Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

them as a convenient speculation; and in the same from its position; is built on a low site, and surspirit the parochial boards "buy in the cheapest rounded by very high walls. A similar dificulty market" board and lodging for the imbecile. has been met partially at Dundee by the forma

Thirty years since, the condition of pauper luna- tion of mounds in the airing courts, and the patics was more pitiable than at the date of this tients can at least see the outer world by ascending report. They were allowed often to wander over their small pyramids. The Montrose Asylum is a the country, without food or shelter; and were large building close to the docks, and to the river, even dangerous in some localities, from their occa. while it is exposed to the sea.

The asylum presional violence. This practice has almost entirely ceded the docks, the railway, and other works of a been subdued; for, at the date of this inquiry, only similar nature in that neighbourhood, and is now two insane males, and one female, were known to to be removed from its old site, without any loss, the Commissioners, as they state in one page, to be we presume, to the means of the establishment. "wandering at large” in Scotland. Two were in The asylums of Edinburgh and Glasgow are well Sutherland, and one in Shetland. The number of known; but it cannot be also well known to the paupers in Scotland is eighty thousand, from a people of Glasgow that the latter is £40,000 in population of three millions, or one in 37} of the debt, to the hiudrance of its efficiency and improve. population. The nuruber of idiotic or insane per ment in many particulars. sons is 7,403 ; of whom 4,642 are treated as paupers.

The Commissioners admit that these iustitutions The large proportion of the latter class does not are conducted generally in a creditable manner, prove a predisposition to the disease among the although in then, as in all human edifices and insti. poorer classes ; because many persons who are set tutions, changes may be necessary. Some of the down as pauper lunatics would, except for their other concerns do not appear to be quite human, mental weakness, form no part of the general pau- and therefore they can scarcely be improved. The perism ; but a low diet may foster this terrible ma- reproach is not applicable to all private establishlady, and the use of indifferent food may renderments—for many are conducted in a proper manner; the disease permanent.

but others are miserable efforts to live, or become The tables of the Commissioners occasionally rich, on insanity. want to be explained. Thus the following distri. Musselburgh is the grand focus of this private bution of the pauper lunatics occurs in the third business in the insane. The reason for its adoptable:

tion of this now staple trade is not stated. One

gentleman says that the engagements seemed to In Chartered Asylums

1,511

be productive. People “throve Licensed houses

426 Poor houses

667

and so others followed them into this strange » Reported houses

pursuit. As usual the supply of asylums proIdiot Schools

duced competition. New keepers offered lower Unlicensed establishments

terms than their predecessors. Twenty pounds With relatives

1,217 With strangers

640

per annum is the standard charge in MusselWith no one to take charge of them

141

burgh, for keeping and maintaining a patient in

bed, board, and occasionally “clothing." The We cannot reconcile the discrepancy between parochial authorities have generally accepted the the statement that only three lunatics are to be lowest tender; but the parish board of Inveresk found in all Scotland wandering at large, and the offer a conscientious exception. Its members being last line of this table. The number of pauper resident on the spot were abler to form a judg. lunatics under direct public control appears to be ment of the price that should be paid for the 2,172, for those residing in licensed and other maintenance of paupers thau men unacquainted houses, with relatives or with strangers, are not in in any degree with the mystery. Their Inspector public establishments. The principal chartered told a beginner in the trade that he could not asylums are those of Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, accept a lower tender than twenty pounds per Edinburgh, Glasgow, Montrose, and Perth. There

annum for insane paupers, because the business are institutions of a smaller description in Elgin, would not pay under that point. in Inverness, and in some other towns. The in- Musselburgh has seventeen establishments destitution at Dumfries, under the management of voted to this business. Some of them are apon Dr. Browne, has been considered a model of its

a large, and others upon a small scale. They are class. That gentleman was originally the medical generally kept by persons who had nothing to do superintendent of the asylum at Montrose ; and with lunacy until, as a speculation, they dived iuto some of his schemes for alleviating the sufferings the trade. Two of the seventeen institutions had of his patients were then considered daring and a no patients at the date of the examinatiou. They little wild. He, however, persevered to show the had only then been prepared to receive consignments force of kindness, with occasional recreation, and from the parochial boards. Three of them had he has cleared away many restraints and tortures only one patient each, one had two patients, and that were once deemed requisite for the manage- another bad three. Seven of the seventeen instimeat of all lunatics, with scarcely an exception. tutions absorbed, therefore, only six of the insane

The Aberdeen Asylum is a prison to the eye persons living in Mussclburgl. Ten remain; and

upon them,

...

31
3
6

...

