Second international congress of criminal anthropology.
(held in Paris from 10 to 17 August 1889).
Professor Lombroso, Turin, published a few years ago, the first edition of his famous book, the Uomodelinquente, which was the starting point of the creation of the Italian school of criminal anthropology. We can consider the expansion has taken on this new science as one of the finest achievements of the Renaissance scientist whose development is so great among our neighbors since the unification of Italy. The idea of a congress which would be discussed all issues raised by studies of the young school was issued already in 1882, and if the reunion of this Congress did not take place in France, it was only a question of an epidemic of Asiatic cholera which then evaporates in the south of Europe. The following year, November 16, 1885, Rome opened the first congress of criminal anthropology, the same day as the third international prison congress. Can be found in the Acts of Congress of Rome, published by the care of Mr. Mayor, Secretary General, the work and discussions that took place in the many sessions of the two sections of biology and sociology of crime, among which were issues distributed before the Congress. It would be impossible to give here an overview, however brief, of the multiplicity and importance of this work. Suffice it to say that the authoritative voice became already heard in Rome to protest against the premature conclusion of some Italian criminologists. Professor Lacassagne, Lyon, among others, clearly rested opposed to the theory which makes man fatally a criminal under his own vicious organization. The criminal, "said Mr. Lacassagne, with anthropometric characters, does not seem to have a very low importance. All these characters can also be very honest with people. We can say that the second congress of criminal anthropology, which was just held in Paris has been the demonstration of this thesis. Mr. Dr. Manouvrier, professor at the School of Anthropology of Paris, Reporter of the second question: Are there any characters anatomical own criminals? subjected to a close criticism of the work of authors who claim to recognize a criminal after the anomalies of his organs. Mr. Manouvrier clearly demonstrated that there was not a criminal type, nor does it can be a monstrous type of man or pathological. The discussion that followed the report proved that no member of Congress admitted the absolute anatomic signs as specific traits of its various categories of criminals. The anomalies are frequently in releve Delique, more frequently perhaps than in normal men, they are nevertheless not at all special. They are lacking in many cases, even they are under imminent in many honest people. They therefore have no meaning by themselves. Their value is purely relative. They become important in a given case, if we compare them to other abnormalities, intellectual or moral, which characterize a human criminal, rather than the stigmata of degeneration. But then, in this case, anthropometric research provide valuable assistance in the investigation of offenders, becomes a precious item of information which may help to unmask a criminal nature, as some symptoms, insignificant in themselves, reveal the natural illness, when they are closer to other signs of disease. This is what Professor Brouardel brightly pointed to in the discussion. Adding that the statistics on the iris color or shape of nose and ears of the murderers and robbers do not provide any further clarity in these difficult issues, nor the computation of the percentage of the shape of their heads. M. Frigerio, Alexandria, concludes from his research that the thieves were very often the scent, and the blue iris is very common in certain criminals, while there is predominance of the brown iris in others. An Italian lawyer has argued that the radicals were brachycephalic (broad headed) and the Conservatives dolichocephalic (long headed)! These are the exaggerations inevitable of a young science, full of sap and enthusiasm, but it would be wrong to judge criminal anthropology after these statistical results that lend so much to ridicule. In summary, it is clear from these discussions that we are far from knowing the man offense. It will take much longer to collect observations and psychological anthologies of thousands of offenders, search their hereditary password and record their personal history before discussing results with a truly scientific character. That is why the Congress was associated with the wishes of Mr. Lacassagne that governments make it easier for physicians and anthropologists in the entrance prisons to study the detainees. Mr. Herbette, director of the prison administration of France, announced his willingness to give the necessary permissions, but it was understood at the same time the disadvantages that would, in some cases, that the condemned should become the object of too much curiosity. We can not analyze here the thirteen reports on issues of program, or twenty-four papers on various topics that were presented to meetings. We will