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in disposition, and avoided the companionship of young men of his own age.
In his own account of the act, he said: "When I ascended to my room on the day of the crime, I was not thinking of any thing. I should not have gone upstairs if I had found a fire in the drawing-room. When I reached my room, having no evil intentions, the notion of suicide possessed me; then, my thoughts taking another direction, I threw aside my fowling-piece, ran to my brother's chamber, armed myself with two pistols, and went back to the drawing-room actuated by I know not what force which dragged me, and in spite of myself. If my father had addressed to me one word when I entered the drawing-room, a single word, whatever it might have been, I should not have killed my stepmother."
The circumstances of the act, it having been committed in broad daylight in presence of his father, and the fact of his having delivered himself up to justice, were also adduced as tending to show an absence of criminality.
On the other hand, there was the hatred he was known to have entertained for his stepmother; and this was argued by the prosecution as a proof that the act was premeditated and malicious.
As I have said, the prisoner was acquitted, but public opinion was very much against him, so much so that he left France and went to reside in Belgium. As is usual in such cases, the press, conducted as it too frequently is by irresponsible persons, ignorant of the first principles of mental science, raised a furious outcry against the medical experts. They were accused of having been actuated by mercenary motives, and of having let loose upon society a monster of iniquity, whose crime should have been expiated on the guillotine. They had simply expounded the sciences of mental physiology and pathology as they understood them, but with nothing like the certainty which in our day the ophthalmoscope, the dynamograph, and the aesthesiometer give to similar investigations. They had arrived at their conclusions solely by the observation of
intellectual phenomena and not by the employinent of physical means. One great source of positiveness was therefore wanting.
Now for the sequel.
On the 29th of January, 1859, over five years after the homicide, Julius hastily quitted Brussels, where he had lived in great retirement, 'abandoned his furniture and all he possessed, and reëntered France with nothing but his personal attire. He went to Bordeaux, alighted at a hotel and passed the night there, visiting neither his father nor his brother, who still lived in the city. In the morning he purchased a brace of pistols, hired a cab, was driven to the cemetery, and at his request was conducted to his stepmother's tomb. He then sent away his guide, knelt down on the grave, and writing several sentences in his memorandum-book, laid this on the monument, and then with one of his pistols blew out his brains. Among the sentences traced in his memorandum-book was this: "I wish to die upon the tomb of her whom I have so much loved and regretted."
"How," asks Devergie, "shall we reconcile this assertion, made at the moment of committing suicide, with the opinion entertained by some, that the cause of the murder was the deep aversion that the young man had nourished towards his stepmother during ten years?
"Evidently the language, as well as the termination of his life by suicide, are the work of a lunatic. Not the slightest doubt can now be felt even by the most prejudiced concerning the correctness of the decision of the Assize Court at Pau, and the scientific foresight which led to that judgment."
On the evening of the 15th of September, 1851, the drama entitled Adrienne Lecouveur was being acted at the theatre of the Celestins, in Lyons. It was about half-past eight o'clock, and the curtain had risen on the second act of the play, when a horrible event occurred which threw actors and audience into a state of confusion and fright. A
young lady had been stabbed to the heart by a man who sat immediately behind her. Uttering a cry, she drew the dagger from her breast and fell lifeless and covered with blood into the arms of a lady near her. The man who had killed her remained standing erect, his arms crossed on his chest, and his manner perfectly impassible. The husband of the young lady, ignorant of the fatal nature of the wound his wife had received, seized the assassin-"What have we done to you," he exclaimed, "that you should commit this outrage?" "Nothing," answered the man, "I do not even know you; I am a miserable wretch-do with me as you wish; I do not wish to escape." He was at once arrested, and without opposing the least resistance was conducted to the nearest police-station.
The young lady, thus murdered, had only been married a few months, and was visiting Lyons with her husband, a professor in a college at Limoges.
