Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

paper which every member of the commit- no doubt existed on the mind of the cointee would so readily recollect. It appeared mittee, that it had been the custom of from this paper, that out of these four Mr. Warburton's house to confine these hundred persons, in May last, eight only lunatics throughout every Sunday. There were under the treatment of medicine. It was evidence also given, descriptive of the was clearly established by the evidence of mode in which they were treated on the those who were most acquainted with the Monday morning. In a state of nudity, subject, that they considered insanity as covered with sores and ordure, they were a disorder which might be removed by carried into the yard, and plunged sudmedical treatment, or moral care.

denly into cold water, even when ice was But, if this was the case of the unfor- swimming on the pails. In this situation, tunate patient as to his mind and body, with little attention bestowed on him, and what was his condition as to general ac no benefit from medicine, the individual, commodation ? In this house of Mr. whose case he had supposed, was on the Warburton, there was no attempt at classi- point of falling under the evilethat pressed fication. Suppose the patient whose case upon him. At last his health failed. He he had imagined was one of that class was then removed to the infirmary.— It who were passed into the crib-room, what was impossible with the strongest language was his situation ? He was placed in a to describe the horrors of this place. Could box six feet long, covered with straw, and the right hon. the Secretary of State for chained down both by the arms and the the Home Department believe, that this legs. In this state he was left the whole infirmary in Mr. Warburton's house was a night through, without attendance or as room not known to exist by the medical sistance, or the possibility of either. One attendants sent into it by several families of the witnesses had been very indignant, who had patients there? When it was because it had been stated, in one of the found out what was the condition in which reports, that sixteen of these unfortunate it was discovered to be? He would read persons had been confined all night in one the description in the language of the of these wretched rooms. What really witnesses. The hon. gentleman then read was the fact? It turned out that the a passage stating, “ that the air of the number was not 'sixteen, but fifteen ; and infirmary was so highly oppressive that these fifteen were confined in a room the witnesses could not breathe." It also twenty-six feet long. In these cribs they represented as disgusting in the highest lay insensible to the calls of nature, and degree, the horrible exhalations of excrewere left to wallow all night in their own mentitious matter arising from the pafilth!—In Bethlem and St. Luke's Hos- tients. Mr. Warburton had attempted to pitals the lunatics in good health were deny these facts also; but they were inkept in separate cells. But if these un contestably established. He felt it his happy patients of Mr. Warburton suffered duty to state, that it appeared by the mithus during the week, what was their con- nutes of the evidence of the physicians dition on Sunday? “E'en Sunday shone and others before the committee, that no Sabbath day to them !” They were however bad Warburton's house might be, confined in this horrible place from Satur- it was good, as compared with others of day night until Monday morning : fifteen the same kind, if not much better than human beings lay wallowing in their filth many of them. It might at least be taken throughout the whole of Sunday! It was as a fair sample of what these houses were. attempted by Mr. Warburton and his Mr. Warburton had been permitted to witnesses to contradict this statement, read all the evidence against him, and to which was originally made by a patient bring forward his own witnesses to rebut who had recovered, and gave evidence be- it. The report had made no statement fore the committee. Mr. Warburton com- respecting him which was not confirmed plained of the introduction of evidence of by his own witnesses. Mr. Dunstan, his this kind, and begged that he might him- medical attendant, visited the patients self be examined, and his assistants also. every other day. Mr. Warburton himself They were all examined as he desired ; came only twice a week, for about an hour, but what was the result? Every word of or an hour and a half each time. He had the charge was fully confirmed from the so many establishments, that though he mouths of his own witnesses. At the end stated in his evidence, at he thought of the inquiry into this part of the subject, knew the mode of curing madness better VOL. XVIII.

