In a similar manner M. Prins declares himself in favour of transportation for Belgium, since the constitution of the Congo State.
But it is my matured opinion that transportation ought not to be an end in itself. The penal colony for adults ought to be a pioneer of the free agricultural colony. The problem of a penal colony in our African possessions cannot, therefore, be solved in advance of two other questions.
Before all, we must see whether these possessions offer suitable districts for agricultural colonisation. And secondly, we must consider whether convicts would not cost less to transport into districts nearer home which need to be cleared, a plan which would also prevent their going over to the enemy, becoming leaders or guides of the barbarous tribes which are at war with us.
In any case, whether we decide on transportation to the interior or beyond the seas, for born and habitual criminals, there is still the question as to the form of seclusion.
In this connection the idea has been suggested of ``establishments for incorrigibles,'' or hardened criminals, wherein should be confined for life, or (the same thing in this case) for an indefinite period, born criminals who have committed serious crimes, habitual criminals, and confirmed recidivists.
The congenital character and hereditary transmission of criminal tendencies in these individuals fully justify the words of Quetelet, that ``moral diseases are like physical diseases: they are contagious, or epidemic, or hereditary. Vice is transmitted in some families in the same way as scrofula or consumption. The greater number of crimes come from a comparatively few families, which need a special supervision, an isolation like that which we impose on sick persons suspected of carrying the germs of infection.'' So Aristotle speaks of a man who, being accused of beating his father, answered: ``My father beat my grandfather, who used to beat his father cruelly; and you see my son--before he is grown up he will fly into passions and beat me.'' And Plutarch added to this: ``The sons of vicious and corrupt men reproduce the very nature of their parents.''
This is the explanation of Plato's idea, who, ``admitting the principle that children ought not to suffer for the crimes of their parents, yet, putting the case of a father, a grandfather, and a great-grandfather who had been condemned to death, proposed that their descendants should be banished, as belonging to an incorrigible family.'' Carrara called this a mistaken idea, but it seems to us to be substantially just. It may be remembered that when De Metz in 1839 founded his agricultural penal colony at Metray, once celebrated but now in decay (for the whole success of these foundations depends on the exceptional psychological qualities of their governors), out of 4,454 children, 871, or 20 per cent., were the children of convicts. We quite agree with Crofton's proposal to place the children of convicts in industrial schools or houses of correction.
A special establishment for the perpetual or indefinite seclusion of incorrigible criminals has been proposed or approved in Italy by Lombroso, Curcio, Barini, Doria, Tamassia, Garofalo, Carelli; in France by Despine, Labatiste, Tissot, Leveille; in Russia by Minzloff; in England by May; in Germany by Kraepelin and Lilienthal; in Austria by Wahlberg; in Switzerland by Guillaume; in America by Wines and Wayland; in Holland by Van Hamel; in Portugal by Lucas; &c.