Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/879

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

show quite clearly that the opinion conveyed is a tentative one. The fact is, that I have here expressed myself in a way much more qualified than is usual with me; because I do not see how certain tendencies, which are apparently conflicting, will eventually work out. The purely ethical view of the matter does not obviously harmonize with the political and the politico-economical views; some of the apparent incongruities being of the kind indicated by your contributor. This is not the place to repeat my reasons for thinking that the present system will not be the ultimate system. Nor do I propose to consider the obstacles, doubtless great, which stand in the way of change. All which I wish here to point out is that my opinion is by no means a positive one; and, further, that I regard the question as one to be dealt with in the future rather than at present. These two things the quotations I have given above prove conclusively."


Value of the Evidence of Stone Implements.—Professor Putnam suggests in his report, as curator of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology, that it will not do to draw too large inferences from the finding of stone implements. That our recent Indians, he says, "used many exceedingly rude stone implements can not be questioned, and even today, among the Western tribes, stones picked up at random are used for various domestic purposes, and when a camp is changed many such are left, with other things which are of too little value to be taken away. From these facts it is evident that the ruder implements and utilized natural forms are not a certain evidence of the period of development of the people who made use of them. That we, in camping out, are so often forced to make use of stones, shells, bones, and withes of roots or bark, should be considered in drawing deductions from the rude character of any set of implements."


Responsibility of Criminal Lunatics.—Dr. S. S. Herrick, of the Louisiana State Board of Health, has published (New Orleans) a plea in favor of enforcing the responsibility of criminal lunatics, to the extent at least of putting them where they can do no harm. He starts with the obvious proposition that "the welfare of the sane members of society is vastly more important than the liberty, or even the life, of a dangerous lunatic," and expresses the belief that probably at least three sane persons are acquitted on the "insanity plea" for every insane criminal convicted. A vast amount of silly sentimentality, he continues, "is effused on criminals, both sane and insane; as if a few such worthless wretches deserve more consideration than the great mass of well-behaved and respectable people. It is indeed shocking to take the life of a madman, judicially or otherwise; but it is simply bad management to allow a lunatic to commit an act for which a sane person would be punished, and still worse to risk its repetition." Dr. Herrick objects to capital punishment for any class of criminals; but he advises that the insane be held amenable to punishment like other criminals, and be made to know that its infliction is sure. This will operate as a restraint upon them, and conduce to security of life and property and to the welfare of the insane. It may be alleged, adds Dr. Herrick, "that the restoration of penalties upon the insane is a relapse toward the barbarism of the past. The answer to this is, that by their immunity from punishment is demonstrated a deviation from progress, inasmuch as it practically increases crime and provokes violent and unlawful retaliation."


What is Adulteration.—What is the wrong of adulteration if the adulterant is not injurious is shown up by Professor Albert B. Prescott, of Ann Arbor, in one of the papers of the Michigan State Board of Health. Adulteration infringes upon the right of every person—unrestricted except by considerations of sanitary welfare and public police—to decide for himself what he shall eat. "An adulteration is a fraud, a deception, a counterfeit. It is systematically concealed from the purchaser. Its object is to induce people to accept an article which they would not accept for the use then wanted, if it were not for the deceit. To sell an admixture of coffee and chiccory, if the terms and proportions of the mixture are printed on the wrapper in a way to have them seen by the purchaser is not adulteration. To sell oleomargarine under its own distinctive name, with no credit bor-