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the patients not being classed, some appear objects of resentment to the others; we saw a quiet civil man, a soldier, a native of Poland, brutally attacked by another soldier, who, we were informed by the keepers, always singled out the Pole as an object of resentment: they said, there were no means of separating these men, except by locking one up in solitary confinement. Whilst looking at some of the bed-lying patients, a man arose naked from his bed, and had deliberately and quietly walked a few paces from his cell-door along the gallery ; he was in. stantly seized by the keepers, thrown into his bed, and leg-locked, without inquiry or observation : chains are universally substituted for the strait-waistcoat. In the men's wing were about 75 or 76 patients, with two keepers and an assistant, and about the same number of patients on the women's side; the patients were in no way distinguished from each other as to disease, than as those who were not walking about or chained in the side-rooms, were lying stark naked upon straw on their bedsteads, each in a separate cell, with a single blanket or rug, in which the patient usually lay huddled up, as if impatient of cold, and generally chained to the bed-place in the shape of a trough ; about onefifth were in this state, or chained in the side-rooms. It appeared that the wet patients, and all who were inclined to lie a-bed, were allowed to do so, from being less troublesome in that state than when up and dressed. The end window towards Fore-street was the chief source of entertainment to the patients; they seemed greatly to enjoy the sight of the people walking, and to derive great pleasure from our visit.” (Report, p. 11, 12.)
We come now to a case which seems, from the pains they have taken to throw light upon it, to have made a deep impression upon the members of the Committee. Mr. Wakefield is still the witness who speaks. .« In one of the cells on the lower gallery we saw William Norris; he stated himself to be 55 years of age, and that he had been confined about 14 years; that in consequence of attempting to defend himself from what he conceived the improper treatment of his keeper, he was fastened by a long chain, which passing through a partition, enabled the keeper, by going into the next cell, to draw him close to the wall at pleasure ; that to prevent this, Norris muffled the chain with straw, so as to hinder it passing through the wall; that he afterwards was confined in the manner we saw him, namely, a stout iron ring was rivetted round his neck, from which a short chain passed to a ring made to slide upwards or downwards on an upright massive iron bar, more than six feet high, inserted into the wall. Round his body a strong iron bar about two inches wide was rivetted ; on each side the bar was a circular projection, which being fashioned to and inclosing each of his arms, pinioned them close to his sides. This waist bar was secured by two similar bars which, passing over his shoulders, were rivetted to the waist bar both before and behind. The iron ring round his neck was connected to the bars on his shoulders, by a double link. From each of these bars another short chain passed to the ring on the upright iron bar. We were informed he was enabled to raise himself, so as to stand against the wall, on the pillow of his bed in the trough bed in which he lay; but it is impossible for him to advance from the wall in which the iron bar is soldered, on account of the shortness of his chains, which were only twelve inches long. It was, I conceive, equally out of his power to repose in any other position than on his back, the projections which on each side of the waist bar inclosed his arms, rendering it impossible for him to lie on his side, even if the length of the chains from his neck and shoulders would permit it. His right leg was chained to the trough; in which he had remained thus encaged and chained more than twelve years. To prove the unnecessary restraint inflicted on this unfortunate man, he informed us that he had for some years been able to withdraw his arms from the manacles which encompassed them. He then withdrew one of them, and observing an expression of surprise, he said, that when his arms were withdrawn, he was compelled to rest them on the edges of the circular projections, which was more painful than keeping them within. His position, we were informed, was mostly lying down, and that as it was inconvenient to raise himself and stand upright, he very seldom did so ; that he read a great deal of books of all kinds, history, lives, or any thing that the keepers could get him; the newspaper every day, and conversed perfectly coherent on the passing topics and the events of the war, in which he felt particular interest. On each day that we saw him he discoursed coolly, and gave rational and deliberate answers to the different questions put to him. The whole of this statement relative to William Norris was confirmed by the keepers.” (Report, p. 12.)
