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elsewhere, remain quiet, and conduct with the utmost propriety, during religious services.
" I have no doubt these services are beneficial to our patients. Permission to attend them is solicited by nearly all, and many are induced to exercise their
self-control, in order to enjoy this privilege. “ The Sabbath is now looked forward to by our patients with pleasurable anticipations; but I apprehend it would be to them the most melancholy day of the week, and the one in which they would make the least improvement, were it not for our religious exercises.
“ The chaplain frequently visits and freely converses with the patients at their apartments. Good has resulted from this practice, conducted, as it has been, with discretion and good judgment. Not unfrequently his timely and judicious remarks have given hope and encouragement to the melancholy and desponding, and essentially aided us in the moral treatment of our patients.
" Annexed to this report are some interesting observations by the distinguished gentleman who officiates as chaplain. His experience with the sick and insane, his accurate observation, and knowledge of the human mind, deservedly entitle his remarks to great attention."
The chaplain's report is as follows:“ The usual religious exercises on the Sabbath, and the evenings of the other days of the week, have been regularly continued during the past year. A large proportion of the patients have been in the habit of attending these exercises, and have evinced the benefit derived from them by the good order and becoming deportment which, with very few exceptions, have prevailed. The religious sensibilities are, in this way, often rekindled. Self-control is aided in regaining its dominion; and peace, at least for a season, visits the most agitated breast
. May we not hope and pray, that the Spirit of grace and consolation will here, as well as elsewhere, shed down its hallowed influences, to enlighten, to purify, and to bless the soul? Our Savior, before he left the world, promised the Comforter to his disciples; and will he not delight to fulfil this promise among such as are kindred sufferers with those who shared so largely in his compassion while on earth ? Among these sufferers we often find some of his most faithful followers.
“ Cases frequently occur which, in the opinion of the physician, require the services of the chaplain, in the way of personal intercourse with the patients ; when the hope-inspiring views and promises of the gospel may be addressed to the desponding mind with great benefit. Such services have been promptly and cheerfully rendered.
" Death sometimes enters the walls of the institution; and it has more than once happened, that the spirit, about to take its flight to another world, and in full possession of its reasoning powers, finds its faith and hope invigorated by the consolations which are administered, and the prayers which are offered up, at this trying hour. It is a solace, too, to the friends of the deceased, to know that the funeral solemnities are conducted with appropriate religious exercises. They have themselves often been present at these exercises.
“ There are other occasions, also, when feeble and convalescent patients express a wish to have the chaplain visit them, that they may enjoy the privilege of religious counsels, and of uniting in supplication at the throne of grace. With the advice and approbation of the physician, such visits are made, and evidently with very beneficial results.
“ In addition to this, it has been the custom of the chaplain to visit the patients throughout the institution, from ti:ne to time; to exchange civilities and pleasant conversation with them; and to let them see that he takes a personal interest in their welfare. The respect and kindness with which they uniformly treat him, is no less grateful to his feelings than indicative of the advantages which such intercourse, wisely conducted, is capable of affording. The insane know well how to appreciate acts of sympathy, and among others those of a minister of the gospel.
“ The other inunates of the establishment, including the attendants and nurses, all of whom are usually present at the religious exercises, it is not to be forgotten, come in for their share of the benefits which these exercises afford. Every day, they hear truths and preci pts from the Word of God, which, if cherished and obeyed, will tend to make them more faithful in the discharge of duty; and they have the gospel preached to them, from Sabbath to Sabbath, which they would otherwise be but seldom permitted to hear, as their constant attendance on the patients is one essential feature of the management of the institution.
“ Commending it, with its various interests and concerns, to the guidance, protection, and blessing of Almighty God, the chaplain cannot conclude this report of his labors, without acknowledging the respectful kindness which has always been shown him, in the discharge of his official duties, by the physician, and all the other officers and inmates of the Retreat.
“ T. H. GALLAUDET. “ May 12, 1841.”
Dr. William Wilson, resident physician of the Bloomingdale Asylum, New York, says, in his report, dated January 29, 1842,
“ To the benefits resulting from the observance of public worship in the institution, I add my willing testimony. It is to the patients a source of pleasure, and, I trust, to some, at least, not without a profitable tendency in maintaining in their minds the kindly influences of religion on the heart, as well as the habits and associations of their former lives. This observance of public worship, and its beneficial influence on the insane, (no longer a problem, it having been introduced successfully into this Asylum for the last ten years, and I believe in almost all others in the United States, *) is another advantage afforded to patients, from which, if at home, they would be most assuredly debarred."
Dr. Kirkbride, superintendent of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, says, in his report for the year 1841,
“ It has been a source of gratification to find the Sabbath, in this institution, almost invariably the day of greatest comfort and quiet among the patients; and we have never, in any situation, felt more sensibly the favorable influence of a respect for the day, than in the household with which we have been connected during the past year. Visitors are not admitted to the Hospital on that day, the usual employments and amusements of the patients are voluntarily laid aside, — they remain in the parlors or halls, engaged in reading and conversation, or, in fine weather, walk through the extensive garden and grounds within the enclosure.
