§ On the Order of the Day being read for going into Committee of Supply,
MR. B. ELLICE (St. Andrews)
said, he rose to call the attention of the House to the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the state of Lunatics in Scotland, and to ask what steps the Government intend to take for immediately securing to Pauper Lunatics in Scotland proper protection and maintenance? Having lately carefully examined the Report in question, he found such important matter in it affecting the administration of the law in that country, so many charges of evasion and disregard of the law by the authorities paid and nominated to carry it into execution, that he felt it to be his duty to take the earliest opportunity of calling the attention of the House to the subject, being satisfied that no one acquainted with the facts, possessing the common feelings of humanity, could refrain from demanding of the Government that something should be done to alleviate the sufferings of the persons to whom the Report related. The persons to whose condition he wished to direct the attention of the House constituted, probably, the most helpless class of the whole family of human beings—that class which, under the dispensation of Providence, had been deprived of reason, and which in all countries almost, from the most remote times and in the most savage nations, had been regarded as having peculiar claims upon the sympathy and protection of their fellows. In England and Ireland Boards had been appointed, under which the law for the protection of lunatics had, generally speaking, been satisfactorily administered. He was ashamed to admit that in Scotland unfortunately the state of things had been 1021 lamentably different. In Scotland, instead of a Board of Commissioners specially appointed to take care of lunatics, their charge had devolved upon the Sheriffs of counties and the Board of Supervision, which latter body stood in the place of the Poor Law Board in this country. Although no doubt the abuses which had sprung up were in part to be attributed to the unsatisfactory and unprecise state of the law, nevertheless in a great measure the law in its present condition was very ample for the protection of the great proportion of the pauper lunatics in Scotland, if it were properly administered; but he should have unfortunately to charge the authorities to whom he had referred with an almost total neglect of the duties which were incumbent upon them under the law. The power and duties of the Sheriffs in their respective jurisdictions, as laid down by the Act, were very ample. They had "to decide upon every matter and thing to be done which might be necessary for the purpose of ascertaining whether any person or persons confined ought to be confined, and to make such order for their care and confinement, or for their being set at liberty again, as the circumstances of the case might require." They were empowered to give licences for the reception and care and confinement of lunatics; and it was further enacted, that any person keeping a house for the reception of lunatics without a licence from the Sheriff should be liable to a penalty of £;200 for each offence. The penalty was extended likewise to all persons sending, or being accessory to sending, any lunatic to custody without such a licence. The Sheriffs had also to attend to the detention of lunatics, and it was provided that no one could lawfully be either received as a lunatic or discharged from custody without the express order in writing of the Sheriff. He would be able to show that in Scotland the granting of these licences formed the exception, and that, in fact, the houses were opened generally without any licence whatever, that the people were detained without any order, or without even any medical certificate, and that if after being confined in these places they died, their friends were not informed of their deaths, which were not reported to any constituted authority, the unfortunate persons disappearing in that mass of misery and filth which he should shortly depict. In addition to the authority of the Sheriff, there were certain regulations required by law in reference to 1022 the confinement of the lunatics in these places, and certain provisions as regarded a register being kept. The statute provided, that no one should receive in his exclusive care any insane persons without an order and a certificate signed by two physicians or surgeons, and that the keeper of every such house should within five days after receiving the lunatic transmit to the Sheriff a copy of the certificate, stating the parish where the house was situated, as well as the name of the owner. The statute also provided, that within seven days of the 1st of January in each year there should be transmitted to the Sheriff a certificate signed by two medical men, describing the state of the lunatic, and in case of his death or removal, the death or removal was to be notified to the authorities. There was also to be kept a register of the particular instances of detention, where force was required for the necessary detention of the lunatic. A book was to be produced to the inspectors, who were to record the day of their inspection, and any facts worth noting, and a refusal to produce this book was punishable by heavy penalties. Again, the Sheriff was called on to make regulations for the management of all private madhouses, and to enforce the same by heavy penalties. This related to the case of lunatics in general, and showed that the law as respected the proper custody and maintenance of lunatics in general was, if put into force, sufficient to prevent the existence of gross abuses. He would now refer to the case of the pauper lunatics, who formed a separate class from the general lunatics. The pauper lunatics in Scotland were in the hands of the parochial boards. These, under a Bill brought in about ten years ago, were under the control of the board of supervision, which sat in Edinburgh, and was similar to the Poor Law Board in London. In that law particular reference was made to the custody and care of pauper lunatics. It enacted that, whenever any poor person, chargeable on the parish, should become insane, the parochial Board should, within fourteen days of his being certified to be insane, take care that he was properly lodged in an asylum kept for the maintenance of lunatics. The Board of Supervision had, under the same Act, peculiar power with respect to lunatics. On proper cause being shown them that the lunatic might, with more regard to the feelings of his friends and to his own more comfortable 1023 maintenance, be left in the care of his family or friends, it was competent for the Board of Supervision to dispense with his removal to an asylum, and to allow him to remain in the custody of his friends, always having regard to a due inspection, from time to time, as to the care taken of him by his friends. The asylums for pauper lunatics were also subject to the inspection of the sheriffs. Beyond this, the Board of Supervision in Edinburgh had a peculiar power with respect to the maintenance of pauper lunatics, which did not exist in England. He believed that in England there was no legal appeal against the allowance, whatever it might be, which the Board of Guardians chose to make. In Scotland there was such an appeal. In Scotland the Board of Supervision could allow any pauper to appeal to the Court of Sessions, and under the order of that court any amount of maintenance proved to be necessary could by summary means be recovered against the parish. Beyond this, the Board of Supervision had absolute powers to dismiss any inspectors or others neglecting their duty towards the pauper lunatics; consequently, the power of the Board of Supervision over the parishes was as complete as under the circumstances could be expected. He would now refer to certain reports of the Board of Supervision with respect to pauper lunatics. This was no matter of argument or assumption, for, in these reports, the Board themselves admitted their obligation under the law to look to the well-being of the pauper lunatics. In the first report of the Board, in 1847, they state that, having called for and received returns of all the pauper lunatics in the different parishes, and the manner in which they were disposed of, the Board required that all such as were not placed in asylums should be visited by medical gentlemen, who should report whether they would be benefited by being sent to an asylum, and whether or not proper care was taken of them where they resided; that the Board, in all cases in