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Self-innocence as to Crime.-A larger number of prisoners than would be supposed declare that they are innocent of the crime with which they have been charged, and for which they have been sentenced. Some, possibly, have grounds for the assertion: they may have been altogether innocent, as cases do occur now and again in which a free pardon is granted to convicts in consequence of after-proof, or they may not have been guilty to the full of the charge which had been proven against them. In some cases, indeed, the memory may fail to recall the commission of a crime, as when the evil was done during intoxication. But usually there is a colouring or distortion of facts and circumstances in the imagination of the prisoner. The first approach to the line of thought which ends in assertions of this sort appears to lie in an extenuation in their own minds) of their crime. To this are added the plausible arguments and proofs of innocence brought forward by the “Counsel for the defence.” The prisoners worry themselves about being convicted on such evidence (possibly circumstantial) as was brought against them; they believe they had no right to be convicted on it; hence that their conviction was unwarranted and unjustifiable; and, if so, that they are suffering innocently. In such a groove as this are their thoughts liable to run, and as these ideas continue onesided and unanswered the conclusions reached become more or less established. In not a few cases where the mind becomes disturbed does this innocence of theirs become the “ burden of their lay,” and as a result one of two conditions is apt to follow : the prisoner either becomes moping and depressed because he has been unjustly dealt with, or else he becomes defiant and insubordinate, as having done nothing for which he should be treated as a prisoner, and threatens 10 force his way out even with violence. When speaking of prison delusions we saw how one set of them arose out of ideas as to unjust conviction and sentence. Selfinnocence as to crime is usually nothing more than the ruling idea by which the mental depression is brought about or characterised; but from the frequency of its occurrence it may fairly be claimed as a subsidiary form of melancholy in connection with morbid states of mind occurring among prisoners. The condition is more apt to appear among those who have been unused to a criminal life.

As bearing upon some of the points we have been considering, the two following extracts from statements made by prisoners will serve to illustrate the difficulty there is in arriving at any exact conclusion as to the state of mind in

the case of some criminals, W. S. makes the following statement:

I was convicted on my own confession of the crime of incendary (sic.), which confession I made while in a deranged state of mind, and at the time was not believed at first, and would not have been eventually but by the time came for my trial I was so far recovered, and they not being able to find out the true cause—or author-of the crime, I was considered as guilty, but I declare, as I would before the Eternal Judge of all, that I am innocient (sic), entirely innocient, of the crime, and I am confident that if, as I humbly pray may be done, investigation is made, my innocience will be proved, as there was and is no evidence against me but my own words ; it is not so much for what mitigation may be made me that I earnestly desire my innocience to be proved ; for, besides that, I have done nearly six years out of seven, the period of my sentence. I am in such an imbecile state of mind that I am not fit and have no desire to be at large, but it is for the sake of my friends, who feel and consider the guilt of the crime the greatest affliction that could be inflicted upon them. Also, in 1869, I charged myself with the crime of murder, and although there is no evidence of my innocience, but that I afterwards denied it, or of my guilt, any more than in the crime of incendary, yet there is no notice taken of it, although I am as guiltless of one as the other; if it is thought that I am not fit to be at large, I would willingly endure to be kept in confinement for the remainder of my life, if my innocience may but be proved, and made known.

This man was often very troublesome as a prisoner and even violent. He had a certain impertinent sort of taciturnity in his manner, but there was nothing of the imbecile about him. The other case shows a similar run of idea in an elderly prisoner, who had been convicted of a similar offence, arson, but whose conduct was good in every way. He had a quiet, subdued manner about him, and talked rationally and coherently on all subjects, with the exception of religion and Scripture. He was full of exaggerated and deluded ideas on the latter topics, for when he began with them there was no end to his talk. The following statement was made by J. K. :

J. K., having now completed two years' imprisonment, again entreats the favour of a reconsideration of the circumstances connected with the crime for which I am sentenced to five years' penal servitude, assured that the great searcher of hearts will direct to a righteous decision, whereby the Law shall be honoured by a remission of my sentence, or in my retention to fulfil its demands. Having described already the principal facts which led to so heinous a crime, a repetition will be unnecessary, save that my previous obedience to the law, my selfaccusation, and the imbecility of mind, from which I had been suffering for months, are the only solicitations I have to offer for merciful consideration (except one), which, although of the most painful nature, and with the utmost repugnance, I disclose; yet for the justification of those, my friends, who may have pleaded a remission of my sentence upon the ground of temporary insanity, and as a proof that my mind was reduced to the lowest state of wretchedness, I am constrained to discover that which, but for the intervention of a merciful God, must have proved my Eternal ruin. About two months previous to my apprehension, I took my only dear little daughter, whom I loved to excess, from London Bridge to Battersea Pier by steamboat, with the awful intention of drowning both myself and ny child, but an invisible hand was near, Whose power alone is infinite to save. Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the Wisdom and the Love of God, how unsearchable are bis judgment, and his ways past finding out. What shall I render unto Thee, O Lord, for such a mighty deliverance, for thou hast plucked me as a brand from the Eternal burning ; Thou hast rescued my soul from the lowest Hell. Give me grace henceforth to devote the remnant of my days to thy service. And so on for a foolscap page without returning to the subject in hand. These two independent statements show some strange coincidences in the circumstances of the cases, and in the train of thought which occupied the minds of the prisoners. Both were convicted of arson, both allude to selfaccusation, both claim to be mentally weak, both refer to homicidal propensities (real or fanciful), and both plead the feelings of their friends, and request a re-consideration of their case on grounds of the vagnest description. Both prisoners continue to do the ordinary out-door prison work, and neither required to be exempted from discipline on mental grounds. The cases form a curious collateral psychical puzzle.

