Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/176

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

quantity and quality of this change that the alienist determines the existence of insanity. Any specific act by itself does not necessarily afford evidence of insanity, for there is nothing an insane person can do that a sane person may not do.

The experienced alienist by thorough investigation determines as far as possible what has been the previous environment of a person alleged to be insane, and how he habitually reacted to it, and then makes a comparison between that and the manifestations which have been regarded as constituting evidence of insanity. When it is proved to the satisfaction of society that a given act was clearly the result of disease of the brain producing insanity, the individual is usually excused; but until the public becomes more generally informed regarding the bodily basis of mental manifestation, and comes to understand more clearly how and where to look for evidence of insanity, many will be held to be responsible who, according to the intention of the criminal laws, are not so; and some will be excused who are fairly responsible.

It is for physicians to determine the part played by bodily defect or disease in the commission of crime. Society in general must, with this information, determine the degree of responsibility and decide upon the punishment.




IF the experiment of government by the people is to be successful, it is its educated men and women who must make it so. The future of the republic must lie in the hands of the men and women of culture and intelligence, of self-control and of self-resource, capable of taking care of themselves and of helping others. If it falls not into such hands, the republic will have no future. Wisdom and strength must go to the making of a nation. There is no virtue in democracy as such, nothing in Americanism as such, that will save us, if we are a nation of weaklings and fools, with an aristocracy of knaves as our masters. There are some who think that this is the condition of America to-day. There are some who think that this republic, which has weathered so nobly the storms of war and of peace, will go down on the shoals of hard times; that we as a nation can not live through the headache induced by the financial sprees of ourselves and others. We are told that our civilization and our government are fit only for

  1. An Address to the Graduating Class in Leland Stanford Junior University.