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THESUNDAY HERALD, SUNDAY.JUNE 15. 1S90.
SCIENCE AND CHIME.
WHAT SAVANTS KNOW OF TUB NAT
UltAT. UISTOUY OK CRIMINALS.
CitrimiH ami Striking l'nctft on An Impor
tant Subject How Kleptotnnnlncs Aro
Developed few Itcil-IIcmletl Criminals,
Hiul None Who Aro llctMitiful.
Students oC human nature will find full of In
terest u book just Issued by Scrlbner fc Wcl
ford, of New York. It Is tin American reprint
of Hnvclock Kllls's "The Criminal," and be
longs to tbo "Contemporary Science" series.
It deals with a subject whose literature in the
English language is small. It examines crimi
nals scientifically, and Its three hundred and
odd pages are full of matter of unusual interest.
As the preface states, It is an attempt to pre
sent a critical summary of the results of the
science now commonly called criminal anthro
pology, and this it docs clearly, forcibly, and
succinctly. It gives a mass of significant facts,
drawn from a great variety of sources, of the
physical, mental, and moral peculiarities of
criminals, and Its deductions euforce strongly
the need of more enlightened methods In deal
ing with crime and those who commit it.
Criminals are divided in several classes, such
6 political criminals, criminals by passion, or
those who become such in resenting grievous
injuries in temporary fits of anger; Insane crimi
nals, the instinctive criminal, the occasional
criminal, and tho professional criminal. Of
nearly all these classes a large percentage have
an unmistakable taint of Insanity. Nearly a
uuudrcd persons every year In England are
sent to prison to be found insane on admission.
The hanging of persons who are afterward gen
erally regarded as iusaue has always been and
is still carried on there. In Germany Dr. Itech
ter has shown that out of 144 lunatics who were,
as was afterward shown, at the date of their
crimes in the highest degree iusanc, only thfrty
eight were recognized as insane before the
judge. The insane criminal is only a criminal
in the sense that an infant or an animal is that
performs some noxious act.
As a striking instance of tho criminal by In
stinct, with a degenerating taint inherited from
a falling 6tock, the case of Thomas Walnwrlght,
the English essayist, who wrote under the name of
Jame6 Weathercock, is given. Ills crimes ranged
from forgery to assassination, he having poi
soned several people with strychnine. He was
a man of many sentimentalities and super-refinements;
he hated all vulgarity and "sordid in
stincts." Ills tastes were sensual in every re
spect. Notwithstanding his means, they were
not sufficient to satfsfy his desires for luxurious
food and drinks, for fine perfumes, for large
jewels to wear. He and his wife poisoned his
uncle, secured the latter's fortune, and spent it.
Then they poisoned the wife's step-mother,
gaining little by it; and later one of the wife's
step-si6ters met a similar fate. Her life had
been insured for 1)0,000, but suspicion was
aroused and the insurance was not paid. The
couple then lied to France, where Walnwrlght
poisoned, at Boulogne, a man in whose house
they lived and from whom he had secured a
large loan. Walnwrlght was later lured to Eng
land, tried and convicted ou the charge of
forgery, and sentenced to transportation. The
only thing that galled him was being placed in
irons in the hold of the ship. "They thought
me a desperado," ho wrote. "Me, the com
panion of poets, artists, musicians, and philoso
phers, a desperado ! You will smile at this no,
I think you will feel for the man, educated and
reared as a gentleman, now the mate of vulgar
ruffians and country bumpkins." Walnwrlght
presented a perfect picture of the instinctive
criminal in his mosthtghlydoveloped state. At
one time in his life he was on the verge of in
sanity, if not actually insane. The occasional
criminal is a much commoner and more nor
mally constituted person. His sensual instincts
need not bo much stronger than usual. Weak
ness is his chief characteristic. Occasional
crime is one of tho commonest forms; it is that
for whose existence and development society Is
most directly responsible.
The occasional criminal is the one who devel
opslnto the habitual criminal. As illustrating
this M". Joly is quoted as giving tho experience
of the police concerning the thefts that take
place in the great Paris shops: "This is the be
ginning.' From the gallery one sees a woman
rich or well-to-do who buys a certain number
of objects and pays for them, but without ask
ing permission she takes some little, almost in
significant object a little ribbon to fasten a par
cel, a more commodious paper bag. No one will
see that she is stealing; no one will think of
speaking to her or disturbing her. But she is
observed, or even watched, for one expects to
see her again some time after taking as she
walks along say a flower worth twenty-five cen
times. A little later 6hc will take an article of
greater value, and henceforth she will take for
the pleasure of taking. Another time a woman
who had no intention of stealing, but whose con
science is probably elastic, grows impatient at
the delay in attending to her wants. It is, let
us suppose, a purse worth ninety-five centimes,
and the shopman Is busy with purchasers of more
expensive objects. Suddenly tho woman ner
vously yields to a swift temptation; she does not
wish to wait longer, but instead of replacing the
purse on tho counter she slips it Into her pocket
and turns on her heel without paying. From
that moment she is lost; she will come back to
steal, but she will steal Intentionally and delib
erately." The secret preliminary criminal history
is given of two educated young men, of ap
parently good lives, who astounded their friends
one day by committing an atrocious murder for
money. Ono of these histories is reproduced:
1. Ills employer Is obliged to dismiss him on
account of misconduct with a servant girl. 2.
