A native of Castlebar, in Ireland, aged about forty-seven years, appeals to have been admitted to this Institution on the 6th of August 1818, but was formerly in Old Bethlem Hospital ; for some time at a madhouse at Hoxton ; and has been confined altogether about twelve years.
This ferocious maniac, from the first period of his confinement, has uniformly evinced a character of desperation, vengeance, and sanguinary cruelty, scarcely conceivable even under the deplorable frenzy by which he is afflicted ; and more characteristic of a tiger than a human being, even deprived of the rational facuities.
Indeed his history, previously to his confirmed insanity, has been marked by a disposition naturally fierce and cruel ; and it is not improbable that the intolerable stings of a tortured conscience, reflecting on the sanguinary deeds in which he had been an active accomplice, formed the source of that frenzy, which neither length of years, the p.2natural abatement of passion, coercion, or mild treatment, have been able to mitigate in the slightest degree.
This wretched man was a ringleader of the mutinous and murderous crew of His Majesty's frigate the Hermione, commanded by Captain Pigott, who with his officers were massacred by that crew, in the year 1797- This lamentable catastrophe took place in the West Indies, on the 22d September, when Captain Pigott and all his officers (excepting the surgeon and master's mate), with most part of the marines on board, were murdered. One of the principal mutineers was Captain Pigott's own coxswain, who had sailed with him for four years ; and this fellow found his way into the captain's cabin when he was asleep, and cut off his head, while his accomplices were at their bloody work in other parts of the ship. The miscreants afterwards carried the frigate into Laguira, and sold her to the Spanish Governor. In the course of the war, much the greater number of the mutineers were taken on board of other ships, and suffered the punishment justly due to their crimes.
Walsh, the maniac, however, escaped that fate, and from the stories elicited from him, at intervals more lucid and less furious, it appears that he had been afterwards both in the British Navy and Army, and deserted several times from each. By p.3his own account, he has murdered with his own hand nine or ten persons. He acknowledges to have been a ringleader in the mutinyRebellion against authority, particularly of military personnel or sailors against their commanding officers. on board the Hermione : and being asked his motives, he says the treatment by his officers was so tyrannical, that he and his shipmates could stand it no longer. The project was first started by a butcher on board, who belonged to the forecastle: this man came and consulted with Walsh and a few others, who agreed on the horrible project ; and one day the parties rushed from between decks, seized the ship, effected the massacre, carried the frigate into Laguira, sold her, and divided the purchase-money amongst them. After he had spent his share of the money he rambled about the colony ; and when all was gone, he contrived to find his way to England, where he enlisted in a regiment of dragoons. He deserted from that, and enlisted in the 42d Highland regiment, and was with that corps under Sir Ralph Abercrombie in Egypt. He deserted again from that regiment, and entered as a seaman on board one of His Majesty's ships, from which he was afterwards drafted on board the Victory, and was close to the immortal Nelson when he fell in the fight off Trafalgar.
From the first time of his confinement in Bethlehem Hospital, it has been found necessary to keep him always strongly ironed ; p.4notwithstanding which, he found means to kill two persons in Bethlehem and Hoxton, before he was removed to this establishment. For a long time after his admission here he conducted himself pretty calmly, and was under no very great restraint, until the month of April 1820. About that time the Commissioners of the Roads had given to the governors of the hospital a large quantity of road-drift, for the purpose of raising the lower part of the airing-ground, which was low and damp. Amongst this rubbish were unfortunately brought in the blade of an old knife and one half of an old pair of scissors. These were discovered by Walsh ; and he carefully concealed them until he found private opportunities of grinding the knife to a sharp edge and point, like the killing-knife of a hogbutcher ; and watching a treacherous opportunity, when no one could have the slightest suspicion of his purpose, on Sunday, the 30th of April 1820, he sprung with fury upon a sickly patient named Dennis Leonard, while sitting down, and before he was observed or could be prevented, he inflicted upon the poor man twelve or fourteen wounds, many of which were mortal. The poor victim was carried into the house, but expired almost immediately.
A coroner's inquest was held on the body, who returned a verdict of wilful murder against Walsh ; but agreed to add that he was in a state p.5of frantic derangement when he committed the act. He was, however, taken to Guilford in Surry, on the 4th of August following, to be tried at the Assizes for the murder ; but the Grand Jury of the county, on inquiring into the circumstances, ignored the bill, and the maniac was sent back to this hospital. This fatal occurrence was the first burst of his ferocity since he was admitted here, and he has been under constant restraint ever since. He is naturally a man of powerful strength, which is greatly increased by the paroxysms of his frenzy. He had put on him at first a pair of handcuffs of extraordinary strength, made purposely for himself which he broke in a very short time. The keeper then put on him, by order, two pairs of the common handcuffs ; but these, within two hours afterwards, he smashed into a hundred pieces. It was then found necessary to contrive other means for his restriction, consisting of an iron cincture that surrounds his waist, with strong handcuffs attached to it, sufficient to check his powers of manual mischief, but with liberty enough for all his requisite occasions of food, drink, taking snuff, &c. &c. Such are the means for his restraint by day : not painful to him, but merely for the safety of others. At night it is found necessary to fasten him by one hand and leg to his bedstead, with strong locks and chains. He is never permitted p.6to associate with any other of the patients. He goes out alone into the airing-ground every morning until breakfast-time ; in summer from six o'clock to eight, and in winter from seven to half after eight ; afterwards he is kept alone in the dining-room from morning until bed-time ; excepting only when the other patients are there at meal-times, when he is locked up in his own room ; the door of which, as well as that of the dining-room, are made of remarkable strength, with double bolts, and perfectly secure : for he would break through the common bed-room doors instantly.
But bloodshed and massacre are the constant topics of his frenzied discourse, and seem to afford him high gratification and delight.
After the murder of poor Leonard, he used to declare repeatedly, " that he was better pleased at what he had done, than if he had all the riches of India, for that it made his mind happy and contented." His vengeance against the poor victim was excited by some dispute about religion. Leonard, he said, had spoken profanely of the Almighty and the Virgin Mary (in a language not to be repeated). This was the cause of his anger, and he had waited for an opportunity of punishment until the fatal day in which it was accomplished. He rejoiced at what he had done. He told the Coroner's Jury, that if he could obtain p.7the king's crown, and all the riches of the universe, he would not forego the pleasure of killing him, for all would be nothing to the ease of mind he felt in putting him out of the way.
Yet he has sometimes said, but evidently in dissimulation, " that he was sorry for killing the poor lad ;" hoping by his pretended contrition to obtain some snuff, of which he is passionately fond.
But his propensity to mischief, malice, and personal abuse, are as incessant as his taste for bloodshed and slaughter. He has contrived, notwithstanding his restriction of hands and feet, to break above seventy panes of glass, within the last two years, in the dining-room windows, although guarded on the inside by a strong iron wire latticework. This amusement he contrived to effect by standing on a form placed at some distance from the windows, and taking the bowl of his wooden spoon in his mouth, he poked the handle through the meshes of the wire-work, and thus broke the pane. This has caused, for some time past, the seats to be still further removed from the windows.
He is continually venting blasphemous imprecations, and the grossest abuse against his fellowpatients, whose names he knows, or adapts others to them. " Stinking Lloyd," " rascally Jack Hallwood," " thieving old Coates," " lousy Jenkins," " sneaking Pocock," " damned Welch," " black Dams," and a poor Greek, whom he calls p.8" a lousy Spaniard." Even his very dreams, when he sleeps, are occupied with scenes of fury and vengeance ; and he takes delight in detailing them the next morning. When he dreams of having murdered any, and sometimes all of the patients above named, he wakes quite pleased, and details the scene with much satisfaction ; and the manner in which he has gratified his vengeance, and what fine fun he had in seeing them die. He thought he had a sword, with which he first cut all their throats, and then walked round them to see which should live longest ; that when they were all dead, or nearly so, he split their skulls, and then transposed the brains from Hallwood's head into that of Lloyd j Lloyd's into Coates's ; his to Jenkins's ; his again into the Spaniard's, and his again to Hugh Dams's. He then ripped up their bellies, and changed their entrails in like manner ; and then he hung and burned them all : but the only thing that grieved him was to hear them all talking in the gallery next morning. He stamps and raves most of the day, and nearly all night, with a piece of blanket crammed into his mouth, gnawing and tearing their souls out, as he imagines and terms it. He picks up pieces of glass, old nails, bones, and spoons which he grinds to a point, stones of a convenient size for flinging, and indeed every thing that is likely to enable him to do mischief, p.9to which he is always inclined if he has an opportunity.
He stamps on the ground like a cart-horse, which has rendered his feet almost as hard as hooves, and gladdens himself with the idea that he is trampling some of the persons before-mentioned under his feet. He will at times turn with the wildest ferocity to some particular spot, where he pictures to his disordered fancy some of those objects of his vengeance prostrate, and then jumps and stamps with the wildest rage, exclaiming, " die you rascals, die and be damned !" " hang him up !" " jump his soul out !" " ha, you vagabond, die !" with numberless other expressions of rage and revenge : and this fit over, he comes away, seemingly quite pleased, and sings and whistles, elated beyond description, until he conjures up another imaginary group, on whom he repeats in fancy the same operations. Every voice he hears he supposes to be that of some one abusing him, and even the ducks in the pond he has charged with calling him abusive names, and abuses them in his turn, in furious terms, and tells the steward, with an oath, that if he could get at them he would tear out their windpipes. He swears and blasphemes most shockingly, talks most impiously, and uses the most indecent language : but any topic of murder or bloodshed is his chief delight. He is a strong, p.10hardy fellow : his aspect wild, brutal, and terrific beyond description. He presents a hideous and appalling specimen of the human savage deprived of reason, and exposed to all the hurricanes of unbridled passions and the delusions of a bewildered fancy.
(The name only by which he is known), aged about forty-seven, admitted here about six years since. This man is a Greek, native of one of the Ionian isles, and was sent hither, under an order of the Home Department, from Sir Jonathan Miles's mad-house at Hoxton, where he had been some time confined as a criminal lunatic.
He was tried at the Old Bailey, on 21st September 1811, on an indictment for cutting and wounding John Bennet, with intent to do him a violent bodily harm : a crime constituted capital under Lord Ellenborough's Act.
It appeared in evidence that the prosecutor Bennet was a baker in the Minories, and that on the Tuesday preceding the trial he was told by his wife that a thief had stolen a loaf from his window. He went to the door, and seeing the prisoner running, he pursued and knocked him down ; but, in endeavouring to secure him, fell upon him, p.11and a scuffle ensued, in which the prisoner cut him across the face with a sharp instrument. A crowd was collected, and the prisoner secured ; and near the spot was found a razor, somewhat bloody, and no doubt remained that it was the instrument with which the wound was inflicted.
This testimony was corroborated by several other witnesses. But it appeared from the testimony of the constable who apprehended the prisoner, and of Mr. Hobler, the Lord Mayor's clerk, that the prisoner had been for some time a frequent attendant at the Mansion-house, presenting various papers, and offering money to have them transcribed and translated. They were for the most part in the Spanish language ; several of them were orders, in that language, drawn upon Sir Francis Burdett for various sums of money, and all of them were couched in terms of the most extravagant wildness ; which, coupled with other circumstances, proved the man to be utterly deranged ; and the Jury, under the direction of the Common Serjeant, who tried the case, acquitted the prisoner, and he was sent to a mad-house. This unfortunate foreigner is one of the most turbulent, noisy, and furious patients in the present establishment. He is eternally on the fret, and in perpetual vociferation : which, from his countenance and gestures, seems to be complaint and abuse ; but his utterance is so highly p.12passioned and rapid, that even if his language were intelligible, no hearing or intellect of his auditors could follow him fast enough to collect his meaning. Yet as he does not know a single word of English, and speaks in a dialect dissimilar to every known language of Europe, all the caustic of his eloquence is lost in mere sounds, and falls harmless on the feelings of those he would abuse.
There is but one man in the hospital equally furious with himself, who seems to catch the fire of his language, and to testify a degree of rage perfectly responsive to his own : this is the ferocious Patrick Walsh, already mentioned, and who has constantly manifested towards this Greek the most vengeful antipathy.
That part of the criminal wing where the Greek is confined overlooks the airing-ground for the hospital patients, where the terrible Walsh is permitted to walk by himself for two hours every morning. The Greek's apartment is one story from the ground. Walsh hears him raving at his window, and flies instantly to the spot, when a curious and most formidable scene is acted. They view each other with mutual fury : their eyes flash fire, and they commence a highly impassioned dialogue of reciprocal resentment and abuse, which, however, is mutually unintelligible ; excepting so far as the pantomime of gesture, p.13mace, and vocal intonation can express meaning. The Greek, all the while in the most violent rage, attempts to force his way through the iron window- bars to come at his antagonist. Walsh, with equal rage and eagerness, springs and jumps up, to reach him if possible, and then runs round the corner and back again, in search of some avenue that might lead him to his opponent: but, disappointed in this purpose, he kicks up his shoes at the Greek, spits at him repeatedly, and reviles him with the bitterest abuse, until his fancy is wrought up to a belief that he has caught hold of his enemy below ; when, imagining he has got him down and under his feet, he stamps the ground with all the energy of an exasperated horse, and exclaims with fury, " Die, you thieving, rascally Spaniard ! — Die, you villainous Spanish vagabond !"
By this time the Greek is generally taken from the window by his keeper ; and Walsh, supposing from his silence that he is dead, comes away singing, and exulting " that he has put an end to him."
If it were possible for both to come into contact the combat would be dreadful, and mutual destruction would no doubt be the consequence. p.14
Who fired a pistol at his late Majesty at the theatre ; committed to Old Bethlem on the 26th June 1 800, from whence he was conveyed hither on the opening of this establishment.
The first alarming symptoms of this man's insanity broke forth in an attempt to assassinate his late Majesty King George III., by publicly firing at his Majesty a loaded pistol, as he entered the royal box at Drury-lane Theatre, on the 16th of May 1800.
The following account we have extracted from the authentic records of that period :
Hatfield served his time to a working silversmith, but enlisted very young in the 15th Dragoons, in which regiment he had seen some hard service, and received several severe wounds. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Lincelles, after having received several sabre wounds in the head, and his arm broken by a musket ball. On being discharged from the army he married, and worked at his trade for some time with Mr. Hougham, the silversmith, of Aldersgate-street. A few days before the attack on his Majesty, he purchased a pair of pistols of a neighbouring broker, and having tried them, he left one at home, considering it good for nothing. In his business he had occasion to use lead, and having cast a couple of p.15slugs, he repaired to Drury-lane Theatre on the 16th of May 1800. His Majesty had scarcely entered his box, when in the act of bowing with his usual condescension to the audience, a pistol was fired by Hatfield, who sat in the pit on the second row from the orchestra. The ball struck the roof of the royal box, just at the moment the queen and princesses were entering. His Majesty, with great presence of mind, waved his hand as a signal to dissuade the Royal party from making their immediate appearance, and instantly standing erect, raised his right hand to his breast, and continued bowing for some minutes to his loyal subjects. Shortly after her Majesty and the Princesses entered the box ; but on learning what had happened, the Princesses Augusta and Mary fainted.
After the first moments of astonishment had subsided, some musicians from the orchestra seized Hatfield, and dragged him over the pallisadoes into the music-room. He was afterwards examined before Sir Wm. Addington, in the presence of the Dukes of York, Clarence, and Cumberland, who were also at the theatre, Mr. Sheridan, and several other persons of distinction, and was that evening committed to the House of Correction in Cold Bath Fields. Next day he was examined at the Duke of Portland's office, before the Privy CouncilA monarch's private advisers., and in the afternoon was p.16committed to Newgate to take his trial for high treason.
Although, on the trial of Hatfield, it was evident the act was that of a madman, yet from a circumstance that occurred the day before in Hyde Park, it was generally considered that such a coincidence must have been the result of an organized plan to assassinate his Majesty. On the previous day there was a review of the 1st BattalionA military unit, typically consisting of between 300 and 800 soldiers. of Guards in Hyde Park, in the presence of the King, Lords Chatham, Chesterfield, and a number of distinguished officers, when after the commencement of the evolutions, a gentleman of the name of Ongley, who was about twenty yards from his Majesty, received a musket ball through the upper part of his thigh, and fell. This accident, it was ascertained, proceeded from neglect in one of the soldiers, who had unintentionally left a ball cartridge in his cartouch : but the event of the succeeding evening at the theatre caused the greatest inquietude and alarm among all the well-disposed subjects of his Majesty. On the 26th of June Hatfield was tried for high treason, before Lord Kenyon and three other Judges,, at the Court of King's Bench. Mr. Abbott, the present Lord Chief Justice, opened the pleadings : evidence was detailed of the firing at his Majesty, and Hatfield acknowledging the fact, because he was tired of his life. His defence was conducted by the p.17present Lord Erskine, when after several witnesses were called to prove the insanity of the prisoner, Lord Kenyon interrupted the proceedings, and thought the inquiry should not proceed farther. — A verdict was passed of Not Guilty, and he was ordered to be confined as a maniac in Old Bethlem, where, during his stay, he killed a poor maniac named Benjamin Swain, by a stroke on his head, which tumbled him over a form, and he died instantly.
He contrived to make his escape from Old Bethlem, but was apprehended at Dover ; and for his better security, was sent to Newgate, where he remained until the 8th of November 1816, whence he was brought here, and has since remained.
The first symptoms of this man's insanity are thus reported. He was one day, shortly previous to the attempt on his late Majesty, in White-Conduit Fields, when he was accosted by a religious fanatic named Bannister Truelock (now confined in Bethlem), and after both had conversed for some time on religious topics, Truelock told him, " that a great change of things in this world was about to take place; that the Messiah was to come out of his mouth, and that if the King was removed, all obstacles to the completion of their wishes would be removed also."
By ravings of this sort he so completely influenced the mind of Hatfield, that the desperate p.18attempt was resolved, and the day fixed for its perpetration.
Truelock was apprehended, and, upon examination, was found to be deranged in his mind: he was sent to Old Bethlem, whence he was removed hither.
Hatfield has made from time to time several applications to be removed, or allowed further indulgences. He petitioned the House of Commons for the purpose, in the last session of Parliament, and his petition was presented by one of the Governors, Mr. Williams, and ordered to he on the table. Although for a long time past this man has evinced no symptoms of actual insanity, yet his impatience of confinement sours his temper, in spite of all the indulgences allowed him. He is ever grumbling and discontented without cause, and finds fault with every thing. Though his manners and language are those of a vulgar, low-bred fellow, he is cleanly in his person and regular in his habits ; knacky and ingenious in his amusements. He makes handsome straw baskets, which he is permitted to sell to visitors, and for which he obtains from 3s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. each. He receives a pension from Government of 6d. per day, in consideration of his former military services. p.19
Aged fifty-two ; admitted into Old Bethlem the 18th December 1800, and removed here, with the other patients, in 1815 : he had been seven months in the House of Correction previously.
This man is noted as being suspected of causing James Hatfield to attempt the late King's life, at Drury Lane Theatre : he met Hatfield by accident in White-Conduit Fields, and talked the unfortunate fellow into a persuasion, that the first step to the commencement of his doctrines, and to its fulfilment in a happy change of things throughout the world, would be the death of the Sovereign ; with this view, Hatfield set out as the supposed chosen instrument for the accomplishment of the great design. Hatfield, in his examination, mentioned this man's name ; he was accordingly apprehended the next day, underwent several examinations, and was committed to prison ; but from his incoherent manner, his answers, and the evidence of his mother, he was found to be deranged, and was sent ultimately to Old Bethlem.
He is a most singular and curious character, and in his ordinary conversations of life, betrays not the smallest symptoms of a disordered intellect ; is cool, steady, and deliberate in all his actions, cleanly in his person, and regular and decent in his apartment. His conversations are p.20not long, in a general way, before he contrives to make some allusion to his case, and immediately strikes out upon his darling subject of religion.
He has an apartment at the top of the house, which has a good prospect, southward, commanding a view of the Surry hills ; he has coal, candle, and every convenience for his use ; his provisions are regularly brought to him, and in fine weather he is permitted to walk in the garden allotted to the superintendant, steward, &c. two hours each day, when he chooses ; he has the privilege of mending the shoes for the servants and patients, as he was bred a shoemaker, for which work he is regularly paid his own price. He is also permitted to breed birds, and allowed to sell them ; he has a great number of canaries and other singing birds, in places neatly fitted up, which he keeps in great order ; and, in fact, has less reason to complain of his confinement than perhaps any other man in a similar situation. Notwithstanding the exclusive privileges he enjoys beyond other irrecoverable patients, he is extremely dissatisfied. Nothing pleases him : he is continually finding fault without reason, and stating grievances that never had existence ; complaining to the governors ; dissatisfied with the physician, superintendant, steward, keepers, in fact with all persons concerned in the business of the house. He is kept entirely apart from all the other patients, for very p.21substantial reasons : 1st. The propagation of his new religion to weak minds might do much harm, in the forcible, pointed, and positive manner he has of impressing his tenets, and would very shortly bring the unfortunate patients, already sufficiently deluded, to become converts to the Truelock principles, and they would forget everything else that tended to the restorationThe restoration of the monarchy and the return to a pre-civil war form of government in 1660, following the collapse of the Protectorate. of reason.—2dly. Being a discontented and uneasy subject, he might soon excite contentions and dissatisfaction amongst all the patients ; for the best of them, at certain periods of their disorder, are liable to catch at any trifle to complain of; and when they feel their confinement sit uneasy, particularly if a man of such apparent consequence as Truelock was to pronounce a patient perfectly sane, and say to him that his confinement was arbitrary and oppressive ; that his separation from friends, relations, business, and his home, was in opposition to sound sense and reason ; that it was unjust and cruel : such convictions of seeming truth, a poor deluded maniac would readily grasp at ; a general mutiny might be the consequence, which would, perhaps, be difficult to suppress. Besides this, he would create a general murmur as to the quality and quantity of their provisions, such as he feels himself; for if he had in the greatest abundance all the luxuries and delicacies of life, he would still find some deficiency, and some cause of complaint ; p.22and he still continues the same radicalA person who advocates thorough or complete political or social reform, or a description of that change. malcontent. But his religious opinions explode at once every idea of his sanity. He believes that the true and real Messiah is to be born of himself, and is to come into the world from out of his mouth ; he declares himself to be with child for upwards of twenty-five years ; he calls the Bible a vulgar and indecent history, not to contain one solid or sensible argument. The New Testament he regards as mere falsehood and deception, which he seldom takes notice of, he says, unless for its absurdity.
He has written seventy-eight signs, with comments on each ; which are to be the sum and substance of bringing all persons to the true light. " In your History," says he (alluding to the Bible), " it is mentioned that a prophet will arise. Now I am that identical prophet spoken of; the Messiah is to be produced from my mouth, in spirit, not in fleshy substance, as was the case with Christ."
He then proceeds with a confession of faith, embracing all the prophane and anti-christian tenets of the Carlilean-school of theology, which it would be impious to repeat.
The signs that he has written are, as he says, seventy-eight : but on these he has remarks and comments in abundance. He continues to write more, occasionally. The whole of these signs are merely repetitions of the same things ; but sometimes p.23inverted, twisted, and transposed; the whole being a medley of the most unintelligible nonsense that perhaps ever entered the bewildered imagination of a wretched maniac, occasionally interlarded with, " Mount Sion, the two-edged sword, the flaming lions, the gates, the angels, the word, the prophet, and the devil."
" The time," he says, " is fast approaching when all things are to be fulfilled," and the whole world, of course, to believe and be converted to his doctrines. He has had these opinions for many years : but hope bears him on, from a consciousness of their ultimate fulfilment. Of this he is positive ; no power on earth can prevent it. " They may confine me, to be sure," says he, " but it must come to pass."
This prophet, in addition to his other privileges, formerly had permission to go abroad, accompanied by the porter, for a day, to purchase leather, and other things necessary for his use and convenience, when he wanted, by leave of the committee ; but, like many other cases in the world, good-nature and indulgence made him proud, and he abused the confidence reposed in him.
Having a great desire to have his new tenets published, and his signs made manifest, as necessary to the fulfilment of his " divine mission," one evening (8th December 1821), when he had p.24 walking in the garden, he contrived suddenly to disappear ; but by what means is still a mystery. He was missed in a moment, and all possible search made about the house : but to no purpose, for the prophet had fled. Despatches were sent to all the haunts he frequented, when out on business ; but no success :—he was invisible.
It appears since that he went to Mr. Hone, the bookseller, of Ludgate-hill, as a likely man to publish his new doctrines. Mr. Hone treated him very civilly. He explained his subject and his wish ; but he was told that the publication of a sufficient number of pamphlets would cost £100. This the prophet was unable to advance. Mr. Hone would not trust to the chance of the work for payment, if even he were inclined to publish such nonsense. However, the prophet had humility enough to ask for a bed. Mr. Hone could not accommodate him in his house, and recommended him to a likely place : but it was strongly suspected that he spent his night in very unprophet- like company, contrary to his piety, his morality, and the divine mission in which he pretended to be employed.
