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the effect of hospitals on the sane, our own hospitals, especially those of before we have better proof of the ex- Pennsylvania, are no less shamefully istence of this abuse, would be but a managed; and in proof he quotes from waste of time and space. With that two public documents, one, the report class of worthies who think it their of what he calls the “ Pennsylvania mission to excite popular prejudices Medical Association," and the other, against hospitals for the insane, it is the “Report of a Special Commission a favorite means to represent them as Appointed by the Governor." The calculated to remove any vestige of passages quoted reveal the most barsanity that may be left, and destroy all barous treatment of the insane, attribchances of cure. Many persons have uted by implication to the hospitals and been kept away from them, under the asylums for the insane. Some were in influence of this notion, until the disease cold basement rooms, without fresh air has become completely incurable, or, and the means of exercise ; males and worse still, until some deplorable deed females without clothing were found in of violence has rendered delay no adjoining rooms; some were fastened longer possible. The steadily increas- by a chain to a staple in the floor ; one ing list of suicides and homicides at- said to be deranged was chained to tributed by coroners' juries to insanity a sixty-pound weight, which he was bears witness to the power and extent obliged to carry about; and one, over of this miserable prejudice. Surely, eighty years old, had been chained for nothing less than some constitutional twenty years. These passages are so mental obliquity can account for the introduced as to give the impression satisfaction these people take in wit- which, no doubt, the writer deliberately nessing the mischief they occasion, intended to give — that such things and finding in it a fresh reason for were witnessed in the incorporated persevering in their unholy work. and the State hospitals for the insane.
Not the least of this writer's com- Here are the actual facts, known as plaints against hospitals is, that the well to the writer as to anybody else. patients are subjected to all manner The State hospitals being filled to of ill - treatment. He says that in their utmost capacity, it was thought England “it was recently found ne- necessary that more should be providcessary to direct, under the authority ed; and, to make the necessity as obof Parliament, an investigation into the vious as possible, the "Medical Society character and treatment of the patients of the State of Pennsylvania” appointed confined in the mad-houses of the Unit- a committee to prepare a memorial to ed Kingdom. The official reports of the Legislature on the subject, in which, these investigations are tales of wrong, among other things, they exposed the cruelty, and oppression, at which the wretched condition of the insane in the heart sickens,” &c. Now, we feel safe poor-houses of the towns and counties. in denying that any such investigation With the same object in view, the spehas been made recently, and the annual cial commissioner was directed to exreports of the Commissioners in Luna- amine into the condition of the insane cy must convince any reasonable mind inmates of the poor-houses and jails. that such charges against the asylums The results of these inquiries were of the present day are groundless. The presented to the Legislature, as an instatement here quoted will apply to ducement for establishing another hosthe famous parliamentary inquiry of pital, and the Legislature voted the ne1815, which, with the writer's usual cessary appropriation. Not one word, proclivity for confusing all the relations be it observed, is said by the writer of time, space, and number, he repre- about jails or poor-houses in connection sents as an occurrence within our own with these passages. In view of this time.
