HL Deb 18 March 1852 vol 119 cc1230-44

after presenting a petition from the Chairman of the Visiting Magistrates of the Lunatic Asylum of the county of Leicester, praying for an alteration of the law respecting Criminal Lunatics, proceeded to move— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to take into Her consideration the expediency of establishing a State Asylum for the care and custody of those who are denominated 'Criminal Lunatics;' and said, that the subject which he was about to introduce to the notice of their Lordships, though never propounded before in a specific form, could not be novel to them as magistrates and curators of provincial affairs. The care and custody of criminal lunatics had acquired of late a more than ordinary interest. The great care bestowed of late on both our public and private asylums had called attention to the fact that the custody of these criminal lunatics had been a great bar to the improvement of those institutions. The grievance had at last become intolerable—complaints had arrived to him from all quarters—and he had been requested to bring it under the notice of their Lordships. He must, however, exonerate in the first place the magistrates; for they had protested over and over again against the evil. He must also exonerate the Commissioners in Lunacy: they had done their duty, and had reported in 1849, in 1850, and in 1851, to the Lord Chancellor on the annoyances, perils, and injurious effects of the actual system; and they proposed remedies for the evil. They had also reported at various times to the Secretary of State, and had prayed relief, setting forth such circumstances as these—that there was one criminal lunatic who had escaped from Gateshead Fell four times in a few months, and that there was another who had escaped from Hoxton six times within very nearly the same period; but all to no purpose. All these parties had done their duty; it was the Government and the Go- vernment alone, which had steadily refused the necessary assistance. The term "criminal lunatic," seemed to him to involve something of a contradiction; nevertheless it was the ordinary and received term, and the only one, therefore, he could use on the present occasion. It was a term which embraced every class and description of person and crime, from the most miserable idiot that had perpetrated some act of violence, to cases of persons in a condition approaching to reason, if not, as in instances of simulated insanity, actually in possession of it. Now, these unhappy persons, who were termed "criminal lunatics," might be divided into four classes. The first class consisted of persons having become actually lunatic at the time fixed for their trial, in which case their trials were deferred. The second class consisted of persons who, being sane at the time of trial, were found (by special verdicts) to have been actually lunatic at the time of committing the offence. The third class consisted of persons who had become lunatic after sentence; and the fourth class of persons who were confined under summary conviction, vagrants, or parties committed for want of sureties, who had become insane. Now, the statutes by which these criminal lunatics were confined were three, the: 39 & 40 of Geo. III., chap. 94; the 1 & 2 of the Queen, chap. 14; and the 3 & 4 of the Queen, chap. 54. Under the various sections of these Acts of Parliament provision was made for every indictable offence which could be committed by' those unhappy persons. Those persons, as he had stated, might be included in four classes: the first consisting of those who were tried and acquitted of felonies and misdemeanours at the time of trial on the ground of insanity; the second consisting of those found insane on arraignment or trial, or on being brought up to be discharged for want of prosecution; the third consisting of those convicted, and who had become insane while in prison, under sentence of death, transportation, or imprisonment; and the fourth, of those who had been committed and become insane before trial, and had not been brought before the court. In addition to the four classes whom he had described as "criminal lunatics," there was yet another class of lunatics, who under the 3 & 4 of the Queen, were treated as criminals. They were persons who were afflicted with some derangement of mind, and who, unless restrained, were in danger of com- mitting offences. Formerly these persons were very hardly dealt with, and. any one magistrate might commit them to gaol or other place of safe custody under the 39 & 40 Geo. III. But by the Act of the Queen to which he referred, their condition had been somewhat alleviated, inasmuch as it required that two justices of the peace should commit the parties, and that they should not be sent to a gaol, but to an asylum or licensed madhouse. There were not many cases of that sort, be believed; but in considering the law which governed the Kingdom their Lordships must bear in mind that none of these parties, except those who had been committed by justices of the peace, could be again discharged, unless by the authority of the-Secretary of State. He would now proceed to state the number of these criminal lunatics, and, as far as possible, their condition. The total number of criminal lunatics, so far as he had been able to ascertain them, was, in England and Wales 439, of whom 360 were males and 79 females. But when he came to examine the offences for which these persons were detained, he found that the heavier and more fearful crimes against society very greatly predominated. For offences against life—and under that term were included, not simply assaults, but every injury directed against life, shooting, cutting, and maiming—there were kept in detention 138, of whom 104 were males and 34 females. For offences against property and person, inclusive of all violences short of attempts to murder, but many of them of the grossest nature, 188; 163 males, 