A vulgar, Billingsgate, and apparently abandoned woman comes frequently to see him at the hospital, and is supposed to have been his p.25companion on the night in question. Failing, however, in his application for " giving light" to the world, he came home next evening (i)th December, 1821), at dusk, of his own accord, much fatigued, and no doubt much disappointed, with his signs under his arm.
These signs and comments, &c. he has enclosed in a neat leathern case, which he carries with him, at all times and on all occasions—to bed, to the garden, in fact every where the prophet goes. It would be easier to get sight of the original Alcoran, or unfold and make legible the Herculanean manuscriptsBooks, documents, or piece of musics written by hand rather than typed or printed. Later, pieces of work that have not yet been published., than obtain a perusal of the signs without his consent, or resorting to force. He is a very bad orthographer, and it is difficult in some places to English his signs.
The following placard is pasted up in his room, which visitors naturally read, and possibly inquire their meaning ; which affords a good opportunity for Truelock's explanations.
"Three hundred years ago a philosopher sayed, the Stars give the day-light.
"One hundred years ago, a philosopher proves to the publick that the Sun give the day-light, and without the Rise of the sun there was no day-light.
"One thousand eight hundred and nineteen years ago, the prophits rote the Law, which was the p.26Gospel, and said, that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, and walked on the face of the earth, that groes weat, oats, beens, and barley.
"Now a Prophit rises, and says, he will prove to the publick that Christ will appear out of the dark soul of the prophit, ware in he stands, to give light, and be delivered out of the prophit's mouth. "
The same is the two-edged sword, which is Christ ; the same is the Son of God, the same is the spirit of truth, the same is a new dockterin, the same is a new revelation, for all the world, the same is Christ, and his true and living prophit Saturn, in him, whom Christ is well pleased ; "
" Mad man."This title of madman is ironically meant.
Another paper is pasted beside the foregoing, to the following effect :
"Do you know what we most admire in you ? it is not your dress, we could make a beast fine with trappings. What we admire, and what we ought to admire in man, is that collection of fine feelings, which makes him a human creature, to God and man.
"To know that the most distinguished p.27geniusses are liable to egregious, and most reprehensible feelings.
"The antient Pagans declared, in express terms, that there was wanting some universal method of delivering men's souls, which no sect of philosophy had ever yet found out.
"No man is obliged to speak against the religion of a country, though a false one, unless he has power of working miracles from Jesus Christ.
Admitted in I8I7. He was formerly a corn-factor of Mark Lane.
The annals of Bedlam, or probably of any other asylum for insanity, scarcely afford any parallel to this heterogeneous compound of cunning, pride, wit, impudence, boasting, lies, filth, and frenzy ; and if so many conflicting ingredients entered his system when sane and in society, his ultimate distraction must be only a very natural result. A whole volume could scarcely detail a tenth of his characteristical operations from day to day.
In the morning when he rises from bed (which he always leaves in no very seemly state), he proceedsp.28 to the decoration of his person, which he begins by adorning his legs with all the rags and pieces of old stockings he can collect ; and then bandages them on with a strip torn from his blanket. His trowsers are then put on ; which (having no fashionable stays) he binds round his waist as tight as a packing-case corded for exportation. Next comes his waistcoat and jacket, both well fastened at bottom, to prevent the escape of such treasures as he can collect in the course of the day, and which he puts in at top. Afterwards he ties round his neck a sort of composite cravat, formed from pieces of blue, black, yellow, white, red and chequered handkerchiefs, and tied so extremely tight as frequently to render him black in the face. He then proceeds to collect his personal property, consisting of stones, bones, woollen and linen rags, pieces of glass, paper, pens, pencils, snuff-boxes, wood, bread, tobacco, cheese, butter, apples, cold potatoes, pieces of coal, parts of old shoes, and in fact every thing portable which comes within his reach, all blended in happy confusion, the cheese in the snuff-box, the butter amongst the tobacco ; and, thus equipped, he sallies forth slip-shod with an air of imagined dignity.
The first patient he meets in the gallery he commands with high authority " to pull up the heels of his shoes." He puts on the first hat he meets, p.29 his own or another's, which he usually crams with slips of blankets, rags, or straw, to sustain its crown. He then, with apparent condescension, bids good-morning to the keeper, and a few others whom he deigns to notice, and then marches majestically into the airing-ground, of which he considers himself lord paramount, sovereign ruler, grand seignor, governor, high admiral, captain of the gang, or any other pitch of dignified authority he chooses to assume for the moment. His first, and indeed general occupation there, is digging holes with his feet in the ground ; which if wet and soft he likes the better, as it is more manageable, and works to advantage. This he calls levelling ; and supposes he is rendering great service to the establishment.He then proceeds to the gutters, in which he kicks about until breakfast-time, when his feet are generally soaked in mire, his shoes being seldom whole, for a new pair will not last him a week.
His memory, shattered as it is, seems charged with a general recollection of most of the respectable houses of trade in London ; and he pretends to an intimate knowledge of all the respectable merchants and traders, old and young. He remembers them, as he says, when they were children, and knew all their fathers and connexions perfectly well ; salutes all occasional visitants to the p.30hospital in this way, as old acquaintances ; tells them they must surely know him, Captain Lloyd, of Mark-lane, corn-factor ; and, ultimately, he never forgets to ask them for some money, " just to buy snuff and tobacco for the poor unfortunate patients who have no cash ; not for himself by any means, oh, no ; he would scorn to beg ; he asks purely for those poor patients who have neither money nor friends." But whatever he thus obtains he applies to his own use, quite regardless of those for whom he pretends to solicit. He is a most assiduous mendicant, and no visitor to the establishment eludes his importunities.
Some short time since, Mr. Ex-Sheriff Parkins came to make some inquiries respecting the case of a criminal patient ; and, on his return from that wing of the building, he was addressed by the importunities of Captain Lloyd, with the usual " how do you do, Sir ? I remember you perfectly well—your face is quite familiar tome ; I remember you in trade, and knew your father exceedingly well."—" Did you, indeed ?" answered Mr. Parkins ; and, turning aside, in a low tone continued—" faith, that is more than I did myself." Lloyd, who overheard him, but could make no impression on his purse, took a sudden opportunity of exercising his satiricalCriticising something, particularly social or political, in a humorous way. talents in a severe and abusive epigram on his municipal acquaintance.
When he gets sublimely high, he styles himself " p.31The righteous God ;" assumes the command of the weather, can render it foul or fair when he pleases, and deal out any wind, from a hurricane to a zephyr ; and as to lightning, thunder, and earthquakes, they are quite at his command.
In the universality of his genius, he considers himself the most sublime poet that ever courted the muses, and whenever he can procure a scrap of paper, he proceeds to compose verses ; but as those extemporaneous productions do not usually please his critic fancy, he converts them to ingredients in his gruel at breakfast, probably to enrich the soil of his genius for a new crop of heroics. This gruel is the common receptacle for a much greater variety of articles than usually go to the composition of turtle soup. He puts all his verses into it to cleanse them, as he says ; and with a selection from the before-mentioned articles from his bosom, cheese from his snuff-box, butter from his tobacco box, the exhausted quids from his mouth, sometimes the portion of another article that shall be nameless, bits of leather, small stones, pieces of bone, coals, &c. ; thus this epicure makes up for himself a relishing mess, somewhat a-kin to the hell-broth of Macbeth's wizards, and setting all German cookery at defiance. In this filthy system of culinary composition, however, he affects to proceed on scientific principles. Leather clarifies it ; stones purify it ; coals mineralize it ; one article p.32acidulates it; another gives it an alkaline virtue ; a third, a high flavour. This mollifies it, that dulcifies it ; the whole together makes it a delicious mess, and he swallows it with the gout of an Apicius. Sometimes his beer is enriched with part of the same ingredients ; and though such is his daily practice, his health is not injured by it.
About two years since he was laid up with erysipelas ; and on examination by the attending physician, it was found that his ears, nose, mouth, and another part, were crammed with cut tobacco.
He seldom takes the trouble to visit the water-closet, and the result is always obvious ; nothing can equal his general propensity to filth, nor can all the endeavours of the attendants keep him clean. In addition to his other high talents, he professes an universal acquaintance with ancient and modern languages, sciences, history, music, fencing, drawing, dancing, and the fine arts. He says, " his only fault in life was an ardent attachment to the fair sex ; and, with the exception of that, he is the most perfect man that ever trod the world's wide stage." Sometimes he is a dramatist, and asks the visitors if they wish for a specimen of Madame Catalani ? and then begins to warble an Italian opera air of his own composition, in a style perfectly unique, and tones like any thing but music. He often proposes to give a specimen of p.33his dancing, in order to obtain money, and glides off with much grace, in a few movements of the Minuet de la Cow, and then he begins a song — "The British lion is my sign,"— " My name is " Mistress Casey ;" dancing to the music of his own voice.
As a specimen of his skill in the languages, he one day addressed a French gentleman who visited the hospital, with his usual " how do you do, Sir ? &c." in miserable French. One of the physicians offered him sixpence if he would ask the gentleman for one in French. " Oh ! doctor," answered he, " I was never taught to beg in French." This little sally, however, obtained the reward. He has occasional gleams of wild wit, and will sport some well-applied puns on the names of all the commodities and attributes of the Corn Exchange. " He has no tick with his banter, but he does not care a bean for that — no man dares to say pease to him. These damned doctors and keepers grind him to dust, but he will mill them to powder. He is the flour of the grist, and will bolt out as soon as he can, and thrash any man that opposes him ; he will be no longer mealy-mouthed, but will tell those damned doctors and keepers his mind, because they measure his corn by their own bushels, but they all deserve to get the sack"
The following is a specimen of his poetical composition : p.34
New Bethlem reared, at an immense expense,
To contain maniacs, but men renown'd for sense,
Immured within its dreary gates and walls,
From which the philantropic heart recoils ;
The polish'd gentleman, born, bred, and taught,
By parents nurtur'd fondly, as he ought,
Admired by all, who have the sense to judge,
Appreciate worth from worthless, not prejudge,
As some abroad, demagogues, self- witty,
In simile to those who call themselves Committee, The Governors, who sit in Committee every Thursday.
Who dare presume such men to here admit,
They shall, they must, by God, all pay for it.
The polish'd gentleman, the classic scholar,
Complete in arts and science, are crammed in here,
The hoary-headed hero—the veteran,
Who conquer'd armies, through France and Spain,
Then scoured the ocean, captured combined fleets,
Return'd to happy Albion, to taste the sweets
Of Britain's gratitude : oh, Britons blush,
Or stones will rise in rage—no tongue shall hush, Sole
MonarchA king, queen, or emperor of this Bastile, in Albion, George the Fourth, whom he dislikes much.
This the fifth anniversary of his reign,
With straw crown and sceptre, struts around the throne,
And renovates his partizans, or knocks them down.
"Non obstanti—can dare come in his way,
All must be parasites, or they are turn'd astray.
Here we have two conjurors called physicians, Sir George Tuthill and Dr. Monro.
Who study the black art, on conditions
Of remuneration, for unfolding
Their dark hid mysteries, which, beholdingp.35
Patients one by one, two times a week,
Keepers and collectors, or those who herd the sheep ;
They would rather pass you by than find you out,
Knowing that I am there, their mystery to scout,
Would quickly catch, and judge their cunning,
And by my art, would ridicule their punning ;
The system which, they know, I will expose,
And all their hidden nonsense will disclose.
When disappointment knaws the bleeding hearts,
And mad resentment hurls her venom'd darts ;
When angry noise, disgust, and uproar rude,
Damnation urge, and every hope exclude ;
These, dreadful though they are, can't quite repel
The aspiring mind, that bids the man excel.
His rules alone would yield a barren fame,
Such praise, as rules can merit, he may claim.
No change of scene denotes a changed abode,
But all is a sad, dreary, loathsome, weary road.
To brighter mansions let us hope to pass,
And all our pains and torments end. Alas!
That fearful bourne, we seldom wish to try,
We hate to live, and still we fear to die.
If nurtur'd not by dews, and heaven-born fire,
The half-blown bud of hope, and plant, must soon expire.
Here we have statesmen, doctors, lawyers wise, This alludes to various patients, who have imagined themselves Statesmen and others, who have been lawyers and surgeons by profession.
Who all the schools of antiquity despise.
Their own wild notions for the moment please,
And fill'd with false imagination, ease
Their really troubled souls and worn-out frame,
Return to reason, find themselves the same. p.36
One lately dubb'd a knight, of the elastic brush, Sir George Tuthill, knight.
For his ready compliance to the Fourth George's wish.
For attending all the mobility crew,
Whether mad or not, Turk, Heathen, Jew,
It matters not, for if they're troublesome.
Sir George thinks it his duty, to find a home
To spend their dreary night, as well as days,
Not in the CommonsPeople who weren't members of the clergy nor the nobility, or the House of Commons. House of means and ways ;
And prove to all, if others be not mad,
I, Lloyd must be alone, make all hearts glad. He cannot bear the idea of being considered a madman.
Sing, O be joyful, Josephus is at last, This Josephus, Augustus, Gustavus, Symalini, is himself.
"Nem con," declared a madman, all that's past
Appears as visionary. " I thought him so,"
Says the sarcastic knight, likewise Monro :
Therefore I’m double damn'd by real judges,
I'm just as safe as bugs in rugs—fudges.
I'm braggadocio, what I write is stuff,
They have heard too often, and I've wrote enough.
"We have him fast in limbo, safe and sound,
Lock'd in, and in, the garden walking round :
And safely him we'll keep, he shan't get out,
Till dead as door nail, in a wooden shirt."
Then songs of mirth, as solemn dirge were wont
To chaunted be by " Papist crew," when he a saint.
Vile sinner of holy tribe, so 'tis now,
Only vice versa, when and where, I know.
"Here lies interred an impious Cardinal,
Whose life was one continued madrigal.
Invoke the saints, implore the God of heaven,
To receive his tainted soul, and sins forgiven. p.37
His life so pure, he pardoned thousands living,
For such good deeds he's sure to go to heaven. "
Pro bono publico," I write what's true,
Nor care what others think, or say, or do.
Three-score long years' experience have I had,
Through thick and thin, and still I am not dead.
My ribs and head, my fingers, legs and toes,
Have oft been broke,—with many a bloody nose.
The unhappy maniac knows no better fate ;
Reflection on times past are now too late.
Shut up in dreary gloom, like convicts are,
In company of murd'rers ! By this word murderers, is meant Patrick Walsh, who killed Dennis Lennard, 30th April 1820 ; and who since that time is permitted to remain in the same gallery with Lloyd and others ; though kept apart, they frequently complain of the classification, when the criminal building is so contiguous. Oh, wretched fate !
If pity ere extended through the frame,
Or sympathy's sweet cordial touched the heart,
Pity the wretched maniac, who knows no blame,
Absorbed in sorrow, where darkness, poverty, and every curse impart.
For when our reason leaves us, in pursuit
Of Madness sinks us down degrees below the brute.
Methinks that still I see a brighter ray,
That bids me live, to see a happier day,
And when my sorrows, and my grief-worn spirit flies,
My Maker tells me—fear not, Lloyd—it never dies.
This cheering hope has long supported me,
I live in hope much happier days to see,
When madness, folly, and frantic nonsense are d-e-a-d.
p.38He will utter the grossest abuse against governors, doctors, and stewards ; more especially when he fails to obtain money from them. He treats them all alike. He ranks himself with the highest, and domineers over the silly and quiet patients.
The accumulation of merchandize is another of his favourite objects ; and whole cart-loads of rubbish have been taken from him by the keepers, time after time, with a view of keeping him clean, if possible ; but to no purpose. All this filth he values above any treasure ; and tells them they must have every ounce of it forthcoming in the Court of Chancery ; where it is highly probable, Captain Lloyd, with all his chattel interests, would not be a very welcome suitor.
This antameable genius has been in St. Luke's several times, and in different private mad-houses. He describes himself as fourscore and two years old ; but his real age is about sixty-one, and he is extremely active for his years. p.39
CHARLES P. TRAILE,
Aged thirty, admitted 1st November 1821. This unfortunate gentleman's case was extremely distressing and lamentable, and is a melancholy instance of the dangerous and alarming pitch of delusion to which the human imagination is liable under a state of derangement.
Mr. Trade had been a Lieutenant in the 95th, or rifle regiment of foot. He had served during the late war, in Spain, and other parts of the Continent : and from the account of his friends, had always conducted himself with honour and reputation as a gentleman and an officer. At the peace he retired on half-pay ; but some time afterwards his mind was engloomed, partly by religious enthusiasm, and partly by imaginary apprehensions, and he became deranged. He was affected by a bitter sense of remorse for ideal crimes, a horror of death, and a perpetual suspicion that every person about him intended to assassinate or poison him. For a long time he took his food with the greatest caution, his suspicions of poison still increasing. Afterwards he would obstinately refuse the provisions assigned for himself, but exchange them for those given to other patients ; and would take none offered him by his keeper- By degrees he got still worse, and at last would p.40receive neither meat nor drink, in any shape, or from any person whatever, to preserve his existence. All means were tried to dissipate his apprehensions, and induce him to take nourishment, but in vain. At last recourse to the elastic bottle and tube were found absolutely necessary to keep him alive. This bottle was formed of India rubber, with an elastic leathern pipe attached, about twenty inches long. The bottle was filled with rich broth, to which eggs beaten up and some wine were added. The pipe was passed up his nostril, through the palate of his mouth, by which means the nutriment was conveyed to his stomach ; and this operation was performed daily for some time, by Surgeon Lawrence, in the presence of Dr. Wright the medical superintendant : both gentlemen treated him with the greatest possible tenderness and humanity. He felt this mode of nutrition with so much abhorrence, that clysters of the like ingredients were adopted ; but the horrors of his mind had such an effect on his habit, that although his physical health was sustained his derangement got worse. The horrors of death still rendered him despondent and miserable. He sought every opportunity of getting to the windows, and would cry out in a loud voice : " Neighbours, neighbours ! Save me, save me ! Help, help !—I am going to be murdered !—Is there no good creature p.41left in the world to save an unfortunate young man from the most cruel death ? Oh, merciful God ! oh, just heaven, avert the impending and dreadful doom of the most unfortunate of human beings !"
Previously to the use of the elastic bottle, he was repeatedly intreated, in the kindest and most indulgent manner, to take of himself the refreshments prepared for him, and avoid the disagreeable operation otherwise indispensable. But he answered invariably that " he could not, as from a sense of religious duty he could not voluntarily receive poison ; but if it was forced on him, he would not be answerable for his own death." Dr. Wright would say to him : " Dear Trade, you shall now see me eat some of it ; and surely if it was poison, as you suppose, you cannot imagine I would take it." But he would answer ; " Oh, Dr. Wright, how easy it is for you to obtain an antidote, or any of you : but as to me, miserable wretch ! I have not the means."
When the pipe was partly down the passage to his stomach, and perhaps the pain great, he would give his honour that he would take the whole of the nutriment of his own accord. But the moment the pipe was withdrawn he would relapse into his previous refusal, pleading his religious scruples. It was then, of course, given to him in the usual way. p.42
In this state he continued for some time, and every means were used to sustain life, in the hope of abating his disease ; until Sunday the 3 1st of March 1822, when he was again calling loudly at the window : " Neighbours, neighbours ! save me, save me !" &c. &c. ; and became so refractory that his keeper locked him up in his own room. In about half an hour the keeper, perceiving he was quiet, went to release him ; but alas ! found him dead, suspended by his neck-kerchief to the wire-guard over his bed-room door. This he accomplished by standing upon two wooden night-bowls ; and fastening the corner of his neck-kerchief through the wire-guard in a very curious manner, fixed the other round his neck, and by kicking from under him the bowls, he hung with his feet just touching the floor, as he was found. But the vital spark had too long fled to warrant any hopes of resuscitation ; and thus this poor gentleman effected with his own hands the fate he so long dreaded with the greatest horror.
He was a young gentleman well brought-up and accomplished, and maintained the manners and deportment of such even in his derangement. He was most respectably connected, and his father was an old Major in the army. He was generally under restraint when out of the keeper's sight, to prevent any mischief, until the day of this unfortunate occurrence : and he must have had great resolutionp.43 and perseverance in his purpose, for in his waistcoat pocket was found a part of the handkerchief, which was evidently torn off in his attempt, and a rent appeared in another part of the wire where it had been tied before he succeeded.
A coroner's inquest was held on the body, who pronounced a verdict of insanity.
The wire-guards over the doors have been since removed all through the establishment, and wooden fronts substituted, with a perforation at top, to allow free circulation of the air in the rooms, and obviate all future chance of a similar fatality.
From Shropshire, middle-aged, admitted 8th of April 1819. This man, whatever might have been the natural propensity of his mind in his state of sanity, displays in his deranged state a cunning, wily, treacherous and fierce disposition. When first admitted he appeared to be so tame and tranquil, that he was permitted to work in the garden, in order to occupy his attention, and afford him wholesome and active exercise ; but he soon betrayed the real ferocity of his character. As he passed one day down the garden, he, without any provocation or apparent cause, suddenly p.44sprang upon the gardener with the rage of a tiger, knocked him down, and kicked him most unmercifully while down ; and would probably have killed him, had he not been suddenly overpowered and secured by the keepers. He has since frequently attacked the keepers themselves, in the most furious and formidable manner. He has a constant smile on his countenance, so that no one within his reach can be secure for a moment, or aware of his intention to pounce on any person who unguardedly approaches him. He is generally very silent, seldom speaks to any one, and when he does it is usually to ask ; " Why do you keep I here ? You have no business to keep I here." When he seems the most tranquil, he is then the most fierce and dangerous ; and no act of kindness can soothe him. When once he commences his attack, he knows no bounds to his malice and fury. He will strike, kick, or bite all indiscriminately, without favour or respect to persons ; and no kind action done for him, nor even the giving him snuff, which he is fond of, will secure the donor against his rage : for after receiving the little boon, he will devoutly pray God bless the giver, and then spring upon him with the fury of a lion. Sometimes, previously to one of those outrages, he will calmly ask for a Bible ; which, if he gets, he reads about half a chapter, returns the book, and then seems ready p.45for his work of vengeance. He once attempted to murder his poor wife, previous to coming here, but was most providentially prevented by averting his blow.
In September, 1822, his disorder seemed much abated, and he was liberated for a short time from restraint (always avoided here if possible), in the hope that restraint might no longer be necessary ; but he soon returned to his old practices. Restraint became again requisite, and he is now the only patient in the hospital under strict restraint (the ferocious Patrick Walsh excepted). He wears a belt, with handcuffs attached, and hobbles upon his ancles.
For one good action, however, he deserves credit, by which much mischief was prevented, and the sanguinary Walsh secured. When the latter, after inflicting so many mortal wounds upon a poor patient named Leonard, in April 1820, was menacing destruction to all who approached him, Hollinge came behind, seized him round the neck, and threw him to the ground, when he was secured by the keepers.
Hollinge is a strong healthy man, but has lately become very dirty and negligent of himself. p.46
Aged near seventy. This poor old man has been confined at Sir Jonathan Miles's, in Old Bethlem, and here, altogether between thirty and forty years ; and was many of those years restrained in irons at Old Bethlem.
But his derangement is not abated. He has the strangest notions imaginable : he believes himself to be a man of immense property ; he says he gave his son, in Somersetshire, a fortune of £400,000 ; but they murdered him, and built monuments, churches, and canals with the money. He has, by his own account, a hundred coaches running in London at this day. As an amusement he has charge of the ducks, and assists, as well as his age permits, the cutter of provisions. He is particularly tender about the ducks and pigs ; the ducks, he believes, are of a very high breed, between a cock pheasant and a game hen ; some are double high, some treble high cross breed. When a duck is to be killed it must be done without his knowledge : he soon, however, misses it, and exclaims, " Ah! so they have been at their damnable work again, have they ? I'll make them pay for it." During the very cold weather in January this year, when the pond was frozen over, all the ducks died but four, and Goldney swore they had all been poisoned. He p.47is equally exasperated when a pig is killed : he believes ducks and pigs, Bethlem, and all belonging to it, are his own property, and says they know it, but they want to keep him out of it if they can, but it must come to him after all, when the time comes. A pig was lately killed, which he says he would not take any money for : he bought its mother in France thirty-six years ago, and gave eighteen pounds twenty-eight shillings and fourteen-pence, for her. He says he is but forty-six years old, and has been confined forty two years, but his present body is the third he has had, the former two bodies were worn out many years ago : the present one is forty-six years old. He chews a quantity of tobacco, and when speaking to any one seriously, he turns his quid, winks his eyes or shuts both, gives you a touch with his elbow, in a sort of knowing way, and says, " all will be well with him very soon, he knows all about it, but he keeps quiet and peaceable : he don't let them know that he knows anything about it, but they can't deceive him." In the last summer he swore that air-pumps were employed to pump fleas into his neck, with a view of devouring him alive : he believes that they (God knows who) would give £500,000,000 of money if he was dead, but they will be deceived, he assures them. He does some trifling jobs about the house, which employ his mind ; the p.48exercise is conducive to his health. His appetite is good, but age creeps on the poor fellow apace : he is perfectly harmless, and may be trusted with safety anywhere ; is punctual and attentive in all his little works, and offensive to no one.
