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spirit who can bear?" hence there is no treatment of it did more generally prevail. earthly concern that is of equal importance and the horrors of it were diminished, it to what insanity may prove, in all its dire would occur less frequently. Is it not ful consequences. It' may even be a | then greatly to be regretted, that, while question, whether this disease alone does those who are well experienced contend not make greater inroads into the circles of that insanity is curable in nine cases out domestic happiness, than does the aggre- of ten, the legislature, and many of our gate of all other disorders to which human | local authorities, should sanction a system nature is liable. Even the apprehension of treatment, under which nine out of ten of it in many, who are in no immediate do not recover, but languish out life in a danger, is one of the distressing evils of state of degradation and suffering. life. Dr. Johnson says, “ Of the uncer Contending, as I do, that the best treattainties of our present state, the most ment of insanity is simple, and easy to be dreadful and alarming is the uncertain understood, still it assuredly requires a continuance of the powers of reason." strict adherence to certain particulars and And not only does insanity exceed all principles. In the first instance, the remeother diseases in subjecting the friends and dial means must commence while the disrelatives of the patient to trouble and ease is in its incipient, or at least recent anguish, but it also, in the estimation of state. In most cases, a removal from many, fixes upon them an indelible stain home, and all the irritations that arise out of disgrace. Besides all these, the innu- of family intercourse, is necessary; next, merable acts of violence and murder that that the removal shall be to proper medical are committed under its baneful influences, and moral treatment; the former to abate where it is not visible to common ob the previous excitement, while in the latservers, and the dreadful cases of despon ter, every thing that is at all calculated to dency under which many labour, add | irritate and shock the feelings is to be greatly to the black catalogue of human ills. carefully avoided, and every thing adapted
All who possess the functions of thought, to rouse and strongly excite the ideas, by and are subject to human feelings and various pleasing and rational sensations, human passions, must be liable to mental should be assiduously exhibited. The derangement, and though it is a malady consolations of religion should be admi. which generally falls the heaviest on the nistered at least twice every day, and the lowest classes of society, yet we find that cordial of hope unremittingly. All these the rich, and the exalted in station and require exertion; but under a regular sysintellectual attainments, are not always tem they become practicable and easy, exempted from it; so that there are none and by abating the violent symptoms of who read this, or indeed who do not read the maniacal excitement, they prevent five it, but what may have, occasion to wish times the trouble they occasion. These that a better system of treating it did more things I have frequently said before, and generally prevail.
in this same publication; but I hope my It has frequently been asserted, that indulgent readers will excuse the repetition. mental diseases are very much on the It is also much to be regretted, that increase in this our land; while my belief gentlemen of the medical profession have is, that they might be very much dimi- attended so little to mental diseases; but nished; for I feel well assured, both from youth is the time of medical education, what I conceive to be the true theory of and to what school or professorship can insanity, and what I have seen and known they apply? Where is the institution for in practice, that there is no serious disease the cure of mental diseases to be found, in to which human nature is liable, more cer- which the medical and moral means are tainly and perfectly curable; and that so well united and practised, as to give a patients perfectly recovered, shall be more reasonable chance of superior success and secure from a second attack, than they information; and where are the books to were previously from a first; and I go so be found, upon which the profession can far as to assert, that where there is a tole- / depend with confidence? The regular rable share of bodily health, perfect resto. practitioner can but seldom procure the ration from the mental affection may be proper management and moral treatment considered as a moral certainty, the best in these cases, without which medical means of cure too being simple, and easy treatment, however skilful, will often be of to be understood. As insanity, no doubt, no avail; and as many cases require refrequently arises from the feelings of horror moval from home, the medical attendant is and dread of it, and an idea of its being in honour bound to give up his patient, incurable, it is obvious, that, if a better and all his chance of further success and
experience. The great error of medical | under better; but had the parochial authopractice in mental affections arises, no rities been well admonished, and the care doubt, from considering them as local and of the insane and the cure of the fresh inflammatory diseases, requiring topical cases been left to the parish apothecaries applications and severe depletion, under respectively, I have no doubt that the the term brain fever; when, under the number of pauper lunatics pronounced term nervous fever, the practice might have incurable, and the number of deaths, within been quite correct, with reference only to the last ten years, would hare been less the want of tone in the digestive and secre- by at least 150 of each, than what it is; tive functions.
