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Publication information
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Source: The Criminal
Source type: book
Document type: appendix
Document title: “Additional Notes to Fourth Edition” [appendix E]
Author(s): Ellis, Havelock
Edition: Fourth edition, revised and enlarged
Publisher: Walter Scott Publishing Co., Ltd.
Place of publication: London, England
Year of publication: 1913
Pagination: 412-32 (excerpt below includes only pages 412-17)

 
Citation
Ellis, Havelock. “Additional Notes to Fourth Edition” [appendix E]. The Criminal. 4th ed., rev. and enlarged. London: Walter Scott Publishing, 1913: pp. 412-32.
 
Transcription
excerpt of appendix
 
Keywords
anarchism; assassins; anarchists; Sante Geronimo Caserio; Leon Czolgosz; Leon Czolgosz (mental health); Ravachol.
 
Named persons
Paul Aubry; Alexandre Bérard; Constancio Bernaldo de Quirós; J. Bourdeau; Carlo Cafiero; Antonio Cánovas del Castillo; Marie François Sadi Carnot; Sante Geronimo Caserio; Eugenio Cuello Calón; Leon Czolgosz; René Garraud; Joseph Gouzer [in notes]; J. A. van Hamel; Augustin Frédéric Hamon; Victor Hugo; Humbert I; Jesus Christ; Richard von Krafft-Ebing; Alexandre Lacassagne; Carlos F. MacDonald [misspelled below]; Errico Malatesta; William McKinley; Louis Proal; M. Raux; Ravachol; Emmanuel Régis; Léon Say; Ettore Sernicoli; Edward A. Spitzka; Edward C. Spitzka; Eugene S. Talbot; Curzon Wyllie.
 
Notes

The excerpted appendix (below) includes the following footnote. Click on the asterisk preceding the footnote to navigate to the location in the text.

* That the pseudo-anarchist is acting in opposition to the principles of anarchism has been pointed out by J. Gouzer (“Psychologie de l’Anarchiste,” Archives d’Anthropologie Criminelle, 1894); it is not altruism, or even their own personal misery, which impels these men; “it is their idleness and their appetites which lead them to put forth anarchistic principles as a method of exploitation, and, if need be, of defence.” (p. 413)

The identity of Mendel (below) cannot be determined. Possibly it is Emanuel Mendel.

From title page: With 40 Illustrations.
 
Document

 

Additional Notes to Fourth Edition [excerpt]