25 females; for misdemeanour, 40; 35 males, 5 females; committed for want of sureties, and become afterwards insane, 43; summarily convicted for minor offences, and become insane, 30. These parties were distributed in various asylums, and; were maintained by Government or at the expense of their localities; in Bethlehem there were, 103; in the asylum at Fisherton, near Salisbury, sent by the Secretary of State, 59; the remainder were in various asylums, and their treatment and condition were the same as that of those with whom they were associated. That the House might judge of the evil effect produced by these criminal lunatics among the other inmates of the asylums in which they were confined, let them look at the usual habits of these lunatics. Let their Lordships consider who they were, what their former habits had been, and whence they came; the long course of violence and profligacy they had pursued, and that the lunacy under which they laboured was very often the consequence of their own excesses. It must be borne in mind, that many of the ordinary patients in the asylums into which these persons were introduced, were simple, pure-minded, sensitive persons. "Many of them," said the report from Lancaster, "were timid, desponding, and ignorant, and imagine the asylum to be a prison, and that they are sent there for punishment. Their association with criminal lunatics confirms the impression, and so retards their recovery." In order that their Lordships might form some estimate of the character of the criminal lunatics, he would read to them some special cases derived from the following lunatic asylums:— County of Lancaster—J. B., Larceny; During imprisonment murdered a fellow-prisoner. County of Lancaster—R. B., Assault; Attempt to shoot a clergyman. Leicester—W. T., Murder; Expelled from militia for irregularities and vicious life; murdered his wife. Now sane. Leicester —T. J., Assault; Stabbed a man; recently violently assaulted his attendant; treacherous, malignant, and revengeful; most mischievous and painful to other patients. Leicester —H. B., Larceny; Most violent, revengeful, treacherous, and malignant; has repeatedly injured patients and attendants. Leicester —J. D, Assault; Several times released and recommitted, occasionally very violent. Leicester —H. C, Stabbing; When excited, violent and highly dangerous. Leicester —M. A., Larceny; Highly dangerous to herself and others. Leicester —D. T., Want of sureties; Occasionally very violent. Leicester —E. S., Larceny; Suspected of simulation; had been formerly a patient; now perfectly rational. Leicester —W. C., Assault; Formerly a soldier; violent and dangerous. Nottingham—T. B., Maliciously stabbing; Stabbed his brother; dangerous; has attacked the gardener with a spade. Nottingham —Irishman, Rogue and Vagabond; Dangerous, particularly to Patients. Bethnal House—S. W., Want of sureties; Committed for two years for setting fire to his house. Now, among these were two cases in which the parties had been committed for want of sureties; but it was not to be inferred there-from that their criminality was small. Now, the case being such as he had described, their Lordships would not be surprised at the strong language used by the medical superintendents of asylums and other persons experienced in the management of lunatics, against the detention of these cri- minal lunatics with the other patients in these institutions. He held in his hand a list of the principal reasons assigned by the superintendents of asylums, almost without exception, for the non-association of criminal lunatics with ordinary lunatic patients. They were as follows:— It is unjust to ordinary patients to associate them with persons branded with crime. The lunatic is generally very sensitive, and both he and his friends feel aggrieved and degraded by the association. The moral effect is bad. The conduct of criminal patients is frequently very violent; their habits and language, the result of previous habits, are frequently offensive, and their influence on other patients injurious and pernicious. By the fact of stricter custody being required, and greater responsibility felt for criminal patients, the general classification of patients in an asylum is interrupted, and the improved discipline and proper treatment of other patients interfered with; the expense is also increased for safe keeping. The common delusion that an asylum is a prison is strengthened by lunatic patients being compelled to associate with persons who have been in prison; and, in fact, higher walls than those ordinarily in use have been considered necessary (and in one case erected) for the security of criminal lunatics associated with other patients. The association is injurious even to the criminal patients. It exposes them to taunts from the other patients, and the stricter confinement imposed on themselves irritates them. They are irritated also when other patients are liberated, and they left in confinement. When criminal patients are confided in (in the same way as other patients), it is generally found that they are unworthy of trust; that they try to escape and induce others to do so, and that insubordination and dissatisfaction are generally produced by their influence. The criminal patients concentrate attention on themselves, and attract an undue share of care and supervision from the attendants. Cases of simulated insanity are (supposed to be) not unfrequent with patients received as criminal lunatics. In those cases the patients are mostly patients of the worst character. They create discontent among the other patients, and oppress those who are weaker than themselves, and they generally try to escape. Patients of the criminal class, even when unsound at the time of committing the offence, possess criminal propensities, and in some cases their insanity has been caused by vicious habits. The most efficient remedy for this state of things, would, in his (the Earl of