Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/256

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244
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

large, weighing fifty-four ounces, which is five ounces above the average. "The membranes and gray matter were found in a healthy state, and the convolutions were perfect. An incision disclosed no softening, and a critical examination failed to discover any organic malformation or disease." And it was therefore the opinion of the examiners that there was nothing in the organ to indicate insanity. Of this it may be said: 1. That a hurried examination, under such circumstances, of so delicate and complex an organ, and where the indications of morbidity are often most obscure, is not in the highest degree trustworthy; 2. That insanity may exist where dissection cannot detect the evidence of it in the cerebral tissues, as where it is due to a morbid condition of the blood; 3. If profound disease had been discovered in the organ, it would not have been held to prove insanity, and we should have been reminded of those cases in which extensive brain-disease has coexisted with entire sanity. We should have been further assured that the proof of insanity is not in the disclosures of the scalpel, but in the manifestations of conduct. The state of public feeling and intelligence is well indicated by the tone of some of the newspapers, which insist that maniacal murderers may just as well be hanged and got out of the way as other murderers. One of them says: "Had Waltz been a resident of this city he would not have been hanged, probably, but would have escaped on the plea of insanity. Fortunately, however, he is hanged and well out of the way; and we doubt not that society, in the light of such facts as his crime presents, will eventually come to the view that it must hang all murderers, sane or insane." In such a case, as another morning paper remarks, "if the maniac is hanged, it is highly desirable that he should be hanged as a maniac, so that the community and the asylums may know how they stand in relation to each other." An excellent suggestion, which might be carried out by doing this branch of the business in the State asylums for the benefit of the lunatics.

 

 

There has been much inquiry in this country for a good portrait of Herbert Spencer, and preparations have been, for some time, in progress to furnish it. Mr. Spencer was requested to sit for an oil-painting, and to select his artist for the work. He chose Mr. W. H. Burgess, of London, one of the greatest masters of expression in our time, and the work produced is regarded by Mr. Spencer, and by those who know him, as a remarkable success in portraiture. The portrait, which is now on exhibition at the Academy, has been, for several months, in the hands of H. B. Hall, jr., for the production of a large steel engraving suitable for framing. The print is an excellent likeness and an elegant work of art, and it will be the picture by which Mr. Spencer will be known to the future. A limited number of artist's proofs have been taken on fine India paper, price ten dollars, and those who wish to possess themselves of one of these impressions may do so by applying to the editor of The Popular Science Monthly.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

The Land of the White Elephant. Sights and Scenes in Southern Asia. A Personal Narrative of Travel and Adventure in Farther India, embracing the Countries of Burma, Siam, Cambodia, and Cochin-China (1871, '72). By Frank Vincent, Jr. 316 pp. Price, $3.50. Harper & Brothers, New York.

The perversity by which language becomes turned to the conveyance of false ideas seems to be as universal as it is inveterate: near home, the June magazines are published in May, and journals are issued once a quarter, while in Farther India the white elephant is as "black as a coal,"