(To be continued.)

Notes in regard to the Prevalence of Insanity and other

Nervous Diseases in China. By GEORGE SHEARER, M.D.,

Liverpool. The following rough notes are compiled chiefly from the reports of the various Mission Hospitals established throughout China, and the Health Returns of the Treaty Ports, published under the auspices of the Chinese Customs Service. It is a very wide question, and our materials are scanty.

I am not aware of the existence of any institution in China of the nature of an asylum for the insane. Fatuous people are occasionally met with in out-of-the-way country places, and cases of mania, when they occur, are treated with iron handcuffs and hempen rope, and tied up like wild beasts till the fit is over, or nature sinks under the strain. As Dr. Lockhart remarks, “ The condition of the insane in a country like China, where there are no asylums, is truly pitiable.” A certain, though I must believe an inconsiderable, number of cases of lunacy and insanity are seen year and year at each of the various Mission Hospitals throughout the Empire, and these have been in some instances of so striking a character as to have impressed the opinion on the minds of some physicians that mental maladies are not less prevalent amongst the Chinese than they are amongst Europeans. Undoubtedly suicides (mostly by opium) are notoriously frequent, and from causes (such as disappointed love, injured pride, sudden fear) deemed ridiculous amongst Europeans. Yet my impression is very strong that the proportion of cases requiring restraint, surveillance, and, generally speaking, the care of an asylum, is infinitely smaller than we find in any part of England or Scotland. The statistical notes which follow will, I think, bear me out in this statement:- Diseases of the general nervous system are by no means infrequent amongst the Chinese, but cases of alienation of mind are comparatively few. Of course, if we include cases of anæsthesia and leprosy under diseases of the nervous system, we shall increase the former class; and if we include the suicides or attempted suicides by opium-poisoning, drowning, &c., under the latter head, we shall swell the number of insane cases. I have so arranged them in the abstracts which follow, and yet the proportion will be found to fall far below what might be looked for in European communities. Two causes in chief operate towards this result.

1st.-The Natural Character of the People. The Chinaman is naturally a smooth, placid, unmartial, steady, easy-going, unexcitable being, with a large share of common sense, and self-control, and philosophy" to bear the ills of life.” The mass of the population is engaged in agricultural pursuits, and leads a life of arcadian peace and felicity. Amongst business men there is nothing like the same jealous competition and rivalry, sharp practice and under-selling, which occur amongst European merchants and tradesmen; trade prices being regulated by guilds and corporations. Nor is there the same “living for appearances,' and “beyond one's means," so common in England. The

style of living even on the part of wealthy merchants is simple and unpretentious, so that when calamity overtakes them the fall from the pinnacle of fortune is much less precipitous and injurious to one's pride and self-respect than it would be with us.

He that is low need fear no fall.

They do everything quietly and methodically, without the slightest exertion or fuss. They have few ups and downs in their world. Fate regulates everything, and they are content with their lot. If they have wealth, they use it; if none, they do without it. They live on in one regular routine. Worry is unknown. None of the causes, such as competition in business, speculation, religious controversy, and party politics, which in the west undermine health and increase the mortality, are found here. General indolence and ease, disinclination to be troubled about matters, and a desire to let things take their course, trusting that all will come right, are their characteristics. This state of feeling, partly inculcated by their various religions, and occasioned partly by the climate, conduces most effectively to the permanence of their institutions, and indisposes them for any changes in their customs.

2nd.-Their Temperate and Abstemious Habits. The Chinese are a sober, temperate people. One physician writes—“During eight years' residence in Pekin, I have seen but two cases of intoxication.” Another, “ During six years' residence in Hankow I have seen but two cases of intoxication and one of drunkard's liver.” Another, “During seven years' connexion with a public hospital I saw but eight cases of intemperance.” Yet a good deal of raw coarse spirits, or “shamshoo," is consumed, distilled from the Sorghum, or Barbadoes Millet, and containing a large quantity of fusel oil, which renders it impossible to be drunk in large quantities. Tea is the only beverage which is not used in moderatim, and to this circumstance is attributed the general prevalence of dyspeptic and gastric disorders. A mild, native tobacco is commonly smoked by men and women by means of the waterpipe, and within the last forty years the opium-pipe has become the indispensable and baneful luxury of an enormous and growing proportion of the population. How far the habit of opium smoking tells in the development of mental

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