I am, therefore, persuaded that a great As a matter of political economy, the part of the money expended has been treatment of pauper lunatics is of consi- worse than thrown away, it having greatly derable importance. From the multipli- tended to increase the evil it was intended city of fresh cases in those districts where to diminish. the numbers have been noted, it may be In the treatment of mental diseases, there concluded, that in the whole united king- is but one positive and certain good; the dom they annually amount to at least three rest is chance and matter of opinion, as I thousand, of those that require parochial have said before. The hand of charity in relief under the disease. Under a judi- this particular, if misdirected, may do great cious treatment, the aggregate of the ex- | injury; for keeping lunatics on charity, if pense for the best chance of cure would the best means of cure are not afforded, not exceed, say £60,000, while the keep- may prove a great curse, when a blessing ing in an incurable state, the same number was intended; but to make use of a public of these unfortunate beings, through the purse, for purposes relating to the insane, average term of human life, would cost which do not furnish the very best means more than £600,000; and not only this, of cure, is in my opinion highly culpable; but by the best treatment, a great part of and what I have to urge against county the odious notoriety which has made insa- and other public asylums is, that they nity a national opprobrium, might be avoid-monopolize the attempt to cure, and yet ed; but as we go on building county asy do not afford the best means. This too lums, we shall want parish asylums, till may be urged, I fear, against some keepers England may be called the land of lunatic of private asylums, and they are highly asylums.
culpable; but not more so than the proIn what I said of the Wakefield asylum moters and managers of public asylums, in the July Magazine, I was not actuated that merit the same imputation. by any invidious feelings, or any improper I have been told I have fallen into miswish to expose the defects of that institu- takes in what I have asserted about county tion; but many years ago.it was spoken of asylums generally, and truly I should not as an example for other counties, and it be sorry that I have; for I am not a little has lately been represented to me, as the tenacious of the honour of those engaged in best appointed county asylum in the king. the care of the insane; but there are some dom. If, therefore, it be improper as an particulars which rest upon the printed example, it is right that this should be reports, that may, I suppose, be depended known, for it is “recorded as a precedent, upon, viz. the number of deaths, the numand many an error by the same example ber of incurables, and the numbers who will rush into the state.” Many county relapse of those previously discharged as asylums are now establishing, no doubt, cured. It cannot be supposed that lunatic after the example of the Wakefield asylum. asylums should be exempted from the visi.