This old fellow, by a confinement of twenty seven years as a lunatic, has thus enfranchised himself as a sort of denizen in this corporation ; and though he was formerly a seaman in the Royal Mary, and had fought in several engagements during the Gallico-American war, particularly in the action with Admiral Rodney, at the time of his victory on the 12th of April 1782, and capture of the Count de Grasse, he seems to have quite forgotten his loyalty, and retains none of his naval accomplishments, but his inveterate habit of swearing, and the coarser part of his forecastle rhetoricThe art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing. in the dialect of Portsmouth point. His favourite topic is damning the king and his ministers ; profaning and cursing the powers of heaven ; like a sort of human mule, between a radical and an atheist. He is constantly on foot, and is always ready with a damn, a blow, or a blast for every person or object he passes, which he usually follows up with the most gross and horrid p.49epithets of abuse and insulting comparison ; but to ladies, and women in general, his language is abominable. He used to wear in his hat an old tuft, such as soldiers wear in their uniform caps, probably as an emblemA heraldic device or symbol that forms the badge of a nation, organisation, or family. of his former militantFavouring the use of violence and confrontation in the support of a cause. profession : but this has been some time worn bald, and abandoned. He is sometimes employed through the week in whitewashing parts of the hospital ; but Sunday is his holiday, the whole of which he devotes to perpetual damning, swearing, and ranting ; this he calls " working double tides." Any attempt at confinement or coercion renders him much worse : he seems in a perpetual state of irritation, which gives constant stimulus to his profane and abusive tongue ; and his own eyes and limbs are the themes of his imprecation, in the absence of other objects.
Aged near sixty, admitted about six years since. This unfortunate man comes from London, and was convicted of firing a loaded gun indiscriminately amongst a crowd of people, who were assembled around his house. It appeared that he had repeatedly desired them to go away, which they refused to do ; and at length he, in a rage, fired amongst them, but providentially no mischiefp.50 was done. He was, however, convicted of the criminal intent, but his derangement at the time of the act was fully proved, and he was sent here. He seems at present perfectly calm, rational, cleanly, and well behaved, and has many respectable friends.
Aged about forty-five, admitted about six years since, comes from Derbyshire. This man was tried and convicted of the murder of his father-in- law. In a fit of frenzy, he went in pursuit of his wife, who had taken refuge at the house of her father, who interposed for the protection of his daughter against the fury of her husband ; upon which the latter instantly shot him dead. Upon his trial for the horrid deed it appeared that he was deranged, and he was sent to this hospital. He is still much disordered in his mind ; is constantly talking about making large sums of money, and prophecying what kings will be hereafter ; but he appears to have no evil intentions, and in general is quiet and harmless.
Aged about fifty, admitted here about six years since. This man had been a pauper in a Londonp.51 workhouse, where he was received as foolish, and incompetent to earn his livelihood : but while there, his conduct developed much more violent symptoms of derangement, and he became so furiously impatient of restraint and discipline, that he one day, in a frantic rage, actually murdered the master of the workhouse, for which he was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey ; but his insanity exempted him from capital punishment. He was some years confined in Newgate, from which place he was sent to St. Luke's hospital, whence he was transferred to Sir Jonathan Miles's private madhouse at Hoxton, and from thence he came here about six years since. Though quite an idiot, he is smart and active in his motions, and has a peculiar oddity in his appearance. He believes himself to be a king (for this ambition for monarchyThe king/queen and royal family of a country, or a form of government with a king/queen at the head. is a very prevalent trait amongst the imaginary potentates of this establishment) ; but instead of the insignia of royalty, he is quite delighted with a bunch of feathers, a soldier's old tuft, a piece of ribbon or rag, a paper cockade, or any thing of the kind, to adorn his hat with. He is, in general, quiet and harmless, but extremely irritable on the slightest cause, and even dangerous when thus excited. He is left beyond all hopes of recovery. p.52
Aged about forty-five, admitted here about five years since. This is a Cornish man, and comes from Penzance, where his insanity first appeared ; and he became so violent and unmanageable, that it was thought necessary to confine him in a detached house, or crib, erected purposely for himself, and in which he was chained like a bull, to a post driven into the ground, and had no range beyond the length of his chain. A woman was in the habit of attending him daily with his food ; and one day, when his derangement was at its height, he seized his opportunity and murdered this unfortunate attendant. It has been found by frequent experience that the severities adopted by timid and unskilful keepers, in the provincial madhouses, for the coercion of insane patients, and the irritation thereby excited in the unhappy objects of their care, tend much more to aggravate than to mitigate their disorders.
When this unhappy patient was transmitted hither from Cornwall, he came loaded with half a hundred weight of irons ; and the very chain which fastened him to the cart on which he was conveyed, and through the bottom of which it was rivetted, might serve as the anchor chain to a ship of considerable burthen. Even under such p.53restraint, the keepers who came with him approached him with as much apprehension and tertor as if he were a lion or a tiger.
His high paroxysms of insanity are, however, but periodical : but while they prevail they are truly formidable, as he becomes extremely fierce, vicious, and dangerous. Every person and thing that comes in his way is alike the object of his fury ; and man or woman, doors or windows, would alike sustain the storm of his frenzy, if the utmost caution was not exerted to restrain him. In this state he will exclaim, in a grumbling tone of voice, " Oh, blessed Saviour [" but although he calls aloud for forgiveness, during the continuance of his fit, he would destroy at the same instant, if he could, his best friend. He has a powerful voice, and is extremely vociferous on those occasions ; but when his frenzy abates he becomes calm, quiet, and obedient.
Of late he is never permitted to associate amongst the other patients, who, in fact, are all afraid of him. When he walks out alone for exercise in the airing-ground, he is always secured by the iron belt and handcuffs ; and when in the house, he is separated by an iron railing from the others, though he is free from other restraints. p.54
Aged about forty-five, admitted four years since. This patient is a Scotchman; was tried for breaking into a dwelling-house and stealing some wearing apparel : but was found to be insane, and sent hither. He supposes himself to be a very exalted personage, and assumes the rank of " Head General of the whole world." But notwithstanding his military character he is perfectly quiet, harmless and inoffensive.
Aged about thirty. This man is a native of Ireland, and was a seaman. He was tried and found guilty of murdering one of his shipmates ; but it was proved to be done in a fit of insanity, and he was sent to this place about six years since.
He still continues in a high state of derangement, is extremely dangerous, and is not to be trusted for a single hour, even under the appearance of temporary tranquillity ; for such appearance would only veil in him the wily ferocity of a tiger ; as, if he had the means and opportunity to do mischief, he feels the constant propensity to use them for bad purposes. He is therefore amongst the number of those whom it is found necessary to watch with perpetual caution.p.55
Aged fifty, admitted about six years since. This man was tried and found guilty of the murder of his mother ; but this shocking act was proved to be the result of insanity, and he was sent here.
He appears very much disordered in his mind, highly irritable, and will strike furiously at any one on the slightest offence. He speaks very seldom, and is in general quiet and inoffensive.
Aged above seventy, of London, admitted six years since. This man was tried and convicted at the Old Bailey for shooting his wife : but on his trial was proved to be deranged at the time, and was sent hither. He shews at present no symptoms of insanity, but is regular, quiet, and cleanly. He was formerly a very regular attendant at chapel, but age and its infirmities now press heavily on him. He has become unable to walk ; and is generally confined to his bed through the debility of his aged constitutionA body of fundamental principles and established precedents by which a state governs itself; or the composition of something.. He seems to have been a strong, healthy man, but is now reduced almost to ruins. p.56
Aged about fifty, and confined here upwards of six years. He is a native of Wales, and was tried for the murder of his master ; but found to be insane, and consequently doomed to confinement in a mad-house rather than to capital punishment. There is nothing very remarkable in the conduct of this man, save that he is habitually idle ; is a sly, cunning, artful fellow, and appears desirous to conceal his disorder.
Aged upwards of sixty, admitted here about six years ago, when he was brought from Exeter gaol, where he had been previously confined eight years.
This man exhibits in his person the remains of a fine, portly, athletic fellow, and is still straight, erect, and above six feet high. He was a coachmaker; and the cause of his first confinement commenced at a public-house in Devonshire, where he had been drinking ; and in consequence of some dispute about the reckoning, he refused to pay his part of the score. An officer was sent for to enforce the payment ; very irritating words arose, and Zorn, in his rage, uttered some p.57seditious expressions, for which he was apprehended, tried, and convicted ; and in the course of his term of imprisonment arose those symptoms of insanity which led to his subsequent detention.
The violence of his disease has, however, considerably yielded to long confinement and advanced age, and the only prominent symptoms of insanity now apparent is his constant anxiety to get out from here. His persuasion is that he is only detained through the caprice and cruelty of the keepers ; who, he is sure, could let him go whenever they chuse ; and he is perpetually teazing and intreating, not only them, but all the governors, physicians, and visitors that come near him, to let him out to his business.
In all other respects he appears quite rational and collected, and is cleanly, well-behaved, and harmless.
Aged 30, admitted about six years since. This man was a Scotch pedlar, and was convicted of cutting and maiming an officer in the execution of his duty. This officer demanded to search his pack, on suspicion that it contained smuggled goods ; but M’Intire contended it was to rob him of part of its contents (whether contraband or stolen is p.58not known). M'Intire resisted: a conflict ensued, and the consequence was the cutting and maiming, for which he was indicted. He was sent to the Hulks, where he became insane, and from whence he came hither.
He is much troubled with epileptic fits, but he is generally quiet and harmless.
Aged about forty, admitted November 8th 1816. This man formerly moved in a very respectable rank of life : having however committed a forgery for a very considerable amount, he was tried capitally at the Old Bailey ; but found to be disordered in his intellects, and he was sent hither from Newgate on the day above named.
This man assumes a very important and consequential character. He is said to have been a man of great cleverness, and a good scholar, versed in learned languages, and well acquainted with general business. He is very suspicious, watchful as a lynx, meddling, obtrusive, and continually writing upon every thing inscribable he can get; all kinds of paper, book-covers, old letter-backs, &c. &c. ; and no transaction, whether trivial or important, passes his observation without a written note. Perhaps, from his admission to the p.59present hour, not the minutest circumstance has escaped his pen. He seems to consider himself a sort of secret inspector-general : nothing eludes his prying observation ; he abounds with complaints ; has written numerous letters to the Committee of Governors, and other persons in authority, on various subjects of pretended grievance. Amongst others he addressed a letter to the late Sheriff Parkins, which brought that municipal gentleman here to inquire into the case complained of; and he afterwards waited on Lord Sidmouth, then Secretary of State for the Home Department, to make a representation ; but nothing farther has been since heard on the subject.
Though so extremely vigilant and attentive to all matters not concerning him, his memory seems quite void of recollection as to the cause that brought him here, or the footing on which he is allowed to remain ; and the indulgence he has enjoyed teaches him to consider his confinement as a business of mere temporary sojournment, and that he is entitled to peculiar attentions and deferencePolite submission or respect.. His keeper he affects to consider as a kind of valet de place, quite at his disposal ; tells him " he is not the sort of servant he wanted ; that his predecessorA person who held a job or office before the current holder. was as good a servant as he would wish to have, but that the present keeper was not civil nor attentive enough forp.60 him, and he would certainly have him removed unless he altered his conduct much for the better, and that very soon."
In fact, the only ostensible symptoms of this man's insanity, if such they may be considered, that now appear, are his addiction to prying and meddling ; his morbus scribendi, which keeps his fingers in constant occupation, and the nonsensical tenour of his notes ; otherwise, he appears cool and collected, and well aware of what he does and says.
Of London, aged forty-three, admitted here November the 8th, 1816. This man is a remarkably fine looking, manly fellow, and is the person who was tried at the Old Bailey about the above-named period, for firing off a loaded pistol at the groom of Lord Rivers ; but as he was found by the Jury to be insane, he was sent hither on the day stated.
This man's maladyA disease or ailment; or a serious problem. exalts his notions of his own quality to a very high pitch of eminence and grandeur; for, according to his own account, he is Julius Caesar, an Emperor, and God of war. Big with this notion, he, of course, assumes the most consequential air of importance ; has no equal on this side the moon, and is extremelyp.61 talkative and busy, but by no means mischievous or dangerous.
Aged about forty-five, admitted November 8th, 1816. This man is an American : he was tried and convicted for horse-stealing near London ; but was found to be deranged, and was sent hither from Newgate on the day above-mentioned. Williams is only remarkable for being extremely irritable and passionate ; but he has not done nor attempted any thing mischievous here. Tobacco is the idol of his worship, for which he would sacrifice all the horses in the king's stud ; and which he seems to devour with peculiar extacy. Indeed, this fascinating weed is a very general favourite with the male inmates of this mansion.
Aged about forty-four, admitted here about six years since, from Devonshire. He was previously confined six or seven years in the gaol of Exeter, where he was tried for murdering an old lady in her bed ; but on his trial was found to be derangedp.62 in his mind, and detained in the gaol on that account. He is at times in a very high state of disorder, but in his more lucid intervals he is religious, calm, and well behaved.
Aged about fifty-five, admitted about six years since. This patient is a Devonshire man : he was tried at Exeter on a capital charge of making copper-plate engravings for forging bank-notes, and convicted ; but his insanity was proved. He was sent hither from Exeter gaol. His powers of intellect seem completely lost ; he knows nothing of what is said to him, is insensible to every thing that passes around him, and is completely an idiot. His general health is good, but he is always sunk in melancholy abstraction, and every spark of reason extinct. He is, of course, quiet and harmless.
Aged about thirty, is from Norwich. This man was found guilty of the wilful murder of his uncle ; but it was proved to be the result of insanity. He has been confined upwards of sixp.63 years in the criminal wing of this establishment ; and though, at lucid intervals, he appears calm and collected, he is at other times violent and dangerous ; insomuch that, at one period, the iron belt, with handcuffs, were found necessary for his restraint. But this he contrived to slip over his hips, and with great ferocity attacked his keeper, and gave him a severe wound, the mark of which he still bears in his face. This man's disease shews no symptoms of abatement, and he cannot be trusted out of strict vigilance.
Aged forty-four, from Essex. This man was convicted of having set fire to some hay-stacks ; but was found to be insane, and sent here, where he has been confined about six years. At present he is very quiet and well behaved, and evinces no insane symptoms, excepting frequent soliloquies, which seem as much the result of habit as of any other cause.
Aged about forty-five : admitted about six years since. This is a Norfolk man, and has been many years in a state of insanity : he was a patient, forp.64 a considerable time, in the Norwich Lunatic Asylum, where, having conceived an antipathy to the steward for some imaginary cause, he one day by some means got possession of a scythe, and actually murdered him. How such a man, in an asylum for lunatics, should so far elude the vigilance of his keepers as to get possession of so large and desperate a weapon is passing strange ; but his insanity, of course, exempted him from responsibility to law for the deed, and he was sent hither as his ultimate destination.
But although his intellect be gone past all hope of restoration, his bodily faculties seem to have sustained no deterioration. He is a strong, healthy, active fellow, alert and supple in every species of agility. He can wrestle, tumble, dance, throw somersets, walk on his hands with his feet uppermost, and perform many other feats of the like kind. He sings, and always appears cheerful, happy, exempt from care, sorrow- and reflection.
Aged thirty-two, admitted November 8th, 1816. This man, it will be recollected, fired a pistol at Miss Frances Kelly, at Drury-lane Theatre, while performing the part of Nan in the farce of Modern Antiques, on the night of Saturday, Februaryp.65 16th, 1816, with intent to kill her, but most providentially she escaped his desperate purpose : for which he was afterwards tried on a capital indictment at the Old Bailey, under Lord Ellenborough's Act, but acquitted on the proof of insanity, and consigned to this institution.
It may not be uninteresting to state the leading circumstances connected with this desperate transaction, as related in the journals of that day.
While Miss Kelly was performing her part with her wonted vivacity, the audience were thrown into great alarm and consternation by the report of a pistol, fired from the front of the pit at the lady ; and George Barnett, who sat in the front row, was immediately pointed out as the person who fired it. He was instantly secured ; and, on being searched, the pistol, and some gunpowder and shot, were found in his possession.
He avowed himself to be the person who had fired the shot at Miss Kelly ; and said that his object was only to frighten her. Miss Kelly had retired, in the greatest fright and alarm, and the whole audience were in the utmost solicitude and agitation, until Mr. Rae, who was then stagemanager, came forward and assured the house that the lady was unhurt, and the performance was resumed without further interruption.
When Miss Kelly was informed of the desperado's name she immediately recollected him to bep.66 the person who had addressed to her several love epistles, which she had treated with silent contempt.
When he was taken to Bow-street for examination he declined answering any questions, and was quite stupified.
It appeared, however, upon minute inquiry, that this desperate admirer was an attorney's clerk ; and that his rash attempt was the result of disappointment in the tender passion he had indulged, by his own consent, for the lady : but finding it impossible to excite in her bosom a reciprocal flame, even by all the genial influence of his amatory epistles, sonnets, acrostics, and other professions of his tender devotion (which were always rejected by the lady with apathy and scorn), he took the tragical resolution of immolating to his slighted love the object of his affections, upon the very altar where her charms first kindled his ardent flame ; and that if he was to be debarred the possession of her, she should never become the prize of a happier rival.
His trial for this fact took place at the Old Bailey on the 9th of April following, before Baron Wood. Miss Kelly, of course, attended as a principal witness ; and notwithstanding her habits of appearing before a crowded audience without the least embarrassment in another theatre, the solemn novelty of her debut in this place, in a part sop.67 perfectly new, overcame her feelings ; and she was with difficulty sustained through the performance.
Two letters of the prisoner to the lady were read on the trial, one of which is as follows, and may furnish a curious specimen of his style and devotion. It was written evidently after his suit became hopeless.
I received a letter yesterday evening, which, from its apparent rusticity, I believe to be yours. You would act wiser if you was to add your name, as I am not sufficiently acquainted with your hand-writing ; and, as I hinted in my last letter, not to subject others to be answerable for your forwardness. If the terms specified in my letter were not to your satisfaction, why not express yourself as one becoming your profession ; why suffer your temper to over-rule your reason ?
"I love the sex, and once esteemed you as an ornament to it, until you roused my indignation by your impertinence and scandalous abuses. You are very partial to a disguised male dress, but let me not experience any more of your folly ; for if you do, I'd secure you as an impostor, and punish you for your temerity. I am, Madam,
" Your well-wisher,
" George Barnett." p.68
About two years since he composed an Ode to Miss Kelly, sufficiently odious and nonsensical. In fact, he would be thought an amatory poet, ready on all occasions to volunteer his talents in addressing any and every young lady whose name and address he can discover, though perfectly ignorant of her person and accomplishments. His effusions on these occasions are in unison with his talents, and well suited to the classic taste of the company he now moves in.
The Jury, however, acquitted the prisoner on the ground of insanity, and he was sent hither from Newgate immediately afterwards.
This gallant Lothario bears at present no symptoms of frenzy in his manners or conversation ; but is probably in as sound a state of mind as ever he had, which is that of a foolish, frivolous simpleton ; of mean and pitiful appearance, and by no means calculated to inspire the tender passion.
From Limehouse, commonly called " Jack," admitted 6th August 1818. This poor fellow has gone through a great variety of adventures in the course of his life. He has been a seaman in the Royal Navy, and served successively on board the Colossus, Canada, Magnanime, and various otherp.69 ships of war ; and was afterwards a private in the West-Kent militia. His mind seems so charged with notions of naval and military glory, and valiant exploits, and he is so full of detail on these subjects, that it would be impossible to follow him through the history of himself and his deeds of prowess. According to his story, he has fought, performed prodigies of valourShowing great courage in the face of danger., and achieved glory in every quarter of the world. He gained victories and honours at the Nile, at Trafalgar, at Cadiz, at Rochfort, and various scenes of heroism. He has won the golden crown, and has, with his own hands, broken many thousand muskets into pieces, and daily continues to do so, in his own imagination. He performs these ideal feats of strength and dexterity by stooping to the ground, seizing an imaginary musket by the breech and muzzle, raising it above his head, giving it a violent twist, and thus he thinks he has shivered it to pieces. This operation he will repeat twenty times a day, to illustrate the tales of his own strength.
As he is easily excited, he is ever prompt for war, and constantly in some scrape with one or other of his fellow-inmates. Many of those who are convalescent, sport with him for mere fun ; but as soon as he gets angry, off go his jacket and waistcoat, and he assumes an attitude of fight, and challenges some one or other to come out andp.70 meet him. " Come on, you rascal! I will fight you for fifteen guineas in the Isle of Man : come on, you puppy ! I'll let you know who I am ; my name is Sir William Price Holwood ; I am the King, I am the Pope, I am General Holwood, sir ; this house is mine, sir ; I'll fight you for a perpendicular guinea. Mind who you talk to, sir ! I'll let you know I am your master, sir ! I am a dog, sir ! my name is Rover ;" with a hundred other wild incoherences. He generally carries about half a peck of gravel-stones in his shirt, which he calls twist-tobacco. He is scarcely pacified a moment from one wrangle before he commences another; and what between this kind of amusement, and singing, chewing or smoaking tobacco, he spends his days. His nights are equally noisy ; his manner nearly the same through both. He rests but little, and yet it is astonishing how he has sustained so much exertion for so many years. He never seems exhausted, but is ever ready to begin a new freak. His mode of rousing his courage, when he challenges an enemy to combat, is something like that of the lion, who is said to sharpen his rage by lashing his sides with his tail. Thus the furious Jack deals to himself, in these fits of defiance, such tremendous blows on his breast, as would knock down any ordinary man, yet without seeming to feel them. He never knows what illness is, but seems in robust healthp.71 at all times ; and although his blustering manners and fierce aspect intimidate all visitants to the establishment, still he is one of the most harmless patients in the hospital, and kind and tenderhearted to a very great degree. He would nurse and protect even a poor worm, and if any one should attempt to injure it, off goes his jacket in an instant, and he is ready for action to protect it.
Nothing affects him so deeply as to see any patient cupped, bled, leeched, or blistered ; or indeed submitted to any necessary operation that gives pain. He invariably remonstrates, in his way, against such things ; and afterwards condoles and sympathizes with the poor infant, as he calls the patient. " They should not serve you so," says he, " 'tis cruel ; and I am sure you did not deserve it ;" for he always imagines that such operations are inflicted as punishments, and he cannot be induced to think them of any benefit.
Sometimes he will run on in a vein of soliloquies, or imaginary conversations with his old friends and intimates ; Lady William Price Holwood, Nancy Brien, Tom Hincks, Bill Brown, Young Forrester, of the Magnanime, &c. &c. He sings a number of sea songs ; and many of his own composition, equally exempt from rhyme and reason. They run generally thus, in a sort of recitativo : " From Spithead we set sail, thy name it is Bill Holwood ; I'd have you all to know that I fought andp.72 conquered—at Egypt, and likewise with renown in many places more., I am a light handsome fellow, as I will let you know ; i gained the honour and victory, as Walsh will let you see."
The poor fellow seems either wholly forgotten by his friends or relatives, or he has none : for none ever come to visit him. He is extremely thankful for any little gift from the visitors ; but tobacco is his delight, and much the most acceptable present that can be offered him.
The marine poet, Dibdin, in describing a British tar, says :
" A seamen should be, every inch, d'ye see, All as one as a piece of the ship."
And this poor distracted " Heart of Oak " seems to consider himself a piece of every battle and victory in which he bore his part, and entitled to a prize share in all the glories he helped to win for his country. He was a patient in Old Bethlem, and time and care have effected no abatement of his disorder.
Aged about twenty-five, comes from Warwickshire ; admitted about four years since. This man was convicted on an indictment under the cutting and maiming act ; but his insanity procuredp.73 his transmission hither. He exhibits at present no very prominent symptoms of derangement, unless excessive pride and haughtiness can be so deemed. He is a finical, effeminateA man having characteristics typically regarded as feminine/belonging to a woman. dandy, and has a very exalted notion of his own dignity ; but is regular, cleanly, and harmless.
Aged about thirty, admitted April 11th, 1818. This unfortunate gentleman had served as a Lieutenant in the 62d regiment of foot, and is still on the half-pay establishment. His first overt act of palpable insanity was his memorable attempt to assassinate Lord Palmerston, the Secretary at War, above five years since ; from which attempt his Lordship very narrowly escaped with life, but received a severe wound in his side.
Lieutenant Davis had formerly filled the same rank in the West- Middlesex militia, and was one of those officers who volunteered to join Lord Wellington, in 1814 ; and was then appointed to a Lieutenancy in the 62d foot, with which regiment he served for some time in Canada ; from whence he returned a short time previous to the attack on Lord Palmerston, and was placed on half-pay.
Under imaginary notions of professional grievances, p.74 he wrote several letters to Lord Palmerston, recapitulating his important services, and urgently soliciting a pension. But failing in these solicitations, he attempted to destroy himself, and inflicted a severe wound in that attempt. He still persevered in his solicitations to Lord Palmerston ; but his letters were couched in terms not indicative of a sane mind. Imputing his failure entirely to the noble Secretary at War, he determined on personal vengeance ; and, with that view, proceeded to the War Office and inquired for his Lordship, who had not then come. He, however, waited on the stairs until Lord Palmerston was passing up towards his office, when he drew a loaded pistol from his bosom, fired at his Lordship, and then ran down stairs, exclaiming in triumph, " I have done for him !"