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

case.

as the total number of insane lodgers in the town chial boards remore pauper lunatics from economiwas 394, these ten houses alone contained 388 cal motives. One shilling weekly decides the individuals, with their keepers and others neces- As usual, there is no economy in this prosary for them.

We must not, however, suppose ceeding. The parish want the recovery of their that the ten houses are inhabited by forty persons patients at an early date, if possible, and their each upon an average, or thereby. That would cure may be accomplished in a respectable institu. give a flattering view of matters. One of the tion with adequate attendance, clothing, and food, establishments bas ninety-one, another eighty-one, while the case may be rendered desperate in a and a third has seventy-two patients. These cheap licensed house. establishments may be proportionately large, but A reference to the evidence of the Inspector the system that has permitted individuals entirely of Poor for Perth will answer our purpose in the ignorant of this disease, or of its character, to meantime, and end this part of the matter. The have the charge and control of eighty to ninety parochial board of Perth had their lunatic patients persons, saffering under its influences, cannot be in an asylum belonging to that city. The sum too decisively reprobated. The patients are over- demanded for each was £25 annually; but clothes crowded; in one place they have no tables, and were provided by the institution. Mr. Aikenhead, we may readily suppose them to be destitute of in the business at Musselburgh, offered to keep all chairs. Chains are attached to some of the bed the Perth pauper lunatics for £20 per annum each, steads. Shackles and straps are supplied. The including clothes. The Perth institution would houses have no warm baths, but they seem all to not come beneath £24. Thirty patients were rehave shower baths of uncommon height, which moved to Aikevhead's, and the sapient Inspector are used as a punishment occasionally, and with or says that the parish saves £120 per annum by the without medical authority. A medical man visits change. The expenses of the journey were paid each house ; he is paid annually a fee per head. It is by Mr. Aikenhead. From the evidence of the Inremarkable that occasionally patients recover, and spector, the members of the Perth parochial board he discharges them. It is not remarkable that a appear to have been unacquainted with Mr. Aikennumber die, and nobody examines into the cause head and the Musselburgh houses. Even their of their death.

Inspector had not time to go there and examine The medical men who visit these houses were the accommodation for twenty pounds; but he sent examined before the commission, and they stated a messenger, who returned next day; and as to that the clothing of the patients was too light for the lunatics, the Inspector says—"I tumbled them the winter in Musselburgh. Their food was not away by the railway, and emptied the house at generally equal to their wants. They found, once." He wrote to the Board of Supervision however, that the proprietors adopted readily any after the removal had taken place-and we should suggestions that were made; and they would say rather late. He did not know whether the have gladly suggested greater comforts for the Sheriff of the county was acquainted with the proinsane, if the parishes would have paid for them ; ceeding, although he thought that Sheriff Barclay but the proprietors of the lodging houses could knew; but that was not of the smallest consenot do more than was done for the money paid to quence--for while a pauper cannot be admitted them. We do not know that there has been in- into an asylum without a warrant from the sheriff dividual cruelty in these places, which seem to of the county in which it is placed, yet any number have been conducted with astonishing propriety in may be removed without the authority of that their circumstances, for we only hear of one

official. These are the circumstances in which lunatic having killed another, and one keeper the Poor-law Board of Perth removed thirty luna. having been charged with improper conduct to a tics some seventy miles away from their relatives,

without consulting them, without giving them an The conveyance of patients from a great dis- opportunity to see their condition and state, and tance causes much annoyance, and therefore the without any knowledge of the person and the place northern and western counties should have to whom and which they were, in the expressive asylums. Those from the West Highlands come language of the Inspector, “tumbled away on into Glasgow, according to Dr. M'Intosh, of Gart- the railway."

We have a great and lasting regard for the beaucome by steamers, and must be in some manner tiful “Queen of the Tay ;" but it is not in any restrained; but in all those journies from the degree founded upon the wisdom of the parochial extreme north or west, the restraint seems to be board of that city,—whom, indeed, the parishioners more severe than can be necessary, unless in cases may advantageously relieve from their duties at the of extreme violence. Dr. M'Intosh, of Gart- next election. naval, who must have more experience on these After the lunatics had been taken to Mussel. subjects than any of his Musselburgh rivals, says burgh from Perth, the Inspector went to see them that he never uses any punishment or restraint, twice, in company with the chairman ; but they except by seclusion, which he finds to be perfectly might as well have remained at home, and econoefficient. All the medical gentlemen connected mised their railway fares; for the superintendent with the chartered asylums state that the paro. I could not tell “whether the patients had flannels

female patient.

