August 31, 1875

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1IUBDER0US LUNATICS. TO TUB EDITOR OF THE TIMES. Sir, Tho murder of aa attendant by a patient laths Lelceiter Boroach Lusatio Asylum, reported in tho daily Journals of Saturday kit, induces me to ckll your atttation and that of tho pubbo ranerally to tbo appareatlr ineroasod number of attacks which Lave reeontlr boea recorded as mads bypatieats in uylums on these having charro orer them. Whother tho same eanrt may have operated to prodtco this offeet in ether counties I know not, but I do know that since tho sad death of Mr. Lutwidgr, the Commissioner in Lunacy, who was killed by a patient while inspecting the FIshortba - houso Asylum at Salisbury, in Mst,1ST3, - riolenco of conduct 3r patients has been more cosunon in this asylum than previously, and Is clearly traceable to that Tent, for, I think, tho following reasons I L Because it Is well known that stranja erines, Iiko great actions, hare a tendency to produce imitators ; and &. Because the Jadge - stopped the trial at ones on the eridenea of tha first witness, one of tbo .proprietors of the asylum la which SPEst, the murderor, was eonfined. Dr. Finch harmj stated his opinion that " the prisoner was Insano and not ftspoutiblt for. his actions," thus learinj the abrewd luaatio fairly to arpie that, as M'Kare was not pualihed, other pstioau enfioed la asylums may commit murder with impunity. I hae now under ray eharce la this atylan a patient who hae recently, since hie admisaion, made a most pre meditated attempt at murder, and still declares that he will yet effect his purpose, lie stows openly that he is not a lunatic, but that, being in an asylum, he it not respos siblo to the law for hit actIons,and ho quotes H'Ears's caaa as. a precedent. In all largo lnaatis asylums there are patients who ears little what they do, and many of these have been sent by order of too Secretary of State to the county asylums: harhi; boca found unmanageable in, the county prisons. They know perfectly well what they are about, and ia all their Tagariee rarely raaoago to hurt tkemMlree, though they are - often rery dannroos to thoso about these. Ther " njhtty confined, no doubt, for tho benefit of society at Vimt t. allow that when suaa penoas have found their way Into an asylum they aro no longer ia any way rtspoaaiblo fee their conduct seems to ma to set .forth a most dangerous dogma. There are many iaaates of arylaoes who, If they com mitted the sauSe'offencee outside the doors of an asylum as I' they do inside them, would undoubtedly be iSirded as respensiDie tor tneir actions, and treated accordingly ; ar.d 1 do trust taat U tne muiuerer el tne attendant at Leicester be pet oa his trial, a verdict will be taken as to guilty or not guilty, tearing tho question of enmiaal reiperuisility for after eenaiJeratioa, and that the inmates of asylums possessing strong criminal intentions may 1 ears' that tkeir eonfineni'ent in aa asylum does not necessarily exempt them from .punishment for offencfs thy know to be wrong. i am, btr, your obedient serrant. JOHN UAKLET, M.D. fdin.. Medical Superintendent . of the Haata Oouaty Lunatio Asylum. August 301 r L ot

Clipped from
  1. The Times,
  2. 31 Aug 1875, Tue,
  3. Page 4

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  • August 31, 1875

    lhayes09 – 18 Mar 2013

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