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I recommended change of air, and gave her a little bottle of antimony for the same purpose of rubbing in behind the ear. She went to Edinburgh at that time, and she returned to Glasgow very much better; and I have never seen the bottle of antimony since she got it away with her. There was a considerable quantity of antimony in my repositories at the time of my wife's last illness, as I used it extensively in my practice; and the antimony was kept in a cupboard, of which I have the key, but which was not always locked. I did not see any of it brought out, or lying about during her illness. The cupboard where the antimony was is in the consulting-room on the ground flat, and she was so weak on the day of her death-Saturday—and on the Friday preceding, that I do not think she had strength to have gone to that cupboard herself. My wife took the antimony internally on one occasion when she had a tendency to inflammation of the eyelids. This was years ago, and I never knew her to use it internally except on this occasion. I never administered antimony internally to her on any occasion, nor any other substance calculated to injure or destroy life. All which I declare to be truth.
The second declaration, taken the 21st of April, in reference to the charge of the murder of Mrs. Taylor, was to the following effect :
“I am entirely innocent of the charge referred to. I elect to make à voluntary statement in reference to the said last-mentioned charge, and I now declare I was no way accessory to Mrs. Taylor's death; I never administered poison to her; I did and do believe that she died from paralysis and apoplexy; I have no further statement to make, and, by the advice of my agent, will make none, with the exception that I am entirely innocent of the charge preferred against me.'
The Judge having charged the jury, they retired to consider their verdict, and in about an hour came into court with a unanimous verdict of GUILTY of both charges.
The Lord Justice Clerk tben sentenced the prisoner to be executed at Glasgow on the 28th ult., and in passing sentence said, that the verdict of the jury proceeded upon evidence which could leave no reasonable doubt on the minds of those by whom it was considered.
The prisoner, who had maintained great composure throughout the five days of the trial, seemed greately affected when the verdict was pronounced, and leant slightly on the policeman sitting beside him; but while the sentence was being recorded he completely regained his composure, and after sentence was passed upon him he bowed to the judge and also to the jury before leaving the dock.
Since his conviction, the prisoner has confessed his guilt and acknowledged the justice of his sentence. His execution took place at Glasgow on the 28th July, in the presence of about 80,000 persons.
MONTREAL, AUGUST, 1865.
THE BEAUPORT ASYLUM.
The boasted privilege of every Englishman is the most unbounded freedom of speech, hence the characteristic of our countrymen is to be honest and out-spoken. It was in the exercise of this acknowledged right, in the last number of our periodical, in reference to matters connected with the Beauport Lunatic Asylum, which has brought on us a storm of abuse from Dr. James Douglas, one of the proprietors of that institution. The Beauport Asylum occupies a somewhat anomalous position. It receives a large amount from Government each year, and is under Government inspection. The patients are nearly, if not altogether, pauper, or at least from that class who have to be supported in this institution at the public cost. Still the asylum is private property, a regular contract existing between the Government and the proprietors of the grounds and buildings, to receive all patients sent to them at so much a head per week. We should like to be informed as to the terms of that contract. Although it may be a contract between the Government and a private individual, we think, as we are called upon to contribute our quota of $67,000, which annually goes into the pockets of the proprietors of that asylum, we ought to have the right of demanding the terms of that contract. We feel certain that had the Toronto Lunatic Asylum been a private speculation, with a contract binding the Government down to certain terms, there would not, at the present day, exist in Upper Canada four other institutions for the relief of those mentally deranged. In the letter of Dr. Douglas, which we publish, it will be seen that he is fully alive to the necessity of having an asylum in the district of Montreal. Coming from such a source, one whose opinion has been looked upon by the Executive as the authority par excellence in Lower Canada on the subject of insanity, we suppose we may reasonably hope the affair settled, and that in this district we will, before long, see an asylum in progress of erection-one which will not be considered by even the imperial authorities a miserable make-shift, an opinion expressed in the
Imperial paper on Colonial Hospitals and Lunatic Asylums, as applied to the asylum at St. Johns. See page 30: “And they represent that there is a pressing necessity for the erection of a new asylum, with proper grounds, in the western part of the Province, to replace the miserable make-shift at St. Johns."— Despatch, Sept. 25th, 1863. Will it be credited, that nearly two years have elapsed since this damning despatch was forwarded by our Government to the Imperial authorities. Wesay damning, for it is so to the credit, philanthropy, and Christianity of the country.
Two years since the Government of Canada acknowledged in a despatch to the Imperial authorities, who called for information with regard to the public charities of the country, that “at the present time 130 insane persons," in Lower Canada, "are improperly provided for, in gaols and otherwise, and sixty who cannot find any accommodation at all. And yet the same state of things is permitted to continue. No attempt is made at amelioration ; the same miserable make-shift at St. Johns is
l allowed to remain.
The data of the article in our last number, to which Dr. Douglas takes exception, were from the Toronto Leader. There can be no doubt that the crowding in the Beauport Asylum must have been a most serious cause of complaint, when we find the following in the Return to an address of the Honorable the Legislative Council, for copies of all correspondence between the Commissioners for the management of the Beauport Lunatic Asylum and the Government, during the last three years.