The murderer was named Antoine Emanuel Jobard, and was a clerk in a mercantile establishment at Dijon. He was but twenty years old. His parentage was respectable, and his education had been well cared for. During the four years he had lived at Dijon, he had, to all appearances, conducted himself well. His conduct, nevertheless, had not been exemplary.
Soon after his arrest Jobard was visited by the magistrate, who interrogated him minutely in regard to all the circumstances in any way connected with the crime. To all questions he replied calmly and respectfully, without evincing the least emotion. As he declared in the first instance, he did not even know his victim; seated behind her for an instant only, he had not seen her face. He had only perceived that she wore a gray silk dress, and he had looked at her no longer than was sufficient for him to determine where to strike, "I have killed her to be killed in return; " he repeated many times, "to be killed after I have had sufficient time for repentance."
"In the midst of the pious family in which I lived," he continued, “I ob
served all the outward ordinances of religion, but I was at heart a hypocrite. I led an abandoned and depraved life, and yet I deceived every body by my apparent devoutness. I became disgusted with myself, but had not the strength to abstain from the shameful vices that enslaved me. Not being able to change
my conduct, I resolved to get rid of my life. I could not think of suicide, for that crime would have resulted in my appearing before God loaded with sins. I therefore determined to do something which would cause me to be condemned to death by the law. I would thus have a sufficient time for repentance, and I was satisfied that I would also obtain pardon of God for all my offences."
He then went on to state that he had endeavored to do as little barm as possible in obtaining his end. He had not killed a depraved person, because that would have sent one unprepared for death into the presence of God. He had thought of killing a priest just after he had celebrated mass. Accident had led him to Lyons and to the theatre. Here the victim and the opportunity were at once offered him.
When asked if he fully comprehended the enormity of his crime, he replied that he did, but that he intended to repent.
During the whole course of Jobard's interrogation he remained perfectly calm and apparently emotionless; his pulse was not accelerated above the normal standard-beating with regularity sixtysix times a minute; his answers were given with deliberation and exactness.
The following day he was confronted with the corpse of the murdered woman. On his way to the hotel he expressed his disinclination for this ceremony, declaring that it was useless as he would not be able to recognize her. In going up the stairs his legs gave way under him; he trembled in every muscle, and a cold sweat broke out on his body. Brought face to face with the corpse, he exclaimed that he did not recollect the face; he only knew that the wound was where he intended to make it. At the same time his countenance expressed horror and fright, and he fell to the floor weeping
and in a state of extreme prostration. His pulse was feeble, intermittent, and beating sixty-eight times a minute.
It is interesting to study the thoughts of a person situated as was this young man, who, being apparently rational on all other subjects, felt himself impelled by a power in regard to one which he was unable to resist. The report given in the Causes Célèbres is full, and the custom which prevails in France of frequently interrogating a criminal, whatever its value in jurisprudence, is certainly capable of yielding fruitful results to mental science.
Now Jobard begins the record of his mental aberration with the statement that he had contracted many grave vices from which he was powerless to abstain. He assumes the impossibility of reform, and at the same time is conscious that he must arrest his course of depravity. Clearly, if these premises are correct, there is but one alternative left, and that is death. He declares this with perfect distinctness; the force of it overpowers him; he constantly regrets the necessity, but his determination does not waver. At first he thinks of suicide, but he soon rejects this, for although he might repent of all his other sins, the act of self-destruction is a crime of so much magnitude as to condemn his soul to everlasting punishment, and from this sin he would have no time to repent.
Then the idea that he must commit an act which would forfeit his life to the state took possession of his mind. For then, no matter what the crime, he would have ample opportunity between the period of its commission and his execution to make his peace with God. During six months he thought almost continually of this subject, and the necessity became daily more apparent. He must die, and he must kill some one in order to die with safety to his soul. "I wish," he exclaimed during one of his interrogations, "that I could have been condemned to death for some trifling offence. I regret having been obliged to commit murder. It was, however, necessary. I regret this necessity."
