Source: Westminster Review
Source type: magazine
Document type: book review column
Document title: “Contemporary Literature”
Date of publication: April 1902
Volume number: 157
Issue number: 4
Pagination: 457-76 (excerpt below includes only page 464)
|“Contemporary Literature.” Westminster Review Apr. 1902 v157n4: pp. 457-76.|
|book reviews (Epilepsy, Responsibility and the Czolgosz Case).|
|J. Sanderson Christison; William McKinley.|
A footnote for this review (below) reads as follows: Epilepsy, Responsibility, and the Czolgosz Case. By Dr. Sanderson Christison. Chicago: Meng Publishing Co. (p. 464).
The excerpt below appears in a subsection of the review column titled “Medical” (pp. 463-65).
Contemporary Literature [excerpt]
It was almost inevitable that the opinion of the experts that the assassin of President McKinley was “sane and responsible” should be called in question. In all such cases there are difficulties, and those who look for mathematical proofs will never solve their doubts. Dr. Sanderson Christison criticises the official report, and after consideration of the assassin’s history and the circumstances of his crime, comes to the conclusion that he was not responsible. Among other points he instances the “moral chaos” of the man in declaring that he “did not believe in government, nor in law, nor in marriage, nor in God;” also the “insane egotism” which led him to repeat, “I done my duty.” These and similar points will probably not disturb the convictions of those who have all along held the opposite view. Nor will the further remark that the declaration of the experts “quite ignores the theory of evolution.” The notion that men are to be pronounced sane or insane according to an examiner’s views of the theory of evolution is not likely to commend itself to an average jury, or even to a committee of alienists. In the absence of gross changes of brain structure it is always impossible to predicate sanity or insanity on anatomical considerations. The fact that the post-mortem examination revealed no departure from the normal is therefore of no significance in this inquiry.