I have some knowledge of one of the tations of death. Many are admitted in a gentlemen who act as magistrates for the sinking state that cannot be restored, and West Riding of Yorkshire, and I believe in numerous instances the violence of the him to be active, intelligent, and humane, disease leads to the grave in spite of all and therefore it may be presumed that his the care that can be taken; but a large colleagues are the same. I have no doubt proportion of deaths is an argument against they were actuated by the purest and most the treatment, for it may be considered as benevolent views, in establishing the Wake- an important maxim, that the best treatfield asylum. But from all the informa- ment for the insane, as it regards their tion I have obtained, a scheme of dimi-chance of cure, is the best as regards their nishing the evils of insanity within their | comforts and bodily health; they mutually district, has proved a complete failure. assist each other. Improvement in the Some individuals have, no doubt, been mental disease has a tendency to improve rescued from bad treatment, and placed the comforts and physical health of the
cocorroroor.............................. patient, and an improvement in their phy- | if obstinately persevered in, must inevitasical health and comforts has, no question, a bly prove its ruin, terminating, perhaps, good effect upon the mental affection. in an early death, preceded by many
In the first ten years of my keeping an concomitant evils, all of which might be asylum, the deaths were in proportion of avoided by common prudence, good sense, one death to fourteen of all the cases ad- and sober discretion. The following quomitted; in the last ten years they have been tation will place this subject in a proper in the proportion of one death to fifteen of light. all the cases. At the county asylum at “A newspaper, called the Scotchman, Stafford, the deaths' in ten years have been has devoted several columns to “The Comas one to seven of the cases; but then, I | pression of the Waist in Females by the do not think the situation at all healthy; | use of Corsets,' in which there are facts and well I know that the physician there enough brought to alarm any young fehas had much trouble with diseases evi male, who does not prefer tight stays, and dently arising from this cause. At the consumption, to no stays, and good health ; “ Retreat” the situation is very good, and or a curvature of the spine, and a slender the moral treatment most excellent; but the | waist, to a back without deformity, and a medical treatment is certainly defective; waist of the kind intended by nature. The for the first ten years the deaths were as effect of tight corsets, the author observes, one to six of all the cases in that time. | is, that those who have been long so At the Wakefield asylum, a most healthy closely laced, become at last unable to situation, the deaths have been as one to hold themselves erect, or move with ease, three and a half of the cases, or double without them, but fall together, in consewhat they have been at the Stafford asylum. quence of the natural form and position of At the Lancaster asylum, the deaths for the ribs being altered. Tight lacing prothe first ten years were in the same pro duces head-ache - dyspeptic complaints portion as at Wakefield, or nearly so. But -dropsy-premature death! Its effects in twelve years, or up to June, 1828, they on the thorax are, shortness of breath, palhave been as one to three and a quarter, pitation of the heart, consumption, and or say 366 deaths out of 1169 cases. The water on the chest. On the abdomen, it aggregate of deaths at the Lancaster and occasions depraved digestion, diarrhea, Wakefield asylums may justify a very seri induration of the liver, dropsy, and hernia. ous imputation on the practice of those. It is also followed by hysteric, and many institutions; and the number acknowledged diseases peculiar to the female constituas incurable, and the great numbers who are known to have relapsed of those dis. Liability to the above maladies must be charged as cured, might lead to a doubt | inevitably the lot of all those females who whether any have been permanently reco will continue the present use of whalebone vered at those two asylums.
and steel. Thos. BAKEWELL.
Our daily and weekly papers abound
with instances of the fatal effects of tight Spring Vale, near Stone, August, 1829.
lacing, from which we extract the following—
“A girl, 16 years of age, applied reFATAL EFFECTS OF SLENDER WAISTS.
cently at the Hotel Dieu, in Paris, for WHEN woman was first formed “the advice respecting a tumour in her neck. softened image” of man, by the fiat of an On examination, it clearly appeared to have Almighty being, she came a finished model | been caused by wearing tight stays." from the hands of her Creator, in beauteous An American paper states, that a female and perfect symmetry. This, no doubt, lately died at Baltimore, by the rupture of was continued for a series of years, till the a blood vessel near the heart, caused by follies, customs, and absurd fashions of tight lacing. On an examination of the existing ages, perverted her angelic form. body, the liver was found forced from its
Amongst all the absurdities of fashion, natural, seat. perhaps there has not been one more la Another instance of the folly, and fatal mentable, or that has had a greater tendency effects of following, for the sake of apto cause an improper bias or derangement pearances only, the fashions of the day, of the beauteous figure of a female, than has occurred in the practice of Mr. Prowse, the unnatural and ridiculous custom of of the city of Bath. The subject of this tight lacing. When I see a well-formed notice, an interesting female of about twenty child of this class, I think it is the des- years of age, was in the constant habit of tined victim of an odious folly, which, / lacing so tightly, that she could not even
stoop in the ordinary way; and was gene- | sation, than with one in print; and that rally so much distressed, as to be obliged we never fail to receive disgust from wit, to loosen her stays whenever she returned when we suspect it to be premeditated. home from a visit. This unfortunate habit The pleasure, too, which we receive from brought on cough, violent palpitation, and wit, is heightened, when the original idea other diseases of the heart, which terminated is started by one person, and the related in premature death. The facts in this case idea by another. Accordingly, Dr.Campwere fully substantiated by a post mortem bell has remarked, that a witty repartee is examination.
far more pleasing than a witty attack; and 1829.