[blocks in formation]

last winter,” for he said he did not examine them ; | license for each asylum is to cost £15 annually at he wanted to taste their broth, but it was all done ; least, and as much more as 2s. 6d. for each pauper he did not look at the bedding, and he did not lunatic, and 10s. each for each lunatic supported think that the chairman was more curious, and he by friends, may bring. At this rate, some of the could not speak of it; he did not inquire whether asylums will contribute largely; and, although a they washed themselves, and, of course, he could direct tax on lunacy has a queer sound, yet we not say what they washed themselves in; he did believe the scheme is part of a system by which not see whether they had day rooms; but things of every necessity is to be made self-supporting. that kind might be seen in a large house, if a person We have good reason to expect an equally direct kept his eyes open; he did not see any fires, but if tax on pauperism at an early day. This tas will there had been any, they would have been visible; suppress some of the smaller asylums, and that and he did not ask whether two or three men slept consequence is not a great objection to its imposi. in one bed—for why should he have asked any tion. questions ?

After an asylum has been established, a tas is The employment of inefficient persons of this placed upon the sheriff's order for the admission of class in the inspection and management of the poor paupers ; but all the moneys will be required for will, we trust, be discontinued at once, and that the business of the Act, and perhaps this poll-tax the ratepayers will learn the necessity of doing of one half-crown each is reasonable. The sheriffs well the work thrown upon them--from economical of counties are prevented from issuing their orders motives, if humanity have no place in their calcu: without certificate of lunacy from two medical men; lations.

and that is worth half-a-crown on each order ; The Government, after considering the report while the medical certifiers are bound to state the of the Commission on Lunacy, determined to facts on which their opinion is founded; and that introduce a measure on the subject. Their again is another improvement. Lord Advocate's bill proposes the repeal of The bill proposes to deal harshly with the clas previous statutes which are recited, after the lst of persons who may be able, and who may preses of January next. It then constitutes a Board of to retain in their own home a relative under lunacy, two paid and four unpaid commissioners, and com- with proper provision for personal safety, and the mits to them all matters connected with the security of others. The power is denied by the management of lunatic asylums. The salaries of bill without the concurrence of the Board, although the paid commissioners are fixed at a maximum of it is obvious that the members of the Board cannot twelve hundred pounds each. Two medical com- estimate accurately all the reasons that might affect missioners are to be appointed, as assistants, with this decision in a family. The right to inquire salaries of five hundred pounds each. The Board into the condition, and register the existence, of is despotic in its character, and limited in its any person under this affliction, might be conceded existence. It is to endure for five years from to a public board ; but the power to interfere, the commencement of 1858, and no longer. There- further than is necessary for public security, with after the paid commissioners are to become in the arrangements of private families is not a spectors-general, and probably have two hundred “ right,” but only a "wrong." pounds annually lopped from their salary, which According to the bill, as proposed by the Lord will be brought to the net thousand, while the Advocate, the friends of persons who may be conHome Secretary is to be the Board. The measure fined in these asylums can only visit them under is a step towards that centralisation of business such regulations and at such hours as the superinwhich is the policy of the Whigs. The Home tendent may fix—and the latter, apparently, may Secretary might be supposed to have work enough decline to allow the visits; although the only perin his office without attending to the licensing of son, perhaps, in the country that could have any lunatic asylums. The two inspectors-general may, wish to prevent then. The friends of pauper of course, manage that part of the business ; but lunatics are apparently ignored. These people are who is to look after them ? For five years the unpaid not supposed to have any relatives except the commissioners might control the crotchets of their members of the parochial boards, whose general salaried brethren; if it be possible—and it is just neglect of their unhappy wards has involved the but barely possible that these fortunate officials country in some disgrace and immense trouble. could have any crotchets. Aster five years they The Board may authorise any person to visit a lu. are to be uncontrollable, except by the Home natic in the asylums, subject to certain regulations ; Secretary, who is supposed to have more leisure and but few persons in humble life will be able to exgreater interest in the business of Scotch lunacy tract the necessary order from the mysterious than any local personages.

We are not astonished board, meeting in Edinburgh. The health of the that this bill should have been opposed at county patients, and the hope of recovery depends partly, in and other meetings; for the bestowal of all this the majority of cases, we presume, upon that interpower on the Home Secretary, and two of his course with their relatives which the latter are too friends, in whom he will place perfect confidence, apt to neglect, and we don't think it the business is a very unwise step.

of Parliament to provide excuses for that negli In order to provide money for the Board, the I gence.

