. “We are poor rogues, and so hanged, while others, no less guilty in
another way, escape,” pleaded Captain Bartholomew Roberts’s fifty-two
pirates, executed at the beginning of the eighteenth century. “Law for the
rich but none for the poor,” is a modern English prison inscription which
would probably have expressed its writer’s meaning better if it had been
transposed. _Quels gredins les honnêtes gens!_

An Italian criminal wrote in a book of “Moral Maxims” by Tommaseo: “When
you have read this book become a priest or a master; if not it will be of
no use to you. There are fine maxims in this book, but maxims are no good
in this world, where the god of gold reigns alone. He who has money is
brave and virtuous; all the maxims of Tommaseo are of no use to him who
has none; he will still be treated with contempt.” A Milanese thief said
to Lombroso: “I do not rob; I merely take from the rich their
superfluities; and, besides, do not advocates and merchants rob? Why
accuse me rather than them?” “Knowing,” wrote the murderer Raynal, “that
three-fourths of the social virtues are cowardly vices, I thought that an
open assault on a rich man would be less ignoble than the cautious
combinations of fraud.” J. G. Wainewright, when in prison, said to a
visitor: “Sir, you city men enter upon your speculations and take the
chances of them. Some of your speculations succeed, and some fail. Mine
happen to have failed.” An Italian thief, one Rosati, said: “I am proud of
my deeds; I have never taken small sums; to attack such large sums I
consider a speculation rather than a theft.” Another Italian thief said
that there were two kinds of justice in the world: natural justice, that
which he himself practised when he shared the proceeds of his thefts with
the poor; and artificial justice, that which is protected by social laws.
The criminal is firmly convinced that his imprisonment is a sign that the
country is going to the dogs. A prison inscription quoted by Lombroso
runs: “I am imprisoned for stealing half-a-dozen eggs; Ministers who rob
millions every day are honoured. Poor Italy!” “We are necessary,” a
brigand chief said proudly to his judges; “God has sent us on the earth to
punish the avaricious and the rich. We are a kind of divine scourge. And
for the rest, without us what would you judges do?”

This conviction of the criminality of the honest is engrained in the
criminal mind, and one meets it at every turn. “Who doesn’t deserve the
galleys?” was a remark often heard by Dr. Lauvergne at the convict
establishment at Toulon, and the same idea was cynically expressed by

  “Buvons à la sagesse,
   A la vertu qui soutient!
   Tu peux sans crainte d’ivresse,
   Boire à tous les gens de bien.”

Most people must have observed, in talking with persons of vicious
instincts, the genuine disgust which these so often feel for the slightly
different vices of others and their indifference to their own. So the man
in prison feels indulgence for his own offence and contempt for his more
cautious brother outside who continues to retain the respect of society,
feelings which the latter heartily reciprocates. Every individual,
whatever his position, feels the need of a certain amount of _amour
propre_. “I may be a thief, but, thank God, I am a respectable man.”

Among the criminal songs still found in Sardinia there is one (quoted by
Lombroso from Bouillier’s _Les Dialectes et les Chants de la Sardaigne_)
that may be quoted here. “Tell me,” asks Achea of the priest, “if I have
nothing to eat, and if I find wherewith to appease my hunger, may I take
the goods of another?” “Believe me, if you have nothing to eat, and you
meet with something, you would be a fool not to take it.” “That is a good
counsel, but here is a difficulty: what I have taken in this way, ought I
to return it?” “No. The observance of the law would subject you to a fast
too severe; you are a great fool if you do not understand that in the face
of necessity all things belong to all.” That is the morality of a lawless
and primitive society, but it has points of contact with some of the
latest and highest developments of social morality. Tolstoï would justify
it; as, to a certain extent, a respected archbishop has justified it.

“The laws of society,” remarked an educated convict to Mr. Davitt, “are
framed for the purpose of securing the wealth of the world to power and
calculation, thereby depriving the larger portion of mankind of its rights
and chances. Why should they punish me for taking by somewhat similar
means from those who have taken more than they had a right to? My dear
sir,” said he, “I deny your contention that there is any such thing as
honesty in the world at all.” This man, who had a considerable
acquaintance with literature and philosophy, maintained soberly that
“thieving was an _honourable_ pursuit,” and that religion, law,
patriotism, and bodily disease were the real and only enemies of humanity.
“Religion,” he would observe, “robbed the soul of its independence, while
society’s social laws, in restraining the desires and faculties given by
Nature to men for the purpose of gratification, declared war against the
manifest spirit of the law of our being.” Patriotism he termed “the
idolatry of an idea, in the stupid worship of which the peace of the
world, and the wellbeing of its inhabitants, were sacrificed by the
lawmakers and others who profit thereby.”

Lombroso found the following note written with a piece of iron in a
politico-economical work, under the chapter of “Considerations on the
Co-operative spirit”: “The best governed nation is that which has fewest
thieves. Do you want to abolish thieves? See to it that the working man
and the peasant have work to do, and are better paid for it; then they
will be content, and will have nothing to say against the government; in
consequence they will do their duty, and will not be forced to do evil.”
Another, reading a book about an official who had been removed from the
administration of taxes, wrote: “I advise you all to be public thieves,
and then you will be free citizens and men who are useful to society, and
will be decorated with medals and crosses. This man here was a public
thief; but I am only a private robber; if I had been a public one I should
not have been here.” Again: “Why are those who wear coarse breeches
treated in one way, and those who are dressed finely and wear yellow
gloves treated in another? Why are the first called thieves while the
others are said to have committed undue appropriation? Have not both
classes broken the commandment which says simply ‘Thou shalt not steal’?”
In a confession made to Gisquet, the prefect of police, a different
standpoint is taken up; the criminal justifies himself, not on moral
grounds, but as a man of the world: “You regret the robbery that I have
committed, and you call it a bad action; the insignificant act for which I
have been condemned is the first link in a chain which will not, I hope,
finish so soon. If I were not a thief by vocation, I would be one by
calculation. I have faced all the good and the evil of other occupations,
and I find that this is the best. What would have become of me among
honest men? A bastard, with no one to take care of me, what could I do?
Become a shopman, earn at the most six hundred francs a year, and having
sweated all my life, grow old and ill and finish at a hospital. Take men
in the mass and you will find them all humiliated, slaves, disgraced; it
is never talent and honesty that are recompensed; vice prospers more often
than virtue.

“In our profession we depend on nobody; we enjoy the fruits of our
experience and ability. I know well that we may end in prison; but out of
the 18,000 thieves in Paris not one-tenth are in prison, so that we enjoy
nine years of freedom against one of prison. Besides, where is the working
man who is not sometimes without work? For the rest, the working man has
to pledge his things at the pawn-shop, while we, when we are free, want
for nothing, and lead a life of constant feasting and pleasure.

“The fear of being arrested, and the pretended remorse that people talk
of, are things to which one soon gets accustomed, and which finish by
giving a pleasurable emotion.

“And then, if we are arrested, we live at the expense of others, who
clothe us, feed us, and warm us, all at the cost of those whom we have

“I will say more. During our detention in prison we think out and prepare
new means of success.

“If I regret anything, Mr. Prefect, it is that I am condemned to only a
year. If it had been for five I should have been sent to a central prison,
where I should have met some old hands, who would have taught me some new
trick, and I should have returned to Paris clever enough to live without

“They talk of thieves as of persons always in misery, and who always
finish their lives in prison; but they think of those whom they have seen
in their apparent state when arrested. They do not consider that many have
secret resources, and that most of them are clever enough to get on
without ever having anything to do with justice.” This man, it is clear,
had aspirations and ideals which, though they found satisfaction by a
different method, were much the same as those of ordinary persons. He
represents the professional criminal.

“Ah! too often it is forgotten,” wrote G. Ruscovitch, a prince among
forgers, the accomplished student of science, the perfect master of
half-a-dozen languages, “too often it is forgotten that criminals are
members of society. All these bodies, sometimes abandoned by all except
the satellites charged to guard them, are not all opaque; some of them are
diaphanous and transparent. The vulgar sand which you tread under foot
becomes brilliant crystal when it has passed through the furnace. The
dregs may become useful if you know how to employ them; to tread them
under foot with indifference and without thought is to undermine the
foundations of society and to fill it with volcanoes. The man who has not
visited the caverns, can he know the mountain well? The lower strata, for
being situated deeper and farther from the light, are they less important
than the external crust? There are deformities and diseases among us to
make one shudder; but since when has horror forbidden study, and the
disease driven away the physician?”



So far I have been summarising the chief results obtained in the
investigation of the criminal up to the present date by many workers in
various lands. There is not very much doubt about the results here
recorded; even when they do not agree among themselves, it is still
generally possible to account for the divergency by the special character
of the group to which the individuals examined belong. But when we come to
consider the significance of the facts we are no longer on such safe and
simple ground. There is, however, no reason here for surprise when we
remember how youthful a science criminal anthropology is. Even the related
science of general anthropology is still young, and much of our progress
in it still lies in the unlearning of our errors, so that, as Virchow
recently remarked, we know considerably less about anthropology to-day
than we knew some years ago. The same is true of another related science,
the study of insanity. If therefore my conclusions as to the place of the
criminal in nature may seem to be somewhat cautious and tentative, it must
be remembered that we are still slowly feeling our way to firm ground. Few
as are the general conclusions which we may boldly assert, they are yet
sufficient to throw a flood of new light on the nature of the criminal,
and on his treatment and prevention.

I purpose to touch briefly on certain relationships of crime and the
criminal, the consideration of which will lead us naturally to a clearer
view of the criminal’s position. We will glance at (_a_) the biological
beginnings of crime, (_b_) crime among children, (_c_) the criminal woman
as distinct from the criminal man, (_d_) the relation of crime to vice,
(_e_) crime as a profession, (_f_) the relations of crime to epilepsy and

(_a_) The biological beginnings of crime have been examined by Lombroso,
Lacassagne, and Ferri; and by some have even been traced as far back as
the vegetable world. Thus Lombroso seems to claim those insectivorous
plants studied by Darwin and others as belonging to the category of
criminals. I doubt whether by any tenable definition of the criminal such
a classification can be upheld, and Lomboso himself speaks with less than
his usual decision. An act which is common to a whole species cannot
reasonably be described as criminal. It may be unjust, even cruel, but it
does not thereby necessarily become criminal. If the _Dionea Muscipula_
that eats an insect is a criminal, much more must the European man who
eats beef or mutton be a criminal. To be criminal the deed must be
exceptional in the species, and must provoke a social reaction among the
other members of that species. We can scarcely hope to find genuine
vegetable criminals, even amongst the parasites.

When we are dealing with the criminality of animals, concerning which a
large body of evidence has now accumulated, it is necessary to
discriminate. It is well recognised by veterinary surgeons that certain
horses are inclined to be undisciplined and revengeful, and that these
characteristics are associated with distinct cranial anomalies; the Arabs
believe these qualities to be hereditary. There is here certainly a very
close analogy to the instinctive criminal; but we are dealing with an
animal greatly modified by man, and these vices are not recorded as
exercised against their own species so much as against man. The case
(apparently well authenticated) of the horse who pretended to be lame, to
avoid going on military exercise, can scarcely be called criminal; from a
horse’s point of view this might be regarded as a justifiable ruse. The
same may be said of the action of the dog who, finding his favourite place
occupied by another dog, went outside and set up such a furious barking
that the usurper came out to see what was the matter, when the rightful
owner immediately pounced on his old corner. Such a ruse, even though
perpetrated against one of the same species, is not anti-social. It is
only when we are dealing with animals of the very highest order of
intelligence that we find any manifestations that can be at all fairly
described as criminal. Thus among the highly intelligent castors, the lazy
castor is pitilessly chased away by his fellows, to die of hunger, alone,
far from the colony. Idleness, as we know, is a very fundamental
characteristic of the criminal, and the strongly marked social reaction
that we see here shows that the castors have recognised this. Something of
the same kind is seen among elephants. Certain elephants, called rogues,
lead a solitary and unnatural life, and are lacking in the humane and
gentle disposition peculiar to elephants generally. The anti-social
character of these elephants is recognised by their fellows, and when the
solitary elephant endeavours to penetrate into the family life of the
ordinary elephant he is everywhere repulsed, and naturally grows still
fiercer and more anti-social. Such examples as these are the nearest
approaches among animals to what we call criminality.

[Illustration: PLATE XIV.]

We have to realise clearly what constitutes criminality when we turn to
the lower human races. To say, as has been asserted, that among savages
criminality is the rule rather than the exception, is to introduce
confusion. Among many savages infanticide, parricide, theft and the rest,
far from being anti-social, subserve frequently some social end, and they
outrage, therefore, no social feeling. These acts are not anti-social; and
many recent investigations, such as those of Élie Reclus, show that there
is under the given conditions a certain reasonableness in them, although
among us they have ceased to be reasonable, and have become criminal. On
the other hand, many acts which the needs or traditions of a barbarous
society have caused to be criminal become in a higher phase of society
trivial or beneficial.

Tarde remarks, that of the ten crimes which the Hebraic law punished with
stoning, nine have even ceased to be offences in our modern European
societies, and the tenth (rape) has only remained a crime by entirely
changing its character; it has become a crime against the person instead
of a crime against property. He observes also that in a savage society one
of the chief criminal types would be that of the delicate and artistic
natures, sensuous and sensitive, ill adapted for pillaging neighbouring
tribes. Such individuals would be chased away relentlessly, as the
industrious castors chase away the lazy castor, and for the same reasons.
In our societies we have found a use for these people; they minister to
our pleasures, and we render them nothing but homage. But if we are wise
we shall be very tender in arousing our indignation against the social
habits of lower races, even when these involve such an act as parricide,
for the distance between ourselves and even the lowest races is quite
measurable. Our social code is not far removed from that of the Maori who
considered that it was murder to kill the man to whom he had given
hospitality, but not murder to run his spear through the stranger whom he
met on his morning walk. We to-day regard it as a great crime to kill our
own fathers or children; but even the most civilised European
nation--whichever that may be--regards it as rather glorious to kill the
fathers and children of others in war. We are not able yet to grasp the
relationship between men. In the same way, while we resent the crude
thefts practised by some lower races, we are still not civilised enough to
resent the more subtle thefts practised among ourselves which do not
happen to conflict with the letter of any legal statute.

Criminality, therefore, cannot be attributed indiscriminately even to the
lowest of races. It consists in a failure to live up to the standard
recognised as binding by the community. The criminal is an individual
whose organisation makes it difficult or impossible for him to live in
accordance with this standard, and easy to risk the penalties of acting
antisocially. By some accident of development, by some defect of heredity
or birth or training, he belongs as it were to a lower and older social
state than that in which he is actually living. It thus happens that our
own criminals frequently resemble in physical and psychical characters
the normal individuals of a lower race. This is that “atavism” which has
been so frequently observed in criminals and so much discussed. It is the
necessarily anti-social instinct of this lowlier organised individual
which constitutes the crime. This accounts for the fact that, while in
those districts where brigandage is opposed to popular feeling brigands
are often abnormally constituted individuals, in other districts where
there is no social feeling against brigandage (as in some outlying parts
of Italy) the brigand may present no unusual characteristic, mental or
physical. The social environment exerts no selective influence; there is
nothing to thrust the abnormal person into brigandage rather than into any
other occupation.

To admit, therefore, in the criminal, a certain psychical and even
physical element belonging to a more primitive age is simple and perfectly
reasonable. It has been observed over and over again, independently and
apart from any special theory of criminality. Thus Mr. L. Owen Pike, the
historian of crime in England, who is not an alienist or an
anthropologist, writes:--“Of a very great number of modern habitual
criminals it may be said that they have the misfortune to live in an age
in which their merits are not appreciated. Had they been in the world a
sufficient number of generations ago, the strongest of them might have
been chiefs of a tribe.... With the disposition and the habits of
uncivilised men which he has inherited from a remote past, the criminal
has to live in a country where the majority of the inhabitants have
learned new lessons of life, and where he is regarded more and more as an
outcast as he strives more and more to fulfil the yearnings of his
nature.”[76] Tarde, the cautious _juge d’instruction_, has expressed the
same idea in almost the same words: “Some of them at least would have been
the ornament and the moral aristocracy of a tribe of Red Indians.”[77]
Again, Professor Prins of Brussels, only slightly varying the same
formula, remarks: “The criminal of to-day is the hero of our old legends.
We put in prison to-day the man who would have been the dreaded and
respected chief of a clan or a tribe.” The energy with which Lombroso has
advocated the atavistic element in the criminal is well known; while
Colajanni, in many respects an opponent of Lombroso, remarks: “How many of
Homer’s heroes would to-day be in a convict prison, or at all events
despised as violent and unjust.”

That this resemblance is not merely superficial, but that some perversity
or arrest of development sometimes produces an individual inapt to our
civilisation, but apt to a lower civilisation which we have outgrown, and
which we call criminal, we have had occasion to observe repeatedly in our
brief summary of the facts of criminal anthropology. It is by no means an
extraordinary fact; it is not so extraordinary as that human beings should
occasionally be born with cervical auricles or supernumerary
breasts--reversions to very far more ancient days. It is not easy to
gather up into one statement the various real or apparent atavistic
anatomical peculiarities noted among criminals. Perhaps the most general
statement to be made is that criminals present a far larger proportion of
anatomical abnormalities than the ordinary European population. Now
this is precisely the characteristic of the anatomy of the lower human
races: they present a far larger proportion of anatomical abnormalities
than the ordinary European population. It is true that our knowledge of
the anatomy of the lower human races is still incomplete, but the evidence
so far as it goes is perfectly clear. It will be sufficient to quote the
distinguished anatomist to whom were entrusted the skulls collected during
the most important scientific expedition of modern times. Sir William
Turner, summing up the _Challenger Report_ concerning these crania,
writes:--“Although their number is certainly too limited to base any broad
generalisation on, as to the relative frequency of occurrence of
particular variations in the different races, there is obviously a larger
proportion of important variations than would occur in a corresponding
number of skulls of the white races.”[78]

[Illustration: PLATE XV.]

Our survey of the psychical characteristics of criminals showed that they
constantly reproduce the features of savage character--want of
forethought, inaptitude for sustained labour, love of orgy, etc. It may
not be out of place to remark that we must not attribute these to the
direct influence of atavism. When an original vice of organic constitution
has thrown an individual into a more primitive and remote strata of
society, the influence of environment will itself simulate the effects of
atavism and exaggerate its significance. If the organic impulses of a
man’s constitution have led him to throw in his lot with brigands, he will
not fail to live as a brigand lives--that is, as a barbarian lives. This
is not atavism, though it may be the outcome of atavism, or arrest of

(_b_) The development of crime is precocious. Rossi ascertained at what
age 46 of his 100 criminals commenced their criminal career. Of these 46,
no less than 40 began before the age of twenty--_i.e._, 1 at four years of
age, 2 at seven, 6 at eight, 1 at nine, 5 at ten, 1 at eleven, 3 at
twelve; and so on.[80] The evidence from France, from England, and from
America gives very similar results. Children may even become expert
professional criminals, and not in Europe alone. Thus, in India, where of
recent years professional poisoning has assumed great development, and to
a large extent taken the place of thuggi, “a Brahman boy at Bahraich, in
May 1885, drugged a party of men travelling with the agent of the Rajah of
Mohsan. Although only twelve years old, this was his fifth appearance in
the dock. Another boy, a few months later, cooked some pulse for three
pilgrims from Gaya; and the pilgrims were picked up shortly afterwards
insensible near the railway yard at Allahabad. This boy had been charged
with committing a similar offence in the May previous, but had got off
because the complainants, impatient of the law’s delay, changed their
story, and attributed their delirium to the heat of the sun.” The
Sonorias, again, in the north-west provinces of India, are wonderfully
expert pickpockets, and they train up their children in the same paths. “A
Sonoria boy of ten or twelve years, with his pretty innocent face and his
clean silk clothes, is a most attractive little object of villainy. His
hand slides into a pocket, and he hands over the contents to a man behind
him, who in his turn makes them over to a third, and returns to watch over
the urchin. If caught, the boy cries and protests his innocence, but his
volubility is against him, for no honest native child can talk like a
Sonoria boy.”[81]

It is more interesting to note that there is a certain form of criminality
almost peculiar to children, a form to which the term “moral insanity” may
very fairly be ascribed. This has been described by Krafft-Ebing, Mendel,
Savage, and others, and is characterised by a certain eccentricity of
character, a dislike of family habits, an incapacity for education, a
tendency to lying, together with astuteness and extraordinary cynicism,
bad sexual habits, and cruelty towards animals and companions. It shows
itself between the ages of five and eleven, and is sometimes united with
precocious intellectual qualities. There can be no doubt that many of
these develop into instinctive criminals. Sometimes these characters only
appear at puberty, together with exaggerated sexual tendencies, in
children who have previously been remarkable only for their mental
precocity, but whose energy seems now to be thrown into a new channel.

It is a very significant fact that these characters are but an
exaggeration of the characters which in a less degree mark nearly all
children. The child is naturally, by his organisation, nearer to the
animal, to the savage, to the criminal, than the adult. Although this has
frequently been noted in a fragmentary manner, it is only of recent years
that the study of childhood, a subject of the gravest importance, has been
seriously taken up by Perez and others.

The child lives in the present; the emotion or the desire of the moment is
large enough to blot out for him the whole world; he has no foresight, and
is the easier given up to his instincts and passions; our passions, as
Hobbes said, bring us near to children. Children are naturally egoists;
they will commit all enormities, sometimes, to enlarge their egoistic
satisfaction. They are cruel and inflict suffering on animals out of
curiosity, enjoying the manifestations of pain. They are thieves for the
gratification of their appetites, especially the chief, gluttony, and they
are unscrupulous and often cunning liars, not hesitating to put the blame
on the innocent when their misdeeds are discovered. The charm of childhood
for those who are not children lies largely in these qualities of frank
egotism and reckless obedience to impulse.

Most people who can recollect their own childhood--an ability which does
not, however, appear to be very common--can remember how they have
sometimes yielded to overmastering impulses which, although of a trivial
character, were distinctly criminal. The trifling, or even normal
character of such acts in childhood is too often forgotten by those who
have to deal with children. Mayhew, writing in 1862, when these childish
“crimes” were still taken seriously to a terrible extent, remarks:--“On
our return from Tothill Fields, we consulted with some of our friends as
to the various peccadilloes of their youth, and though each we asked had
grown to be a man of some little mark in the world, both for intellect and
honour, they, one and all, confessed to having committed in their younger
days many of the very “crimes” for which the boys at Tothill Fields were
incarcerated. For ourselves, we will frankly confess, that at Westminster
School, where we passed some seven years of our boyhood, such acts were
daily perpetrated; and yet if the scholars had been sent to the House of
Correction, instead of Oxford or Cambridge, to complete their education,
the country would now have seen many of our playmates working among the
convicts in the dockyards, rather than lending dignity to the senate or
honour to the bench.”

In many persons the impulses of childhood persist in a more or less
subdued form in adult age. The impulses are not yielded to so readily, or
at all, but they are still felt. The examples have often been quoted of
the distinguished alienist, Morel, who, as he narrates himself, seeing a
workman leaning over one of the Seine bridges, felt so strong an impulse
to throw the man into the river, that he had to rush away from the spot;
and of Humboldt’s nurse, who, at the sight and touch of the new-born
child’s rosy flesh, felt the temptation to kill it, and was obliged to
entrust it to some one else. These morbid impulses are perhaps more
closely related to insanity than to criminality, but it is on a borderland
that is common to both. Both child and criminal are subject to such

In the criminal, we may often take it, there is an arrest of development.
The criminal is an individual who, to some extent, remains a child his
life long--a child of larger growth and with greater capacity for evil.
This is part of the atavism of criminals. Mental acuteness is often
observed among criminal children; it is rare among criminal adults. There
is evidently arrest of development at a very early age, probably a
precocious union of the cranial bones. Among savages, also, the young
children are bright, but development stops at a very early age. All who
have come very intimately in contact with criminals have noted their
resemblance to children. Thus that profound and sympathetic observer,
Dostoieffsky, in his _Recollections of the Dead-House_, summing up some of
the light-hearted, easy-going characters of the convicts, says: “In one
word they were children, true children, even at forty years of age.” And
elsewhere he quotes a saying concerning the exile: “The convict is a
child; he throws himself on everything that he sees.”

(_c_) It is interesting to consider the sexual variations of criminality.
Women are everywhere less criminal than men. The proportion varies,
however, greatly in different countries. In France it is usually about 4
to 1; in the United States it is about 12 to 1; in Italy and Spain the
proportion of women is very small. In Great Britain, on the other hand,
the proportion of criminal women is, except during the last year or two
(owing probably to changes in police regulations), extremely large,
especially for the greater crimes. There has indeed been on the whole a
steady increase in the proportion of women criminals in England; in 1834
they were less than 1 in 5; of recent years they have been more than 1 in
4. The greater tendency to recidivism in women has everywhere been noted,
and is extremely well marked in England, where it is rapidly increasing,
and is associated, it seems, with growing habits of alcoholism. Of
incorrigible recidivists a very large proportion in Great Britain are
women; and 40 per cent. of the women committed to prison during 1888 had
been previously committed more than ten times.[82] Even among the juvenile
offenders discharged from reformatory and industrial schools as
incorrigible, it appears that the proportion of girls is double that of

While men criminals are everywhere in a more or less marked majority,
there are certain crimes which both sexes commit about equally, and these
are usually the most serious. Thus, as Quetelet remarked, nearly as many
women are poisoners as men, and of parricides 50 per cent. are women. The
crimes of women are essentially domestic, against fathers and husbands and
children. A very large proportion are, directly or indirectly, of a
sexual character. It is curious in this connection to note that Marro
finds marked physical resemblances between women criminals generally and
the class of male criminals guilty of sexual offences; such are less
length of arms and hands, less cranial capacity and greater extension of
the transverse curve of the head.

It is worth while to enumerate briefly the probable causes of the sexual
variation in criminality. There are perhaps five special causes acting on
women: (1) physical weakness, (2) sexual selection, (3) domestic
seclusion, (4) prostitution, (5) maternity.

There are firstly the physical and psychical traditions of the race
embodied in the organisation of men and women. The extreme but rather
spasmodic energy of men favours outbursts of violence, while the
activities of women are at a lower but more even level, and their
avocations have tended to develop the conservative rather than the
destructive instincts. Apart from this, even if women were trained in
violence, the superior strength of men would still make crimes of violence
in women very hazardous and dangerous. Under existing circumstances, when
a woman wants a crime committed, she can usually find a man to do it for

I have already frequently had occasion to note the approximation of
criminal women in physical character to ordinary men. This has always been
more or less carefully recorded, both in popular proverbs and in the
records of criminal trials. Thus Sarah Chesham, a notorious wholesale
poisoner, who killed several children, including her own, as well as her
husband, was described as “a woman of masculine proportions;” and a girl
called Bouhours, who was executed at Paris at the age of twenty-two, for
murdering and robbing several men who had been her lovers, is described as
of agreeable appearance, and of sweet and feminine manners, but of
remarkable muscular strength; she dressed as a man; her chief pleasure was
to wrestle with men, and her favourite weapon was the hammer.

Marro has recently suggested that sexual selection has exerted a marked
influence in diminishing the criminality of women. Masculine, unsexed,
ugly, abnormal women--the women, that is, most strongly marked with the
signs of degeneration, and therefore the tendency to criminality--would be
to a large extent passed by in the choice of a mate, and would tend to be
eliminated. It seems likely that this selection may have, at all events to
some extent, existed, and exerted influence; it is, however, not
universally accepted.

The domestic seclusion of women is an undoubted factor in the
determination of the amount of women’s criminality. In the Baltic
provinces of Russia, where the women share the occupations of the men, the
level of feminine criminality is very high. In Spain, the most backward of
the large countries of Europe, where the education of women is at a very
low level, and the women lead a very domesticated life, the level of
feminine criminality is extremely low; the same is true, to a less extent,
of Italy. In England, on the other hand, which has taken the lead in
enlarging the sphere of women’s work, the level of feminine criminality
has for half a century been rising. Reference may perhaps also here be
made to the fact that there is much more criminality among Irishwomen in
England than among Irishwomen at home who lead a more domestic life. It
is a very significant fact that Marro found among his women criminals, in
marked contrast to the men, a very large proportion (35 out of 41) who
possessed some more or less honourable occupation; a large proportion of
the women also were possessed of some property. It may not be out of place
to observe that the growing criminality of women is but the inevitable
accident of a beneficial transition. Criminality, we must remember, is a
natural element of life, regulated by natural laws, and as women come to
touch life at more various points and to feel more of its stress, they
will naturally develop the same tendency to criminality as exists among
men, just as they are developing the same diseases, such as general
paralysis. Our efforts must be directed, not to the vain attempt to
repress the energies of women, but to the larger task of improving the
conditions of life, and so diminishing the tendency to criminality among
both sexes alike.