U

than any other individual, he acknow- circumstances did not appear on the miledged that his time was so occupied, that nutes of the committee; and he had menit would not permit him to investigate the tioned it, as he was otherwise afraid that cases of the persons placed under his Cordell's character would not be known care. As a sample of Mr. Warburton's as it deserved to be. They had not hawitnesses, he would take Mr. Cordell, rassed Mr. Dunstan his assistant, Corwho used to act as the occasional assistant dell, much with questions, as it was eviof Mr. Dunstan. This person was asked dently useless. He could not refrain from by a member of the committee, whether quoting one other sample of the conduct he only went occasionally? He stated, of Mr. Warburton's establishment. In that he did not attend regularly. He was September last, an inquest was held on next asked, whether any register was kept the body of a patient who had died there. of the state of the patients? He replied, Through my hon. friend, Mr. Spring Rice, “Yes, we have the most perfect register then Under Secretary of State, he obtainyou can conceive; it is an account of the ed a copy of the coroner's report. In the treatment and condition of every patient, inquiry before the committee, it appeared moral and medical; it is for accuracy and beyond all doubt, there were no sick stores neatness, a perfect pattern. We can trace in the infirmary, and no medical attendthe illness of every patient for six or seven ance except that of Dunstan every other years, and we can find a statement of day; and when he could not attend, that every prescription written for him, and of a young man, about twenty years of every circumstance attending the progress age, the celebrated Mr. Cordeil.' In his of his malady.” Would the House be- evidence, Mr. Warburton asserted roundly, lieve, that there was not a word of truth that every possible attention was shown in this statement ? Could they believe to the patients, to whom he said sago, that it was wholly false? Yet so it was. arrow-root, wine, and light puddings, were The next day the committee sent for Mr. administered as they needed them. The Dunstan, and requested him to bring this committee asked the superintendant of book. He replied, there was no such this establishment, if he had any bills for thing in existence. Mr. Dunstan was the sago and other articles provided for required to attend in person. Cordell's the sick ? He stated in reply, that he evidence was read over to him. He said had no bill, as he had always paid ready there was no such register as Cordell had money for every thing he bought, and that described; that the whole statement was the course was to enter all he laid out in perfectly inaccurate. The committee then one sum as sundries. His (Mr. Gordon's) sent for Cordell, and read over to him impression of this evidence was, that it what had taken place. He afterwards was false, the whole of it. At least it asked, whether the committee were to could not be true to the extent stated by understand that his statement was alto- the witness. It was impossible to believe gether incorrect? His reply was, “It is that Mr. Warburton would allow any very probable.” He was then pressed to manager, in so large an establishment, to say, whether the committee should believe lay out what he pleased, and keep no the evidence he had given that day, or on books. the Saturday before? Cordell coolly re The hon. gentleman then adverted to plied, “All I told you the other day was some considerations with which he had inaccurate : it was false from beginning opened his speech. He had pointed out to end." He added, that the story of the the great difficulty and danger of the exgreat book was all his own invention. istiny law; first, as to the certificate of The committee, finding themselves placed insanity; secondly, as to the treatment of in rather an awkward situation by this the lunatic in confinement, supposing him conduct, intended at first to have sub- to be properly confined ; and thirdly, if, mitted the case to the House, and called through the interposition of Divine Proviupon it to interfere and visit its wrath on dence, he should regain his senses, the much the offending party. But as there re- greater difficulty he would experience in mained only a few days of the session, regaining his freedom, and returning again they borrowed a little of the Speaker's into society. He knew of no process that authority, and, after keeping Cordell in could be effectual for this purpose, if it duress for two or three days, they severely was the interest of the keeper, or any body reprimanded and discharged him. The else acting with him, to continue the im

was

prisonment. He, perhaps, should be told, to the censors did no good, and was therethat the party aggrieved might apply for a fore as well abandoned. The only reguwrit of habeas corpus. Laying aside the lation of the law, for the protection of cost of this proceeding, how could the in- these unfortunate beings, was thus violated. dividual in confinement make his com When he first entered on this subject, he plaint in the first instance, if he was treated had naturally asked, as the commissioners as a lunatic? The law at present directed, had omitted the duty prescribed by law, that five physicians should visit these what else they had substituted ? if they houses and keep a register of their pro- had not acted according to the letter of ceedings. He would narrate one instance, the law, he hoped they had done nothing to show how this duty of supervision was against its spirit. But he found, on furperformed, which had reached him through ther inquiry, that they had done nothinghis hon. friend, the member for Ports- literally and strictly nothing. Sure he mouth (Mr. F. Baring). A married lady, was that, if any thing was communicated named Pettingall was, in May, 1825, con to the right hon. gentleman opposite, refined as a lunatic, but she did not appear presenting that great abuses existed in to the Committee of Magistrates to be some department of the state, and that the then labouring under insanity; and it also law was not sufficient 'to suppress them appeared, that she had not exhibited any if any such communication was made to marks of insanity for twelve months. him, or to any other member of parliaUnder these circumstances, they directed ment, they would feel it their duty to take å communication to be made to her hus some steps to amend this defect in the band. About the same time in 1827, she law, and especially if they had found was still reported to be conducting herself abuses of the gross and disgusting nature with propriety, but the husband had taken he had laid open that evening. no notice of the application for her release. The hon. gentleman then referred to When the committee met, they learned, the minutes of the physicians, as to some on inquiry, from the medical attendant, of these houses. Holt's house was repreDr. Bright, that the husband had refused sented as very disorderly and dirty.' In to liberate her, because he said she was a another, twenty patients were together in troublesome woman, and not fit to be at one small room, the air of which was close large—" There,” he added, “she shall anil offensive. In another, two patients remain.” When he (Mr. Gordon) came were found lying in an outhouse, and to town at the end of November, he sent three others chained down by the arms, for Dr. Bright, to ascertain whether Mrs. wrists, and legs. Their wrists were Pettingall was still in confinement. He blistered, and their persons covered only found that the doctor had remonstrated in by rags. One female was the only servant vain with her husband. As he considered they had to attend to them. Was this a the lady perfectly sane, he gave notice, system to be tolerated ? He was not that if she was not immediately liberated, speaking of the practice in a distant part he would move for a writ of Habeas Corpus of the country, but actually within five at his own expense; and it was not till miles of London. Had he not, then, made five days before the meeting of parliament, out a sufficient case to justify him in askthat she was finally released.

ing for an alteration of the law? He He then reverted to the state of the ex- begged the House to consent to it for the isting law. By the 14th of George 3rd, c. sake of the wretched beings, whose serious 49, a license to keep a house for the re afflictions had fallen on them by the visiception of lunatics could only be granted tation of Providence, and who were sufby five commissioners, to be appointed for fering daily and hourly torments which no that purpose by the College of Physicians. tongue could describe. If there were any These commissioners were bound to visit who considered this a pseudo-philaneach of these houses once a year, and if thropy, he would reply, that it was a they found any thing improper, they were pursuit as worthy and as much called-for as directed to place a card in the censors' the exertions that had been made for many room, stating what they had discovered to years to improve the state of the gaols. be incorrect. Unfortunately, this provi- No class of sufferers could have stronger sion had never been attended to in prac- claims on our sympathy and kindness than tice; at least since 1800. The excuse that which he had brought under the at. for this negligence was, that the complaint tention of the House. He would not feel

desirous that the bill should be brought He alluded to the evidence given before in, if it had not been carefully and duly the committee, to prove that it was highly considered. It had been shewn, within necessary that something should be done the last six months, to two Secretaries of relative to the treatment of Pauper LunaState, and four Under Secretaries, previ- tics; and he cited several cases that had OUS the return of the right hon. gentle- come within his own knowledge, which man to office; and they had all viewed it clearly proved that the present system was with approbation. Within the last two greatly defective. days, he had placed it in the hands of the Mr. Secretary Peel said, that he did not highest law authority in the kingdom, who think that the hon. gentleman had done had promised to give his assistance in re-justice to the feelings of the House, when moving all obstacles to its success. He he had supposed that his motion would earnestly trusted that parliament would be treated with the slightest inattention ; not relax its efforts on a subject, so inter- for he was sure that it must not only be esting to humanity. He knew, that to impressed with the inportance of the quesendeavour to correct abuses or redress tion, but also feel grateful to the hon. grievances, was no very agreeable or easy gentleman for having taken it up; espetask; as those who undertook it found so cially as he must have devoted his time to many private interests and personal feel it from a feeling of pure philanthropy; ings arranged against them. Many of the and he thought that a more important subabuses which he had described as belong-ject could not have been chosen, though it ing to Mr. Warburton's house, were three was not one calculated for display. Durmonths before the committee had been ap- ing the summer, he had paid some attenpointed ; and he believed that many of tion to the report that had been made by them had since been remedied. The pub- the committee; and though he had not lic attention had been excited, and the himself taken any part in the present bill, public asylums for the reception of pauper he trusted that the hon. gentleman would sunatics had been much ameliorated. He introduce it on such a principle that it could not sit down without alluding to the would execute itself; for, unless that should splendid liberality of a gentleman, Mr. F. be the case, there would be danger that, J. Browne, who for a quarter of a century in the course of fifteen or twenty years, had represented the county of Dorset in when the public attention was no longer that House; that gentleman had given a excited, the same abuses as those now manor house to the county for the recep- complained of would creep in. There tion of lunatics, and had sunk a sum of could not be a question, that unless the money in the funds for the purpose of pro- asylums for pauper lunatics were well conviding it an annual income for its support. ducted, they would be a curse rather than He thanked the House, in behalf of bimself a blessing; and that it would be infinitely and of those whose cause he was advocating, better to have none at all, than such as for the attention it had paid to him ; and would only offer temptations to send unhe trusted that the time was fast approach- fortunate creatures to them. There were ing, when England would emulate the ex cases in which the patient was merely ample of the continent on this subject. somewhat troublesome, and it was much In Holland, in France, in Italy, and even better that such as these should be abroad; in Spain (meanly as we thought of that it being preferable to leave them in the country), there were establishments exist- custody of their relations, than to lock ing for the reception of lunatics, which, to them up in mad-houses. That mildness those of this country who had visited them, of treatment might produce the best efhad been the subject of their envy and ad- fects was to be seen from the manner in miration. The hon. member concluded by which the house in St. George's fields was moving for leave to bring in a bill “ to con- conducted. Patients had been removed solidate and amend the several acts, respect- thither, after being chained to the wall for ing County Lunatic Asylums, to facilitate nine years at the other place, and brought the erection of County Lunatic Asylums, to quiet and tranquillity by the pursuing and to improve the treatment of Pauper of a milder course. Unless, therefore, and Criminal Lunatics."