[blocks in formation]

The Board at Edinburgh is not to sit in magni- | persons who sought license to open asylums ficence, solitary and sullen, but is to be the sun of That minimum might have been extended, not a system of district boards, which will whirl around only to the man himself, but to his property, its it, by aid of the gravitation contained in this Act situation, and everything connected therewith, to of Parliament; if ever it shall assume that honoured its fittings. The sheriffs of counties might not position. Scotland is to be divided into districts. have had duties allocated to them which they Each of these districts is to enjoy its board of " may" discharge according to law, but duties luuacy. Each of these minor boards is to have its which they must perform. The district boards official staff, with necessarily also their salaries. might have consisted of ex officio members, and In this way the original Board will spread itself that alsɔ might have been true of the members of over Scotland and effectually take all those who the central board, under which the Inspector of are afflicted by the single disease which it is to Lunacy would have acted. We are not, however, combat, under their control.

called upon to furnish the heads of a proper bill, The district boards are to provide new asylums, but to describe those of an improper measure ; and --not is their members deem them necessary, but if every measure is improper that centralises power, the members of the central board regard them as and destroys in that particular the essence and spirit requisite. The district boards will not originate of our old institutions. Many of them have nothing anything, but only spend their clients' money, when better than their localiaed nature to recommend and wherever their superiors may direct, within them. It is their only and their grand qualificathe limits of this law.

tion. They were founded upon old Saxon usages, We have already denied the possibility of being which guarded jealously the power of local comastonished with the opposition directed against munities over local business; and we have already this bill out of doors. It seems to have been seen all the evils of central and irresponsible made to be opposed. The evil needs no such authority that we need to see, in order to wish cumbrous enactment as that furnished by the that we may see no more. Lord Advocate. The people wanted the power to We hold, not that the power to impose a rate rate themselves, through some mechanism, for the for the support of asylums was in itself sufficient, cost of advisable changes and improvements. An but the power exercised under an intelligent ininspector was required, with full power to examine spector, bound to report facts and to represent and report into the state of asylums. His duties deficiences for the purpose of correction, would might have been made analogous to those of the have afforded security against the recurrence of inspectors of factories or schools. A minimum of negligence altogether inexcusable, because it has qualification might have been required from all 'fallen upon a class who are entirely helpless.

GEORGE STEPHENSON.

Continued from Page 430.

A THOUSAND guineas form a large sum still, at expense of supporting his son in the northern thirty-seven years of age, to a man who com metropolis was deemed rather heavy. Immedi. menced bis earnings at twopence a day, and learned ately after the receipt of the testimonial, Robert first to read at eighteen years of age.

The dis- was entered as a student there, and while he did pute respecting the miners' safety lamp brought not continue long at the University, yet he George Stephenson more prominently before the achieved great success during his stay; especipublic than he had been at any previous period. ally in those departments of science that his father It is useful sometimes for a man to be abused; desired him to prosecute. and he had been badly abused by the Davy set of Several years of Mr. Stephenson's life, from this philosophers, who derided his claim as an imper. period, 1816, present little change or progress. tinence. The thousand guineas occur to us still He was still the engine-wright of Killingworth as being the more important result of the dis. colliery, and engaged in the improvement of his covery. The first use made of any portion of the locomotive engine. He, however, observed soon money was in behalf of Robert, who had acquired that something else required reform in addition to all that he could learn at Newcastle, and was de- the engine. A good way was essential to the spatched now to the University at Edinburgh. realisation of his schemes, and he entirely changed Then, as now, young men from the northern the mode of laying the rails previously pursued. counties of England generally studied at Edin. Perhaps the alterations, although they now seem burgh ; but even in Mr. Stephenson's case, who simple, and such as would have been suggested to had reached before the discussion on the safety very common minds, were not less important in. lamp a position of comparative competence, the ventions than those connected with the engine.

456

DEFICIENCY OF SKILLED MECHANICS.

The average railway speed would have been im of the locomotive, and increased stress upon the slender road, practicable upon the old railways, laid to assist a which occasioned numerous breakages of the rails and chains, single horse in drawing several waggons. Mr. and consequent interruptions to the safe working of the

railway. Stephenson adopted the half.lap joint for his rails

In order to obviate the dangers arising from this cause, instead of the old butt joint; and necessarily pro- Mr. Stevenson contrived his steam springs. He so arranged duced a smoother way. He made certain alter the boiler of his new patent locomotive that it was supported ations in the mode of affixing the rails to the upon the frame of the engine by four cylinders, which opened chair. He adopted a heavier rail than that in into the interior of the boiler. These cylinders were occu

pied by pistons with rods, which passed downwards and previous use, and these amendments were patented pressed upon the upper side of the axles. The cylinders by bim in conjunction with Mr. Losh, an iron-opening into the interior of the boiler allowed the pressure founder, of Newcastle, upon the last day of Sep. of steam to be applied to the upper side of the piston, and tember, 1816. The wheels of his locomotive that pressure being nearly equivalent to one-fourth of the engine were cast, but at the same date he saw the weight of the engine, each axle, whatever might be its posi

tion, had at all times nearly the same amount to bear, and propriety of using malleable iron for their produc- consequently the entire weight was at all times pretty equally tion, and the alteration was included, we believe, distributed amongst the four wheels of the locomotive. Thas in the same patent.

