Obrazy na stronie

expediency or necessity of such an institution in New Jersey, being deemed superfluous.


The report of this institution, by Thomas S. Kirkbride, M. D., for 1842, is a most important and interesting document. At the date of the previous report, there were 115 patients, since which 123 have been admitted, 120 have been discharged or died, leaving 118 under care, at the close of the year. The whole number receiving the benefits of the institution, in 1842, was 238. Of those discharged, 60 were cured, 11 much improved, 19 improved, 18 stationary, and 12 died. Of those discharged cured last year, 37 were residents of the Hospital not exceeding three months. The report contains 13 valuable statistical tables. The arrangements for warming the building by heated air, answer well the purpose designed. The supply of water has been abundant at all times. The farm is large, beautiful, and productive. The location proves healthy. Dr. Kirkbride's remarks upon the importance and economy of early treatment, the visits of friends, and the avoidance of deception with the insane, are all good. There is a paragraph or two in the report, concerning the mode of treatment, which we quote at length:

“ Writing, drawing, painting, the study of the mathematics, and other branches of learning, have tended to beguile many tedious hours. Several gentlemen have been usefully engaged in imparting instruction to others in the same ward, and two have been improved by giving regular lessons, for a short time, in one of the modern languages.

“ In this way, several patients have been strikingly benefited, by associating with others in the Hospital. The conversation and peculiarities of his neighbor have often tended to withdraw a monomaniac's attention from himself; and, in a few instances, I have seen striking good effected by asking one patient to take special notice and care of another. To two or three, who have been under treatment this year, I can most truly, and do cheerfully, award a very considerable share of the credit of restoring more than one patient; and the most pleasant part of these cases was, that, while benefiting their neighbors, their own delusions were found to have vanished.”.

The whole report and institution are worthy of admiration and praise.


We find in a June number of the Sabbath School Journal, published in Philadelphia by the American Sunday School Union, the following article on this subject :


"It is to be regretted that, after all the labor and expense bestowed on the preliminary measures, the project of a State Lunatic Asylum for Pennsylvania, should have been so ignominiously defeated. Several hundred dollars, and many months of valuable time, were freely contributed to bring the subject properly before the public and the legislature. The necessary act was passed with gratifying unanimity; and every thing but the times promised an early and liberal provision for the suffering maniacs in Jails, Alms-Houses, and private custody. It would seem, however, as if there was nothing too sacred or pure for a selfish spirit to crawl over and cover with its filthy slime; and, without going into the offensive details of the matter, it may suffice to say that, for some cause, it was judged proper to arrest the proceedings under the act, and to suspend all further measures in relation to an Asylum. When, or under what auspices, it may be revived, is quite uncertain. In the mean time, it must be a source of deep sorrow to any compassionate mind, that the suffering which such a Hospital would unquestionably have alleviated, (if not prevented,) must still be endured; and that the ancient and proverbially benevolent state of Pennsylvania must still be destitute of an institution, which so large a proportion of her sister states have provided.

" It is no consolation to be told that the necessary funds could not have been obtained, if all things else had been properly managed. We have reason to believe that persons would have been found disposed to take the stock which was authorized by the act, without any view to profit, and even with the certainty of considerable loss. A single individual was found ready, in a neighboring state, to appropriate to a like object, from his private funds, an amount equal to the whole sum contemplated by the Pennsylvania act; and who knows what some opulent citizens among us might have been prompted to do, had not the fiendish spirit of self-aggrandizement, or political favoritism, clothed the whole project with suspicion and dishonor? The subject has been presented to our minds within a short time with fresh interest, by two facts communicated to us by an intelligent friend, as within his personal knowledge. A young man in Bucks county was confined in the mad apartinent of a Poor-House. He was seized with the small-pox. This so alarmed the inmates and guardians of the house, that they favored his escape. He hastened to his home. His appearance threw the neighborhood into a perfect consternation, and all avoided him. He found a resting-place, at last, with a relation, in a poor, miserable house, where he soon after died from sheer neglect. What cruelty of savage or pagan can exceed this? The other case is that of a young man, a school-mate of our informant, who is, and has been for four and a half years, confined in chains in his father's house, notwithstanding his derangement is of the mildest form, and by no means requiring restraint. Both these unhappy cases, and many scores like them, would have been provided for at once in the proposed Hospital; and life would have been preserved, reason restored, families blessed, and the community be decidedly the gainers.

“ And must the sufferings of so many hundreds of our fellow-citizens be endured, and aggravated, and rendered irremediable, by long delay? Is there not some form of relief for at least a portion of them?

“ In the county of Philadelphia alone, there are at least 230 lunatic paupers, for whom no suitable provision is now made. This is as many, perhaps, as it would be desirable to have collected in one place, under the supervision of one physician or governor. Might it not be wise, as well as humane policy, to erect forth with a plain, substantial Hospital, with suitable out-grounds, on a spot easy of access from the city, and yet so far removed from it as to be obtained at a low price? Such sites, in these times, are not difficult to be obtained; and perhaps one might be found, the buildings of which would suttice for the purpose of a Hospital, at least for a few years, without material expensive alterations or additions, except for repairs and fences; for it is one of the prominent advantages of the improved system of treating the insane, that much less expense is necessary in providing against escapes, &c., than in former times. It is not our province to enlarge on this suggestion; our chief object in adverting to this topic at all, is to recall the attention of benerolent people to the condition of the lunatic paupers of our community, and to inquire whether some more general relief cannot be afforded, in the absence of public provision, for their restoration or comfort.”


