« AnteriorContinuar »
not the least disturbance, and returned regularly to her room ; no sooner had she done so than she commenced talking again, and continued it till the hour of service in the afternoon. She again attended in the same orderly manner, and continued to do so for weeks, although the same disposition to talk remained. She ultimately recovered, and the first motive which was effectual to excite self-control, was the desire and determination not to disturb the religious exercises of the Sabbath. The benefit of one hour of self-control, in such a case, from such a cause, is incalculable. It is needless to add cases. If a stranger was to visit our congregation in the chapel, he would at first discover little worthy of observation; he would find from one hundred and fifty to two hundred people assembled together, quietly seated, neatly dressed, resembling in all respects an ordinary congregation.” — pp. 75 – 79.
What a picture is this which follows !
“ If, however, he was told that here from eight to ten homicides were mingled with the others, and four times as many other individuals, who, in their moments of excitement, had violated the public peace, or trampled on private rights when wholly irresponsible; that on his right hand sat the owner' of all things, whose self complacency will not be likely to be disturbed by any animadversions which may be made upon the character of the true God;' that by him sits the poet and commentator, who swallows every word that is uttered from the desk, and returns to write commentaries on the text which shall, at some future day, fill his purse with riches, and the world with “celestial light ;' that here may be found the King of England, the King of Heaven, the heir apparent to the throne of Prussia, and the Prophet over Albany, who speaks from Jehovah,' and who daily expects the patroon' to send him a coach with black horses, to carry him to his friends ; that here is also the military chieftain, the man of wealth, the rich poor man and poor
rich man,' the mother of Christ, and innumerable other characters not less consequential ; that here may also be found the laughing idiot, the perpetual jabberer, the gay, the passionate, the depressed, a hundred individuals with the delusions, impulses, and propensities of insanity, so active as to be constantly obvious in their conduct and conversation elsewhere, now listening with deep solemnity to the exhibitions of divine truth, uniting with apparent devotion in the fervent prayer, and joining with pleasure in the song of praise, - I say, could all this fail to astonish him? Can an hour, twice on each Sabbath, spent in this way fail to make the most favorable impression on he insane mind ?
“ What may not be expected from one hour of self-control, brought into requisition twice on each Sabbath, independent of the instructions and admonitions from the desk ?
“ The more I contemplate this subject, and the more I witness this influence, the greater is my estimate of good frorn our chapel exercises.
“ There is no community that observes the Sabbath more strictly than that of the hospital ; no labor is done but what is work of necessity or mercy,
Amusements are all laid aside, and the Bible, religious publications, sermons, and other appropriate books, are very generally read on the Sabbath, before and after worship, by the quiet and sober part of our family.” - pp.
Here is another of a different sort, but almost as remarkable, of the order, regularity, and general comfort of the tenants of the hospital.
" While this paragraph is being written,” says the superintendent, “ with every room in this large establishment occupied, amounting in numbers to more than two hundred and thirty patients, but one individual, either man or woman, in our wards, has upon
his her person any restraint whatever ; five only are in strong rooms in consequence of violence; the remainder of the strong rooms are occupied by imbeciles and idiots, because we have no other place for them to occupy.
“Of this number of insane persons, a very great proportion of whom were sent into the hospital “ furiously mad' and dangerous to go at large,” two hundred and twenty at least sit at the table at their meals, use knives, forks, and crockery, like other boarders, and generally conduct themselves with decorum and propriety. At night, each has his bed, consisting of a good hair mattress, a straw bed, pillow of hair or feathers, and covering of blankets, comforters, and quilts, a bedstead, &c., as comfortable in all respects as lodgers in a private family generally are. It is rare that these privileges are abused ; no injury has ever been done with knives and forks, comparatively little crockery has been broken, and the beds have been preserved neat and comfortable, with very few exceptions." - p. 59.
We cannot close our article without recurring once more to the Report of the Trustees. It is there shown, as has been already stated, that the cases of insanity arising from intemperance and masturbation, two of the three most prolific causes of derangement, while they are instances of insanity brought upon the individuals themselves by their own vices, are at the same
time the least curable, and of course occupy longest the apartments of the hospital, and the greatest number of them; yet it is these very patients, sent to its wards by the order of the courts, whom the institution is bound to receive in preference to all other applicants.
" It will be seen on inspection of Table 14, that the intemperate insane furnish a less proportion of eures,
other class except one. Thus they occupy the rooms of the hospital earliest ; they retain them longest; they virtually close the doors of the hospital against other cases of a recent date, and by thus postponing the admission of such cases to a later period, deprive them of the chance they otherwise would have enjoyed of a restoration to reason, to society, to their families.
Now, were it not for the two classes last above mentioned, in which the insanity is caused by the misconduct or guilt of the sufferers themselves, the liberal means provided in the state would, in a short time, it is believed, prove sufficient for the relief of its insane citizens.