which they dispensed with the removal of the pauper lunatics to asylums, were careful to preserve the necessary safeguards against abuse by requiring a satisfactory medical certificate as to treatment of the lunatics; and that the inspector should exercise a general superintendence over the lunatic paupers in his parish, reporting, if necessary, to the Board of Supervision. Now, he would show that 1024 these statements had no foundation in fact, that they were positive untruths, and entirely deceptive, year after year, as to the real state of the lunatics in Scotland. In the second Report, in 1848, the Board stated that they had dispensed with the removal of a certain number of lunatics to asylums, but that in all such cases they were satisfied that suitable accommodation was provided at the cost of the parishes; and in the third Report, in 1849, the Board stated that they had completed their inquiry respecting 2,003 pauper lunatics not confined in asylums, and that they had in all cases required that the allowance paid by the parish should be sufficient not only for the subsistence, but also for securing the proper treatment of the lunatics; that thus they had endeavoured, not unsuccessfully, to improve the condition of this most helpless and hitherto most neglected class of paupers; and that it was due to the parochial Boards to state that they readily co-operated in ameliorating the condition of the pauper lunatics. In the four last Reports, all special reference to the pauper lunatics was omitted, the Board stating that they had no change to report in their manner of proceeding with respect to the pauper lunatics. Now, he would show that the condition and treatment of the pauper lunatic was diametrically opposite to what was there stated. After his statement with respect to the provisions of the law, there could be no doubt that the law was sufficient, in a very great measure indeed, to obviate any danger of the pauper lunatics being neglected or oppressed, if the provisions of the law were properly enforced. Of course, he was aware he should receive an assurance from the Government that, after this Report, some legislation would be had recourse to in another Session to adapt the law to the case of asylums and lunatics generally; but what he should contend for was, that the country had a right to expect from the Government that they would see the existing law enforced forthwith and immediately as affected the proper treatment of lunatics, and that, if it should appear that the authorities had been negligent (to use a mild term) in enforcing the law, due notice should be taken of their conduct. Three years ago he brought in a Bill for the inspection of parochial boards and paupers, on the ground that the Board of Supervision was lax, and that paupers were much neglected in Scotland, but he was met by the reply that his 1025 statements were exaggerated, for the purpose of getting up a case, and if he had moved for a Commission of Inquiry as to the state of pauper lunatics, he should no doubt have been met with the same objection. But it was a subject of congratulation that, in consequence of the attention then drawn to the subject, and through the exertions of the Lord Advocate, a Bill had been subsequently brought in and passed, under which inspectors had been appointed. He was now prepared to reiterate the statements he then made, and to prove their complete accuracy. And first with regard to the history of the Report of the late Commission. That Report was entirely due to the exertion of a lady who was not a native of England, Scotland, or Ireland, but of the United States. That lady, Miss Dix, came over, a short time ago, to this country on a philanthropic mission to inquire into the treatment of Lunatics. After visiting the Lunatic Establishments of England, she proceeded to Scotland, where her suspicions were aroused by the great difficulty she experienced in penetrating into the lunatic asylums of Scotland, but when she did gain access to them she found that the unfortunate inmates were in a most miserable condition. She came to London and placed herself in communication with the Secretary of State for the Home Department and with the Duke of Argyll, and at her instance, and without any public movement on the subject, a Royal Commission was appointed to inquire into the state of the Lunatic Asylums of Scotland. No one, he was sure, could read the Report of the Commissioners without feeling grateful to that lady for having been instrumental in exposing proceedings which were disgraceful to this or to any civilized country. The Report was one of the most horrifying documents he had ever seen, and he hoped hon. Gentlemen would be induced to read it; for if they did so, they must, he was sure, be astonished at the treatment to which Lunatics were subjected in Scotland. The duty of seeing that pauper Lunatics were properly provided for, so far as regards the supervision of the regular lunatic asylums in that country devolved upon the Sheriffs, but the Report stated that the Commissioners were only acquainted with one instance, that of Mid-Lothian, in which regulations for the management of licensed houses had been issued by the Sheriff, and that those regulations, without having been formally withdrawn, had fallen into disuse. 1026 The Commissioners further stated that the visitations of the Sheriffs and medical inspectors were not sufficiently frequent to secure the patients against gross neglect and improper treatment. The justices of the peace and the ministers of the several parishes had the power of visitation; but, he was sorry to say, that they had not availed themselves of it. The warrant authorising the reception of lunatic patients should be granted by the Sheriff of the county in which the asylum was situated. A medical certificate was necessary to remove a person from his own house to an asylum. But the law in that respect was wholly unheeded at times, and persons had been removed without any semblance of authority. There were no rules or regulations to secure the proper treatment of those persons whilst confined within the houses, nor any power for the discharge of them when they were recovered. It was required by statute that certain records should be kept with reference to the proceedings in lunatic asylums; but this provision was altogether disregarded. The Commissioners stated that frequently there were no records as to cases of restraint, and that when such records existed the authorities had seldom enforced compliance with the provisions of the statute, for no medical case books were kept. If lunatic asylums were suffered to exist some with and others without licences, if such establishments were not subjected to inspection, and if no records as to the treatment of patients were kept, the result must be that there would be great neglect. The House, however, would be surprised at the extent to which such negligence was shown to prevail by the Report. The Commissioners stated that in many cases the patients were scantily fed and clothed: that they were provided with a meagre amount of bedding of the worst kind; that they were subjected to mechanical restraint and to seclusion; that they were occasionally stripped naked, and sent to sleep together upon straw; that no means of recreation were provided for them; that the number of attendants was insufficient; that no provision was made for religious exercises; and that scarcely anything was done to break the cheerless monotony of the existence of these unfortunate persons. The Commissioners further said that the sole aim, in the case of the pauper asylums, seemed to be to accommodate the greatest possible number at the smallest possible outlay, adding that frquently no measures were 1027 taken for the separation of the male and female patients—no day rooms—the miserable bed-rooms used both night and day. Often did one of these unfortunates die in the dormitory, and after being kept a considerable time, the body was carted away to the burial ground, without decent ceremony, without notice to the relations. On the subject of mechanical restraint in the case of pauper lunatics, the Commissioners said that in almost every asylum they found handcuffs, hand-locks, iron gloves, leg locks, and strait-waistcoats, which were not in the custody of the proprietors or medical officers, but were hanging up in the wards or in the rooms of the attendants, and evidently used without any check. Again, the statute required, under heavy penalties, that on every death, notice should be given to the authorities, who then were to communicate the