He was instantly secured and taken to Queen Square Police Office, whence he was committed for trial.
Lord Palmerston had his side lacerated by the ball ; but his wound was declared, by Sir Ashley Cooper, not dangerous.
Lieutenant Davis was capitally indicted and tried for this act; but was found by the Jury to be insane, and sent here on the 11th of April 1818.
He is a native of Wales; his father is ap.75 military officer, and his brother is in the Royal Navy.
He appears to conduct himself rationally, and never displays any symptoms of frenzy. He seldom converses with any of the other patients, but maintains towards all the most haughty reserve. He frequently bursts out in laughter without any obvious cause ; but is regular, cleanly, and harmless. He receives his half-pay, about seventy pounds a year, which he spends chiefly in trifles, apple-pies, and various kinds of pastry.
Aged forty, admitted July 18th 1818. This patient had been a seaman, and comes from the workhouse at Ipswich, where he was confined as insane ; and where, in his frenzy, he murdered two persons. He came here loaded with irons. His intellects are lost beyond all hopes of restoration ; and though freed from personal retraint, he is under strict vigilance, to prevent mischief from any sudden paroxysm of that dreadful mania, to which two unfortunate persons have already fallen victims in his former place of confinement. p.76
A Welchman, aged twenty-seven, admitted about five years since. He was before a patient in Old Bethlem when a boy, and was discharged cured: but at more advanced years he became again deranged; and having in a paroxysm of frenzy murdered his mother, was sent here, where he is constantly confined in the criminal wing.
He is extremely vicious and dangerous while the paroxysms of his disorder continue (which do not very frequently occur), and then he would murder indiscriminately all he met, friends or strangers ; but in his tranquil intervals he is generally quiet and well-conducted. He is handy and industrious, and can make and mend the clothes of the other patients, for which he is regularly paid.
Aged forty-four, admitted about four years since. This is another Welchman. He was found guilty of murder, by killing a young woman with a mattoc. But this shocking act was considered to be the result of insanity, and he was sent to this hospital.
This Cambro-Briton stands very high in the listp.77 of his own admirers ; and brags much of his ancient and illustrious descent from the Ap-Shenkins, Ap- Morgans, Ap-Maddocs, Ap-Jones's, Ap-Gwillin's, and all the other Aps up to the first trunk, the aboriginal tree of Welch genealogyThe study or tracing of one's family tree; a line of descent traced continuously from an ancestor.. He speaks very bad English : a sort of piebald mixture, half Welch and half Lancashire. But this he will not believe, and insists that he speaks as well as any man in London ; to prove which, his tongue is everlastingly on the move, with due rapidity, and the true Shiboleth of Glamorganshire. He is, however, generally quiet and harmless ; and, with his flat face, high cheek-bones, and dingy complexion, bears a strong resemblance to a North-American Squaux.
His high blood, however, does not raise his notions above the humble avocations of commerceThe activity of buying and selling of goods and services. ; for he is the principal tobacco-merchant here, and drives a brisk traffic in that article amongst his fellow-patients. Although the sale of tobacco is discountenanced and forbidden by the Board, yet, even with the utmost vigilance, it cannot be wholly prevented, for there are constantly so many schemes on foot, so much artifice used, and so many plans and contrivances in operation to obtain it, as to baffle all exertions to put a stop to the trade.
There can be no question that the forbidding this article is founded upon the best intentions ; p.78 but there are many of the patients here who, from habits of ten, twenty, thirty, and even forty years' use of tobacco, in some shape or other, have contracted such an insuperable attachment to it, that they would much rather go without dinners than their beloved quid. Others prefer snuff, and those patients who have been long used to it are always discontented, fretful, and peevish, if debarred this comfort, either through the want of money to purchase, or the neglect of their friends to supply them with it. There seems to exist in the use of tobacco, as well as in madness, a pleasure which none but the infatuated know : and, trifling as the privation of those little enjoyments seems, it revives in the memory of the patients a sense of former grievances, gives them an idea that they are quite forsaken, renders them irritable, and has sometimes very injurious effects.
A trifling neglect will' sometimes prey upon the weak sensibilities even of convalescents; and when this I original distraction is rapidly subsiding, the privation of these little enjoyments will obviously renew it ; when perhaps a timely recourse to the tobacco or snuff-box would divert the mind, and obviate such reflexions all together.
But it is not in the minds of the insane only that these habits take root, and become secondary wants of nature. All habits, long indulged, become inveterate, and are extremely difficult effectually top.79 conquer, even in the best-bred classes of life, as all must have felt : and such particularly is the fascination of that nauseous and narcotic herb, tobacco, on persons in the constant habit of using it in any given form, that they become uneasy and fretful in the want of it. This is a fact more intimately known to every observant person conversant in the military and naval service, and who must have frequently seen that both soldiers and seamen, on the hardest service, would sell the shirts from their backs, or, what they value much more, their allowances of grog or wine, to obtain a little tobacco or snuff) whichever their habits led them to prefer. If such be the influence of those habits on men in robust health and of sane mind, what must be the case with those wretched maniacs, who have nothing to occupy or amuse them; and with whom a quid of tobacco, a pinch of snuff, or the smoaking of a pipe will do more to tranquilize and assuage irritation, than twenty-four hours of the most judicious reasoning or soothing advice ?
Hence it is that the Virginian commissary, John Ap-Williams, is a much more favourite resident in this lunatic republic, than would be an imperial ambassador without this favourite commodityp.80
From Wallingford, Berks, admitted 16th March 1820. This poor fellow gives a curious account of his origin and progress. According to him, he is a child of Apollo ; for he was engendered by the sun shining upon a dunghill, near his father's door. He received his first existence in the form of a flea ; and in about two hours afterwards he was transformed to a fine boy, of nine years old. He grew up, and was apprenticed to a shoemaker ; and after his time was served, he married a beautiful wife, by whom he had two children ; but she proved unfaithful. Business became bad ; distress followed; and it was necessary that both should seek employment in London. A place was supposed to be obtained for her : but alas ! her infidelity to him soon appeared ; for the very stage-coachman who drove her to town, to her supposed service, was now her lord and master, for she has been living with him ever since ; and poor Joe has been deserted and deranged from that time. His poor dear infants, he says, are, with his father and himself, placed here at the parish expense. Since he came in here he has imagined himself to be the only true and real Son of God, both spiritually and bodily. He clearly remembers having suffered on the cross. He remembers the countenances of all present at thep.81 time, what was said to him, how he was treated in his sufferings, and every circumstance of his bodily pain. He has power to condemn all whom he pleases, and of saving and rendering happy such as he thinks fit ; and, in virtue of his power, he will, for the most trivial offence, consign any offender to the bottomless pit of fire and brimstone. He assigns a name of his own to every individual around him. One is Judas, who betrayed him ; another is one of the thieves, who suffered with him at his crucifixion ; a third is Peter, who thrice denied him ; a fourth is Thomas, who disbelieved him ; a fifth the Virgin Mary : one he saw hanged at Newgate for horse-stealing, another at Exeter for some other crime ; another is Bonaparte himself ; another is a common swindler, whom he knew very well, and who cheated him of vast property ; and so on in an hundred instances. He would affect to know every body ; and to every one (except his brother) he assigns some new name or character : one is a shoe-black, another a stocking-weaver, a waiter, a butcher, &c. &c.
He is himself a Pythagorean philosopher ; firmly believes in the Metempsychosis, and that the soul of man after his death descends into a brute, and afterwards reverts into a man. Some months ago he described the butcher's horse that brings meat to the hospital as an old friend of hisp.82 named Thomas Holloway, who being hanged for coining, was afterwards transformed into this horse. He knows the secrets of all hearts, and cannot be deceived by any one.
In the summer he is employed in white-washing the house, for which he is paid ; generally conducts himself pretty quietly, and has committed no violence, except now and then breaking a window, and occasionally tearing his clothes, which he says he is obliged to do, " the time being now come." But he is extremely passionate, easily excited, and in that state is terribly abusive : his tongue, however, is the only ill weapon he uses.
Aged about thirty-five, from Westminster, admitted about five years since. This man was tried and convicted of violently assaulting and cruelly beating a youth : but he was found to be insane at the time, and was sent to this hospital. He is very sullen, and seldom converses with any one ; but whenever he feels occasion to speak, he is extremely insolent and abusive, uses the very vilest language imaginable, and is proud and haughty, although evidently of the lowest order of the canaille. p.83
From London, admitted November 26th, 1818. This extraordinary maniac was formerly engaged in the silk trade ; and though almost the wildest of the wild, in this or any similar institution, he thinks himself perfectly sound in mind as well as body, although the regions of fancy scarcely afford limits to his conceptions, and his frenzy is only equalled by his arguments to disprove it. From the airs of consequence he assumes, he would seem to soar above the ranks of nobilityThe highest hereditary stratum of the aristocracy, sitting immediately below the monarch in terms of blood and title; or the quality of being noble (virtuous, honourable, etc.) in character.. The knowledge of his importance, he imagines, has rendered all the great his enemies, and that all personages of rank in England are leagued in a conspiracy for the sole purpose of keeping him in this " Bastile," as he calls it; and which is to him the source of intolerable anguish. " Here," he exclaims, " is a piece of complicated villainy, to detain me, a man of my rank and importance ; and, what is still worse, contriving by galvanic and electrical machines to ruin my health, to waste my person, and to destroy my faculties ; to feed me like a dog, to put me to bed like a pig, and, in fact, to make a laughing-stock of me, to gratify and amuse the authors of this case of villainy and cruelty."
His head is bald, which he takes every opportunityp.84 of exhibiting to all visitors, by taking off his hat with an ah of dignified politeness, and then addressing them with " How do you do, ladies, or gentlemen ? My name is Thomas Jones, a liveryman of the City of London, and alderman and Lord Mayor Apparent. Pray have you any knowledge of the Effingham family ? Do you know Lady Effingham ? Have you any interest in getting me out of this place ? You see what a state I am brought to (rubbing his bald head). You perceive, I suppose, that my confinement has deprived me of my hair ? Do you not conceive it a shameful transaction, to deprive an Englishman of his liberty thus, in a land ofboasted freedom, too ? You will oblige me very much to try what you can do towards my removal. My dear Sir George Tuthill will not define the nature of insanity ; and because it seems he cannot, I am to be the sufferer, and imprisoned here."
He is ambitious to prove himself, in his own way, a man of highly scientific character ; and pretends to have discovered that all the royal palaces, Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, White Hall, the theatres, all the fire-insurance, and other public offices and great public buildings, have each established within them electrical, galvanic, and magnetic machines, erected expressly for the purpose of combining their influential powers to annoy him. That they are in continualp.85 operation for this purpose ; and that their several pipes and conductors are united to form one grand power, by which their collective effects are propelled to a junction with all the gas and water pipes, along which they run from one iron conductor to another, until they arrive at Bethlem ; when their forces ascend to the iron roof of the building, whence they run along the iron ceiling of his gallery, and then descend upon him by night in a combined focus, which produces effects highly injurious to his health.
In addressing himself to persons of rank who occasionally visit the hospital, he maintains a high dogmatical manner, stiles himself Thomas Jones Dashwood Howard, of Effingham, Esq., and represents his confinement here as tyrannical, despotic, cruel, vindictive, and villainous ; and he declaims, rants, abuses, and hectors over all. But when his physician appears, he assumes a consequential tone of remonstrance :—" Well, Sir George Tuthill, what have you done about getting me out of this place ? You perceive I am losing time and wasting the best of my days." Then, taking off his hat and displaying his baldness, he adds, " I believe here is a sufficient proof of the consequence of my imprisonment."
Sir George, with great patience and humanity, attends to his speech, and to pacify him promisesp.86 he will do all he can for him. But the Hon. Thomas Jones Dashwood Howard, of Effingham, must have more decisive proofs of his intentions : " he will be liberated."—" If," says he, " you have had an interest in detaining me here, after all that I have suffered, you might, I think, have been satisfied by this time, therefore let me go out."
Sir George then promises to do for him every thing more in his power. But this will not do and after a good deal of his usual logic, he goes on : " then I will not mince matters with you any longer, but tell you that you are a damned " (every abusive epithet he can think of) ; and the matter necessarily ends in his removal under the charge of his keeper.
He suspects every person of respectable appearance who visits the hospital as concerned in his detention. But if any nobleman, particular gentleman, merchant, or foreigner comes, he will say, " Oh ! perhaps, I shall have something from him. I suspect he has some hand in my business : I don't know positively, but I think it very likely." And in this way he has gone on till very lately.
The first symptoms of his malady were discovered by a love fit. He formed a violent attachment to a young lady of Skinner-street, and, without consulting her inclinations, went to his brother, p.87 who is a goldsmith, and obtained a number of different sized wedding rings. Without further ceremony he waited on the lady, then a few miles from town, made a gallant tender of his heart and hand, presented the rings for her choice of one, and ardently pressed her to accompany him to the altar immediately. But his proposal was rejected, and the disconsolate Thomas Jones Dashwood Howard, of Effingham, was ultimately consigned to this mansion by his friends.
He has of late fallen again into the tender passion, with a young lady whom he never saw but at her own window in this neighbourhood, about two hundred yards distant from the hospital : and this new passion has supplanted his former flame. He has been in the habit of standing for hours together, at a window at the east end of the gallery where he is lodged, contemplating the distant charms of his new adorable Dulcinea, as she accidentally appears at her back chamber window, wholly insensible to the ardour of his devotions ; and though he is separated from her by seven walls and a garden, still he considers his soft whispers as conveyed to her ear. He tells her his high quality and noble alliance ; imagines she hears him, treats his tender tale with coyness, and he continues, " Now, my dearest love, you should not, you should not do so. You know your mother's temper and mine : that I esteem youp.88 more than life, which I would sacrifice for a moment's pleasure to your dear self. I have purchased a house and carriage, and every thing necessary for us to move in the first circles of fashion." He then waits for the fair one's imaginary answer : and no sooner does it reach his fancy's ear, than all is immediately reconciled ; and he resumes his tender tales of love with as much ardour as if he were really at the fair one's feet : and notwithstanding this ideal courtship has lasted three months, he knows not the lady's name or address nor any thing about her, although the surrounding walls daily echo his ardent protestations, while his Dulcinea del Toboso is quite unconscious of his pain.
The following is one of his letters to the fair incognita, whom he addresses as his wife :
" Bethlem Hospital, July 16, 1822.
" My Dear Wife:
" I am sorry I have not the pleasure of seeing or viewing your person, although prevented by my situation from your pleasant conversation. "
I wish you had furnished me with paper, India ink, pencils, &c, and during your enjoyments away from home I might have drawn something though not of the best style, to have amused me and met your view of judgment upon return. Ip.89 should have been most happy to have been with you at the present, and hope you will not allow me to remain under restraint of liberty, but apply, or instruct some professional character, or some one, for my release. I hope your mother is well, and desire my duty to her. Upon return you will be able to give me particulars, or shall be most happy to hear from you enjoying good health, with pleasant society, and all the scenes of innocence for amusements. My brother Charles, with your brother Capt. Dashwood, I think might do something in getting me away, or what their views may be I know not, as to any intentions respecting me ; my former letter to you, &c. in support with the annexed side might do much for the families— However I do not wish to trouble myself more than may be satisfactory to you and perfectly to your pleasure and satisfaction— Your aunt does not appear to have drawn any public painting, and that which I first formed may now stand without any madness being attached thereto— and those that acknowledged piracies and slavery were now, as by the statement, freedom and liberty, pax et libertas, St. Domingo, Hispaniola, America et Mexico, et Africa—and this motto as to the drawing. "
On July 10, 1822, I see, the meeting of the Company at the City of London Tavern—for to acknowledgep.90 the independence of Columbia ;—now no one need be afraid of their sentiments, and will prove mine in conformity of that drawing you're acquainted with.
Hail, Columbia ! happy land,
This is the day in which must stand
And united be —
Law, justice, free
From the chains of slavery —
Peace, freedom, and liberty.
" And am,
" Your sincere and loving husband,
" Thomas Jones.
" You must excuse my writing, as my ink was bad, and partly written in the dark."
There is no such person as the lady described, no such name in the neighbourhood, nor has he any knowledge of her, except by sight, and can merely see the back of the house she inhabits from the hospital. He has, however, furnished the lady with a name, and given her an address quite remote from the view of the hospital. So much for the consistency of poor Thomas Howard Dash wood Effingham Jones. p.91
Aged about forty-five. This man was tried and convicted of the wilful murder of a young woman who was his sweetheart, and a suspicion of her inconstancy was said to have prompted him to the horrid act. But he was found to be insane in his intellects, and was sent here upwards of five years since. He is of a sullen and morose disposition, and it requires, of course, much caution to avoid offending him ; but in general he is tolerably well-behaved, and evinces no obvious symptoms of insanity.
From Guilford, Surry, admitted in March 1818. This poor fellow had been formerly a servant to a gentleman, a banker at Guilford, of whom, even in his present state of derangement, he still speaks in the strongest terms of respect, gratitude, and attachment. In this gentleman's service he bore the character of a faithful, active, cleanly, and attentive domestic. But his manners in these respects are now, like his mind, totally changed. He was afterwards servant with another gentleman, a contractor in the Island of Jersey ; and next enlisted as a soldier, and served in Spain, p.92 Portugal, and North America. He was discharged at the termination of the war, and returned to Guilford, where he was first taken ill, and was sent to the workhouse. According to his own statement, his illness at that time was only bodily ; but as he got better, being one day hungry, he tore up his shirt, " to make the most of it," as he says, and sent it out by a boy to sell as old rags ; in return for which the boy brought him a two-penny loaf and twopenceworth of tobacco. From the circumstance of thus disposing of his shirt, the overseers deemed him mad, and ordered him to be secured in a straight-waistcoat. This set him mad in earnest : he became violent, and was ultimately sent to this hospital, where he is now deemed incurable.
Though he has some lucid intervals, his time from morning to night is usually spent in lamenting his misfortunes. The principal object of his anxiety and affection is a daughter, whom, he says, he had formerly by a young woman at Guilford. He describes her as a beautiful girl of twenty ; and says that she supposes her father dead. It was after her birth that he went to Jersey, which led to all his misfortunes.
From these distracting reflections he will suddenly start off into the most wild and heterogeneous flights of fancy and incoherent nonsense ; more especially after he uses much tobacco, ofp.93 which he is inordinately fond, and which intoxicates and excites him like opium or spirits. Sometimes he supposes the world not thicker than a half-crown, and expects every moment that all things will perish. He imagines that whatever he thinks of is immediately destroyed : or, as he terms it, " thrown up." In this notion he will often say " he has, by thinking of it, destroyed America, and has just thrown up Jersey, and France, and Spain, and Portugal, and all the monkeys at Gibraltar, and Plymouth-Dock, and Battle in Sussex and Hastings ; that he has cut up Mrs. Such-an-one's hen-roost, and Mr. Suchan- one's pig-stye at Guilford ; and that his poor, dear Guilford, where his good and worthy friends Mr. H and his family lived, is now no more." But he declares he cannot help all this destruction, for, in spite of all he can do, whatever he thinks of is instantly destroyed.
The next day he will try to remedy the mischief and misery he has produced by thinking ; and with his eyes closed, his body bent double, and his hands and arms extended in front, like one groping in the dark, he will exclaim : " I never thought of America, nor Jersey, nor France, nor Spain, nor Portugal, nor Plymouth-Dock. I never thought of a pig-stye, nor of Guilford. Oh, poor Guilford ! and poor, good Mr. H (his former master). I never thought of a ploughp.94 share, nor yet of a knapsack, nor yet of a summer- house, nor a spicket and fosset, nor a monkey's- beard, nor a hen's-foot, nor a finger-organ, nor a boar's-bristle : I never thought of a parson, nor yet of a hedge-hog, nor of a flying-squirrel in America ; nor yet of a monkey shaving himself, nor of the hinges of Mr. H 's cellardoor, nor of the river of Polinac, in France, where I sailed from ;" with innumerable other topics equally wild. But when his poor, distracted mind is quite tired out with such exertions, he usually concludes the day by more calm, but pathetic reflexions on his beloved daughter. " Ah! my poor, dear girl ! could I but once see you, I should then die contented !" and instantly bursts into tears. After he retires to bed, the first two hours are generally devoted to curses and execrations " on the authors of his confinement ; and of his separation from his dear, delightful daughter, his home, and his every comfort and happiness."
What a task would it be for the metaphysician to analyze the structure of such a mind, or disentangle the confusion of its ideas !
Though he has been sometimes violent in the paroxysms of his disorder, he is in general perfectly harmless. p.95
From Lancashire, middle-aged, admitted August 6th 1818. This is a sullen rancorous fellow ; he has been a seaman, and formerly in Old Bethlem, and in a madhouse at Hoxton. He never speaks to any one but in a manner quite unintelligible. He sometimes writes with chalk on the walls, in a sort of hieroglyphic quite as obscure as his conversation : such as, " 27th Lancashire, mind 1 No. 8. Old clothes. No. 3.—Alepass. Ireland—his own—thro No. 1879. 4th Bridge."
This man seems by nature savage, and is extremely furious and dangerous. For the smallest imagined offence he will knock down a fellow patient, and beat and kick him most unmercifully. Indeed he will sometimes do so without any cause, real or fanciful. He has been, therefore, put under restraint ; which renders him still worse, and more vicious ; and therefore he is sometimes locked up in his room, but has now for a considerable time been under no strict restraint.
The most trivial quarrel or falling-out with another he will remember for years : nay, he will never forget or forgive it. In his general behaviour he is pretty regular, and cleanly in his person ; but so vicious and treacherous, that he cannot be trusted. In October 1822 he attackedp.96 one of the keepers, tore the waistcoat and shirt off his back, and would have done him much personal mischief, had not assistance immediately arrived. He is a powerful fellow, apparently in robust health. He likes to be alone, and never takes his meals with the other patients, but by himself. At one time he took a liking to the privy as his favourite residence, and used to carry his meals to that place or to the airing ground, if he could get there. While lord of the privy, it was extremely unsafe for any one obnoxious to him to approach it. He would fiercely spring out upon them, like a tiger ; and by furious blows or kicks drive them away. But after some time he was induced to abandon this delicate dining-room, and transfer his refectory to the airing-ground, except when the weather was rainy.
An old North-countryman, admitted on the 6th of August 1818. This poor fellow was formerly an inmate of Old Bethlem, and was also at a private madhouse at Hoxton. He had been a seafaring-man, and is much deranged. He has at times lucid, or at least quiet intervals, and is then remarkably composed ; and when spoken to merely answers, yes or no. But when his maladyp.97 returns with some force, and the fit is high, he is a loud ranter, and sometimes believes himself to be Moses : " The only true Moses." He is extremely abusive to every one he sees ; suspects all of robbing him, and is extremely addicted to chewing tobacco ; in the place of which he will chew rags, grass, or any thing else he can get. Sometimes he will exclaim, " I am God ; I will hang that rascal ;" pointing to somebody, " he has robbed me of five hundred johannas" (gold or silver, as his fancy dictates). He considers all yellow metal-buttons gold, and all white ones silver : and such is his avidity to accumulate riches of this kind, while his delirium lasts (which is generally about a week at a time), that he picks up, wherever he can find them, pieces of glass, or scraps of tin, with which he contrives to cut off all the buttons from his own coat, waistcoat, and breeches, and from those of all the melancholy and stupid fellow-patients (never attempting this with those of other descriptions) ; and the buttons thus obtained he grinds upon the first convenient stone he meets, until they are flat and smooth on both sides ; and by virtue of this mintage they become, in his estimation, " lawful money, gold or silver johannas." The total defect of buttons on his own clothes he supplies by various strings torn from the rug on his bed, his blue handkerchief, or any other rag. Thosep.98 who give him tobacco, at once obtain his friendship ; but he will sell it to any one on any other terms.
He constantly talks of " his ships, of his great losses and misfortunes, and the manner in which he will punish those who robbed him ;" which description includes every body he sees. He imagines himself to be a consummate judge of the weather, and director of the winds. Sometimes he changes from a mariner and ship-owner to a builder and mason, and imagines he has a great deal of work to do.
He has never done any remarkable mischief; although, when in his high fits, if he could find a weapon he would become dangerous, and therefore cannot be trusted.
Aged forty-seven, admitted August 6th, 1818. This curious Cambro-Briton is a native of Cardiff, in Wales. He was formerly confined in Old Bethlem, and also in a private mad-house at Hoxton ; and altogether, including his residence here, for a period of ten years.
He was originally a labouring-man, but was impressed into the navy. He was last on board the Salvador del Mundo guard-ship, at Plymouthp.99 where his insanity first became apparent, and thence was sent to a mad-house.
