Excerpt from The Princeton Review, Vol. 29: July, 1857
This shows to what extravagant lengths some medical jurists and psychologists, as well as speculative and socialistic reform ers, are disposed to press the notion that sin and crime are the effect of such distempers of the mind or brain, as divest them of all moral character and responsibility; that they are proof of the insanity which excuses them. Much more like this might be extracted from the phrenologists, and materializing atheists, ad aperturam libri, with which we will not encumber our pages. We give, instar omnium, Spurzheim's definition of insanity, partly because it presents very precisely one form of the doc trine which will be the principal topic of this article. According to him, it is either a morbid condition of any intellectual faculty, without the person being aware of this, or the existence of some of the natural propensities in such violence that it is impossible not to yield to them.t This brings us to the second sort of insanity, which, though of recent discovery, has begun to figure largely in the defence of great criminals. Our readers will understand us as referring to moral insanity, so called. This has become the favourite resort in defending these desperate culprits, who give no indications of insanity but the enormity of their crimes. Where there not only is no hallucination proved which amounts to unreason, but the absence of it is clearly shown, no other resource remains for defending those whose agency in crime is clearly evinced. Prima facie, at least, there seems no good reason why, if it be a valid defence in some cases, it should not be in all. And we think this will be no less apparent on the most rigid investigation.
About the Publisher
Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com
This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.show more