fact to the relatives of those poor people. The Commissioners stated that this regulation had been wholly disregarded, and that on the death of a patient in a public asylum, no notice of the event was given to the Sheriff, who was thus left without any clue as to what became of the unfortunate individuals for whose incarceration he might possibly have granted his warrant. With regard to the state of the asylums generally, he thought he had stated enough to induce some hon. Members to read the Report who had not already done so. He had only selected one or two passages out of a hundred, and, if hon. Gentlemen would peruse the Report for themselves, they would see that it described a state of things which they could not before have believed to prevail in any civilized country, much less in this country, which laid peculiar claims to civilization, and boasted of its religious and humane principles. The Commissioners went on to describe the difficulties they had in ascertaining the correct number of pauper lunatics. Only a certain number of these pauper lunatics were confined in asylums by order of the Board, the greater part being, from motives of economy on the part of the authorities, permitted to remain in their parishes, under the guardianship of strangers or their own relatives, so that the Commissioners had the greatest difficulty in getting at anything like a correct return of their aggregate number. They applied first of all to the Board of Supervision, but could get from that quarter no return that could be at all relied on. They then made application to the clergy, 1028 and he (Mr. Ellice) was sorry to say that they could obtain no reliable information from them even. Their ill-success in that direction induced the suspicion that many of the clergy had in this matter more regard for the pockets of the rate-payers than for the condition of the pauper lunatics. The Commissioners eventually applied to the constabulary force, who in Scotland were an active and intelligent body of men, and through the Inspectors they received such reports as enabled them to arrive at a pretty accurate estimate of the numbers of pauper lunatics in each county. The difference in the returns supplied by the constabulary, compared with those received from the Board of Supervision, was very marked; for example, the Board gave 57 as the number of pauper lunatics in Caithness, while the constabulary returned 90. The discrepancy in the returns for Shetland was still more noticeable, the Board returning 20 as the number, and the constabulary returning 55. The Commissioners had afterwards reason to believe that the returns sent in by the constabulary were, upon the whole, accurate and reliable. In Scotland the number of insane persons of every class amounted in May, 1855, to 7,403, and of those no fewer than 4,642 were pauper lunatics. Of those 4,642, only 1,500 were confined in chartered asylums, and many of those chartered asylums—those, for instance, in Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, and other places—had been established by the philanthropic efforts of individuals, and were, generally speaking—without any supervision by the legal authorities—under the charge of the medical officers appointed by the persons who, to their great credit, had instituted those asylums. It was not in those asylums, but in the licensed houses, so called, and poor-houses, under the control of the public authorities, where the disgrace lay. He found there were 426 pauper lunatics living in those licensed houses, which were under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff, while in the poor-houses, or living with relatives or strangers, there were no less than 2,671 pauper lunatics, all of whom were under the parochial Boards in the first instance, and the jurisdiction of the Board of Supervision in the second, and the great majority of whom were outdoor paupers. The Commissioners stated thatThe statutes provide that every pauper lunatic shall be sent to a public hospital or asylum, unless the Sheriff shall be of opinion that, in the special circumstances of the case, it is more 1029 expedient to place him in a licensed house. The result of this provision, if carried into effect, would be to place all pauper lunatics, unless in exceptional cases, in public asylums. But in practice the enactment is entirely disregarded, and pauper patients are sent to public asylums or licensed houses, just as suits the convenience of the parties interested. In consequence of want of accommodation private houses are opened for paupers, where there is no limitation as to the number or sex of the patients to be admitted; nor has due regard been had to the qualifications of the proprietor, or to his means of providing proper lodging, board, and treatment. The premises are in most cases totally unsuited for the purpose of asylums, and are crowded in an extreme degree.It appeared that pauper lunatics were admitted to the poor-houses of Edinburgh itself without any licence from the Sheriff, and sometimes without any medical certificate that they were mad at all. The Commissioners said:—We have already stated that the Edinburgh city poor-house receives insane and fatuous paupers without any licence from the Sheriff, and that at the time of our first visit this was also the practice in St. Cuthbert's workhouse. Indeed, on visiting the latter house, we found that the patients were admitted, not only without a licence, but even without a medical certificate. The Sheriff had never made an official visitation to either workhouse, so that the responsibility of the management rested solely with the parochial authorities. The reasons for abstaining from applying for a licence appear to have been the wish to avoid payment of the fees, and to be exempt from inspection and interference on the part of the Sheriff. In the two Edinburgh workhouses patients were avowedly received without licence; but there is scarcely a poor-house in the kingdom in which there are not several insane persons who have been irregularly admitted in the same way.The Commissioners seemed to doubt whether the local Boards had any perception of the difference between ordinary paupers and paupers labouring under insanity, for they went on to say—But, first, it may be well to point out the difference existing between an ordinary pauper and one who is labouring under insanity. In the case of the former it may be right to make the poor-house as little attractive as possible, and to hold out no inducement of comfort and better food to swell the number of those claiming admission; but in the case of the insane no such reasons exist for supplying them with merely the barest necessaries, and depriving them of everything that may tend to alleviate their heavy lot. The question is no longer—"What is the lowest rate at which pauper patients can be maintained? But, what are the best means of restoring them to sanity? We have no hesitation in saying that, in providing accommodation for insane paupers, the parochial authorities have more consulted the interests of the ratepayers than the well-being of the patients. Economy is their rule of conduct, 1030 and has greatly influenced the nature of the accommodation.The Commissioners further reported:—None of the houses which receive patients without licence are officially visited by the Sheriff and medical inspectors. The patients there are under the sole charge of the Poor Law authorities; or, more strictly speaking, of the parochial Boards; for the Board of Supervision seem rarely to make any direct inspection of their condition.These facts proved the truth of the statement which he ventured to make to the House two years ago, that the Board of Supervision did not do their duty. Another very painful part of the subject was the removal of lunatics from their homes to an asylum, or from one asylum to another. There was a very good asylum at Perth, where certain paupers were confined. One of the private houses bid a smaller sum, and the parish authorities took upon themselves to remove a considerable number of the paupers from the asylum which was properly conducted to the private house, where they would be received at a lower rate, without any regard whatever to the manner in which they would be treated. A long description in the Report was summed up thus—Taking all these circumstances into consideration, we are of opinion that the removal of the paupers from Murray's Royal Asylum at Perth into the licensed house of Mr. Aikenhead, at Musselburgh, was effected without the slightest regard to the well-being of the patients, or the