He labours under a thorough conviction that he was first confined with a view to murder him ; that both his father and mother were murdered ; and that his sisters were also murdered by the present King, when he was Prince of Wales. He feels an implacable hostility towards Admiral Young and General England, who, he says, have conspired against him, and employed people to kill him. That they told him if he would change his religion he should become a great man ; but that he rejected their offer, told them that he was brought up by his parents in the fear of God, and taught to say the Lord's Prayer in Welsh, and he would " stand by the Old Books :" (this sage polemicA strong verbal or written attack on someone or something. can neither read nor write).
He says, that when he engaged with Admiral Young and General England to enter the service, he agreed for honest dealing, Christian usage, kind treatment, and fair play : but he complains that they broke their agreement with him ; and knowing well " that their heads must come off for it, they have tried to murder him, in order to get him out of the way." That he knows to a certainty Government is concerned, and would readily give him any sum of money he chose to ask, and his release to boot, if he would only consent to hold his tongue. But no, no : this hep.100 cannot do ; for if he did he would sell his soul. He must be a Shylock : but no, no, that won't do with him : the two heads ! the two heads ! they must come off, and nothing else will satisfy him. " I know," says he, with a sly wink, and a cunning leer, " I shall not be here much longer." When he goes hence he knows he will be sent to another place of confinement, but that will be only for a short time ; and after that his business is to be settled. " The two heads ! you know, the two heads ! they must come off." Government, he says, would give him twenty millions of money to have done with him, and prevent the exposure of some grand secret which he has conjured up in his own fancy, and looks extremely knowing and mysterious when he alludes to them. When pressed to divulge those secrets in great confidence, he explains one of them to be, that officers of high rank in the navy get their sons and relatives rated on the ships' books as midshipmen, as soon as they are born ; that their promotions go regularly on from that time ; and that they may become lieutenants, captains, and even admirals, without ever joining or seeing the ships on which they are rated.
The other budget of secrets is that unfair practice by which the officers of the Navy should be appointed to try each other by court-martialRelating to fighting or war. ; when it can never be supposed that they, whop.101 mess together, would be hard upon each other. If this is to be, he insists that the sailors, too, should be tried by their own messmates, instead of their officers. But, as things go on now, " there is no law, justice, civil treatment, Christian usage, or fair play, which it was his agreement to have."
Another of his secrets applies to the alleged abuses in the misapplication of provisions, which he will be bound to prove ; and so far from his having any intentions to compromise the business with them, he would sooner lose his life. " Don't let them think," says the incorruptible Richard, " that they shall stop my mouth for a paltry bribe of twenty millions !" (then comes a hurricane of blasts, and damns upon eyes, limbs, and timbers, with appellations not the most delicate for the objects of his vengeance.) " No," continues he, " if they were to give me ten thousand of money I would not make it up with them : for law and justice I will have, from William Young, and that fellow they call General England."
On being told that Admiral Young was dead : " It don't signify about that," continued he, " he must be up and answer for himself ; and I will have his head off."
His religious notions are of a piece with his other vagaries ; for although he declares his determinationp.102 " to stand by the Old Books," he has never explained the points of doctrineThe set of beliefs upheld by a religion or political party. they contain. He has, however, fixed on Wednesday as his Sabbath, which he keeps with great strictness. He has seen very little of the world beyond his native village, and the ship he was on board of: but he believes his own home in Wales to be the garden of the world ; and that at the last day God Almighty will come to Cardiff, to try all souls for their deeds : and when he goes to the Town-hall, he will tell him that he is not particularly obliged to him for his mercy, because he has promised to be merciful to all men ; and why should one man in particular thank him ? He says his prayers every night in Welsh and English ; and though his dialect in the latter is as bad as Briton can utter, he fancies that no man can excel him in the language.
He partakes a good deal in the fanciful transmutation of persons so frequent with others ; and by a sort of second sight, conceives that he sees persons totally different from those he looks at.
He says, " that Sir George Tuthill, the physician, was a Jew dealer in watches, jewellery, and trinkets at Plymouth, and that his name was Johnson ;" by which name he always calls him. He says that " Mr. Burgess," one of the governors, " is no other than Buggy Burgess, who wasp.103 a parson's son at Cardiff, but ran away, and turned pirate in a privateer ; obtained a large sum of money, and is now turned fine gentleman ;" and in like manner of several others ; probably substituting some faint traces of personal similitude in his memory for supposed reality.
With all his vagaries, he is ingenious and industrious. He knits gloves, stockings, and his own jackets and trowsers, of worsted ; and is constantly employed, either in this occupation, or in amusing himself with smoaking or playing at hand-ball, which seems in a great measure to divert and relieve his mind.
A favourite ornament of his person is his long pigtail cue, which he attends to as scrupulously as to his Wednesday-Sabbath. His supposed grievances and imprisonment, as he terms it, form a source of much occasional discontent ; and on those occasions he is for addressing petitions to the Lords of the Admiralty : but as he cannot write himself, Dashwood Jones Effingham, or some other man of genius, acts as his secretary. A copy of one of these petitions is subjoined as a specimen : p.704
" The Right Honourable the Lords of Admiralty.
" My Lords : I am very sorry I cannot honour your Lordships with pleasure, but I am obliged to honour your Lordships with torments.
" I beg to inform your Lordships I have been confined in New Bethlem upwards of four years. After repeated applications to the physician, Sir George Tuthil, he has invariably replied, in answer to me, he did not consider me either sick or mad : I then inquired of Sir George why I was detained ; in reply thereto, he said he was not the cause of my detention ; on the contrary, he should have a pleasure in discharging me. I asked him to inform me who was the cause of my being detained : he said your Lordships.
" Permit me to inform your Lordships, being at a loss how I could make appeal to your Lordships, being under confinement, where I could only look at high walls and bars of iron ; I was induced to write several letters to the Governors of this house, who sit in Committee every Thursday, to none of which have I received any reply ; yet I have reason to think they have been forwarded to your Lordships. The last letter laid before them, last Thursday, when two of the gentlemen of the Committee came round the house, I inquired if they had read my letter : they answered in the affirmative ; I then askedp.105 what answer they could give me : they said I must make application to the Lords of Admiralty, which is the cause of the present trouble to your Lordships.
" I deem it necessary to inform your Lordships, I cannot write myself. I should feel great satisfaction in receiving a reply to this ; when I should be better enabled to write further to your Lordships, as my sufferings have been upwards of eleven years' duration, consequently it is impossible to give your Lordships a particular statement of my hardships in this letter.
" I beg permission also to inform your Lordships I was a pressed man to his late Majesty's sea-service, and would wish my Admiral, Jenkins knows of the death of Admiral Young. Captain, and Officers to come before me, to make their complaints, if any, against me ; and it is also reasonable I should have justice so far done me, as to be informed why and for what cause I have been so long detained in several places of confinement.
" It is equally just and right the Governor of His Majesty's Royal Hospital at Stonehouse, together with all the officers under him should appear, and make what complaints, if any, they have against me. p.106
" Likewise I judge it needful the Commissioner of His Majesty's Dock-Yard, Dock at Hamoaze, the Master of Tenders, also the man who came with him in a boat on board His Majesty's ship the St. Salvadore del Munda, by night, when lying at anchor at Hamoaze. My agreement with the Admiral, Captain, and all the Officers concerned with me from commencement of my ill-usage, was that I should have law and justice, Christian usage, and honourable terms ; yet I can with truth affirm, I have experienced no other than barbarity and cruelty."
N.B. This letter was written in July 1822 ; but he would allow it to bear no date, as " that, he supposed, would injure his cause;" nor would he allow his name to be put to it, as " that would ruin him for ever :" so the Lords of the Admiralty were left to find out by their own learning who it came from. Lloyd was the writer; great cunning was used in getting it up, and several sheets of paper written over, before a perfect letter could be completed ; but to none of those petitions will he allow his name to be annexed ; for he says " that is all they want, and he will never indulge them."
This man is reported to have been in other places of confinement a dangerous maniac, andp.107 was almost constantly in irons ; but he has been here under no restraint whatever, nor has he ever done any mischief. He is noisy at times, and sings a good deal, in his way ; but when the idea of his ill-usages gets uppermost, he then begins an extempore sea song, in a cramp and resentful manner. The following favourite verse may serve as a specimen of his lyric poetry :
" There is one thing more that I do crave,
That his body may never lay in the grave :
May he be damned, and overboard be thrown,
The sharks have his body and the devil have his soul ;
The sharks have his body and the devil have his soul."
The last, a chorus line, he roars with a stentorian voice that makes the whole building echo ; while his eyes roll, with a mixed expression of resentment and self-complacency.
His conduct in general is very quiet and regular : but no man so mad ever seemed less conscious of derangement. p.108
Aged fifty, admitted here about four years since. This man is another transmit from the Hulks. He was tried in Bedfordshire for robbing a house of forty pounds in cash, found guilty, and sent to the Hulks, where he became insane, and was thence transmitted here.
Whatever might have been this man's original frame of mind, he has here distinguished himself only as a capricious, ill-tempered, disagreeable fellow. He changes his humours every ten minutes throughout the day, is always sulky, peevish, haughty, insolent, and abusive. He is what is called a knacky man, and is employed in several little operations about the hospital, particularly in repairing the patient's clothes, for which he is regularly paid : but although this privilege supplies him with many little comforts in his confinement which do not fall to the lot of others, he thanks no one for the indulgence, takes the little jobs with reluctance, snatches them roughly from the hands of those who bring them, and dashes them violently into a corner of his room ; insults all who approach him in some way, and scarcely any one escapes the vulgar abuse of his bitter and virulent tongue. He is always discontented, unsettled, and obstinate ; and, what renders thisp.109 conduct the more unsufferable is, that he appears to know very well what he says and does : that his brutal rudeness is not the mere result of insanity, but of his abominable temper, which he will not try to controul ; and which is, at all times, so unsufferable, that it frequently becomes necessary to lock him up in his room. He is, however, remarkably clean and regular in his person and in his apartment, which he always keeps in the nicest order.
Aged about thirty, admitted about three years since. This patient comes from Surrey, where he was tried at the Assizes and found guilty of cutting and maiming a female ; but his insanity was satisfactorily proved, and he was sent here. He is perfectly harmless, and rather silly than franticp.110
Aged about fifty-five, admitted about four years since. This is another Welshman, a plasterer by trade, and convicted of a desperate assault on a man and threatening his life ; but he was found to be deranged, and was in consequence sent here. He is constantly complaining of the hardship of being detained in confinement, and prevented from following his business. But he is too irrational and unsettled a character to be allowed to go free.
Aged forty, admitted here about three years since. This man stole a horse at Birmingham, which he brought to Smithfield, London, and sold. He was apprehended, tried, and convicted for the fact, at the Old Bailey; but was found to be deranged, and was transmitted to this hospital. The symptoms of his disorder very rarely rise above idiotcy, but he is ever fretful, peevish, and discontented. p.111
REV. FRANCIS MARDIN,
Of London, aged thirty-seven years, a minister of the Gospel, originally admitted on the 3d of June 1819. This unfortunate clergyman, towards the latter end of the year 1820, appeared to be quite convalescent, and obtained leave of absence for six months, in hopes of his perfect recovery : but after a short time his malady returned, and he was brought back, and has remained here ever since. He is in general perfectly tranquil and harmless, and for a period of three months successively will behave remarkably well. He generally occupies himself in reading and writing compositions of his own. But those occupations appear ultimately to agitate his mind, and he gets quite high and distracted, and so continues for a long time. During this state he has usually a tobacco-pipe in his mouth ; and from his language and conduct none would suppose him ever to have been the pious, meek, charitable, and philanthropic curer of souls, which at other times he wishes to be thought. Sometimes the wildness of fanaticism seizes on his fancy, and then he thinks himself to be Michael the archangel. Dr. Wright, one of the physicians of the house, he styles Pontius Pilate, another he terms Judas, a third the Devil, all in their turns. p.112 He sometimes composes pieces in Latin, and then translates them, both, in a style of in coherency such as might be expected from a scholar so circumstanced. He composed, amongst other specimens of his genius, a poetical address to his present Majesty King George the Fourth, highly inflated, and comparing his Majesty to Augustus Caesar. This production he thought extremely sublime; and when his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex, accompanied by Prince Christian Frederic of Denmark, visited this institution on the 10th of June 1822, the poetic parson begged permission to read his production to those illustrious personages : which being allowed, he proceeded to read with such gestures, intonations, trepidation, and embarrassment, as excited the pity, though it exhausted the patience of his princely hearers. At last his Royal Highness, with great condescension and humanity, told him that what he had already read would do, and requested he would defer the remainder to some future opportunity ; with this he seemed satisfied. This poor gentleman was spoken of by his friends as a finished classical scholar : and previously to his unfortunate illness, he was curate of a parish church in London. When his lucid intervals return, he is very cunning and artful in his endeavours to attain his object. He speaks to the physician with all the demureness of a bashful girl : but this isp.113 easily perceived to be acting, for he hopes by assuming that manner to get leave of absence once more.
When he was last out, he tied the sheets and bed-clothes together to let himself down from his window into the street, although the street door was open for him, and he might have gone out if he pleased.
From Lowes, Lincolnshire, admitted November 25th, 1819. This unfortunate young man had been professionally brought up a surgeon, and the cause of his malady appears to have been a persuasion that he had undergone the fate of Abelard : and this notion was the constant source of his lamentation ; for his perpetual complaint was, " Oh ! what shall I do ? what shall I do ? They have taken away my _____! Gone, all gone! What shall I do? All gone! Gone for ever!" Convinced of this privation, he imagined the loss had caused a contraction of his limbs ; and under this idea he had acquired habits of contraction extremely painful to himself, and distressing to all who saw him. His elbows were pressed in as if screwed to his sides ; his lower arms projecting outward on a line with his breast, and his hands continually clenched with suchp.114 vigour, that they could be opened only by force for the purpose of washing them ; and then the palms were found to be so indented by the pressure of his finger ends, that they seemed almost to have grown together. But no sooner was he freed from restraint, than they returned to their former position. He walked invariably on tiptoe, took very little exercise, and would stand for hours together in one spot without setting his heels to the ground, if not roused by the keepers and urged to walk about. At times he was without appetite, and very weakly : at other times his appetite was good, and he would sit down contentedly to dinner without any appearance of pain. But as soon as he had finished his meal he got up to the gallery, and began his usual plaints: " Gone! gone ! all gone ! what shall I do for my _____."
In May, 1820, a party of ladies of rank and distinction came to visit the hospital ; and poor Woods was bewailing in his usual vein, " Oh, my _____! what shall I do for my _____? They are all gone." When one of the ladies, a peeress, asked him what he complained for ; but could get no reply but " oh, my _____! what shall I do for my _____! gone ! gone ! for ever !" and this with a piteous look of tribulation.
The lady, unable to comprehend his meaning, applied for explanation to the keeper ; who, with some discreet presence of mind told her ladyshipp.115 that the poor patient was in the habit of collecting a quantity of pebbles, flints, and other rubbish about the airing ground, which he fancied to be emeralds, rubies, diamonds, and other precious gems ; that it became necessary to take them away from him, in order to prevent the accumulation of such rubbish in the gallery ; and that a recent privation of this sort was now the subject of his lament. " Oh, poor man," said her ladyship, turning to the patient, " never mind them ! When his lordship comes here again, he shall bring you some pretty ones which he has got at home ; they will be much handsomer than those you have lost : so don't fret about them any more." But poor Woods, not at all satisfied with the promised alternative, answered with much displeasure, " that won't do ! I will have none but my own." And thus they separated, each unconscious of the other's meaning.
After remaining here eighteen months, this poor fellow was removed by his friends, who are respectable, to a private mad-house at Battersea, where he died shortly afterwards.
Aged twenty-one, a young farmer, admitted 25th August 1819- The malady of this youngp.116 man was rather idiotcy than frenzy. He was quite harmless, and only remarkable for his quickness in running, for his sly looks, and a constant laughing grin on his countenance. He would run twenty circuits of the airing ground at a time, with the rapid speed of a hare, and laugh and grin for an hour afterwards. He had no vicious propensity, and was a hale, well-looking country youth; but he was discharged, uncured, on the 24th of August 1820.
In the month of May, in the same year, the physician ordered a dozen leeches to be applied to his temples: they were applied accordingly, and soon filled ready to fall off. The keeper, who was attending him, went hastily to answer to the bell which had rung for him, leaving Poole perfectly quiet ; but on his return the leeches had vanished, and Poole appeared smeared all over with blood, and was chewing away something with redoubled eagerness, in hopes of finishing his bon bouche before the keeper came back. The keeper immediately conjectured that he had eaten the leeches, and caused him immediately to empty his mouth, when he found the masticated remains of the animals reduced to a state just fit for gorging. Upon collecting the mass, he found his ward had swallowed but little, if any part of them ; but great part of the bloodp.117 they had imbibed certainly had returned to the original system whence it came.
After he was cleaned from the gore which covered him, the keeper asked him what he had been doing ? And why he had attempted to eat the leeches ? He answered, " Oh ! I only ate a few shrimps ; give them to me, if you please ; I have had no shrimps for a good long time."
He was sometimes employed to fetch coals to the fires ; and if, on his way to the coal or dusthole, he found any pieces of soap, candles, cold potatoes, or any thing capable of being eaten, he had no sort of objection to gratifying his palate with it, regardless of filth, flavour, quantity or quality.
Aged twenty-five, admitted about four years since. This young man comes from Yorkshire, where he was tried and convicted of murdering his mother: but being found insane, he was confined for some time in York Castle, from which place he was sent here. This patient is, in general, quiet and harmless, but when disappointed of getting tobacco becomes extremely violent. Notwithstanding his general quietness, p.118 he cannot however at all times be trusted, and is therefore under constant vigilance.
Aged thirty, admitted about three years since. This is a north-countryman, and was tried and convicted for the wilful murder of his wife, which he effected by strangulation : but on his trial he was found to be insane, and was sent to this hospital. He is very frequently in a high state of derangement, and is at those times extremely fierce and dangerous : but during his lucid intervals is very quiet and harmless.
Aged fifty, from London, admitted December 2, 1819- This poor old fellow was formerly a lighterman on the Thames. The ideal immensity of his riches is his favourite topic, and his fancy is as much filled and delighted by this unreal mockery, as if he were the actual possessor of all the wealth he boasts. According to him he is the sole proprietor of all ships, barges, boats, or other craft that float on the River Thames ; thep.119 Bank of England belongs exclusively to him, and in short the extent of his property is beyond all reach of calculation in our vulgar way. He says that when his son married, he gave him a fortune of 957,000,000 of money, besides some loose silver he had in his pocket, and four pennyworths of halfpence : but his son was a profligate fellow, and all this money soon went. He has some notion of paying off the national debt, if he understood how things were going on.
He affects to know every visitor who comes to the hospital, but by names and characters quite different from those they now assume. Lord _____ he knew to be a tinker seven and thirty years ago ; but he robbed a public house, made his fortune, bought his title, and now rolls in riches and grandeur. Lady _____ was a washerwoman. When he knew her first she lived below bridge ; but she happened to be brought to bed of a carrotty-haired child ; this lord got her to swear the child to a waterman, although it was his lordship's own ; and afterwards, when she threatened to expose the particulars, his lordship married her. Such a gentleman was formerly a coal-porter ; another was a post-boy ; a third was a poor fellow who used to ply about the boats at the waterman's stairs, begging halfpence, with " pray remember poor Jack ;" a fourth he knew as a Jew receiver of stolen goods at Ratcliff Highway ; p.120 a fifth was arrested for cheating two keepers who once lived here, and was transported. He knows all this : cannot be mistaken. " Lord bless you," he will exclaim, " do you think I don't know ? What, me not know ? it's all stuff; I know every thing, both here and hereafter ; you can't deceive me; no, no, my friend, that won't do." He is perfectly harmless and quiet, so long as no one presumes to question his wealth, or doubt his universal knowledge.
A north-country labouring man, admitted 30th November 1820. This poor fellow had been, previous to his coming here, confined in some lunatic asylum in the country ; and when he was presented for admission here, came so corded and tied up at all points, as to be unable to move. He was described by his conductors as extremely violent, but when his restrictions were relaxed, and afterwards wholly removed, he became, and has continued extremely quiet and harmless, though under the influence of strong delusion.
When he first came in he brought with him an old brass ink-stand, two oyster-shells, containing the remains of various coloured paints, and the printed copy of a last dying-speech, purporting to bep.121 that of an unfortunate young woman who had been convicted and executed in the country for setting fire to a barn. These trifles he gave to the safe custody of his keeper, with a strict charge not to allow any person whatever to open them ; especially the dying speech, which was carefully wrapped up in thirty or forty envelopes of brown paper. The oyster shells he considered very precious jewels, and the inkstand a sacred deposit beyond all price, as being the identical one his father had used in writing his last dying words. &c, bequeathing him all his property (or rather all his poverty). The keeper threw these trifles loosely into his drawer, and thought no more of them : but in the month of January following, when this poor fellow came to be discharged as perfectly cured, he had a strong recollection of his treasures, and brought his then keeper to the former one, who had been his trustee for the deposit, to demand the restoration of his precious articles. The keeper, in some surprise, told Fletcher he was astonished to observe a man in all other respects perfectly rational, should think any thing about such trifles as oyster-shells and dying speeches. But he answered, that his mind was all along impressed with a fixed certainty that his father's will bequeathed him a handsome sum, and that the paper he asked for contained the original will ; and he was much surprised thep.122 keeper should in the least doubt it. On opening the dying-speech, enveloped within forty wrappers, it appeared to be adorned with the figure of a female hanging on a gibbet. Poor Fletcher seized it with rapture, declaring that was the very thing that made him happy.
Now this poor man was utterly illiterate, and could not read the printed paper, and there must have been some unexplained cause for his valuing it so highly; that the impression which began with his derangement, and was probably the very cause of it, should still continue when he was in other respects perfectly freed from his delusion, was a singular circumstance. He was discharged cured on the 11th January 1821, and does not appear to have since relapsed.
From Southwark, aged forty-six, admitted December 14th 1820. This pleasant, cheerful, eccentric fellow, had been an inmate here before, for he was admitted the first time on the 11th of March 1819, and was discharged well on the 20th of May following. He is one of those characters so often found in society to illustrate the poet's description :
" Great wits to madness nearly are allied." p.123
And he says, " he was thought to be mad this time, only because nature had furnished him with more discernment, reflexion, and fancy than his neighbours, and he had not prudence to conceal them : therefore he was found guilty of common sense, and sent to prison." According to his notion, Bedlam was the only quiet and rational society in the country, for the people out of doors were ten times more mad than those within; and all London should be a Bedlam, in order to restrain its mad inhabitants, one-half of whom were too mad to perceive the madness of the other half."
" Who," says he, " fit to live out of Bedlam, would spend half his life to gain one or two hundred thousand pounds, and then, instead of cutting with all risk and living like a lord upon his income, would dabble on to double it by new adventures, until he loses the whole, turns a bankrupt, and comes to dependance or beggary in his old age? I have known twenty such fools. Who, fit to live out of Bedlam, would dash in the stocks, at the constant risk of ruin ? win a hundred thousand pounds one day, lose it the next by the same game ; and then perhaps hang himself or cut his throat for vexation. But the good old city of London has lost its wits, you may depend on it. Your Aldermen are all turned Baronets and members of Parliament, your citizens are all esquires, and your beardlessp.124 boys all booted beaus or dashing bloods ; your city wives and daughters are all ladies of fashion and luxury ; nothing like plain joints and puddings, now a-days ! Oh, no : cookery and cuckledom go together ; banquets and deserts, and all the wines of the world ! And then comes your bankruptcy. Up to-day, down to-morrow. This year a villa, a chariot, or a curricle ; the next a shabby lodging, broken shoes, and the top of the stage coach. Well, then, what would be said in the time of our grandfathers, to a projector who would offer to light all the lamps and shops in London with the smoke of pit-coal? Would people then think a man sane, who should not only say he could make mills to spin and looms to weave, but ships to sail against wind and tide by the steam of hot-water? or cause a coach to run without horses ? or make a snuff-box to play half a dozen tunes, and no one near them ; or a wooden-puppet walk across the stage, salute the company, play concertos on a trumpet, beat any antagonist at chess, drafts, or dominos, and perform many other wonders ? or who should teach dogs to play cards, or horses to tell fortunes ? or who would propose to drive mail-coaches through iron tubes five hundred miles a day, or establish sea-water baths at Hornsey or Primrose Hills, and pump up the tide from Southend to supply them ? I should not be surprised at seeing a wooden Parliamentp.125 worked by steam, or wooden clergyThe people ordained for religious duties, especially in the Christian Church., to serve out sermons and devotions from the churches to the parishioners' houses, like pipe-water or coalgas, through tubes. And, by the way, this would save a devilish deal of money, in bribes and pensions, tythes, and parish-dues. Why," he would say, " I came in here for quietness, to avoid being bit by some city-baronet or mad stock-jobber ; or run over by a citizen's coach, or crushed to dust under the wheels of a waggon at full gallop. I hope those d_____d fellows wo'n't break in upon us here, to disturb our comfort."