attempt to cast a lasting reproach upon According to the writer's account, honest men, what credit can be given to any of his statements, and what terms and apprehension, is it a matter of of reprobation can be too strong to be- pleasing reflection that we can lay our stow upon such a deliberate deception ? griefs before the judge or the sheriff,
The writer's remedy for all defects who will authorize twelve men to gather in the present practices and laws is around the bedside of the beloved wife " some statutory regulation as to the or daughter, and there, after learning degree of aberration of mind justifying those painful circumstances of the dodetention, and provision made for a mestic history which every sentiment hearing before a board of magistrates, of propriety would forbid us to mention and a sworn jury of twelve, composed beyond the family circle, but which of men of strong and sterling sense.” may immediately become food for gosHe does not tell us what degree of ab- sip in the streets and the shops, -even erration ought, in his opinion, to war- without the aid of a newspaper-reporter, rant a person's detention in a hospital; though the “representatives of the and we are puzzled to conceive how press " probably would not be excluded our law-makers, who are not supposed from the room, this august tribunal to be remarkably inclined to psycho- may or may not decide that the patient is logical studies, will be able to take the insane, and give or withhold its authorfirst step towards framing the “statu- ity for removal to a hospital ? Would tory regulation” required. Their at- we rejoice at the prospect of thus bringtemps at definition would be likely to ing the law and its ministers within our result, we apprehend, much like that of very doors, at the moment when of all Polonius in the play :
others we would wish to be shielded “Mad call I it; for to define true madness, from the public gaze ? Few families,
What is 't, but to be nothing else but mad?” we are sure, would submit to the operaBut, supposing this difficulty sur- tion of such a law as long as it could mounted, we are no less puzzled to be possibly avoided; and every expediconceive by what sort of evidence the ent and makeshift would be resorted to, prescribed degree of insanity is to be until the exhaustion of their means and proved. Our writer has no faith in doc- strength left them no alternative. tors, because doctors sometimes disa- One or two words respecting the gree, and besides they may be bribed, great grievance which forms the burso they would have to be excluded as den of the article in question. incompetent witnesses. But, probably, Of all the bugbears conjured up in he considers it the crowning excellence these latter times to frighten grown of this arrangement, that the degree of people from the course pointed out by insanity is to be determined solely by true science and true humanity, it would that strong and sterling sense which, it be hard to find one more destitute of is well known, is so characteristic of real substance than the alleged practice juries. Seriously, since a jury-trial is of confining sane persons in hospitals not universally considered the perfec- for the insane. We have yet to learn of tion of wisdom, even when the facts the first well-authenticated case in this are intelligible to the meanest under- country; and we have heard the same standing, we are unable to see how a thing asserted by others, whose profesjury can be the best tribunal for decid- sional duties have enabled them to be ing questions of a professional nature. well informed on this subject. AlThe Solons of Illinois think otherwise, though this does not prove the impossifor they have provided, by a stringent bility of such an abuse, it certainly does law, that no person shall be placed in prove that it must be an exceedingly any hospital for the insane whose dis- rare occurrence. If it be answered, case has not been proved by a jury- that these persons were biassed by their trial. Are we prepared to follow such occupations, and thus labored under an legislation ? When an aflictive dis- insuperable difficulty in discovering the ease is filling our homes with sorrow sanity of people wrongly charged with being insane, let us listen to the decia- greed or hatred of his or her relations. ration of one who, with the amplest A persistent clamor may be heard opportunities for learning the truth, through the whole length and breadth cannot be charged with having been of the land over some case of this kind ; under a bias that would lead him to the newspapers may teem with angry overlook or ignore an abuse of the kind , paragraphs ; and the courts be beset for in question. Some thirty years ago, writs of habeas corpus, writs of injuncthe British Parliament established a tion, and every possible legal instru“ Board of Commissioners in Lunacy," mentality for the relief of injured innowhose business it was to visit every cence. All this is perfectly compatible hospital for the insane, public and pri- with what we have said above, and is satvate, once, at least, every year; to make isfactorily explained by what we know of themselves acquainted with their ac- the nature of insanity. This disease is commodations and management, their not always obvious to the casual