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wake, and find, to my great joy, that it is ten
minutes past eight o'clock, a ragged little newsboy
brings in a damp copy of the "Times,"
and I see half a column in that journal
headed "Dreadful Conflagration in Soho."

Were I not so tired, I should moralise over
this, no doubt; but there are now but two
things in my mind two things in the world
for meHOME and BED. Eight o'clock restores
these both to meso cruelly deprived of them
for so long a time. So, just as London
work-away, steady-going Londonbegins to
bestir itself, I hurry across the Strand, cross
the shadow of the first omnibus going
towards the Bank; and, as I sink between
the sheets of MY BED, resign the key of the
street into the hands of its proper custodian,
whoever he may beand, whoever he may be,
I don't envy him.


IN introducing to the notice of our readers
a translated account of a visit to the " Casa
dei Matti," in Sicily, at page 151 of our
second volume, we stated that "the recent
improvements in the treatment of lunatics in
this country have been widely reported to
the public in many ways by the Press." The
transition, from the brute-force system of the
last century, to the comparatively humane
and well-intentioned method of the present
day, could not be passed over in silence; nor
could its announcement fail to make a
satisfactory impression on all who had devoted
the slightest degree of serious attention to it.

It by no means follows, however, that
nothing remains to be done. The right
principle, indeed, has been all but universally
acknowledged; but it is no less certain that
from the still existing want of proper means
and appliances, its practical development has
been materially hindered; and assuming that
at least all the recently provided public
arrangements for the care of lunatics are
good, let us inquire as to the sufliciency or
insufficiency of the amount of this kind of
accommodation. Our observations on this
point are applicable to Pauper Asylums
almost exclusively, as no good public provision
of any material consequence has been
yet devised for the accommodation of private

According to an Abstract of Returns
published by the Commissioners in Lunacy, it
appears that in the month of August, 1843,
the estimated "grand total of lunatics and
idiots " maintained at the public charge in
England and Wales, was sixteen thousand
seven hundred and sixty-four. Of this number
three thousand five hundred and twenty-five
were at that time placed in county asylums,
and two thousand two hundred and ninety-
eight in houses " licensed " for their reception;
that is to say, five thousand eight hundred
and twenty-three (not much more than one-
third of the then known number) were
placed under what may be termed appropriate
superintendence ; whilst no fewer than four
thousand and sixty-three were associated with
the sane inmates of Union Workhouses, and
the still larger number of four thousand nine
hundred and six were singly " farmed out,"
as the phrase is, at the average weekly cost of
two shillings and seven-pence farthing per head.

Since the period above referred to, a great
change has taken place in these things;
through the provisions of the 8th & 9th Vict.,
cap. 126., several new County Asylums have
been called into existence. Some indeed were
in process of erection under the optional
authority conferred upon County Magistrates
by 9th Geo. 4th, cap. 40; enlargements of
several of the older institutions have been
effected; and each shire and separate
municipal district is in this respect now called
upon by law to meet and provide for the
pressing necessity of its population.

It may seem strange that any reluctance
should ever have been shown to comply with
a measure of such obvious importance and
necessity; and yet there are districts of the
country in which the local authorities even
still manifest no higher a capability of
appreciating the subject, than is consistent with the
blind instinct which they miscall economy, or
with the desire to obtain credit for the
exercise of extraordinary care and prudence in the
administration of public funds. But we ought
not, perhaps, to wonder at this. There are
regions on the earth over which daylight is
long in breaking. Between the 9th of Geo. 4th,
and the 8th & 9th of Victoria, seventeen years
had passed, and during the whole of that time
the fullest powers and the most ample
facilities were possessed by the magistrates
on the one hand, and by the rate-payers on
the other, and still a large majority of the
insane poor were either very imperfectly taken
care of, or had not been publicly accounted
for at all. The optional plan was thus proved
to have been quite inadequate to the
necessities of the case.

After the establishment of suitable
accommodation for pauper lunatics, in compliance
with the requirements of the last-mentioned
Act of Parliament, shall have been completed,
and when the experience of a few years shall
have shown how the peculiar defects and
misarrangements of each institution may be
rectified, we may, perhaps, indulge a hope
that little will be left to wish for respecting
the domiciliation of this class. In the meantime,
let us see how the account stands.

By the Fifth Annual Report of the
Commissioners in Lunacy (June 30, 1850) to the
Lord Chancellor, we find that the public
accommodation for pauper lunatics has been so
materially augmented, that on the 1st of
January, 1850, no fewer than six thousand
nine hundred and eight patients of this class
(almost twice as many as were so
accommodated in 1843) were dwelling in County
Asylums. At the same time the necessity