feelings of their relatives, and was disgraceful to the authorities who sanctioned the proceeding. Placed as they were near their homes, in a public institution, well-situated in spacious grounds, living in commodious rooms, well warmed and furnished, and having all requisite conveniences, provided with ample diet, clothing, bedding, and medical care and treatment, they were suddenly removed to a distance from their relatives and placed in a small house standing in a low and confined situation, provided with little or no means of exercise, and, from its size, altogether incapable of properly accommodating them or affording them a fair chance of recovery. They were crowded together day and night, in small rooms, imperfectly warmed and ventilated, and almost entirely without seats or tables, and wanting the ordinary conveniences of life. Their clothing and bedding were insufficient; and we have great reason to fear that they were stinted in food. Sickness, with a consequent high rate of mortality, ensued; and during illness and after death little or no regard seems to have been paid to the feelings of their relatives or friends.He was speaking of things which had occurred, not in times long past, but as recently as the spring of last year. A most terrible case was thus reported—As an example may be mentioned the case of a woman who was brought from Orkney to the 1031 Edinburgh asylum in March, 1856, in charge of a sheriff's officer, and who on her arrival was found to be in a state of great exhaustion, having about six ribs broken on each side of the sternum. According to the patient's declaration to the procurator-fiscal of Edinburgh, the injuries were caused by the attendant in the gaol at Kirkwall putting his foot on her breast to enable him to secure her with straps or ropes.The Commissioners remarked—They are often harshly treated, and during the journey to the asylums are frequently painfully manacled, or secured with ropes, sometimes bound so tightly as to penetrate the flesh, and cruelties of this kind appear to pass unnoticed and unpunished. They are recklessly transported from one place to another, and sometimes brought from remote districts, and shamefully cast free among the population of large towns to get rid of the expense of their maintenance.There was another case which made his blood run cold. It was perfectly shocking, especially as the subject of it was still alive. A woman was brought to Perth, who had been troublesome with her tongue, having a piece of stick put inside her mouth crossways as a gag, and kept in that position by a string tied behind her head. The authorities did not know how long the stick had been kept there, but when she was taken into the asylum it was found that her tongue, from the long-continued pressure, had mortified, and it sloughed away. Under proper treatment her life was saved, and she became a docile and quiet patient. That was the case of a pauper lunatic in the Perth Asylum only last year. He would now come to the case of those whom he would call out-of-door lunatics. The Sheriff of Aberdeen, who was a bright exception to the general rule of conduct of Sheriffs in Scotland with regard to lunatics, said in his evidence that he did not think the licence of the Sheriff to admit into the poor-house relieved the Board of Supervision of the duty of inspection; but, whatever might be the question as to poor-houses, there was a class of lunatics, numbering about 1,300, for whose condition the Board of Supervision must be held at all events to be peculiarly responsible, because the Board was the cause of their not being put into asylums,—namely, lunatics at large or in the custody of their friends. Their condition was extremely bad, and, in the absence of inspection, they were left in a great measure to chance, and it was difficult to conceive the amount of wretchedness which prevailed amongst them, especially in the rural districts. The Commissioners stated that the instructions 1032 given by the Board of Supervision to their Inspectors were immediately to report all cases of insanity; but that those instructions were by no means stringently acted upon, and that many insane persons in receipt of parochial relief were retained as ordinary paupers. No stronger proof could be adduced of the fact that the supervision exercised by the Board in Edinburgh was extremely lax. There was, in truth, no check of any kind upon the Inspector, who was left entirely to his own sense of duty. The Commissioners said—With the insane poor it entirely depends upon the Inspectors whether or not a report is made. A very few conceive it to be their duty, when the paupers are placed with strangers to make such reports; but the proportionally small number of cases in which this is done stands strongly out on comparing the thirty-one reported pauper cases with the total number of insane poor returned by the Board of Supervision as living with strangers, and still more strongly if we adopt the numbers returned by the constables. In the former case the total number is 333, and in the latter 640, so that the proportion of cases reported is respectively as 1 to 11, and as 1 to 21. According to the strict interpretation of the 8th clause of the 9 Geo. IV. c. 34, the whole of these cases ought to have been reported to the Sheriff, and the omission to do so has caused the entire care of such patients virtually to devolve upon the Board of Supervision. The Inspectors of the poor, acting in the name of their respective parochial Boards, practically assume an unwarrantable power over pauper patients, in keeping them at home, or placing them in the houses of strangers, in selecting asylums for them, in removing them from asylums, in transferring them from one asylum to another, and generally, in contravention of the Statutes, from a public asylum to a licensed house, and in transporting them, when English or Irish paupers, to the country of their birth. Neither the Board of Supervision, the Sheriff, nor the managers or medical superintendents of chartered asylums, who may collectively be considered as the Guardians of the insane poor, practically exercise any check on this inordinate power assumed by Inspectors.In the Appendix to the Report of the Commissioners the House would find a mass of information respecting the general treatment of lunatic paupers not in asylums which could not fail to convey to their minds a picture of wretchedness such as had seldom been equalled. The Commissioners said:—A large number are detained at home or illegally placed in the houses of strangers. The generality of these are in a most destitute condition, being badly lodged, ill fed, scantily clothed, and not provided with sufficient bedding. A few are subjected to personal chastisement, some are permanently chained, others are placed in outhouses or are locked up in small closets just 1033 capable of holding them. Many are filthy in their persons, infested with vermin, covered by mere rags, or allowed to remain perfectly naked. Some are without bedding, except loose straw or heather cast on rough boards, and their rooms emit an intolerable stench. Others, again, are homeless, and are allowed to wander at large.The particular case of a pauper in Loch Carron was thus described:—The dwelling in which the lunatic is kept is of the most wretched description. Its dimensions outside the walls are about 9 yards by 4; the walls about 4½ feet high, about 2½ thick, and are composed of turf. The house is thatched with heather, and the roof is pervious to rain in several places. The door, which is about 4 feet high, opens directly into the place where the lunatic is confined. The dimensions of this place are about 9 feet by 7. It has no window, nor any opening for one; the turf walls are bare, and the floor is of earth. When visited it contained no furniture of any description, except the bed to which the lunatic is confined by his chain. The lunatic is always chained, and has been so for the last thirty years. The chain consists of thirteen iron links, and is about 2½ feet in length. One end is fastened to the side of the bed with an iron staple, and the other is passed round his right ancle, and fastened with an iron bolt and nut. He has never left the bed to which he is chained; but about ten years ago he was carried to his present abode from his former dwelling, distant about 200 yards. With this exception he has not been out of a house since he was first confined.This case was reported to the Board of Supervision. A friend of his—a sheriff substitute—visited the man personally, saw his miserable condition, and