Prostitution exerts an undoubted influence in diminishing the criminality
of women, in spite of the fact that the prostitute generally lives on the
borderland of crime. If, however, it were not for prostitution there would
be no alternative but crime for the large numbers of women who are always
falling out of the social ranks. As it is, in those families in which the
brothers become criminals, the sisters with considerable regularity join
the less outcast class of prostitutes; sometimes in league with their
criminal brothers, but yet possessing a more recognised means of
livelihood. There will be something more to say on this point a little
later on.

The strongest barrier of all against criminality in women is maternity.
The proportion of criminals among young women with children is very
small. Among men criminals the celibates are in a very large majority, but
among women maternity acts as a still greater deterrent. Not only are
young married women comparatively free from crime, but among married
women, as Bertillon pointed out, those with children are distinctly less
criminal than those without children. Of Marro’s 41 criminal women,
although all but one (who was undeveloped and ugly) confessed to having
had sexual relationships, 12 had never been married, 10 were widows, 14
were married, but of these 7 (50 per cent.) were separated from their
husbands. There is some significance, doubtless, also in the fact that
while in men the maximum of criminality falls at about the age of 25, in
women this is not so. That is the age of maximum child-bearing; the age of
maximum criminality in women is delayed until nearly the age of 35. In the
130 women condemned for premeditated murder, and studied by Salsotto, the
average age was 34. Marro found that for nearly every class of criminals
the average age of the women was much higher than that of the men. It is
clear that the woman without children is heavily handicapped in the race
of life; the stress that is upon her is written largely in these facts
concerning criminality.[83] One might suspect this beforehand. Crime is
simply a word to signify the extreme anti-social instincts of human
beings; the life led most closely in harmony with the social ends of
existence must be the most free from crime.

It may be said--to sum up our brief discussion of this large question of
women’s criminality--that certain great barriers, partly artificial,
partly natural, have everywhere served to protect women from crime. It is
not possible absolutely to prove this conclusion, because women cannot be
put strictly under the same conditions as men; a woman who lived under the
same conditions as men, it need scarcely be said, would no longer be a
woman. But it is made probable by the considerations here brought forward,
and by statistics. Thus let us take the statistics for one year in a
country where crime is so largely developed, and so carefully studied as
Italy; an average year, 1886, may be selected. It will be found that a
hundred condemned persons of each sex may be arranged according to age as

  |                |      Men.       |     Women.      |
  |                |-----------------|-----------------|
  | Below 14       |  1.29 per cent. |  1.41 per cent. |
  | From  14 to 18 |  6.04    "      |  6.02    "      |
  |  "    18 "  21 | 13.39    "      | 10.65    "      |
  |  "    21 "  35 | 46.91    "      | 39.38    "      |
  |  "    35 "  50 | 23.29    "      | 30.94    "      |
  |  "    50 "  70 |  8.40    "      | 11.63    "      |
  | Above 70       |  0.68    "      |  0.57    "      |

Thus below puberty the relative criminality of girls is rather greater
than that of boys, to become about equal at puberty; then during the
earlier and chief period of child-bearing the criminality of women falls
suddenly, becoming level with that of men at about the time of the
cessation of the child-bearing period; after this the criminality of women
becomes relatively much greater than that of men, becoming again about
the same, and in some years exceeding it, at the age of 70.

(_d_) One is inclined on first approaching the subject to make the clear
line of demarcation between crime and vice, which is necessary in
practical life. From the anthropological point of view, however, it
appears on closer examination impossible to draw this clear line.

In the course of Lombroso’s investigations he was surprised to find in the
examination of supposed normal persons certain individuals who presented
in a marked form those anthropologic signs of a low and degenerate type
which he had usually found among criminals. On further inquiry it appeared
that those individuals were of vicious character. Again, it is a
remarkable fact that prostitutes exhibit the physical and psychic signs
associated usually with criminality in more marked degree than even
criminal women. While criminal women correspond on the whole to the class
of occasional criminals, in whom the brand of criminality is but faintly
seen, prostitutes correspond much more closely to the class of instinctive
criminals. Thus their sensory obtuseness has been shown to be extreme, and
it is scarcely necessary to show that their psychical sensitiveness is
equally obtuse. Several valuable series of observations recently made on
prostitutes in Italy and elsewhere have brought out interesting results in
this respect. Thus, for example, Dr. Praskovia Tarnovskaia examined at St.
Petersburg fifty prostitutes who had been inmates of a brothel for not
less than two years, and she also examined, for the sake of comparison,
fifty peasant women of so far as possible the same age and intellectual
development. She found (1) that the prostitutes presented a shortening,
amounting to half a centimetre, of the anterior, posterior, and transverse
diameters of skull; (2) 84 per cent. showed various signs of physical
degeneration--irregular skull, asymmetry of face, anomalies of hard
palate, teeth, ears, etc.; (3) 82 per cent. had parents who were habitual
drunkards; (4) 18 per cent. were the last survivors of a large family of
eight to thirteen children who had died early. Prostitutes may fairly be
compared to the great class of vagabonds among men, who also live on the
borderlands of criminality, and who also present a larger proportion of
abnormalities than even criminals. Dugdale, in his valuable and thorough
study of the “Jukes” family of criminals in America, shows that while the
eldest sons in a criminal family carry on the criminal tradition, the
younger sons become paupers or vagabonds, and the sisters become
prostitutes. Of 250 recidivists condemned five times at Paris nearly all
have begun by vagabondage. Mendel has examined 58 vagabonds in the
workhouse at Berlin. He found 6 absolutely mad; 5 weak-minded; 8
epileptics; 14 with serious chronic disease; in the remaining 25 there was
without exception pronounced mental weakness. We see here the organic root
of the hopelessly idle, vicious character of the vagabond class. A
philanthropic gentleman at Paris offered employment of various kinds, with
payment at four francs a day, to all those who came to him complaining
that they were dying of hunger and could get no work. 545, out of 727, did
not even present themselves; some came and disappeared after the first
half-day, having claimed their two francs; only 18, or 1 in 40, continued
to work. It is not sufficiently known that these poor creatures, who form
such an extensive recruiting field for crime, are already, by the facts of
their physical organisation, cut off from the great body of humanity. They
need much more intelligent treatment than the antiquated workhouse is able
to supply.

We must be careful not to confuse vice and crime. At the same time we have
to recognise that they both spring from the same root. The criminal is
simply a person who is, by his organisation, directly anti-social; the
vicious person is not directly anti-social, but he is indirectly so. The
criminal directly injures the persons or property of the community to
which he belongs; the vicious person (in any rational definition of vice)
indirectly injures these. They are both anti-social because they are both
more or less unfitted for harmonious social action, both, from organic
reasons, more or less lazy. Criminals and prostitutes, as Féré remarks,
have this common character, that they are both unproductive. This is true
also of vagabonds, and of the vicious and idle generally, to whatever
class they belong. They are all members of the same family.

(_e_) We saw in Chapter I. that there is a fairly well-marked class of
professional criminals. They are the _élite_ of the criminal groups; they
present a comparatively small proportion of abnormalities; their crimes
are skilfully laid plots, directed primarily against property and on a
large scale; they never commit purposeless crimes, and in their private
life are often of fairly estimable character. They flourish greatly in a
civilisation of rapidly progressing material character, where wild and
unprincipled speculation is rife, as in the United States; their own
schemes have much of the character of speculations, with this difference,
that they are not merely unprincipled but are against the letter of the
law; notwithstanding the ability and daring they require, they are a
relatively unskilled kind of speculation.

Tarde, and perhaps one or two writers following him, have endeavoured to
show that all crime is professional, and that every physical and psychic
characteristic of the criminal may be explained by the influence of
profession. Tarde’s always alert and intelligent advocacy makes it
necessary to take note of this position, although in this unqualified
shape it has not met with much adhesion at the hands of scientific
investigators. I am persuaded, he says, that every large social class has
its own characteristics. “If one examined hundreds or thousands of judges,
lawyers, labourers, musicians, taken at random and in various countries,
noting their different characters, craniometric, algometric,
sphygmographic, graphologic, photographic, etc., as Lombroso has examined
hundreds and thousands of criminals, it is extremely probable that we
should ascertain facts not less surprising; thus, for instance, we might
succeed in finding _instinctive lawyers_--born to defend instinctive
criminals.... I should like to see the instinctive criminal opposed to the
instinctive man of science, or the religious man, or the artist. It would
be curious to see him compared to the moral man, and to learn if the
latter is the antipodes of the criminal physically as well as

Tarde has again more recently stated his position: “One knows that at the
first glance at a woman a skilful observer infallibly divines her habits
of prostitution.... Among the innumerable varieties of human nature which
appear at the surface of a race and proceed perhaps from its lowest depths
(for the variations of a theme are, I believe, its true _raison d’être_,
and not _vice versâ_), every social or anti-social profession operates a
selection to its own profit; it attracts the organisms most adapted to the
kind of life which it leads, and to the end which it pursues, so that if
one submitted to anthropometric measurement lawyers, doctors, priests,
merchants, especially those who have the most decided vocation for their
profession, we should not fail to find for each category the proportional
preponderance of a certain number of peculiarities, morphologic or
physiologic, elsewhere in less proportion. It must inevitably be so
whether a career is open to every one or shut up as a caste, for in the
latter case hereditary accumulation of acquired aptitudes from the use of
the same functions transmitted from generation to generation produces an
analogous effect, even with superior intensity.”[85] The recent
investigations of Bertillon at the Paris Prefecture of Police have shown
that by large photographs of the hand it is possible to detect the worker
at a large number of crafts. By such acquirement as this, as well as by a
process of natural selection, the men of every class develop a special set
of psychic and physical peculiarities; thus Tolstoï, in his _Death of Ivan
Ilyitch_, has admirably described the special attitude and manner common
to professional men generally, and in this general professional class
there are subdivisions, so that every professional man instinctively
recognises his fellows. It is so among criminals. Mr. Davitt sketches, for
instance, the special class of “hooks,” or professional pickpockets, “so
well outlined in gait, constant use of slang, furtive looks, almost total
want of tact in their ordinary conduct, with an instinctively suspicious
manner in almost all their actions, that they are as easily
distinguishable from the other criminals of a prison as they are
recognisable to their constant pursuers, the police, when abroad in the

If we were to look at the matter in a rather more thorough and scientific
manner, there can be no doubt that the previsions of Tarde would be
justified, and that men would fall into certain natural anthropologic
groups, according to their habitual modes of feeling and thinking and
acting, the nature of each person, to some extent, “subdued to what it
works in, like the dyer’s hand.” In each class there would be different
degrees in sensory perception, in cranial shape and size, in muscular
development. Such investigations will no doubt be systematically carried
out in time. At present, owing to the extraordinary apathy of
anthropologists, and consequently the general indifference to the
importance of studies connected with the development and varieties of men,
scarcely anything is known regarding the matter.

But important as professional selection is, it cannot account for
everything. Indeed no serious attempt has been made to substantiate it by
reference to the details of criminal anthropology. M. Tarde is a
magistrate; no scientific man would have attempted to account for all the
facts that have now accumulated by professional selection and acquired

It is interesting to note that Topinard, the distinguished anthropologist,
who has bestowed some severe and not unmerited criticism on portions of
Lombroso’s work,[86] while accepting the professional theory of crime, by
no means considers that it is sufficient to explain the whole of the
facts; remembering the teaching of Lélut and Baillarger, under whom he had
studied mental disease, he calls in the aid of the morbid
element:--“Criminals constitute a special professional category in
society, in the same way as men of letters, men of science, artists,
priests, the labouring classes, etc., but a complex category in which the
most diverse elements enter: the insane or those predisposed to insanity,
epileptics and those predisposed to epilepsy, the alcoholic, the
microcephalic, the macrocephalic, those predisposed by some vice of
organisation or of development, anterior or posterior to birth, betraying
itself sometimes by very evident anatomical anomalies, those who are
predisposed by family traditions and inclinations, those whose moral
instincts are perverted by individual education and social environment,
and finally those who are criminals by accident, without preparation or
predisposition.”[87] Professional characters will carry us a long way when
we are seeking to account for natural social groups. But in the
anti-social groups another and more morbid element enters. It is indeed
largely the presence of morbid elements which gives these groups their
anti-social character.

(_f_) The morbid element in criminality has sometimes been too strongly
emphasised, but it would be idle to attempt to deny its importance. The
frequency with which insanity appears among criminals, even when the
influence of imprisonment may with considerable certainty be excluded, is
well ascertained. Of recent years also the close connection between
criminality and epilepsy and general paralysis has often been shown. I
have several times pointed out that the resemblances between criminals
considered as a class and the insane so considered are by no means great;
at many points they are strongly contrasted. The resemblances with
epileptics, on the other hand, are anthropologically very marked, as
Lombroso was the first to point out in detail. He has also observed that
those regions of Italy which produce most epileptics produce also most
criminals. Epilepsy has a certain relationship to insanity; it tends
naturally to weak-mindedness, although some of the world’s greatest men
have been epileptics; and there is in epilepsy a tendency to the
development of brutal, unnatural, and bloodthirsty instincts. The slighter
and more concealed forms of epilepsy offer also a very fruitful field for
investigation in this respect.[88]

But the roots of criminality are not only deeper than professionalism,
they are deeper also than any merely acquired disease. I have frequently
had occasion to note the remarkable resemblances between criminals and
idiots. There is the same tendency to anatomical abnormalities of the
muscles, arteries, bones, etc.; in both the muscular system is weak; there
is the same tendency also to small and weak hearts, with valvular defects.
There is, again, the same sensory obtuseness, with the same exception in
the case of sight, which is remarkably good, with rarity, it seems, of
colour-blindness. Criminality, like idiocy, tends to run in the line of
the eldest sons, and in both the hereditary influences are frequently bad.
Cranial asymmetry is common in idiots as well as among criminals; and
while meningitis is a common cause of idiocy, such evidence as we possess
shows that it is also common in criminals. Tubercular disease is again
common in both. Epilepsy, to which so much importance has of late been
attached in connection with criminality, is notoriously common among
idiots, being found among nearly 25 per cent.[89] The relations of
criminality to idiocy have not yet been sufficiently studied.

The criminal is, however, by no means an idiot. He is not even a merely
weak-minded person. The idiot and the feeble-minded, as we know them in
asylums, rarely have any criminal or dangerous instincts. Another term is
frequently used to denote vicious or criminal instincts in a person who
is, mentally, little if at all defective; he is said to be “morally

The term “moral insanity” was originated nearly half a century ago by an
Englishman, Dr. Prichard, who in his _Treatise on Insanity_ declared that
insanity exists sometimes with an apparently unimpaired state of the
intellectual faculties; and the conception has been developed by
Krafft-Ebing, Maudsley, and many others. The term itself is an unfortunate
one; the condition described by no means falls in easily as a subdivision
of insanity, and it is moreover frequently of a congenital character.
There is now a very general tendency to drop the expression “moral
insanity,” and to speak instead of “moral imbecility.”

The condition in question, by whatever name it is called, is described by
alienists as an incapacity to feel, or to act in accordance with, the
moral conditions of social life. Such persons, it has been said, are
morally blind; the psychic retina has become anæsthetic. The egoistic
impulses have become supreme; the moral imbecile is indifferent to the
misfortunes of others, and to the opinions of others; with cold logic he
calmly goes on his way, satisfying his personal interests and treading
under foot the rights of others. If he comes in contact with the law then
his indifference changes into hate, revenge, ferocity, and he is persuaded
that he is in the right. Although so defective on the moral side, these
persons are well able to make use of the abstracted intellectual
conceptions of honour, morality, philanthropy; such words are indeed
frequently on their lips, and it is quite impossible to convince them of
the unusual character of their acts. They are absolutely and congenitally
incapable of social education, systematically hostile to every moralising
influence. Being themselves morally blind, it is their firm conviction
that all others are in the same condition; they disbelieve in the
possibility of virtue, and being often possessed of considerable
intellectual ability, maintain anti-social theories with much skill.

“Moral insanity” does not probably stand for any definite morbid
condition. It is used as a convenient term to describe a certain group of
psychic symptoms which are not found in a developed condition in the
normal man. It is obvious that these symptoms closely resemble those we
have already described as characterising the criminal in his most
clearly-marked form--the instinctive criminal. The morally insane person
has been identified with the instinctive criminal by Lombroso, Marro,
Ferri, Benedikt, Colajanni, and many others. The fusion has, however, been
rejected by some--by Binswanger and Kraepelin, for instance. There can,
however, be little doubt that the two groups overlap in very large part.

The group of instinctive criminals therefore still stands fairly apart
among the other groups of criminals, approximating, but not fusing with,
these various morbid and atypical groups. The outlines blend, but each
group is distinct at the centre. It will be the work of the future to
arrange, and if necessary to re-form, these various groups.

It is much to be able to see, even so clearly as we do to-day, the human
classes of arrested or perverted development who lie in the dark pool at
the foot of our social ascent. Even our present knowledge is sufficient to
serve as the justification for a certain amount of social action. We owe
this to the labours of a succession of physiologists, alienists,
anthropologists, and criminologists during the past century.

Up to recent times the criminal has been regarded as a kind of algebraic
formula, to use Professor Ferri’s expression; the punishment has been
proportioned not to the criminal but to the crime. We are now learning to
regard the criminal as a natural phenomenon, the resultant of manifold
natural causes. We are striving to attain to scientific justice. We are
seeking in every direction to ascertain what is the reasonable treatment
of the eccentric and abnormal members of society, in their interest, and
in the still higher interests of the society to which we belong.

To seek for light in the fields of biology and psychology, of anthropology
and sociology, has seemed to many a discouraging task. The results are
sometimes so obscure; sometimes, it even seems, contradictory. In
practice, it is said, such considerations count for nothing. Law must only
concern itself with absolute certainties, with abstract formulæ, with
geometrical routine. But human nature will not fit in with formulæ; when
men and women are geometrical figures, an abstract legal system will
answer all their needs. If the path lies through a jungle, what is the use
of the best and straightest of roads that leads astray? If a critic were
to point out to a biologist--to take another illustration from Ferri--the
limitations of the microscope, he would be entitled to reply--But excuse
me, however imperfect the microscope may be, would it be better to
dispense with the microscope? Much less when we are dealing with
criminals, whether in the court of justice or in the prison, or in society
generally, can we afford to dispense with such science of human nature as
we may succeed in attaining.



If, as now scarcely admits of question, every truly criminal act proceeds
from a person who is, temporarily or permanently, in a more or less
abnormal condition, the notion of “punishment” loses much of its
foundation. We cannot punish a monstrosity for acting according to its
monstrous nature. Moreover, who among us is perfectly normal, and what
tribunal is entitled to punish? The verdict of science is one with that of
Christianity--“Judge not.”

Some such argument as this has weighed with those thinkers and
investigators who have of late shown a disinclination to talk of
punishment, and have instead spoken of the “social reaction against
crime.” The old conception of punishment was founded on the assumption of
the normality of the criminal; he was a normal person who had chosen to
act as though he were not a normal person--a vine, as it were, that had
chosen to bring forth thorns--and it was the business of the penologist to
apportion the exact amount of retribution due to this extraordinary
offence, with little or no regard to the varying nature of the offender;
he was regarded as a constant factor. Lord Chief Justice Coleridge, not
many years ago, “when addressing,” says the Rev. J. W. Horsley, “in our
hearing, an assemblage of those who had all belonged to the criminal
class, expatiated, somewhat to their astonishment and much to their
gratification, on the iniquity of giving a severe punishment for a theft
that was petty, even though it had been preceded by many thefts and
convictions.” Obviously the punishment was directed at the offence; it was
not necessary to consider the offender at all. This conception, formulated
by theorists who delighted in abstract notions, has been shown to lead
directly into devious paths of metaphysics and ethics; it has,
consequently, been fertile of much vain disquisition. On the whole, the
results of this have not contributed to confirm the credit of the notion,
and it has seemed better--at once sounder theoretically and more
convenient practically--to dispense with this antiquated conception of
punishment. Whenever one person trespasses on the rights of another
person, or of the community to which he belongs, there is an inevitable
social reaction against the person who has committed the anti-social deed.
Society says to the individual who has violated its social feelings--Here,
my fine fellow, we are not going to stand this conduct of yours; we must
have an end of this: and it proceeds to act in accordance with the varying
measure of its wisdom. This is the basis of all legal action against the
criminal; in its crudest form it is Lynch law; in its highly developed
form it shows itself in the elaborate training bestowed on the criminal at
Elmira. Such social action is a solid and permanent fact, independent of
all metaphysical theories; and it is this we are concerned with when we
approach the question of the treatment of the criminal.

At a very early period in the development of every barbarous race there
arise two institutions for dealing with the criminal--the prison and
another, still more decisive, appearing in various forms, the cross, the
stake, the gallows, the axe.

I do not propose to give more than a few words to the question of capital
punishment, because it does not seem to be any longer a question of much
magnitude or importance. A century, even three-quarters of a century, ago
it was a different matter. In England especially capital punishment seems
to have flourished luxuriantly. A writer in Elizabeth’s reign says that in
Henry VIII.’s time seventy-two thousand thieves and vagabonds were hanged.
The statement is set down on hearsay evidence only, but is sufficient to
show that the number must have been very large. About a century ago more
criminals, it is said, were put to death in England than in any other part
of Europe; many persons still living remember the days of wholesale
hanging, and even the execution of a child of twelve for rioting. It is
less than half a century since a child of nine was condemned to death for
stealing paint, value twopence-halfpenny, and since men were hanged for
stealing sheep and postoffice letters.

There can be little doubt that capital punishment is dying out. In
Switzerland, in England, in Italy, for example, the tendency is very
clearly marked. Whether its complete extinction is altogether a matter for
rejoicing is a question concerning which there is not complete unanimity
among those whose opinions carry most weight. An impressive body of
opinion is in favour of putting instinctive criminals to death, not out of
revenge, but in the spirit in which Galen and Seneca advocated the
destruction of incorrigible offenders against social life, regarding them
as diseased members to be removed for the advantage of the whole social
body. Garofalo, the distinguished Neapolitan lawyer, is perhaps the chief
advocate of capital punishment among those who are working for legal
reform. He points out that the death penalty is the only one the criminal
really dreads, and tells of offenders who committed their crimes under the
impression that capital punishment had been abolished, and that they were
to be provided with food and shelter for the rest of their lives. On the
other hand, it has also been shown that the _éclat_ and public interest
involved in a trial for life or death serves as an incentive to the morbid
vanity of criminals. Such a penalty as burning “for example of others, as
hath been accustomed,” according to the phrasing of Henry VIII.’s statute,
has been an example often enough in another sense than the statute

On the whole, we may perhaps be well satisfied that capital
punishment--“the shameful practice,” as it has been epigrammatically
styled, “of hiring for a guinea an assassin to accomplish a sentence which
the judge would not have the courage to carry out himself”--is threatened
with extinction in civilised countries. It has the disadvantage of being
irrevocable. There would be little chance of mistake if it were only
applied to recidivists; but these are a class to whom it is rarely
applied. It is certain that mistakes have occurred when in the opinion of
the judge the evidence of guilt was absolutely convincing. It is true that
the chief cause of this extinction in democratic countries is not the
benefit of the criminal, or even the welfare of society; it is a tender
regard for the sentiments of the general public. “To punish murder by
lifelong imprisonment,” as Sir Robert Rawlinson observed, “is a far
severer fate than sudden death, but it is not so revolting.” We have to
see to it that our substitutes for the death penalty are of a humane and
rational character, and that they afford an equal protection to society.
It should never be possible to address to society the words which the
daring Duc de Montausier addressed to Louis XIV. concerning a criminal who
was finally executed after committing twenty murders: “This man has only
committed one murder, the first, and it is you who, by letting him live,
have committed the other nineteen.” But, as Benedikt well observes, to
kill the criminal is never satisfactory, because we do not kill his
accomplices, bad social conditions and defective institutions; we leave
untouched the false social sentiments that urged the unmarried girl to
kill her own child, or the rigid marriage system that made it easier for
the man to kill his wife than to leave her or to allow of her leaving him.
Moreover, it must be said that murderers, whom alone it is considered
justifiable to eliminate by death, are not usually the most degraded of
criminals or the most dangerous to society. In Russia, where capital
punishment for common-law offences was abolished more than a century ago,
murderers are condemned to hard labour for a period of years, after which
they are settled in Siberia. “Eastern Siberia is full of liberated
assassins,” remarks Prince Krapotkine, “and, nevertheless, there is hardly
another country where you could travel and stay with greater security;
while the unceasing robberies and murders of which Siberia complains now,
take place precisely in Tomsk and throughout Western Siberia, whereto no
murderers and only minor offenders are exiled. In the earlier part of this
century it was not uncommon to find at an official’s house that the
coachman was a liberated murderer, or that the nurse who bestowed such
motherly care upon the children bore imperfectly obliterated marks of the
branding-iron.”[90] Mr. Davitt, speaking from an extensive acquaintance
with criminals, says:--“The really hardened, irreclaimable criminal will
never commit a murder.... The most heinous of all offences--murder
deliberately intended and planned before commission--is, ordinarily, the
offspring of the passions of revenge and jealousy, or the outcome of
social or political wrongs; and is more frequently the result of some
derangement of the nobler instincts of human nature than traceable to its
more debased orders or appetites.”[91] Again, Miss Carpenter, in her
_Female Life in Prison_, wrote:--“Some women are less easy to tame than
the creatures of the jungle.... And yet these women are not always in for
the worst crimes: there are few, if any, murderers amongst them; they have
been chiefly convicted of theft after theft, accompanied by violence.”
These observations are entirely in accord with the results of criminal
anthropology; the murderer belongs very frequently to the class of
criminals by passion, the least anti-social of all, and is at other times
frequently the subject of some morbid impulse, epileptic or insane.

Perhaps the most powerful reason in favour of the probable disappearance
of capital punishment is the humanising influence that would be exerted on
the community generally. The unreasoning outbursts of ferocity in which,
especially among young and emotional democracies, some morbid and
distracted creature who fires at a political personage is hurried with
glee to the scaffold, or some half-witted human thing who commits a rape
is perhaps actually torn to pieces, are not wholesome manifestations of
the social spirit. They are far less excusable than the deeds by which
they are aroused, for the reason that they arise in more normally
constituted persons. So long as capital punishment is legitimate there is,
however, at least the appearance of an excuse for the development of these
brutalising outbursts. All that is finest in civilisation is bound up with
a self-restraint and humanity, as well as a more intelligent insight,
which, while admitting a more chastened social reaction, makes ferocity

Let us turn to the prison. During the last century a vast amount of care
and enthusiasm, philanthropic and administrative, have been expended on
the elaboration and development of prisons. It is needless to sketch the
history of this development, which seems now to have come to a standstill;
it has often been done, and is easily accessible. It is however very
interesting and instructive to take note of the deliberate opinions
expressed during the last few years, from various points of view, by those
who have had the opportunity of studying most intimately the modern
developed prison.

A curious fate has befallen this ancient institution. In its more
primitive form it now arouses universal disgust and horror. The Russian
prisons of Siberia are, for instance, a by-word of reproach. The physical
and mental torture which they inflict, wholesale and indiscriminately, on
men and women, on political suspects as well as on the lowest criminals,
have been described over and over again, from within and from without,
during the last fifty years, in Dostoieffsky’s _Recollections of the
Dead-House_, by Maximoff, and by Krapotkine, and still, when Mr. Kennan
repeats the old story, a wave of indignation passes across the civilised
world. Elsewhere on the fringe of European civilisation the primitive
prison is still scarcely changed. The Spanish prisons are often filthy and
overcrowded, and the inmates are maintained in laziness. In the Spanish
prison of Ceuta, in Morocco, there are 3000 convicts, mostly for life, and
crowded together, so that 112 sleep in one room.[92] The native prisons
of Morocco are the abodes of oppression, starvation, and filth, where the
innocent and guilty are thrown in together, without any kind of work, and
allowed to die slowly. “The horrors of these places are indescribable.
Often they are underground, damp, and pestilential; always filthy. They
are frequently very crowded, and a dozen or more poor wretches may be
fastened in one chain by their necks, with heavy irons on their wrists and
ankles, unable to stir a foot away from one another for any purpose all
night, and often all day.”[93] “On the highest authority,” says Mr. Cook,
“I am able to say that the prison population of the city of Morocco equals
the free population.” In the interior, where there is no dread of European
influence, things are naturally much worse. In Egypt the prisons are
filthy and filled with untried prisoners. In Greece the prisoners are,
“if possible, dirtier than those of Egypt, no work, no books, and but
little food. Some of the rooms containing ten prisoners were less than
twelve feet square.” Many of the prisons of South Africa are in a wretched
condition, and some of those in the United States are little better.