Such were the wild notions that played round poor L_____y's fancy. He had a prolific genius for inventions, if they were only practicable ; and perhaps, under a better education, and earlier care to direct his capacity, such a mind might have been of service to his country.
One of his freaks was the invention of a plan for an aquatic engine to be fixed on the River Thames, between Blackfriars and Southwark bridges, which, by the aid of proper apparatus, might prevent the destruction of St. Paul's Cathedral if it should ever take fire, and thus protect that noble structure. Similar plans he thought might be adopted in every part of England, and save the necessity of fire insurance offices. But just as lie had matured his project, and had almost brought it to perfection in his own mind, somep.126 other little whims, combined with this plan, procured him a return to his old quarters here.
While he continued he was very flighty, but tolerably quiet ; with the harmless exception of a a little noise, singing, dancing, and ornamental writing on the walls, at which last he was very expert and skilful.
He was discharged well, on the 20th of May, 1821, and has since continued so.
Aged twenty-eight, admitted 12th October 1820. This was an assistant surgeon and apothecary, from Chigwell, in Essex. His malady was of a periodical nature ; seldom well above ten or fifteen days together. While he continued well, no man could behave better ; but when ill he was extremely wild. He was pretty generally in restraint of some kind or other ; but principally the belt and handcuffs. He delighted in being put in restraint, and would frequently ask the keeper to put on the belt and handcuffs ; for then, as he said, " he had free liberty to do what he pleased." He was for ever at some mischief or other. He got some rags, and stuffed up the hole of the stone trough, or sink, pumped it full of water, and, with his clothes on, laid himselfp.127 at full length in it ; but, being disturbed, he jumped out in a furious passion, wrenched off the handle of the pump, and began to smash the windows, menacing all around him. He, however, was secured before he did any mischief, except breaking seventeen squares of glass. He was all laughter and mimickry, accompanied at times with violence. He once kicked a keeper, named Roberts, on the knee, in such a manner as laid him up for a long time.
He was continually boasting about his professional business : how he fagged, how he rode ; what miracles he performed in his profession ; all day, all night, at all distances, and all the toils he went through during the period of his practice. He performed more than any other man, effected more miraculous cures, attended more women in child-bed, was more successful in cases of accidents, than any man since the days of Esculapius ; and although Chigwell is but a small village, he would have it believed that he set more limbs, healed more wounds, and repaired more accidents than actually happen in the field of battle between two contending armies, and attended more accouchements than usually occur in a rabbit-warren. His probationary time of twelve months had expired in the hospital ; but, as the physicians had still hopes of his ultimate recovery, the period was extended ; regular bleedingp.128 was resorted to, he got better every day, continued well for some months, and was finally discharged cured, 14th March 1822, and has remained well ever since. He was naturally a well disposed young man, but certainly much disordered.
Of Middlesex, aged fifty-four years, and admitted on the 18th May 1820. The mind of this wretched man, at his advanced years, had become the victim of a most singular, though unfounded notion, that he had had an unnatural connexion : and so fully was he persuaded of this fact, and so horrified at his imaginary guilt, that no power of persuasion could convince him to the contrary, or abate the miseries of his remorseful conscience. His constant exclamation, while under this delirium, was " Oh, my God ! Oh, my God ! I shall certainly go to hell, and be burnt alive for ever." He imagined the coppers in the kitchen were prepared to boil him, the oven to bake him, and the fires to roast him; that every vessel of water, though but a bucket-full, was intended to drown him ; that the heavens were tumbling down on him ; that every razor he saw was to cut his throat, every knife top.129 dissect him, and all the workmen's saws and hatchets to cut him asunder ; their chissels, gimlets, awls, and nails to pierce him ; their mallets and hammers to beat out his brains, their ropes and lines to hang him. He expected every moment that he was to be torn to pieces, and devoured by dogs, tigers, lions, wolves, bears ; that the houses would fall on him, and the earth open and swallow him up. When the least noise disturbed him, he would exclaim, with marked terror, " Oh, Heavens ! here they come ! oh, what shall I do ? where shall I run ? how shall I hide myself?"
His distracted fancy constantly pictured the supposed object to his vision, and he would exclaim, with closed and elevated hands, in a despondent tone : " Oh, you detested brute, I wish to God I had never seen you ! Curse you ! you have been my ruin and destruction, you hateful, ill-looking, lean old devil : Oh, dear me ! dear me ! what shall I do ?" He believed all the meat served up to the dinner-table was horse-flesh, and the beef in the peas-soup to be the flesh of dead men, cut up and boiled in it, for crimes like his own.
He remained twelve months in this hospital in this deplorable condition, and was ultimately discharged incurable. He had a wife and children ; and, to aggravate his misery, if possible, when he returned to his parish he found that hisp.130 faithless wife had increased his family by a young child about a month old ; and, what was still worse, that the father of this child, was his own brother ! !
Poor Baker was to others a harmless and inoffensive man, though a most deplorable object of pity, and incapable of any relief or abatement of the horrors of his distracted mind.
Aged thirty-nine, a native of London, and admitted on the 27th July 1820. When this patient was admitted he was in a high state of derangement ; but was discharged finally cured, on the 20th of March 1821.
Like other maniacs, though his mind was wild and extravagant on most subjects that happened for the moment to occupy his memory or attention, he had his favourite topic which prevailed over all others, and seemed to be the main spring of his delusions.
This was with him his imaginary skill in bridgebuilding ; in which, according to his notions, his operations were perfectly magical. He boasted of having built Waterloo-bridge in four days, and the Southwark-bridge in two hours. All the bridges over the Thames belonged to him, as didp.131 the Mansion-house, Carlton-house, and Somerset-house ; and all the turnpike-tolls in England were his property. Any building wheresoever, in which he had once set his foot, became instantly his : and this was his reason for coming to reside in Buckingham-house (by which name he stiled Bethlem- hospital). But to his imaginary skill, and his extensive possessions on these points, he was also an excellent whip ; and talked frequently of his dexterity in driving gigs, tandems, and curricles, better than any man in England, and of his deep knowledge in horse-flesh, and the pedigrees of the turf.
On the same day that he came into the hospital there was also admitted a poor woman named Abigail Rees. She was brought in secured in a straight-waistcoat, which was fastened in a very slovenly manner, so that the strings hung loosely about her, before and behind. Snelling, who marched about with a very knowing strut, observed her sharply for a little time : but his fancy instantly perverted the faculty of vision, and she was changed, in his view, to a very different sort of personage.
He called, with an air of authority, to one of the keepers, and pointing to Abigail Rees, said : " I say, hostler ! you see that mare, don't you ?" The keepers answered, " Oh yes, your honour." " Well, then," returned Snelling, " I can assurep.131 you she is one of the very best bits of blood in this country. Her sire was the son of old Eclipse, and her dam was the Duke of Devonshire's first breeding-mare, Catherine. I drove her in harness to Brighton yesterday, to see the Prince RegentSomeone who rules a state in the absence of the monarch, because the monarch is a child, absent or incapacitated., in thirty-nine minutes and twelve seconds, by my stop-watch ; and this morning I drove her back to town in twelve minutes and thirty-nine seconds. To be sure, there is something to be said for the longer time in yesterday's journey, because I stopped to dine on the road, and purchased some houses on the way, by just putting my foot into them : but to day she dashed forward at such a rate, she played the devil with my hands, in striving to rein her in. See," said he, " how she has broken the reins," taking hold of the loose strings of the straight-waistcoat.
Poor Abigail seemed quite angry, and rushed away from him with great indignation. " I say, hostler," continued Snelling, " take care she don't kick or bite you ; she's d_____d vicious."
Many months afterwards, when this man's derangement had considerably abated, and he was almost well, he assured the keepers that he remembered this occurrence perfectly, and that for a long time subsequent he believed the woman was a mare, and that all he had said about her at the time was perfectly true. p.133
Aged near fifty, and admitted nearly three years since. This patient is a Neapolitan. He was tried at Maidstone assizes on a criminal charge of attempting to violate his own niece ; but was found to be insane, and was transferred hither from Maidstone gaol. This man, though not the most frantic, is certainly one of the most troublesome and refractory patients on this establishment. In other times he would be considered as possessed by a daemon of discontent, for he is certainly one of the most noisy, grumbling, querulent, stubborn, and implacable geniuses that this asylum has ever entertained, and such is his constant practice from morning to night the year round.
He is, besides, extremely cunning and artful ; knows perfectly well what he says and does, and is so inveterately dissatisfied with being confined, as he says, for nothing at all, that he sometimes refuses to take his food until it is forced upon him.
From Greenwich, aged fifty, admitted 20th April 1820. This little fellow, whose height is not quite five feet, had been formerly a sheriff’sp.134 officer ; and, like other artists, probably owed his mental malady to his ardent pursuits in the exercise of his profession. He was always cheerful, alert, and loquacious, and boasted incessantly of his stratagems, exploits, and intrepidity in his important occupation. All impediments to his captures that bolts, bars, gates, doors, or the cautions of the debtor could interpose, vanished before his shrewdness, courage, activity and address. He made innumerable captions which no other officer was to be found willing or daring enough to undertake : no danger to his own life could damp his zeal, or defeat his enterprize. He totally disregarded the menaces of death and destruction in all their forms : guns, pistols, swords, daggers, knives, razors, or bludgeons were trifles to him. " I wanted no assistance ; I watched my opportunity," said he, and entered the house alone, by the back-door, or the area, or a window, and, desiring the debtor to surrender, I seized him as a spider would seize a fly, brought him off, lodged him in the spunging-house, and was then ready, able, and willing for another job."
Never did the keenest sportsman evince more apparent delight in recounting his adventures, and detailing his success in pursuing and seizing his game, whom he styled the " shy cocks," and the numberless stratagems he contrived to lure them to his toils. p.135 But his skill was by no means confined to this profession : his genius took a much wider range ; and amongst other projects, he chiefly attended to the manufacture of shoe-blacking, which he brought to such perfection as far to surpass all the efforts of Day and Martin, Turner, Warren, Healey, and the whole tribe of his japaning competitors. He talked like an inspired amateur of the inestimable qualities of his liquid jet, tint, gloss, adapted to all climates, water-proof, a specific preserver of leather against cock-chafers, black-beetles, and white ants, and would not soil the most delicate fingers or nicest silk-stocking. This was well known to all who tried it ; and it was the envy and malice of his rivals that brought him here : but he would soon get out, ruin them all to a man, and make his own fortune.
In this notion he seemed quite happy ; was always cheerful, sang, smoaked, and recounted his exploits with much seeming triumph.
This poor fellow was discharged cured about the latter end of 1820.
Of Bosbury, in Herefordshire, aged fifty-eight, admitted January 20th 1820. This poor old eccentric had been a farmer and butcher ; and,p.136 according to his own fanciful account, was eminent for his great wealth, as well as for his scientific management in agriculture, and his extensive credit. Half Herefordshire belonged to him.
He purchased splendid houses and extensive estates at auctions, without sixpence in his pocket towards paying the purchase-money, for no one doubted his means of payment. He invented a new mode of thatching hay and corn-stacks, by tiling them over like the roofs of houses. The subject of tythes had apparently occupied much of his temper as well as his genius. He hated all parsons : he quarrelled with the rector of his own parish, who lived near him, and to annoy him, he would blow an imaginary horn from his own window all night. He used occasionally to follow the rector to market ; and at one time continued to annoy him by blowing this horn at his ear all round the market-place, and seemed highly tickled at the recollection of this imaginary prank.
He was constantly occupied by some ingenious invention, according to his own story, and contrived many new-fangled fish-ponds, dove-cotes, ploughs, threshing-machines, gates, and fences ; planted trees, and contrived many whimsicalGiven to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour, or given to whimsy and fanciful notions. erections, of which he talked without order or regularity.
It is a rule of this establishment, that whenp.137 calm patients are insensible to the calls of nature, they are removed from the upper galleries to the basement story, where they sleep on straw. This man, who was remarkably cleanly in his habits, conceived a strong dislike to his keeper up stairs, and could not agree with him : and this antipathy was probably increased by an attachment he had contracted for the keeper in the basement story. He had applied several times to be removed down to that part of the building, without effect : but at length he drew upon his inventions for a stratagem to obtain his object, which was by plastering his bed, sheets, blankets, and the floor and walls of his apartment with filth, and this operation gained his point.
His malady after a considerable time so far abated, that he was permitted to go out on a month's leave of absence ; he came back apparently quite well, returned thanks, and was discharged cured on the 7th of December 1820, and returned to his small farm. But the state of agricultural affairs were not calculated to keep him tranquil, nor revive his domestic attachments. He came home on a very cold night, and probably influenced by the spice of his recent disease, he forcibly turned his whole family out of doors, to seek shelter where they could from the severity of the weather amongst their neighbours, for the night ; and he then set down with perfect composure, p.138 to enjoy the comforts of solitary meditation over a pitcher of ale and a pipe, and afterwards retired to bed.
Aged thirty-four, London, admitted 15th March 1821. This patient was an attorney at law, and was in this hospital before, admitted August 10th, 1820. His disease soon abated, and he was discharged quite well, on the 19th of October in the same year. But probably a recurrence to his former intercourse and round of amusement again disordered his mind, and he was sent back here on the day above-named.
A high notion of professional superexcellence is a very usual accompaniment to the state of mind which brings patients to this asylum. The memory takes its share in the common delusions of the other mental faculties. The ideas associate more intimately with the incidents of former habits ; and poor Mr. Upsdale, probably impressed with a permanent notion of his own pre-eminence in the knowledge of his profession, still thought he had no equal in the skill and practice of an attorney ; and when high mounted on this hobby, which was one of his favourite nags, his details were as amusing as wild. Accordingp.139 to his own story, no man was more profoundly skilled in the laws of his country, or the practice of the courts, above and below ; and so sharp was he, that he never lost a cause he once undertook. The other side, whether plaintiff or defendant, always shook in their shoes where he was concerned : he once went into court with a most intricate and hopeless case, but he astonished the whole bar, flatly contradicted the judge, bothered the special jury, and carried the verdict with a high hand, " and swinging damages with double costs."
But though professionally a limb of the law, his excellence there was minor, and but secondary to his talents on the race-course : that was his favourite field of action ; he was a horse jockey by nature. The dull drudgeries of the desk and Westminster Hall were not for his lively taste, and therefore he relinquished the law list for the Racing Kalendar : deserted John Doe and the court for the hippodrome, the bang-up club, the chariot race, and the turf.
Not only was he the first whip in the kingdom, and up to every thing on wheels, from a sky phaeton and six down to a tilbury, but was deeply skilled in horse-flesh, and quite at home with the pedigree of every bit of blood that had flourished at Newmarket, York, Epsom, or elsewhere, from the days of Eclipse, Hamiltonian, and Diamond, down to the present hour. p.140
He knew all their sires and dams, to the tenth generation : could detail the histories of all the plates, sweepstakes, and heats they had won or lost ; their triumphs in steeple-chases and trotting matches, and their flying feats over double ditches, high walls, and five-bar gates : with all the whens and wheres, and hows, and who were their riders : so " damn all fi-fa's, and ca-saShort for the Sturmabteilung, meaning 'Storm Detachment' and where the phrase 'storm trooper' comes from. They were also known as Brown Shirts, as they wore a brown uniform. Their primary purposes were providing vocal and violent protection for Nazi meetings, and disrupting, intimidating or…'s, quitams, trespasses, and trovers! The turf! the turf! was his darling sport!" and the constant topics of his conversation were his feats and fame at Newmarket, Carlisle, York, and Epsom. The superiority of his cattle and the numerous studs of “high-mettled racers" he always had ready for entry, to the number of twenty or thirty ; and he deplored the interruption of his detention here, " as he must be at Newmarket by such or such a day, or lose immense sums depending on his bets, " play or pay."
Report says that this poor fellow was actually so infected by this hippomania, that he deserted his profession and became a convert to the studies of the stable in all the mysteries of physicing, bleeding, sweating, training, and the whole pharmacy of the veterinary school.
His ultimate delight was in dashing to a racecourse in his knowing curricle, four-in-hand, quite in the Goldfinch stile ; and, of course, he was considered by the sharps a finished greenhorn and fairp.141 game ; he was consequently cleaned out of all the money he could muster, until he had nothing to " carry on the war" but his taste, as an amateur, until his reason ran the wrong side of the post and brought him here.
Still, however, he talked of his numerous stud ; the blood, bone, figure, movements, speed, vices and perfections of his cattle ; their breeding, what they cost him, how the natives were astonished at their excellence, what immense sums they had won, and what wonders he would do in the racing world whenever he could get out.
Then his associates were all bloods of the first order, all tip-top Corinthians. He would rank with none other. He had driven about in prime sporting stile, with the best appointments. His grooms, like his horses, were all blood : true Newmarket breed, up to anything. And as to himself, he was the best sporting judge on the turf, not excepting any member of the whole jockey club.
But, notwithstanding these imaginary notions of his great wealth and pre-eminence, the dashing Peter Upsdale was, in sober sadness, very poor ; and, but for the management of his excellent wife, and the liberality of his friends, he would have been reduced to extreme indigence.
He was discharged from this asylum well, for the second time, in October 1822 ; since which he again called at the hospital in his carriage: p.142 but his blood cattle have again run away with his understanding, and he has been lately consigned to a private madhouse.
Aged twenty-six, admitted 20th December 1821. This unfortunate Israelite had been a travelling Jew pedlar, and, in times less enlightened, would seem to be really possessed by a daemon of discord. Grumbling and discontent seemed to be the prevailing symptoms of his disorder ; and his whole time, from morning till night, was occupied in growling and finding fault with everything about him, and endeavouring to render his fellow patients as unhappy as himself. He totally denied all derangement, termed his confinement here " false imprisonment," and demanded to be brought to his trial. The food, the drink, the treatment, were all unwholesome and bad. He was extremely noisy and violent by day and night, tore his clothes to pieces at times, and frequently required restraint. He was brought here from Drury-lane, where he lived, very much deranged. He then had lately come from Newcastle-upon- Tyne, where he had been dealing rather too largely in the profits of his calling. He was there taken before a magistrate for selling a most capitalp.143 watch to an honest Scotsman for fifty shillings, which cost himself but twenty-three shillings : but the bargain was rescinded by the magistrate, and Josephs was forced to return the purchase money. His vexation at being thus foiled was the leading cause of his derangement.
He sometimes amused himself in epistolary correspondence with his friends, and was extremely anxious to be replaced here by some substitute.
The following is a specimen, addressed to his mother :
" Dear, ungrateful Mother : "
I have been here ten days ; long enough, I think j almost starved, and my boots without any soles. I think it very hard to be kept here so long, especially as my brothers have not been kept here too. Why don't you send my brother Charles here, and take me home ? He has as much right to be here as I have. Besides, you might find a substitute for a trifle of money. There are plenty of soldiers and sailors who have been discharged, and who would come here in my place for a trifle : and I would pay you again.
" I am, dear ungrateful mother, "
Your unhappy son, &c. &c."
He was sometimes tolerably tranquil, but neverp.144 without grumbling. When a little high, his habit was to continue all night complaining of his unjust confinement and hard treatment. But this he chaunted in a sort of poetic manner, of which the following couplets may serve as a specimen :
" Confined here :
Oh, dear !
What a shame !
Who's to blame?
_____ my eyes,
What blow'd lies.
Brought me here ?
Never fear !
Where's my mother ?
And my brother ?
Come in here,
That's the time :
" Sold a watch,
Nabb'd a catch.
Stopp'd my gig,
What a rigg !
What a row !
All's well :
Go to hell !
Bring some beer !
Nothing carved !"
This " sweet singer of Israel" obtained a month's leave of absence on the 18th of July, and was finally discharged, cured, on the 1st of August 1822 : he is now at liberty to follow his professional calling. p.145
Aged thirty-four, admitted 9th of August 1821. This man appeared to have been originally an ignorant, self-conceited, ambitious country fellow, full of low cunning ; which was sufficiently apparent, even through the veil of his derangement.
The leading traits of his malady were, a notion that he was to inherit an immense fortune, and an inveterate itch for reform. He imagined that he was sent to this institution expressly for the purpose of correcting abuses, and establishing a new system of management ; and, under the influence of this whim, he became quite busy and inquisitive, found fault with every thing, complained of every body, and declaimed in his way against every department. The physicians, the stewards, the keepers, the cook, and the very gardener were, according to him, all doing wrong, and were the persons he particularly came to look after. He was very busy in communicating his purposes amongst such as he met in the gallery and airing ground ; and as he could not write eligibly himself, he employed an old patient, named Moore, as his secretary. All transactions that struck his notice were immediately noted down by his dictation, with his own comments upon them. One of the first results he expectedp.146 from his vigilance and activity was, that he should be appointed keeper in chief. He applied to the physician for the purpose, and assured his companions that he was immediately to have the charge of a gallery, as the present keeper there was found unfit. He had an excellent knack at making mischief, exciting discontent, and promoting quarrels amongst his simple associates, by telling tales of one to the other, eliciting resentments, and then reporting what he heard to the others : and thus he set them together by the ears, proving himself more of a knave than a simpleton.
He was greatly disappointed in finding he was about to be discharged without the promotion he so confidently expected; and he wrote a letter to his aunt, stating that as he intended to begin business for himself, as soon as he should get out, he wanted some part of the great fortune, which he imagined he was to possess some time or other, to begin the world with, as he was quite tired of being a labourer, and knew more of his business than any other man.
The following copy of one of his letters, indited with a piece of burnt stick on whited-brown paper, will afford a specimen of his epistolary stile.
" Dear Haunt : "
Hi hop u wil excus this lettar, has hi ham gon to bee disscharg, hand wil cum to se u wenp.147 hi av mone in my poket—wen I wil av plessure i wis u too sen mee for ponds to by a jakhass hand cart to sel grens too the hopitil, has hi ham promised: hi will pa u bak wen hi can.
" hi ham,
" loving hant,
" ure lovin
" John Boyett."
Aged twenty-six, from Feversham, in Kent, admitted 11th October 1821. This little fellow, consistently enough with his name, was a postillion ; and his disease was the result of excessive drinking : a failing but too common with his fraternity.
He came to this hospital from a private madhouse, where he had been confined some time. He could not believe that he laboured under any derangement ; his sole misfortune was his having lost such immense sums of money, and being unlawfully kept out of his rights. He boasts that he was the cleverest fellow in England in his profession, and would not turn his back on the first whip on any road in the kingdom. His ambitionp.148 for excellence in this way seemed to be his ruling passion. He would challenge all the whipsters in England to drive twenty horses in harness against him ; and alleges he could do more with them than any other man he ever saw. He thought himself immensely rich, and that the man who passed for his master at Feversham was only his servant : but he himself chose to drive a post-chaise merely for his amusement. He says his coming to this place was merely a hoax upon him: he however soon found out the difference, and he began to make himself useful in the gallery.
He was a smart, active young fellow. Continued care and temperance brought him to his rational notions, and he was discharged well, on the 21st February 1822. Probably by a return to his old practices, and the nature of his occupation, he again became deranged, and was presented here for re admission ; but it was discovered that he had become paralytic, of which he had formerly evinced some symptoms, and he was rejected of course.
From Fribourg, in Prussia, aged forty five, admitted November 15th, 1821. This poor Prussian tailor had been employed for fifteen years atp.149 D'Oyley's warehouse in the Strand, was an excellent workman, bore a good character, and came here deranged from St. Clement's workhouse.
The green-eyed monster, Jealousy, seems to be the familiar spirit that rules his frenzied imagination, and a strong suspicion and a fancied conviction of his wife's inconstancy, was either the original source, or the perpetual concomitants of his disorder ; and the feats of Messalina were nothing to the extent and variety of amours he imputed to her, without the slightest foundation. He used to enumerate a French Count, an English tailor, some publicans, besides other Englishmen, and a long assortment of Germans, Russians, Prussians, Italians, Swedes, Danes, Hanoverians, and Irish ; these he would reckon on his fingers until he worked himself up to a furious passion, and then exclaim in a loud tone—" Yesh ! by G__, all deir countries—and Greek and Turks has she been wid—I will kill her, by G__, a plood b___h."
He was continually amusing himself with working at his trade, and spoiling every thing he attempted to repair. He padded his own coat with flocks from his bed ; he turned his pantaloons, and put the seams outward. He was so enraged with his wife, that her life was endangered whenever she came to see him ; and his young childp.150 which she brought one day in her arms, he swore was a young baboon, and that its father lives at Exeter Change. He was not generally violent here, though he frequently evinced a strong disposition that way, when offended. He was always anxious to get out, and was very importunate for his discharge from Dr. Monro.
His manner of preparing his bed for his night's repose was curious : first he would throw bed and bedding upon the floor, then lay a large blanket and one sheet on the sacking of the bedstead, afterward he spread the second sheet and another blanket, third came the bed, and over that a blanket and a rug ; then, undressing, he would get in on the undermost sheet, with the bed and other drapery over him, and thus he lay snug in press until morning, and this was his regular habit.