The report of this institution by the court of directors and Dr. Stribling, is a very fine document. The legislature appropriated, last year, $22,000 for current expenses; $9,060 44, to pay off the balance of a debt contracted some time since for additional buildings; and $24,000, for new buildings. With this appropriation, a large three-story building, to accommodate 45 females, and two large buildings for noisy patients, are to be erected and completed by the first day of July, 1844. The directors have been successful in supplying the institution with an inexhaustible supply of good water, conducted from a fountain two miles distant, through three-inch iron pipes, and distributed most conveniently about the grounds and buildings. The directors confidently hope that Dr. Stribling will not be obliged permanently to retire from the institution, on account of ill health, as he fears he may be obliged to do.

The superintendent, in his report, gives the number of patients, during the last year, as being 152; number at the commencement of the year, 99; at the close of the year, 110; received during the year, 53. In no year have so many been received and benefited, and yet in no year have there been so many applicants who could not be admitted. Of the discharged, 42 in number, 19 were recovered, 7 improved and unimproved, 15 died, and 1 eloped. The unusually-large number of deaths, Dr. Stribling says, was not owing to its locality, construction, or general management.

The first suicide since the institution was opened, took place during the last year, by a patient's striking his head against the walls of his room.

Dr. Stribling's report contains 9 valuable statistical tables, with useful and important remarks, and many important practical observations on medication, moral means, classification, diet, amusements, books and periodicals for the library, labor and employment, religious services, early application of remedies, discharged cases, and simulated insanity. Altogether, the report is more full and important than any which have preceded it.


The first published report, which we have ever seen from this institution, we have received during the last year. It is a valuable document, prepared with much labor. It contains a report of a committee of the regents, which lays down the general principles on which all good Asylums are conducted, and gives a brief history of the efforts which have been made in this country for the insane ; — also, the report of the physician, by which it appears that the Asylum in South Carolina was at first rendered unpopular by the improper conduct of those employed in planning and erecting the buildings. He says large sums of money were uselessly expended, so that the Asylum became a by-word and reproach. He suggests many improvements of modern times, by which all unfavorable early impressions may be removed. The number of patients, since Dr. Trezevant took charge of the institution, has been 206, of which number 83 have been cured, and removed much improved, and 54 have died, and 6 have committed suicide. If the improvements suggested by the physician should be made, more favorable results may hereafter be expected.

The superintendent, Mr. Parker, says, – “ Although many of the unfortunate inmates of this institution were brought here in chains, and represented as being exceedingly dangerous, we have invariably, on their admission, released them from their shackles, and in no case have we had cause to regret the experiment. A persuasive and conciliatory manner, on the part of the keeper, has greater influence with the most insane, than any punishment which can be enforced.

“ There is sometimes a difficulty among the patients. On such occasions, the cause may be traced to my own mismanagement, or that of some one of the keepers. Hence the great importance of selecting suitable persons for taking charge of them; they aid much in the recovery of the patients; while an improper person may effectually counteract every prescription of the physician.”

There is great good sense in these remarks, and, if we do not entirely misinterpret the language of this report from the regents, the physician, and the superintendent, of the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum, a new day has dawned upon that institution.


The Fourth Report of this institution is more full and important than any which have preceded it. They have all been very good, but this appears to us to be the best. Dr. Awl is an admirable superintendent; and this and all the other humane and criminal institutions at Columbus, speak well for the future as well as the past, in this new and growing state.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

It is remarkable that an example is set to every other western state, at Columbus, Ohio, in regard to suitable provision for the insane, the blind, and the criminal and vicious. Not that the institutions here are perfect, (for instance, the Penitentiary has no religious teacher provided by law, and supported by the state,) but it is surprising and delightful to see such noble foundations laid, in a state so new, for so many important and humane institutions.

Institutions of benevolence,” says Dr. Awl, “ belong to God. They are the fruit of that spirit which breathes peace upon earth, and the durable pyramids which mark the triumphant progress of the Christian world.

“Since the date of our last report, we have been blessed with general health, comfort, and safety. No serious accident has occurred, either in the house, or with the numerous patients, who have almost constantly been employed in the open air.

“We still continue to have a crowded house at all times; the average number of inmates accommodated, in the past year, being 145, which is greater than at any former period; whilst the number waiting for places, in different parts of the state, is increased rather than diminished.”

Dr. Awl's report contains 22 statistical tables, with remarks which we deem of great value. We have space for only the results of the Ohio Asylum froin its commencement :


1840. 1841. 1842. Total. Admitted,

157 .. 101 .. 85 ... 65 ... 408 Discharged,

78 .. 81 ..

266 Recovered, 27

41 165 Died,

14 14 11

47 Eloped, .


1... 6 Per cent. of recoveries on all the recent cases discharged in three complete years, 86.05.

Average per cent. of recoveries on all the old cases discharged in three complete years, 35.63.

The expenditures the last year have been $15,877 44; the receipts, $19,357 85; of which $17,000 was from the state treasury, $2,304 67, from patients, and $53 18, from an individual.

Dr. Awl has a few remarks upon moral treatment and restraints, which we cannot deny ourselves the р easure of quoting:

“Our system of discipline depends upon neither secret arts nor physical force. It is entirely based upon the plainest and most simple principles of parental kindness and common sense, with such tact and ingenuity as necessity may suggest, or occasion require. A cheerful, encouraging, friendly address; kind but firm manners ; to be patient to hear, but cautiously prudent in answering; never making a promise that cannot safely be performed, and when made never to break it; to be vigilant and decided; prompt to control, when necessary, and willing, but cautious, in removing it, when once imposed; — these are qualities which will command the respect, and gratitude, and attention of the misguided lunatic, when they could never be attained by force.




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]





[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »