The last category is that of criminals through an impulse of passion, not anti-social but susceptible of excuse, such as love, honour, and the like.
For these individuals all punishment is clearly useless, at any rate as a psychological counteraction of crime, for the very conditions of the psychological convulsion which caused them to offend precludes any deterrent influence in a legal menace.
I therefore believe that in typical cases of criminals of passion, where there is no clear demand for mental treatment in a criminal lunatic asylum, imprisonment is of no use whatever. Strict reparation of damage will suffice to punish them, whilst they are punished already by genuine and sincere remorse immediately after the criminal explosion of their legitimate passion. Temporary removal from the scene of their crime and from the residence of the victim's family might be superadded.
Nevertheless it must not be forgotten that I say this in connection with criminals in whom the passionate impulse is really exceptional, and who present the physiological and psychical features of the genuine criminal of passion which I enumerated in the first chapter.
I come to a different conclusion in the case of criminals who have merely been provoked, who do not completely present these features, who are actuated by a combination of social and excusable passion with an anti-social passion, such as hate, vengeance, anger, ambition, &c. Of such a kind are murderers carried away by anger just in itself, by blood-feuds, or desire to avenge the honour of their family, by vindication of personal honour, by grave suspicion of adultery, &c.; persons guilty of malicious wounding, disfigurement through erotic motives, and the like. These may be classed as occasional criminals, and treated accordingly.
Such, then, in general outline, is the positive system of social, preventive, and repressive defence against crimes and criminals, in accordance with the inferences from a scientific study of crime as a natural and social phenomenon.
It is a defensive system which, in the nature of things, must of necessity be substituted for the criminal and penitentiary systems of the classical school, so soon as the daily experience of every nation shall have established the conviction, which at this moment is more or less profound, but merely of a general character, that these systems are henceforth incompatible with the needs of society, not only by their crude pedantry, but also because their consequences are becoming daily more disastrous.
Thomas Love Peacock was born at Weymouth in 1785. His first poem, "The Genius of the Thames," was in its second edition when he became one of the friends of Shelley. That was in 1812, when Shelley's age was twenty, Peacock's twenty-seven. The acquaintance strengthened, until Peacock became the friend in whose judgment Shelley put especial trust. There were many points of agreement. Peacock, at that time, shared, in a more practical way, Shelley's desire for root and branch reform; both wore poets, although not equally gifted, and both loved Plato and the Greek tragedians. In "Crotchet Castle" Peacock has expressed his own delight in Greek literature through the talk of the Reverend Dr. Folliott.