Ho writes untruthful letters to his family,
describing habits of work which do not exist.
3. He acquires extravagant habits of specula
tion on tho Stock Exchange. 4. Ho speculates
with tho savings which two girls had en
trusted to him for investment. 5. To obtain
money from his father, to whom ho talks of
establishing himself, ho forges letters. G, He
embezzles various sums of money by an aggra
vated pen of tho same process. 7. He steals a
watch from his paramour's rooms. 8. IIo steals
raonoy from tho same. 9, IIo decides on the
murder of tho old mllkwoman with whom ho
had had business, and whoso savings, as ho
knows, aro considerable. Such aro tho slow
steps by which tho occasional criminal becomes
the habitual or pi otessfonal criminal. Tho lines
which separate these from each other, or both
from the Instinctive criminal, aro often faint
Passing briefly over tho writings of tho
ancients touching tho physical and mental pe
culiarities of criminals, tho author gives in
considerable detail tho results of modern scien
tific observations on this most interesting branch
of the subject.
Tho average size of criminals' heads is proba
bly about tho samo as that of ordinary people's
heads, but both small and largo heads aro found
in greater proportion, tho medium-6ized heads
being deficient. There Is a generally recognized
tendency to tho pointed or sugar-loaf form of
head. This testifies to defective organization.
Tho opposite defect of low or flat-roofed skull
is also commonly found among criminals. I.lt
tlo importance Is attached to tho weight of the
brain, a conclusion which harmonizes with such
a fact as that Gambotta's brain resembled that
of an Idiot. More Importance attaches to the
shape and relative development of the brain and
to the condition and relations of its convolutions.
As to the features, the author says that tho
lower jaw is often remarkably well developed In
those guilty of crimes of violence. The square
ness and prominence of the jaw are obvious to
the eye. The average weight of the Parisian
criminal skull is, if anything, below that of the
ordinary Parisian; but while the average weight
of the lower jaw Is about SS grammes, it is
about 04 grammes among murderers. In this
respect the criminal resembles the savage and
the prc-historic man. Among the Insane the
jaw weighs rather less than the normal average.
Prominence of the cheek bone has been noted
by many observers, especially among sexual
offenders. Certain anomalies have been ob
served In the teeth of criminals, but the exami
nation In this direction has been so slight as to
be of little value. Among the auomalles noted
is cxagncratcd or deficient development of the
canines. The extraordinary frequency of dental
and palatal anomalies in Idiots was pointed out
in England in 1800 by Uullard and Langden
Even non-scientific observers have noticed the
frequency among criminals of projecting or of
long and voluminous cars. The author, throuch
a series of questions addressed to medical offi
cers of prisons, found that the prominent ears
of criminals were more generally recognized
than any other abnormality. Lombroso, the
noted Italian criminal anthropologist, found
the jug-handle car, as ho calls It, In 28 per cent,
of his criminals; Knecht, a German scientist,
in 22 per cent.; Marro, another Italian, not more
frequently than in other people, ircgerlo, a
recent French wrPcr on the subject, records
that the largest ear he ever found on man or
woman was on a woman convicted of com
plicity in tho murder of her husband. A few
criminals of neurotic temperament, as well as
some lunatics, possess the power, rare among
normal persons, of moving the ear.
Ottolenghl, an Italian scientist, is quoted as
regards the peculiarities of tho criminal nose,
lie found it in general rectilinear, more rarely
undulating, with horizontal base, of medium
length, rather large, and frequently deviating
to one side. Thus the typical thief's nose is
rectilinear, often incurved, 6hort, large, and
often twisted, with lifted base. The sexual of
fender presents tho most rectilinear nose,
though he shows the undulating profile of nose
more frequently than any other group of crimi
nals, of medium length and rather large.
