And, as to the inverted sexual instinct, while the "cures" so considerably exploited within recent years, by Dr. von Schrenk-Notzing and others,1 rest upon a still more uncertain and misty basis than even chloral and morphine " cures," and these are misty enough, still, it is conceded by all that law is not the remedy, and that "prevention can have but small influence." 1 The ideal which the physician must always keep before the invert is a moral one; the change of instinct being only accomplished by moral and psychological means, and the constant fixing in the patient's mind of the ideal of chastity. His wagon must be harnessed to a star.1
1 For some problematical instances of these cures, see "Physical Treatment of Congenital Sexual Inversion," Review of Insanity and Nervous Diseases, June, 1894.
In this connection, also, the opinion of Raffalovich is quite apposite, that " the congenital invert, who has never had relations with women, and whose abnormality is a perversion and not a perversity, is much less dangerous and apt to seduce others " than corrupt libertines are who have run the gamut of sexual vice. (Vid. "Uranisme et TJnisexualiteV' 1896, p. 16.)
In France, the vindicis fiamma of the Roman Justinian fought fruitlessly against homosexuality for upward of a thousand years, the sacrilegious offenders being handed over to the Church to be burned. As late as 1750 two pederasts were burned alive in the Place de Grève, Paris. But, they were burned, that is all; without in the slightest diminishing the disorder, any more than the burnings for heresy, at about the same time, diminished the number of heretics. Thus, probably, it came about that the Code Napoleon omitted to punish pederasty, regarding it as an ecclesiastical offence; the later French laws always making a clear and logical distinction between vice and irreligion, and taking cognizance only of the former.2 It would seem that most nations condemned homosexuality chiefly, if not wholly, on socialistic grounds; as preventing the growth of population; and so furious were the Ine as of Peru against the habit, for this cause, that whole towns were ordered destroyed where it was known to prevail. Legislation against pederasty began in England under Henry VIII— himself suspected in some quarters of having indulged the habit; and in Belgium and Holland, as well as Spain and Portugal, laws were enacted against it, embodying the chief provisions of the French code. It is a penal offence, however, only in Germany, Austria, Russia and England; being so severely legislated against, in the first named country, only since the consolidation of the present empire. In Austria the law applies equally, and quite properly, to both women and men; and in Russia the punishment involves Siberian exile, and forfeiture of civil rights. The law in England is especially severe. "Carnal knowledge per anum of either sex, or of an animal, is felony, punishable by penal servitude for life, as a maximum, and ten years as a minimum." (24, 25, Vict., C. 100, Sec. 61.) It is a misdemeanor in the United States, the fine or imprisonment, or both, being at the discretion of the court. In early ages the crime was sacrilegious; later, it was economic; now it is simply esthetically revolting; neither one of these objections, however, as Mr. Ellis well remarks, lending itself very appropriately to legal purposes.
1 In the Swiss Code lately formulated by a commission of experts, at Berne, offences against public decency, precisely as in our own laws, are punishable by fine and imprisonment; and those guilty of "unnatural practices" (1) (widernatürliche Untucht) with a minor, are punishable by imprisonment for at least six months. Homosexual practices, as usual, are not specifically mentioned. (" Vorentwurf zu einem Schweiser-ischen Strafgesetzbuch," Cap. v, 1896.)
It is not the business of a secular court to consider an act in the light of contravening ecclesiastical canons, nor as repressing population, nor as being offensive to aesthetic taste; and yet it is reported that an English judge, in passing sentence for such an offence, "publicly regretted that it was not punishable by death." That this is not the proper spirit in which to deal with such an evil is clearly shown by the fact that in those countries where the law is most severe against it, Germany and Austria, the vice is most flagrant and widespread.