limit ourselves to say that after the anatomical characters of the criminals, matters seem to have the most concern to the members of Congress are on crime and child has a moral responsibility. A very interesting conference on juvenile crime has been made at the asylum of Ste. Anne. M. Magnan, which provides children's cycle of service, suffering from deep moral degeneration in whom the physical scars were almost entirely absent, though M. Benedikt, Vienna, in some cases it pertained to irregularities in the conformation of the skull, and dental anomalies! We know that he regarded the child as a transitional state of criminality whose education does triumph in good natures. This is not the opinion of Mr. Taverne, Catania, who was charged with Mr. Magnan's report on the issue: From the childhood of criminals in his dealings with the natural predisposition to crime. The Tavern On coming to the conclusion that this predisposition results in children through a kind of lack of fitness education that is in fact very rare. This criterion seems errou because children rebellious to education can still provide criminal geniuses. In the latter case, children are instinctively vicious, Mr. Dr. Bévillon, editor of the Journal of Hypnotism, suggested trying the moral orthopedics by hypnotic suggestion, and we have already supported this proposal when its author did for the first time in 1886 in Nancy, at the reunion in this city of the French Association for the Advancement of Science. As a moral responsibility, it is outright denied by Mr. Ferri (Reporter of the question), professor of penal law in Rome and a member of Italian Parliament, who defends his thesis with conviction and warmth much talent. For Ferri, there is no difference to be established between the aliens and the criminal, not more responsible than any other criminal acts they commit. These assertions lead to a strong protest from Mr. Tarde judge in Sarlat, the eminenty-known criminologist, claiming the right to be indignant against the scoundrels responsible for their crimes, while fools, victims of their disease, are irresponsible and worthy of pity. It is likely that we will remain a long time with Mr. Tarde, even though it is not always as easy as people think to distinguish between a criminal and a lunatic. Unfortunately, the theory of M. Tarde on new foundations of moral responsibility, that the learned magistrate believes in finding the persistence of identity, no better than Mr. Ferri and never will assuredly an ingenious hypothesis, without practical applications. It is not the same of the new method of determining the identity by the individual reports of anthropometric Alphonse Bertillon. The demonstration of this method was done with great success at the courthouse in a conference at which Mr. Bertillon. The demonstration of this method was done with great success at the courthouse in a conference at which Mr. Bertillon had summoned the members of Congress. Within minutes a pickpocket stops the show has been recognized, despite the assumed name under which he hoped to hide his record was found by a member of Congress, after the indication of measurements taken on the spot, on the wrongdoer bewildered. He showed his photograph front and profile, and it was easy to check on the various parts of her body the presence of specific signs, scars, etc. .. whose enumeration accompanied the photograph. M. Bertillon we announced at that time the almost complete disappearance of pickpockets in Paris since the introduction of Reported Anthropometric. Once they have learned to know to their cost advantages of this system, they just make it longer. The Congress was formally opened August 10 at Trocadero, under the chairmanship of Mr. Thevenet, Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice. The next day we met at the Houses of liberal arts at the Champs de Mars to hear informative lectures of Messrs. Lombroso, Ferri and Manouvrier their shows skulls of murderers and other objects relating to the criminal anthropology. During the week, there were brilliant receptions at the dean of the faculty of medicine, Professor Brouardel, M. Thevenet, Keeper, and at Prince Roland Bonaparte, or was Mr. Edison and his wonderful phonograph. The city of Brussels has been designated as a place of reunion for the next congress to be held in 1892. Closing the congress in Rome, Professor Moleschott told his colleagues: You have not lost this guide, this compass is called the supreme morality. In all our meetings, I have not had a moment of satisfaction greater than when you applauded my words, whatever may be our opinion on the doctrines of Christianity, we are all agreed by considering its moral as the crown of humanity freed from slavery. Mr. Moleschott repeated at the Paris congress these noble words, which are particularly significant and have been widely acclaimed. The criminal anthropology can not be a more beautiful ideal.
Source: Journal De Geneve, September 14, 1889, Page 2
Watch this space for information on the 3rd International Congress, which was held in Brussels in 1892.