On the 18th of September he was
again interrogated. He then declared that he had always understood that his crime was one for which he was responsible both to God and man. "But," he added, "my character was weak, impressionable and changeable. When I prayed, I prayed like a saint; an instant afterwards sin claimed me, and I delivered myself without resistance to my false ideas. As to the liberty of acting freely, I was free certainly, and I would have stopped had I been able to comprehend the falsity of my reasoning. My action was criminal, I know, and I went on towards it without reflection. If I could have thought correctly, if I could have confided my thoughts to some one and been advised, I would never have committed the deed." Then he added, "The course of my ideas is very different today from what it was yesterday. To-day, if I could go back, I would not do what I have done; I begin to see things differently."
One night while in prison he had the hallucination that his victim appeared to him. He complained of headache, his vision was confused, thought of every kind gave him pain in the head, and he had a profuse hemorrhage from the nose, after which he felt better.
Several physicians examined him before his trial, and, as is usual in every case which admits of a difference of judgment, and as always will be till human reason becomes infallible, different opinions were formed of his mental condition.
Thus one of the physicians, M. Magaud, saw in Jobard a man led away by a violent passion which he had allowed to assume a governing influence over his mind, but which at one time certainly he might have controlled; a man moreover who had had a clear idea of his responsibility, and who had prepared with intelligence and with great firmness of will all the details of his criminal scheme.
The others, MM. Gromier and Tavernier, arrived at an entirely opposite conclusion. Taking into consideration the antecedents of Jobard's life, the circumstances attending the commission of the
murder, his subsequent conduct, and the physical and mental phenomena exhibited by him while in confinement, they expressed the opinion that the act was committed while he was suffering from an attack of homicidal and suicidal mania, and that he ought not to be held accountable for a violation of law perpetrated without the influence of his natural will.
Dissatisfied with these contradictory views, the Government commissioned Dr. Gensoul to examine the prisoner, and he coincided with MM. Gromier and Tavernier.
The conclusions of these three physicians were, 1st, That at the inoment of committing the murder Jobard was suffering from a paroxysm of homicidal mania. 2d, That he ought not to be considered responsible for an act done without the participation of his normal will. 3d, But as this kind of insanity is dangerous to society, society has the right to put Jobard in such a position as will render it impossible for him to do further harm, and that therefore he should be placed for life in a lunatic asylum.
Nevertheless, Jobard was indicted and tried for murder with premeditation.
The trial was long, and several medical witnesses, including those mentioned, appeared for one side or the other. The jury, after an absence of only ten minutes, came into court with a verdict of guilty as to the homicide and the premeditation, but with extenuating circumstances. He was then condemned to imprisonment for life at hard labor.
Considerable sympathy was manifested for Jobard throughout France, and even the Government exhibited an exceptional leniency towards him. was allowed to delay his departure for the galleys, and soon after his arrival at Toulon, ostensibly as a reward for good conduct, was permitted to open a small shop and sell tobacco and little articles of various kinds to the convicts. He remained, however, incapable of fixing his attention, and still continued to suffer from pain in the head. He had no further exacerbation of his malady.
In the two cases the particulars of which have been given, the plea of insanity was urged by the accused and considered, though with different results, by the juries. In the one instance there was an entire acquittal of all criminality; in the other, a verdict which carried with it a penalty barely less than that awarded to the highest degree of murder. If the first was right and just, the second was wrong and unjust; for Jobard was certainly as insane when he killed the lady in the theatre as was Julius when he murdered his stepmother, and the history of the case much more fully supports the plea made in extenuation of his guilt. I am inclined to think that the action in the case of Julius was as inadequate as that relative to Jobard was severe, and that both should have been incarcerated in an insane asylum for the term of their natural lives. And for the following reasons:
The objects of punishment are1st. The safety of society. 2d. The reformation of the individual who has offended against the law.