“A portion of the patients, either alone, or accompanied by some of the officers or attendants, are allowed to attend service, either in the city, or at some of the numerous places of worship in our immediate vicinity.
" Early in the evening, those patients who are not violently excited, and are so disposed, assemble in the large rooms on the first floor of the centre building, where the steward and matron read to them portions of the Scriptures. This reading occupies from thirty to forty minutes, and is preceded and followed by a short period of silence.
* “The regular observance of public worship was first introduced into this Asylum during the winter of 1831–2, whilst under the charge of Guy C. BAYLEY, M. D., the Rev. John M. FORBES, at present rector of St. Luke's Church, N. Y., officiating as chaplain.”
“ From eighty to ninety per cent of all our patients have voluntarily attended; and the uniform good order, the respectful attention with which most have listened to the pages of the inspired volume, and the quiet manner in which they have passed to and from the room, have been highly gratifying at each return of the day. We have never had any serious disturbance at these readings; many have asked to attend, as a favor; some, who, in the halls, were noisy and profane, after giving a pledge of good behavior, have conducted in the most exemplary manner. Simple as is this observance of the Sabbath, we believe its effects have been of no little value — not only from the habit of self-restraint which it imposes, but from the consolations of the blessed truths which have been heard by an afflicted community, comprising members of almost every religious denomination. All the officers, with any of their friends who may be with them, join the patients in one or other of the rooms."
Dr. Stribling, superintendent of the Western Lunatic Asylum in Virginia, says, in his last report, dated January 1, 18 12, –
“ It will probably be recollected that, in a former report, I urged with some zeal upon the court of directors, the necessity of employing a chaplain, and establishing in the institution religious services at regular and stated periods; but, for reasons which they doubtless deemed sufficient, action upon the subject was deferred until a more propitious season. From subsequent intercourse with the insine, and on further reflection, I became more and more convinced, that it was of the utmost importance to the contentment and happiness of many of our inmates, that they should be permitted sometimes to enjoy the advantages of public worship ; and as, for obvious reasons, very few of them could, with safety or propriety, attend such ministrations in the neighboring churches, we resolved, in the early part of the past year, to convene those of them who might be disposed to attend, on each Sabbath afternoon, for the purpose of reading to them a sermon, selected with care from the writings of some judicious divine, and that, with one heart and one voice, we might unite in offering praise, thanksgiving, and supplication to Him, who, when on earth, delighted to behold the wild maniac at his feet, sitting and clothed, in his right mind,' and who so afiectionately invites all, whatever the character of their afiliction, to come to him, that they may be healed. These meetings were commenced on the 21st day of February last, and have been held, without intermission, on each succeeding Sabbath. And, from the good effect already produced, as well as the growing interest daily manifested in regard to them, we can but mark their introduction as an epoch in the history of our institution. The officers and attendants are punctual in being present, and the patients consider it so valued a privilege to attend, that a fear of its forfeiture often secures a degree of self-control which no other influence could effect. It is by no means unusual for individuals who are excited and noisy, when the sound of the bell is heard summoning them to service, to become instantly calm and quiet, and afterwards conduct themselves throughout the ceremonies with the utmost propriety and decorum. Some, who cannot be controlled elsewhere, are, at such times, calm and composed, and it has several times happened, that those who have been brought to us bound with chains, owing to the supposed violence of their insanity, have, within three days after their arrival, been permitted to attend these meetings, without the least excitement, restlessness, or impatience, being manifested. It is indeed most gratifying to behold the solemn stillness which pervades these assemblies, the respectful attention exhibited on such occasions, and the deep interest depicted in the countenances of the audience. Before us sits u-ually • lord Primat,' whose empire extends over the whole church militant; on our right appears the Virgin Mary;' to the left of us is t) be seen the fallen angel • A pollyon;' and immediately at our elbow sits the Mother of the
ten tribes of Israel;' all, for the time, seeming to forget their peculiar hallucinations, whilst their thoughts are engrossed in rational meditation upon the simple and sober truths of divine revelation.
Many of our patients, although laboring under mental delusions in regard to some subjects, are nevertheless entire masters of their own conduct, retain a correct sense of right and wrong, and appreciate with such accuracy the relation which they sustain to a Supreme Being, that they can but be considered as moral agents, equally responsible with ourselves for their thoughts and actions; and hence we can but feel happy at being enabled to afford them even such opportunities for religious enjoyment and spiritual improvement; and in regard to those whose minds may be so far impaired as to exempt them from such responsibility, still the setting apart one day in seven for this purpose, has the effect, if it does nothing more, of breaking in upon the monotony of their existence, and thus relieving them from that ennui which uninterrupted sameness is so certain to produce.
“ The singing is executed by a choir composed of attendants and patients, who meet on certain evenings during the week, with a view to improvement in this respect; and, besides the social pleasures derived from these associations, (which seem to be highly prized,) our music on the Sabbath is thereby greatly benefited.