communicated the facts to the Sheriff of the county, with a view to his removal to a lunatic asylum. The Sheriff brought the case under the notice of the Board of Supervision, with the result of an arrangement being made with the parochial board, by which a new and suitable dwelling was to be provided for the lunatic and his sister, and a fixed allowance made to her from the poor's funds for attending and taking care of him. Would the House believe that the arrangement was thought to be carried out by removing the man to a wretched hovel about 200 yards from his former place of residence, and affording his sister the miserable pittance of 12s. 6d. a month? Such was a sample of the treatment of pauper lunatics in Scotland. Another case—that of two insane sisters—was reported by the superintendent of police in a county which the Commissioners, he knew not for what reason, had not named in their report. One of the women, according to the statement of the superintendent, was—Confined in a strong wooden cage in the corner of the room, in a state of complete nudity, and hardly a vestige of anything to cover her—nothing whatever in the shape of bed clothing to 1034 be seen. An old wooden bedstead was in this cage, similar to those used in our strong rooms, but there was nothing but the boards. She was in a most filthy, dirty state, and quite furious, using awful oaths. It is thirteen years since she became insane, and for the last nine years has been quite furious, and appears to be exceedingly dangerous, as she tears every article of clothing to pieces the moment it is given her, and if she had any opportunity of doing an injury to either her father or mother she would do it.The other sister, who was thirty-two years of age—Became insane in June last, and after being kept in her father's house for some six or seven weeks was sent to the Royal Asylum at—,where she remained for three months, and was brought home by her father on the 7th instant, as he could not afford to keep her any longer there. He paid for the quarter the sum of £9 10s. She appears to have been benefited by her stay in the asylum, but she has relapsed into her old state since she came home. She also is kept in a most filthy state.The parents were reported as naturally inclined to be dirty in the extreme, and as drunken in their habits. They drank a good deal of whisky, they said, to drive care away when they thought of their daughters. It was true that these sisters were not paupers, but they were on the verge of pauperism, and at all events such an extreme case of horrible treatment ought to have been noticed by the parochial authorities. He now approached a very sad and painful part of the case—the number of lunatic and idiotic women in Scotland who had given birth to children, and whose mental defect was frequently manifested in their offspring.These," said the Commissioners, "we have ascertained to amount to not less than 126, and there is cause to believe that many cases of this description have escaped observation, and, also, that the fact of such weak-minded females having given birth to offspring has often, for obvious reasons, been designedly concealed. Accordingly, large as the above number appears, we are satisfied it should be taken considerably higher. It must be kept in view, too, that many of these women have given birth to several children.In one county—Ayr, he thought—there were fifteen idiot mothers with thirty-one children. In Latheron, in Caithness, with a population of about 8,000, eight mothers were returned with ten children, while one woman was reported pregnant. The largest number of children anywhere returned to one fatuous female was five. The Commissioners said, and he agreed with them, that—It thus becomes a question of very serious import whether, for the sake of public morality and civil policy, all fatuous females should not be restricted in their liberty, and be gathered together in poor-houses,1035 On referring to the particular cases given in the Appendix, he found that many female paupers, insane from birth, had borne one, two, and three children each, and opposite their names was the following remark, "Not sufficiently clothed, fed, or cared for." In many instances the allowances from the poor's funds ranged from 9s. to 20s. a quarter—sums utterly inadequate for the maintenance of these poor women. Distressing as were the cases which he had mentioned, there were others ten times worse remaining behind—so horrible, indeed, that he durst not venture to shock the feelings of the House by relating them. There were other cases of a similar kind reported by the Commissioners,—The fatuous paupers of the City of Edinburgh, living with relatives or strangers, are twelve in number, and the allowance for some of them, though boarded with strangers, is only 2s. a week. Complaints are made that this is insufficient, and, indeed, the fact is self-evident; for, although certain articles of clothing are also found by the parish, it is clear that 2s. a week is a very inadequate sum wherewith to provide lodging and food for adult paupers and to afford remuneration for the trouble of looking after them. Such cases as these show either a want of proper supervision of the fatuous poor by inspectors or else a culpable economy on the part of parochial Boards. Of these lunatics 937 are placed with strangers, and 191 are not under the care of any one. Of those placed with strangers, as many as 489 are women. The pauper lunatics amount to 1,998, many of whom should be placed in asylums, and who are left in their present circumstances from their condition being imperfectly reported to the Board of Supervision. When estimating the condition of the insane not in establishments, it should be remembered that the details furnished by us give only an imperfect representation of the true state of matters. They form only a part of the picture of misery, and had we been able to extend our investigations it would, we are convinced, have assumed a much darker shade. We possess little or no information as to the condition of those who have no one to take charge of them.He (Mr. Ellice) should have begun by saying that the constitution of the Commission was such as to remove all suspicion of partiality or interested motives. It consisted of two gentlemen experienced in cases of lunacy, and fully acquainted with the treatment of such cases, of a very experienced lawyer in Edinburgh, himself a Sheriff of a most populous county, and therefore not a likely man to say anything unnecessarily harsh against his brother Sheriffs or the Board of Supervision; and of a medical gentleman of Edinburgh fully qualified to deal with the subject. All the Commissioners appeared to have set about their task with an earnest desire to ascertain the real facts, and had spared 1036 no labour in pursuing their objects. He would next refer the House to the Report of the Board of Supervision which had been recently laid upon the table, dated August of last year. For four years previously the Board had reported ''no change in our manner of proceeding in regard to lunatic paupers," but in their last Report they stated,—Having ascertained that in some instances the necessary legal forms had not been observed in reference to fatuous paupers who were inmates of Poor-houses, we considered it necessary to call the attention of parochial boards, inspectors of poor, poor-house committees, and officials of poor-houses to the requirements of the law in regard to this class of the poor. As we had no reason to believe that the irregularities which had arisen proceeded from any improper motive, we contented ourselves with explaining to the parochial authorities the requirements of the statutes, and warning parochial boards and their officers as to the danger to neglecting them.One would have thought that, with the knowledge that a Commission of this sort was inquiring into the subject, the Board of Supervision would have had some respect for the common sense of that House and the country. He thought that a Board of Supervision that could pen such a paragraph under the circumstances he had stated should be abolished as soon as possible. He could not understand how any Government could remain passive after the publication of a statement which he would not call wilfully false, but at least culpably incorrect. The declaration that they had confined themselves to "explaining to the parochial authorities the requirements of the statute," after the facts published by the Commissioners, was, he could only think, an insult to the common sense of the Government and the country. He