the four floating pistons were ingeniously made to serve the The business was entirely vew, and we doubt purpose of springs in equalising ihe weight and in softening

the jerk of the machine, the weight of which, it must also whether the colliery districts supplied the best

be observed, had been increased, on a road originally calcu. mechanics of that day. Mr. Smiles believes that lated to bear a considerably lighter description of carriage. George Stephenson suffered considerable incon. This mode of supporting the engine remained in nse until venience from the deficiency of skilled workmen. the progress of spring-making had so far advanced that steel The trant was liowever, we doubt not, rather local springs could be manufactured in sufficient strength to be than general. James Watt and his partner were

used in locomotives. constructing very beautiful engines in these days, Some of his friends persuaded Mr. Stephenson at Birmingham.

to apply his locomotive engine to common roads ; The machinery requisite for the mills of Glas- but he resisted that scheme, and believed that it gow and Manchester was equally complicated, and never would be successful. True to his first required, perhaps, a finer finish than that of a attachment, the iron rail, he never swerved towards locomotive engine. At that date, indeed, the now the old road. He even seems to have considered older men among the clever mechanics of the Clyde, the application of the engine to ordinary roads who have rendered Glasgow the metropolis of the impossible, and certainly unprofitable. He could steam-engine manufacture, were busy at their anvils not foresee that the obstacles to its success would and forges. There was no want of skilled artisans, be removed—although the work that we anticipate but they had not been drawn to Newcastle. They from engines now patented and produced in Lonwere wanted there, and George Stephenson was don will not interfere with the correctness of his nothing better of their existence a bundred miles theory; for they carry their ow. railway along away-especially as a hundred miles in those days with them, and would not, in reality, move on the had not been made by him the small matter that it common road, but on the iron way which they appears to us. We do not, therefore, quite agree bring, lay, and raise and take away, with themselves

. with everything in the following extract; but the Several railways existed in 1816, one in the ingenuity of the contrivance there described is neighbourhood of Bristol, and one or more near admirable :

London, and Mr. Smiles introduces, in his memoir It has been already observed that up to, and indeed for of Stephenson, sketches of some of the original some time after, the period of which we speak, there was no projectors of railways and railway travelling. Mr. such class of skilled mechanics, nor were there any such James, who was connected with the infancy of machinery or tools in use as are now at the disposal of the first line to Croydon, and even with that of inventors aud manufacturers. The same difficulty had been experienced by Watt many years before, in the course of liis the Liverpool and Manchester line; and Mr. improvements in the steain-engine ; and on the occasion of Pease, who originated the Stockton and Darlingthe construction of his first condensing engine at Soho, Mr. ton line, both became allies and friends of Mr. Smeaton, although satisfied of its great superiority over Stephenson. Mr. James was quick, sanguine, Newcomen's, expressed strong doubts as to the practicability and speculative. Mr. Pease was acute, deterprecision ; and he consequently argued that, in its improved mined, energetic, and steady—even a little stubborn form, this powerful machine wonld never be generally intro- in a good work— but the cast of man capable of duced. Such was the low state of mechanical art in those being an excellent coadjutor. He suggested the days. Although skilled workmen were in course of gradual Stockton and Darlington line in his fiftieth year ; training in a few of the larger manufacturing towns, they and he has seen the country girt round by a net did not, at the date of Stephenson's patent, exist in any considerable numbers, nor was there any class of mechanics of railways, and other lands intersected by these capable of constructing springs of sufficient strength and means of travelling, which, at that period of his elasticity to support a locomotive engine ten tons in weight life, were ridiculed by the “scientific world." He

The rails they used being extremely light, the road soon obtained a bill for the construction of his line became worn down by the traffic, and, from the irregularities from Parliament in 1821 ; but some time elapsed of the way, the whole weight of the engine, instead of being before the work was commenced, and another uniformly distributed over the four wheels, was occasivnally thrown almost diagonally upon two. Hence freqnent jerks period before it was concluded.

« PreviousContinue »