The latter is usually lost sight of even in the most civilized communities, or else is feebly attempted, and therefore need not be dwelt upon in the present connection.
The safety of society is supposed to be secured in two ways:
1st. By the effect which punishment has upon the offending individual in intimidating him, in causing him to suffer mental or physical pain as a sort of recompense which he owes to society for his crime, or in placing him in such a condition that it will be impossible for him ever again or for a limited period to break the laws.
2d. By the example which is afforded to others who might feel inclined to commit crimes, but whose vicious inclinations are kept in check by the certainty or probability of the law taking hold of them should they pass the prescribed bounds.
In providing for its safety, society has almost invariably carried out the maxim of securing the greatest good to the greatest number, and has therefore to a
great extent disregarded the natural rights of individual persons. For example, it is certainly unjust to the individual to punish him for the violation of a law the very existence of which is unknown to him. Society does not care for this; safety for the property and lives of the majority is of paramount importance, and therefore the offender is fined, incarcerated, or put to death, according to the extent of his crime, notwithstanding the fact of his ignorance. And this it does not so much for the purpose of avenging the violation of the law as to act upon others by the force of example and to prevent the escape of criminals by a plea which it would be difficult in many cases to disprove.
The laws which formerly prevailed extensively, relative to attainder of blood for certain crimes, and which still exist in a more or less modified form in some countries, were likewise unjust to individuals. For acts of high treason, not only were the offenders themselves put to death, but all their kindred within certain degrees were killed or banished, with forfeiture of estates; and even now, in the most enlightened nations of the earth-except our own-the heirs of a traitor who is punished with death are deprived of the property which in the natural course of events would have descended to them. Individuals are thus punished for a relation wholly beyond their control, in order that treason may be "made odious" and society protected.
Looking at the matter, therefore, from a similar point of view, no valid argument can be adduced against the punishment of the insane, even though they be morally irresponsible for their acts by reason of delirium, dementia, or morbid impulse. It is reported of an English judge that he once addressed a criminal in these words:
"You have been convicted of the crime of murder. It has been alleged in your defence that you were actuated by an irresistible impulse. This may be true, but the law has an irresistible impulse to punish you, and it therefore becomes my duty to sentence you to be hanged."
In reference to such lunatics, a distinguished French magistrate observed to Marc, an eminent alienist,“ These men are madmen ; but it is necessary to cure their mad acts in the Place de Grève.”
These judicial opinions are adduced not as meriting full approval, but merely to show how selfishly society protects itself even against insane violators of its laws.
The existence of a delusion is regarded in law as evidence of insanity, and the fact that an individual accused of crime has such a false conception of his mind, is considered a valid defence. This is doubtless correct practice in many cases, but it should be understood that an act may be the direct and logical consequence of a delusion, and still be criminal. For instance, if I entertain the delusion that a certain person has injured me, I may be insane, but even if I am, I ought to be punished if I kill the individual who I imagine has done me a wrong.
A case illustrative of the view here expressed occurred a couple of years ago. The following outline of the circumstances was published at the time in the London Lancet.
The prisoner, Charles Anderson, was convicted of deliberately taking the life of James Marchin, one of the crew of the ship Raby Castle, on her homeward voyage from Penang. The circumstances of the case were of an extraordinary character. The prisoner, on the 28th of September, 1866, shipped in the vessel as an able seaman and carpenter. It ap. peared that during the voyage he gave many indications of an eccentric though weak intellect, of a perfectly harmless character. The deceased was a mulatto. The prisoner regarded him with apprehension, and was said to be under the delusion that Marchin was a Russian Fian. It appears that there is some extraordinary superstition among sailors, that the presence of a Russian Finn on board a vessel is likely to lead to the destruction of that vessel, together with the loss of the crew. The prisoner believed this. He was frequently heard to mutter to himself some incoherent expressions, to the effect that he could not