J. B. that an allusion will appear excellent when
thrown out extempore in conversation, DEFINITION AND CHARACTER OF WIT.
which would be deemed execrable in
print.” “WIT,” according to Mr. Locke, “is a To the same purpose another ingenious faculty of the mind, consisting in the assem writer has observed upon Mr. Locke's debling and putting together of those ideas scription of wit, that every resemblance of with quickness and variety, wherein can be ideas is not that which we call wit, unless found any resemblance or congruity; by it be such an one that gives delight and which to make up pleasant pictures, and surprise. These two properties, he says, agrecable visions, in the fancy."
seem essential to wit, more particularly “This faculty," the same great author the latter of them. In order, therefore, observes, “is just the contrary of judg that the resemblance in the ideas be wit, ment, which consists in the separating care it is necessary they should not lie too near fully from one another, of such ideas one another in the nature of things; for wherein can be found the least difference, where the likeness is obvious, it gives no thereby to avoid being misled by simili surprise. Spectator, vol. i. No. 62. tude, and, by affinity, to take one thing From this account of the nature of wit, for another:" and hence, he accounts for it is easy to perceive what good reason the reason of that common observation, Cicero bad for saying, (De Orat. lib. iii. that men who have much wit and prompt cap. 54.) Wit is a thing not to be memories, have not always the clearest learned: it is the offspring of nature, and judgment, or deepest reason.
proper effect of a bright and lively fancy. “It is the metaphor and allusion wherein, Cicero reduces wit to two kinds, viz. for the most part, consist the entertainment cavillatio, which, in our language, may and pleasantry of wit; which strikes in so be called continued wit, or humour, and lively a manner on the fancy, and is there. | dicacitas, which may be termed concise fore so acceptable to all people, because wit, or jesting. its beauty appears at first sight, and there The ingenious professor, above cited, is required no labour of thought, to exa suggests the following difference between mine what truth or reason there is in it. invention in the arts and sciences, and wit. The mind, without looking any farther, rests “The former depends, in most instances, satisfied with the agreeableness of the pic on a combination of those ideas which are ture, and the gaiety of the imagination; | connected by the less obvious principles of and it is a kind of affront to go about to association; and it may be called forth in examine it by the severe rules of truth or almost any mind by the pressure of exterreason. Whence it should seem that wit nal circumstances. The ideas which must consists in something that is not perfectly be combined, in order to produce the latter, conformable to them."-Essay on Human are chiefly such as are associated by those Understanding, b. ii. c. xi. s. 2.
slighter connexions which take place when Professor Dugald Stewart (Elements of the mind is careless and disengaged." the Philosophy of the Human Mind, p. “If you have real wit,” says lord Ches302,) adds to Locke's definition of wit, terfield, “it will flow spontaneously, and that “it implies a power of calling up at you need not aim at it; for in that case, pleasure the ideas which it combines ;" the rule of the gospel is reversed; and it and he inclines to believe, that “the enter- will prové, seek and you shall not find." tainment which it gives to the hearer is / Accordingly, wit is promoted by a certain founded, in a considerable degree, on his degree of intoxication, which prevents the surprise, at the command which the man exercise of that attention which is necessary of wit has acquired over a part of the con- for invention in matters of science. stitution, which is so little subject to the Wit is also an appellation given to perwill. Hence it is, that we are more pleased sons possessed of the faculty called wit, with a bon mot which occurs in conver- esprit. A French author, who, in 1695,
published a “Treatise of wit, du Bel Eprit," wit in a promiscuous society; or if they says down four characters of it.
