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in over the other to it. If Popery, for instance, and n were permitted to dwell, quietly together, Papists not become Protestants, (for the name is commonly the last thing that is changed) but they would become more enlightened, and informed: they would by little and little, incorporate into their creed many of the tenets of Protestantism, as well as imbibe a portion of its spirit and its moderation.”
THE COMMITTEE appointed to consider of Provision
The Evidence presented herewith, will show how extensive their enquiries have been. It was their intention to make observations in detail on the several heads of the Examination taken before them, and on the several public and private Establishments, for the reception of Insane Persons; but on reconsidering the whole subject, they have thought it advisable, in the first instance, to make their Report more general, for the reasons which will be stated.
Your Committee cannot however hesitate to suggest,
with the utmost confidence, from the Evidence they now offer to the House, that some new provision of law is indispensably necessary for insuring better care being taken of Insane Persons, both in England and Ireland, than they have hitherto experienced; the number of whom appears to be very considerable; as the inquiries of the Committee have convinced them, that there are not in the country a set of beings more immediately requiring the protection of the legislature than the persons in this state; a very large proportion of whom are entirely neglected by their relations and friends. If the treatment of those in the middling or in the lower classes of life, shut up in hospitals, private madhouses, or parish workhouses, is looked at, Your Committee are persuaded that a case cannot be found where the necessity for a remedy is more urgent.
It will appear on reference to the Evidence (relying principally on the testimony of the persons keeping the houses,) that in a few of them, the arrangement is as good as the contracted size of the houses, and the small extent of the ground attached to them, will admit: and that the treatment of the inhabitants in them has been kind and proper ;-but it is in proof, that there is just and great cause of complaint against by far the greater part of the houses of this description, which have hardly, in any instance, been built for the purpose, and are incapable of being conveniently adapted to it.
Your Committee have classed their observations under the following heads, that each may be referred to as the occasion may arise:
Ist.-Keepers of the Houses receiving a much greater number of persons in them than they are calculated for; and the consequent want of accommodation for the Patients,
which greatly retards recovery; they are, indeed, represented by the President of the College of Physicians, and the physician acting as secretary to the visiting commissioners, who must be considered as the most competent judges on the subject, to be better calculated for the imprisonment than the cure of patients.
IIdly. The insufficiency of the number of keepers, in proportion to the number of persons intrusted to their care, which unavoidably leads to a proportionably greater degree of restraint than the patients would otherwise be
IIIdly. The mixing patients who are outrageous, with those who are quiet and inoffensive; and those who are insensible to the calls of nature, with others who are cleanly.
IVthly. The want of medical assistance, as applied to the malady for which the persons are confined; a point worthy of the most serious attention, as the practice very generally is to confine medical aid to corporeal complaints; which circumstance the Committee are the more desirous of inforcing on The House, as an opinion has been given, by a respectable physician and another person of great experience, that where the mental faculties are only partially affected (stated by them to be so in seven eighths of the cases,) medical assistance is of the highest importance.
Vthly. Restraint of persons much beyond what is necessary, certainly retarding recovery, even beyond what is occasioned by the crowded state of the house; of which many instances were stated to the Committee. In the course of the evidence there will be found opinions unfavorable to the use of strait waistcoats, as more oppressive to the patient even than irons: which induce Your Committee to observe, that a waistcoat has been invented,