quantity and quality of this change that the alienist determines the existence of insanity. Any specific act by itself does not necessarily afford evidence of insanity, for there is nothing an insane person can do that a sane person may not do.
The experienced alienist by thorough investigation determines as far as possible what has been the previous environment of a person alleged to be insane, and how he habitually reacted to it, and then makes a comparison between that and the manifestations which have been regarded as constituting evidence of insanity. When it is proved to the satisfaction of society that a given act was clearly the result of disease of the brain producing insanity, the individual is usually excused; but until the public becomes more generally informed regarding the bodily basis of mental manifestation, and comes to understand more clearly how and where to look for evidence of insanity, many will be held to be responsible who, according to the intention of the criminal laws, are not so; and some will be excused who are fairly responsible.
It is for physicians to determine the part played by bodily defect or disease in the commission of crime. Society in general must, with this information, determine the degree of responsibility and decide upon the punishment.
By DAVID STARR JORDAN,
PRESIDENT OF LELAND STANFORD JUNIOR UNIVERSITY.
- An Address to the Graduating Class in Leland Stanford Junior University.