“Out of the whole number in the institution during the year, one hundred have attended these services more or less regularly, being about four fifths ; and the average number present upon such occasions, exclusive of officers and attendants, has, for a short time past, been about seventy.
“ I shall be pardoned, doubtless, for again calling the attention of the directors to the importance of employing a suitable chaplain. This has been done, in several of the best institutions in this country, with the most beneficial effects, and its advantages over the system pursued by us, must be so apparent to the board as to render comment unnecessary. I do not, of course, as prehend for a moment, that a motive of selfishness will be attributed to me in urging this recommendation; as my past course must surely afford ample evidence, that no labor, effort, or sacrifice, would be shunned, which by possibility could add to the happiness or well-being of those intrusted to my charge. Nor is it necessary to add, that if, from pecuniary or other obstacles, the directors should now deem it inexpedient to comply with this suggestion, although I may regret the necessity which impels to such a decision, still with cheerfulness will I continue to perform the duty heretofore assumed.”
Dr. William M. Awl, superintendent of the Ohio Lunatic Asylum, says, in his last report, dated November 15, 1841,
“Religious services have been regularly continued, as heretofore, during the past year, and, so far as we have been able to understand their effects upon the insane mind, with decidedly beneficial results. Religious feelings have a deep root in the heart of man. They are, in fact, a part of his very constitution and nature; and so connected and interwoven with all the hopes and fears which actuate him in life, that no change of condition, or circumstance of disease in his bodily organs, can entirely obliterate and remove their influence from his memory. "And the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it accommodates itself with great tenderness and mercy to every painful and distressed condition of the mind, is peculiarly worthy of serious attention, in the moral treatment of those who are intellectually deranged. Our patients, indeed, in most cases, esteem this service as a privilege, and their applications for permission to attend are frequently urged in the most pressing and interesting
We are, of course, not unwilling to grant their request; but, as we like to take advantage of this, and every other occurrence, 10 encourage selfrestraint, the terms, of good behavior, strict attention, &c., are sometimes considered to be sufficiently extravagant. It is a fact, that many, who are restless and uneasy, and even noisy, in the halls, will enter the place of prayer with sufficient self-control not only to remain quiet, and give audience, but to regard the place, and unite in the service of our FATHER IN HEAVEN.
** And, in respect to the government of a public institution of this description, our judgment and experience still continue to view these periods of devotion as highly important and interesting. Though brief and simple in themselves, they certainly add solemnity to moral virtue, and while they cherish and give encouragement to piety, they have a strong tendency to strengthen the social connections in life, and produce a happy influence upon that friendly intercourse which is necessary among those who find employment in the same line of duty."
WHAT REMAINS TO BE DONE FOR POOR LUNATICS ?
Some may suppose that the agency of this Society in relieving poor lunatics from their distresses in Prisons, and causing them to be provided for in Asylums, is at an end. Would that it were so ! But the facts in the case demand a different conclusion. In proof of this, we begin at a distance from home, and return by a circuitous route.
Dr. Madden, in his " Travels in Turkey," says, concerning the Asylum at Grand Cairo, in Egypt,
“I believe that no eye hath witnessed, elsewhere, such a melancholy spectacle as this place affirds. The keeper made many objections to my admission. He said no Frank was suffered to go in; but the name of the hakkim of the English consul, and the sight of half a dozen piastres to boot, removed his scruples.
“ I was led from one passage to another; door after door was unbarred; the keeper armed himself with a courbush, (a whip made of one solid thong of the hippopotamus,) and we at length got into an open court, round which the dungeons of the lunatics were situated. Some, who were not violent, were walking, unfettered; but the poor wretches in the cells were chained, by the neck, to the bars of the grated windows. The keeper went round, as he would in a menagerie of wild beasts, rattling the chain at the window, to rouse the inmates, and dragging them by it when they were tardy in approaching. One madman, who spit at me as I pissed his cell, I saw the keeper pull by his chain, and knock his head against the bars, till the blood issued from his nose. I forced him to desist. Each of them, as we passed, called out for food. I inquired about their allowance, and, to my horror, I heard that there was none, except what charitable people were pleased to afford, from day to day. It was now noon, and they had had no food from the preceding morning. Two well-dressed Turkish women brought in, while I was there, a large watermelon and two cakes of bread; this was broken in pieces, and thrown to the famished creatures. I never saw nature subdued to such lowliness. They devoured what they got like hungry tigers, some of them thrusting their tongues through the bars, others screaming for more bread. I sent for a few piastres' worth of bread, dates, and sour milk; its arrival was hailed with a yell of ecstasy that pierced the very s-ul. I thought that thy would have torn down the iron bars to get at the provisions; and, in spite of the courbash, their eagernes; to get their portions rendered it a difficult matter to get our hands out of their clutches. It was humiliating to humanity to see these poor wretches tearing their food with their filthy fingers. Some of their nails were so long as to resemble the talons of a hawk.”