He fancied himself immensely rich, and intended to pay off all the debts of Government. He had the most confirmed opinion in all his whims, and his eccentricities were beyond the ordinary class of madmen. He was discharged paralytic, on the 4th of April 1822, and is again extremely ill at his own home in Goswell-street. p.151
Aged thirty-two, admitted 28th June 1821. This patient had been once in very respectable life, was occupied as a ship-broker, and his derangement was ascribed to heavy losses and disappointments in business. He appeared to have been a very genteel man ; perfectly harmless and well conducted for some time after his first admission : but afterwards his disorder became high. He tore his clothes, and became, in his opinion, a very great man. He had in his own hands the insurance of all outward-bound ships from the River Thames to every part of the globe ; and, in fact, no ship left the river without having Mr. St—m—e's seal affixed to her. He knew every body by name, but none by sight. He transacted all his business without ever seeing the principals ; and ever since he came here he had done, in imagination, insurance business to the extent of hundreds of thousands.
He was at all times very cheerful, danced and sung, and made many promises of conferring numerous appointments and lucrative situations on his poor fellow- patients. He was at length found to be paralytic, and was discharged. His friends were respectable, and he was known to many opulent merchants in London. p.152
Aged twenty-seven, admitted 5th of April 1821. This poor fellow had been a menial servant, sometimes occupied as a coachman, and at others as a labourer about a farm-yard. He became religiously affected : turning from the ways of sin, the flesh, and the labour of industry, he was initiated in the spirit and became a methodist. He was here remarkable for his taciturnity, " because in much discourse there was sin ;" but whenever he broke silence it was always on some religious topic, and every occurrence of the day excited him to some quotation from the Holy Scripture.
He seemed much read in the Old and New Testaments and Common Prayer-Book ; John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and other spiritualized allegories ; books of hymns, psalms, and meditations ; Baxter's Shove, Call to the Elect, &c, and perfectly knew the road to heaven ; but the evil spirit constantly opposed his progress, and drove him back. His struggles with the wicked one were very great, and he hoped that, ere long, he should conquer and be called. Sometimes his fellow-patients who were recovering would ridicule his sanctity, and call him a Pan-tyler : but he would on those occasions stoutly disclaim methodism, and profess himself a staunch church ofp.153 England man. No monk could evince a stronger propensity to self-mortification ; and, amongst other contrivances for self-punishment, he used to prick pinholes in his face and hands until they were smeared with blood ; and he frequently tied a handkerchief round his neck so tight, that it nearly choaked him.
He was ever bewailing his former blindness in the spirit, and the aberrations of his past life ; but hoped, by self-mortification, prayer, and good works, that he might still be saved. He acknowledged, with great penitence, his having once stolen some hams, in company with accomplices : but he received no part of the profit, though he shared the blame ; and this he hoped would extenuate the offence. He was always prompt in scriptural quotations, and applied them on all occasions, whether reading, eating, drinking, washing, or however otherwise employed.
He remained here until the expiration of twelve months, and was then taken to a private madhouse at Bethnal Green, on the 30th of April 1822, where he still remains.
Aged sixty, admitted about two years since. This is a north-countryman. He was convictedp.154 of a violent assault on a man of whom he was jealous : but was deemed to be insane, and consigned to a mad-house. At present, and for some time past, he appears, in his calm moments, quite sane, rational, quiet, and well-behaved ; but is apt to be very irritable and passionate on the slightest provocation.
Aged forty-six, admitted August 9th 1821. This man had been a labourer in agriculture, and when he came in was highly disordered and violent. Judging from the effects, it would appear that his derangement originated in fanatacism and superstition. His chief amusement was twirling his head about, like a watchman's rattle ; which, of itself, would have been sufficient to addle his brain and excite distraction. His notion was, " that by so doing he kept off evil spirits, sin, and wickedness." Sometimes, on being asked why he twirled his head thus, he answered, " to make bubbles in the water, and keep them off (the evil spirits) ; and if I was not to do it, you would soon have them down upon you, and be all devoured up."
Sometimes he was doing so " to turn the planetsp.155 in their proper places, keeping off fogs, damps, and heat."
This man had the repute of being, much better informed than most others in his sphere of life : but the poor fellow has exemplified the maxim of the poet, that
" A little learning is a dangerous thing."
As a ploughman, a mower, a thrasher, and an agriculturer, he is said to have no competent rival in his county. His head is conically formed, like a sugar-loaf, and might afford an eligible topic for the speculations of Spurzeim, or any other of the craniologists. He was discharged an ideot, on the 13th December 1821.
London, aged twenty-nine, admitted May 10th 1821. This young man had been a patient in this hospital before, and had continued here for twelve months, when he was placed on the incurable list ; but having got much better, and continuing to improve for some time, six months' leave of absence was granted him, at the expiration of which period he came back completely well, returned thanks to the governors, and was discharged perfectly cured.
The character and symptoms of this patient'sp.156 disorder were extremely curious and singular. When the paroxysm came on, however he happened to be situated, his whole frame from head to foot became stiff, as if all his joints and muscles were ossified. His eyes, though staring open, became fixed, and he foamed at the mouth. If sitting or walking when his fit came on, he would instantly fall to the ground, generally extended at full length on his back, with the same symptoms of rigid stiffness and insensibility : his eyes, open and inclined upward, were insensible to the touch of a hand passed over them, which did not produce the slightest wink. No symptom of animation remained, with the exception of breathing : but this so faintly as to be scarcely perceptible.
His condition in all other respects resembled death ; and in this state he would sometimes continue for one, two, three, and even four days, without any apparent change. He could not be induced on those occasions to eat or take any kind of sustenance ; except, under the direction of medical gentlemen, when rich broths were passed by injection sufficient to sustain nature : but of this he seemed quite unconscious. During the fits his whole person was literally as stiff as a plank, and he might be raised to a perpendicular, and carried from place to place like a ladder, without the least appearance of flexibility. Towards the termination of those paroxysms, when a hand wasp.157 passed over the eye-balls they would sometimes move, which was a prognostic of his recovery : and on being roused from his stupor, he recollected nothing of what had passed ; but he would speak of dreams, visions, heaven, hell, and the strange things he had seen, at least with " his mind's eye." Visions which, with the fanatical disciples of Hannah Southcote, would have stamped him a sealed prophet, and sanctioned as divine revelations the wild dreams of his disordered fancy. After those fits he always appeared weak and dejected. He was a very fine young man, powerful and active, and had served as a master's mate in the Royal Navy.
When formerly confined here he was at times extremely violent ; and on one occasion attacked one of the keepers, and did him considerable injury. He is heir to a considerable property in the. neighbourhood of Dulwich, but his right of possession still hangs vaccillating in the glorious uncertainty of the law.
He was discharged quite cured on the 28th of February 1822, after a month's previous leave of absence.
Aged twenty-three, from London, admitted here about a year since, and had been previouslyp.158 confined six years in the Penitentiary at Millbank, to which place he was committed in commutation for his sentence of transportation for seven years, incurred by his conviction for picking pockets, in which profession he was an eminent adept ; nor does the length of his confinement, or the nature of his insanity, seem in the least to have altered his taste for that pursuit.
On being asked how he obtained a living in all his former life, he answered : " by thieving, to be sure."
" How would you get your living again, if you were sent out ?"
" By thieving, to be sure : nothing like it." He became deranged while in the Penitentiary, and still continues so. He is said to have been a thief ever since his childhood. His person is diminutive, and his habits slovenly and uncleanly.
Aged thirty-five, admitted here about two years since. This dangerous maniac is a Yorkshire-man, and was convicted of the murder of his own brother by cutting off his head, but as it was the result of insanity, he was ultimately consigned to this place. In general he appears to be a silly simpleton, but on that account is the more dangerous, p.159 because his fits of fury burst forth suddenly, and when the least expected. ' He lately attacked another patient, for some imaginary cause, and would have effectually despatched him but for the timely interposition of the keepers. He is quite persuaded that the keepers only detain him for their own gratification, and might liberate him at any time they chose : he is, therefore, constantly importunate with them to let him go ; and extremely displeased at their refusal to comply. He cannot be trusted without strict vigilance.
Aged about forty, admitted two years since. This patient is a native of Scotland. He was tried and convicted of breaking open a dwelling house, robbing it of various articles, and sent to the Hulks ; but he there became insane, and was sent here at the period above mentioned.
When he first came to this hospital, he appeared quite rejoiced at his lucky change of quarters.
Freed from his irons, which were as usual rivetted on, exempted from labour, and comfortably lodged and fed, he appeared quite happy at his removal to so good a place. In his tranquil intervals his conversation is quite rational, and betrays not the least symptom of insanity ; but, onp.160 the contrary, he shews all the characteristics of his native shrewdness. He drives a small tobacco trade here, under the rose, amongst his fellow patients, many of whom are immoderately fond of that article ; and by this traffic he takes good care not to be a loser. But, notwithstanding his occasional shrewdness, he is far from being generally sane, for he has frequent intervals of alternate cheerfulness and melancholy. When high, he sings and dances as if elevated with liquor ; but when low, he is quite sunk and depressed. Upon the whole, however, he is tolerably quiet and well-conducted.
Aged thirty-six, London, admitted May 3d 1821. This wretched man had been a working engineer, employed for many years under the late Mr. Rennie. His malady commenced without any assignable cause, and the derangement of his own mental machinery was discovered from the wildness and absurdity of some of his operations. He purchased several immense logs of wood to build a hen-house, which he constructed with much labour ; but when finished, although it was sufficiently large and strong to contain several elephants, yet it could neither accommodatep.161 or secure his poultry. While at work for Mr. Rennie, it was observed that all he did for a considerable time was irregular and imperfect, and finally he appeared quite deranged. He was brought to this institution, and during the period he remained, confinement seemed intolerable to him, and his invention was constantly at work to find his way out. At doors, windows, privies, and every aperture, however small, he attempted escape, in vain. His prayers and intreaties to obtain the loan of the keys from the keepers were alike ineffectual. He frequently attempted to squeeze himself through the interstices between the iron-bars, and over the top of the iron-gate, leading from the basement-gallery to the airing-ground, a width of about five inches.
It was soon perceived that this patient was paralytic, and therefore he was discharged on the 24th of May 1821. He was afterwards sent to a private asylum at Somers Town, from which he soon escaped, and rambled about the fields, almost naked, for several days, until he was nearly starved to death. His friends advertised a reward for finding him, and he was at last found near Enfield, lying in a ditch, in a miserable state, with no other clothing than his old flannel drawers. He was brought home to his friends, but found to be so unmanageable that he was sent to St. Luke's hospital, from which he was afterwardsp.162 dismissed for the like cause of paralysis, which procured his discharge from Bethlem. His wife, probably displeased at his dismission, fancied that he had been cruelly treated in St. Luke's, and caused a statement of his sufferings to be inserted in some of the newspapers ; but whether this story was founded on the wild tale of a lunatic, or whether the governors of St. Luke's took the trouble to investigate the charge, the writer is not informed.
Aged fifty-five, admitted 25th of April 1822. This man came from Hornchurch, in Essex. He was a labourer, and had been confined here a patient six years ago. Want of employment, and consequent distress, are assigned as the causes of his derangement. But, whatever might have been his disposition in a state of sanity, nothing can be of worse character than his manners, disrobed of all influence of morality or discretion ; and which, but for the plea of his disorder, would entitle him to no reception elsewhere, save in Bridewell or the Hulks. He is, in fact, a compound of bad qualities ; savage, ignorant, unfeeling, selfish, full of low cunning, an inveterate pilferer, so that no trifle, however small, can escape his fingers. He is destitute ofp.163 all natural feeling or regard for his wife and five children, who never seem to cost him a thought, still less a sigh. He has no more notion of religion of any kind than a horse : he has, in fact, no concern for any person beyond himself. Eating and drinking are his favourite amusements, which he enjoys like a hog ; and tobacco the sole idol of his worship, and of which he uses an incredible quantity, by night and day, in the most filthy manner. He is quite insensible to reprimand or reproach : he cares not what any one says of him.
His thieving propensities extend to every thing he can lay hands on : provisions, thread, old rags, spoons, knives, forks, skewers, &c. ; and his pockets, hat, bosom, and every part of his clothing which he can convert to a receptacle, are continually filled with trash of all descriptions.
Added to these accomplishments, every sentence he utters is accompanied by an oath, or an imprecation, or some blasphemous expression : in fact, he is a most profane and profligate wretch, and very little removed from a brute.
Perhaps it may be thought illiberal, to arraign those vices in a wretched man deprived of his reason ; but they are by no means the growth of temporary insanity, and must have had their origin in his disposition and conduct long before insanity commenced.
Previously to his last commitment hither, hep.164 attempted, in a fit of treacherous fury, to murder his wife and children ; and would, most likely, have succeeded in this sanguinary and atrocious purpose, but for the timely interference of a neighbour.
He obtained a month's leave of absence, on the 26th of last September, but has not since returned.
London, aged forty-seven, admitted January 3d 1822. This man was one of the class of lunatic visitants, who some years since, during the life of his late Majesty, were so assiduous and troublesome in their visits to Buckingham House, and their endeavours to gain admission there. He has been frequently, in the course of the last eighteen years, deranged, and in different places of confinement on that account. He was discharged from this hospital on the 12th November 1818 ; but was afterwards sent hither, by an order from the Secretary of State, and on the 11th of April 1822 was liberated by the same authority, and discharged well.
When in his state of derangement, his propensity was to claim as his own property the royal palaces at Windsor, Kew, St. James's, Buckingham House, &c. ; and he would frequently visitp.165 them all, and take imaginary possession of them, by contriving to get within their entrances. He did not imagine himself to be the king, but that the king had no right to those palaces, as they were his property ; and he therefore demanded that they might be surrendered to him.
His ordinary employment for livelihood had been hawking laces, garters, braces, &c. about the country ; and while in this house, he was generally employed in knitting garters. He conducted himself very properly ; he was well acquainted with the history of Bedlam, and was continually passing his remarks upon the whole system of management adopted here, which sometimes he approved, and at others censured. Not the minutest circumstance in the conduct of physicians, keepers, or patients, escaped his notice or observation ; and when discharged, in 1818, he published a pamphlet on the management of the hospital, and was pretty free in his criticisms upon all points that did not square with his notions of propriety.
He was a neat little man, of peculiar aspect : his face curiously formed, small and sallow, with a stiff black beard ; his eyes diminutive, black, and piercing, like those of a water-rat.
Since his last discharge from this place he has again become deranged, and is confined at an asylum in York. p.166
Aged thirty-three, admitted 18th April 1822. This man came from Milton Abbey, Dorsetshire ; had been a gentleman's servant, and since a labourer. The leading character of this patient's malady is the shortness of its intermittent periods, which scarcely ever exceed three or four days, before he again relapses for a similar time ; and thus the alternation continues from time to time.
When in his state of distraction, he will stand for hours together, with his eyes fixed on the ground, until roused from his reverie by the approach of strangers, or the physicians, or any person not familiar to him ; he will then start suddenly, stamp with his foot on the ground, and exclaim, in a loud voice, " God bless the king, and all the admirals—he would fight up to his neck in blood for them." He does not like the French ; and every person he dislikes he calls a Frenchman. He drinks, in his small beer, " God bless and save the Government, and King George the IVth : he would sooner be transported to Newfoundland than die in France." His discourse is extremely wild and incoherent. During the short intervals that he continues tranquil, he is obliging, civil, quiet, and anxious to make himself useful : and indeed naturally an honest, industrious, goodp.167 kind of man ; and, from the favourable symptoms of his convalescence, he will probably be soon discharged.
Aged thirty-seven, admitted 24th January 1822. This man is, in stature, a minor giant, for he is six feet and four inches in height. He is a well digger by profession, and so much attached to this art of sinking by his labours, that, on the first overt attack of his malady, he jumped down into a well, ninety feet deep, with a view to destroy himself; but was got up without much injury. Disappointed in his first attempt, he contrived again to get to the well, and repeated his experiment by another ninety-feet plunge, and again escaped alive, and without any great injury sustained. It was then thought high time to confine him, and since he was brought here he has acted very suspiciously ; but a strict watch is constantly kept over him, to prevent suicide.
He has once or twice taken a sly opportunity of getting at a pail, which he filled with water at the pump, and plunged his head into it, for the purpose of suffocation, which was prevented. When he cannot get at the pail, he takes the night-bowl in his room, fills it with water, or any liquid hep.168 can procure, and plunges his head into it, for the like fatal purpose ; but it is too shallow to answer his intentions.
It appears this man has two wives, both living, and four children by the second. Whether the double dose of matrimony, or fanaticism, had the effect of producing his disorder, is not certain : but, he says, his first spouse was troubled with fits, and, when one of those came on, she had the devil in her : she had them so frequently, that at last she became crazed, and was a wife fit for no man, according to his estimation, and therefore he got another.
He says he was a staunch Church of England man all his life, until within these few years ; but he dissented from the high church, and became a methodist, and from that time he has been made sensible of the enormity of his sins—sins of such magnitude, as can never be pardoned. He is usually sunk in mournful melancholy ; and seldom, if ever, speaks, except to answer a question. He will remain for hours fixed like a statue in one position, with a long-drawn visage, the emblem of despair. When he sits down it is often difficult to raise him. He hates locomotion ; refuses to go to his dinner, and says he would rather be cut into ten thousand pieces than go. The keepers are then obliged to carry him to dinner by force, and sometimes up stairs from the airing-ground, orp.159 wherever this fancy takes him. He is deeply read in the Bible, and quotes promptly, from every part of the Scripture, texts which he thinks corroborate his desponding notions, but he says he cannot follow up what the Scriptures prescribe.
This poor fellow is a native of Somersetshire, where he married his first wife. He came here from Wrotham, in Kent, where he lived a long time, with an excellent character for honesty, sobriety, and industry : but from the time his mind received the first taint of fanaticism his delusion increased. So deeply has his melancholy struck root in his mind, that he has never been once seen to smile since his admission ; and although he seems at times to get somewhat better, his case, on the whole, is rather hopeless.
Aged thirty, from St. Mary's Cray, Kent. This poor fellow was a journeyman paper-maker near the village he came from, with a family of a wife and three children. But jealousy, whether founded or not, seems to have originated his malady : for according to his own incoherent story, his faithless rib deserted and left him, without the cheering comforts of a partner in his conjugal cares. His misfortunes having driven himp.170 from manufacturing paper, he has commenced a new trade since he came in here, of which his imagination is both the source and the market.
In fact, he has established, in his own notion, a very thriving trade in hops and corn, and deals very largely in those commodities. He is always as busy in the airing ground here, in looking out for customers, as if he were in the Southwark hop-market, or in the Corn Exchange, Mark lane. " Come," he will say to a fellow-maniac, " I can let you have ten tons of hops to-day very reasonable ; or I can put you in a few hundred quarters of wheat well worth your money—come, I will not be hard with you, if you will make me any reasonable offer."
When he followed the paper trade he could earn, in his own notion, more money in an hour than two other men in a day, and was always " singly equal to eight men in a week." He is not of that irritable cast, like others, in whom the ardour of the mind emaciates the body ; for he is as fat and unwieldy as if he still moved amongst all the plenty and strong ale of his native country, and had no other occupation than the amusements of food and drink. He has no activity, and takes but little exercise, except now and then when he takes a dancing fit, in which his motions fall not much short of the grace and vivacity of an accomplished bear. He is incorrigiblyp.171 addicted to dirt and slovenliness, and generally has his bosom and his hat crammed with samples— not of hops or wheat, but of straw, bones, pebble-stones, flannel, linen rags, wooden spoons, bread, old handkerchiefs, and filth of every sort that he can pick up : and these are the commodities he exhibits for sale to his customers as hops and wheat, in the gallery and airing ground. But he is perfectly quiet and harmless : and if it be true that " happiness exists only in the mind," and that " content is a kingdom," this poor Savage is quite a monarchA king, queen, or emperor in his way.
Aged twenty-seven, admitted August 8th, 1822. This smart little fellow was a conveyancer by profession, but became unfortunately involved in one of the traps of the law : he was arrested for a small debt of £20, which he was unable to pay, and therefore was consigned to the Fleet Prison— a kind of hotel not very reconcilable to the patience of even a stoic philosopher, without the means of existence. In a little time poor Adams, by the rapid movement of his mind, passed through all the gradations from chagrin to insanity ; p.172 and it became necessary to transfer him hither, without the ceremony of Habeas CorpusThe right not to be imprisoned unlawfully..
However extensive may have been the range of his professional talents, it must have fallen infinitely short of the scope and versatility of his imagination in his state of derangement. Wholly unlimited by the identities of time, place, or person, he instantly accommodates each to his fancy in a moment, and he is any where, and every where, and any body, by turns. At one time he imagined himself to be the Lord Chancellor, or, as he emphatically stated himself, " Young Baggs ;" and no mortal tongue ever maintained the loquacity of the law, or talked with more incessant volubility, than his imaginary lordship.
He would decide ten thousand causes in a day ; he would accuse, try, condemn, and execute whole nations in a breath. His language was as wild and far-fetched as his fancy was various ; topics of all kinds seemed to come tumbling into his mind, without order or connexion. Of every name he heard mentioned he instantly became the personal representative, and says, " I am he;" thus he is by turns Buonaparte, the King, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Londonderry, the Persian Ambassador, Mr. Pope, Homer, Smollett, Hume, Gibbon, John Bunyan, Mrs. Clarke, the Queen, Pergami. He is successively a Hottentot, p.173 a Lascar, a Spaniard, a Turk, a Jew, a Scotsman, a member of any religious sect, except a methodist. He has been in all situations and occupations of life, according to his own account ; a potboy at Hampstead, a shoeblack, a chimney-sweeper, an East-India Director, a kennel-raker, a goldfinder, an oyster-woman, a Jew cast-clothesman, a police justice, a judge, a keeper of Newgate, and, as he styles it, " His Majesty's law ironmonger for the home department:" nay, he has even been Jack Ketch, and has hung hundreds ; he has been a soldier, and has killed thousands ; a Portuguese, and poignarded scores ; a Jew pedlar, and cheated all the world ; a member of Parliament for London, and betrayed his constituents ; a Lord Mayor, a bishop, an admiral, a dancing-master, a Rabbi, Grimaldi, in the pantomime, and ten thousand other occupations, that no tongue or memory but his own could enumerate.
The specimen just given may serve as a sample of what is passing in his fancy.
All the world belongs exclusively to him, and he will dispose of it just as he chooses. He will massacre all blacks, Jews, Roman Catholics, and QuakersMembers of a Protestant sect that moved away from the established Church of England in the seventeenth century., hackney-coachmen, pawnbrokers, lawyers, and lunatics. The last he will first turn out of this house, and have their places filled by wild beasts ; all the old women, the lame and blind, all virgins, soldiers, sailors, and children in thep.174 small-pox, cripples of every description ; all criminals shall be sent here, and debtors from all the prisons and lock-up houses ; he will feed them all himself— and then he will be happy." These and the like topics occupy his whole time and conversation from morning till night. His tongue goes incessantly at full gallop, without a moment's respite. Those whom he threatens to destroy at one hour, are in the next the objects of his favour, and all others are to be destroyed in their stead. It would be scarcely possible to believe, that such a heterogeneous infinity of topics could so rapidly pass through the wildest imagination, if this man did not exemplify the fact.
The series goes on in the same endless current, and without a moment's hesitation, his fancy plies his tongue with new topics.
When he is tired of ranging the airing ground and lower regions of the building, the spirit carries him to the upper galleries, and at the same time elevates to immortality and omnipotence his notions of his own being and attributes. He sometimes styles himself God : loves the top gallery, because it affords him a fine view, and a pleasing opportunity to look down from Heaven, as he says, upon his subjects below.
Another unfortunate maniac here, named Joseph Panter, supposes himself to be our Saviour. p.175
One day, when Adams found the door leading to the top gallery open, he ran up stairs to heaven, as he calls it, where he met Panter, who, much out of humour at his appearance, told Adams he had no business to come there, and then gave him a box on the ear and a kick behind, and sent him tumbling down stairs. Adams ran immediately to the airing-ground, rushed towards his keeper, and with frighted looks and almost out of breath, told him that he had been very ill-used. " I went up stairs," said he, " to heaven, and saw J____ C_____ walking about in white. I said nothing to him : but before I had been five minutes in heaven he came up to me, and gave me a punch on the head, and tumbled me down stairs."
This poor fellow still continues much in the same stale as when first admitted. He styles his wife, who sometimes visits him, " his dear little black queen," and proposes to appoint her a maid of honour to his Queen Charlotte, " for whom," he says, " he has a much greater affection." p.176
Aged thirty-nine, admitted 28th November 1822. This man was a gardener at Northampton, and had been disordered several months. His derangement commenced with a strong notion that he was to fall the victim of poison, administered by some persons having a design upon his life : and so strong was this impression on his deluded mind, that for a long time he took his food, of whatever it consisted, with extreme caution, and marked suspicion ; but during three months preceding his transmission to this hospital, he refused all other sustenance but milk alone, and subsisted entirely on this. When he rose from bed every morning he was taken to a meadow near his residence, and furnished with a stool, on which he sat till bed-time. His daily allowance was a can of milk, which was brought to him every morning, and thus provided, he mused the whole day, in a melancholy solitude, utterly careless of his person, and every thing around him. During the whole three months of this meadowed retirement he was neither shaved nor washed ; and when presented for admission here, he came with all his filthy appendages thick upon him, more like some non-descript species of the brute creation than a human being. A long beard enveloped the lowerp.177 parts of his face, and the rest of it was clothed with dirt of various kinds and colours ; his head projecting forward, his body bent almost double, his whole frame feeble and tottering, his steps timid and cautious, his eye sharp, scowling, and inquisitive, and his utterance suppressed almost to dumbness. He presented altogether the character of some curious wild animal, better suited for the menagerie at Exeter-Change than for the class of human beings ; and, under a new name, might have been viewed as a species of the ourang-outang, and have become an attractive object to the curious in natural history.
