Leroy D'Etiolles
1846 The Lancet  
153 the insane, and I am happy to state, that in every instance my recommendation was speedily attended to. Were the guardians of other Unions as prompt in these matters as those of the Buntingford Union, we should find much fewer cases of chronic and incurable insanity-those opprobria, not only of our counties, but of the kingdom at large ! Who that has read attentively the official report of the Commissioners in Lunacy, will deny that a thorough and sweeping reform is required in these
more » ... red in these matters ? It has been too much the practice in many counties to farm out the paupers to the proprietors of private asylums at so much per head per week, like so many brute beasts, wholly forgetting that these unfortunate individuals are our fellow-creatures, and suffering under the direst calamity with which it has pleased an Almighty Providence to afflict mankind. Then, again, distance was considered no object, provided a shilling or two a week were saved in the keep ! They were transferred to the humane proprietor of a private asylum, if an ex-assistant poor-law commissioner, so much the better, (of course, no better school for training up the finer feelings of our nature could be found than the grand National Bastile at Somerset House.) It is truly high time that every county in England, Scotland, and Wales, should be provided with its own public hospital for the remedial treatment of the insane, to be governed by its own officers, and visited by its own magistrates. We should then have a spirit of generous rivalry, as to which county should produce the best regulated hospital. How is I it now Why, the poor wretches are hurried off perhaps nearly two hundred miles from home; their dying moments are uncheered by the presence of an affectionate wife or sister; no clergyman or minister of their own denomination to pray by or comfort them in their last extremity ! Why, the blackest felon or murderer in the kingdom is better cared for ! Then, as to this same learned body of commissioners in lunacy, what have they done until lately ? Literally nothing. They have just roused themselves out of a many years' slumber, and, like so many bats, they are still blinking at the light. With one or two honourable exceptions, who or what are they ? ? We know Dr. Prichard, of Bristol, as the author of an useful compilation on insanity; but as to the ot &pgro&lgr&lgrol of the body, what are they ? A set of imbecile old dotards, relieved here and there by a smirking briefless barrister. If you want a man to discover the abuses of any asylum, give me one who has managed an asylum himself; one who is not nice about bad smells &c., who will examine every privy, water-closet, the straw and bedding of the insensible patients, &c. These latter are the individuals who suffer in the public, and more especially the private madhouses. Your strong maniacal patient will take care of himself, and your brute keeper (if he knows when he is safe) will let such cliaracters alone, seeing that there is such a thing as retribution even in this world. I repeat the observation, and all practical men will bear me out, that the weak, imbecile, and dirty patients are those more particularly abused by ill-disposed attendants, quasi keepers. Where amongst the commissioners shall we find a Conolly, a Hitch, a Gaskill, or a Powell z Let the commissioners be chosen from the mass of medical superintendents of hospitals for the insane; from men who have devoted their whole energies and talents to the relief of the insane. Then, and not until then, we may expect some salutary reforms in the management of certain public and private madhouses, they cannot be called hospitals for the insane.
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)86867-2 fatcat:ajsbzxz5lfe4jmktwbrexeuwde