observmerits and defects; to point out faults er. Its manifestations require time and and suggest improvements; to mark the opportunity, in the absence of which its circumstances of particular patients, and, workings are confined to the inmost if thought expedient, recommend their thoughts, or exhibited only in those removal to some other establishment. domestic relations that are not exposed Though clothed with no executive to the public view; and, even when the powers, yet so potent was their advice, patient proclaims his delusions, they that when they recommended, as they may not be of a kind necessarily imsometimes did, the withdrawal of the possible. If he believes that his head license of some private house, their ad- is turned round, or that he is the son vice was always followed. The present of perdition, nobody doubts his insanEarl Shaftesbury was a member and ity. But when a child or parent is chairman of this Board from the be- charged with unkindness, a husband or ginning up to a very recent period, and wife with infidelity to marriage-vows, was particularly distinguished by the and that too with an air of sincerity activity and intelligence with which he seemingly incompatible with deception discharged his duties, and by his inter- and a minuteness of circumstance inest in whatever pertained to the welfare compatible with fiction, it is not surof the insane. He was never slow to prising that the stranger, or sometimes perceive deficiencies, nor to administer even the intimate friend, should believe a sharp rebuke when it seemed to be the story, and use every endeavor to deserved. He was never supposed to abate the wrong. If disposed to doubt entertain any partiality for medical men or hesitate in view of the unsullied replikely to influence his opinion in ques- utation of the parties accused, there tions where they were concerned. In comes the artful suggestion, that if a the parliamentary session of 1858 and man is tired of his wife or a woman of 1859 a committee was appointed to in- her husband, and bent upon forbidden quire and report respecting some luna- pleasures; if children are looking with cy question, and the Earl was requested greedy eyes upon houses and lands and to testify. On that occasion he said, stocks which the prolonged existence “ The notion of improper admissions or of a parent keeps from their grasp, detentions is essentially wrong”; and what more convenient course could they he left it to be implied that such occur- adopt than to declare the person who rences could only take place at rare bars the way to the coveted object to intervals, and under unusual circum- be insane, and consign him to imprisstances.
onment in a hospital ? The most comWe occasionally hear it alleged, no mon traits of the insane, their ability doubt, as it is in the article before us, to conceal more or less the manifesthat a certain inmate of an asylum is tations of disease, the plausibility with not insane, but only a victim of the which they set forth the wrongs alleged VOL. XXII. — NO. 130.
to be inflicted on them, the fact that halls and grounds, witness the order, the mental disorder is often witnessed peace, and freedom that prevail, — the rather in the conduct than the conversa- admirable arrangements for promoting tion, their disposition to hate and malign the physical and mental comfort of their those who have been most assiduous inmates by means of good, food, pure in offices of kindness and affection, air, abundant recreation, and employthese are all ignored, even by persons
ment out of doors books, papers, picwhose culture would seem to have se- tures, amusements within, -- and learn cured them from such grievous igno- something of the unceasing, unwearied rance.
effort to prevent abuses and render the We cannot conclude without animad- law of kindness paramount to every verting upon the spirit of hostility to- other influence; and then go to the jails wards hospitals for the insane which and aimshouses where these stricken pervades the whole article reviewed. ones,“ bound in afiliction and iron," That they are not perfect, that they are endure too often the last extremity of liable to defects like every other enter- human wretchedness. We envy not prise conducted by men and women, it the heart of that man who could witneeds no prophet to tell us. Consider- ness this contrast without invoking ing the unavoidable difficulties of their blessings on the modern hospital for work, -- difficulties which the world the insane and bidding it God speed knows little about, -- and the rare mor- in its holy work. al and intellectual endowments required The writer professes to entertain only for its successful performance, we only the kindest feeling towards these inwonder that they have reached a meas- stitutions; but let him take no credit to ure of excellence worthy of the admira- himself on that score. Almost every tion of all who can see in a good work sentence bears witness to a very differsomething besides its little imperfec- ent kind of feeling. The vocabulary of tions. To remedy their defects, to give oppression and tyranny is ransacked for them the highest degree of efficiency, to titles and epithets wherewith to render keep them fully up with the advancing them odious and unworthy of confidence. steps of modern civilization, -- these are They are called " prisons," “ Bastiles,” things that require, not the ill-natured "torture-houses," * breeders of insaniflings of amateur reformers who never ty”; their physicians are styled " jailspent a couple of hours in them in all ers,” and their attendants“ morose their lives, and have no conception of keepers”; their inmates are
