The Green Bag
superior is an explanation hardly to be dismissed. President Wilson acted rightly in accepting Mr. McNab's resig nation, which should have been demanded had it not been voluntarily offered. A Government attorney need not be a party to proceedings which he deems improper, and can always resign rather than obey commands to which he cannot yield without loss of self-respect. His resignation under such circumstances, however, if any explanation is necessary, should be accompanied by a temperate, dignified explanation unsullied by a personal denunciation which the facts do not warrant. The failure of in telligent newpapers, throughout the country, with almost one accord, to discredit Mr. McNab's sensational charges affords the latest instance of their inability to treat matters affecting the legal system of the country with the impartiality necessary to aid the courts to become effective instruments of justice. If a wholesome public opinion is to be created to improve the admin istration of justice in this country, the dependence of the public upon an en lightened press for information and guidance is a fact of prime importance. THE MILITANT SUFFRAGIST THE analysis of the psychology of the militant suffragist by Dr. Claye Shaw, in the Lancet of May 17, 1913, appears sound in its conclusions. Shaw seems to be right in his inference that the explanation of the mental attitude of the suffragette is to be found not in insanity or hysteria, but in inordinate love of notoriety. That this passion for notoriety is not a pathological condition, in the ordinary sense, seems clear. Some prominent politicians may possess this trait in a marked degree, but society would hardly
attempt to deal with them as psycho pathic patients. The problem with which the state has to deal with respect to the militant suffragette is not medical. The segregation of notoriety-seekers in psychopathic hospitals is not feasible. Punishment for the actual injuries they inflict to life and property is all that may be attempted. This is true even though love of notoriety may contribute the underlying motive of crime. It was doubtless the chief factor in the mental make-up of Carrie Nation, to take an illustration of a different sort. These cases may show a contributing factor of monoideism, or concentration on some idSe fixe carrying with it a strong emo tional tone. But they are only rarely to be treated as pure cases of monomania. Furthermore, though the notorietyseeker, whatever his station, high or low, is always more or less of a public nuisance, his activities are treated by the law as wholly legitimate so long as he refrains from acts expressly criminal. Hence the difficulty of dealing with him except to the extent that he is a common law-breaker; even then it is hard for the state to keep in mind his true character. Plainly the law of nuisance cannot be stretched to cover such cases and offers no solution of the problem. Regulation of the suffragette by legis lation appearing impracticable, the ques tion becomes primarily one of penal policy. In this form it has given the Government of England profound con cern. The Government, tacitly if not expressly, has recognized that the pas sion of the militant leaders for notoriety is the element that differentiates suf fragist crime from crime of other sorts and gives rise to the perplexing features of the situation. The suffragist law breaker must be punished, for to ignore or condone the crimes of such a person will only augment the public danger.