A century ago most of the prisons of England could fairly have been
included in any such enumeration as that I have just attempted. “They are
ironed,” wrote Howard of the English convicts of 1773, “thrust into close,
offensive dungeons, and there chained down, some of them without straw or
other bedding. They continue in winter sixteen or seventeen hours out of
the twenty-four in utter inactivity, and immersed in the noxious effluvia
of their own bodies. Their diet is at the same time low and scanty; they
are generally without firing; and the powers of life soon become incapable
of resisting so many causes of sickness and despair.” There was not, as a
recent writer remarks, so much consideration for prisoners in Britain as
there had been in the reign of the Emperor Constantine, for the Romans of
the fourth century did not permit the imprisonment of men in the same room
with women. Howard found a girl locked up all day with two soldiers in the
Bridewell at St. Albans, and in many of the gaols there was insufficient
provision for the separation of the sexes.

We have changed all that. The best prisons of England, France, the United
States, Belgium, Italy, and some other countries, are models of ingenuity,
cleanliness, and routine. It cannot be said, indeed, that we have
succeeded in hindering communication between prisoners, or in preventing
an illicit traffic in tobacco, etc., or even the practice of unnatural
intercourse; and we do not trouble ourselves too much to reform the
prisoner. Yet even these laxities of discipline have added materially to
the prisoner’s comfort; and if we have not reformed the prisoner we have
at least reformed the prison, an easier task, and one which shows more
tangible results. “The prisoner of the present day is well cared for,”
remarks Dr. Gover, the medical inspector, in a recent Report of the
Directors of Convict Prisons; “he is supplied with all the necessaries,
and not a few of the comforts of life; and his existence is, to say the
least, rendered very endurable. The labour exacted from him is not irksome
in its character, and he is not subjected to any depressing punishment
unless it be for idleness or for serious misconduct.” But the work is not
of an exhausting character, so that there is no very strong motive to
laziness. “Hard labour,” Mr. Horsley remarks, “is such that no prisoner
could get a living outside if he did not work harder.” It is not
surprising that under these circumstances the prisoner flourishes. “In our
prisons now there is,” says Dr. Richardson, “a lower mortality and
probably a lesser sickness than in the most luxuriously appointed and
comfortable houses in the commonwealth.” And what, he asks, is more
natural when we find “epidemic poisons shut out of our prisons; famine
shut out; luxury shut out; drink shut out; exposure to cold and wet shut
out; the acute and most destructive kinds of mental worry shut out; the
hungry strain for to-morrow’s bed and board shut out; the baneful
association with criminal life at large shut out!”

And yet we are dissatisfied! This comfortable, easy-going routine of the
modern prison is viewed with scarcely more approval by the thoughtful
investigator of to-day than the horrors of the primitive prison. It is
deeply interesting and suggestive to take note of the opinions expressed
during recent years by those most intimately acquainted with the modern
prison. “Why are our prisons failures?” asks Mr. Horsley, who is as
impressed as much as any one by the material progress of prisons. “Men are
asking, and will more loudly ask, ‘Why are our prisons such utter
failures?’ In the face of the phenomena of recidivism, and men and women
with hundreds of convictions, it is absurd to imagine that they are as
deterrent as they should be.” The prisoner is, he points out, but
temporarily suspended from habits of crime by circumstances not under his
own control: “He may even boast of his intentions, but out he must go,
with as much safety to the State as if all mad dogs were muzzled for
twenty-four hours and then all unmuzzled, because it had been found that
in that period a certain proportion ceased to be dangerous; or as if all
small-pox patients were discharged from hospital so many weeks after
reception, whether cured or not.”[94] Another prison chaplain (Rev. C.
Goldney), speaking from an experience of twelve years, writes still more
recently:--“I say, unhesitatingly, that if a society for the manufacture
of criminals were set on foot, that society could in no better way further
its aims than by pressing for the imprisonment of every little boy and
girl who could, on any decent pretext, be brought before a bench of
magistrates. Prison officials well know the hardening influence of gaol
life on the young, and statistics show how unlikely it is that the first
term of imprisonment will be the last in the case of children of tender
years. They learn the secret which should jealously be kept from
them--that a short imprisonment is after all no such very terrible
punishment.” Mr. Michael Davitt has learnt by actual experience the
realities of English convict life at Dartmoor, Portsmouth, and Portland,
and the valuable book in which he has summed up those experiences is full
of wise and fruitful suggestions. After pointing out that philanthropic
intentions on the part of the heads of a department are no guarantee for
their administration at the hands of warders and assistant-warders, he
continues[95]:--“Penal servitude has become so elaborated that it is now a
huge punishing machine, destitute, through centralised control and
responsibility, of discrimination, feeling, or sensitiveness; and its
non-success as a deterrent from crime, and complete failure in reformative
effect upon criminal character, are owing to its obvious essential
tendency to deal with erring human beings--who are still men despite their
crimes--in a manner which mechanically reduces them to a uniform level of
disciplined brutes. There is scarcely a crime possible for man to be
guilty of, short of murder, which should not, in strict justice, be
expiated by seven years’ infliction of a punishment that has been brought
to such a nicety of calculation that there is the closest possible
surveillance of every one undergoing it night and day, together with an
unceasing conflict between every feeling in the prisoner that is superior
to a mere condition of animal existence and the everlasting compulsion to
refrain from almost all that it is natural for man to do, and to do what
it is to the last degree repugnant for any rational being to consent to
perform. Yet wretches who have had a London gutter or a workhouse for
their only moral training-school, and who have been subsequently nurtured
in crime by society’s other licensed agencies of moral corruption, receive
ten, fifteen, and sometimes twenty years for thefts and crimes which
should, in justice, be expiated by a twelve months’ duration of such
punishment. It is these horribly unjust penalties that beget many of the
desperadoes of Portland, Chatham, and Dartmoor, the murderers of warders,
the malingerers, and the partial maniacs, and which implant in the minds
of convicts that ferocious animosity against law and society which turns
so many of them into reckless social savages.” Prince Krapotkine has also
had practical acquaintance with prisons, and his conclusions also are
deserving of study. In his very interesting book, _In Russian and French
Prisons_, after describing the routine of the Maison Centrale at
Clairvaux, one of the best-arranged of modern prisons, he adds:--“Such is
the regular life of the prison, a life running for years without the least
modification, and which acts depressingly on man by its monotony and its
want of impressions; a life which a man can endure for years, but which he
cannot endure--if he has no aim beyond this life itself--without being
depressed and reduced to the state of a machine which obeys but has no
will of its own; a life which results in an atrophy of the best qualities
of man, and a development of the worst of them, and, if much prolonged,
renders him quite unfit to live afterwards in a society of free
fellow-creatures.” And again he remarks:--“The real cause of recidivism
lies in the perversion due to such infection-nests as the Lyons prison is.
I suppose that to lock up hundreds of boys in such infection-nests is
surely to commit a crime much worse than any of those committed by any of
the convicts themselves.”[96] M. Émile Gautier, a companion of Prince
Krapotkine’s, who has written a series of remarkable articles on this
subject,[97] calls the prison a hot-house for poisonous plants. He points
out what has often been remarked by others (Mr. Davitt, for instance), the
great difference between the “bon détenu” and the “bon sujet.” “The
recidivists are always the most easy to manage, the most supple--or the
most hypocrital--and therefore the favourites with the officials. The
misfortune is that this ‘bon détenu,’ according to the formula, soon
becomes under this _régime_ as incapable of resisting his comrades,
instinctive criminals or professional evil-doers, as the warders, and as
little refractory to temptation, to unwholesome stimulus, to the
attraction of an illicit gain, or to the contagion of bad example, as to
discipline. He can only obey--no matter whom!” And elsewhere he says: “It
is well to remark that there is not one of the passions, natural or
factitious, of man, from drunkenness to love, which cannot find in prison
at least a semblance of satisfaction.... It need not be said that the
prisoner afterwards carries out with him into the world all these
abnormal vices in a more developed form. The prison indeed, as it is
organised, is a sewer throwing out into society a continuous flood of
purulence, the germs of physiological and moral contagion. It poisons,
brutalises, depresses, and corrupts. It is a manufactory at once of the
phthisical, the insane, and the criminal.” Dr. Napoleone Colajanni, the
eminent criminal sociologist of Naples, confirms from personal experience
the evidence given by Prince Krapotkine and M. Gautier. A writer who is
peculiarly well informed as to the manners and customs of the criminal
classes in England writes:--“Looking at our present system of dealing with
thieves, examining it from every side, it is clear that nothing can be
more clumsy and inefficient--except for evil. Let any one of robust health
fancy himself a prisoner within four walls, employed day after day in
severest labour, without a face to look at except that of the tyrant
warder or the scowling criminal, without relaxation or kindly intercourse
of any kind; with nothing, in short, to subdue the darker feelings, but
with everything to nourish them. Let any one of robust health fancy
himself enduring this year after year--for a fifth, a fourth, or even half
of a life--and then say what sort of creature he would probably become.
Then there is the expense of a system which does not reform nor get rid of
the thief--in old days gaol fever did the latter when the halter
failed--but merely hoards him up for a while to turn him loose on society
more wolfish than ever. As we deal with the thief he is our most costly
national luxury.”[98] The courts of Paris and of Bourges have not
hesitated to declare that the chief cause of recidivism is to be found in
the prison and its _régime_.[99] In one of the foremost American States,
Ohio, an influential committee, including the Governor of the State, has
reported: “With less than half-a-dozen exceptions, every gaol in Ohio is a
moral pest-house and a school of crime.” The Lord Chief Justice of England
(Lord Coleridge) is reported as saying, in 1885, that “there were few
things more frequently borne in upon a judge’s mind than the little good
he could do the criminal by the sentence he imposed. These sentences often
did nothing but unmixed harm, though he was sure that throughout the
country the greatest pains had been taken to make our prisons as useful as
possible in the way of being reformatories. But, as a matter of fact, they
were not so.”

M. Laloue, inspector-general of prisons in France, stated before a
commission that “with our existing system, twenty-four hours’ imprisonment
suffices, under certain circumstances, to ruin a man.” The following
conversation ensued. _M. Tailhand_: “There is perhaps some exaggeration in
the statement that twenty-four hours’ imprisonment can ruin a man.” _M.
Laloue_: “I do not exaggerate. I say what I have seen. The prisoner meets
a corrupt recidivist; they appoint a _rendez-vous_ outside, and that man
is lost.” _M. Tailhand_: “He must be a man of very weak character.” _M.
d’Havssonville_: “It is such characters that succumb.”

Professor Prins, inspector-general of Belgian prisons, and the chief
authority in Belgium on these questions, writes:--“What is the advantage,
unless the necessity is absolute, of putting into prison the head of a
family to devote him to infamy, to compromise him in the eyes of his
fellow-workmen, of his wife, and of his children? Is it not to condemn
these latter to abandonment, misery, and mendicity? Is it not to join to
the wretchedness which is the act of destiny, a wretchedness which is the
act of law? Is it not, in short, to degrade and ruin the delinquent, thus
to deliver him over to the suggestions of despair, and to risk making him
a recidivist?”[100]

Garofalo, the eminent Neapolitan lawyer, certainly one of the most
sagacious of those who have in recent years studied the treatment of the
criminal, writes:--“Suppose that in some legendary country an austere king
forbade all flirtation with married ladies, and that the punishment
threatened to the guilty one should be a prohibition to leave during
several weeks a certain club, a magnificent hotel, with gardens and
terraces, where this gentleman would find his best friends, his old
comrades at board and game, who, far from blaming him, would be glad to do
the same. In this sympathetic environment we may be sure they would treat
with much contempt the absurd law and the punishment it inflicted. Who
would not laugh to think that it should be pretended that after such a
punishment this individual would not recommence his ordinary life and
commit again the very offences for which he has been punished?”[101]

“Imprisonment,” affirms Reinach, in his often-quoted work, _Les
Récidivistes_, “especially if short, is an excitation to crime.” “As to
the reformation of the criminal,” remarks Dr. Paul Aubrey, in a recent and
able study, _Le Contagion du Meutre_, “that is a myth; the prison is
still the best school of crime which we possess.” “The houses of
correction are much more houses of corruption,” said a young Italian
thief. “Clever robberies are arranged in prison,” a thief told the Abbé
Moreau; “the prisoners all know each other; once at liberty they can find
one another.” “I have seen young men enter the Grande Roquette,” the Abbé
observes elsewhere, “guilty, but not corrupted, who went out decided to
commit crimes which a few months before they would have regarded with

It is unnecessary, I trust, to accumulate further evidence on this point;
it is a melancholy though far from a difficult task. It must be
sufficiently clear that the modern prison, with its monotonous routine of
solitary confinement, varied by bad company, is fruitful of nothing but
disaster to the prisoner and to the society on which he is set loose. Such
mitigation of its influence as may be found is chiefly due to voluntary
charitable agency.

There is one group apart from the chorus of damnation which has of late
years greeted the modern developments of the prison. Unfortunately it is a
sinister and terrible group of exceptions. The prison is an incubator for
those who are young in crime, a place of torture for those who possess the
finer feelings of humanity, that is precisely the class of people,
usually, who ought not to be sent to prison; but to habitual offenders,
the confirmed recidivists, precisely the class of people on whom the
prison ought to work as at once a reforming and deterring influence, it is
simply a welcome and comfortable home. It is a well-known fact that the
prison is preferred to the workhouse. “Whole classes,” as Mr. Horsley
truly remarks, “are brought to consider that, from several points of view,
the prison is preferable to the workhouse.” “Amidst the mass of our fallen
sisters in gaol,” a prison matron observes (_Female Life in Prison_),
“there are these strange practical philosophers--women who have weighed
all the chances between the workhouse and the prison, and who, being
compelled to choose between one and the other, strike the balance in
favour of the gaol. A little less liberty, but more kindness and
attention; better food and more friendly faces--only the key turned upon
them, and their sleeping chamber called a cell!” “It is a painful fact,”
remarks Mr. F. W. Robinson, “that the ordinary female convict considers
herself above the woman in the Union. ‘Look at these shawls,’ was said
once by an indignant prisoner upon a new style of shawl being introduced
into the service; ‘do they take us for those poor workhouse wretches, I
should like to know!’” The author of _Five Years’ Penal Servitude_
says--“A farm-labourer has told me frequently that he worked far harder
for his eleven shillings a week than ever he had at stone-quarrying or
anything else in prison. When at home he seldom, if ever, had meat of any
sort, and his bed was but a poor affair compared to his prison couch. Here
in prison, comparatively speaking, he fared sumptuously every day, and I
can assure the reader he considered the living luxurious compared to what
he had at home.” “There can be no doubt,” as Beltrani-Scalia remarks,
“that the life of a prison is superior, from a material point of view, to
that which most prisoners are accustomed to lead in liberty.” To the
habitual criminal that is everything. The perpetration of offences for
the purpose of obtaining admission to prison is far from uncommon, and the
criminal slang of various nations with its friendly synonyms for the
prison is very significant on this point. There is a popular Sicilian song
which says: “He who speaks evil of the Vicaria [prison of Palermo] ought
to have his face cut. He who says that prison punishes, how he is
deceived, poor devil!”[102] And again: “Here only will you find your
brothers and friends, money, good cheer, and a peaceful time; outside you
are always in the midst of your enemies, and if you cannot work you will
die of hunger.”[103] Reinach mentions a mason who at the beginning of
winter committed a small offence in order to spend the winter comfortably
in a warm prison. The prison of Vienne (Isère) has, it is said, long been
a favourite place of resort during the winter. Several of the hundred
prisoners studied by Rossi had sought in prison a winter refuge. One who
had frequently been in prison before for short terms, said--“Now I’ve had
the good luck to get six months.” A German criminal, who had just been
released from prison, attempted rape. He received a sentence of eight
years’ imprisonment. He rose, thanked the court for the sentence,
regretting, however, that it was not for a longer period, and adding that
he had only committed the offence as an agreeable way of returning to
prison, where alone he found pleasant society and a life free from care.
Manduca speaks of a man, advanced in years, who had just completed a long
term of hard labour, and finding himself without means of subsistence,
killed without any cause an old friend of his childhood. Bretignères de
Courtelles found that 17 out of 115 prisoners entered prison in order to
restore their health.

The habitual criminal who has grown accustomed to prison life cares for no
other, and is suited for no other. “I have seen men,” said Lauvergne,
“almost dying from home-sickness because they must soon leave the prison.”
Jules Vallès spoke of _l’air vénérable_ of the old convict; Émile Gautier
calls it _l’air reposé_. Prison, he adds, is a kind of nirvana, and he
tells of an old convict who possessed in a high degree this _air
vénérable_, closely resembling Thiers, who, at the end of five years’
sentence passed at Clairvaux, wrote as follows to the director:--“Sir, you
know me. You know who I am, what I am worth, and what services I can
render you. Now I am about to be thrown up again into the world, where I
shall not know what to do. As soon as I have consumed my allowance in
having a good time I shall immediately get myself arrested. May I beg of
you to have the extreme kindness, as soon as I am again condemned to
several years’ imprisonment, to claim me for Clairvaux? I will inform you
as to time and place, and in the meanwhile kindly reserve my place.
Neither you nor I will have to repent of this agreement.” That letter,
more pathetic than amusing, is the logical outcome of our prison system
quite as much as of our social system.

The haphazard fashion in which the period of a prisoner’s detention is
fixed on beforehand is quite in harmony with the unsatisfactory character
of the results obtained. It is well known that the criminal courts are
prevented from awarding any sentence between two years, the longest period
of imprisonment, and five years, the shortest legal sentence of penal
servitude. Yet, as the Directors of Convict Prisons point out, “now that
penal servitude is always carried out in prisons at home, there is no
fundamental distinction between the two classes of punishment.” On the
31st of March 1888 there were in English convict prisons 6970 persons. Of
these, 3034 were undergoing penal servitude for 5 years, the lowest term
permitted by law; in the case of one solitary individual the exact period
of 6½ years was required, while 1387 needed 7 years of prison treatment.
Only 6 persons had been guilty of an iniquity equal to 9 years’ penal, but
no fewer than 1022 had committed an offence equivalent to 10 years’ penal
servitude, while 1 person only in England, having managed to just surpass
this sum of iniquity, was in for 11 years. There were 240 in for 20 years,
but only 3 for 21 years, and to 1 individual had been meted out exactly 29
years. It would be interesting to know by what delicate and complicated
considerations this precise sum of guiltiness was reached. If we turn to
the statistics of the United States at the same period we shall find the
same peculiarities, though the variations in the periods doled out to
long-term prisoners are spread over a wider field; they begin at 1 year,
and include 18 for 50 years, and 82 for 99 years. “The favourite
sentence,” as Mr. Wines remarks, “seems to be two years; then five, then
three, then one, then four, then ten. There is throughout a tendency
apparent to choose sentences, the numbers representing which terminate in
the figure five or a cypher.”[104] In England the decimal unit is held in
chief favour by judges, whether or not they realise what it may mean to
the man who afterwards thus tells his experience:--“There on my cell wall
was the card; it bore my name and my sentence--20 years. No wife to cheer,
no children to prattle at my knee; 20 years! O God! will it ever end? 20
years,--240 months,--1040 weeks; oh, this dread future!” The sentence may
be just or not, but, whether he will or not, the judge must fix on some
definite term, with such results as we see. When Pantagruel arrived at
Myrelingues, he found that Judge Bridoye, after carefully considering all
the facts of a case, was accustomed to decide it by means of dice; and
Pantagruel fully admitted the humility, piety, and impartiality of this
method. If our judges, before pronouncing sentence, were first to
determine the years to be awarded by a solemn casting of dice, the result
might be as good as those reached by the not very dissimilar system now
adopted. “Are prisons necessary?” asks Prince Krapotkine, and the question
has been variously and timidly echoed in modified forms. Necessary or not,
the institution is still so deeply rooted in civilised societies that it
is idle yet to talk of overturning it. In spite of its acknowledged
inutility we are content to pay very large sums in maintaining it, and no
other method of treatment could be suddenly substituted. In England in
1889 there were 6405 persons undergoing sentence of penal servitude; in
the United States there were recently 31,000 long-term prisoners; the
various species of prisons in Italy contain some 70,000 persons, including
5000 incarcerated for life; in Germany, during six years, according to
Professor Liszt, no fewer than 10,000,000 persons are imprisoned or fined.
It is clearly idle to talk yet of the abolition of so flourishing an
institution: can we give it real social utility?

The key to the failure of the prison, and a chief clue in its reform, lies
in the system of administering definite and predetermined sentences by
judges who, being ignorant of the nature of the individual before them,
and therefore of the effect of the sentence upon him, and of its justice,
are really incompetent to judge. Enough has been said of long sentences,
the justice of which, it is obvious, must be quite a matter of chance. But
the short-term imprisonments reveal quite as clearly the inadequacy of the
system. The newspapers constantly tell of old offenders who have been in
prison for over a hundred short periods. In a recent report of the Prisons
Board of Ireland, the case of a woman is mentioned who was committed to
Grangegorman prison thirty-four times during 1888, and never received a
sentence for a larger term than fourteen days. This woman had been
committed 146 times in previous years, so that she has undergone in all
180 imprisonments.

Society must say, in effect, to the individual who violates its social
instincts: So long as you act in a flagrantly anti-social manner, I shall
exercise pressure on you, and restrain, more or less, the exercise of your
freedom. I will give you a helping hand, because the sooner you begin to
act socially the better it will be for both of us. I shall be glad to
leave you alone, and the sooner the better; but so long as I see that you
are a dangerous person, I shall not entirely leave my hold on you.

That is the only attitude towards the criminal which is at once safe,
reasonable, and humane. If, holding this lamp, we turn to our prison, we
see at once how incompatible with such an attitude is the system of
determining beforehand the exact period of the delinquent’s detention.
Many a man imprisoned for life, to his own misery, the ruin of his family,
and the cost of the State, might with absolute safety to the community be
liberated to-day; it is unnecessary to speak further of the thousands for
whom society, inside or outside prison, has done nothing, and whom it
liberates, with full knowledge that they proceed at once to prey upon
itself. The great fault of our prison system is its arbitrary character.
It is a huge machine working by an automatic routine. The immense
practical importance of criminal anthropology lies in this: that it
enables us to discriminate between criminal and criminal, and to apply to
each individual case its appropriate treatment.

The first reform necessary is the total abolition of the definite and
predetermined sentence. The indefinite sentence is no longer new, either
in principle or practice; all that is needed is its systematic extension.
It has been adopted by several of the American states, such as
Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kansas, and it was introduced at
the famous state reformatory of New York at Elmira, by an Act passed in
1877. This Act took from the courts the power of definitely fixing the
period of confinement in prisons until, in the opinion of the managers of
the Reformatory, they may be let out on parole for a probationary period
of six months. No imprisonment was to exceed the maximum term provided by
law for the offence for which the prisoner was convicted. Several thousand
criminals have passed through Elmira, and only a small percentage prove
recidivists. Before a prisoner is paroled a suitable situation is, if
possible, arranged for him. To an Englishman, Frederick Hill, belongs the
honour of first suggesting this fruitful reform, the indeterminate
sentence, and his brother, Matthew Devonport Hill, vigorously supported
the principle. In 1880 Garofalo--independently, it appears--advocated
indefinite imprisonment in a pamphlet entitled _Criterio positiva della
penalità_, published at Naples, and in his great work, _La Criminologie_,
he wisely and consistently advocates the abolition of the definite
sentence of imprisonment. In Germany it was advocated in 1880 by Dr.
Kraepelin, a well-known authority on these matters (_Die Abschaffung des
Straffmasses._ Leipzig), and in 1882 Professor von Liszt, of Marburg,
supported it with the weight of his authority. This fruitful reform, which
sprang up almost at the same time, and with apparent spontaneity among the
Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Teutonic races, although of such recent growth,
needs little advocacy. It is so eminently reasonable that to state it
seems sufficient to ensure its acceptance. When its advantages are
generally known and realised it will undoubtedly spread in the same way
that it has already begun to spread in the United States.

While the indeterminate sentence is an absolutely essential reform, if our
prison system is to be redeemed from the charges that now weigh so heavily
upon it, it is still only a preliminary step.

One of the first and most obvious consequences is the necessity of
reorganising--or, rather, of organising--the prison staff. It is
unnecessary to show here, for it has often enough been shown by those who
are familiar with the inside of a prison, that practically the prisoner is
always at the mercy of the warder. The philanthropic head of the
department, at a distance, must always count for less than the warder,
philanthropic or otherwise, on the spot. Whatever educative and
socialising influences the prison may possess must pass chiefly through
the hands of the warders with whom the prisoner comes chiefly in contact.
It is not necessary to investigate the character and conduct of the
average warder. Those who appoint him and are satisfied with him are the
responsible parties. It is enough to say that the prison warder of to-day
is about as well fitted for the treatment of criminality as the hospital
nurse of a century ago was fitted for the treatment of disease. Every one
now recognises the immense importance for the inmate of a hospital of good
nursing by a trained nurse; the doctor himself is the first to proclaim
the essential nature of skilful and intelligent nursing. Yet the criminal,
in all his manifold variations, with his ruses, his instinctive
untruthfulness, his sudden impulses, his curiously tender points, is just
as difficult to understand and to manage as the hospital patient, and
unless he is understood and managed there is no hope of socialising him.
In Italy, France, Belgium, and Switzerland there are, I believe,
institutions for the training of prison attendants, but as yet they have
been of little effect, as they have not apparently been conducted in
connection with the prison, nor on a scientific basis. Their establishment
is a pressing necessity; no person should be appointed to any position
involving the care of criminals who has not been qualified by training in
such a school. He would here become acquainted with the peculiarities of
the various classes of criminals; he would learn to work with them and to
instruct them; and, not least, he would learn to rate at its proper value
the difficult and important profession on which he was entering. It is
this sense of a noble social function, full of privileges as well as
responsibilities, which has raised nursing to its present high position
and has brought into the ranks of nurses so large a leaven of capable and
refined women.

At the same time the education of the criminal need not be entirely in the
hands of officers the greater part of whose time is passed within the
prison. There is considerable force in the remark of Dr. Wey, the able
physician of the Elmira Reformatory, concerning the advantage of the
prisoner having highly skilled teachers, fresh from the outside world and
mingling daily in the affairs of men. The barrier which has, in most
civilised countries, been set up between the criminal and the outside
world must be to some extent broken down. This is necessary in the
interests of both parties. The criminal cannot be too carefully secluded
from his fellow-criminals, neither can he have too much of outside
socialising influence, if he is to be won back from the anti-social to
the social world. In some of the colonies, it is said, good results have
come of voluntary visiting. It is necessary, however, that this should be
judiciously regulated so as to exclude fanatical, inexperienced, and
merely curious persons. Mr. Tallack tells us some amusing stories
concerning the results of allowing ignorant and foolish visitors. Thus a
gentleman, by talking of hell-fire, succeeded in so thoroughly
exasperating a prisoner that the latter seized him, and exclaiming, “I
have hell enough here already without you bringing me more of it,” would
have administered summary chastisement had not a warder appeared. It is
obvious that the more we restrict the intercourse of criminals in prison
between themselves the more necessary it becomes to supplement the limited
staff by assistance from without, which, while carefully chosen, must be
chiefly voluntary. On the other hand, if we are to learn to know the
criminal thoroughly, so as to learn at once how to treat him and how to
protect ourselves from him, we must have a certain amount of access. “The
time has now come,” as Dr. Maudsley has well said, “when we ought to use
our prisons as we do our hospitals, not for the care and treatment of
their inmates, but for the advancement of knowledge and the improvement of
man’s estate.”[105] And M. Tarde, speaking, as a _juge d’instruction_,
from a different point of view, insists in his well-known work, _La
Criminalité Comparée_, on the need of every law student completing his
course by an obligatory attendance of six months at the _Clinique
Criminelle_ of a prison.

When we have caught our criminal we put him at once into solitary
confinement. If rigidly carried out this plan has the advantage of
secluding the criminal from his fellows. Regarded as a rational method of
treatment, cellular confinement is a curious monument of human perversity.
That it should have been established shows the absolute ignorance of
criminal nature which existed at the time; that it should still persist
shows the present necessity for a widespread popular knowledge of these
matters. It may be possible to learn to ride on a wooden horse, or to swim
on a table, but the solitary cell does not provide even a wooden
substitute for the harmonising influences of honest society. To suppose
that cellular confinement will tend to make the criminal a reasonable
human being is as rational as to suppose that it will tend to make him a
soldier or a sailor, a doctor or a clergyman. The mistake here is the old
one that has vitiated so much of human action where the criminal is
concerned--the mistake, that is, of supposing that at all points he is an
average human being. Solitary confinement on a refined and cultured human
being may produce a deep and lasting impression; a period of solitude,
indeed, is for every intellectual person of immense value in helping him
to know himself; though even here, if compulsory and unbroken, it can
scarcely be without demoralising effect. But the case is quite different
when we turn to the vacuous-minded, erratic, and animal person who is
usually the criminal. Solitude produces in him, as Professor Prins
remarks, no intellectual activity, and no searching of conscience; it
serves merely to deepen his mental vacuity and to deliver him over to
unnatural indulgence in the one animal appetite of which he cannot be
deprived.[106] Professor Prins points out, as does Prince Krapotkine, that
the cell excludes all the bracing influences of struggle; the morality of
the cell is submission, punctuality, quietness, politeness to warders. A
moral life shut up in such a frame has nothing in common with social
morality. Beltrani-Scalia, formerly Inspector-General of Prisons in Italy,
is of the same opinion, and remarks that “the cellular system looks upon
man as a brother of La Trappe.”