     Page 2. The Regenticide.—During recent years a particular variety of political offender has in all civilised countries acquired peculiar importance: the anarchist who kills a king, governor, or political leader, and is termed a regicide, or, more comprehensively, a magnicide or regenticide. Such regenticides have, since the present book was first published, been responsible for a long series of murders: notably, President Carnot in France, President McKinley in the United States, King Humbert in Italy, Canovas in Spain. The murder of Sir Curzon Wyllie in England scarcely belongs to the same class; it may be said to be intermediate between the old class of political crime and the new class of so-called anarchist crime; resembling the former in being inspired by ideas of national liberation rather than of a new social order, and resembling the latter by its method of striking at a person whose death merely calls attention to the end desired, and by no means contributes to the attainment of that end.
     There is some difference of opinion as to whether the regenticides are properly classed among political offenders. They are so classed by Proal, Sernicoli and others. But some, like Krafft-Ebing, Mendel, Régis, and Talbot, consider that they very frequently belong to the class of insane criminals. (See, e.g. Régis, Les Régicides dans l’Histoire et dans le Present; E. S. Talbot, “Degeneracy and Political Assassination,” Medicine, December, 1901; and, in opposition to this view, E. C. Spitzka, “A Question of Figures,” Alienist and Neurologist, April and August, 1902; and by the same author, “Remarks on the Czolgosz Case,” Medical Critic, January 1902.) Others, again, like Van Hamel, Aubry, and Bérard, class the regenticides with common law criminals, and their crime with ordinary murder. There are still others, like Garraud, who place the regenticides in a class by themselves.
     On a question of classification, concerning which men who speak with authority differ so widely, it is evidently impossible to decide with complete assurance. It may be said, however, that it is difficult to accept either of the two extreme views. However frequently insanity may be found among regenticides [412][413] some of the most typical regenticides have certainly not been insane in any technical sense. Nor, at the other end, is it possible to identify the regenticide with the ordinary criminal. The latter, however false his calculations may be, is moved by self-interest; he reckons that he has a fair chance of personal gain. But the regenticide is perfectly well aware that—putting aside posthumous fame or infamy—he has no chance of personal gain; he deliberately sacrifices his life for the sake of an ideal, for what he believes is for the benefit of humanity; this alone seems to place him entirely apart from the criminal against the common law. It would seem that we must either place the regenticides in the class of political offenders, in which case our conception of that class must be somewhat modified or enlarged, or else we must regard them as constituting an allied but distinct class.
     Regenticides are usually considered to be anarchists, and frequently claim to be such. It is necessary to understand the relationship of the regenticide to the anarchist. The common law offender frequently claims to be an anarchist; he regards anarchism as a plausible philosophical excuse for his exploits. But his claim is sufficiently refuted by the fact that his crimes have an obvious motive in purposes of gain.* As a matter of fact there are very few anarchists among common law offenders, even in regions where anarchism abounds (see ante, p. 190). Crimes of violence following robbery, and usually committed merely in self-defence, have also no connection with anarchism, though the perpetrators are often popularly termed “anarchists.” The genuine anarchist attacks rulers or leaders in the social state; far from seeking personal gain he knows that he is almost certainly devoting his own life to the cause he has at heart, and he seeks to justify his act by regarding it as a protest against a social system which is responsible for an incalculable amount of misery and death. No doubt it may be maintained that such acts of violence and such a standpoint are not strictly compatible with anarchism; the anarchist holds that the evils of the present social state are due to its violence and its forcible suppression of spontaneous social activity. Therefore by adopting the method of assassination he is accepting in its very worst form the evil he condemns. It has to be recognised, however, that the declarations of certain anarchist leaders may be plausibly [413][414] interpreted as justifying assassination. This has been the case ever since in 1876 Cafiero and Malatesta proclaimed the desirability of propaganda by act, in order to affirm the principle of anarchism and to spread abroad a knowledge of the natural laws of social life. (This has, for instance, been set forth in a temperate article by Eugenio Calon on “La Delincuencia Anarquista” in La Lectura of Madrid, July 1908.) It was inevitable that ignorant and hot-headed youths—often of abnormal temperament to start with, and roused to feverish enthusiasm by the spectacle of social misery and contact with an environment of revolt—should be fatally driven to acts of violence, which seem to them likely to speed on the regeneration of the world as well as to ensure a martyr’s crown.
