Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development
Galton, Francis
42 Inquiries into Human Faculty 
among mankind : but I have seen a well-dressed child of 
about four years old poking its finger with a pleased innocent 
look into the bleeding carcase of a sheep hung up in a 
butcher’s shop, while its nurse was inside. 
The subject of character deserves more statistical investi¬ 
gation than it has yet received, and none have a better 
chance of doing it well than schoolmasters ; their oppor¬ 
tunities are indeed most enviable. It would be necessary 
to approach the subject wholly without prejudice, as a pure 
matter of observation, just as if the children were the fauna 
and flora of hitherto undescribed species in an entirely new 
Criminals and the Insane. 
Criminality, though not very various in its development, 
is extremely complex in its origin ; nevertheless certain 
general conclusions are arrived at by the best writers on the 
subject, among whom Prosper Despine is one of the most 
instructive. The ideal criminal has marked peculiarities of 
character : his conscience is almost deficient, his instincts 
are vicious, his power of self-control is very weak, and he 
usually detests continuous labour. The absence of self- 
control is due to ungovernable temper, to passion, or to 
mere imbecility, and the conditions that determine the 
particular description of crime are the character of the 
instincts and of the temptation. 
The deficiency of conscience in criminals, as shown by 
the absence of genuine remorse for their guilt, astonishes all 
who first become familiar with the details of prison life. 
Scenes of heartrending despair are hardly ever witnessed 
among prisoners ; their sleep is broken by no uneasy dreams 
-—on the contrary, it is easy and sound; they have also 
excellent appetites. But hypocrisy is a very common 
vice ; and all my information agrees as to the utter untruth¬ 
fulness of criminals, however plausible their statements 
may be. 
We must guard ourselves against looking upon vicious 
instincts as perversions, inasmuch as they may be strictly in 
accordance with the healthy nature of the man, and, being 
transmissible by inheritance, may become the normal charac¬ 
teristics of a healthy race, just as the sheep-dog, the retriever,


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