Shaftesbury's) opinion, be the establishment of a State asylum for the separate care and custody of those who were termed criminal lunatics; and for this he had the approbation of almost all the medical superintendents and persons most conversant with lunacy throughout the United Kingdom. He had also in its favour the high testimony of the noble Lord who was now seated on the woolsack, and which was delivered by him at the time he filled the office of Lord Chancellor in Ireland. The noble Lord said—"Solid objections exist to criminal lunatics being received into district asylums, which were never intended for prisons. The advantage of bringing all the criminal lunatics together under the eye of the governor is obvious." The opinion the noble and learned Lord then pronounced had since been confirmed by the admirable experience which had been obtained of the manner in which the lunatic asylum at Dundrum, in Ireland, had been conducted, and the beneficial effects which had resulted from the system there. Many questions would arise when such a measure was propounded in the shape of a Bill, which it was not necessary he should now discuss. He was prepared to propose such a measure himself, if the privileges of the House of Commons did not preclude him from doing so. He contented himself, therefore, with advocating the principle. In the first place, they would have to inquire at whose expense the lunatics were to be maintained, whether by the State or from local resources; and, secondly, what discretionary powers should be given as to the parties who should be liberated by the Secretary of State; and, thirdly, what effect was to be given to the plea of insanity which both Judges and juries now had evidently a tendency to allow, but which must be qualified by some such experimental statement as the following:— Parties have seen that men who have become homicides, it may be in an insane paroxysm, are comfortably housed, well clothed, and fed for life. May we not fear that, in the minds of many, the dread of punishment, which might deter them from violence, has been lessened by the experience we have taught them, and that, by our association of criminal lunatics with the unfortunate insane, we are breaking down a barrier which, to a large extent, avails to protect society from violence and wrong at the hands of a class of persons who know full well that they have the plea of previous insanity ready to save them from the punishment of the outraged law? But it was not necessary for him to discuss the question how far, and when, the plea of insanity should be allowed; his purpose was to show that the presence of those persons in asylums was subversive of all comfort and discipline. They sowed discontent, formed confederacies, and led disturbances. Madmen could not combine (that was the security of an asylum), but those men (criminal lunatics) gave head to, and power of uniting, which the others (the real lunatics) did not possess. As a proof of the necessity for the attention of Parliament being directed to this class of suffering humanity, he might state that he knew of a case in which a human being had been confined by his relation in a dark cell for ten years, chained, and in a state of nudity. This was in Devonshire. A correspondence between the local committee and the Commissioners of Lunacy led to a prosecution, and the offending party was tried and convicted. Since the lunatic had been in the asylum, a period of more than nine months, he had been uniformly quiet and well-conducted. But (said the noble Earl) there is no argument of greater weight that I can adduce than the assertion that the presence, of these peculiarly afflicted persons nullifies, or at least impedes, the operation of the non-restraint system. This system—the great and blessed glory of modern science,—having taken its rise in Prance—Oh, si sic omnia!—and introduced here by the Society of Friends, has become the especial pursuit of professors of this department of medicine in the three kingdoms. By the blessing of God it has achieved miracles. I have, perhaps, a right to say so, having officiated now as a Commissioner in Lunacy for more than twenty years, and having passed, as inspector, from the very depths of misery and neglect, to the present height of comfort and ease. The filthy and formidable prison is converted into the cleanly and cheerful abode; the damp and gloomy courtyard is exchanged for healthy exercise and labour in the field and garden. Visit the largest asylum, and you will no longer hear those frightful yells that at first terrified, and always depressed the boldest hearts. Mechanical restraint is almost unknown; houses, where many were chained during the day, and hundreds, I will assert, during the night, have hardly a strait waistcoat or a manacle in the whole establishment; and, instead of the keeper, with his whip and his bunch of leglocks, you may see the clergyman or the schoolmaster engaged in their soothing and effective occupations. Add to this, my Lords, the kindred subject—the education of idiots, now undertaken in these asylums, and yon will see and sympathise with the alarm of those who tremble lest anything should mar so wholesome a work; for it is thus "we gather up the fragments" of the human mind, "so that nothing be lost;" and, viewing that which appears to us as the wreck of an immortal intellect—"majestic, though in ruin," we endeavour to do what we should ourselves require were it the will of Almighty God to afflict us with a like calamity. These are the reasons, my Lords, which have induced me to come forward on the present occasion; and I shall, I trust, be forgiven for having submitted the whole subject to your deliberate and humane consideration. The noble Earl then moved— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to take into Her consideration the expediency of establishing a State Asylum for the care and custody of those who are denominated 'Criminal Lunatics.'