"11th February, 1865. “I have this day inspected the Asylum in all its parts, including the two cottages; the total number of inmates being 557 (not including 65 servants). While the asylum continues in its present terribly over-crowded condition, I refrain from any remark, except that such condition is, in my humble opinion, unfair to those who have the superintendence of it, and most unjust to the inmates ; for those who might recover their sanity under favourable circumstances as to classification, &c., &c., have no chance here."
“ROBERT HAMILTON, Commissioner." And as to the cubic space, there can be no doubt of the fact attested by Mr. A. Lemoine, the Secretary to the Commissioners of the Asylums, as also by the Commissioners themselves, and which must be received by the public so long as it remains uncontradicted.
“Now, many of the single rooms before referred to do not contain onehalf of 1,000 cubic feet—some of those contain under 300 feet, and they are occupied by dirty patients.”
This is under date 6th July, 1864. We do not think that in this the proprietors are altogether blameable; they have no alternative, they are forced to receive lunatics, who are remaining in the prison houses, or who are at large. We desire to point out the suicidal policy of our Government, the gross wrong done not alone to the inmates of these institutions, but to the whole country. All authorities concur in the opinion, that insanity, to be treated with the hope of success, must be treated early in the attack. It is certainly more than a retrograde step for us in Canada to start a plan of our own, and ignore the experience and teaching of those who have made this subject a study in the mother country. We have before shewn that a poor man in Lower Canada, at least in the District of Montreal, requires from six weeks to six months' experience of prison life in the cells of our common gaol before he can be admitted even into the " miserable make-shift at St. Johns," or into the Beauport Lunatic Asylum. Six weeks' incarceration in these cells, is quite sufficient to drive any sane man mad; the care they receive, the“ medical comforts," if any, are not calculated to relieve a patient suffering from an attack of acute mania. In writing this, we do not desire to say one word against the management of our gaol, which we are willing to believe is in every respect a model institution of its kind; we simply wish to intimate that it is not a Lunatic Asylum, and therefore is a place totally unfit to receive persons mentally deranged.
The consequence of this system of laisser fuire, this do-nothing policy, on the principle as our friend Dr. Douglas suggests, “ that he who wishes to sit easy should sit still," is in reality a policy which, laying aside the moral obligations to our fellow beings, is calculated, before many years, of throwing on the country for support a host of incurable cases of insanity: each pauper inmate of the Beauport Asylum costs the country some $3
In a letter which appeared in the Quebec Jercury, under date, 15th July, 1865, Dr. Douglas says, in reference to the article in our last number, “ The statements about cubic space are utter bosh, and are untrue. The statements about consequent sickness and deaths are equally so.” The statements about the cubic space were, that the patients of the Beauport Lunatic Asylum were limited to 300 cubic feet. This is fully borne out by the Reports of the Commissioners; indeed they say some of the cells do not contain 300 cubic feet of space, and that “they are occupied by dirty patients."
In the July number of the American Journal of Insanity, at page 50, in the report of the proceedings of the Association of Medical Superin
tendents, * we find the following :-“Dr. James Douglas, of Quebec, said, in Quebec they had 566 patients, and 70 attendants, and during the
year they consumed 300 tons of coal and 300 cords of wood. They had 300 cubic feet space to each individual patient.” If this statement be true, we have then the best evidence, viz. that of Dr. Douglas himself, that the Report of the Commissioners as to cubic space is strictly correct. Further comment is unnecessary. We will leave the facts as they are to be judged of by the impartial reader. We merely allude to this subject in our own justification, as Dr. Douglas has thought proper to give us the lie; adding, that we have suppressed the truth for a consideration,
With reference to the sickness and deaths, we desire to say a few words. The mortality of asylums, as of hospitals, has immediate relation to the character of the cases of diseases admitted, whether acute or chronic. The Provincial Lunatic Asylum at Toronto is in immediate connection with two branch asylums, University and Orillia, where incurable cases are sent from the main asylum, which latter is reserved for the treatment of acute cases. The following table is compiled from the report of the Inspectors for the year 1863 : : Name of
Inmates, 1863. Discharged. Died. Ratio.
25 = 1 death to 23,'s University Branch, Orillia Malden, 249
273 Rockwood, 110
13 St. Johns,
9 Thus we find that in the year 1863 the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, at Toronto, with its two branches, had under care and treatment 721 insane persons; of these, 90 were discharged and 29 died. The asylum at Beauport, with a total under treatment and care of 574, discharged 30 and there were 42 deaths. This certainly does appear a large average for an institution which is not devoted exclusively to the treatment of casee of acute mania. We put it in the very mildest way possible ; we are not in any way desirous of doing the least injury to either the asylum or its proprietars; but not even for“ a consideration” will we suppress truth, or remain silent, when the principles involved are of such moment to the whole country. We do not wish to go further in this matter; we do not
4 = 1
4 = 1
42 = 1
• Ninteenth Annual Meeting of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, held at the Monongahela House, Pittsburg, Pa., on Tuesday morning, 13th June, 1865.