Dr. Wey, of Elmira, states the rational method of treatment when he
remarks--“Education means occupation, either mental or physical. The time
of the convict should be so employed in his shop-work and school duties as
to leave him no leisure moments in which to revive the past, and live over
again in memory his criminal days or plan for the future; but each hour
should bring to him its employments and engross his attention till the
time for sleep.”[107]

The experiments in the treatment of the criminal which are being carried
on at Elmira are probably of more wide-reaching significance than any at
present carried on elsewhere. It is worth while to consider them somewhat
in detail. I select an experience carried on during 1886 and recorded by
Dr. Wey, who had charge of it. On June 5th, 1886, Dr. Wey selected eleven
dullards between the ages of nineteen and twenty-nine. For a period of one
to two years previously these men had made no progress. “In physiognomy
they presented features indicative of criminal tendencies. Not one had
learned a trade, but all had made a precarious living as common labourers,
tramps, hostlers, and street-loafers. One was convicted for assault in the
first degree; five for burglary in the third degree; one for grand larceny
in the first degree; three for grand larceny in the second degree; one for
rape, and one for attempted rape. The environment of most of the men
previous to conviction was bad, many of them confessing to have had
intemperate parents, while one told of an insane, and another of an
epileptic mother.” All however were well nourished, and their functions,
save that of the skin (five had acne and one ichthyosis) well performed.
“An idea of their mental attainments can be formed from the fact that one
could neither read nor write; one barely do either; four understood the
successive steps necessary to work an example in long division, but never
could obtain the correct answer; while the balance came to grief upon the
shoals of rudimentary arithmetic from notation to simple division. Their
stock of information was surprisingly small, being generally limited to a
slight knowledge of the things they liked to eat and the work they
preferred to do.”

The treatment adopted included a special dietary, bathing, massage,
gymnastics, and a continuation of the usual school-work. The daily
industries of the shop, etc., were suspended.

The food was varied each day, and was sufficient in quantity without being
excessive; it was weighed out to each, and provided at a common table,
instead of, as usual, in the cells, in unrestricted quantity. The
experience at Elmira shows that better results are obtained when the
amount of food is restricted than when it is unlimited in quantity. Dr.
Wey is strongly in favour of a diet consisting chiefly of milk and bread
and butter.

The bathing and massage formed a very important part of the treatment. The
routine, after several trials, resolved itself into three baths a
week--_i.e._, one tub and two vapour baths one week, followed the next
week by two tub baths and one vapour. “The tub bath consisted in placing a
man in a tub of water heated to about 100° F., and leaving him there to
rub and soap himself for fifteen minutes or longer. From the tub he was
placed upon a marble slab, where he was drenched with hot and cold water
and sponged. After this the body was spatted until the skin was in a glow,
the muscles pinched and kneaded, passive motions of the joints employed,
followed by a brisk rubbing with a coarse wash-towel or Turkish bathing
mitten, all this being done by a professional trainer, who was available
at the time. Being obliged to make use of the facilities at hand, the
vapour bath was the moist instead of the dry or heated air, and consisted
of turning steam into a room, and maintaining an atmosphere of 115° F.”
This was followed by massage as before. After the bath the men usually
slept until dinner time.

After dinner they were put through two hours or more of active physical
exercise. In the beginning this consisted of the drill employed in the
case of raw recruits, supplemented by dumb-bell exercises. At first they
were an awkward squad, slow to comprehend an order and deliberate in its
execution. It was some weeks before they were able to march in line and to
keep step.

On November 7th the class was discontinued, and the men were assigned to
various shops and employments.

The results of this treatment were in every respect remarkable. As they
slowly advanced in their studies an increased mental activity was noted,
and the workings of the mind were less forced and laborious than at the
beginning. In mental arithmetic they made progress, and were able, with
comparative ease and rapidity, to add three or four single numbers. “The
drill and discipline they were subjected to wrought an improvement in
their physical condition. The baths and stimulation of the cutaneous
system brought the skin to the highest degree of functional activity,
overcoming the integumentary disorders of five noted in the beginning. The
daily drill and dumb-bell exercises hardened and developed muscles that
previously were soft and flabby, and the entire muscular system acquired
firmness and power. The setting-up drill improved the carriage and
conferred a rapidity of action not before indulged in. The aimless
shuffling gait gave way to a carriage inspired by elastic muscles and
supple joints. The faces parted with the dull and stolid look they had in
the beginning, assuming a more intelligent expression, while the eye
gained a brightness and clearness that before was conspicuous by its
absence. With physical culture and improvement there came a mental
awakening, a cerebral activity never before manifested in their prison
life. The purely animal man with his ox-like characteristics seemed to
recede before the intellectual. Their progress in school-work was not
steadily onward, but intermittently progressive.” Whereas in the six
months before the class was formed the men had obtained less than 10/11 of
a mark (for demeanour, labour, and school) per man each month, during the
six months that followed the breaking-up of the class the number of marks
earned was 7-7/16 per month per man. There was a simultaneous and rapid
improvement, moral, physical, and intellectual--an improvement that was
common to all, although more pronounced in some, and which was very
encouraging, considering the material of which the class was formed. A
year later several had been released on parole, and were demonstrating
their ability to maintain themselves honestly, while only two of them,
still in prison, were not doing well.[108]

The results of this and similar experiments have been so satisfactory that
a fully-equipped gymnasium and Turkish bath are now in course of erection
at Elmira. “Here,” Dr. Wey tells me, “we propose to treat those who are in
arrears both in body and mind, and prepare them for work and study in the
schools of letters and trades. By this plan it is possible to impress
later the mind to a greater degree than could be done by taking up its
cultivation at the time the man comes to us.”

In 1888, when the Yates bill became law, the productive prison industries
of Elmira had to be suspended. “Within less than a month,” writes Dr.
Wey, “from the passage of the bill, all the men who previously were
employed in productive industries (industries yielding revenue) were being
drilled in military evolutions and tactics. In other words, idleness was
avoided by turning the prison into a military school. The men received
from four to six hours of drill daily, which was sufficient to prevent
them from rusting in their cells. By this means the health of the men was
maintained, and opportunity was afforded for increasing the scope of
school-work, trades, and letters. A drum corps was formed, and instruction
given others in instrumental music, with the sequence that to-day [29th
October 1889] we have a drum and fife corps of about twenty, and a band
composed of twenty or more wind instruments.[109] Two afternoons a week
are devoted to military work, the balance being devoted to technical
instruction. The effect of the military drill and discipline was so good
in the way of a health measure and in improving the carriage of the men
that I doubt if it will soon be discontinued. It was another phase of the
application of physical training.” The report of the able superintendent
of Elmira, Mr. Z. R. Brockway, fully confirms these conclusions.

Just now the industries of New York prisons are partially re-established.
The Fassett bill, passed in the spring of 1889, enabled various industries
to be apportioned to the various prisons, one prison not to compete with
another, and the number of men engaged in any one industry in a prison not
to exceed five per cent. of the total number engaged in the same industry
throughout the entire state. The question of productive prison industry is
still, however, far from settled.

The physical and industrial education is not the whole of the training
given at Elmira. A third, and scarcely less important, factor is the moral
and æsthetic training. There is no official chaplain at Elmira. “There
is,” says Mr. Brockway, “in the minds of men, as observed during
imprisonment, an unexplained but actual repugnance to professional,
official, and stereotyped religious phrases, while for the noble character
of the practical Christian, in common affairs, unheralded and unnamed,
there is among prisoners a quick and favourable response.” Although there
are no resident chaplains, various ministers and others--Protestant,
Catholic, and Jewish--attend frequently, and hold services, lectures,
classes, etc. The class in Practical Morality, originated a few years ago
by Professor Collin, has been judiciously managed, and has proved a
valuable feature in the work. The æsthetic culture has been chiefly
carried on by means of the systematic study of literature. The results in
this department have been unexpectedly encouraging. At first the men met
the attempt with sullen stupidity as a new task imposed upon them.
Gradually this impression was conquered; the men slowly began to acquire
an eager appetite for Chaucer and Shakespeare, for Emerson and Browning.
The applications for admission to the English Literature class became very
numerous, and at one time there was so great a run on Jowett’s Plato at
the Reformatory library that a special regulation had to be made
concerning its issue. It is satisfactory to learn that this taste has, in
many cases at all events, survived incarceration, as a wholesome
recreation for leisure hours. “In my work with the class in English
Literature,” writes the instructor in that department, Mr. Douglas, “I
proceed on the basis that the earnest obligatory study--let me emphasise
the word _study_--of mental and moral beauty developes or creates the
mental and moral faculty of appreciation; and, furthermore, that mental
and moral habits may be formed just as certainly as physical habits, and
without any more conscious co-operation of the individual than is required
in physical practice.” It has been mentioned already that a newspaper, the
_Summary_, is published within the Reformatory; it contains both local and
general news, as well as passages from good authors; the inmates
contribute to this paper, and at one time it was ably edited by a
prisoner. It has been said, with justice, that the _Summary_ compares
favourably with the average American newspaper published outside prison

The prison, as Professor Collin remarks, must be “a moral hospital.” As
Sir Thomas More said long ago, the end of punishment is “nothing else but
the destruction of vices and the saving of men.” Mr. Brockway, and those
who are working with him, have clearly realised this; the training they
give is rational and scientific, and hence its success. During the
thirteen years from the opening of the Reformatory to the end of 1889,
nearly 4000 prisoners were received at Elmira on an indefinite sentence.
Over 2300 of these were paroled, and of these 15.2 per cent. only are
estimated as having “probably returned to criminal practices and

Elmira is at present the most promising direction in which we can turn for
light on the treatment of the criminal. Its wholesome and improving
discipline stands in favourable contrast to the lax indulgence and
shameful neglect of the criminal which coexist generally in the United
States. The system is not perfect, and it has been unfavourably reported
on by some observers. It is undoubtedly a defect that the prisoner must be
released, whatever his condition, at the expiring of his legal maximum
sentence; this is, however, an inevitable compromise. Notwithstanding all
defects, Elmira is full of encouragement, for it shows us a community
awakening to an active sense of its duties, so long forgotten, towards
those weaker members who, if neglected, become so dangerous to themselves
and to others. “It is an interesting sight,” remarks Dr. Wey, “when the
school is in session, to see a group of men, felons every one, gathered
about an instructor, intently listening as he makes clear some step in the
work in hand not fully or clearly understood, going through the various
processes, one by one, and explaining until the dullest mind can
comprehend. It is not expected that, with the comparatively limited time
for instruction, these men will become skilled mechanics. But rather the
idea has been to train the hand and eye, and teach the use of tools, to
awaken an ambition to pursue a lawful calling, and appreciate the value of
a practical knowledge of a trade, so that when the time shall come that
they pass beyond the prison doors, and again come into contact with
society, they will not be handicapped by the same conditions that formerly
operated to their detriment; but with increased resources of mind and body
will be enabled to occupy a higher and more self-respecting place.”[110]
The example of Elmira is spreading in America; in Ohio, for instance,
youthful criminals are being brought up on the broad basis of manual
training, and among the branches of industry taught are farming,
fruit-growing, carpentry, shoemaking, painting, tailoring, baking,
laundring, housework, vocal and band music, telegraphy and printing. On
the continent of Europe--especially, perhaps, in Germany--the system is
beginning to attract attention; and while it would be too sanguine to
conclude that Elmira has solved the question of the treatment of the
criminal, there can be no doubt as to the value of its contribution to
this difficult problem.[111]

It can scarcely be necessary to say that in any effectual treatment
flogging can have no part. It would not have been necessary to say a word
on this point if within very recent times an English Parliament had not
been found so lamentably ignorant of historic evolution in this matter, of
the results of experience, and of rational principles, as to pass a
Corporal Punishment Bill. The objections to flogging are by no means of a
sentimental character. We have seen that the instinctive criminal,
although often cowardly enough, is by no means peculiarly sensitive to
pain. Flogging is objectionable because it is ineffectual (as was shown
long since), and because it brutalises and degrades those on whom it is
inflicted, those who inflict it, and those who come within the radius of
its influence. These facts are well known to those who have more than a
superficial acquaintance with the insides of prisons, and should have been
ascertained by those individuals who presume to legislate, before they
voted in the face of reason and experience. To flog a man for whatever
offence, however brutal, is to sanction his brutality. Capital punishment,
which is brutal like flogging, is comparatively free from the brutalising
influence of flogging. The method of flogging is so obviously unfit to
humanise and socialise any human being, that the impulse to inflict it can
only spring from a relic of savagery of the same kind as that which
inspires the criminal, without his excuse of a morbid or defective
organisation. It can only be said in excuse of those who advocate it that
they have no experience in the matter. Those who have witnessed it have,
however, recorded their experiences. Thus, to mention one instance, Sir
Robert Rawlinson, after giving a vivid account of flogging as he has
himself seen and heard it, adds:--“I will strive in my mind to judge those
members of Parliament who now advocate the revival of corporal punishment
charitably, by considering that they have never seen it as I have feebly
attempted to describe it: the degraded man lashed to the triangles, the
white clean skin of an Englishman exposed to the cool morning air, to be
scored, cut up, and scarred into a pulpy, blood-smeared lump of living
human flesh. Take the vision away: it is too hideous even to remember.”
Even if there were less evidence as to the ineffectual character of
flogging as a deterrent, and to its bad influence on the _morale_ of a
prison, we cannot afford to flog any human being. It is well to meditate
on the words of Dostoieffsky, who was familiar with the various forms of
flogging, and has recorded his convictions in his _Recollections of the
Dead-House_. After giving his opinion that “the rods are the most terrible
punishment in use among us,” and speaking of the demoralising influence of
flogging on those who inflict it, he concludes:--“Let me add that the
possibility of such a licence acts contagiously on the whole of society:
such a power is seductive. A society which regards these things with an
indifferent eye is already infected to the bone. The right accorded to a
man to punish his fellows corporally is one of the sores of our society;
it is the surest method of annihilating the spirit of citizenship.”
Flogging has not yet reached among us the extension which it then had in
Russia and in Siberia, but its character and influence remain the same,
and the warning seems to be still needed.

With the indeterminate sentence must always be associated conditional
liberation--_i.e._, liberation by ticket-of-leave or on parole, liable to
revocation in case of misbehaviour. It is not, however, necessary to
insist on this, as the principle has long been practically recognised in
England and elsewhere. It exists in Belgium, some of the American states,
Hungary, Saxony, Switzerland, the Grand Duchy of Baden, etc.

A very desirable accompaniment to any system of dealing with criminals is
a sound system for their registration and recognition. The method
originated by M. Alphonse Bertillon is now adopted in France, Russia,
Japan, Spain, Italy, the Argentine Republic, and some parts of Germany,
and it is being adopted in several of the United States. By this method
the height, the length and width of head, the measurements of left foot,
of outstretched arms, of trunk when seated, of fourth finger of left hand,
of left arm, length of ear, colour of eyes, and any marks are recorded,
together with the photograph, profile and full face. The method of
classifying the photographs in its simplest form was thus generally
described by M. A. Bertillon a few years ago (_Revue Politique et
Littéraire_, 28 April 1883). Suppose we have 80,000 photographs. They are
first divided according to the sex, the men on one side, the women on the
other. These latter do not reach 20,000. The 60,000 men who remain are
divided into three classes according to height; the short numbering about
20,000, the middle-sized numbering about 20,000, and the tall 20,000. Each
of these divisions is divided into three series according to length of
head. These new divisions, to the number of nine, contain rather more than
6000 each. Each of these sub-divisions is then divided into three groups
according to length of foot, each group containing about 2000 photographs.
Each of these groups is again sub-divided into three, according to length
of outstretched arms (_grande envergure_). Each of these groups contains
about 600, and they are further sub-divided with reference to age, colour
of eyes, and length of middle finger. Thus by means of four new
anthropological characters (sex, height, age, and colour of eyes have long
been noted) 80,000 photos can be easily divided into groups of 50. The
measurements can be taken in two or three minutes, and require no special
intelligence. When an individual stands as regards height at the border of
two classes, he is put into both.

Thrusting a man into prison, when everything is said, is a measure only to
be taken with the utmost circumspection, after consideration of the
individual’s antecedents, and a clear conception of the ends to be
attained by imprisoning him. To relegate almost indiscriminately to prison
the miscellaneous army that file through a police court is an ignorant and
dangerous policy; there is little hope of good result, and a considerable
chance of evil result. If the period is for a few weeks only no permanent
beneficial end can be anticipated, even under the best of conditions;
while during so short a period no useful work can be commenced, so that
there is a direct incitement to idleness. When the prison has been decided
on, the period of detention must be indefinite, according to the results
attained in the opinion of those competent officers specially appointed to
form such decisions, and the liberation will be conditional.

It is a wholesome sign of progress that in so many European countries
substitutes for the prison, in the case of minor offenders (_i.e._,
occasional criminals), are being anxiously sought and gradually adopted.
One cannot avoid seeing how many individuals are unnecessarily condemned
even to penal servitude. In our convict prisons there exists a very
excellent plan, entirely in accordance with rational principles, of
forming what is called a “Star” class of convicts--that is, a “special
class of those not versed in crime.” The authorities “cannot speak too
highly of the general tone and behaviour” of these men, their “decidedly
good disposition,” “keen anxiety to gain a knowledge of some sort of
trade,” sense of “the moral degradation in which they have placed
themselves,” etc. Their industry and freedom from prison offences are so
marked, “and the special reports on the subject have been so uniformly to
the same effect, that it is no longer necessary to call for such reports.”
This is all very gratifying, but it is not at all clear that these men
should have been convicts at all. There are other and more satisfactory
methods of dealing with such persons.

It is not possible here to do more than touch slightly on the various
methods of dealing with occasional criminals. The one that approaches most
nearly to imprisonment is the method of pronouncing suspended sentences of
imprisonment to hang over the inculpated individual during a limited
period, at the end of which period, if his behaviour is good, the sentence
lapses. Imprisonment is thus, as Mr. Tallack remarks, commuted into
liability to imprisonment. This plan, applied to minor offences, was
adopted in Belgium in 1888, and is in use in some of the United States. In
England the First Offenders’ Act enables the magistrate to accept the
prisoner’s own recognisances to come up for judgment if called upon, but
the law does not seem to be applied so frequently as is desirable. The old
English system of recognisances, in which the guilty party deposits a sum
of money, is an excellent guarantee to society against his recidivism, and
is deserving of extension to all those cases to which it may prove
adapted. This plan has been adopted in the United States and in Denmark. A
very large proportion of small offenders can be dealt with adequately by
means of a fine. This should not be of too trifling a character when the
offence has been frequently repeated, and the means of the offender are
ample. Nor does it appear desirable that the offender should be allowed at
will to choose between fine and imprisonment. The notion of reparation
should be combined with the fine when possible, the offender, as Garofalo
proposes, paying an indemnity to the injured person, and a fine to the
community. With our abstract and impersonal method of dealing with crime,
we are much too apt to forget the recompense that is due to the injured
person. Féré has suggested that the State ought to undertake this
reparation; the community, he argues, has failed in its duty of protecting
one of its members, and it ought therefore to repair the injury which it
has not known how to prevent. Crime being largely the result of social
conditions, the damage it causes should be supported socially by the
society which generated the individual. A more practical first step,
however, seems to be a recognition that the criminal should be bound to
repair the damage he had caused. This reparation should be on a very
liberal scale, and with due regard to the anxiety or suffering inflicted
on the injured party. When the offender is not in a position to pay money,
there should, as Prins points out (and Sir Thomas More long before him),
be suitable provision to enable him to give so many days of his labour to
work out his penalty and reparation. In several European countries
imprisonment for mendicity, vagabondage, and other minor offences, has
been abolished, and compulsory work substituted: this is a reasonable

In the slightest cases of all, every end of social protection should be
attained by a formal “caution.” The publicity which this involves is
itself, under modern conditions of life, a sufficient safeguard.

The special and very numerous class of habitual drunkards must be dealt
with by special methods. The method, if method it can be called, of
treating such cases by a few days’ imprisonment is glaringly ineffective.
It is a waste of public time and money, as well as a danger to the
individual himself and to society. Habitual inebriates can only be dealt
with fairly when they are recognised as diseased persons, to be treated on
rational principles, and to be saved, whether they will or not, from doing
injury to society and to themselves. It is incomprehensible that in so
drunken a country as England this question should not before now have had
serious attention, instead of being left to voluntary agency. To leave
habitual alcoholism and its results to voluntary agency is as reasonable
as it would be to leave the care and control of the insane to voluntary
agency. The case for the control and treatment of the inebriate is,
indeed, considerably stronger than that for controlling the insane.

To sum up briefly the points in the treatment of the criminal which have
been reviewed in this chapter:--

Capital punishment is disappearing. There is, however, no reason to hasten
unduly its complete extinction, because lifelong imprisonment, under
existing conditions, is frequently less humane, and is not of greater
value for purposes of social protection.

The prison needs to be made a far more active and thorough instrument of
social reformation than it is at present. Great circumspection must be
shown in selecting the individual whom it is desirable to send to prison,
but when selected he must be retained until there is reasonable
presumption that he will no longer be dangerous to society. In place of
mere routine and surveillance, he must be subjected to intelligent and
energetic treatment. While he should usually be guarded from contact with
his fellow-prisoners, it is desirable, with due restrictions, to promote
his intercourse with selected persons of the outside world. His
conditional liberation should be delayed until he can be placed in some
situation which will enable him to earn his own living. The plan of fixing
beforehand the period of the prisoner’s detention appears to have nothing
to recommend it, and should be entirely abolished.

In dealing with occasional criminals whom it is not necessary or desirable
to put into prison, liability to imprisonment should be substituted. The
system of recognisances and of fines to the community, together with
reparation to the injured individual, should be developed and extended to
all cases to which it may suitably be applied. When the offender is unable
to pay a pecuniary fine, he should not be imprisoned, but compelled to
give his work.

The class of habitual drunkards requires special and compulsory treatment
in special asylums.



We have now seen, in its main outlines, the present condition of this
question of the nature and treatment of the criminal. We have seen that
criminality is a natural phenomenon, to be studied gravely and carefully
according to natural methods; and that by natural and reasonable methods
alone can the problem of its elimination be faced with any chance of

A simple and obvious conclusion it seems. Yet it is a conclusion not even
yet generally accepted, and which is only beginning to find expression in
our social life. It is still quite usual to find that crime is regarded as
an abstract matter, not to be treated seriously unless the criminal
himself is ignored. On the other hand, when the criminal comes in for
discussion it is merely as a subject for sensational excitement, or
unwholesome curiosity, as a creature to be vituperated or glorified
without measure.

The criminal has always been the hero, almost the saint, of the
uncultured. That attitude of unbounded reverence for the lunatic, as for
an inspired being, and unquestioning submission to his wildest acts which
to-day can scarcely be found in Europe outside Turkey, has by no means
died out where the criminal is concerned, even in the most civilised
country. The same reverence or amazement that the educated feel for the
man of genius, the uneducated feel for the criminal.

The Romans gave the name of Hercules to great criminals after death, and
dedicated a distinct cult to them. If we go back to a still more primitive
phase of life as preserved in folk-lore, and still to some extent
perpetuated, we find that all that belongs to an executed criminal brings
luck. A finger or other small bone kept in the purse will preserve it from
ever being empty. It also keeps away vermin, and protects a thief from his
victim. Buried beneath the threshold it brings perpetual blessing, and to
have a thief’s thumb among his goods is an excellent thing for a
shopkeeper. The people came for the Marquise de Brinvilliers’s bones the
day after her execution; they regarded her as a kind of saint, says Mme.
de Sevigné. When at Breslau the old Rabenstein (the gallows) was broken
down, a great trade was done by the workmen in the bones found beneath.
Precious above all is the blood of a criminal; even a few drops on a rag
are most costly. Such blood, when drunk, heals fevers and other diseases,
just as the blood of gladiators was among the old Romans a cure for
epilepsy. It must be drunk fresh, if possible warm. Bread dipped in this
blood and eaten is good against the gout. The halter with which a criminal
has been hanged has much power and brings luck. When it is struck three
times on the threshold, the house is preserved from lightning. The same
put into a beer cask with a criminal’s thumb has an excellent influence on
the beer. In Franconia the fat of criminals is sometimes inquired for at
the druggist’s, and a substance, so called, is handed over. When in
Prussia executions took place in public, there was always friction
between the armed guards and the crowd of women, who at all costs pressed
forward with spoons, cups, and dishes to catch some of the blood. At the
execution of a murderer at Hanau in 1861, several men leapt on to the
scaffold and drank the steaming blood. At the execution of two murderers
in Berlin in 1864, the executioner’s assistants dipped numbers of white
handkerchiefs in the blood, and received two thalers for each. The
bystanders even call upon the criminal for his most powerful intercession
in Heaven. According to Pitré, there is still in Sicily a fetichistic
adoration for the souls of the beheaded. The criminal is a person endowed
with divine force, to be treated with awe and reverence, and whose blood
and flesh have something of the old sacramental power of infusing the
divine one’s energy into the body of him who eats of it.[112]

[Illustration: Lacenaire.]

In a less crude form, and among persons who lay claim to a somewhat higher
degree of culture, the same veneration has long existed and still exists.
Appert, writing immediately after the execution of Lacenaire at Paris,
says:--“His portraits were displayed on quays and boulevards. From all
sides exquisite meats and delicate wines reached his cell, while, two
steps away, miserable creatures driven to crime by hunger ate the black
and hard bread of the gaol. Every day some man of letters visited him,
carefully noting his sarcasms, his phrases composed in drunkenness or
studiously calculated for effect; women, young, beautiful, and elegantly
attired, solicited the honour of being presented to him, and were in
despair at his refusal; a noble countess, the mother of a family,
addressed verses to him, and drew upon herself a reply at which no doubt
she blushed. He himself mocked at the infatuation he excited. ‘They come
to me,’ he said, ‘as they would ask a ticket from M. Geoffroy
Saint-Hilaire to see the elephants’ den.’” When Cartouche was in prison he
was visited by many distinguished ladies and overwhelmed by their
attentions. The Abbé Crozes tells us that Tropmann, the brutal murderer,
when in prison received a great number of letters from ladies, full of
anxiety in regard to his spiritual welfare, and asking for the most minute
details concerning him. Some of these letters were reproduced in the
_Figaro_. I have not seen them, but Dr. Corre says: “Their perusal
stupefies one; they witness, among women who have been well brought up, to
an ill-defined obsession, of the nature of which they are even themselves
unaware, and which perhaps had its origin in an unavowable sentiment of
love, born of mystery and the unknown.” It is not only women in whom this
ancient worship of the criminal still survives. In a recent newspaper I
read concerning a murderer: “One of the saddest sights we have ever
witnessed was the prison van going along Waterloo Place at midnight under
the beautiful moonlight with a great crowd running after it cheering
loudly the poor wretch within--cheering that never ceased till the van
disappeared inside the prison gate. The crowd was composed chiefly of
young men, many of them well dressed, and not a few accompanied by their
sweethearts. The scene suggested a convoy by the students of a favourite
singer rather than that by the youth of even the lowest class in Edinburgh
of a brutal murderer of a harmless English gentleman.” And, again, in
another newspaper: “On Monday many visitors were in Seaham for Bank
Holiday and the flower show. Those who visited the cavern where the girl
is supposed to have been murdered were ten times more numerous than those
who went to the flower show. Nearly all were strangers to the town, and
had journeyed thither for the express purpose of viewing the scene of the
tragedy. Many took a memento of some sort, either a chipping of rock, a
pebble, or a stone from the cave. Some went so far as to take water from
the pool where deceased was found, away with them in bottles.”

It is well known that when a woman has murdered her husband it is by no
means unusual for a number of letters to be sent to her, before the issue
of the trial is known, containing offers of marriage.