     The modern regenticide in his most typical aspects is well represented by Caserio, the murderer of President Carnot, and Czolgosz, the murderer of President McKinley.
     Caserio was minutely investigated by Dr. Lacassagne, who in 1894 published a book about him which has passed through several editions (also Archives d’Anthropologie Criminelle, 1894); his behaviour in prison has been described in detail by M. Raux, the honorary director of the prison (“Les Actes, les Attitudes et le Correspondence de Caserio en Prison,” Archives d’Anthropologie Criminelle, 1903, pp. 465-506). Régis has pointed out that regenticides are usually young; Caserio was only twenty-one. His father, otherwise an ordinary working man, seems at one time to have been epileptic, and it was said that an uncle was insane. Caserio’s mother seems to have been a woman of good heart and fine feelings. Caserio had little education, and his intelligence, though quick, was superficial; he was a baker’s assistant, and was dismissed shortly before his crime. His predominant quality was character; he had a strong will, with great energy and persistence. He was emotional, with ready sympathy; as a child, he said, he could not even kill a fly. If the President’s mild eyes had been fixed on him before, instead of after, he struck him, the dagger would have fallen from his hand. But the thought of human suffering always drove Caserio to frenzy, and his eyes would become inflamed with savage anger. From the age of fourteen he had often been moved to tears by the spectacle of the drudgery to which even the children of the poor are subjected in Italy in the endeavour to earn a miserable wage. Victor Hugo, on account of his pictures of suffering, was Caserio’s favourite author. He thus offered a favourable soil for the crudest anarchistic ideas to germinate in. He was a fanatic, says Raux, “une espèce d’illuminé.” Lacassagne calls him “un fanatique assassin,” and thinks he cannot altogether be ranged among the regicides as understood by Régis. This is no doubt correct, since Régis regards the regicide as necessarily in some degree insane. [414][415] There were no signs of insanity in Caserio, and even stigmata of degeneration were few and slight. He was not epileptic, and he had no psychic anomalies or defects. In appearance, Caserio was rather tall, with mild, frank eyes of greenish tint; the Italian type was not specially marked. His lips were thick, but he had an open and almost constant smile. On the whole, it was a not unintelligent but yet not significant face. He was not loquacious, but was always prepared to defend his opinions and his crime. In the letters he wrote from prison he constantly sets forth his feelings and ideas, and reaffirms his own attitude. The day before his execution he wrote in a letter to his sister: “Do not believe those who tell you that I am an assassin, but remember that it is for a great ideal that I am dying.” He went docilely to execution, though trembling slightly. “Courage, camarades, vive l’anarchie!” were his last words beneath the knife of the guillotine.
     The reliable information concerning the personality of Czolgosz is small but authoritative, consisting of a psychiatrical investigation by Dr. Carlos F. Macdonald and a report of the post-mortem examination by Professor E. A. Spitzka (“The Trial, Execution, Autopsy, and Mental Status of Leon F. Czolgosz,” American Journal of Insanity, No. 3, 1902). It should be said that Dr. Macdonald’s mental examination was made at the wish of both prosecution and defence, who desired to have the opinion of an independent expert. Czolgosz was at this time twenty-eight years of age, unmarried, a labourer by occupation, born in Michigan of Polish parents. He was of medium height, blue-eyed, with light curly brown hair. He was mild-mannered and good-looking, with a pleasing expression of countenance which is noted alike by Macdonald and Spitzka, and distinctly confirmed by his photographs. His head and face were singularly symmetrical, and his body generally was almost entirely devoid of any stigmata of degeneration. Nor were there any tremours, inequality of pupils, abnormal reflexes, or other indications of a disordered nervous system. Czolgosz spoke little, but he was ready to answer questions; and though his manner was quiet his answers were firm. He showed no signs of exaltation, and made no claim to any “mission.” He mere said that he had “done his duty,” for McKinley was “an enemy of the good people—the good working people,” and he was not sorry. He declared himself an Anarchist, and said that he had associated with Anarchists and studied their doctrine. He met his death by electricity calmly and courageously, with defiant determination. All five of the mental experts who examined Czolgosz were of opinion that he was, without question, absolutely sane. The careful post-mortem examination by Professor E. A. Spitzka revealed nothing inconsistent with this conclusion. Czolgosz’s body was normal, healthy, [415][416] well proportioned, and well nourished, though not coarsely developed. The skull was sub-brachycephalic, as would be expected in a Pole, and not more than normally asymmetrical. The brain was entirely healthy and normal, and its individual peculiarities—such as are found in all brains—were not specially remarkable or significant. Its weight (1415 grs.) was a little over the average, but the two halves showed nothing of the special lack of symmetry commonly found in highly-endowed individuals. On the other hand, it showed no marked evidence of arrested development or atavistic anomalies.
