We believe that we correctly represent the views of the main body of the Association in saying that the most reasonable course to follow in reference to the above report was that adopted, namely, the middle coarse. Before lending the weight of its authority to a decision upon a matter so important, the Association would justifiably desire that a report upon that matter, adequately expressing the opinion of the Committee concerned in its compilation, should be in the hands of members for full consideration. A proposal to this effect may be said to be the more reasonable, since the main opposition to the finding of the Committee was manifested, not from without, but by members of the Committee itself. The summary rejection of the report, even though the conclusions reached in it be contrary to the expectations of many, would have been an ungenerous return for the patient labour spent upon it by its compilers, whose judgment is at all times deserving of our fullest consideration. At the same time, the ratification of the report involves a change of front on the part of the Association, which, if it is to take place, should be executed in no uncertain manner. It does not appear to us appropriate at the present juncture to comment at length on the subject of the report. We content ourselves with the observation that there is evidently serious matter for discussion when the report declares that, in a criminal trial in which the question of the insanity of the offender is involved, “from the beginning to the end of the proceedings care is taken that justice should be done;” whilst, on the other hand, we find in the discussion upon criminal responsibility at the British Medical Association meeting in August last, strong opinions expressed, to the effect that, in a very great number of cases, injustice is certainly done. Clearly, a greater unanimity of opinion on such a matter is desirable, in the first place; if it be generally agreed that such injustice does obtain, the next step will be to discuss the propriety of attempting to rectify the evil by any more active method than that in operation, namely, the pressure of educated public opinion, as guided by medical science. Already the report has been discussed at some of the divisional meetings, and at the next annual meeting it will occupy an important place on the agenda paper. It is much to be hoped that a thoroughly representative expression of the present opinion of the Association in regard to this matter may then be obtained, and a definite system formulated for impressing this opinion on the public and the Legislature.
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