It is not possible to regard the criminal as a hero or a saint after we
have once seriously begun to study his nature. He is simply a feeble or
distorted person to whom it has chanced--most often, perhaps, from lack of
human help--to fall out of the social ranks. It is as unreasonable and as
inhuman for a whole nation to become excited over him, and to crave for
the minutest details concerning him, as we now deem it to expose the
miseries of any other abnormal person--man of genius or idiot, leper or
lunatic--to the general and unmerciful gaze. Not that any of these may
not be studied; they must be studied, but not delivered over to
unrestrained curiosities, sentimentalities, cruelties. No external force
can change this attitude; no censorship of newspapers will avail. Only the
slow influences of education, and a rational knowledge of what criminality
means, can effect a permanent change. But until this has been effected,
one of the most fertile sources of crime, what has been well called the
contagion of crime, will remain, as it is to-day, a danger in all
civilised countries, a danger which is suggesting heroic remedies. The
minute details of every horrible crime are to-day known at once by every
child in remotest villages. The recital of it stirs up all the morbid
sedimentary instincts in weak and ill-balanced natures; and whenever a
large community grows excited over a crime, that community becomes
directly responsible for a whole crop of crimes, more especially among
young persons and children.[113]

We have, then, to reform our emotional attitude towards the criminal. On
the other hand, we have yet something to do in reforming our rational
attitude towards crime. “There are no crimes; there are only criminals.”
That saying of Lacassagne’s indicates the direction in which practical
changes must develop. “All progress in penal jurisprudence,” as Salillas
well says, “lies in giving consideration to the man.” The question of
legal methods, criteria, and tribunals is one of considerable importance
from this point of view, and it is one to which sufficient attention has
not yet been given. It is unfortunate that, in this country at all events,
there seems to be a tendency to antagonism or divergence between, on the
one hand, the medical and scientific side and, on the other, the judicial
and executive side in the treatment of the criminal.[114] Whether this
divergence is due chiefly to the lawyers or to the doctors is not quite
clear, but it is essential that it should come to an end. Both lawyers and
doctors exist for the sake of society, and are the servants of society;
society, in its own interests, must see to it that they agree quickly. But
so long as society allows antiquated laws and methods to prevail, there
must be disagreement--disagreement which is disastrous to social
interests. We need, before everything else, an enlightened public opinion.

A question which is constantly arising, and constantly leading to direct
divergence between the exponents of science and the exponents of law, is
the question of insanity. Under existing conditions it is frequently a
matter of some moment whether a criminal is insane or not. Now whether a
man is insane or not is largely a matter of definition. Even with the best
definition we cannot always be certain whether a given person comes within
the definition, but it is still possible to have a bad definition and a
good definition. The definition which lawyers in England are compelled to
accept is of the former character. The ruling still relied on is that of
the judges in the MacNaghten case, many years ago: “That to establish a
defence on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that at the
time of committing the act the accused was labouring under such a defect
of reason from disease of the mind as not to know the nature and quality
of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was
doing what was wrong.” That this metaphysical and unpractical test will
not do has been clearly recognised by some of the most eminent lawyers,
who are quite in agreement with medical men. “The test of insanity which
commends itself to medical men,” says Sir J. Crichton-Browne, “was never
more clearly and succinctly expressed than by Lord Bramwell when in the
Dove case he asked, ‘Could he help it?’ Could he help it? That is the real
practical question at issue in any case in which the defence of insanity
is set up.”[115] It should be added that Lord Bramwell has not always been
able to maintain this position. “It ought to be the law of England,” says
Mr. Justice Stephen, a very great authority, “that no act is a crime if
the person who does it is at the time when it is done prevented by
defective mental power, or by any disease affecting his mind, from
controlling his conduct, unless the absence of the power of self-control
has been produced by his own default.” A reasonable doctrine to lay down,
no doubt, and one which medical men generally would accept; but one asks
oneself at once: How many persons guilty of serious crimes--the only class
in regard to whom the question is of practical importance--are to be
counted sane?

The point on which we must fix our attention, however, is that it should
make so much difference whether a criminal is insane or not. Our law is
still in so semi-barbaric a condition that the grave interests of society
and of the individual are made to hinge on a problem which must often be
insoluble. Practically it cannot make the slightest difference whether the
criminal is sane or insane. Sane or insane, he is still noxious to
society, and society must be protected from him. Sane or insane, it is
still our duty and our interest to treat him humanely, and to use all
means in our power to render him capable of living a social life. Under
any system, at once fairly humane and fairly rational, the question of
insanity, while still of interest, can make little practical difference,
either to society or to the criminal. It is unreasonable and anti-social
to speak of insanity as a “defence.” It is an explanation, but, from the
social point of view, it is not a defence. Suppose we accept the
definition of insanity which, as we have seen, is now widely accepted by
medical men and favoured by many eminent lawyers, that insanity is a loss
of self-control, the giving way to an irresistible impulse. It cannot be
unknown to any one that self-control may be educated, that it may be
weakened or strengthened by the circumstances of life. If we define
insanity as a loss of self-control and accept that as a “defence,” we are
directly encouraging every form of vice and crime, because we are removing
the strongest influence in the formation of self-control. When a “defence”
of kleptomania was brought before an English judge in a case of theft he
is said to have observed: “Yes, that is what I am sent here to cure.” We
need not hesitate to accept this conception of the function of the court,
provided always that the treatment is scientific, effectual, and humane.

The fact that to-day it is not so, and that lawyers and doctors are
helpless to make it so, is a glaring proof of the necessity which exists
for society, in its own interests and in those of its weaker members, to
take intelligent cognisance of these matters, and to pave the way for
reasonable action. In the first chapter of this book I noted, without
calling any special attention to it, the curiously divergent way in which
somewhat similar cases were treated. One girl was treated kindly and sent
to a clergyman’s house: she “recovered.” Little Marie Schneider was sent
to prison for eight years, the years during which she will develop into a
woman. What will she be fit for when she comes out at the age of twenty?
She may come out a human tigress, or merely the crushed and helpless
product of prison routine. In either case what intelligent principle
guided the society that condemned her to spend those eight years in
prison? The lad who killed his little sister was sent to penal servitude
for ten years. What will he be good for when he comes out? “In any case,”
as Dr. Savage remarks, “the boy is pretty certain to end his days either
as a lunatic or a confirmed criminal, and I fancy the best course has been
taken to make him the latter. So society will suffer the more, and the boy
himself will be none the better.”

These problems are unknown to the law, but they are beginning to stir
among the community. A girl of twelve not long since murdered a child of
four, as she herself subsequently confessed, in much the same manner as
Marie Schneider murdered Margarete Dietrich. The jury acquitted her. They
acted in defiance of the evidence and of the law. It is clear that what
they said to themselves was this: The law will send this girl to prison
for some ten or fifteen years. We do not believe in the advantage of that,
and we prefer to deliver her from the law altogether. They were, as the
judge said, a very merciful jury. But it is not by shuffling evasions of
law that civilisation progresses. We need just and reasonable laws, not
merciful juries. It is not to the advantage of society that young
murderesses should wander at large, though it may very possibly be better
than throwing them into the prison as at present constituted. The
“merciful” jury, as in the south of Italy, becomes the hysterical and too
often venial jury. We cannot be too grateful for the courage and honesty
with which, as a rule, English juries and judges fulfil their functions;
it is to this adherence to law that many intelligent foreign observers
attribute the fact that criminality in England is in some respects less
serious than one might be led to expect. If, however, this attitude is to
be maintained, and we are to avoid the dangers of lying and cowardly
verdicts, we must see to it that our law keeps pace with our knowledge and
with our methods of social progress.

The institution of the jury is well rooted in England, and on the whole
very efficient. There is not likely to be any agitation for some time to
come for its abolition, as there has been in Italy and France and
Switzerland. But there is at all events one modification in our criminal
courts which is urgently required. It is entirely opposed to the interests
of justice, and therefore of society, that the scientific conclusions in a
case should be thrust into a partisan position. Experts will often differ
as lawyers often differ, but the lawyer is not more competent to decide on
the science of the expert than the expert is competent to decide on the
law of the lawyer. It is not for the interests of justice that one expert,
representing perhaps only his own opinion, should weigh against another
representing perhaps the general body of scientific opinion on that
subject. It is not calculated for the ends of justice that the judge,
however quick and intelligent, should have to pronounce on matters
concerning which he can only speak as a layman, and necessarily falls into
frequent errors of judgment. Special points involving special knowledge or
skill must be submitted to a commission of experts, and the verdicts of
the commission on these special points must be accepted by the court,
though subject to an appeal to a supreme medico-legal tribunal. Some such
method as this is now being widely demanded by intelligent opinion in the
interests of justice. At the International Congress on Forensic Medicine,
held in Paris in 1889, this tendency came out very clearly, and was
formulated in the following proposition which the Congress adopted:--“To
guarantee the interests of society and of the accused in all medico-legal
investigations, at least two experts shall be employed. These shall be
appointed by the judge.” It is to be hoped, in the interests of justice,
that the pressure of public opinion will hasten the adoption of this
reasonable and moderate reform in criminal procedure.

Our courts of justice are still pervaded by the barbaric notion of the
duel. We arrange a brilliant tournament, and are interested not so much in
the investigation of truth as in the question of who will “win.” We cannot
hope for any immediate radical change in this method, but it is our duty
to do all that we can to strengthen those elements in our courts which
are concerned, not with the gaining of a cause, but with the investigation
of truth. This and all other reforms in our methods of dealing with the
criminal, as I have already pointed out, and would again insist, cannot be
attained by a mere administrative _fiat_; nor is it desirable that they
should be. Before any reform can be safely embodied in the law it must
first be embodied in the popular consciousness. We need here, as in so
many other fields of our social life, a strong body of intelligent and
educated opinion. This must accompany that revival, under the inspiration
of the methods of natural science, of that science of jurisprudence which
is at present the most stationary and scholastic of all the sciences.

These problems are every day becoming more pressing. The level of
criminality, it is well known, is rising, and has been rising during the
whole of the present century, throughout the civilised world. In France,
in Germany, in Italy, in Belgium, in Spain, in the United States, the tide
of criminality is becoming higher steadily and rapidly. In France it has
risen several hundred per cent.; so also for several kinds of serious
crime in many parts of Germany; in Spain the number of persons sent to
perpetual imprisonment nearly doubled between 1870 and 1883; in the United
States the criminal population has increased since the war, relatively to
the population, by one-third. There is, no doubt, room for fallacy in many
of these statistics; various circumstances serve to modify such figures--a
greater or less intolerance of crime, more or less success in capturing
criminals, and variations in the methods of dealing with them. On the
whole, however, there seems to be a general agreement that the increase is

Insular Great Britain alone appears to be relatively unsubmerged by the
rising tide of criminality; but even here there is a real increase, in
proportion to the population, in the more serious kinds of crime. Crimes
of passion are rarer among the Anglo-Saxon race in England, Scotland, and
America than anywhere else; but crimes of interest are proportionately
more common than elsewhere. The decrease is in minor offences, and is due
in large measure, no doubt, to reasons connected with the police. The
anomaly of the comparative freedom of Great Britain from crime has been
explained by foreign observers in several ways--by the former frequency of
hanging and of transportation in England, thus eliminating a large number
of criminals,[116] and by the firmness with which sentences are executed.
It is probable that the great stream of emigration from Great Britain,
carrying away much of the finest, but also much of the most turbulent
elements (the two are often connected), has had a very marked influence in
this respect.

Criminality, like insanity, waits upon civilisation. Among primitive races
insanity is rare; criminality, in the true sense, is also rare.
Conservatism and the rigid cult of custom form as distinct a barrier
against crime as they do against progressive civilisation. As the methods
of enlarging and multiplying the uses of our lives increase, so do the
abuses of these methods. In an epoch of stress, and of much change and
readjustment in the social surroundings and relations of individuals,
ill-balanced natures become more frequent, and the anti-social and
unlawful instincts are more often called out than in a stagnant society.
The criminality of the Irish in England is far greater than that of the
Irish at home, and it is a significant fact that while the Americans are
more criminal than the English, the criminality of the English-born in the
United States is more than double that of the native American whites. Like
insanity,[117] criminality flourishes among migrants, and our civilisation
is bringing us all more or less into the position of migrants.

But the problem of criminality is not thereby rendered hopeless. Rather it
is shown to be largely a social fact, and social facts are precisely the
order of facts most under our control. The problem of criminality is not
an isolated one that can be dealt with by fixing our attention on that and
that alone. It is a problem that on closer view is found to merge itself
very largely into all those problems of our social life that are now
pressing for solution, and in settling them we shall to a great extent
settle it. The rising flood of criminality is not an argument for
pessimism or despair. It is merely an additional spur to that great task
of social organisation to which during the coming century we are called.

It is useless, or worse than useless, to occupy ourselves with methods for
improving the treatment of criminals, so long as the conditions of life
render the prison a welcome and desired shelter. So long as we foster the
growth of the reckless classes we foster the growth of criminality. So
long as there are a large body of women in the East of London, and in
other large centres, who are prepared to say: “It’s Jack the Ripper or the
bridge with me. What’s the odds?”[118] there will be a still larger number
of persons who will willingly accept the risks of prison. “What’s the
odds?” Liberty is dear to every man who is fed and clothed and housed, and
he will not usually enter a career of crime unless he has carefully
calculated the risks of losing his liberty and found them small; but food
and shelter are even more precious than liberty, and these may be secured
in a prison. As things are, the asylum and the workhouse, against which
there is a deep prejudice, ingrained and irrational, would have a greater
deterring influence than the prison. There are every morning at Paris
50,000 persons who do not know how they will eat or where they will
sleep.[119] It is the same in every great city; for such the prison can be
nothing but a home. It is well known that the lot of the convict,
miserable as it is, with its dull routine and perpetual surveillance, is
yet easier, less laborious, and far more healthy than that to which
thousands of honest working men are condemned throughout Great Britain.
The fate reserved for a French convict is one that might well be the
reward of honesty. He is sent to New Caledonia, to marry, to settle,
perhaps to become rich. “I do not know,” an ex-deputy, sent out to report
on the condition of the convicts, is said to have declared, “any
struggling peasant or small proprietor in France who would not gladly
exchange his lot for that of a convict of the first class in New
Caledonia.” “The working classes,” as Professor Prins, one of the most
able and thoughtful students of this subject, remarks, “badly housed,
badly nourished, vegetate at the mercy of economic crises.[120] The worker
is always on the borders of vagabondage; the vagabond is always on the
borders of crime. The entire working classes are thus exposed in the first
line, and whether it is a question of disease or of crime, it is they who
succumb first.”[121] Crime would be much commoner than it is if it were
not for the communistic practice of mutual helpfulness which rules so
largely among the poorest classes, and mitigates the stress of misery. All
the more thoughtful students of the criminal, among whom Ferri in this
respect stands first, have seen the direct bearing on criminality of what
Colajanni has called Social Hygiene. We may neglect the problems of social
organisation, but we do so at our peril.

It was at one time thought that the great panacea for the prevention of
crime was education. Undoubtedly education has an important bearing on
criminality, but we now know that the mere intellectual rudiments of
education have very little influence indeed in preventing crime, though
they may have a distinct influence in modifying its forms. Such education
merely puts a weapon into the hands of the anti-social man. The only
education that can avail to prevent crime in any substantial degree must
be education in the true sense, an education that is as much physical and
moral as intellectual, an education that enables him who has it to play a
fair part in social life. The proportion of criminals with some
intellectual education is now becoming very large; the proportion of
criminals who are acquainted with any trade still remains very small; the
proportion of criminals engaged in their trade at the time of the crime is
smaller still. We seem to be approaching a point at which it will become
obvious that every citizen must be educated to perform some useful social
function. In the interests of society he must be enabled to earn his
living by that function. If we close the social ranks against him he will
enter the anti-social ranks, and the more educated he is the more
dangerous he will then become.

All education must include provision for the detection and special
treatment of abnormal children. We cannot catch our criminals too young.
Taverni has found that criminals in childhood are marked especially by
their resistance to educative influences. It is our duty and our interest
to detect such refractory and abnormal children at the earliest period, to
examine them carefully, and to ensure that each shall have the treatment
best adapted to him. It is much easier, and much cheaper, to do that, than
to wait until he has brought ruin on himself and shame on his friends.
This is beginning to be recognised and acted upon in those countries that
are most alive to the meaning of education; in Sweden, for instance, there
is a careful medical supervision of schools, by medical officers who are
not subordinate to the teachers, although this supervision is confined to
the physical condition and capacities of the child. It is indispensable,
if we are to deal effectually with the criminal, that we should be able
to refer to the record of his physical, mental, and moral dispositions
during childhood. In England recently a committee, consisting of the most
eminent medical men specially qualified for the task, was appointed to
examine into the condition of children in primary schools. This committee,
owing chiefly to the enthusiasm and labour of Dr. Francis Warner,
accomplished much valuable work, but the London School Board refused to
allow any access to its schools. The London School Board consists, one may
suppose, of intelligent persons, genuinely interested in education, and
representing the sense of the community, yet they refused to consider one
of the most serious problems that the educator has to face. So true it is
that every society has only the criminals that it deserves.

While a wise modification of the educative influences is here of the
greatest importance, we must not forget that to a very large extent the
child is moulded before birth. There is no invariable fatalism in the
influences that work before birth, but it must always make a very great
difference whether a man is well born and starts happily, or whether he is
heavily handicapped at the very outset of the race of life; whether a man
is born free from vices of nature, or buys freedom, if at all, at a great
price. There is evidence to show how much of the welfare of the child
depends on the general physical and emotional health of the parents, and
that the child’s fate may be determined by some physical weakness, some
emotional trouble at conception or during pregnancy. No legislation can
step in here, save at the most very indirectly. We can, however, quicken
the social and individual conscience. The making of children is the
highest of all human functions, and that which carries the most widespread
and incalculable consequences. It is well to remember that every falling
away from health, every new strain and stress, in man or woman, may lay an
additional burden on a man or woman yet unborn, and perhaps wreck a life
or a succession of lives.

This is not the place to develop these various consequences which flow
from our consideration of the nature and treatment of the criminal. It
seemed well, however, to indicate them, if only to show how large a
problem is this of criminality. Perhaps every social problem, when we
begin to look into it and to turn it round and to analyse it, will be
found not to stand alone, but to be made up of fibres that extend to every
part of our social life.


_Explanation of Plates._


Composite photograph of twenty criminals--“dullards”--in the Elmira
Reformatory. It may be compared with Plates XIV. and XV. I am indebted to
the kindness of Dr. Hamilton Wey for these photographs.


1. S. E., age 32. Life sentence. Third time a convict, and he says “all
for the same man.” His story is that he was flogged by the mate of his
ship at Callao, that he jumped with the mate into the water, and after a
chase on shore he stabbed him. He speaks of the mate as his lifelong
enemy. Height 6ft. 0¼ in. without boots. Very powerful. A most determined
villainous expression, but a massive forehead. Small compressed mouth.
Attempted suicide at Millbank. Lost left arm at Woking from disease of
elbow joint.

2. T. W., murderer.

3. G. W., gardener, age 86; seven years for uttering counterfeit coin.
Three previous short sentences.

4. J. C., farm labourer, from Nottingham, age 62; ten years’ sentence;
petty thefts many times. Fourth time a convict.

5. A. J., from Paisley, age 50; cattle stealing; two years a soldier;
“could not learn the bugle-calls or anything.” Weak-minded; most of life
in prison; three terms of penal servitude; eleven shorter sentences.

6. P. J., charcoal burner and collier, from Hereford, age 36; unlawfully
and maliciously wounding; “low type of intellect.” Very troublesome at
Chatham, and among the weak-minded at Millbank. One previous sentence of
penal servitude.


1. T. C., chemist, from Portsea, age 21. Paid his addresses to girl whose
mother objected; attempted to murder latter by administering prussic acid.
Eight years’ penal servitude. Valvular disease of heart after rheumatic

2. G. H., farm labourer, from Leeds, age 50; “very low type;” twenty years
for shooting wife.

3. J. H., soldier and navvy, from Durham, age 60; conspiring to murder.

4. J. C., from Liverpool, fifteen years for manslaughter.

5. E. L., dock labourer, from Bristol. Life sentence for murdering wife’s
paramour; genitals undeveloped; fatty tumours on scapula.

6. W. G. H., from Lincoln, age 12. Manslaughter; fifteen years. Second and
third toes webbed.


1. R. W., dock labourer, from Paisley, age 18. Assault and robbery; ten
years. Previous conviction for theft.

2. E. S. J., farm labourer, age 38; seven years for horse-stealing and
other thefts; four previous convictions.

3. W. W., stone-masons’ labourer, from Kirkdale, age 21; seven years and
flogged for robbery with violence. Three previous shorter sentences.

4. G. W., puddler, from Salford, age 21; five years for wounding.

5. W. S., cook and steward, from Liverpool; ten years for larceny; five
years previously for ditto.

6. W. C., age 25. Robbery with violence; ten years. Two shorter sentences.


1. J. J., hawker, from Hull; seven years for theft.

2. J. M., age 28; eight years a tailor, “rest of life a thief.” Seven
years for larceny, housebreaking, and receiving.

3. V. M., maker of pearl ornaments, from Birmingham, age 20. Thief
chiefly; twelve times in prison.

4. J. W., collier, from Durham; seven years for felony; seven shorter
sentences previously. Right eye destroyed.

5. W. T., farm labourer, from Hereford, age 21; ten years for receiving
stolen goods.

6. N. K., collier, from Gloucester; seven years for receiving joint of a
sheep, stolen and cut up by another; previous conviction for stealing
fellow-labourer’s dinner. “Low type; history told as if it was all a


1. J. H., from Chester, age 21; five years for burglary. In reformatory
and seven times in prison. “Very prominent forehead; small eyes nearly
concealed by upper lid.”

2. J. C. E., age 25; seven years for housebreaking. “Low type.”

3. S. P.. age 35; weaver, from Wakefield; ten years’ penal servitude for
felony; five years previously.

4. J. P., costermonger; seven years; house and general thief.

5. D. M., a Greek, age 16; letter sorter; five years for stealing parcels.
His father had been in penal servitude for stealing bonds.

6. H. S., letter-sorter, age 21. Five years for stealing a letter.


1. V. S., age 17; rape on girl of 13; “very low type.”

2. W. W., age 45; coal miner and stoker, from Stafford; rape on child of
10. “Strong, villainous expression.”

3. H. O., groom and jockey, from Leeds, age 57. Bestiality; fifteen years’
penal servitude; conspiracy by servant girl, he says. Threatened to
destroy himself. “Eyes very close to the nose; small head; low type.”

4. W. M., age 32, from Manchester; nine years a soldier, farm labourer
before and since; ten years for crime _contra naturam_.

5. T. R., age 16; farm labourer, from Worcester; ten years for rape;
“monkey face.”

6. W. B., age 23, from Manchester; height 5ft. 0½ in.; seven years for
arson; intellect feeble.


_Relation of the age of Fathers in normal subjects, criminals, and the
insane (adapted from Marro)._

  |                    |Normal.|Criminals.|Murderers.|  Sexual  |
  |                    |       |          |          |Offenders.|
  |                    |  per  |   per    |   per    |   per    |
  |                    | cent. |  cent.   |  cent.   |  cent.   |
  |Period of immaturity|  8.8  |  10.9    |   2.9    |   2.7    |
  |     "    maturity  | 66.1  |  56.7    |  44.1    |  66.6    |
  |     "    decadence | 24.9  |  32.2    |  52.9    |  30.5    |

  |                    |Thieves.|Sharpers.|Insane.|
  |                    |        |         |       |
  |                    |   per  |   per   |  per  |
  |                    |  cent. |  cent.  | cent. |
  |Period of immaturity|  15.5  |   2.8   | 17.0  |
  |     "    maturity  |  57.2  |  60.0   | 47.0  |
  |     "    decadence |  27.1  |  37.1   | 36.0  |


Tattooed criminal from Lombroso’s _Uomo Delinquente_. A French sailor, a
deserter, previously condemned for an unknown crime. The various
inscriptions and designs bear witness to his vicious and criminal tastes.
The heart’s case, for instance, is common among pæderasts.


The eight heads in this and the following Plate have been chosen,
intentionally, almost at random, in order to show the average types of
criminal with whom the London police at Scotland Yard have to deal.

1. F. C., age 61. A well-known London burglar; tattooed.

2. C. D., age 31. Housebreaker. “A dangerous character.” Many scars on
head, body, and limbs.

3. H. A. G., age 36. “A very clever swindler,” “of gentlemanly appearance,
and good address.” Speaks French and German.

4. W. A., age 42. “A desperate burglar, and will assuredly use firearms.”
A smith, native of Middlesex. Several scars.


1. J. C., age 32. Shoemaker by trade, native of London. “A daring burglar;
will probably use firearms.” Tattooed.

2. M. A. L., age 28. Factory hand, born at Sheffield. “A dangerous thief,”
who has had eight years’ penal servitude for assault and robbery.

3. W. K., age 40. “A dangerous thief, with several convictions.”

4. R. W., age 23. Born at Hartlepool. “A dangerous man.” Larceny.


The heads in this and the following Plate are chiefly Italian, and taken
from Lombroso’s _Uomo Delinquente_.

1. Desroues, poisoner.

2. Cartouche.

3. B. S., Piedmontese forger.

4. Incendiary (and cinæedus) of Pesaro, nicknamed “the woman.”


1. A Calabrian brigand.

2. Carbone, a brigand chief.

3. A Basilicata brigand.

4. Venafro di Caspoli, brigand.

PLATE XIII. FRENCH CRIMINALS (from Corre’s _Les Criminels_).

1. Tropmann, an Alsatian mechanic, aged 19, who assassinated a family of
eight persons.

2. Pranzini, thief, and murderer of three persons.

3. Oillic, age 27, Breton sailor, leader in the murder of the officers of
the _Fœderis Arca_. Hair black, laughs continually, very energetic, very
intemperate “without ever losing his head.”

4. Carbuccia, age 26, a Corsican, who co-operated very actively in the
same tragedy. Abandoned in childhood; very intelligent and very violent.
Intemperate; handwriting tremulous like that of an old man.


Composite photograph of eleven criminals undergoing physical training at


Composite photograph of thirty-eight criminals undergoing physical
training at Elmira.


_The Congress of Criminal Anthropology at Paris._

The second International Congress of Criminal Anthropology was held in
August 1889 at Paris, in the large amphitheatre of the Faculty of
Medicine. A very considerable audience assembled here during the week over
which the Congress extended. Many distinguished representatives of
science, law, medicine, and the administrative world came from very
various countries, and official representatives were present from France,
Italy, Russia, Holland, Belgium, the United States, Denmark, Sweden,
Roumania, Servia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, and Hawaii. Great
Britain, it will be observed, was only conspicuous by its absence. Among
those who took part in the proceedings of the Congress may be mentioned M.
Thévenet, the Minister of Justice, Dr. Brouardel, the Dean of the Medical
Faculty of Paris, and President of the Congress, MM. Théophile Roussel,
Lombroso, Ferri, Garofalo, Moleschott, Lacassagne, Demange, Van Hamel,
Semal, Ladame, Benedikt, Tarde, Wilson, Tenchini, Motet, Manouvrier,
Alphonse Bertillon, Bournet, Féré, Coutagne, Letourneau, Mme. Clémence
Royer, Drill, Clark Bell, Magnan, Topinard, Delasiauve, and the General
Secretary of the Congress, Dr. Magitot.

In his opening discourse Dr. Brouardel remarked that the Italian school
had the great merit of taking up again the study of a question with which
philosophy, law, and medicine have always been occupied. Every time in the
history of a country that philosophic studies have free expansion, the
desire to safeguard society, the spirit of toleration, the methods for
ameliorating the fate of the guilty, of protecting them from themselves,
and of taking them out of the environment which educates them to crime,
have been the object of the meditation and study of great thinkers; and
their conceptions have eventually conquered public opinion. It has been
the honour of the Italian school--in the land where Roman law, the
foundation of all law, was born--that it has again put into the crucible
this problem of criminality, and that it has proceeded to the analysis of
that problem by the only truly scientific method--by studying the
psychology of criminals, and their pathological abnormalities. It will be
its distinction to have declared against illusory enthusiasms, and to have
founded a science which will contribute to the more efficacious protection
of society.

The first communication came from Lombroso, as the recognised chief of the
Italian school. He summarised what he believed to be the most important
abnormal physical characteristics found among criminals--the presence of
cranial and facial asymmetry, precocious synostosis, unusual frequency of
left-handedness, large orbits, prominence of zygoma, large median
occipital fossa, frequency of tattooing, etc. These characters, he
considered, were all due to pathological causes. The discussion was at
once commenced by M. Manouvrier. He began by declaring that he was by no
means an antagonist of the Italian school. He granted that it had been
proved that physical abnormalities are more common among criminals than
among the ordinary population, but he claimed due consideration for the
influence of environment; crime is a sociological matter much more than a
physiological matter. M. Dimitri Drill said that, strictly speaking, there
is no criminal type; there are, as Morel had shown, organic conditions of
defect and degeneration, but criminality remained above all a social
question. MM. Pugliese and Garofalo expressed very similar opinions. M.
Lacassagne pointed out that we too often forget the factor of misery in
the production of crime; he meant not merely social misery, but
physiological misery, of which the origin was intra-uterine. As regards
poverty, M. Garofalo could not share Lacassagne’s views; his
investigations had shown that the number of criminals furnished by the
middle classes is, proportionately, quite equal to that furnished by the
lower classes, while for some kinds of crime the upper classes gave a
higher figure than the lower. Mme. Clémence Royer called attention to the
importance of hybridism in the genesis of crime. The recrudescences of
criminality, she remarked, correspond to the great epochs of the mingling
of races. Benedikt spoke of the relation between insanity and crime; the
criminal is a diseased person, he held, or a lunatic, and we must consider
the molecular troubles of the cerebral substance as well as the external
physical signs. After M. Tarde, speaking as a _juge d’instruction_, had
admitted the existence both of the organic predispositions to crime, and
the influence of the social environment, M. Brouardel joined in the
discussion. Crime should not, he said, be regarded as the result of any
single isolated cause, physical, moral, or social, but of all those causes
at once. The diagnosis of the criminal must be subordinated to the same
rules as the diagnosis of a disease; that is to say, it is made up of
related and simultaneous conditions. A single sign is insufficient to
reveal the criminal, just as a single symptom will not prove typhoid
fever. Professor Ferri well summed up the morning’s discussion. Crime, he
admitted, is a very complex phenomenon; it is a sort of polyhedron, of
which every one sees a special side. All the points of view maintained
that day were, at the same time, true and incomplete. Lombroso had brought
to light the biological side of crime, but that was not the whole of it.
Drill, Dekteren, and Manouvrier had shown the social side; Pugliese the
legal side, which is a more special aspect of the social side. Tarde, the
sympathetic critic of criminal anthropology, had not left out of sight the
physiological side of crime. We must, like Moleschott and Brouardel,
proceed synthetically, for crime is at once a biological and a social
phenomenon. He recalled a saying of Lacassagne’s at the previous Congress,
that the criminal is a microbe which only flourishes in a suitable soil.
Without doubt it is the environment which makes the criminal; but, like
the cultivation medium, without the microbe it is powerless to germinate
crime. Both biological and social aspects are fundamental in criminality,
and they constitute the two essential data of criminal anthropology.