corroborated the statement made by the noble Earl, and made a few observations which were very indistictly heard.


said, that he was sure that his noble Friend who had introduced the subject with as much ability as good feeling, had no necessity for making any apology to their Lordships for directing their attention to a matter which was one of deep and great importance, and one which the noble Earl was peculiarly qualified to bring under their notice. The noble Earl had for the last twenty years devoted his unremitting and humane attention to this subject, as he had also directed his attention to almost every other form of human misery and suffering, even of the most repulsive character, and had with the most laudable of Christian motives given up his time, talents, and means to the alleviation of these distresses and misery. He trusted that neither himself nor any of their Lordships could be supposed to undervalue the immense improvements which had been introduced by the altered system adopted in the treatment of lunatics generally. He believed that, within the last few years, no greater improvement had taken place in any branch of science, at least in that particular branch devoted to the alleviation of suffering humanity, than that which dealt with the case of persons afflicted with mental disease. He was of opinion, moreover, that, as science had advanced, not only the sufferings of the people so unhappily afflicted had been most materially diminished, but that there had also been great and essential advantages gained in the proportionate number of patients cured. He felt certain, therefore, that neither upon his part nor upon that of their Lordships could there be any desire to interfere in the smallest degree with that most humane and beneficial alteration which had been made in the treatment of lunatics. He confessed, however, that he was somewhat at a loss exactly to trace the connection which his noble Friend appeared to find between the existence of that treatment so generally adopted in all well-managed lunatic asylums in this country, with the peculiar Motion which the noble Earl had brought under the consideration of their Lordships. His noble Friend had adverted, but very briefly, to that which was, indeed, an anomaly in expression, and almost a contradiction in terms—the familiar expression "criminal lunatics." The word "criminal" implied a knowledge of guilt, and the word "lunatic" the absence of the knowledge and the power of distinguishing between good and evil; and it was certainly a contradiction in terms to say that a man could at the same time be a "criminal," that was, responsible for his actions, and also a "lunatic," that was, a man irresponsible for his actions, and incapable of distinguishing between good and evil. He confessed, therefore, that he felt some difficulty in drawing the line which the noble Earl seemed disposed to draw between "criminal lunatics" and "lunatics" of a different description. If the noble Earl were to carry into effect his principle, he would find it necessary to extend it much further, and apply the same principle which he sought to apply to the criminal lunatic, to all who were violent or dangerous lunatics. For the only difference between them was this, that one of them was in that state of mind in which he had actually committed that act which, in a sane condition of mind, would render him liable to punishment; while the other was in the same condition of mind, but had not as yet committed that which at the same time would render him subject to a criminal prosecution. He was far from saying that the existing law with respect to criminal lunatics—to adopt the familiar expression—was in a satisfactory position. He was at a loss to understand upon what principle the law had been framed with respect to the two classes of criminal lunatics. The 39 & 40 Geo. III. applied to persons who had actually been found not guilty of the offence with which they had been charged, upon the ground of insanity, comprising not only felonious offences, but also misdemeanours, which were similarly dealt with under the 3 & 4 Vict., which also dealt with those who had not been brought to trial; but who, upon investigation, and after committal, had been found to be lunatic, and were not consequently brought to trial of sent before a jury, and were, by the authority of two magistrates and two medical officers, transferred to a county or district lunatic asylum. He confessed, that with respect to these two classes of persons, he was unable to account for the distinction which prevailed in the mode in which they were treated. There was, he believed, in England at this moment between 450 and 470 of all descriptions of criminal lunatics; of which number about 100 were maintained in the two wings of Bethlehem Hospital, which were specially built for the reception of criminal lunatics, and it was at the expense of the country that they were maintained. As a general rule, he believed that of all those guilty of offences, and who were acquitted upon the ground of insanity, the practice had been to transfer to Bethlehem Hospital the most violent and most dangerous characters. The consequence had been, that there had been assigned a separate asylum in the neighbourhood of Salisbury, where the patients or prisoners, just as the noble Lord chose to call them, were maintained and kept at the expense of the Government, though the asylum itself was a private one. It appeared that in the Bethlehem Asylum the cost of the maintenance of lunatics per head per annum was 34l., and in that at Fisherton, near Salisbury, it was 30l. per head per annum. There remained somewhere between 250 and 300 other lunatics under precisely the same circumstances and of precisely the same class, but who were distributed through the different asylums and prisons of the kingdom; and because they were so distributed, the expense of their maintenance fell, not upon the public at large, but upon the different parishes or unions from which the lunatics came. Clearly there could be no ground for that distinction; and he was of opinion that the custody of criminal lunatics was not a charge which ought to be thrown on the county, but was one which ought to be borne by the country at large, seeing the object was one of national importance, in which all classes and all