“ In administering the affairs of the institution, a painful necessity has from time to time been imposed upon the trustees, of remanding to the jails and houses of correction of the respective counties whence they came, a large number of the inmates, in order to make room for the more ferocious, committed by the courts. In all, seventy-three persons have been discharged from the hospital, solely for want of room. This number is greater than that originally received from the jails, houses of correction, and poor houses, when the hospital was first opened. It will be seen, therefore, that the class of persons for whose relief it was primarily erected, and who otherwise might have participated in its privileges, have been excluded from time to time, to make room for two classes of persons, who have brought their insanity upon themselves, by their own misconduct or crimes. In removing a part of the inmates to give accommodations to the two last named classes, the trustees have made no discrimination between those whose insanity was occasioned without any fault or offence of their own, and those upon whom the disease was self-inflicted. This being a test not prescribed by the Legislature, they have not felt themselves authorized to apply it.”.
pp. 12, 13.
A regret is expressed in these statements, that by admitting to the privileges of the hospital the subjects of this self-inflicted insanity, others, upon whom it has fallen as a hereditary visitation, or as an effect of some cause over which they had VOL. XXVI. - 3D S. VOL. VIII. NO. II.
no control, are driven from its doors. “ In the course of the last year,” says Dr. Woodward, “a number of patients have been discharged for want of room, and more than ninety have been rejected from the same cause." This regret is the expression of a natural feeling in view of the circumstances, and we fully participate in it. It seems less than right, that, to make room for the drunkard in his raging madness, — brought upon him by his excesses, those whose reason has been touched, as we may say, by the hand of God, or who have suffered the same dreadful evil as a legacy of some remote ancestor, or as an effect of any one of the various causes which inflict it wholly independent of any agency of their own, should be turned away. But the remedy of this injustice would not be found in committing another, — in reversing the principles of reception and exclusion. Because the intemperate have brought the calamity upon themselves, we admit at once is no sufficient reason why they should be abandoned. We feed the starving, though we know that indolence and improvidence have brought them to their sad pass. And we do right.
And we do right. We would fing the doors of the hospital wide open, as they are now, to receive the victims of intemperance, - not one should be driven back, - but we would have those doors made wider and larger, so that none should go away. The walls of the hospital should be made to grow till they can embrace every applicant. The State has done well ; but this is no reason why it should not do better. In doing what it has, it has but done its duty, - no more. Nay, not its duty, while NINETY annually knock in vain for admittance. These public Charities should rather, we think, be termed public Duties. They are, rightly considered, the fulfilling of obligations ; not the mere indulgence of benevolent sympathies. We like the doctrine, that the State is the parent of the people. It is a genuine part of republicanism. And it is only this, – that the people, in their collective capacity, will look after and protect themselves, so that the poorest brother of them all shall not want, for the reason that he is a brother, an equal, a man. The rest will take care of him. If this is so, and so we believe it to be, then this Worcester Asylum is but an expression of the care which the people feel it to be their duty to take of their suffering members; and while any are still suffering for the want of the necessary care, which they are so abundantly able to impart, they must feel that their duty is not done. This is our feeling as one of the people. And we
say, therefore, let the Hospital be enlarged to the requisite dimensions, or, if that be better, let another be erected at the other extremity of the State, at Pittsfield or Williamstown. The question of money, in such a case, is surely not one to be considered. If, as Mr. Mann affirms, the proportion of insane for Massachusetts is six hundred, - though that number he thinks is below rather than above the truth, - there are now more than two hundred residing probably for the most part in the back part of the State, dwelling many of them in prisons, jails, dens, and cages, for whom no provision is as yet made by either public or private agency, Let the same sense of duty which has built the Hospital at Worcester, double it, or build another in Berkshire.
NOTICES AND INTELLIGENCE.
A Description of the Principal Fruits of Cuba. By F. W. P. GREENWOOD. (From the second volume of the Boston Journal of Natural History.) — One of the pleasant circumstances in our situation, on the rocky shores of this bleak and sterile New England, is the ready communication we have with almost every part of the globe. Our cold winter, with its sharp winds from the north west, and still more the chilly east winds of our spring, may pierce and shatter the body whose tenant is too much engrossed by its moral relations to take proper care of the phys. ical. But some one of the countless ships, which our wants and enterprise are constantly sending to every port, will, in ten days, place the invalid amidst the soft airs and delicious climate of those Indian Islands of the West, which more than realized the hopes of him who from Europe saw them first, as they have ever since the expectations of all who have visited them.
But fully to enjoy the delights of these pleasant islands, one must have had his eyes opened to see, and have learnt to understand and feel, the beauties of the field and forest at home.
Such preparation of eye and head and heart he would do well to make, who was about to journey to foreign regions, if for no other reason than the vast accession of pleasure, from seeing and comparing the varied products of varied climates. And he would be richly rewarded for his labor in that alone. Indeed the labor itself would be more than its own reward. For there is something about all the works of the Divine Architect, the