     In order to realise the distinct physiognomy of the true anarchist criminal it is only necessary to place him beside the ordinary criminal, even when the latter affects the airs of the anarchist. A typical example of this latter class is furnished by Ravachol, and we have the advantage of possessing a detailed picture of his last days by the same director, M. Raux, who has described Caserio, a picture which is all the more instructive because M. Raux himself is content to regard Ravachol as an anarchist, even in the extreme degree. (Raux, “Étude Psychologique de Ravachol,” Archives d’Anthropologie Criminelle, 15th Sept. 1903.) Ravachol, who was of Prussian origin (his real name was Königstein), though born in France, was the son of an artisan who drank and who ran away from his wife with another woman. Young Ravachol, after being put to various occupations, embarked on a career of crime, was a coiner, a smuggler, etc., and finally, with the aid of accomplices, committed a series of murders on old people (one ninety-two years of age) who were suspected of having accumulated in their dwellings a little horde of money. These crimes finally brought him to the scaffold at the age of thirty-two. In all respects Ravachol’s crimes were in absolute contrast to the acts of a genuine anarchist; he was not a regenticide; he was actuated entirely by self-interest and laziness; he was prepared to commit any atrocity in order to escape detection or arrest, and far from feeling sympathy with the poor and suffering he was himself ready to rob them, and when still a youth he had decamped with the funds of a small circle of working-men of whom he had been made treasurer. Yet he prated volubly of his “political principles,” had actually frequented the society of anarchists, and even to the last was regarded by many anarchists as a “comrade.” The saddest and most disquieting feature of the trial of Ravachol consisted in the crass ignorance and stupidity of those who acclaimed him as a hero; many letters of admiration were sent to him hinting at wild schemes for saving him from prison or revenging his fate; in more than one of these letters he was compared to Christ. In reality Ravachol was the type of the born-criminal or moral imbecile, a brutal, insolent, and cynical bully, whose character was [416][417] clearly written on his face. As happens with such men, his ferocity was unsupported by courage, and his blatant pretension forsook him in the end. He was dragged ignominiously to the guillotine in a state of abject terror. There was nothing here of the quiet and determined courage of Czolgosz, convinced even to the end that he had merely “done my duty.”
     The investigation of two such typical and yet unlike regenticides as Caserio and Czolgosz clearly shows that they are absolutely distinct alike from the insane group of criminals and from ordinary criminals against the common law. In typical cases, though not in all cases, the regenticide is sane, though imperfectly educated; he has no delusions, though he often over-rates the influence of his act in modifying social conditions. He not only shares the ordinary feelings of humanity, but he possesses them in an exaggerated degree. It is the very excess of his sympathetic sensibilities that impels him to his deed of violence. He execrates the few because he loves the many. The spectacle of the contrast between the poverty and suffering of the many and the luxury and heartlessness of the few arouses in his youthful and uncultivated brain the conviction that the present social system must be destroyed to give way to a better. It thus comes about that in the regenticide sanguinary violence is allied to the most exalted and self-sacrificing altruism. (This view of Anarchistic crime has been well set forth by the Spanish criminologist, Bernaldo de Quirós, in Las Nuevas Teorias de la Criminalidad, 1908, pp. 57, 221 et seq., and Hamon, in his instructive work, Psychologie l’Anarchiste Socialiste, well shows the anarchist’s hyperæsthetic altruism.) He is, as Bourdeau puts it (art. “Anarchie,” Say’s Nouveau Dictionnaire d’Economie Politique), a “philanthropic assassin.” He is a social fanatic who slays in order to save, just as the religious fanatics of old, the Torquemadas and others, similarly slew men’s bodies in order to save men’s souls. This attitude is not essentially insane or inhuman, though it is sufficiently abnormal to be easily allied with insanity. It most easily arises in young, narrow, and ill-trained minds, unable to see that no individual, however highly placed, is a necessary prop of the present social system, and that in any case it is useless to oppose violence to violence. In many cases, probably, if these regenticidal youths could be preserved from violence for a few years longer, until their knowledge increased and their vision of life widened, they would become respectable and even estimable members of the social state they once wished to destroy.

 

 


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