thought he had made out a case to justify his calling attention to this matter, and, although it was unnecessary for him to ask the Government to legislate upon the subject of asylums, as he was sure they intended to do so, yet he felt it necessary to ask what was to be done at the present moment to put an end to those horrors which he had described. What was to be said to those authorities who had so culpably allowed the law to be disregarded? If the Government did not intend to pronounce a severe censure upon those authorities, he conceived they would be abdicating their functions. Before the inquiry, and Report of the Commissioners, it had been admitted that inspection of a local description was requisite. But that Report disclosed such a state of things as showed that more must 1037 be done to meet the larger case disclosed. The suggestions of the Commissioners were moderate; they recommended that regulations should be made by which pauper lunatics might be brought under proper visitation, and that steps should be immediately taken to prevent a continuance of that ill-treatment of which they quoted so many instances. The Commissioners also recommended that rules should be framed for the guidance of the Board of Supervision; but he (Mr. Ellice) thought that a Board of Supervision which required rules for its guidance was a misnomer. The control of paupers had been continued to that Board when the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham) introduced the new Poor Law Bill, because its members were supposed to be best acquainted with the wants of the country, and of the mode of meeting those wants. They had failed in their duty, and he therefore asked that a direct condemnation should be passed upon those who had so neglected their charge, and that some statement might be made of the measures to be adopted to compel that Board to pay proper attention to its duties, and to protect pauper lunatics from continued neglect and abuse.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
I am not surprised that my hon. Friend, as one of the representatives of Scotland, should have felt it to be his duty upon the earliest opportunity to call the attention of—I will not say the Government, for our attention has already been given to it—but the attention of the House and the country to the Report recently made by the Commissioners appointed two years ago to inquire into the state of lunatic asylums, and the care and treatment of lunatics in Scotland, containing, as that Report does, statements of facts calculated to cast very great discredit upon that portion of the United Kingdom. I shall not follow my hon. Friend through the details of the Report, but can only express a hope that the observations he has made may lead hon. Members to read that Report themselves, and especially those Members who are returned by Scotch constituencies, because upon them mainly depends the adoption of those means which alone can be effectual to remedy the gross cases of neglect and abuse complained of; and I trust that the perusal of the Report will secure the hearty co-operation of every Member from that part of the United Kingdom in the adoption of 1038 measures which will prevent the continuance of such a state of things. In one respect only do I differ from my hon. Friend; I do not know whether he meant exactly what I collected from his statement, but I understood him to state that the law in Scotland was far from being defective, that the law provided safeguards and securities for the proper treatment and care of the helpless class whose condition we are considering, but that the defects revealed by the Report arose from a defective administration of that law. [Mr. E. ELLICE: I confined that statement to the case of pauper lunatics.] Then, I must say that, as to pauper lunatics, especially, I think this Report shows great defects in the present state of the law. Allow me to call the attention of the House to a passage in the concluding portion of the Report, which is the key to most of the abuses therein detailed.Gross anomalies exist in the statute. Thus—the statute requires that pauper lunatics should be sent to a public asylum, while it omits to make any provision by enactment for the erection of such establishments.There does not exist at the present moment in Scotland one single establishment supported by local rates or by public funds appropriated by the State. The only asylums of which favourable mention can be made are those which are termed chartered asylums, owing their origin to the munificent benevolence of individuals, but which are self-supporting because they only receive a class of patients whose friends are in a position to pay for their maintenance. After these asylums, which can only receive a limited number of the superior class of lunatics, the Commissioners speak of the licensed houses, and those portions of poor-houses appropriated to the reception of lunatics as of the worst possible description, as, indeed, might well be expected when we find no provision made for the proper reception of that class of paupers who most need care, but who, in many cases, at present are subjected to treatment too horrible to contemplate. This Report very clearly demonstrates a most defective state of the law, especially as respects due provision for the unfortunate class of pauper lunatics—defects that once existed in this country, but which have been remedied by imposing on every borough and county in England the duty of providing out of local funds establishments, subject to the approval of the 1039 Government, in which the care and treatment of these unfortunate persons may be properly attended to. I can assure my hon. Friend that as soon as that Report came into my hands, which was only fifteen days ago, my attention was immediately given to it. I lost no time in consulting my learned Friend the Lord Advocate as to the measures which ought to be taken; and I shall now state generally what steps have been taken and what steps we intend to take regarding it. First of all, let me say as to the origin of the Report, that I entirely concur with my hon. Friend in the tribute of admiration which he has paid to the benevolence of the American lady who some time ago visited this country and took a deep interest in the welfare of this unfortunate class of beings. That lady went to Scotland, and on her behalf an application was made to me to enable her to get access to all establishments for the reception of lunatics. The Duke of Argyll, Lord Shaftesbury, and the Lord Advocate were aware of her wishes and represented them to me, and I most cordially agreed to give her every facility in visiting those establishments. Even before the visits of Miss Dix to the licensed houses and other places where pauper lunatics are confined, the matter had been under the consideration of the Government; and the result was, that as my hon. Friend has informed the House, the Government, about two years ago, thought it desirable to issue a Commission for a fuller investigation of the whole of this subject than had previously taken place. He has also done the Government but justice in saying that we were desirous that that Commission should be so composed as to insure an efficient discharge of the important duties intrusted to it. I put myself in communication with the Lunacy Commissioners here, and two of their number—Mr. Campbell and Mr. Gaskell—were appointed on the Commission, assisted by Dr. Coxe, an eminent man who has devoted much of his time and attention to this subject, and with them was associated Mr. Sheriff Monteith. The result of their labours is now before us. I am bound to say that they have discharged their duty with great ability and honesty, and I trust the effect will be to confer an incalculable boon upon the unfortunate class into whose case they were appointed to inquire. As my hon. Friend 1040 seemed to intimate that the Board of Supervision and other authorities in Scotland had thrown obstacles in the way of the inquiries of the Commissioners, I beg, in justice to the Board, to call the attention of the House to one paragraph in the Report which by no means bears out my hon. Friend's statement. In that paragraph it is said:—We take this opportunity of acknowledging our obligations to the various legal authorities; the Board of Supervision for Relief of the Poor, and parochial Inspectors; the General Board of Prisons and governors of prisons; the Secretaries and Superintendents of public asylums; and to many of the proprietors of private asylums, for the willing and ready manner in which they