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them. So that those poor, afflicted persons, whose mental house was in disorder, not only endured the wo of the utter blasting of reason, but they were visited with cruelty and un-kindness.
But now, such views rarely exist. It is seen and admitted, not only that harshness and violence aggravate the complaint of the insane, but that it is both necessary and efficacious to cast the oil of kindness upon the boisterous waters of insanity, and that soothing manners, and mild, interesting objects, gain the attention of the poor victims, and render the chances of recovery more certain and complete. Hence, at the present day, in most, and I do not know but that in all, of the hospitals for the insane, the kindest mode of government is pursued, and the whole discipline adopted, is entirely the spirit of the law, "overcome evil with good." And over the gate of the institution where the most success in curing insane persons is manifested, there ought always to be written, "kindness reigns here." But though kindness is, or soon will be, the universal rule of action in reference to all maniacs, yet there is an instance on record, which may even be called a bold and daring exhibition of its power; or at least, an instance in which most people would have hesitated, and even refused to adopt it; and
one, too, where we should have expected the principle to utterly and entirely fail. There is a Lunatic Asylum for paupers, in Hanwell, England. This asylum was formerly conducted on the old principle of violence, confinement, chains, strait-jackets, whips and threats, until Dr. Ellis and his wife took charge of the establishment. They went into it with the broadest benevolence-their only governing power was good sense and kindness;" for these were the soul of their system. They determined to visit every lunatic with leniency and liberty. Though such an experiment endangered their lives, yet they opened every door of the building, and gave its inmates free access to every part of the asylum, treating them " as much as possible as though they were sane." The result is ennobling; after the pursuance of such a course for twenty years, no accident happened from it. Miss Martineau, who visited the asylum, after speaking of the mode of government there, and the mingling of the inmates together, says :—
"I saw the worst patients in the establishment, and conversed with them, and was far more delighted than surprised to see the effect of companionship on those who might be supposed the most likely to irritate each other. Some are always in a better state when their
companions are in a worse; and the sight of wo has evidently a softening effect upon them. One poor creature, in a paroxysm of misery, could not be passed by ; and while I was speaking to her as she sat, two of the most violent patients in the ward joined me, and the one wiped away the scalding tears of the bound sufferer, while the other told me how 'genteel an education' she had had, and how it grieved them all to see her there. Why should it be supposed that the human heart ceases its yearnings whenever confusion is introduced among the workings of the brain? And what is so likely
restore order, as allowing their natural play to the affections which can never be at rest? For those who can not visit Hanwell, it may be enough to know, that no accident has happened among Dr. Ellis' many hundred patients, during the twenty years that he has been their guardian; but there has been a far higher satisfaction in witnessing and feeling the evident security which prevails in the establishment, where the inmates are more like whimsical children, manageable by steadiness, than wretched maniacs, controllable only by force. 'Oh, do let me out! Do let me go to my dinner!' wailed one in her chamber, who had been sent there because she was not well enough' for society, in the morning. The dinner-bell had
made her wish herself back again among her companions. Let me out, and I will be quiet and gentle.' Will you?' was the only answer when the door was thrown open. In an instant she dispersed her, tears, composed her face, and walked away like a chidden child. The talk of these paupers often abounds in oaths when they first enter; but the orderly spirit of the society soon banishes them. 'I can not hear those words,' Mrs. Ellis says; 'I will hear any thing that you have to say in a reasonable manner. I am in no hurry. I will sit down: now let me hear.' No oaths can follow an invitation like this, and the habit of using them is soon broken."*
When an individual is cured, and his mental house is put in order, he leaves the asylum with the most grateful recollections; for so great is the attention and kindness there practiced, that he feels, when he is uncomfortable, that he can return and find a home under the care of his old friends. The "parting blessing" to the cured patient, when going to the busy scenes of life, accompanied with the affectionate smile of Mrs. Ellis, and her kind invitation to return "home" whenever they are in difficulty, are the attractions which make the establishment so de
*Miscellanies, by H. Martineau, vol. i, pp. 242, 243.
sirable to them. "A painter, who had long experienced the kindness of Dr. and Mrs. Ellis, was grieved to leave them. Some time after he had returned to his business in the world, he had a typhus fever; and when he was recovering, his first desire was to get back into his old quarters. 'I will go up to the Asylum,' said he; 'I am sure they will give me a nursing till I get strong.' And so they did." Could any thing be more delightful than such kindness, or more refreshing to the mind? Or could persons exhibit a more magnanimous and Christian spirit, than Dr. and Mrs. Ellis, in devoting their whole time to the welfare and comfort of insane paupers? Pure must have been the feelings and motives which actuated them-holy must have been their thoughts when dwelling upon the results of their labors. Those results are extraordinary. For not only does their kindness and judicious management firmly win the love and gratitude of the insane, but they have rendered chains entirely useless, so that, though in 1834 they had five hundred and sixty-six patients, there were only ten whose arms it was So that, necessary even to gently confine. while in many other institutions for the insane, there are heard howlings, screeches, the rattling of chains, and the utmost extent of human wo, yet here all is peace, freedom, and comparative