Dr. Semal, Director of the Mons Lunatic Asylum, and the official delegate
of the Belgian Government, presided at the afternoon session, when various
communications of a somewhat miscellaneous character were brought forward.

On the following morning Professor Van Hamel, of Amsterdam, presided, and
M. Manouvrier brought forward again the question of anatomical criminal
characteristics and their illusory character. M. Lombroso defended himself
with his usual energy and spirit, pointing out the distinction between the
instinctive criminal and the occasional criminal. He explained that he had
himself given so much attention to the biological factor in criminality,
although he was, above all, an alienist, because it had previously been
entirely neglected. He admitted that his conclusions had sometimes been
too rash, although founded on the observation of now nearly 27,000
individuals by himself and others, but he had always been ready to give
up an indefensible position. The atavism of criminals, he now believed,
may largely be explained by morbid causes. The discussion was carried on
by other members, and was sufficient, in the opinion of M. Garofalo, to
show that the divergence of ideas was more apparent than real; those who
far off seem adversaries, are found on nearer view to be partisans. On his
proposition, it was decided by the Congress that it is desirable to
continue on the largest scale the comparative study of criminals and
normal persons, subjecting them to a severe and minute examination, in
order to ascertain the physical differences which separate them. On the
proposition of M. Lacassagne, it was unanimously agreed that access to
prisons ought to be made easier, and that the bodies of executed criminals
should be available for scientific study.

At the afternoon session, presided over by Professor Ferri, Dr. Coutagne
read a paper on “The Influence of Professions on Criminality.” Mr. Wilson
followed on “The Statistics of Crime in the United States,” in which he
referred to the necessity of creating international criminal statistics,
permitting of the comparative study of crime among different nations. M.
Laschi brought forward an interesting communication on “Political Crime
from the point of view of Anthropology,” in which he spoke of the bearing
of race on politics, and also on genius; and M. Giampietro dealt with “The
Moral Responsibility of Deaf-mutes in relation to Legislation.”

On Wednesday morning Baron Garofalo read an important paper on the
question whether, when an individual’s guilt has been recognised, the
class of criminals to which he belongs can be determined by criminal
anthropology. This question was discussed from, necessarily, a somewhat
legal point of view, with Garofalo’s customary ability and clearness. He
was not concerned, he said, with the recognition of the criminal, but with
his classification, and in criminal anthropology we must give the first
place to psychology. He insisted on the necessity for the careful
psychical examination of the criminal, although it is necessary also to
consider his physical nature; while sometimes even the character of the
crime is sufficient to class the criminal. Uniformity of punishment is a
manifest absurdity; and he referred to the progress already made in France
by the recognition of the gravity of incorrigible recidivism. The old
criminal law only recognised two terms, the _offence_ and the
_punishment_. The new criminology recognises three terms, the _crime_, the
_criminal_, and the _method of repression_. Criminal law, he concluded,
must not be treated as a detached and isolated science; it must be
subordinated to psychology and to anthropology, or it will be powerless to
interpret and to determine, in any enlightened legislation, the true
classification of criminals. M. Alimena, a young Italian lawyer, thought
that the considerations brought forward by Garofalo furnished presumptions
only, and not judicial certainties. After a lively episode between M.
Benedikt and M. Lombroso, M. Brouardel, bringing the discussion back to
the point, remarked that the problem proposed by Garofalo--the
classification of criminals--can only be resolved by the totality of the
evidence. The complete investigation of the criminal can alone enlighten
justice. The crime by itself is insufficient to class the criminal, just
as the most senseless act is not enough to characterise a lunatic. The
morning session was closed by some remarks from M. Herbette, the official
director of the _Administration Pénitentiaire_. The Administration, he
observed, were following the results of criminal anthropology with close
attention, ready to adopt all conclusions that were proved, as they had
already adopted some. While recommending zeal and confidence in the
pursuit of these studies, he urged that the conclusions should be as
mature and as assured as possible, or criminal anthropology would risk its
authority and _prestige_.

At the afternoon session, presided over by Professor Ladame (Geneva), M.
Ferri read a paper on the determining conditions of crime--individual,
physical, and social--and their relative value. M. Ferri is one of the
most accomplished and philosophic advocates of the new criminal
anthropology, and his paper, and its subsequent eloquent elucidations,
were listened to with great attention. Crime, he said, is at once
biological and social. Out of 100 persons living in the same conditions of
misery and abandonment, 60 commit no crimes; of the other 40, 5 commit
suicide; 5 become insane, 5 are beggars, 25 commit crimes; therefore the
social environment is not the exclusive cause of crime. But, again, we
must not neglect the social environment, for, to mention one piece of
evidence only, the maximum of crimes against property is reached in
winter. And, again, the most delicate biological modifications must be
considered, for rapes and crimes of violence are most common when the
temperature is high, and climate and barometrical pressure play a certain
part. If the thermometer had marked ten degrees less, or the barometer a
few millimetres more, perhaps such and such a crime would not have been
committed. The conclusion is that, on the one hand, we must ameliorate
social conditions for the natural prevention of crime, and on the other
hand exercise measures of temporary or perpetual elimination of
individuals, according as the biological conditions in each case seem more
or less curable. M. Alimena attached great importance to education,
especially to its hereditary effects. The criminal ought not to be able to
say to his judge: “Why have you not made me better?” He agreed with the
words of Lacassagne at the former Congress at Rome: “Societies have the
criminals that they deserve.” M. Manouvrier considered that Ferri did not
attach enough importance to the social factor; no two persons lived in the
same social environment. This was also the opinion of M. Drill. M. Tarde
expounded his views as to the characteristics of criminals being due to
the professional exercise of crime. M. Féré would not believe in any
professional type until it had been established by precise measurements.
The discussion on the whole showed that, as M. Van Hamel said, society to
defend itself must have an eye on every side.

On Thursday the members of the Congress visited Sainte-Anne, where M.
Magnan demonstrated the subject of degeneration. They also visited the
Prefecture of Police, where M. Alphonse Bertillon showed his
anthropometrical method of identifying criminals in action, and M.
Moleschott succeeded with little trouble in identifying a man who had
given a false name.

On Friday morning M. Tarde presided, and M. Pugliese, of Trani (Italy),
read a report on the criminal trial from the sociological point of view.
The evidence which demonstrates the existence of a crime and of a criminal
can only be duly weighed by a magistrate possessing much technical
knowledge. It is not enough for him to be a judge or a jurist; he must be
well acquainted with anthropological and sociological science; he must
know the environment in which crime is produced, and the people who are
born to live and die in this environment. He advocated the establishment
by the State of a college for the education of magistrates. At present
there is great confusion, and the magistrate is called upon to decide
complex questions of which he is quite ignorant. The duty of the judge to
demand the decision of science with the power to tread it under foot was a
manifest contradiction. It was not reasonable that a medico-legal judgment
should be over-ridden by a jury, and it was time to reverse the ancient
maxim that the judge is the expert of experts. When it is a question of
legal medicine, the medico-legal expert must be the judge. There should be
a medico-legal commission, whose duty it would be not to express opinions,
but to give decisions. That is the only way to avoid many scandals. M.
Brouardel, from the medico-legal standpoint, said he was not able to
accept the present which Pugliese offered him. Every trial had issues
which were not medical, and here the medico-legal expert would be
incompetent. Apart from this, he would be cautious as to using
anthropological data at all. It was still premature, and to go too fast
was to risk compromising everything. M. Benedikt agreed with M. Brouardel,
and advocated the scientific education of lawyers, which M. Lacassagne
also considers desirable.

The next paper was by MM. Taverni and Magnan on the childhood of
criminals, and the natural predisposition to crime. M. Taverni had made a
number of investigations on children in reformatories--a study which he
called pedagogic biology--and had traced backwards the childhood of
criminals, and forwards the career of unpromising children. The chief
indications he had found in the childhood of criminals were inaptitude to
education, resistance to family order, and the revolt against social
conventions. Among adult criminals one found in childhood the same
characters of inaptitude and resistance. For M. Magnan the child was often
already a complete criminal, as the result of physical and moral
degeneration, due to nervous, insane, or alcoholic heredity. He regarded
the matter as a purely clinical one (following Moreau, of Tours, and
Morel). He brought forward many interesting examples, and pointed out that
in all of them sexual aberration played a very prominent part. An
interesting discussion followed. MM. Motet, Dalifol, Roussel, and Herbette
regretted that the State did not undertake the care of children at an
earlier age, when there was greater hope of the favourable influence of
physical, moral, and intellectual education. M. Lombroso, while expressing
his great esteem for M. Magnan (the Charcot of alcoholism, as he called
him), was not able to agree with him. What he had himself said about
children was founded on the observations of Perez, Taine, and Spencer.
Moral sense was often lacking in the child. He was an embryonic criminal.
MM. Moleschott and Van Hamel spoke in defence of the child who is
unconscious. He was not chaste, because he had no ideas of modesty. He had
no respect for truth, and the destructive instinct is strong in him. M.
Moleschott referred to the anecdote in which Goethe recorded the delight
with which, as a child, he once produced a terrible carnage among the
crockery. But we must not confuse a phase of evolution with the conditions
of disease or criminality. M. Rollet, the advocate who pleads before the
tribunals at Paris the cause of all children who are arrested (about 20 to
30 boys and 8 to 10 girls every day), said that he always pleaded
irresponsibility, and demanded an acquittal. The child was then either
handed over to its parents, or to the philanthropic society of which Th.
Roussel is president. If the child appeared vicious, he demanded that he
should be sent to a reformatory until the age of 20. He judged by the
physiognomy and the history, but thought it would be a great advantage to
have the competent advice of a criminal anthropologist. This wish was
immediately satisfied. M. Manouvrier offered to come to the Palais de
Justice every day. Mme. Pigeon said that in her experience she had never
met a child of five or six, however perverted and vicious, who was
refractory to education. It was, however, a task requiring great care and
devotion. The regeneration of the child, M. Eschenauer said, could only be
by love. M. Roussel, who has devoted his life to the cause of the
disinherited children of society, spoke of the progress that had been
made, and said that the tendency was to enlarge more and more the sphere
of the State.

At the afternoon session, presided over by M. Drill, M. Brouardel called
the attention of the Congress to troubles of development appearing at
puberty. He drew a vivid picture of lively and intelligent Paris _gamins_
whose precocious development is arrested at puberty, both physically and
mentally. The sexual organs do not develop, hair does not appear on the
body. Instead of this, at 16 or 18 they become plump and feminine in
appearance and manners, and there is sexual impotence. Previously
brilliant at school, they now become lazy, and incapable of sustained
attention or effort. In later life they may become artists, poets, or
painters, if born in easy circumstances, but their work does not give
proof of the higher artistic qualities. Their devotion to those who
surround them is often of almost feminine tenderness. The chief factors in
producing this acquired degeneration are complex, such as overwork,
unhealthy dwellings, precocious sexual habits, and early alcoholism. M.
Herbette then described the efforts of the French Government in what he
described as moral orthopædics. They endeavoured to remove from the child
every idea of fatalism. M. Bérillon said he had been very successful in
treating vicious children by suggestion, and had succeeded in curing bad
sexual habits at one sitting.

M. Tarde then gave a summary of his report on the old and the new
foundations of moral responsibility. In this interesting and ingenious
paper, of a somewhat metaphysical character, he tried to show how moral
responsibility harmonises at once with the human conscience and with
contemporary science. Responsibility rests on identity, and by identity he
meant individual identity and social identity. This responsibility rests
on the determination of our actions, and is only relative. Mme. Clémence
Royer replied from a strictly scientific standpoint. All our acts are
determined by our physical nature. M. Coutagne refused to enter the domain
of metaphysics. The question was a practical one, and every individual,
sane or insane, must be treated as responsible. M. Motet said the question
was a clinical one. If the individual is normal, his responsibility is
complete; if he is abnormal or degenerated, his responsibility is limited;
if he is insane, his responsibility is _nil_. M. Manouvrier would reject
metaphysics absolutely. M. Ferri said that we must not accept the
conceptions of merit and demerit. All men are responsible before society,
but society has no right to punish. It has only the right to protect
itself. M. Tarde, in a spirited speech, defended his position. He
protested against the confusion of the criminal and the insane. There is a
profound reason for the fibres of indignation and contempt that is rooted
in us, and as long as they persist we shall turn them against the criminal
who acts in accordance with his native and not morbid character.

On Saturday morning Professor Lombroso presided. A proposition declaring
that it is desirable that every Government should adopt Bertillon’s
anthropometric method for the identification of recidivists was
unanimously adopted. M. Semal then read a paper on conditional liberation
and conditional detention. The beginnings of these have already appeared
in several countries, but to carry them on safely on a more extended scale
it is necessary to practise the most careful physical and psychical
examination of the prisoner. This would create, under the shield of
medical science, a clinical field of the bar. It would also necessitate
the spread of knowledge which is now lacking, and a re-organisation of the
administration and medical inspection of prisoners. M. Bertillon trusted
that anthropological considerations would not lead the prison
administration to neglect its duties of moral reformation. M. Benedikt
said that prison chaplains agreed with medical men in recognising the
incorrigibility of certain criminals. M. Drill thought that we must
clearly distinguish judgment from punishment. Reference had been made to
the sentiments of hatred and revenge, but those sentiments were the
outcome of habit or atavism. Formerly they were exercised in the same way
against the insane. The change of feeling towards the insane is due to a
true appreciation of the nature and causes of insanity. We do not
sufficiently consider the conditions under which criminals are placed. It
is not without reason that our Russian people speak of prisoners as
“unfortunates.” M. Vesnitch (the official representative of Servia)
desired that the legal side of the question should not be lost sight of.
The study of anthropology and of law ought to be compulsory for all those
who desire to become governors of prisons.

M. Sarraute then read a paper on the judicial applications of criminal
sociology. Law students should be examined in criminal anthropology and
legal medicine. Imprisonment should be for an indefinite period, and the
prisoner carefully observed and examined. The jury should be modified. M.
Tarde observed that advocates were already using the results of criminal
anthropology, and it was necessary that magistrates should be in a
position to appreciate the bearings of such arguments.

M. Taladriz then read a paper on “Criminality in its relations with
Ethnography,” drawing his illustrations largely from Spain, where crime
differs greatly in different parts of the peninsula. He desired the
establishment of an international penal code, protecting the rights of

In the afternoon Professor Benedikt presided, and M. Van Hamel read his
report on the “Cellular System from the point of view of Biology and of
Criminal Sociology.” He concluded that there should be a very careful
selection of cases for cellular isolation, subject to psychical and
medical examination. The results depended quite as much on the treatment
adopted during the cellular confinement as on the confinement itself.

On the proposition of M. Garofalo a commission was appointed to carry on a
series of observations on 100 criminals and 100 honest persons whose
antecedents were perfectly well known. On the proposition of M. Semal, the
Congress affirmed the necessity of a psycho-moral examination of the
prisoner as a preliminary to conditional liberation. It was resolved also
that it is desirable that law students should be instructed and examined
in legal medicine; and, on the proposition of M. Eschenauer, that the
direction and instruction of young children in reformatories should be
confided to experienced women.

In his closing discourse Professor Brouardel remarked how various and
complex are the issues raised by criminal anthropology. They were dealing
with one of the most interesting and profound of all problems--a problem
which had in all ages exercised the human mind. The Congress had brought
together some of the materials for a future edifice, although they were
not yet able to raise it.

The _Archives de l’Anthropologie Criminelle_ was the official journal of
the Congress, and the number for September 1889 was entirely devoted to
its proceedings. The next Congress will be held at Brussels in 1892.


_The International Association of Penal Law._

This association was founded in 1889 on the initiative of Professor von
Liszt. Its success was immediate, especially among lawyers, professors of
law, and magistrates; and this success is a remarkable proof of the great
movement for penal reform which is now everywhere making itself felt.
Nearly twenty countries in Europe and America are represented by the
association. It is truly international; no attempt is made to discuss
national modifications, or to advocate the doctrine of any school. The
conditions of membership involve adhesion to the following

I.--The mission of penal law is to combat criminality regarded as a social

II.--Penal science and penal legislation must therefore take into
consideration the results of anthropological and sociological studies.

III.--Punishment is one of the most efficacious means which the state can
use against criminality. It is not the only means. It must not, then, be
isolated from other social remedies, and, especially, it must not lead to
the neglect of preventive measures.

IV.--The distinction between accidental criminals and habitual criminals
is essential in practice as well as in theory; it must be the foundation
of penal law.

V.--As repressive tribunals and the penitentiary administration have the
same ends in view, and as the sentence only acquires value by its mode of
execution, the separation, consecrated by our modern laws, between the
court and the prison is irrational and harmful.

VI.--Punishment by deprivation of liberty justly occupying the first place
in our system of punishments, the association gives special attention to
all that concerns the amelioration of prisons and allied institutions.

VII.--So far as short imprisonments are concerned, the association
considers that the substitution of measures of equivalent efficacity is
possible and desirable.

VIII.--So far as long imprisonments are concerned, the association holds
that the length of the imprisonment must depend not only on the material
and moral gravity of the offence, but on the results obtained by treatment
in prison.

IX.--So far as incorrigible habitual criminals are concerned, the
association holds that, independently of the gravity of the offence, and
even with regard to the repetition of minor offences, the penal system
ought before all to aim at putting these criminals for as long a period as
possible under conditions where they cannot do injury.

“The association,” it is elsewhere stated, “starts from this point of
view, that in order to combat criminality we must know criminality.” As
Professor von Liszt said, “That which guides us and brings us together is
the conviction that penal science must rest on the firm basis of facts,
must attach itself to the realities of social and individual life, and not
be content with the purely intellectual development of purely legal
notions.” This is the only sound and rational foundation for criminal law,
and it is because the association has adopted this foundation that I
desire to call special attention to its valuable and fruitful work.

The first session was held at Brussels, in August 1889. Berne was selected
for the second, in 1890. The bulletins of the association (printed both
in French and German) contain the reports presented at these meetings, as
well as the subsequent discussions. They may be obtained, for a small sum,
from the publisher, J. Guttentag, Berlin, or from C. Muquardt, Librairie
Européenne, Brussels. The annual subscription is four shillings, and is
payable to Professor G. A. Van Hamel, Amsterdam, Holland.


_Some Cases of Criminality._

I have here brought together a few cases of fairly ordinary and
representative criminality, chiefly in order to show how such cases are
generally investigated. It has not seemed desirable to lay down any
definite system of examination. Elaborate schemes have been prepared; it
is more difficult to settle on a definite scheme on a small scale. At
present it seems best to leave much to the judgment of the individual
investigator. The six cases here given will serve to show how criminality
is usually investigated, and may be useful as a guide.

I.--B. A., aged 18, carpenter; weight, kilog. 69.3; height, m. 1.77.
Complexion pale. In various parts of body scars from wounds by knife,
dagger, stones, and glass, received in various quarrels. Head also covered
by scars. Hair on head very abundant; entirely without beard. Prominent
superciliary arches. Enormous frontal sinuses, lower jaw voluminous;
lemurian appendix present; forehead low and narrow; head normal.

Esthesiometer: left, 1½ right, 1¼; tongue, 1½. Dynamometer: left, 42;
right, 40½. Tendon reflexes normal. General sensibility: right, 52; left,
50. Sensibility to pain: right, 28; left, 30. Slow to distinguish colours.

Drunkard; began at age of 12, led on by his mother. Has thieved
frequently, but only found out once at the end of two years, and
condemned. Is irreligious.

When he is drunk feels melancholy. Has epileptic convulsions, in which he
falls down, and is frequently wounded. He has had similar fits for six
years; they are followed by complete amnesia. The first came on in an
educational institute, after being compelled to take a cold bath in

Three or four hours before the fit he is so stupid that he cannot reckon
two coppers that he holds in his hand; and that he cannot recognise the
people around him, though he may have known them for some time.

After the fit he does not know where he is, and for two or three days
cannot drink water or bathe, on account, he says, of the cold bath that
brought on his disorder.

Is not easily affected; has no aspirations; does not concern himself with

Cannot say anything of his parents, except that his mother was a drunkard.
(V. Rossi.)

II.--D., age 18, of Turin, smith. A woman’s head tattooed on his right
arm, and the beginning of a name (record of love); in epigastric region a
transfixed heart (to recall a revenge to be accomplished). A scar in left
frontal region; cannot, or will not, say how he got it, but has ever since
suffered from giddiness.

Complexion very pale; vasomotor reaction more marked on the left; pupils
react slowly; facial asymmetry; ears prominent. Hair sparse, dry, and very
dark. Fingers very long and slender. Has tremors; suffers from hypertrophy
of heart. Head acrocephalic, flattened at the nape.

Cranial measurements: longitudinal diameter, 177; transverse, 151;
longitudinal curve, 360; transverse, 300; maximum circumference, 530.
Dynamometer: both hands, 34; right, 14; left, 17. Esthesiometer: right,
1.8; left, 1.2; tongue, 0.4. Topographic sensibility erroneous in both
hands. General electrical sensibility: right, 49; left, 43. Sensibility to
pain: right, 20; left, 27. (Normal person gives: general, 53; to pain,
38.) Temperature in axilla, 37°5. Slow to distinguish colours.

Vicious from a child; very precocious sexual habits.

At eight years commenced at school to steal certificates of merit in order
to get a prize. At fourteen, at the invitation of a friend who was a
thief, robbed a jeweller; from that time committed numerous robberies
whenever he could. Willingly gets drunk, but his chief passion is travel.

In politics he would prefer a Republic, but without police or prisons; but
confesses that in winter, when work is scarce, “it is not bad in prison.”

His parents affirm they are honest, but not the other relations. Mother
suffers from palpitation of the heart. One sister is leading a bad life;
another is very religious. A maternal cousin was in prison. (V. Rossi.)

III.--Certa Fil, condemned to four years’ imprisonment for thefts of fur
cloaks and similar articles. Age 56. Circumference of head, 545. Right eye
placed rather low. Tendon reflexes normal.

From a child she has suffered from illness caused by fear, owing to a fall
into the water. From fifteen to thirty suffered from frequent headaches.
Eight years ago, about three years before thefts, had typhoid fever, and
also contracted syphilis from her husband. She had frequent and severe
pain in the temples. No children. Her mother suffered from arthritis,
which caused melancholy, which is said to have contributed to her death.
She had fourteen children, mostly twins, who all died at birth except one,
who is very extravagant and dissolute.

_Sensibility._--With esthesiometer: on the hand, 3 mm. on left, 2 mm. on
right; head, 16 mm.; tongue, 9 mm. With faradic current: general
sensibility, 70 mm.; on the hands, while a student has pain on palm at 55,
on dorsum at 60, she has pain on right palm at 50, left at 50; right
dorsum at 60, left at 55. Strength with dynamometer slight: right, 28 cg.;
left, 38 cg.; with both hands, 58 cg.

_Psychological Examination._--Married at age of nineteen, she lived
happily with husband for twenty years, _i.e._, until age of thirty-nine.
Then the husband began to lead a dissolute life, and infected his wife
with syphilis. Driven wild by her husband’s continual ill-treatment, she
began to steal furs and other articles from a neighbouring shop. She was
always afraid of being discovered, and experienced remorse which took away
sleep and appetite, and she planned methods for restoring the things
without being discovered.

During her four years of imprisonment she did not learn the _gergo_ or
prisoner’s slang, would not associate with her companions, and was always
crying. She blushed slightly when questioned concerning her periods.

_Diagnosis._--This woman, under the stress of illnesses and need of money,
was drawn to theft; she was not, however, predisposed to crime, and
(excepting the dissolute conduct of one brother) there were no marked
signs of hereditary degeneration. When we add that she was never given to
orgies, that she did not care to associate with her criminal companions,
that she did not learn the _gergo_, that she blushed when spoken to
without due consideration, we must conclude that she is an occasional
criminal. If she had been in a comfortable social condition, and in good
relation with her husband, she would probably not have become a
delinquent. (Giuseppe Abradi, _Archivio di Psichiatria_, vol. x. Fasc. I.)

IV.--R. S., of Naples, age 23; height, m. 1.68; weight, kilog. 82.5.

Traces on skin of wounds from fire-arms and knives; one on the abdomen
given him by a woman.

Colour of skin is dark.

Tattoo marks on legs and arms: initials, daggers in memory of revenges to
be accomplished, arrows as records of love; on his hand a sun; also bears
the signs of the _camorra_, of which, but only as a great secret, he
revealed the significance.

He declares that for him, and for the _camorrista_ in general, tattooing
is “a passion, an ambition, like that, for example, of students for their
collars and ties.” “The more one is tattooed,” he said, “the more one is
esteemed and feared by comrades, because it shows how far one has gone in
the road of crime.”

Hair on head thick and dark; complete absence of beard. Prognathism:
forehead small and narrow (165 × 48), lower jaw voluminous; eyes small and
very mobile; frontal sinuses prominent. Has a certain air of _bonhomie_ in
his face which contrasts with the cynicism with which he narrates his
criminal achievements.

Cranial measurements: longitudinal diameter, 187; transverse, 150;
longitudinal curve, 364; transverse, 310; maximum circumference, 557.
Dynamometer: with both hands, 84; with right, 54; with left, 43. Supports
with extended arm a weight of kilog. 5 for fourteen minutes.
Esthesiometer: right, 3.5; left, 4.5. Electrical sensibility: right, 40;
left, 45. Sensibility to pain: right, 0; left, 0. Slow to distinguish
colours, confusing blue and green. Thermometer: right, 37°5; left, 37°9.

Fond of wine; vicious since he was a child. Natural and unnatural sexual

Except venereal disorders and a cyst, which he had as a child, has never
been ill.

He has indeed been sent to a hospital as insane, but it was feigned, as he
was then under trial, in order to obtain “attenuating circumstances.”

By him and his family religion is regarded as merely imposture, and
politics does not exist. In the newspapers he only reads the police news,
as that which alone concerns him.

At age of 10 was “sent to college” (_i.e._, house of correction), because
he was found taking the impression of a lock. There he was initiated in
the _camorra_, exercised by the lads clandestinely.

On coming out, he committed numerous offences, of which more than one
remained unpunished. He wounded a prostitute whom he found with another
lover. Thieved with dexterity, and was once condemned to twenty-five
months’ imprisonment. He robs from houses, and when opportunity offers
picks pockets. At a penal establishment he joined with others to rob the
director. He confesses that in his family, except one sister who is
honest, all are rogues of his own stamp.

Maternal grandfather died at 60 in the hospital. Mother is healthy, but
drinks; lost all her hair at 50; condemned for fraud and wounding. Father
had five years’ imprisonment for attempting to wound his brother, a
priest, who refused to give him money; also drinks, and when drunk is very
lively. A paternal uncle was condemned for “qualified” robbery. The
maternal uncles are all _camorristi_.

He has five brothers and one sister. One, G., was four times in hospital,
because when he committed a grave offence he feigned madness; so far this
game has always succeeded, and he has been acquitted or punishment
diminished. When he has money he is an angel, says R. S., but when he has
none, he flies from him like the plague, for he becomes furious. He is a
drunkard, and once when drunk severely wounded his mistress without cause.

Another brother, G., is a _camorrista_ and sharper.

Another brother, E., does the elegant, and steals from “aristocrats”;
suffers from dizziness, especially in summer, or when near a fire.

A brother, N., calls himself an artist, takes impressions of locks, and
makes false keys, for which he demands a more or less elevated price,
according to the amount of the booty. Also studies padlocks, and makes
facsimiles; does not rob on his own account, nor is he _camorrista_; and
does not use the knife even when drunk.

The last of the brothers, Gia., has been condemned more than once for
robbery and picking pockets. Is _camorrista_. (V. Rossi.)