these asylums were well regulated, they Lord Ashley seconded the motion ; but were the greatest curses that could exist. his lordship spoke in so low a tone, that But he wished to suggest to the hon. genhe was nearly inaudible in the gallery. I tleman, that there might be danger in the

establishment of a permanent Board of tom of the House to extend some indulgCommissioners. It was human nature, ence. He had stated, on a former even that daily and weekly visits to such scenes ing, that he had heard on that evening, for should harden men's hearts; and he the first time, and with great surprise, the thefore thought that it would be infinitely fact, that the resignation of his right hon. better, instead of a permanent board being friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, had established, that every six months new been made known to the noble lord at the physicians and new visitors should be ap- head of the late government on the 29th pointed.

of December. That this, and nothing else, Mr. R. Gordon said, he proposed that had been his statement he was convinced, they should be appointed annually,

both from his own recollection and from Mr. Peel was afraid that the old mem- his knowledge of what was the real fact; bers would be sure to be re-appointed, un- and, as a further confirmation, he might less it was positively enacted that new be excused for observing, that he found his physicians and visitors should be appointed meaning distinctly so expressed in two twice a year.

publications which were known to attend Mr. W. Smith said, that when he was very ably and correctly to the matters that younger he had paid much attention to passed in that House. He would repeat, this subject, and had visited all the mad- that his observation on the preceding houses round London, by which he had been evening had been confined most strictly eye-witness of the great abuses practised. with in this limit,—that he,on that night, bad He was therefore rejoiced at the prospect heard for the first time, that the Secretary of alteration. He trusted that no house, how- of the Colonies had tendered his resignaever respectable, wouldbe exempted from the tion to the noble lord at the head of the operation of the bill; and that those which government on the 29th of December ; not stood highest in reputation, would forego that he then learned for the first time any privilege, in order that the act might (which undoubtedly he could not do) the be completely carried into effect.

fact, that that resignation had been tenMr. R. Gordon said, it was the object dered at all. In the two interviews previous of his bill to place the matter entirely to that date, he might say safely, that he under the direction of the Secretary of had been ignorant as to what an extent State for the Home Department.

the perseverance of the right hon. SecreLeave was given to bring in the bill. tary for the Colonies, upon the point in

difference between them, had been carried. HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Had he been aware of that fact, it was

possible-he did not say that the thing Thursday, February 21.

would have been so, but it was possibleCHANGE OF ADMINISTRATION-M1- he might have been induced to give it NISTERIAL EXPLANATIONS.] Mr. Port- further consideration. His statement to man rose to inquire, whether it was the the House, on a former evening, had been intention of the Treasury to take any steps such as he now declared, and no other ; for inquiring into the complaints of the and both “The Times” and the “Morning Maltsters?

Chronicle" had given distinctly the fact, Mr. Herries said, that his right hon. that he had complained, that the resignafriend, the chancellor of the Exchequer, tion of his right hon. friend, on the 29th would be better able to speak upon the of December, had not been communicated subject than he was; but he knew that his to him ; that he had not been informed of right hon. friend meant to lose no time in it until the 5th of January. It had been entering into personal communication with supposed and said that, in what he had the parties, upon the matters in which stated, he meant to convey a denial of the they thought themselves aggrieved.-While truth of the account of the noble lord at he was upon his legs he might as well take the head of the late government, as to the the opportunity of removing one or two causes by which that government had been erroneous impressions which had gone dissolved. When any man of characterabroad, as to part of the statement which he far less such an individual as the noble had made on a formerevening. He was aware lord alluded to-spoke of motives, he could that in doing this he was a little out of have no hesitation in saying, that such a order ; but where the personal feelings of declaration was unanswerable—that of his a member were concerned, it was the cus. I own motives he must be incomparably the

« ElőzőTovább »