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Painful as it is to find any institution for the insane falling short of the humane and scientific requirements of the age, and calling for public censure, there is yet one point of view from which the fact may be regarded with some gratification. When we call to mind what was the treatment of the insane at the beginning of this century, and reflect on what it is in which Bethlehem now falls short of modern requirements, we are enabled to realize vividly the great reform which has been accomplished. And there is the best hope of the endurance of the new system, because it is not a practical improvement dictated only by the transitory impulses of benevolence, but it has been deliberately organized in accordance with scientific theory of the nature of insanity, and approved by successful trial. Science and practice have gone hand-in-hand, and have furthered one another's progress. Herein lies the vast difference between the modern theory and treatment of insanity, and the theory and practice which have prevailed at any other time. The disordered mind is distinctly recognized as the functional manifestation of a diseased organ; and though very little is known of the actual morbid conditions in the organ, yet the investigations of the microscopist are steadily revealing the evidences of disease where a little time since none were recognizable, and those who have given the greatest attention to the subject are those who are most surely convinced of the invariable existence of organic change. Where the subtlety of nature so much exceeds the subtlety of the means of investigation, it causes no surprise and no disappointment that the senses, with their presont aids, cannot yet penetrate the most secret recesses of her complex operations. But to conclude from the non-appearance of morbid change in some cases of insanity to the non-existence thereof, as was at one time done, would be the same as if the blind man were to maintain that there are no colors, or the deaf man that there are no sounds.
In conclusion, it is interesting to observe how gradually, but surely, the scientific theory of insanity is influencing modern psychology. As pathological phenomena often afford valuable aid in the determination of physiological problems, so the manifestations of the mind disordered are frequently alterations in the conditions of a psychological problem such as cannot be produced artificially; experiments, in fact, made by nature, but which are most instructive and helpful in the formation of an inductive science of mind. And so it is happily coming to pass that madness, once the subject of foolish superstition, and afterwards the prey of ignorant and brutal keepers of asylums, is now becoming the study and care of scientific physicians, and is taking its due place in the appropriate system of scientific development. Those who think it no shame to make a foolish sneer at medicine, because it is not an exact science, and because it cannot cure the Cattle Plague, and who venture to depreciate wbat it has done for mankind, would do well to reflect upon what it has done for the insane, and to remember that it is to the medical profession, little aided from without, that the great reform in the treatment of the insane is due. It can admit of no doubt that, when questions now occupying a large space in public attention bave long been entirely forgotten, this reform will be remembered as one of the chief glories of this century.
Dr. John Conolly has now gone where praise can neither reach, nor censure touch him more; but though he has passed away, the great work which he accomplished remains a noble monument of his life, and cannot but abide in the memories of men as long as humane feeling and benevolent aspirations live in their hearts.
A PEEP INTO THE BLOCKLEY ALMSHOUSE.
I proposed to take a seat in the four-horse omnibus with the Grand Jurors to visit the Blockley Almshouse in August, 1869; one of them, an old friend of mine, said come along, there are vacant seats for half a dozen. After we were all seated the coachman proceeded towards Market Street Bridge ; on crossing over it some of the Grand Jurors were surprised on being told the bridge south of the one we were crossing was the Chestnut Street Bridge. I make this statement to show the kind of persons Grand Juries are composed of; how little they are acquainted with the city and its institutions. After we arrived at the Almshouse we entered the Buzzards' Banqueting Room; we there met a genteel person to whom the foreman made known our business; at first he was surprised at not being notified. We told him our visit was not to look at the banquet room or parlor, and the rooms used by the Physicians, but to visit the inmates; we were then conducted to the department of small children; there the matron was taken by surprise; she made an apology for not having her department in better condition. She is a fine, stout, healthy looking woman, quite lady-like. She had her young family put to rights in a few minutes, and then asked us if we would like to hear them sing; the singing was commenced by the oldest boys, and they kept very good time. Then we were shown another apartment where lay, stretched out on the carpet, thirty or forty infants asleep; it was quite an interesting sight, they all looked clean and comfortable; we then visited their large bedroom where they all slept, everything had the appearance of cleanliness, their beds were in good order and the floor nice and clean. We left this department well satisfied with its management. The next department we entered was the room occupied with about forty sick old women; the stench was so dreadful on entering that we were obliged to leave in a short time. The room is too small for so large a number of sick at one time. A reform is much needed in this department. In another room there were about fifty women, each with an infant in arms. The matron informed us that there were about one hundred and fifty infants in the building.
We were next taken to the male department. Here we found the same state of things--crowded, but not quite so clean. After leaving that wing of the building, we followed our guide into the large yard, where we found several hundred male persons sitting