The spiritualist was and still is the orthodox criminal jurisprudent. He believes in original sin, and when he sees a crime attributes its commission to the inherent wickedness of its author. The médecin-légiste looks first, not at the crime, but at its author, and brings an open mind to bear upon his inquiry into the reason for so strange thing having been committed. The former, therefore, starts with the assumption that each offender is responsible, and excuses him only upon pressure, as in the clear case of the lunatic, the child, and the idiot, when the evidence of irresponsibility is overwhelming, even to his prejudiced eye. On the other hand, the horizon of the man of science is less bounded and grows wider year by year. He knows the moral disabilities of the general paralytic in the first stage, of the epileptic and of the true degenerate, and he is usually able to recognise their respective disorders. Magnan and Serieux tell us that between 1885 and 1890, seventy-six general paralytics were transferred from prison to the Asylum of St. Anne within a very short time of their condemnation by criminal courts. Monod (Conseil Supérieur de l'Assistance Publique, fascicule 47) says that within the same period about 700 persons were sent to prison in France who were subsequently received into French asylums, and who were, in his opinion, undoubtedly irresponsible at the time of the commission of the offence for which they were severally condemned.
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