the fact that they who, for the sake of the world, are throwing their lives behind them as fast as they can, are doing more work and better work than they who, keeping their lives in their hands, are content to labor without resort to any perilous adventitious assistance. Is it so? Is the man who never touches a lethal weapon—alcohol, opium, tobacco, chloral, hasheesh, absinthe, or arsenic—a worse man, a weaker man, a less industrious man, a less-to-be-trusted man, than he who indulges in those choice weapons ever so moderately, or ever so freely? If he is, then my position is confessedly undermined, and toxico-mania is a blessing, with all its curses.—Contemporary Review.
|SPONTANEOUS AND IMITATIVE CRIME.|
IT is not to be expected that law-makers or the administrators of legal justice should discriminate between spontaneous and imitative crime; but to the patient thinker, the medical scientist, and the practical philanthropist it is evident that the grades and distinctions of actual criminality are almost as various as the individual criminals. Even the word crime is very indefinite, and by no means always indicates the true character of an act usually so designated. Acts innocent in themselves—such, for instance, as buying goods in a foreign market and bringing them for use to this—may be made a legal crime by statute law, while other acts which are monstrous violations of natural human rights may be and are ignored by the code, and are perpetrated with impunity in the highest grades of civilized society. So, also, really criminal acts may be committed, and yet crime be absent, for the essence of crime in the individual (excluding for the present the rights of society) lies in the intention, and this element, through physiological and moral reasons, may be void. Indeed, could we apply a mental and moral vivisection to the cases of individual criminals, we should probably find unexpected variations as to the causes and influences tending to its development; but practically we may summarize the whole mass of law-breakers under either one or the other division which the title of our article indicates: and, if by some subtile alchemy we could perceive the main dividing line separating the criminal classes into those who act from the spontaneous impulses of their nature and those who are led into crime mainly by the influence of their peculiar νόμος, or social environment, we should be in a fair way to learn how crime might be diminished, and the so-called "dangerous classes" prevented from spreading its infection.
By spontaneous criminals we mean those who act from well-defined motives, from avarice, revenge, the gratification of pride, vanity, or the