Third Congress of Criminal Anthropology
held in Brussels from 7 to 14 August 1892
The congress in Brussels marks a significant evolution in the development of this new science called criminal anthropology. I reported here the Congress of Paris of 1889 and its rather negative results. In Paris, the land had been cleared, so to speak, and had been subjected to severe criticism of the data of the school of Lombroso. It was convinced that the search for a criminal anomaly is illusory and that the physical signs of crime, anthropological and anatomical defects have the meanings assigned to them by Lombroso. In Brussels, the theory of criminality has not received the final blow. Many researchers have brought an imposing mass of documents and comments, made control in prisons, asylums, public institutions of all kinds, and all these documents have unanimously concluded the non-existence of a criminal type in the manner of the Italian school. Nevertheless the last word is said about this issue. We have always recognized that the appearance and the general habit of the body bearing the imprint of the ruling passions, and everyone knows that vice leaves deep scars in the organization and the external appearance of the individual who is a slave. We continue to examine the criminal characters, without believing it is true that this study could lead to the discovery of an anatomical or anthropological type of criminal. It was repeatedly said at the congress in Brussels that the Italian anthropological primary school died. It is probably not much of the early research of Lombroso and his pupils and their hypothetical theories can no longer sustain themselves. But the name of Lombroso, professor of Turin has not only succeeded, through the power of his genius he founded the Italian school Flashlight, which we deeply regret the failure of in Brussels, but mostly he plants the foundational seeds of the modern school, truly scientific, anthropological criminal who became aware of his strength and his future in Rome, Paris and Brussels. The organization of the congress in Brussels had been made with great order and intelligent issues have been chosen to debate and been prepared with utmost care the agenda of meetings and the methodical determination of a program after careful consideration; reports, the number of twenty-four, printed and distributed in advance to all members several weeks before the opening of the congress, nothing had been made to ensure the success of this major international meeting, which the succession has been broken, thanks to the work and dedication of the Organizing Committee and its distinguished Chairman, Dr. Semal. Sitting in the solemn opening Sunday, August 7, for three hours at the Palace of Academies, or crowded three to four hundred members, we heard a welcome speech by Mr. LeJeune, Minister of Justice, president of strictly limited: the congress, and a speech by Mr. Samal, which aptly describes the purpose of criminal anthropology. He recalled the apprehension and defiance raised by First Italian studies scholars, and he also reported the progress made since then, which every day of this new science will provide the most solid foundations of justice and truth. Matters brought to the agenda, which we mention only the principals can be grouped into four classes, according as they relate to anthropology itself, a psychology and criminal pathology, sociology, and finally, the judicial and administrative applications. At the first class the following issues have been several reports that were made in discussion: The basic principles of the school of criminal anthropology (Drill Dmitry, Moscow). Is there a criminal type anatomically determined? (negative responses from teachers and Houze VarNot, Brussels). The physical, intellectual and moral recognition among the criminal are of pathological origin (Jelgersma, Holland; Cuylits, Brussels). Signs of degeneration in normal women, insane and criminal (Naek, Leipzig). Craniometric measurements (Benedikt, Vienna; Houze, Brussels; Gaudenzi, Turin). Sense organs in women criminals (Ms. Tarnowsky, St. Petersburg). Several types of criminals (Van Deventer, Amsterdam). Preliminary questions in the comparative study of criminals and honest people (compared very remarkably by Mr. Manouvrier, professor at the School of Anthropology of Paris). The communication from Mr. Brouardel, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, on Critical Review of the criminal characters, unfortunately could not be made. We hope that the eminent professor will speak to us at the next Congress. The questions of psychology and criminal pathology were the second group, are no less important. The criminal morbid obsession (Magnan, chief medical officer of St. Anne Asylum in Paris). The obsession with murder (Dr. Ladame). The motive for crime in children and adolescents (Dr. Motet, in Paris). Premeditation obsessive (Dr. Semal). The primordial sentiments of criminals (Professor Lacassagne, Lyon). Functional etiology of crime (Dallemagne, Brussels). Criminal Suggestions (Benedikt, Voisin and Bévillon, Paris). This very hotly debated issue has not said its last word. The vitriolage (Paul Aubry of Paris). The influence of heredity on alcoholic insanity and crime (teacher Vaucleroy, Brussels), etc., etc.. Thirdly issues of criminal