aided us in our inquiries.I have to state to the House, that after even a cursory perusal of the Report, I thought it my duty to address a letter to the Board of Supervision, enclosing a copy of the Report and Appendix, and informing the Board that the statement of facts therein related was one that demanded and would receive the immediate attention of the Government, with the view of applying a remedy to the evils brought to light; but that, independently of any general measures which the Government might propose, the attention of the Board ought to be directed, without delay, to the allegations of cases of cruelty and neglect that had taken place in the administration of the existing law. I received an acknowledgment of that letter from Sir J. M'Neill, the president of the Board of Supervision, thanking me for the communication, which he said should be laid before the Board at its next meeting, and expressing his desire to be furnished with more definite information on various points adverted to in the Report. I accordingly addressed a letter to the Lunacy Commissioners, asking them to put themselves in communication with the Board of Supervision, and to supply all the information that could be required by the Board, in order to a full investigation of the various cases. I will not enter into a defence of the Board of Supervision; but I think hon. Gentlemen ought to suspend their judgments, and not ask the Government to pass a censure on the Board till they have heard the statement that will be made by the Board itself. I believe my hon. Friend has very much over-rated the power of the Board of Supervision as to control. I am far from saying they are free from blame; but on reading the Report, it is plain that whatever blame exists is shared by the 1041 parochial Boards, by the inspectors of the poor, by the sheriffs, the clergy, the justices of the peace, and the Commissioners of Supply. One great defect, indeed, in the existing law is the imperfect responsibility thrown upon these persons, no one being called on to take on himself the undivided responsibility that is necessary to the due performance of duties of this kind. I have also to state, that my hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate has addressed a letter to the Sheriffs of counties, sending them a copy of the Report, and calling their attention to the alleged cases of neglect of duty on the part of sheriffs in the exercise of the visitorial powers given to them by law, and asking in such cases for any explanation they may have to offer. When these explanations are given, my hon. and learned Friend will know what course it will be proper to take regarding that part of the subject. With regard to individual cases of gross cruelty, or illegal proceedings, I may observe that these particular cases are now under the consideration of the Lord Advocate. Time is, however, required, in order to do full justice in these cases, and I hope the House will bear in mind that only a fortnight has elapsed since a printed copy of the Report was put into my hands. I trust it will be the opinion of the House, that the Government have lost no time in taking those measures that were thought necessary to correct what may be amiss in the administration of the present law. With regard to the steps hereafter to be taken, I may observe that we intend to ask Parliament for leave to introduce a Bill calculated to remove those defects in the law that are proved to exist by the statements made in this Report. This is not the first time that a measure on this subject will have been laid before Parliament. The late Lord Rutherfurd, when Lord Advocate, brought in a Bill which, if passed, would, I believe, have remedied all the evils now complained of. That Bill was read a second time with the warm approbation of many Scotch Members on both sides of the House, and was by common consent referred to a Select Committee; but the opposition raised to it in Scotland on the miserable ground of the expense it would incur proved fatal to the measure, and the Lord Advocate found himself unable to carry it. It is deeply to be lamented that he was not able successfully to persevere with that measure; but I trust that a different result will be arrived 1042 at with regard to the Bill which my hon. and learned Friend will propose to the House. I trust the disgrace that now attaches to Scotland in this matter will be thereby removed, and that this and the other House of Parliament will cordially co-operate with the Government in the adoption of those measures that are necessary for the relief and protection of the unfortunate class of persons referred to in this Report.
§ MR. DRUMMOND
said, that he recollected the measure to which the right hon. Baronet had referred. It was from knowing something of that darker shade which, as the Commissioner stated, remained behind, that, when Lord Rutherfurd was Lord Advocate, he (Mr. Drummond) endeavoured to get some returns that would give information to the House on this question. Everybody who knew Lord Rutherfurd would say that a more humane man never existed, and accordingly he obtained from him every assistance in his power to procure the returns which he desired; but all his efforts were fruitless. Both he and the Lord Advocate were beaten by the systematic opposition of every single person who was connected with the administration of the system in Scotland. They would not give the returns sought for. And he recollected the Lord Advocate taking him behind the chair on one occasion and showing him some most defective and imperfect returns which had been made, and saying to him, "There is nothing for it but to abuse me and the Government." Accordingly he agreed to do so, and did it; when the Lord Advocate stated in the House that all he had said was perfectly true; but it would not do. He was unable to procure the returns, and the ground of the opposition was the dread of the dirty expense which might be incurred. From one to the other it appeared that the object of care in Scotland was property, not persons. The way in which they treated the poor in Scotland was perfectly scandalous, and in nothing did the system appear so bad as in the treatment of pauper lunatics, the rich lunatics being sufficiently well taken care of. On reading the Report one could not help being struck, in the first place, with the neglect of duty by the Sheriffs, and, in the next, with the total neglect of duty exhibited by all the magistrates. How was it that throughout the whole of Scotland there was not one clergyman who could find time to visit these poor creatures? 1043 True, there was one, but when he went to the asylum he was refused admittance; and why? Because he was a Papist. The poor law, as managed by the Board of Supervision, had been well defined to be "a law for depriving the poor of their just rights. "Three cases which he had taken at hazard well illustrated this. The relief amounted to something like mockery:—A woman of sixty-four years of age, who had lost the use of her right arm, who had asthma and a cough, was allowed 2s. a month; one of which was deducted for some purpose or other. Another case was that of a poor woman, deserted by her husband, with three children under seven years of age. He did not know what they allowed her, but she lived all day on a turnip, which one of the children stole out of a garden. To an Irishman, a Roman Catholic, with an asthma and an ulcerated leg, they gave nominally 4s. a week, but the inspector kept back 3s. of it for rent. All these cases were brought before the Board of Supervision, but it refused to interfere until some person, with whom he was well acquainted, but whose name he would not mention, insisted upon having a row made about them. Now, that this Report was fresh in everybody's mind, was the time for doing something to remedy these evils; but he warned the Lord Advocate that unless he exerted himself to the utmost he would meet with the same discomfiture as Lord Rutherfurd.
§ MR. F. DUNDAS
said, that he thanked the hon. Member for the forcible appeal he bad made to the House, but in reference to a case mentioned by Mr. Ellice, he had a letter from Professor Aytoun, the Sheriff of the county in question, who assured him that, after instituting an inquiry, he was satisfied that the woman was labouring under a delusion. Still he (Mr. Dundas) was afraid that so good an answer could not be made to all the charges which had been brought forward; and he was glad, therefore, that an investigation had taken place which was likely to put an end to so serious and so grave an evil.