Dr. Monro, the physician, and Mr. Haslam, the apothecary of the hospital, were, on this case, very severely cross-examined by the Committee, and most conspicuously treated as persons, particularly Haslam, from whom it was necessary to extort the truth. Haslam endeavoured to screen himself, by stating that he had at first proposed a different mode of confinement, while the Governors had preferred that of which the Committee had heard the de scription. He was asked if he had ever remonstrated against it, or so much as expressed any disapprobation of it. He confessed that he never had. Dr. Monro was asked the same questions, and constrained to answer to the same effect.
They next endeavoured to obviate the conclusions which they but too plainly saw were likely to be drawn against them, by stating it as their conviction, that no better mode of confining this patient could be devised: the reasons were, that he was peculiarly ferocious and powerful; and that his wrists and hands were so constructed, that he could extricate - himself from handcuffs. The Committee thought it necessary to do more than to leave this affirmation to be contradicted by the reasoning faculties of every man who heard it. They put questions for the purpose of publicly exhibiting the opinions of the most experienced of the men who came before them.
Mr. Tho aliacs, pemely dae he rett, I have sake
Mr. Thomas Bakewell was asked, “ Have you ever had in your custody maniacs of a very outrageous description, who were supposed to be extremely dangerous to their keeper, and even to themselves?” The answer he returned was this: “I never considered any as dangerous to myself, I have had many very violent. I consider coercion as necessary for the sake only of the patient himself, and should use it while he was in a violent state; but I should despise the keeper who feared them himself.” He adds, what is worthy of particular attention, “but these paroxysms never continue.”- Do you apprehend that the mode of confinement you have already described was sufficient for the most outrageous maniac you ever saw ? Certainly; the strait waistcoat is alone sufficient, making their feet secure, so that they cannot kick. The strait waistcoat is the best thing possible.”
Mr. Thomas Dunstan, the master of St. Luke's, was asked, “ Do you know any thing of the management of Bethlem Hospital?- I went to see a man who was confined there, and thought it was very improperly done; his name, I think, was Norris. Have you had many instances of persons quite, or nearly as outrageous as that man ?-Yes; a great many in my time. Did you ever think it necessary to confine any one of them, in a manner at all resembling that in which Norris was confined ?-I never did. Agreeably to the experience you have now had of forty years, can you conceive, in any case, it could be necessary to keep a man chained down to his bed for nine years together?-No; nor nine weeks.”
Mr. Warburton, who keeps private houses to a greater extent than any other man in the kingdom, being asked to what, in the case of a very violent patient, whose hands slipped out of handcuffs, he would have recourse, answered, “ To a very stout strait waistcoat. I never saw a man so bad yet, that could not be held by a strait waistcoat. We must make it proportionately strong. The most violent pauper lunatic never required confinement be yond a leg-lock and manacles; and I never yet saw a lunatic that at certain times, under the guidance of a keeper, might not be allowed some liberty to walk about.” · The historian of the “ Retreat at York” says, “ Neither chains nor corporal punishment are tolerated, on any pretext, in this establishment." _“ If it be true,” says that excellent book, “ that oppression makes a wise man mad, is it to be supposed that stripes, and insults, and injuries, for which the receiver knows no cause, are calculated to make a madman wise? or would they not exasperate his discase, and excite his resentment? May we not hence most clearly perceive why furious mania is almost a stranger in the Retreat ? Why all the patients wear clothes, and are generally induced to adopt orderly habits ?”