sociology. The crimes of crowds (Tarde, investigating judge Sarlat). This issue was reserved for the session Thursday afternoon, which was attended by the King of the Belgians. In this same meeting, Mr. Denis, rector of the University of Brussels, sent the Congress a major work dealing with the impact of crises on economic crime. Note again in this third group the report by Gauckler (Caen) on the relative importance of elements of social or anthropological elements in the determination of the penalty, the work of Mr. Coutagne (Lyon), influence of the professional crime, etc.. Finally, many issues relating to judicial or administrative application of criminal anthropology. An overview of these applications (von Liszt, professor at Halle, Benedikt). The action was taken against the incorrigible (van Hamel, prof. In Amsterdam; Alimena, prof. In Naples: Thiry, Liege a teacher; Maus, in Brussels) has primarily been the subject of lively discussions. Dr. Morel, the chief physician of the asylum Guislain, Ghent, trafficking of characters from the incorrigibility. The foundation of asylums, or rather special prisons or asylums for many of these offenders who are in the intermediate zone between crime and madness, in the words of Maudsley, who belong to neither a prison nor the insane asylum. The penal reforms required by the creation of these asylums will reach a dangerous class of criminals against whom the courts are often almost disarmed, recidivists. We also include specially in the last group a report by M. Garnier, chief physician of the prefecture of Paris, which caused a sensation. The learned reporter deals with the necessity of moral-psychological examination of certain offenders as a duty of care to their instruction. From 1886 to 1890, he acknowledged that 255 people convicted were suffering from mental alienation, often for several years, upon conviction, and he cites examples resulting from these appalling errors. Mr Garnier has advised all nations to emulate the example of Belgium by holding a special service for periodic inspection of prisons by alienists, in order to prevent these deplorable cases. This wish has been adopted by the congress. The congress has supported even by a wish to the proposal of Dr. Winkler, Utrecht, is the need to introduce the study of criminal anthropology in clinical psycho-pathology and make it mandatory for medical students and law. Everyone has been also agreed to ask the generalization reporting anthropometric A. Bertillon, which works so successfully in Geneva since June 12, 1891. Recalling this was about the excellent work of Dr. George M. Bertillon, brother of the creator of identification service. This work, entitled from the recovery of anthropometric signal through clothes: 1. provides magistrates and forensic doctors a new, ingenious system to recognize criminals. Professor Lacassagne, Lyon, has used this method in the famous case of Gouffe, trying to reconstruct the size, scope, etc.. of the victim, after action taken on pieces of clothing. We must keep silent about many other issues that he discussed in Brussels. But we must point out the poison capital congress, which was done during the day Tuesday, August 9. Mr. Dmitry Drill had summarized his report already mentioned on the grounded principles of the school of criminal anthropology. We expected a great battle between positivists and metaphysicians, tandisqu'au contrary we see strode to the podium during the two sceances the morning and afternoon, a distinguished series of speakers belonging to the most variety of congress, judges, classical school of lawyers, the young lawyers of the Brussels Bar, philosophers, doctors, anthropologists, and even a talented priest, intelligent and tolerant, the Abbe de Baets, Ghent, who all make a note of reconciliation between the two trends, classic anthropology comes to reach the common ground of scientific observation. Everyone recognizes that justice should no longer be blind. Themis must now tear a strip which is covering his eyes light up and the lights of science to make its decrees. Here is the victory that anthropology claims over the famous criminal. As rightly said by Dr. Semal in his closing speech; that previous congresses have been the engagement of the work of doctors and lawyers. In Brussels the honor of having spent their final union. We wish to add in conclusion that the next congress is to be held in Geneva in 1896, inspired by its glorious predecessors and in turn proclaims the motto of criminal anthropology: Justice by science and philanthropy.
Source: Journal De Geneve, September 24, 1892, Page 2
Note: It would appear that it was while at this particular Congress, held in Brussels in 1892, that Professor and Doctor Lacassagne, spoke at length in regards to the Jack the Ripper case, and in particular, the victims of the Ripper. Note that there was a code of silence imposed on the attendees of the Congress. I surmise that he also brought along the victim's crime scene photos in order for these professional men to forensically study the photographs. These photos would have been a fantastic visual aid as a part of his criminal anthropology lectures. Keep in mind that Prince Albert Victor had died of influenza earlier this year, as well (in January) and the Ripper case was considered officially closed.