are forced to make such an exertion, they 1. A man, who, with an open air and are seldom successful. Such men, howeasy motions, affects those he converses ever, in the circle of their friends, to whom with agreeably; and on any subject that they can unbosom themselves without presents itself, advances new thoughts, and reserve, are frequently the most amusing adorns them with a sprightly turn, is, all' and the most interesting of companions; the world over, a wit.
as the vivacity of their wit is tempered by 2. Another, who, less solicitous about a correct judgment and refined manners; the choice and delicacy of his sentiments, and as its effect is heightened by that senknows how to make himself valued by, I sibility and delicacy, with which we find it know not what, elevation of discourse ; so rarely accompanied in the common who draws much attention, and throws intercourse of life. When a man of wit great vivacity in his speaking, and readi makes an exertion to distinguish himself, ness in his answers; is likewise acknow. his sallies are too far-fetched to please. ledged a wit.
He brings his mind into a state approach. 3. A third, who takes less care about ing that of the inventor, and becomes thinking than about speaking well ; who rather ingenious than witty. affects fine words, though perhaps low and Genuine wit, says lord Chesterfield, never poor in matter; who pleases by an easy made any man laugh since the creation of pronunciation, and a certain tone of voice, the world: upon which professor Stewart is placed in the same rank.
remarks, that this observation is just, if by 4. Another, whose chief aim is not to genuine wit we mean wit wholly divested make himself esteemed, so much as to of every mixture of humour; and if by raise mirth and laughter; who jokes perti- | laughter we mean that convulsive and nently, rallies pleasantly, and finds some noisy agitation which is excited by the thing to amuse himself with in every petty ludicrous. But there is unquestionably a subject; is likewise allowed a wit.
smile appropriated to the flashes of wit, a Yet, it may be observed, that in all smile of surprise and wonder, not altothese cases, there is nothing of real wit, as gether unlike the effect produced on the above defined; but the whole is imagina mind and countenance by a feat of leger. tion, or memory at most: nay, the whole demain when executed with uncommon is no more than what temperament may success. give. A true wit must have a just faculty of
THE ADVANTAGES OF HISTORICAL discernment; must have, at the same time,
KNOWLEDGE. both great energy, and peculiar delicacy, in his sentiments; his imagination must be 1:( The Introduction to Bossuet's Disnoble, and at the same time happy and course on Universal History, to Monagreeable; his expressions polite and well sieur the Dauphin, translated from the turned, without any thing of parade or French, by Thomas Rose.) vanity in his discourse, or his carriage.
If history were useless to other men, its It is not at all essential to wit, to be ever
perusal would still be necessary to princes. hunting after the brilliant ; still studying
There is no better means of discovering to fine thoughts, and affecting to say nothing
them the great importance of passions and but what may strike and surprise. This is
interests, of times and seasons, of good and a fault very frequent in dramatic persons;
evil counsels. Histories are, for the most the duke of Buckingham rallies it very
part, composed of the actions of princes, justly.
and their successors may derive benefit * What is that thing which we sheer wit do call ?
from a review of them. If experience is 'Tis when the wit of some great writer shall, So overflow, that is, be none at all,
necessary to rulers for acquiring that pruThat ev'n his fools speak sense."
dence which will enable them to govern From the account given in the former well, nothing can more conduce to their part of this article, of the difference be. instruction, than to add to daily experience · tween invention and wit, it appears, that the examples of past ages. By so doing, those who have the reputation of wits are they will ordinarily discover the best means commonly more confident in their own of securing the welfare of their subjects, powers, who allow the train of their ideas and their own proper glory, and be proto follow, in a great measure, its natural vided with resources in cases of emer.course, and hazard in company every gency; for by the assistance of history, they thing, good or bad, which occurs to them. can form their judgment, without any Men of modesty and taste seldom attempt l hazard, on passing events. When they see 130,--VOL. XI.