denominations without exception were concerned, inasmuch as all might be alike subject to the same unhappy casualty. He did not, therefore, say that the existing law did not stand in need of some amendment. He repeated, that he thought the expense of maintaining criminal lunatics was one which ought to fall on the public funds. But then the House must also take into consideration how difficult it was to step there, and to draw a line of distinction between criminal lunatics and dangerous lunatics. In fact, there was no other distinction between them except that the one had actually committed an offence, and the other might commit one; consequently they stood in precisely the same position. The case to which his noble Friend had alluded, where a person was confined for the space of ten years, was probably that of a dangerous lunatic, of a person who had exhibited dangerous propensities, and who, perhaps, had been in the care of persons of moderate means; for their Lordships would know that in the minds of the common people an exceedingly strong disinclination existed against sending to a lunatic asylum any of their relatives who might become afflicted with insanity, and that, rather than do an act which was so repugnant to their feelings, they would undergo the most grievous hardships to maintain their insane relations under their own eye in preference to seating them to a lunatic asylum, where they had a notion—though a mistaken one—that they would not be well cared for. Then his noble Friend said the association of those criminal lunatics—whose lunacy might have been induced by the depravity of their previous habits, and the debauched lives they had led—with persons labouring under mental though harmless delusions, was an injury and an evil to both parties, but particularly to the harmless patients. But he (the Earl of Derby) would ask where was the county or district lunatic asylum in which those two classes were so mixed up together? If there were any such cases, then be could only say that such a practice was contrary to all the rules and regulations laid down for the management of those establishments. He believed the practice was not to draw a distinction between the criminal lunatic and the violent lunatic, but to effect that which ought to be effected—the separation between the dangerous lunatic and the lunatic who was not dangerous, but was labouring only under harmless delusion. Some few years ago he had visited the lunatic asylum in Lancaster, and he was struck with the exceeding order, regularity, and admirable management which prevailed there. The great majority of the unfortunate inmates were engaged in the industrial occupations of the house; some working in the garden others performing all the menial offices in the establishment, and all regularly and usefully employed. Undoubtedly it was necessary to make a distinction between those who could be so trusted in the performance of those duties, and those who could not; but, as he said before, the difficulty was to draw a line of distinction between criminal aad dangerous lunatics. Then, with regard to the question of expense, his noble Friend said he moved for this Address to the Queen because he saw all the difficulties in the way of legislating on the subject. But he (the Earl of Derby) knew if he were to bring in a Bill in this House for the purpose of carrying out the views of his noble Friend, it would be considered an infringement of the privileges of the House of Commons, because it would involve the expenditure of a considerable sum of money for the building of a State Asylum—


said, the terms of his Motion were, that Her Majesty should be pleased to take into Her consideration the expediency of establishing a State Asylum.


Well, to consider the expediency—but he said, unless they had fully considered all the consequences to which the distinction for which his noble Friend contended would necessarily lead, and all the expenses to which they were about to subject the country—while he quite agreed with him that it was expedient and desirable to amend the law relating to the custody and maintenance of lunatics—a subject which he would assure the House should not be lost sight of by Her Majesty's Government—he thought it would not be desirable to pledge their Lordships to address the Crown with reference to an alteration of the existing law, and that, after all, not of a material point. The expense of building Bethlehem Hospital—or rather the two wings of that structure which are assigned to the residence of criminal lunatics—must have been very large. The annual cost of the maintenance of patients, there was, he thought, 34l. a head, and at Fisherton 30l. a head; while in the various lunatic asylums throughout the country, the average annual coat was about 26l. a head. Their Lordships bad also to consider that the expense of building such an establishment as his noble Friend contemplated, to say the least would probably exceed 50,000l., and perhaps would be nearer 100,00l. Besides, he (the Earl of Derby) did not see why in the different county lunatic asylams the same distinction and discipline might not be effected and preserved as that which his noble Friend had in view in the proposed State Asylum. But his noble Friend said the adoption of that principle would necessarily lead to ulterior operations and further legislative measures, which would require great consideration. Then he (the Earl of Derby) said it would be better to consider what amendments might be made in the existing law before their Lordships pledged themselves to an Address to the Crown, simply with the view of building a State Asylum for the reception of criminal lunatics, for the regulation and management of which it would hereafter be necessary to legislate. The whole of this question, though it had not been fully considered by a former Government, was one that should be taken into deliberate consideration by the present Government, though rather with the view of dealing with the existing law as a whole than any single portion of it, which his noble Friend opposite had with such ability and good judgment brought under the consideration of the House; and with that assurance on the part of the Government, that the question should not be lost sight of, he hoped his noble Friend (the Earl of Shaftesbury) would be satisfied.


