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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/704

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

between the human and the animal world, once more insisting on the undoubtedly natural character of the crime. He then passes on to examine homicide in primitive savage humanity, which is an intermediate form of homicidal evolution between the animal and civilized society. Concerning the importance of these studies of savage peoples, as well as concerning the modern reconsideration of the conditions of primitive humanity deduced from the study of contemporary savages, doubts have been uttered and objections raised even in the ranks of evolutionists. Ferri, however, who is convinced that the paleontological data can, for lack of other evidence, be elicited from these analogies with contemporary savage life, accepts the evolution hypothesis that in contemporary savages is seen reflected a large portion of the primitive conditions of humanity.

The purely descriptive style adopted by Ferri in his study of animals in the second chapter of his book is interspersed with psychological reflections, for though at the outset his purpose was to prove the existence of criminal murder among animals, he had also to study not only the manifest existence of this murder, but to show that such acts have their moral as well as their juridic side. To do this he examines and classifies divers forms of homicide in primitive humanity, beginning with the least fierce and ending with the most repulsive, while leaving aside those common also to civilized man. Here we find new criminal aspects: for example, abortion; infanticide, elevated to a custom and a method in Malthusianism; the killing of the old, of women, of the sick, of those unable to work, of useless mouths (practiced also in historical primitive times), homicide for superstition, race hatred, vanity, homicide without apparent purpose, for bloodthirstiness, frequent in savages by reason of the very brutality of their nature and the small account in which they hold their lives; finally, cannibalism, the most repugnant and ferocious form of homicide, common to all the peoples of antiquity according to Vogt; born of hunger, of warlike fury, of need, and transmitted by heredity, by religious tradition, and lastly, the ultimate grade of human ferocity, by gluttony. We see this crime reappear in part and without the stimulus of hunger, for vendetta and simple anger.

This classification of the various forms of homicide presented by Ferri in a growing scale of ferocity, in order to give contrast to the two extremes of primitive and civilized man, does not tally, as he himself points out, with the duplex process of natural evolution which can be studied in primitive man. In fact, here we have on one side a continual diminution and disappearance of the most repulsive forms of crime, and on the other side the ever-increasing development of moral sentiments and of the juridic instincts, such as we find afterward in history. Some forms of