Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/607

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greater men in the Established Church, and notwithstanding the Scriptural demonstrations of Wesley that the majority of the insane were possessed of devils, the scientific method steadily gathered strength. In 1750 the condition of the insane began to attract especial attention; it was found that mad-houses were swayed by ideas utterly indefensible, and that the practices engendered by these ideas were monstrous. As a rule, the patients were immured in cells, and in many cases were chained to the walls; in others, flogging and starvation played leading parts, and in some cases the patients were killed. Naturally enough, John Howard declared in 1789 that he found in Constantinople a better insane asylum than the great St. Luke's Hospital in London. Well might he do so; for, ever since Caliph Omar had protected and encouraged the scientific investigation of insanity by Paul of Ægina, the Moslem treatment of the insane had been infinitely more merciful than the system universal throughout Christendom.[1]

But in 1792—the same year in which Pinel began his great work in France—William Tuke began a similar work in England. There seems to have been no connection between these two great reformers; each seems to have arrived at his results independently of the other, but the results arrived at were the same. So, too, in the main, were their methods; and in the little house of William Tuke, at York, began a better era for England.

The name which this little asylum received is a monument, both of the old reign of cruelty and of the new reign of humanity. Every old name for such an asylum had been made odious and repulsive by ages of misery. In a happy moment of inspiration Tuke's gentle Quaker wife suggested a new name; and, in accordance with this suggestion, the place became known as a "Retreat."

From the great body of influential classes in church and state Tuke received little aid. The influence of the theological spirit was shown when, in that same year. Dr. Pangster published his "Observations on Mental Disorders," and, after displaying much ignorance as to the causes and nature of insanity, summed up by saying piously, "Here our researches must stop, and we must declare that 'wonderful are the works of the Lord, and his ways past finding out.'" Such seemed to be the view of the Church at large; though the new "Retreat" was at one of the two great ecclesiastical centers of England, we hear of no aid or encouragement from the Archbishop of York or from his clergy. Nor was this the worst: the indirect influence of the theological habit of thought and ecclesiastical prestige was displayed in the "Edinburgh Review." That great organ of opinion, not content with merely attacking Tuke, poured contempt upon his work as well as

  1. See D. H. Tuke, as above, p. 110; also Trélat, as already cited.