said, probably on the assurance given by the noble Earl who had just sat down, that this subject would speedily engage the attention of the Government, his noble Friend (the Earl of Shaftesbury) would not now object to withdraw his Motion. He (Lord Cranworth) rejoiced to hear that the noble Earl at the head of the Government was ready to enter upon the consideration of this subject, and that it was his opinion that the whole bearing of this question should be looked into. His noble Friend (the Earl of Shaftesbury) stated some doubts, in which he (Lord Cranworth) entirely participated, whether the whole law with reference to the plea of insanity was not framed altogether on an erroneous principle. It had been said in the course of discussion, that it was too much the habit of the Judges, in cases where the plea of insanity was set up, to cast all responsibility from themselves on the jury; and for the juries, on the other hand, to yield at once to that plea to avoid a result which was painful to their feelings. Having, whilst he had the honour to occupy a seat on the Common Law Bench, been concerned in administering the Criminal Law for a considerable time, he (Lord Cranworth) might be supposed to speak with some prejudice on this subject; but he believed his noble Friend was wrong in saying there was the least bias in the minds of the Judges on this question in the direction in which he supposed them to lean. On the contrary, he (Lord Cranworth) knew there was a desire prevalent among the Judges to stand between the jury and their inclinations in cases where they thought they saw any attempt to shrink from responsibility. He did not hesitate to say that the question "sane or insane" was not a question safely to be committed to the determination of the jury which had to try whether a person was guilty or not guilty of the offence charged. He had known cases within his experience where there had not been the semblance or the least ground of insanity, but in which juries had given a verdict of "Not guilty, on the ground of insanity." What, then, was to be done? Suppose a man had committed murder, or that which would be murder in the case of a sane person, and it was suspected he was insane; what was the course to be pursued? It might perhaps be idle for him to hazard at the present moment an opinion as to what alteration should be made in the law upon this subject; but he (Lord Cranworth) thought that the question as to the lunacy of a criminal when on trial for killing another under such circumstances as would amount to murder if he were not insane, ought not to be left to the jury by whom the general charge is tried; the man ought to be found guilty, and the question of insanity should be the foundation for an inquiry by another tribunal, which might be presumed not to be acting exactly under the influence of the same feelings as that jury. What that tribunal should be, or of whom it should be constituted, he did not pretend to have considered; but that it should not be fully the same jury was a matter of which he had no doubt whatever. The privilege which was given them of deciding in such cases, he feared, led them into the continual violation of their oaths, and to the escape of persons who had perpetrated serious crimes from the punishment which the law attached to their commission. With regard to the necessity for something like the distinction proposed by his noble Friend (the Earl of Shaftesbury), he (Lord Cranworth) thought there was not altogether a distinction in genus between violent criminal lunatics and other violent lunatics, but he believed that the feeling among ordinary lunatics that they were mixed up with those whom they considered criminals, had often an injurious tendency on the inmates of an asylum where the association was permitted. The noble Earl at the head of the Government had objected to the strict accuracy of the term "criminal lunatics," as employed by his noble Friend, and said he should like to know how many persons so designated were criminals, and how many were lunatics. He (Lord Cranworth) believed the error too often committed was in adding the word "lunatic," and not in adding the word "criminal."


briefly replied. He was understood to defend the use of the expression "criminal lunatics," as signifying a class of lunatics who were not strangers to crime, but were distinguished from others by their cunning and dexterity. He expressed the gratification he had experienced from the manner in which the Motion had been received by the noble Lord at the head of the Government; and, with the permission of the House, begged to withdraw it.

Motion, by leave of the House, withdrawn.

House adjourned till To-morrow.