Pallor of the skin was noted among criminals
even by the ancients. Marro, an Italian stu
dent of criminal anthropology, found it among
14 per cent, of his criminals, as against 3 per
cent, among tho ordinary population. He con
siders that it is related to habitual cerebral con
gestion. Ottolenghl, who examined the wrin
kles ou 200 criminals and on 200 normal persons,
found that they were much more frequent and
much more marked in the criminal than in the
non-criminal person. The foreheads, even of
youthful criminals, present a curiously marked
and scored appearance. "We found youngcrim
lnals of fourteen," Ottolenghi says, "with
wrinkles more evident and marked than are
met with in many normal men above thirty."
These wrinkles are commonly found most fre
quently about the nose and mouth, the less con
templative, more material part of the face,
while the more rational and contemplative part
presents tho least degree of active expression.
The beard in criminals is usually scant)'. As
against 1.5 per cent, cases of absence of beard
in normal persons Marro found 13.0 per cent, in
criminals and a very large proportion having
scanty beards. The largest proportion of full
beards among criminals was found by Marro
among sexual offenders. On the head the hair
Is usually, on the contrary, abundant. Marro
observed a notable proportion of woolly-haired
persons, a character very rarely found in normal
individuals. Baldness is very rare. Among
criminal women abundance of hair is frequently
noted, and it has sometimes formed their most
characteristic physical feature, accompanied by
au unusual development of fine hair on the face
and body. The excess of down on the face has
been found with special frequency on women
guilty of infanticide. The proportion of dark
haired persons is considered greater among crim
inals than among the ordinary population iu
England, Italy, and Germany. Gray hair at an
early age is vastly more frequent among work
men and peasants in Italy, for example, than
among male criminals. Female criminals be
come cray more quickly than ordinary women.
So far as exact evidence on tho color of the
hair goes, it points chiefly to a relative defici
ency of red-haired persons among criminals.
Some curious facts are given relating to crimi
nal physiognomy. Professor Ennico Fcrri, a
criminal anthropologist of to-day, found among
several hundred soldiers whom he examined but
one whoso face declared him to be a murderer.
Professor Ferri was told that tho man had, in
fact, been guilty of murder. Remarkable in
stances of the acutencss of female perception
In this regard are given. "Many persons,"says the
author, "on first meeting au Individual are con
scious of an unfavorable impression which they
succeed in outliving, but which is subsequently
justified. Sometimes tho revealing glance is
found, perhaps with a shock of horror, In a face
already familiar. It is a mistake to attempt to
style such instlnctlvo impressions as irrational.
They aro part of tho organized experience of
the race, and, subject to Intellectual control,
they aro legitimate guides to conduct."
Professor Lombroso gives a curious example
of tho truth of these instinctive impressions in
tho caso of a murderer named Francesconi.
There was nothing about himtoindicatoferoclty
or a temper unlike that of other people. Yet
years before his crime a young girl, afterward
tho Countess Delia Kocca, who had never quitted
tho paternal home and had no experience of life,
refused to speak to him, when every one else
welcomed him on account of his wit. When
asked why she treated him thus she said, "If ho
Is not a murderer, ho will become one." Sho
said she know It by his eyes, Lombroso once
submitted twenty portraits of thieves and twenty
of great men to thirty-two young school-girls.
Eighty per cent, of the children recognized tho
first as bad people, tho second as good.
Beautiful faces aro rarely found among crimi
nals. Tho prejudice against the ugly and tho
deformed is not without sound foundation.
What Ilepworth Dixon wrote iu 1850 on this
point is still of general application iu all civil
ized countries: "Tho population of Millbank
prison Is always numerous and always chang
ing, but its character remains substantially tho
same. Year after year tho visitor might drop in
and see no difference. There Is a certain monot
ony and family likeness in tho crimluul counte
nance which is at once repulsive and Interesting.
A handsome face is a thing rarely 6een in a
prison, aud nover in a person who has been a
lawbreaker from childhood. Well-formed heads,
round and massive, denoting Intellectual power,
may bo seen occasionally, but a pleasiug, well
formed face never."
As against this, tho author places tho state
ment of Inspector Byrnes that among tho pic
tures in the Sew i'ork Rogues' Gallery were to
bo found many good-looking rascals who re
semble tho best people in tho country. The
author explains this by saying these New World
criminals belong to the aristocracy of crime;
they aro criminals by calculation.
A curious fixed look of thoeyo has often been
considered a characteristic mark of more es
pecially the instinctive criminal a mark which
cannot bo disguised. Lombroso found that tho
eyes of assassins resemble those of the feline
animals at tho moment of ambush or struggle.
Sometimes this alternates with a gentle, almost
Au interesting point in connection with tho
criminal physiognomy is that it Is to a large ex
tent Independent of nationality. Tho Geiman
crimiual is not very unlike tho Italian, nor is
the French unlike the English criminal,
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jawMwamiBaaiMir -- r-"i