called any other form of insanity than that of “ prisoners," and their seclusion “imraving mania, but the counsel and aid prisonment,” “ being buried alive," and of those who have personal knowledge “incarceration in a mad-house," where of their management and affairs, of the they“ vainly beat against the iron bars nature of insanity, and of the ways of of their cage.” We do not suppose the insane. It is too late in the day to that such spiteful effusions do much decry these institutions. Consecrated harm to these institutions or the persons by the labors of a Tuke, a Mann, a Dix, connected with them. They may exand others like them in spirit, if not in cite a temporary sensation in the minds fame, and the better fitted for their work of over-credulous people, and of all by the bounties of those who have been those who are ever ready to believe that glad to devote a portion of their wealth the fairest outside is only a cloak forconto the service of humanity, they are cealing some hideous evil beneath it. among the best fruits of that noble phi. There need be no fear that these instilanthropy, of that peculiarly Christian tutions will fail to meet the demand of spirit and principle, which distinguish the times for higher and still higher the social condition of our times. To grades of excellence, since the men who gain an adequate conception of the good control them are of the sort that recthey accomplish, let one traverse their ognize the great law of improvement,
and have given their hearts and their dition and that which marked the earlihands to the duty of meeting its require- est days of their existence, - a contrast ments. As an earnest of what they fully equal to that exhibited by the prowill be hereafter, it is fair to present gress of any other benevolent enterthe contrast between their present con- prise of modern times.
LOST AND FOUND.
O one can appreciate fully the mis- ly ever went out without the tacit per
ery of losing a husband in the mission of my chambermaid; I walked unknown wilderness of the streets of a mile rather than ask my way of the New York, without having previously next person ; in the cars I alternated experienced the misery of being the between comfort and distress with my very shyest person in all the uncomforta- ticket, according to the exit or entrance ble world.
of the conductor ; and as for hackmen, Half-way across the continent, and they drove me to distraction, — I have travelling night and day, would have seen my friend pay one at the door with been enough to fatigue Hercules him- my own eyes, but have unhesitatingly self, who never had any such labors to paid him over again, on his stout assevperform among all his famous dozen ; eration that nothing of the kind had and we were about as weary of jar and ever taken place. I have been considerjoggle and tumult as one would think ately requested by another to alight at the round globe itself should be at this the foot of Somerset Street, in a sister point of time. However, the earth city, as his horses could not convenientnever stops to rest in her rolling, and ly climb the hill, and have remunerated why should we ? We must follow her him with a full fare, obeyed his wish, example and despatch on a smaller and modestly climbed the hill myself; scale, and go straight through to Canada and I never knew the time when I that night.
seemed to be rolling along luxuriously It might be supposed that so long a in my private coach, that the wretch of journey, and a winter's residence in one a driver did not take a short cut down of the gayest of gay cities, would have some back slum, and destroy the illusion overcome in great measure the painful by inviting upon the box a comrade in diffidence of a retiring nature ; but, on shirt-sleeves, — which can be the approthe contrary, it had only intensified it, priate livery of nobody but bishops, and every fresh approaching face had be- I am not a bishop. Taking the total of come a fresh agony, every introduc- so much shyness, it is evident that I am tion had assumed as dreadful a guise as not exactly the person to lose a husband a death-warrant, and instead of gaining in a labyrinth with which I am utterly courage or chic, or the aplomb of a wo- unacquainted, and to whose mazes I man of the world, I had gradually ac- have not the slightest clew, with any quired the habit of hiding under my hope of finding him again. thick veil, and wishing for nothing but However, all this is mere digression. the cap of invisibility.
I lived, be it known, through the orThis 'sad shyness was, and is, the deal of the splendid hotel upholstery curse of my existence; it put me from and mirrors, designed especially to put the beginning under the feet of ser- you out of countenance, endured the vants ; I took what waiters chose to breakfast at the Fifth Avenue, and the bring me, and never grumbled; I hard- impertinent staring of my vis-à-vis; fur