§ SIR EDWARD COLEBROOKE
said, that there were others who had a greater share of responsibility than those who had the execution of the law as regarded these asylums. He did not so much allude to the Sheriffs as he did to the Imperial Parliament, to whose neglect in not having taken measures at an earlier period most of the existing evils must be attributed. 1044 As one of the Members for Scotland in the last Parliament, he must take his share of the blame that attached to the House in reference to these Scotch asylums. In a Report issued by a Committee as long ago as the year 1844, it was recommended that more stringent provisions should be introduced into the law, but they had not been attended to. Much evil arose from the divided responsibility under the present system, and he was of opinion that a proper Central Board, provided with sufficient power, would tend to remedy the existing state of things most effectually. When the late Lord Rutherfurd endeavoured to remedy the law by the introduction of a Bill, the Bill was received with a profusion of compliments, but after its introduction they heard nothing more of it. The Home Secretary was quite correct in attributing the opposition which Lord Rutherfurd's Bill had met with to motives of economy; and a very mistaken economy it was, for it was a well-known fact that patients afflicted with this distressing malady, who might easily have been cured at first, became incurable for want of care and attention, and that a permanent charge was thrown on the ratepayers. He trusted that the Secretary for the Home Department would see that the officials of these asylums peformed their duties with more care.
§ MR. KINNAIRD
said, that the Scotch Members owed a debt of gratitude to his hon. Friend for the very able manner in which he had laid this disgraceful feature in the administration of the Scotch Poor Law before the House. Some hon. Members, he believed, were under a misapprehension that one of the cases of gross cruelty described by his hon. Friend had occurred in the Perth Asylum, but that was not the fact. The case in question occurred elsewhere, but the patient was afterwards brought into the Perth Asylum, and there treated with great humanity and kindness. He had always been in the habit of visiting the asylum in the town which he represented (Perth), and he was glad to find that it was not one of those which had disgraced Scotland. Great praise was due to the Home Secretary for the vigour with which he had prosecuted this matter.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, that a remedy should be applied to this evil at the earliest possible period, and the Lunacy Commission of England afforded an example of one which could not fail to be successful. Up 1045 to a recent period, the condition of Lunatics in England was quite as bad as it had been described to be in Scotland, and in consequence, Mr. Robert Gordon and some other philanthropic gentlemen procured the establishment of the Lunacy Commission. That Commission, of which he (Colonel Sykes) was an unpaid member, from 1835 to 1845, found that even in respectable licensed establishments, in which £50, £60, and £100 per annum was paid by the friends of the inmates, the patients were chained to their chairs and their beds. The Commission had put an end to the existence of these and other atrocities in England, and he had no doubt that the extension of the Commission to Scotland, or the establishment of a similar body, consisting of stipendiaries and philanthropists there, would produce similar results in that country; but he would remind the Government that, if there were any divided authority, these results would not be accomplished.
§ THE LORD ADVOCATE
said, that so far from regretting the publication of this Report, or the statements made by his hon. Friend, he rejoiced at them from the bottom of his heart, because this state of things had for a long time been a disgrace and a scandal to Scotland. The people of that country had known that it was a disgrace and a scandal; and he regretted to add, that it was not the first time that statements had been made similar to those to which they had just listened. An attempt had been made to remedy this state of things, but that attempt had failed. The Commissioners, in their Report, suggested certain matters as the groundwork of a remedy, and in referring to the measure introduced by his late much-lamented Friend, Lord Rutherford, he found that it included all these suggestions. Therefore, had that Bill been passed in the year 1848, this disgraceful state of things would have been put an end to. What was the fate of that measure? He found, on referring back to the Minutes of that date, that not a single petition was presented in its favour; while, on the other hand, twelve of the largest and most important counties of Scotland petitioned against it. Therefore, it was not the fault of the Government of that day that this state of things continued He was in communication with Lord Rutherfurd upon this subject up to the day of his death, but he had not the courage to re-introduce the Bill which that learned 1046 Lord had, with all his powers, failed to carry, until circumstances had brought about a change of feeling in Scotland. He endeavoured in the first place to carry the Valuation Bill, in order to place the assessment for public objects on a satisfactory footing. That Bill was passed in 1854. In the year 1855 the noble-minded lady to whom his right hon. Friend had alluded, and who, greatly to her credit, had made so many exertions on behalf of this neglected class of the population, went to Edinburgh, and visited the asylums at Musselburgh. After seeing them, she said there was something wrong, and she wished to be allowed to visit them at the dead of night, when she would not be expected. He felt a difficulty about giving a permission of that kind to a non-official person, and accordingly she applied to his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. His right hon. Friend asked him (the Lord Advocate) his opinion upon the subject, and he at once stated that the whole system with regard to the treatment of lunacy in Scotland was utterly disgraceful, and that the evil could only be reached by a Commission of Inquiry. The result was the appointment of the Commission, to the Report of which attention had been called; so ably that evening; and the facts were now so clearly proved that he believed, if he proposed the very remedy which was rejected in 1848, it would be adopted by both Houses of Parliament without any important opposition, He would not, on this occasion, enter into a discussion of the merits of the Poor Law in Scotland, nor did he think it desirable to express any opinion as to the conduct of the officials, whether the Board of Supervision or the Sheriffs, and that for this simple reason, that the House had heard only one side and not the other. He would, however, assure hon. Gentlemen that all the matters in this Report which seemed to need further inquiry should receive his earnest attention.
§ COLONEL SYKES
said, it must not be supposed that the censures in this Report were of universal application. The Aberdeen Asylum, for instance, was one of the best in Great Britain.
MR. HOPE JOHNSTONE
said, he believed that public feeling in Scotland with regard to this subject had very much changed of late years. Information on the subject of lunacy was now much more complete than it was forty years ago, and the Government would find that the people 1047 of Scotland were now quite willing to concur with them in the application of an effectual remedy to the evil complained of.
§ MR. FERGUS
believed that it was a financial objection that had caused the opposition to Lord Rutherfurd's Bill; but he was sure there would be no such opposition to a similar measure if brought forward, now that hon. Members had had an opportunity of reading the facts detailed in the Report of the Commission. He hoped, therefore, that the Lord Advocate would bring in a Bill on the subject without further delay.
§ Motion agreed to.