V.--The following carefully-taken case (by Professor Angelo Zuccarelli, of
Naples) of incorrigible insubordination in a soldier is translated from
_L’Anomalo_ of January 1889, and is a model of careful and systematic

Habitual conduct in the army, from 1881-1888, both on and off duty, is
reported as bad; frequently guilty of theft, insubordination and
destruction of military effects. [Details here given of 59 offences, with
resulting punishments, during this period.]

The following facts are all that can be obtained as to his family and
previous history:--

Among the ancestors of his parents some eccentricity.

Mother hysterical, with nymphomania, and deafness due to chronic otitis.

Father, a drunkard and irascible.

One sister imbecile, and another scrofulous.

A brother, instinctive thief, imprisoned for “qualified” theft.

All the family given to thieving.

Our subject, now 28 years old, had no education from his parents; was a
shoemaker at Stilo (Reggio, Calabria), his native place, where he had a
bad reputation for idleness and thieving.



_Inspection and Palpation._--A considerable depression in the lambdoid

External occipital protuberance scarcely perceptible.

Markedly plagiocephalic on the right side, anteriorly; with
plagio-prosopia on the same side.

Ears small; the right planted further back.

Prognathism of the superior maxilla.

Absence of the two upper middle incisor teeth, from a fall in childhood.
Inferior dental arch, with parabolic and oblique margin to the right;
depressed on the right.

Colour of face, yellowish, pale.

Beard thin.

  _Measurements._--Circumference at the base              cent.   54
    Anterior semi-circumference                             "     28½
    Posterior  "         "                                  "     25½
    Antero-posterior curve                                  "     31
    Transverse         "                                    "     31½
    Approximate cranial capacity (results of three curves),     1165.
    Maximum antero-posterior diameter                     mill.  182
       " transverse diameter                                "    147
    Cephalic index, 80.76 (cranial type, sub-brachycephalic).
    Bi-auricular diameter                                 mill.  128
    Bi-mastoid      "                                       "    126
    Maximum frontal diameter                                "    104
    Bi-orbital         "                                    "    108
    Bi-maxillary       "                                    "    102
    Height of the forehead                                  "     56
      "       "   face                                      "    128
    Length of nose (to tip)                                 "     54½
    Width     "    (base)                                   "     32

_Trunk and Limbs._

Body slender. Height medium.

Left mammary region depressed, and nipple lower than on right side.
Posteriorly the left base of the thorax rather less developed than the

Hands thin, with long and pointed fingers.

Tattoo marks on the two fore-arms: on the right a transfixed heart, a
woman’s head, the letters F. and B.; on the left two stars, one large, the
other small, the letters L. and A. (his initials), a cross, and nearer the
wrist an indistinct sign ending in a B.

On the feet the two little toes are small, especially the left, out of
proportion to the development of the rest of the foot.

Hair sparse.

Superficial veins healthy, but varicose in left popliteal region. Genital
organs little developed.


_Dynamometer._--Right hand, 90; left hand, 85.

_Tactile sensibility._--On the tongue the two points of the
_esthesiometer_ are perceived only at a distance of five mill. In general
the sensibility is very feeble. Localisation very inaccurate; impressions
on one side often referred to the other.

_Sensibility to pain._--Advanced hypoalgesia, while reiterated punctures
fetching blood are felt as slight touches. Burns with a lighted cigar are
little if at all felt; but there is some dissimulation on the part of the

_Thermal and meteoric sensibility._--Apparently abolished.

There has been no opportunity for electrical examination.

_Sight._--Does not distinguish colours well; sees red best. Pupils react

_Hearing._--On the right side says he cannot hear a watch in immediate
contact; on the left only at a short distance. In other ways his hearing
has been found to be defective.

_Smell._--Does not distinguish odours, of which in many cases he has no
knowledge. Ammonia alone, deeply inhaled for a few seconds, causes slight
lachrymation on the right side.

_Taste._--Perceives vinegar, but not salt, bitter or sweet substances. On
offering him half a glass of decoction of cinchona, and telling him that
it is wine, and then another of vinegar, he swallows it all eagerly
without any indication of disagreeable sensations. On giving him a bitter
substance, and telling him it is sweet, he repeats that it is sweet, and
_vice versâ_.

Appetite voracious; digestive functions normal. Circulation and
respiration weak.


Ideas very limited. No imagination or æsthetic sense. Memory very weak,
limited to the most elementary and primitive cognitions. Will feeble, in
the absence of any morbid impulse.

Moral and affective sentiments almost entirely absent.

No disposition to occupy himself in any way; tendency to idleness and

Unrestrained onanism, to which he formerly gave way four or five times a
day, now only about twice a day, because, as he says, he is no longer
strong enough. He confesses this without the least shame, with
complacency, almost with pleasure.

He is not without a certain shrewdness, which is, however, easily
discovered. He seems to have learnt from fellow-prisoners to pretend to
feel nothing, and to be ready for anything.

He is capable of dissimulation, and of simulating at certain moments a
state of feebleness beyond what he feels.

In his cell he usually walks up and down with short, bent head, and surly
look. He is only aroused in moments of anger and violent impulsion.

He is often discontented with his food, and throws it away, breaking out
into howls rather than cries, and destroying everything--table, stools,
etc. In this condition any opposition only renders him more savage. Gentle
methods often succeed better, especially when the stage of exhaustion sets

At other times the cause is some limitation to his tendency to free
vagabondage. The animal-like howls are set up; then comes the destruction
of everything that surrounds him, and violences of all sorts.

When he is interrogated in his calmer moments as to the reason of this, he
replies that it is what they do in his country.


_Advanced physical and psycho-physical degeneration. Phrenasthenia. Moral
idiocy. Instinctive criminality._


This is the case of an instinctive criminal, a person fatally and
immutably impelled to vagabondage, theft, and violence.

He bears the characters, physical and psycho-physical, of degeneration, of
aberration, of constitutional abnormality, sufficient for recognition.
Especially noteworthy are the lambdoidal depression, the marked
plagiocephalia and plagio-prosopia, the superior prognathism, and the
inferior dental irregularities, the thoracic asymmetry, the pallid
complexion, the hypoalgesia, the weakness and perversion of some of the
special senses, the unrestrained onanism, the predominant love of
vagabondage, the furious and animal-like anger, the destructive

It is clear that all the admonitions and punishments inflicted during
seven years, besides failing to produce any good effects, succeeded in
exercising, so to speak, the natural mechanism of his violent impulses,
and thus brutalised him still further. He is, therefore, incorrigible.

Of this the Military Tribunal of Naples were, as the result of this
examination, convinced, declared that our subject is irresponsible, and
acquitted him.

But does the duty of science end here? Is this verdict sufficient for
order and social security?

Surely not.

This individual, thus constituted, must be regarded as a perpetual source
of danger. It is therefore necessary to adopt a mode of treatment which,
instead of brutalising him, will endeavour to obtain from him the maximum
social utility of which he is capable, while at the same time it will
render it impossible for him to injure other persons who are unlike

For this purpose sequestration is necessary, the method of moral treatment
and the watchful care obtained within a criminal asylum.

VI.--The following report, by O. Hotzen (here abbreviated), appeared in
the _Vierteljahresschrift für gerichtliche Medicin_, and in the _Archivio
di Psichiatria_ for 1889, fasc. 2.

Maria Köster died at the age of 22 of tuberculosis; at the age of 18 she
had killed her mother with a hatchet; sixty wounds were found in the
mother’s body, some of them penetrating the skull.

As until then the girl had always been of good character, quiet and
hard-working, and on account of her youthful age, she was examined by
medical experts in order to ascertain if any morbid conditions had limited
her free will.

No mental alienation was recognised, especially at the time of the deed,
but certain preceding morbid phenomena and other subsequent circumstances
led the experts to an opinion which resulted in the commutation of the
death penalty to which she had been condemned.

Among her maternal ancestors, and in the mother herself, there had been
extreme avarice; they were most eager of money, and possessed by the fury
of gain; it was proved that this impulse had in some members of the family
paralysed the sentiments of equity and honesty.

The father was a drunkard.

The girl had a certain amount of education; she wrote, in an exact style,
a diary of her impressions. She had acted as a servant, as an assistant in
a printing-office, as a sempstress. She was thin, and slightly developed;
menstruated at 19; had a very high opinion of herself.

Apparently of tranquil disposition, she was declared by some to be
envious, a liar, and a thief.

Notwithstanding simulated indifference, she coveted the savings which her
mother had scraped together; she cherished hatred against her parents;
continual quarrels and unworthy calumnies revealed a heart apparently
good, in reality selfish and depraved.

There was slight asymmetry of the face, due to flattening on the right
side; there was no perceptible lack of cranial symmetry.

The right pupil was larger than the left; both movable and perfectly

She had hysterical attacks, which became rare before the deed, and were
interpreted as a sexual neurosis of puberty. These attacks began with
præcordial anxiety and oppression of breathing, and usually ended with a
strong desire for movement, to which she yielded with only partial
consciousness. She was sometimes for hours in a semi-conscious condition,
with extravagant movements, vociferations, senseless talk, etc. Sometimes
she exaggerated the attacks; at other times opposed them. From papers that
she wrote in prison, it appears that some of these attacks were entirely

The sexual functions were very irregular; she pretended a want of
inclination towards the other sex; the hymen was found lacerated.

She wrote a romance of her life, leaving out everything that might cause
disgust, and expressing penitence for the attacks that she confessed to be

On her death-bed she developed attacks which were certainly not simulated.

She was very excitable, and her life was overspread by nervous tempests
which, in spite of herself, she was not able to dominate.

She had little love for her mother, who was avaricious and hard-hearted,
and refused her the slightest help.

In one of her papers, dating from the time of her most severe hysterical
phenomena, there are religious expressions marked by undoubted sincerity;
but when religion did not afford the consolation she expected, her zeal
cooled and she went to the opposite extreme.

After a brief mental struggle, she quietly selected the necessary
instruments, and studied her criminal design to its smallest details,
taking care to avoid discovery. After having formed her plans, she passed
the night in quiet sleep, and on the following day committed the deed.

In appearance everything was the work of premeditation and clear
consciousness. After the deed she astutely made insinuations against her
father, who was entirely innocent of complicity; on her knees, by her
mother’s body, she declared her own innocence.

She carried simulation to a fine point of art, displaying during these
days an energy and resolution astonishing in a person so weak. It is clear
that her deed had for the time raised her above herself.

She had a strange avidity for her mother’s goods. Her great desire was
separation from the paternal house and an independent position.

After the deed she said that she was no longer in the hands of Satan.

In prison she lived for more than three years without giving any sign of
mental or of physical disease. She bore herself in an unchanging, composed
manner, depressed, free from all eccentricity; it was a consolation to her
to know that her father and her sister had forgiven her.

At the end of 1886 appeared signs of rapid tuberculosis, to which she
succumbed. She died penitent, feeling sure of reconciliation with God.

At the autopsy advanced tuberculosis was found in both lungs, also in the
kidneys; this was the cause of death.

The brain could not be examined immediately, and was therefore preserved.

The dura mater, adherent to the cranium externally, was white and lacking
in lustre; internally there were bright spots with red maculæ as distinct
as in hemorrhagic pachymeningitis.

The brain was soft, humid, and very anæmic. Its weight, after the serum in
the cavities had flowed away, was 1164 grammes. The occipital lobes did
not entirely cover the cerebellum.

The form of the brain was elliptic. The sulci appeared deep and large. The
parietal and temporal lobes were very large, with great development of the
convolutions and numerous atypic clefts. The frontal lobe was small
compared to the parietal, and its convolutions compressed. The frontal and
occipital convolutions were not atypic except by their slight development.

There was scanty development of the frontal and occipital lobes,
especially on the left side.

_Conclusions._--We have here a real atrophy of the cerebral cortex, which
has the characters of a congenital hereditary degeneration. This atrophy
is manifested in the insufficient development of the frontal and, still
more, the occipital convolutions, in the smallness of the convolutions, in
the incomplete covering of the cerebellum by the cerebrum, and by the
number of atypical segmentations in the cerebral cortex, representing (at
all events in the opinion of Benedikt) a true aplasia.

These sulci were not the result of superior development; in their
neighbourhood there was no increase in the cerebral substance; they are
connected with a true atrophy of the cerebral mass. It is impossible to
admit the idea of atavistic regression. The connections found between the
frontal and inter-parietal fissures cannot be considered as the
re-crystallisation of the primitive convolutions and the longitudinal
fissures which characterise especially the carnivorous type. All these
deviations are found separately in brains which have for the rest a normal
structure. That which gives the morbid character is the extraordinary
amount of irregularity.

It cannot be denied that the left hemisphere was the most irregular,
although there was no cranial asymmetry; facial asymmetry only being

This matricide suffered from a grave neurosis at puberty, which left
traces up to near the time of the homicide; her judgments of life were
affected by a permanent and powerful morbid influence.

We cannot put into exact causal relation the degenerative changes in Maria
Köster’s brain, and the perturbations of her psychical activity during
life, but we are justified in considering her not completely responsible
for all her actions.



In the Report for 1885 the Secretary of Schools writes:--

Like Practical Morality, English Literature was at the beginning voted a
nuisance by the selected members and greeted by them as a fresh infliction
for the purpose of making more difficult the earning of marks. Distaste
was varied by positive anger; here and there a man suffered his first
bewilderment to pass into sullen unwillingness to make an attempt to
understand the new study. Several on receiving a play or an essay, opened
the book and closed it, doggedly declaring they had not the remotest idea
of what was expected of them. Encouraging advice was given in every case
of this sort that came to light, and when the pressure of the approaching
examination began to act, nearly every man, willing or unwilling, attacked
his author and his outlines. This first examination was sufficiently
creditable and the historical part at least was well done; but expected
signs were not wanting of mental confusion, of indifference, of
ineffectual groping after an author’s very palpable meaning, signs which
revealed a likely material for mental discipline of the most valuable
kind. The only means of removing these difficulties seemed to lie in
repeated doses of the same medicine, a conclusion soon warranted by
experience. Whatever could be was now done in the way of artificial
illumination, and when it appeared that examinations could be and actually
were passed by many men in the new subject, confidence began to dawn, and
the authors were taken up for the next test with less ugliness and far
more of tolerance. In a little while the class gathered momentum and
became thoroughly a fact. The change was accompanied by phenomena which
are unique from an educational and psychological point of view.

Any one passing along our corridors and galleries might now have witnessed
a curious spectacle--that of a student of literature reading by gaslight,
not the accustomed novel or light history, but the _Prologue_ of the
Canterbury Tales, the tragedy of Hamlet, Emerson’s _May-Day_, or the story
of Evangeline; pondering over the weighted pages of Bacon, or keenly
trying to read between the lines of Browning’s _Paracelsus_; not rarely
with a note-book at hand filled with private comments wrought out against
the coming examination. At the examinations, be it remembered, the pupil
was required to answer historical questions and, more important than this,
to write out extemporaneously an essay or report dealing with some topic,
more or less extensive, growing out of the text of his author--which topic
was selected not by himself but by the Instructor on the day of the test.
If one could realise the mental process of a “tough” from the slums of the
metropolis, who, after passing up from class to class of our school, is
forced to apply his intellectual faculties for the first time to the
careful reading of an essay of Macaulay or a poem of Goldsmith, to enter
in short upon the _terra incognita_ of good literature; and if one could
then conceive of the state of this same “tough” when, after six months of
application with growing susceptibility, he reads up _for pure pleasure_
the history of the Renaissance, searches the pages of Dante for
illustrations of the text of Chaucer, ransacks our reference library for
specimens of early English;--if one could do this he would comprehend in
some measure what has been done by our class in English Literature. Our
students, of course, were not wholly without intellectual culture at the
start. A few possessed a large amount of it. All had been imbued with some
sense of the excellence of culture by the labours of our lecturers in
science, philosophy, and history. The discussions in the Practical
Morality class had awakened our argumentative powers and developed a sharp
relish for ethical questions. We had all had experience, too, in the
reading of standard works of fiction and even of books of utility; but the
formal study of an English, often of an old English, author, involving an
examination, was something wholly new. A direct movement towards pure
æsthetic culture was unprecedented for men who generally demanded that
books should be amusing, should help to kill time in prison. The first
effect was, as already remarked, discouraging. English literature did not
immediately “take.” But necessity made it take, and the inevitable love of
literature which quickly sprang up did the rest. The essays and poems were
conned over and over, and minds heretofore innocent of culture became
saturated with the drinkable gold of the classics. A change of feeling
came over us; distaste passed into satisfaction as the intrinsic beauty of
the masters leavened our minds; indifference gave way to zeal and the
study became delightful. An interest feeble at first had grown rapidly.
Among the early favourable indications were the requests for information
as to the lives of authors and the eager reading of biographies and
literary notices. Then arose the desire to read other works of a given
author, or to be allowed to spend another month in more minute study of a
masterpiece already absorbed in the rough. Notes poured steadily in upon
me exhibiting in countless ways the growth of a sentiment which can be
termed nothing else than enthusiasm. It was a true _naissance_ or birth of
letters. Like the scholars of the Revival period in England, our students,
inspired by the simple love of learning, sought culture everywhere. Every
available source of enlightenment, every volume of classic English in our
reference library, was in its journey from hand to hand of our students a
testimony to their enthusiasm. Books which had long remained unused
suddenly became very popular, and the delight in reading expanded so as to
include not merely literature but other lines as well--ethics, economics,
sociology, history, the ancient classics, natural science. Thus on a very
small scale, but none the less truly, our revival followed an instinctive
development entirely similar to the great Renaissance. As we write the
interest is undiminished, but rather grows by its own great energy of
motion. The new spirit penetrates the whole life of the institution. In
their social intercourse our inmates make regular topics of books and
authors; informal debates diversify the Dining Hall exercises, and the
instructor is gratuitously made the arbiter of frequent discussions of the
“new learning.” Even with incorrigible and indifferent men, who remain
uninfected by enthusiasm, the simple strain of inexorable requirement has
proved and is proving valuable.

In the Report for 1888 Mr. Z. R. Brockway, the General Superintendent,
writes of the literary training of criminals:--

After many years’ experience in efforts to educate young criminals as a
means of their reformation I am more and more impressed with its
importance. To progress from illiteracy to a good common school education
involves such changes, and increase of mind-power, that the prisoner,
under similar circumstances to those of his crime, will be likely to
differently govern his conduct. Possessing more of intelligence, he
instinctively sees the consequences of misconduct more clearly than was
possible for him previously, and he will, even without consciously willing
to follow good moral conduct for the sake of morality, be more likely to
follow it as the path of wisdom. It is, as the rule, idle to expect a
change of character without a change of mind; and without new habitudes,
which are the result of educational training, there cannot be confidently
predicted any permanent change of mind. To advance a young man from the
habit of blind obedience to his instincts to habitual conduct, that is
self-regulated by more or less of reason, is to insure some change of
character, and usually a change for the better. The general library,
although of but moderate proportions, contributes not a little to such an
educational advancement. The small reference library has, the year past,
been well used under pressure of a demand occasioned by the lectures,
which are followed with examinations, affecting the date of the prisoner’s
release. The books in this library division are mainly of philosophical,
mechanical, historical, and biographical character, with a few poetical
works from standard authors. The librarian’s distribution receipt book
shows that, of these reference library books, there have been issued, by
request during the year, 7588 books besides the issue of the general
library books, and a weekly issue of 400 magazines and periodicals. The
taste for and habit of reading that many have acquired while here, have,
as we have reason to believe, followed and remained with them at home
after their release. Letters from parents and friends have been received
expressing their surprise and gratification that he who previous to his
course of training here was restless at home, hurrying to the street after
the day’s work and evening meal, now since his return from the
reformatory, hurries home from his work, finding for himself, and
imparting to others, happiness with his books and quiet domestic

In the same Report Mr. Marvin, the instructor of the class in Practical
Ethics, writes:--

The nature of the lessons may be expressed roughly by saying that the
moral life has been taken up as the subject of study, just as wealth is
taken up in political economy, but no strictly theological questions have
been brought in. Such difficulties of thought regarding moral
distinctions, motives good and bad, conflicts of conscience, the justice
and expediency of laws and governments, as usually arise as people begin
to reflect seriously upon the ways of the better social life, have been
considered, besides many practical questions regarding self-control,
elevation of feeling and thought, and the part of wisdom in every-day
affairs. To provide a thread by which the lectures might be connected into
a systematic series, they have been thrown into the form of reviews of the
views in turn of the various master-minds in the department of ethical
knowledge, as to the leading purpose of the wise man. Many quotations from
these writers have been given, so that the instruction has afforded some
information to the man of a historical or semi-philosophical character
aside from its main purpose.

The aim has been not so much to impart a knowledge of stereotyped facts
and ideas as to stimulate the minds of the men to obtain for themselves a
true conception of the moral order of the world of which they are members,
and to form true convictions as to their relations to it. On this account
both sides of doubtful questions have been noticed and a decision called
for. The leading consideration in the selection of lecture topics from
week to week has been the needs and interest already shown. Free
discussion has always been allowed, and in some cases it has seemed
profitable to devote almost the whole lesson period to it. This method not
only holds the interest of the learners, even causing it at times to run
quite high, but enables the instructor to carry them along more readily to
desired conclusions.

The intelligence of the class is, I think, on the whole best compared to
that of an advanced class in a high school, some, of course, rising above
this standard, others falling below. In general, as compared with persons
of similar age in the better classes outside, they seem to be bright and
quick rather than deep or close students. Their remarks in the class
frequently bring forth applause or signs of disapproval from their
responsive fellows, and occasionally a vein of purer metal and greater
depth is touched. Without much liking for books, they seem to take
naturally and successfully to the study of human nature. As might be
expected, they do not evince much previous reflection upon ethical
matters--not as much, I think, comparing them again to those of similar
age outside, as upon economic topics.

In what degree the purpose of this course of instruction has been
accomplished cannot of course be determined. The examination papers as a
whole, taken with the conduct of the men in class and elsewhere in the
prison, seem to warrant the belief that considerable moral obscurity has
been removed. There is abundant evidence that cant and hypocrisy have less
to do with answers in examination than might be supposed, as the most
superficial and refractory views are there expressed with almost unbounded
confidence in their truth, and are marked the same as more approved views
when the question calls for opinions.

In the Report for 1889 Mr. Brockway writes as follows of military drill
and of physical training:--

The military drill of the inmates, which commenced a year ago, has been
continued until now, and a good degree of perfection has been reached. Ten
companies compose a regiment of 803 men. Every day the unemployed inmates
are drilled in the forenoon; and all are drilled on Wednesday and Saturday
afternoons; there is a dress parade every evening at 4 o’clock, and once a
month a competitive examination is held, when all the companies compete
for a set of badges to be worn for the month by the commissioned officers
of the successful company. Gradually the government of the whole place is
becoming a military government, largely by inmate military officers. The
military organisation was made possible, indeed made necessary, by the
cessation of labour in August 1888, in obedience to the Act of July of
that year; but it has been found to be most serviceable in every way. The
health and bearing of the men is better, their habitual mental tone is
improved, common disciplinary difficulties have been diminished or
well-nigh removed, and the military government of a reformatory seems now
almost indispensable to satisfactory management. Holding this view, I
have, by the authority of the managers, appointed a competent military
instructor, Mr. Claude F. Bryan, making thus what at first was but an
experiment of military drill and government in a prison a permanent
department of training and a distinguishing feature of its disciplinary
regime. The regiment is fully officered with line and company officers, a
good brass band with drum corps is provided, and is in daily attendance at
dress parade. Courts-martial and a weekly officers’ class for the study of
tactics are held under the guidance of Colonel Bryan, and, in all things,
Upton’s tactics are closely followed.

The building for the scientific physical renovating treatment of a
considerable class of the inmates is now nearly completed from funds
provided by the legislature of 1888. It is 80 × 140 feet, with an open
trussed roof over the whole space. The exercising hall is 80 × 100 feet,
and has suspended upon the walls a gallery for pedestrian exercise. A
space 40 × 80 feet of the eastern end is devoted to baths, hot, warm, and
plunge, and with rooms for massage treatment, etc., etc. Complete
scientific apparatus has been purchased, to be erected about the first of
December, when, with the enlarged opportunities and improved facilities,
as well as with the added experience and study of the physician and
instructor, a most interesting, and, it is believed, valuable experiment
will be made, intended to demonstrate what possible improvement may be
wrought with defectives and dullards, in their mental and moral habitudes,
by an improved physical tissue accomplished by wise and thorough physical


  Alcoholism in relation to crime, 97, 144, 281

  Animals, crime among, 203

  Animals among criminals, love of, 153

  Anthropometric identification of criminals, 276

  Aram, Eugene, 135, 153

  Aristotle, 27

  Art, criminal, 190

  Aubrey, 250

  Barré, 20

  Beltrani-Scalia, 36, 252, 264

  Benedikt, 1, 43, 50, 61, 113, 237

  Bertillon, A., 276

  Bielakoff, 45

  Bischoff, 60

  Blushing in criminals, 121

  Booth, J. W., 141

  Borrow, G., 139

  Bramwell, 290

  “Breakings out” among criminals, 148

  Brinvilliers, 129, 141

  Broca, 61

  Brockway, Z. R., 270

  Byrnes, Inspector, 22, 81, 154

  Campi, 86

  Capital punishment, 235

  Carpenter, Miss, 149, 238

  Casanova, 151

  Cellini, 187

  Cerebral characteristics of criminals, 60

  Ceuta, 240

  Children, crime among, 210

  Chrétien family, the, 96

  Clarke, Vans, 59

  Colajanni, 23, 208, 248, 299

  Colour blindness in criminals, 117

  Contagion of crime, 177

  Corre, 128, 286

  Cranial characteristics of criminals, 49

  Crime, the factors of, 24;
    biological origins of, 203;
    among children, 210;
    the increase of, 295;
    largely a social fact, 297

  Criminals, political, 1;
    by passion, 2;
    instinctive, 17;
    occasional, 17;
    habitual, 19;
    professional, 21;
    cranial and cerebral characteristics of, 49;
    physiognomy of, 63;
    anomalies of hair among, 72;
    of body and viscera, 88;
    tattooing among, 102;
    their motor activities, 108;
    their physical sensibilities, 112;
    their moral insensibility, 124;
    their intelligence, 133;
    their vanity, 139;
    their emotional instability, 142;
    their religion, 156;
    their slang, 161;
    their literature and art, 176;
    their philosophy, 193;
    the treatment of, 233;
    the training of, 260;
    at Elmira, 264;
    anthropometric identification of, 276;
    treatment of occasional, 278;
    regarded as heroes, 283

  Crothers, 99

  Crozes, 182

  Dalla Porta, 28

  Dally, 32

  Davitt, 125, 162, 170, 238

  Death, criminals’ ways of meeting, 128, 158

  Despine, 33, 126

  Desprez, 143

  Disvulnerability of criminals, 113

  Dixon, Hepworth, 80

  Dostoieffsky, 121, 124, 130, 147, 153, 155, 193, 214, 276

  Down, Langdon, 66, 84, 93, 150

  Drago, Luis del, 45

  Drill, 45

  Ear in criminals, the, 65

  Elmira Reformatory, 92, 99, 183, 264

  Epilepsy and crime, 228

  Epileptics, 150

  Eyesight in criminals, 116

  Fallot, 62

  Féré, 43, 68, 280

  Ferri, E., 23, 40, 78, 203

  Flesch, 43, 62

  Flogging, 274

  Frigerio, 67, 70

  Frontal crests, 51

  Galen, 27

  Gall, 29, 61, 124

  Galton, 109

  Gambling among criminals, 144

  Garofalo, 40, 78, 250, 259

  Gautier, E., 81, 97, 143, 247

  General paralysis and crime, 228

  Giacomini, 61

  Gradenigo, 118

  Grohmann, 29

  Guerra, 88

  Hair among criminals, anomalies of, 72

  Hearing of criminals, 117

  Heredity in criminals, 90

  Hervé, 62

  Holmgren, 117

  Horsley, 35, 159, 162, 170, 252

  Idiocy and crime, 228

  Idiots, 65, 68, 73, 93, 112, 117, 150, 228

  Inebriates, treatment of, 281

  Insanity and the criminal, 289

  Insane, the, 89, 107, 150

  Japan, a prison in, 272

  Joly, 19, 82, 157, 176

  Jury, the, 292

  “Jukes” family, the, 100, 222

  Kocher, 43

  Korosi, 96

  Krafft-Ebing, 43

  Krapotkine, 144, 155, 240, 246, 256

  Krauss, 43, 134

  Lacassagne, 24, 42, 88, 103, 106, 288

  Lacenaire, 22, 153, 196, 203, 285

  Laurent, 191

  Lauvergne, 31, 159

  Lavater, 29

  Lebiez, 21, 181

  Left-handedness in criminals, 108

  Lélut, 32, 60

  Liszt, 49

  Literature, criminal, 176

  Lombroso, 1, 36, 64, 72, 79, 83, 102, 120, 122, 170

  Manouvrier, 43, 64

  Marro, 41, 83, 93, 133, 157, 217

  Maternity and crime, 218

  Maudsley, 33

  Mayhew, 148, 215

  Menesclou, 85

  Meningitis among criminals, 63

  Mingazzini, 52

  Moral insanity, 17, 91, 211, 229

  Moreau, Abbé, 142

  Morel, 32

  Motor activity of criminals, 108

  Muscular anomalies in criminals, 88

  Naples, criminality of, 156

  Nicolson, 35, 113, 149

  Nose in criminals, the, 70

  Occipital fossa in criminals, median, 51

  Orgy, criminals’ love of, 145

  Ottolenghi, 42, 66, 70, 71, 75, 111, 116, 118

  Oxycephaly in criminals, 50

  Pallor in criminals, 71

  Penta, 41

  Philosophy, criminal, 193

  Physiognomy of criminals, 78

  Pike, L. O., 207

  Polemon, 28

  Prins, 44, 47, 249, 299

  Prison, the, 239

  Prison inscriptions, 169

  Professional criminals, 21, 223

  Prostitution and crime, 218

  Proverbs about criminals, 26, 78

  Quetelet, 24

  Ramlot, 115

  Recidivism among women, 215

  Religion of criminals, 156

  Remorse among criminals, 129

  Restif de la Bretonne, 74

  Richter, 3

  Rossi, 41, 99, 113, 130

  Ruscovitch, 200

  Salillas, 44, 145, 150

  Salsotto, 42, 73, 129, 219

  Savages, crime among, 205

  Schneider, Marie, 7

  Seneca, 28

  Sensibility in criminals, physical, 112

  Sentiment among criminals, 152

  Sergi, 83

  Sexual anomalies in criminals, 89

  Sexual differences in criminals, 59, 118-19, 129, 214-21

  Sexual perversity among criminals, 144

  Smell in criminals, sense of, 118

  Socrates, 27

  Sollier, Alice, 65

  Songs, criminal, 180

  Stephen, Justice, 290

  _Summary, The_, 183

  Sutherland, H., 74

  Tarde, 42, 205, 224

  Tarnowskaia, 45, 64, 221

  Taste in criminals, 119

  Tattooing among criminals, 102

  Taverni, 300

  Tenchini, 51

  Thieves’ slang, 61

  Thomson, Bruce, 84

  Tobacco among criminals, use of, 121

  Tommasi, 42

  Topinard, 60, 226

  Troizki, 45

  Turner, Sir W., 209

  Vagabondism and crime, 222

  Vallès, 254

  Van Hamel, 44, 47

  Vaso-motor sensibility of criminals, 121

  Verlaine, 187

  Vice and crime, relations of, 221

  Vidocq, 135, 140, 146

  Villon, 135, 186

  Virchow, 64, 202

  Virgilio, 41

  Voisin, 32

  Wainewright, T. G., 12, 96, 127, 153, 178, 195

  Warner, F., 301

  Wey, H. D., 88, 121, 261, 264

  Wild, Jonathan, 136

  Willis, 29

  Wilson, G., 34

  Wines, F., 255-6

  Women, crime among, 214

  Zanardelli Code, 36

  Zigoma in criminals, 84

  Zuccarelli, 41

_Printed by_ WALTER SCOTT, _Felling, Newcastle-on-Tyne_.


