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about—some on the ground, and others on benches. I remarked
There is great need of classification with the insane-not more
Our guide next conducted us to the female department for the insane. If possible, they are more closely packed than the males. There were six or seven hundred of them together. It was meal time when we were there. Such pulling and hauling—it would seem impossible to keep any sort of order among them. One of the Grand Jurors asked the keeper if they did not fight and quarrel with each other when they were crowded so much together as they are. 'He replied that fighting was no name for it—but it could not be helped. They needed more room. If classified they would be much more comfortable. As it now is there is no distinction. The dungeons in this department are in a horrible condition. No one can have an idea of their state without visiting them. It is a disgrace to the city.
These poor creatures are kept down by the cruelties practiced upon them by the attendants. The managers and physicians rarely, if ever, visit them. All they know of them is the number received into the Almshouse at one end, and the number of deaths at the other. When I was placed there (so my son said) by my brother-in-law, James H. Horn, on May 24th, 1866, no physician could be found in the building. The attendant told me the doctor was not often in that part of the building; if I wished to see him I would have to go to his office. After winding and turning one way and another, through different rooms, I found the doctor's Office, and no Dr. S. W. Butler to be seen. His clerk told me that he (Dr. Butler) went to the city on some business of his own; that he was seldom there after 9 o'clock in the morning until about tea time in the evening. I made several attempts to catch him at one of the hours stated, but did not succeed during the time of my imprisonment there.
The judges of the courts have called the attention of the Grand Jury time and again to the wretched condition of those poor creatures, without any proper action being had. Our City Fathers are not the kind of men to transact the city affairs. A change in the mode of nominating candidates is much needed. All the primary meetings of both parties are held at some low groggery, by the roughs of the city, and no decent man will consent to mix with them. It is the acorn that makes the stately oak. If you want good government, you must start right.
I have pictured the wrong, and now I will offer a few hints as a remedy. If a ship arrives in this port with disease on board, the small pox or cholera,) the first step taken is to order her into quarantine limits; the next, to separate and remove the diseased persons as soon as possible; then commences the check to the disease, and nature steps in with her kind hand, and is always ready to perform her part when not thrust out of doors. As this is the case with a ship’s cargo of human beings, why cannot the same rule be applied to almshouses, mad-houses and prisons, with equal success? Our aldermen should be abolished entirely, and a police magistracy adopted in their stead. The Legislature should take this matter in hand. The aldermen encourage trivial suits for their own gain entirely—the more suits the more dollars. A police magistrate would have no object in encouraging neighbors to quarrel about sweeping out a gutter, or a boy seven years old picking
four pennies, to make out a case for a fee, and then have them committed to the County Jail at the taxpayers' expense. This
practice has become alarming to everybody. In the County Prison report of January 1, 1869, the number of commitments by the aldermen is given at 36,333; the Grand Jury found 2992 true bills, and out of that number only 550 were guilty. You can see where the shoe pinches. By breaking up this disgraceful practic of the aldermen, and establishing police magistrates, at a stated salary, as the judges of our courts, the saving to the taxpayers through the County Prison and Court of Quarter Sessions alone, would be at least one-half. A change is hoped for. The mill grinds slow, but sure.
Our Legislature has taken upon itself to make laws for the city in many cases, such as consolidating the city and county, chartering railroads, for the Girard Trust, and elections. It should keep on, and make a law that no person should receive a license for a grogshop unless he has accommodation for man and beast.
“Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.". Cowper.
“Man's ingratitude to man always was, and will continue to the end of time."-Ebenezer Haskell.
In the Supreme Court for the Eastern Dis
trict of Pennsylvania,
CITY AND COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA:
T. S. Kirkbride, M.D., S. Preston Jones, M. D., William C. Harbison, M. D., John Buck, M. D., and S. W. Butler, M. D., all late of the City and County aforesaid, defendants, were summoned to answer Ebenezer Haskell, the plaintiff, of a plea of trespass on the case, &c., and thereupon the said plaintiff, by H. R. Warriner, his attorney, complains for that, whereas the said defendants, to wit, on the seventeenth day of June, A. D., one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, at Philadelphia aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, did, and each and every of them did conspire, combine, confederate and agree, falsely, wickedly, maliciously and corruptly to wrong, injure, barass and worry and utterly ruin the plaintiff, and in furtherance of said designs as aforesaid by him falsely, wickedly, maliciously and corruptly enticed into by said conspiracy, combination, confederation and agreement of said defendants, and each and every one of them, did arrest him, the said plaintiff, or cause him to be arrested, and wrongfully, forcibly and unjustly conveyed to an Asylum, known by the name of Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, by which the said plaintiff was then and there wrongfully, wickedly, maliciously and corruptly deprived of his personal liberty, to which he says he was justly entitled.
And whereas the said plaintiff having been so imprisoned wrongfully, wickedly, maliciously and corruptly by said defendants, in pursuance of their said false, wicked, malicious and corrupt conspiracy, combination, confederation and agreement, finally obtained his liberty by escaping from the custody, imprisonment and durance vile of the said defendants as aforesaid.
Yet the said defendants were so bent and determined upon the ruin, harassing and wholly ruining said plaintiff, that they and each of them on four other and several subsequent times and occasions in carrying out their said false, wicked, malicious and corrupt conspiracy, combination, confederation and agreement on the said four several and subsequent occasions as aforesaid, caused said plaintiff to be arrested and taken to the said Asylum or Hospital aforesaid, when and where he was for a long time deprived of his personal liberty, his rights as a citizen violated, his health broken down; his credit and standing as a man of business wholly broken up, and he deprived of the means of helping himself or others who might have claims upon him, whether marital, parental, social, political or otherwise, and these wrongs were so continued extending over a term or space of three (3) years and more.
And other wrongs to the said plaintiff then and there did to his great damage, and contrary to the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
By all which plaintiff avers that he is very much injured, and has sustained damage to the amount of fifty thousand dollars, ($50,000,) and therefore he brings his suit.
H. R. WARRINER, Attorney for E. Haskell.
CITY AND COUNTY OF PHILADELPHIA, ss:
John Birkey, James Henry Horn, and Henry Haines, late of the City and County of Philadelphia, were summoned to answer Ebenezer Haskell, the plaintiff, of a plea of trespass on the case, &c., and thereupon the said plaintiff, by H. R. Warriner, his attorney, complains for that whereas the said defendants heretofore, to wit, on the 24th day of May, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, to wit, at Philadelphia aforesaid, in the County aforesaid, did, and each and every of them did conspire, combine, confederate and agree falsely, wickedly, maliciously and corruptly to wrong, injure, harass and worry and utterly ruin the plaintiff, and in furtherance of said design so as aforesaid by them falsely, wickedly, maliciously and corruptly entered into by said conspiracy, combination, confederation and agreement of said defendants, and each and every of them did arrest him, the said plaintiff,