Dr. Monro' hazarded a most extraordinary opinion; that the exquisite cruelty to which this man was doomed, he had not feeling to suffer from; an opinion which it is only necessary to adopt to lay a foundation for unrelenting inhumanity. “ Is it probable that the greater want of comfort produced additional irritation ? No: I am not aware that it did. He seemed to me to be a most insensible man; little better than a brute; he had not the least feeling whatever. I do not recollect that I ever heard him complain of the fetters that he was confined by. He was perfectly lost to all sensibility whatever.- Do you mean all sense as well as sensibility? I mean, all feeling. All corporeal feeling, or feeling of mind, too? Feeling of mind too. He appeared to me to have lost his mental feeling entirely.” Yet, in answer to other questions, the sensibility of this same man is affirmed to be so exquisite, that a look which he disapproves of is sufficient to throw him into a paroxysm of rage. Haslam affirms that he disdained to complain; and such was his highmindedness, such his firmness of purpose, that he held to his resolution through nine years of unabating torture! The excess of sensibility was by this very sagacious, or very honest doctor, sincerely or insincerely, represented as a total want of all feeling, bodily and mental!-Å man “ lost to all sensibility whatever;" who (it stands in evidence) had a passion for reading; and, chained to his couch, felt a deep interest in the political events of his age! Whọ conversed rationally with gentlemen of the Committee, and told them he should be sorry to be trusted altogether without restraint; because he thought a sudden provocation might still excite him to mischief !
Other particulars, indicative of most objectionable manage ment in this great Institution, we are constrained reluctantly to omit. Among the fruits of the inquiry which has begun to take place, we have to announce a great change in the mode of confining Norris; the dismission of the matron and steward; and a confessed improvement in the condition of the house, with a vast reduction of the number of patients in the state of suffering, since the appointment of their successors.
It is highly necessary to remark, that no system of inspection has existed for this great establishment. It is in evidence that the governors hardly ever took cognizance of any beyond a few particulars. The management, which was immediately in the hands of the matron and steward, was entrusted almost entirely to the controul and superintendance of the medical officers. And gentlemen of that description, as far as a conclusion is to be drawn from the two cases of the York Asylum and Bethlem Hospital, appear, where either their ease or their emolument is concerned, to constitute a very imperfect security.
VOL. VI, NO. XII.
One particular respecting the medical system pursued in the hospital is so remarkable, that all mention of it cannot be omitted; periodical bathings, bleedings, vomitings, and purgings! The physicking operations commence about the middle of May.Every patient is first bled twice; next receives six emetics, one per week; and after that a purgative dose once every week, till the term of Michaelmas. This is the general constant discipline of the house; nor is any patient exempted from it, except when something particular in the case of the individual appears specially to demand it
We cannot forbear quoting the very emphatical words, in which the Committee have adverted, in their very short provisional report, to the circumstances of the two establishments with which our attention has been occupied so long :-“ As the governors of the Asylum at York called the attention of the other house of parliament. by petition, in the last session, to the management of the establishment, in order to show that it was necessary to subject it to the provisions of a bill then depending respecting madhouses; and as the governors of Bethlem succeeded on that occasion, in obtaining a clause while the bill was in the house, for a partial exemption from the provisions of the act; your committee are desirous of attracting the attention of the house to the parts of the evidence which relate to those two establishments.”
The circumstances of that bill, to which allusion here is made, are not a little remarkable. Its provisions were mostly recommended by the College of Physicians, and were such, that the gentleman who brought it in, and who is now prosecuting the subject with a spirit which does him the greatest honour, we verily believe is ashamed of them. To mention no more of what among these provisions seemed to have a tendency to render the state of circumstances worse upon the whole than it was before, it may suffice to say, that by the advice of the College of Phrsicians all public institutions for the insane were to be declared exempt from inspection; and private madhouses were to be subjected to a heavy tax, in the benefits of which the members of that learned body were to be the principal sharers.
We have now proceeded as far as it is possible for us to continue our statements descriptive of the existing provisions for the insane. The few remaining pages which it is in our power to devote to the subject must be appropriated to the consideration of what is possible to be done for the improvement of those provisions. Of the many important services which the press renders to the cause of human nature, one that should be perpetually exacted of it is to aid the legislature by its suggestions, whensoever a case of any difficulty either is, or ought to be, taken in