[1] Sander and Richter, _Die Beziehungen zwischen Geistesstorung una
Verbrechen_. See also Lombroso, _L’Uomo Delinquente_, vol. ii., part 3,
ch. 1, for many facts and figures concerning criminal insanity.

[2] _Journal of Mental Science_, October 1889. This case may be compared
with that of Maria Köster, given in the Appendix D, vi.

[3] Dr. H. Sutherland, _West Riding Asylum Reports_, vol. vi.

[4] Quoted by Despine, _Psychologie Naturelle_.

[5] Appendix by Dr. Paul Lindau to German translation of Lombroso, _Der

[6] See Introduction by W. C. Hazlitt to Wainewright’s _Essays and
Criticisms_, 1880.

[7] Lombroso and some other authorities prefer the term “born criminal,”
or “congenital criminal” (_reo-nato_). The term “instinctive criminal”
seems to be safer, as it is not always possible to estimate the congenital

[8] _Scenes from a Silent World._ By a Prison Visitor. 1889.

[9] H. Joly, _Le Crime_, 1888, p. 269.

[10] Whoever wishes to study the modern professional criminal and his
methods should consult Inspector Byrnes’ _Professional Criminals of
America_. It is not a scientific work, and has no reference to
anthropologic methods, but it contains a very large and valuable series of
photographs of contemporary criminals of note, with a sketch of the career
of each.

[11] The classification of criminals adopted in this chapter corresponds
substantially with that of Professor Enrico Ferri, by him recognised as
provisional. It is also, I find, almost identical with Dr. Colajanni’s.

[12] Seneca also advocated, in a similar way, the removal without
vengeance of noxious members of the social body: “At corrigi nequeunt,
nihilque in illis lene aut spei bona capax est?--Tollantur e coetu
mortalium facturi pejora quæ contingunt et quo uno modo possunt, desinant
esse mali; sed hoc sine odio. Nam quis membra sua tunc odit cum abscidit?
Non est illa ira, sed misera curatio. Rabidos effigimus canes, et trucem
atque immansuetum bovem occidimus, et morbidibus pecoribus, ne gregem
polluant, ferrum dimittimus. Nec ira sed ratio est, a sanis inutilia
secernere.”--_De Ira_, lib. i., cap. 15.

[13] This is the term now generally used to signify the science of the
criminal. It is, however, open to objection. “Criminal Psychology” has
been suggested, but is somewhat narrow. Professor Liszt has proposed
“Criminal Biology,” and at the last International Congress of Criminal
Anthropology, Topinard suggested “Criminology.” “Criminal Anthropology,”
however, is so widely used that I have not ventured to introduce any
substitute. The reader must remember that criminal anthropology, although
related to general anthropology, is not merely a branch of that science.

[14] For a brief summary of its proceedings, see Appendix B.

[15] See Appendix C.

[16] It is worthy of note, as Lombroso remarks, that the first
investigator of the criminal in England on modern scientific lines should
be a clergyman--the Rev. W. D. Morrison. See his “Reflections on the
Theory of Criminality” in the _Journal of Mental Science_, April 1889.

[17] This, and most of the other opinions of Professor Benedikt quoted in
this section, are from _Kraniometrie und Kephalometrie_, Vienna, 1889.

[18] The evolutionary tendency of the skull among the higher vertebrates
seems to be from the asymmetrical to the symmetrical, while the tendency
of the brain is from the symmetrical to the asymmetrical. See M. O.
Fraenkel: “Etwas über Schädel-Asymmetrie und Stirnnaht,” _Neurologisches
Centralblatt_, August 1, 1888.

[19] _Archivio di Psichiatria._ 1888. Fasc. VI.

[20] For an admirable statement of the present condition of the question
see an article by Professor Fallot of Marseilles, “Le Cerveau des
Criminels,” in the _Archives de l’Anthropologie Criminelle_, 15th May
1889. Lombroso’s treatment of this question is extremely brief, and not
always accurate.

[21] “Lectures on Physiognomical Diagnosis of Disease.” _Medical Times_,

[22] “Contributions à l’Étude de quelques Variétés Morphologiques de
l’Oreille Humaine.” _Revue d’Anthropologie_, 15th April, 1886.

[23] Dr. F. Warner, “Form of Ear as a Sign of Defective Development.”
_Lancet_, 15th Feb. 1890.

[24] Schwalbe, who distinguishes five principal forms of the Darwinian
tubercle, regards it as normal, and believes that with a little practice
it might be discovered in nearly all ears. This may well be, but in its
distinctly marked form it can scarcely be called normal.

[25] See his paper, “Lo Scheletro e la forma del naso nei criminali, nei
pazzi, negli epilettici e nei cretini,” in the _Archivio di Psichiatria_
for 1888. Fasc. I.--Professor Héger, in a communication to the Société
d’Anthropologie of Brussels, remarks that he is able to confirm many of
Dr. Ottolenghi’s conclusions with reference to the nasal aperture in the
cranium, by examination of the skulls of Belgian murderers.

[26] Almost as well marked as this tendency to fair hair among Italian
sexual offenders--which possibly may be a question of race--is the
predominance of blue eyes. Ottolenghi, who considers it as one of the most
constant characters of the class, gives the following figures:--

                       Blue.               Brown.            Greenish.
  Normal persons   29.04 per cent.     63.91 per cent.     7.05 per cent.
  Criminals        35.80    "          59.50    "          4.70   "
  Sexual offenders 49.60    "          45.76    "          4.64   "

Bichromatism (irregular colouring) of the iris is also found with unusual
frequency in this class of offenders.

[27] Ottolenghi, “La canizie, la calvizie e le rughe nei criminali.”
_Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1889, Fasc. I.

[28] The surgeon of Leeds prison, in his answers to my Questions, records
his opinion that the red-haired are “relatively more prevalent” among
prisoners than among the ordinary population. This opinion stands alone,
nor is it supported by any figures.

[29] “Des Anomalies des organes génitaux chez les idiots et les
épileptiques.” _Progrès Medical_, No. 7, 1888.

[30] Ottolenghi, “Nuove Ricerche sui rei contro il buon costume.”
_Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1888. Fasc. VI.

[31] Ottolenghi, “II Ricambio Materiale nei Delinquenti-nati.” _Archivio
di Psichiatria_, 1886. Fasc. IV.

[32] _American Medico-Legal Journal_, June 1888.

[33] _The Jukes: A Study in Crime, Pauperism, Disease, and Heredity._ By
R. L. Dugdale. Putnam’s, New York, 1877. It may be as well to mention that
when Continental writers refer to the “Yucke,” or “Yuke,” family, they
mean the “Jukes.”

[34] The cost being, at a very moderate estimate, 47,000 dollars for a
single family during 75 years. The total cost Dugdale estimates at a
million and a quarter dollars during this period, without taking into
consideration the entailment of pauperism and crime on succeeding
generations. The hereditary blindness of one man cost the town 23 years of
out-door relief for two people, and a town burial.

[35] For the sake of comparison with the non-criminal population, it may
be mentioned that among 2739 soldiers of the Italian infantry Baroffio
found only 41 tattooed--that is, 1.50 per cent.

[36] This cause doubtless plays the chief part in keeping up the practice
of tattooing among the wealthy and well-to-do. A London professor of the
art, when asked by a representative of the _Pall Mall Gazette_ to what
class of society his customers chiefly belonged, replied: “Mostly officers
in the army, but civilians too. I have tattooed many noblemen, and also
several ladies. The latter go in chiefly for ornamentation on the wrist or
calf, or have a garter worked on just below the knee.” “On what part of
the body are most of your clients tattooed?” “Mostly on the chest or arm;
but some are almost completely covered, patterns being worked on their
legs and back as well. They do not care to have patterns where they would
be seen in everyday life.”

[37] “Among savage women (with the exception of the Kabyles and the Arabs)
the custom,” remarks Lombroso, “is very infrequent. It scarcely ever goes
beyond the arms or cheeks. Still less can one say that it has been adopted
by the honest women of Europe, even of the poorest class, except in some
rare valleys of Venetia where the peasant women trace a cross on their
arms. Parent-Duchatelet found that prostitutes of the lowest order
tattooed their arms, shoulders, armpits, or pubis with the initials or
name of their lover, if young, or their tribade, if old, changing these
signs, even thirty times (with the aid of acetic acid), according as their
caprices changed. Among the prostitutes of Verona, as I have learnt from a
police official, some instances of tattooing have been noted (hearts,
initials, etc.), but only among those who had already been in prison.”

[38] “Il tatuaggio nel Manicomio d’ Ancona,” _Cronaca del Manicomio d’
Ancona_, Nov. 1888.

[39] _West Riding Asylum Reports_, vol. vi.

[40] “Il Mancinismo anatomico nei criminali,” _Archivio di Psichiatria_,
1889. Fasc. VI.

[41] At Tahiti and Viti the sexual organs were sometimes tattooed. Among
142 tattooed criminals, Lombroso found 5 with designs on the penis;
Lacassagne’s very extensive researches show a smaller proportion (11 out
of 1,333).

[42] The dependence of disvulnerability on insensibility is well shown in
Delboeuf’s experiment: he made two equal and symmetrical wounds on the
right and left shoulders of a hypnotised subject, and suggested
insensibility on the right side. That side healed much more rapidly.

[43] _Journal Anthropological Institute_, Nov. 1889.

[44] _Bulletin de la Société d’Anthropologie_ of Brussels, 1885.

[45] “L’occhio dei delinquenti,” _Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1886. Fasc.

[46] Charles Oliver, “The Eye of the Adult Imbecile.” _Transactions of the
American Ophthalmological Society_, 1887.

[47] _Archivio di Psichiatria_, Fasc. III.-IV., 1889.

[48] For the sake of comparison, Gradenigo gives the result of examination
of 69 men and women belonging to the ordinary population, chiefly the
lower class. Of these 44.6 per cent. of the men, and 22 per cent. of the
women, showed diminished hearing.

[49] “L’Olfatto nei Criminali,” _Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1888. Fasc. V.

[50] _Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1889, Fasc. III.-IV.

[51] _Studio sul tabacco nei pazzi e nei criminali._

[52] _Revue Scientifique_, 1889.

[53] See Mosso’s own account of the plethysmograph in his attractively
written monograph, _La Peur_, Ch. V.

[54] _Physical and Intellectual Training of Criminals_, p. 53.

[55] _Leaves from a Prison Diary_, p. 119.

[56] _Archivio di Psichiatria_, 1889, Fasc. III.-IV.

[57] Numerous examples of the moral insensibility of criminals may be
found in Dr. Corre’s book, _Les Criminels_ (1889), p. 157; _et seq._

[58] Kitts’ _Serious Crime in an Indian Province_, 1889, pp. 14, 15.

[59] “The Maoris of New Zealand.” _Journal Anthropological Institute_,
Nov. 1889.

[60] “Cesare Lombroso’s Werk in seinem Verhältniss für Gegenwart und
Zukunft der gerichtlichen Psychopathologie.” _Friedreich’s Blatter_,
Nürnberg, 1888.

[61] _History of Crime in England_, vol. ii. p. 255, _et seq._

[62] _The Bible in Spain_, Chap. xl.

[63] _In Russian and French Prisons_, pp. 335, 336. See also Mr. Davitt’s
book. Salillas gives a vivid picture of the fearful extent to which sexual
perversity rules in Spanish prisons, especially in the prisons for women.
The governor of one prison recently used all his influence to put an end
to this state of things. The women compelled him to resign.

[64] _Recollections of the Dead-House_, Chap. v.

[65] H. Mayhew, _Criminal Prisons of London_, 1862, p. 188.

[66] Report of British Special Commissioner, 1887.

[67] Kitts, _Serious Crime in an Indian Province_, p. 83.

[68] “La Criminalita nella provincia di Napoli.” _L’Anomalo_, Feb. 1889.

[69] _Jottings from Jail_, pp. 2-4.

[70] _Leaves from a Prison Diary_, p. 108.

[71] Lombroso, “Palimsesti del Carcere,” in _Archivio di Psichiatria_
during 1888-89; Horsley, _Jottings from Jail_, pp. 20-23; Davitt, _Leaves
from a Prison Diary_, pp. 104-115.

[72] See, for instance, Dr. Aubrey’s recent work, _La Contagion du
Meutre_, pp. 68-91, and some remarks by Mr. Davitt, _Prison Diary_, p. 85.

[73] _Essays and Criticisms._ By J. G. Wainewright. Now first collected,
with some account of the author, by W. C. Hazlitt. London: Reeves &
Turner, 1880.


  “Je suis Francoys, dont ce me poise,
   Nommé Corbueil en mon surnom,
   Natif d’Auvers emprès Pontoise,
   Et du commun nommé Villon.
   Or d’une corde d’une toise
   Sauroit mon col que mon cul poise,
   Se ne fut un joli appel.
   Le jeu ne me sembloit point bel.”

[75] _Parallèlement_, 1889.

[76] _History of Crime in England_, 1876, 2nd series, p. 509.

[77] _La Criminalité Comparée_, 1886, p. 27.

[78] Thus, for example, the squamoso-frontal articulation is found in less
than 2 per cent. of European skulls, whilst it is found in 20 per cent.
negroes (Ecker) and 16.9 per cent. Australian skulls (Virchow). Again, the
spheno-pterygoid foramen is found in 4.8 per cent. European skulls and in
20 per cent. American Indians, 30 per cent. Africans, 32 per cent.
Asiatics, and 50 per cent. Australians. So also wormian bones are more
common among the lower races.

[79] A remarkable instance of this simulated atavism is the uniformity
with which (according to Lacassagne, _Archives de l’Anthropologie
Criminelle_, 1886) rapes are effected by methods common among lower races,
and even animals. This is not atavism, but the criminal, being a man of
primitive organisation, will naturally exercise the brutality and lack of
consideration which belong to a lower race.

[80] It may be noted that Rossi found the same precocity in the abuse of
alcohol, in the form of wine--_i.e._, 11 when children, without knowing
the precise age; 2 at five years, 3 at eight, 1 at nine, 6 at ten; and so
on. And sexual precocity was even more notable.

[81] E. J. Kitts, _Serious Crime in an Indian Province_, 1889, pp. 8, 85.

[82] Mr. Horsley has compiled from the Judicial Statistics the following
table of individuals committed more than ten times, with proportion to
total of recommittals:--

  | Year. | Male. | Female. | Male. | Female. |
  | 1879  | 3706  |  5673   |  8.3  |  22.4   |
  | 1880  | 3691  |  5800   |  8.3  |  23.6   |
  | 1881  | 3618  |  6773   |  8.2  |  27.3   |
  | 1882  | 4148  |  7496   |  8.8  |  27.4   |
  | 1883  | 4391  |  8946   |  8.9  |  29.3   |
  | 1884  | 4734  |  9316   |  9.4  |  30.2   |
  | 1885  | 5188  |  9451   | 10.0  |  31.6   |
  | 1886  | 5074  |  8981   | 10.1  |  33.2   |
  | 1887  | 5686  |  9764   | 11.1  |  34.2   |

[83] While maternity has this beneficial influence, precocious and random
sexual relationships have an equally grave influence in the opposite
direction. This is clearly shown in the valuable details given by Marro.

[84] _La Criminalité Comparée_, 1886, pp. 51-53.

[85] “Criminologie,” _Revue d’Anthropologie_, Sept. 1888.

[86] “L’Anthropologie Criminelle,” _Revue d’Anthropologie_, 1887.

[87] _Loc. cit._, p. 686.

[88] All the evidence which has so far been accumulated with regard to the
connection between criminality and epilepsy will be found in considerable
detail in the second volume of Lombroso’s great work, _L’Uomo Delinquente_
(1889). To announce any definite conclusions would still be premature.

[89] See Ireland’s _Idiocy_, and Langdon Down’s _Mental Affections of
Childhood and Youth_. The latter contains many valuable facts and
suggestions in this connection.

[90] _In Russian and French Prisons_, p. 359.

[91] _Leaves from a Prison Diary._ Lecture I.

[92] Here and in the following lines I am quoting from Mr. Charles Cook of
Hyde Park Hall, London, whom Mr. Spurgeon has called “the Howard of the
present day.” Mr. Cook deserves all honour for his visits (primarily with
a religious object) to some of the worst prisons of the world--visits for
which he has paid the old penalty of “gaol fever.” With reference to
Ceuta, I should add that Mr. Cook’s impressions are not altogether
confirmed by competent Spanish prison reformers. Ceuta, which dates from
the seventeenth century, is a kind of criminal Gheel, its chief
peculiarity being the close relationship between the free and the convict
population. It is, as Salillas, from whose _Vida penal en España_ I take
the following remarks concerning it, observes, a convict city. There is
not strictly any isolation as in the other prisons of the Peninsula or the
Balearic Isles; nor is it an extraneous focus of moral infection, as at
Saragossa or Valladolid; nor a merely economic supplement, like that of
Alcala and some others; nor, in short, a centre of inaction or of
artificial life. The convicts are an integral part of the population,
sharing in the economic, social, urban, military, administrative,
industrial, and agricultural order of its life, and fulfilling a great
variety of functions. They obtain and carry the materials for constructing
the fortifications and buildings, make and repair the roads, erect forts
and houses, work in timber and in iron, cultivate the field. They are
painters, photographers, shoemakers, tailors, servants fulfilling
confidential domestic duties; they are clerks, even professors lecturing
on arts, sciences, and philosophy. Between the free and the convict
population, Salillas says, there is more than affinity; there is a kind of
organic dependence. Convicts enter the houses without hindrance; no one
regards them with dread, or fears to meet them. Who is the coachman who is
driving? A convict. Who is the lad serving at table? A convict. And the
cook who prepared the meal? A convict. And who takes care of the children?
A convict. And all the chief families, having servants belonging to the
prison, do they not fear robbery, rape, murder, poisoning? No. This
custom, founded in necessity, has its credit in experience. An eyewitness,
Juan Relosillas (_Catorca Meses en Ceuta_, 1886), says--“Everyone calls
them ‘good prisoners’; they are so, faithful, sober, hard-working,
respectful, and intelligent.”

[93] The impartial Moorish method of administering justice may be gathered
from the following example mentioned by Mr. Cook. One Mogador Jew recently
brought another before their Governor to recover a sum equal to about 6¼d.
Both were thrown into prison, from which they were released on paying the
following little bill:--

                                                   s. d.
  To the Governor, plaintiff, one loaf of sugar    2  0
  "      "         defendant,      "        "      2  0
  " two policemen who took them to gaol            0  9½
  "       "          "     them out of gaol        0  9½
  " gaoler                                         0  4¼
  "   "    for use of prison lavatory              0  4¼
                                                   6  3½

It frequently happens that the prisoner is unable to settle his bill, and
is compelled, therefore, to remain a prisoner.

[94] _Jottings from Jail_ (1887), pp. 186, 190. Judge Willert (_Das
Postulat der Abschaffung des Straffmasses mit der dagegen Erhobenen
Einwendung_), as quoted by Garofalo, uses the same simile to show the
absurdity of this system.

[95] _Leaves from a Prison Diary_, pp. 173, 174.

[96] _In Russian and French Prisons_ (1887), pp. 263-283.

[97] “Le Monde des Prisons,” _Archives de l’Anthropologie Criminelle_,

[98] _Sketches from Shady Places_, by Thor. Fredur (1879), pp. 206-7.

[99] _Enquête Parlementaire_, tome v., pp. 345, 381, 542, quoted by Joly.

[100] Adolphe Prins, _Criminalité et Répression_, 1885.

[101] _Le Criminologie_ (1888), p. 220.


  “Cu dici male di la Vicaria
   Cei farrissi la faccia feddi-feddi.
   Cu dici cà la carcere castia
   Comu v’ ingannati, puvireddi!”


  “Qua sol trovi i fratelli e qua gli amici,
   Danari, ben mangiare e allegra pace;
   Fuori sei sempre in mezzo ai tuoi nemici;
   Se non puoi lavorai muori di fame.”

[104] _American Prisons_, by the Rev. F. H. Wines, the able secretary of
the National Prison Association. A great amount of valuable information is
compressed into this little pamphlet. Mr. Wines has endeavoured to
ascertain if the variation in usual length of sentence in different states
has any relation with amount of crime in that state. He was not able to
find any connection. “Apparently, the length of jail sentences pronounced
by the court has no effect either to increase or to diminish crime.” If
this is so, there arises, as he remarks, the question, “What useful
purpose do our jails subserve?”

[105] “Remarks on Crime and Criminals,” _Journal of Mental Science_, July

[106] It is unnecessary to consider here the relation of solitary
confinement to insanity. This is still somewhat of a vexed question. The
difficulty lies in the fact that the prisoner is frequently already
predisposed to insanity. Everything depends on how the isolation is
carried out. There is no question that cellular confinement, if
sufficiently prolonged, leads to insanity. There is a very extensive
literature dealing with this subject.

[107] H. D. Wey, _Physical and Industrial Training of Criminals_, p. 55,
New York, 1888.

[108] See Dr. Wey’s _Physical and Industrial Training of Criminals_, a
valuable little work, in which all the details of this and similar
experiences are given with care and fulness.

[109] Sufficient attention does not appear to have been given to music in
prisons. It is a civilising influence to which the criminal is often very
sensitive. An able administrator at the convict prison at Toulon long
since recognised this with happy results.

[110] For some further information concerning Elmira, see Appendix E.

[111] It is perhaps worth noting that the highly intelligent and eclectic
administration of Japan have adopted a very similar system, described in
an interesting letter by Mr. H. Norman, the travelling commissioner of the
_Pall Mall Gazette_, under the title of “An Ideal Prison” (_Pall Mall
Gazette_, 18th October 1888):--“Two days previously I had visited the
house of the most famous maker in Japan of the exquisite _cloisonné_
ware--the enamel in inlaid metal work upon copper--who rivals in
everlasting materials the brush of Turner with his pigments and the pencil
of Alma Tadema with his strips of metal. And I had stood for an hour
behind him and his pupils, marvelling that the human eye could become so
accurate and the human hand so steady and the human heart so patient. Yet
I give my word that here in the prison at Ishikawa sat not six but sixty
men, common thieves and burglars and peacebreakers, who knew no more about
_cloisonné_ before they were sentenced than a Hindoo knows about skates,
doing just the same thing--cutting by eye-measurement only the tiny strips
of copper to make the outline of a bird’s beak or the shading of his wing
or the articulations of his toe, sticking these upon the rounded surface
of the copper vase, filling up the interstices with pigment, coat upon
coat, and firing and filing and polishing it until the finished work was
so true and so delicate and so beautiful that nothing except an occasional
greater dignity and breadth of design marked the art of the freeman from
that of the convict. _C’etait à ne pas y croire_--one simply stood and
refused to believe one’s eyes. Fancy the attempt to teach such a thing at
Pentonville or Dartmoor or Sing-Sing! When our criminal reaches his prison
home in Tōkyō he is taught to do that at which the limit of his natural
faculties is reached. If he can make _cloisonné_, well and good; if not,
perhaps he can carve wood or make pottery; if not these, then he can make
fans or umbrellas or basket work; if he is not up to any of these, then he
can make paper or set type or cast brass or do carpentering; if the limit
is still too high for him, down he goes to the rice-mill, and see-saws all
day long upon a balanced beam, first raising the stone-weighted end and
then letting it down with a great flop into a mortar of rice. But if he
cannot even accomplish this poor task regularly, he is given a hammer and
left to break stones under a shed with the twenty-nine other men out of
2000 who could not learn anything else.” And in regard to punishment Mr.
Norman observes:--“On leaving the dormitories we passed a small, isolated
square erection, beaked and gabled like a little temple. The door was
solemnly unlocked and flung back, and I was motioned to enter. It was the
punishment cell, another spotless wooden box, well ventilated, but
perfectly dark, and with walls so thick as to render it practically
silent. ‘How many prisoners have been in it during the last month?’ I
asked. The director summoned the chief warder and repeated my question to
him. ‘_H’tori mo gozaimasan_--none whatever,’ was the reply. ‘What other
punishments have you?’ ‘None whatever.’ ‘No flogging?’ When this question
was translated the director and the little group of officials all laughed
together at the bare idea. I could not help wondering whether there was
another prison in the world with no method of punishment for 2000
criminals except one dark cell, and that not used for a month. And the
recollection of the filthy and suffocating sty used as a punishment cell
in the city prison of San Francisco came upon me like a nausea.”

[112] Wuttke, _Der deutsche Volksaberglaube der Gegenwart_, § 188 ff.; and
Ulrich Jahn, “Ueber den Zauber mit Menschenblut und anderen Theilen des
Menschlichen Körpers,” in _Zeitschrift für Ethnologie_, 1888, Heft ii., p.

[113] The popular excitement over “Jack the Ripper,” and the Crown Prince
Rudolph of Austria, may be specially mentioned as having produced a large
number of crimes. They are, however, by no means isolated examples.

[114] It does not appear to be quite the same abroad. Some of those who
are most convinced in their efforts to magnify the scientific and
medico-legal elements in scientific procedure are lawyers; while medical
men show no wish to encroach unduly on the legal aspects. This came out
very clearly at the last International Congress of Criminal Anthropology.

[115] “Responsibility and Disease,” _Lancet_, 28th July 1888.

[116] In New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia, the colonies to
which criminals were transported, there is more criminality than in the
other Australian colonies. This hereditary criminality would have swelled
the sum of British crime.

[117] Thus Dr. Carriel, in a recent Report of the Central Hospital for the
Insane of the State of Illinois, shows that whereas only 19 per cent. of
the population are foreigners, 41 per cent. of the insanity was among

[118] _Pall Mall Gazette_, 4th Nov. 1889.

[119] Macé, _La Service de la Sûreté à Paris_.

[120] In Bavaria, for instance, it has been shown that every increase of
six kreutzer in the price of corn meant one theft more per 100,000

[121] _Criminalité et Repression_, p. 17.

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