The poor fellow, on his entrance here, was impressed with strong fears that he was brought for the purpose of being killed ; and, under this notion, he earnestly begged that as he was a poor, weakly object, they would not put him to a very lingering or tormenting death. But, what is extremely singular in the result of his removal here, as a place of proper treatment, that no sooner was his person cleansed from filth, and his squalid apparel changed for comfortable clothing, than a visible abatement of his disorder commenced. From the second day after his admission he took his food without the slightest symptom of doubt or apprehension ; he became comparatively cheerful, assumed a contented aspect, and his fear of being murdered quite vanished : and inp.178 seven days' time there appeared a most extraordinary change in his whole manners, health, habits, and opinions : a change perhaps unparalleled within so short a period, in the whole annals of insanity. He has latterly imbibed the extraordinary notion of his being filled with frogs, and that all the food he takes goes to their support.
Aged twenty-six, from Balcomb in Sussex, admitted 14th February 1822. This young man had been twice before confined in this hospital ; the last time he was admitted on the 19th of October 1820, and discharged, well, on the 22d February 1821.
Since his recent admission he has very frequently relapsed when nearly well, and on no occasion continued tranquil longer than for three weeks or a month. The approach of a fresh attack is discovered from his laughing heartily at every frivolous occurrence ; more especially at any thing mischievous. So long as the fit continues, which is generally from one to three or four weeks, his frenzy is very high, and his conduct very bad ; he insults all persons he comes near, indiscriminately, and his language is horriblyp.179 blasphemous, insulting (as poor Captain Lloyd tells him) to the great God of heaven.
His expressions in this state are too dreadful to repeat, and his oaths and imprecations terrible beyond conception.
When in this way, the unfortunate man becomes dirty and slovenly. He wears his hat with the crown torn out, and the brim uppermost. On those occasions his disease is at the worst, and, while the paroxysm continues, his notions are wild and incoherent to excess. He believes one man to be God, another to be the devil. Some he believes to be angels ; others horses, dogs, bears, tigers, porcupines, &c. &c. One man he takes to be his father ; another the king ; and, in short, every person, and thing, assumes, in his fancy, some character, quality, or appearance totally wide of the reality.
But when the poor fellow's frenzy is abated, and something like calm reflexion returns, it is impossible for penitence to express more sorrow and shame for what he has said or done ; as, most unfortunately for his own mind, he remembers all that has passed in his delirium. In consequence he becomes depressed and melancholy, and sometimes continues so until another fit comes on.
Latterly he became extremely anxious for a trial at home with his friends; and, at the instancep.180 of his father, a month's leave of absence was granted him, on the 7th November 1822.
He was formerly servant to a gentleman near Cuckfield, in Sussex ; and while on a visit to Devonshire with his master, at the beginning of the year, the first symptoms of his derangement appeared. He wrapped himself up in all the great-coats he could find, and set off on a ramble, he knew not whither. He sometimes ordered dinner at an inn, and drank a bottle of wine, without a farthing in his pocket. Sometimes he went into a field where labourers were at work, and, watching his opportunity, seized and carried off their provisions. At other times he would enter a farm-house, and seating himself) demand whatever he chose. On one occasion he took possession of a cottage, got his dinner, took a nap afterwards, and then demanded his supper.
The poor terrified hostess, who was alone at his entrance, became much alarmed; but had courage enough to remain until her husband returned from his work, in the evening, when he found poor George sitting very comfortably by the fire, after his supper, and very leisurely preparing for bed, his smallclothes knees unbuttoned, neckerchief and coat off, stockings down, and shoes slip- shod.
The husband, who was a powerful young man, naturally enough inquired of his wife the quality and character of his strange guest, and learnedp.181 from her all that had passed. But the gruff Hodge, not altogether approving such an inmate, lost no time in preparing for his exclusion ; and by virtue of an ejectment, in the shape of a stout cudgel, put in so many pleas upon the shoulders, ribs, and other appurtenances of poor George, that without waiting for replications, rejoinders, or rebutters, he vacated the premises, leaving behind him his hat, coat, and one shoe, and scampered off at full speed to save his life.
He was recognized as a madman at various times and places, but the parishes through which he passed did not choose to assume the burthen of his maintenance, and so transferred him from one to another, until he reached his home, where he refitted his damages by another coat, hat, and shoe ; and sallying forth from his native cottage in quest of new adventures, he proceeded to a farm-house, and filled himself with such good things as he could get.
This poor fellow's malady evinces little or no hope of a perfect recovery through life. The faculty of memory, in recollecting every thing which passes in his fits of frenzy, is very remarkable, and is a source of much affliction to his mind at lucid intervals. p.183
Aged twenty-eight, admitted 28th October 1822. This unfortunate young man is the son of a farmer near Chepstow, in Monmouthshire. No taint of insanity ever before appeared in any of his family. Sudden fright was the immediate cause of his derangement, and he now presents a deplorable example of the mischievous consequences of those practical jokes, so frequently played off for the momentary diversion of inconsiderate young people, upon their unsuspecting companions, and but too often productive of lamentable, and even fatal, consequences. Numerous are the instances wherein dementation, and even death, have followed the too sudden excitement of the stronger passions. The momentary impulse of excessive fear, grief, and even of joy, have produced those effects. The superstitious tales of ghosts and goblins, so frequently impressed on infant minds, have often proved indelible through life, in spite of education, philosophy, and all the powers of reason ; and we have heard numerous instances of brave men, who have intrepidly mounted a breach, or stormed a battery pregnant with death, who yet could hardly summon firmness enough to go alone in the dark, or cross a church-yard after nightfall, merely fromp.183 the early impressions of nursery-tales told them in their childhood. A frightful mask, a strange noise, a pretended ghost, or even -the suddenly bouncing on a person, wholly unaware of the trick, have often caused the most deplorable consequences, not only in children but in adults, to the loss of reason, and even of life.
Poor Dowle, the unhappy subject of this article, was a simple peasant ; and as he was one morning crossing his father's fields, on his way to his usual labours, cheerful, guardless, and, like another Cymon,
" Whistling as he went, for want of thought,"
an intimate rustic acquaintance saw him coming, knew his simplicity, and, in mere frolick, stepped aside, and concealed himself behind a bush until Dowle came up, when he suddenly rushed out upon him with a loud shout. He was so astounded by the shock that he was struck almost senseless : he staggered, fell, and fainted away.
The current of his blood seemed for some time arrested, and his pulsation ceased. He was taken up and conveyed home ; delirium ensued ; and confirmed madness followed, which has ever since continued without abatement, to a degree not only pitiable, but dangerous to all who approach him. His propensities are fierce and vicious ; he tries to kick at all who come near him, and even to bite at them, with all the rabid fury of an enragedp.181 dog. In this manner he continually snaps at all who pass him. He seizes and tears rugs, blankets, his own clothes, and any thing within his reach. In this state, of course, he is not suffered to have intercourse amongst the other patients, but is fastened to the coal-chest in the basement gallery. His malady has shewn no signs of abatement since he came in, and probably he may never recover his reason. He appears quite unconscious of his situation, or of the place where he is, nor does he seem to feel his confinement irksome ; his only object seems to be, watching for the approach of any one whom he may attack.
Such, in his case, are the miserable effects of a practical joke, which cannot fail to embitter for life the feelings of the unthinking author, as well as those of the unfortunate young man's family.
Aged forty-three, admitted 28th November 1822. This is a married man, with several children ; was a hatter by trade, and is in a high state of derangement. He became so from some unaccountable cause, and was at first sent to a private madhouse, at Somers Town ; where, having some altercation with his keeper, he attacked the man with great fury, got him down, and nearlyp.185 strangled him with his own neckerchief, which was drawn so tight, that it became necessary to cut it from his neck, to save his life. It then became requisite to restrain him by hand-cuffs ; but, notwithstanding this restriction, he made his escape through the roof of a summer-house in the garden, proceeded to the next coach-stand, and hired two hackney-coaches, telling the drivers " he had a party to take up :" and, by his order, they drove from place to place until quite tired ; when, becoming doubtful of their fare, and observing his handcuffs, they took him before a police magistrate, when he was found to be insane, and was secured. He was shortly after brought here from the White-house, Bethnal Green ; but with two black eyes, received during the struggle with his keeper at Somers Town.
He is always noisy, wild, and incoherent, and wears, even in his insanity, all the characters of having been a disorderly and dissolute man. It is highly probable that excessive drinking of ardent spirits was the cause of his derangement ; for he frequently boasts of having drank the greater part of twenty glasses of brandy and water after business-hours, and a bottle of cogniac in a morning, before business commenced. But this, he says, was done to relieve him of spasms, with which he is much afflicted.
The first symptoms of his derangement was anp.186 aerial speculation for building churches all over Derbyshire, of which he is a native ; and this he proposed to do on a scale much higher, longer, broader, handsomer, more commodious and ornamental, than any other churches in England, in half the time, and for one-quarter the expense that other builders have charged.
As to his hat-making trade, he affects to despise it ; although he considers himself the first maker in Europe.
He believes another patient, William Collison, to be his father ; abuses him grossly, asks him numberless questions about his money, and his business, and inquires of him about persons whom poor Collison never before heard of. Collison is a mild, harmless poor fellow, and is often alarmed at him, and assures him he is not his father, for he never had a son or a daughter in all his life.
Redfern insists that old Groves, another patient, was the Bishop of London, but was deprived for practices similar to those of a late Irish Bishop.
He affects to know every body, and all their private affairs, and is familiarly acquainted, he says, with every part of England ; and that, while he remains here, he is making more money than all the hatters in the trade together. His skill and dexterity in this art is his favourite hobby-horse, and most frequent topic of discourse. He can make hats much better than those usually sold, p.187 out of any stuff: a pair of old bellows, matting, blankets, old carpets, rugs, mops, old wigs — in short, any thing, no matter what. He is extremely deep and knowing in his own opinion, and sets all others down as flats and greenhorns. But as he is very noisy, quarrelsome, and violent, he frequently gets into scrapes with the more sturdy of his fellow-patients.
Aged twenty-three, admitted July 25th 1822. This young man came from Ramsgate, where his family had been once reputable, but are now reduced. He carried about him no signs of frenzy, although his intellects were quite deranged. He would sometimes say that Ramsgate was two thousand miles off, sometimes only four hundred, and at other times not more than twenty-five ; but, if he were let out, he would go home in half an hour. On being asked if he was aware of what place he was now in, he would sometimes answer, " yes, in the West-Indies :" and at other times in Turkey, America, France, &c, ; sometimes he would answer in Newgate, and at other times in the Rule of Three ! ! He laughed at every thing, gay or serious, and seemed happy in his mind, particularly at meal-times. He frequently dancedp.188 for his amusement, in his own peculiar style, which was by hopping on one foot, and turning round all the while, until he fell down from giddiness. He was found to be merely silly, and not dangerous to be at large, and was discharged as idiotic, on the 7th November 1822.
WILLIAM PETER JONES,
Aged twenty-four, admitted the 11th July 1822. This unfortunate genius was a stage-struck votary of Thespis, disappointed in all his hopes of astonishing the world by his histrionic powers, notwithstanding his indefatigable endeavours to obtain an engagement at any of the theatres. His propensities for the stage were cotemporary with the first dawnings of his puerile taste ; but, unfortunately, the estimation of his talents in the eyes of others bore no proportion to his notions of himself. His chosen line of acting was that of heroes in tragedy : Alexander the Great, Coriolanus, Brutus, and the like. But, to judge from his pitch of person and talents, Tom Thumb the Great would have been better adapted to his performance, for he is about four feet and a half high, and formed all of a lump, like a butter-firkin.
He had made several attempts to mount the London stage, but with singular ill fortune : and thep.189 present is his fourth attack of insanity, all incurred by his ardour in his favourite pursuit. He was first admitted on the 6th of August 1818, and discharged quite well on the 31st December following. He returned on the 25th of September 1819, and was discharged again on the 6th of July 1820. He was re-admitted, for the third time, on the 24th of March, and discharged on the 1st of November in the same year; and he again became a sojourner on the 11th of July 1822.
All his former attacks had been more or less calm, but always high ; constantly spouting dramatic speeches, or his head occupied by some wild speculation, as well as by a fulness of blood, which was always the leading physical symptom of his disorder. But on his returning the last time, his malady assumed a quite different character ; for he was quite low and despondent, in terror of all who approached him, and apprehensive of being burned, or drowned, or cut up piece-meal to make soup. He would cry out murder, at the appearance of his own shadow ! He imagined every person who walked quickly towards him, was coming to destroy him. When conversing with the keepers, he would hastily ask, " have you got a knife in your pocket ?" and every knife or other weapon he saw or heard of, he considered as intended to destroy him. p.190
At one time he imagined himself in hell, and all who surrounded him demons. Old Lloyd, one of the patients, he imagined to be Beelzebub himself, the prince of devils ; Henry Taunton and others he imagined to be minor devils, and attendants on his Satanic majesty. A cat in the place was, at one time, a frightful object of apprehension and terror to him : he said her eyes were fire, and he could plainly see her intention to devour him.
He would never venture into the keeper's room if poor puss was present. In October 1822 he became much better, and all his apprehensions, which he perfectly remembered, were quite dispelled, but his ardour for theatricals by no means abated. He expects to be speedily discharged, and purposes to renew his application for a stage engagement on some of the London boards. He details many of his adventures, and the kind of encouragement he received from several of the managers in pursuit of his object : he began with Covent Garden, and ended with Rathbone-place.
His leading object is to put down Kean. He would play none but first-rate characters, and has not the least doubt of speedily becoming more celebrated than any of the Cookes, Kembles, Keans, or even Garrick himself.
Previously to his second attack being known to his friends, he waited one day on Mr. M'Cready, in Berners-street, gave a specimen of his talents, p.191 and received, as he imagined, very flattering promises. He afterwards applied to Mr. Charles Kemble, who treated him with the most gentlemanly politeness, and after hearing him sing and repeat a few parts, promised him a rehearsal at his theatre ; but his friends dissuaded him from the attempt at that time. He next applied to Sir George Smart, the musician, who took him into the orchestra to see Don Giovanni : where he remained very quiet, until the dancing scene commenced, when he could no longer restrain his ardour but jumped up, and would have joined the ballet on the stage but for Sir George, who withheld him.
He next appeared at the Surrey Theatre. " They appeared there," he said, " to relish his performance very well ;" but some scapegrace fellows led him to a public-house, blacked his face with grease and soot, daubed his coat with paint, and then turned him into the street to exhibit in the part of Othello.
The next attempt was at the Coburg, and there they painted and blacked him all over, and told him to call again next day. A shopkeeper's wife, near the Coburg, took compassion on his distress and disappointment ; took him to her house and had him washed, and the paint was taken off by his father when he got home.
But all this did not dispirit his ambition. Hep.192 next applied at the Regency Theatre for a first-rate engagement. They brought him on the stage, as he wished, and while he was enacting with all his energy a scene in Alexander the Great, a trap-door in the stage unfortunately opened, and down dropped the poor hero into the lower regions. But this was not all : for before he was half reconciled to the change of scene, down dropt upon him three full buckets of cold water. The ill-starred William Peter was then, by some invisible guide, escorted to the street by a short cut, and left to explore his way to the New Road, dripping wet at all points, like a sheep newly washed.
Disgusted with these adventures, and determined to trust no more to the politeness or liberality of the London managers, he resolved to appeal for his merits to the candid and untried judgment of the public at large : and he one day made his debut in Rathbone-place ; scene, the open street ; time, noon-day ; in the celebrated character of the Third Richard, before a crowded and impartial audience of boys, coster-mongers, Irish women, and such other miscellaneous company as happened to be in attendance ; and bursts of pleasantry and applause crowned his performance in every passage. But merit the most consummate cannot please all minds, or at all times receive its due meed of approbation. The parishp.193 officers had not taste enough to be pleased ; and while Richard, " his eye in a fine frenzy rolling," had reached the very climax of his exertion, was offering " his kingdom for a horse !" and was about to retire well-pleased with his success, " he was seized by the strong hand of power," and conveyed to that enchanted castle the parish watch-house, for raising a disturbance.
He then talked of relinquishing the stage, and cultivating quietness in retirement ; but his imagination took the new bent that led to his last confinement here.
Aged about sixty, admitted 9th May 1822. This poor old fellow, who came from Brentford, in Middlesex, was formerly a patient in St. Luke's Hospital, and has at present a son there, who inherits his father's derangement, the only paternal heir-loom he is likely ever to enjoy.
The old man was by trade a butcher, and has been, by his own account, the whole of his life a flighty and unsettled character. During his period of apprenticeship he had no less than eleven different masters, and did not complete his term of service at last. He was sent to sea, the last refuge for hopeless youngsters ; was taken prisoner by the enemy, and carried to a Spanishp.194 prison, where he remained a considerable time ; and after his return to England, he resumed his trade, sometimes as a journeyman, and sometimes on his own account.
As is usual with many of the wretched men in his state of mind, his fancy is constantly haunted by the recollections of his professional occupation. He incessantly talks of his killing abilities, and is very busy in sticking imaginary pigs, knocking down ideal bullocks, slaughtering suppositious sheep, blowing up visionary veal, and dressing out conjectural joints, for the shambles of his own mind.
By his own account no pig has been killed for a series of years near the neighbourhood he lived in, but by himself; for there, it seems, the fate of the whole swinish multitude was decided by his skilful hand, and no tierce warrior ever delighted more in bloodshed, than Taunton in the slaughter of the bristly generation. How strange is it, that professional vanity should haunt the ambition of so humble an individual, even in his derangement ! but it is a trait from which no class of mankind is exempt.
The acquirement of great property was probably one amongst the various reveries that occupied his mind in the season of his sanity. It has not forsaken his fancy to this hour, and fancy supplies what physical exertions could neverp.195 realize. Poor Taunton supposes himself a man of considerable wealth ; in which he enumerates nineteen substantial brick-built dwelling-houses at Whetstone, an estate at Deptford, an extensive stock in trade, numerous flocks of sheep and lambs at grass, and £300 in cash, when he was brought here, and is quite an independent man.
To his wealth, fancy has superadded dignity and authority ; for he says he is a magistrate, and sits with Colonel Clitheroe on the bench at Quarter Sessions. He complains bitterly of cruel treatment from his family. It is said that his father bequeathed him at his death a handsome property, and left himself and a near relative executors to his will, but Henry mortgaged some parts, neglected others, quarrelled with his brother, went to law, but had not money to carry the suit to its conclusion ; and twenty years have elapsed without his receiving any part of the issues. He states his age at no more than forty-five ; although he recollects clearly transactions fifty years back, and has a daughter aged thirty-two. He reels quite comfortable here, and speaks highly of his good treatment : but he complains of ill-usage from every one out of doors ; "he has been knocked down, had his skull fractured, and his bones broken, though quite innocent of any just cause." He has lately lost his wife, for which he evinced no grief. In fact, he is quite a man ofp.196 business ; not much affected by losses : but like Whennell, Lloyd, and many others of his fellowpatients, is always well loaded with a general assortment of all manner of rubbish, rags, bones, wooden spoons, &c. that he can collect; he always appears busy and cheerful, and is punctually attentive and industrious at his meals.
He was sent here from his parish work-house at Putney ; and on the 26th of last September he obtained a month's leave of absence, which was afterwards extended to another month. But during the latter he fell into a sad mistake, which nearly proved fatal to the keeper of his workhouse : for whether from some old grudge, or new cause of irritation, or whether his visit to the former scene of his professional operations revived his ardour for the exercise of his knife, and that he mistook the man for a hog, he attempted to kill the unsuspecting governor, in which purpose he was most fortunately prevented, and brought back here on the 21st of November.
Aged forty-eight, from Berkshire, admitted 2d November 1820. This poor man had been a labourer, and appeared ten years older than his age as given in. Delusion had carried him almostp.197 beyond conception : he saw no man or woman whatever, either gentleman or lady, labourer or laundress, that passed with him by their own names, or represented their proper characters.
This one he knew in gaol, by such a name ; another was the youngest brother of Buonaparte; such a lady was Tom Somebody's wife, who had run away with another man ; this young woman was once his servant ; that was his niece, or aunt, as her age corresponded. He believed that he was only put here for a " hum ;” and he pretended to know precisely the day when he would be discharged, but would name it to no one. He spoke very harshly of his family ; said that his wife was an abandoned wretch, and his son no better ; that his wife and son were living as man and wife in every particular ; that he knew it, had seen many instances of it, and was fully and incontrovertibly convinced that they were aware of it, and, to prevent the consequences, that they had planned to send him here. He was permitted to work occasionally in the garden of the hospital ; but latterly he was prevented, in consequence of his concealing a weapon he found while at work.
Previously to his coming here he repaired to an auction, and bid for the toll of a turnpike-gate ; he outbid his competitors, till the gate was knocked down to him, but unfortunately he had " not sixpence capital." He was, perhaps, the mostp.198 cunning man of the age, in his own opinion : " Lord bless you," says he, " half an eye is enough for me ; I can see what they are all about through a brick wall—I know them ; little they think who I am, and what I am here for." He was always a working man, and was discharged uncured.
Aged forty-three, from East Peckham, Kent, admitted 15th February 1823. This man was an agricultural labourer, lived upwards of twenty-five years at a farm-house in the parish above-named, and ultimately became deranged in his intellects.
For some time after his disorder became apparent, he would go regularly to his work in the usual way ; but shortly afterwards he would turn out for labour at the plough, or any other occupation, in a state of perfect nudity, much to the scandalAn event or action that causes public outrage, or the outrage caused by that event or action. and disgust of his neighbours. Being, checked in this propensity, and persuaded to desist from a custom so shameful, his fancy took another direction, and he fell deeply in love with a respectable farmer's daughter, and became so extremely assiduous, obtrusive, annoying, and dangerous in the fervour of his addresses, that it was found necessary to confine him in the parishp.199 poor-house, from which, after a little time, he was transmitted to this asylum. His mind, however, is still busy with the scenes of his former residence. He carries on an imaginary intercourse daily with the gentlemen of East Peckham and those of Farley parishes, which adjoins ; and he persuades himself that both are at open war with each other for the property of his person as a pauper. " East Peckham," he says, " claims him stoutly, as belonging to their parish ; while Farley, his favourite parish, is determined not to give him up, but to keep possession of him at all risks." Such a contest, in reality, would be quite novel in the system of parochial disputes : for although expensive law-suits are daily incurred by parishes in the endeavour to cast on each other the maintenance of doubtful paupers, few parish officers would be found to contend for the exclusive honour of supporting a mendicant; but would cheerfully resign that privilege to any person who chose to claim it, all the learning of the poor-laws and opinions of vestry clerks to the contrary notwithstanding.
But while this imaginary contest between these rival parishes still remains pendente lite, until a quo warranto or a mandamus shall settle the point, poor Webb has made up his own mind touching the conjugal property of the young lady he had fixed his heart on, and who, he insists, is hisp.200 wife, guardian, and trustee. Through the same active medium of his fancy, he carries on a perpetual conversation, and as in wedlock the twain are one, so he answers on her part his own questions, and thus maintains a dialogue for hours together. He will frequently convey to his keeper her earnest injunctions for his own immediate liberation. He will often run, in a violent hurry, to the same guardian, tell him that he has just heard from Farley, and that the parish officers there request he may be sent down without delay, and this he frequently does ten times in a day. But the obstinate incredulity of his keeper still bars his purpose, and then he summons supernatural influence to aid his suit : he contends that all storms, shipwrecks, fires, and dreadful accidents, are entirely attributable to the injustice and cruelty of his confinement. Severe frost, snow, cold, wet or gloomy weather, nay, even a mark or stain on the gallery floor, or the sudden illness of a fellow-patient, are all imputable to the same cause, and would all be prevented by his liberation.
Unable to succeed by such representations, he directly resorts to one of his imaginary conversations with his friends at Farley, much in this manner :
" Now, Mr. John Webb, come home directly to your woife." p.201
" Very well, zur ; Oi wull come, directly."
" And be zure you brings down sum noice things for hur."
" Oh yes, zur, that Oi wull; and plenty on' um, indeed."
" Oi hopes your are very well, Mr. Webb ?
" Oh yes, zur ; very well, zur, Oi thanks you koindly."
" Your woife is very anxious to zee you, Mr. Webb."
" Oi dare zay she be, zur ; Oi wishes her well, zur, Oi assure you."
" You be worth a good deal o' property, Mr. Webb ?"
" Oh, that Oi be, zur; many scores o' pounds, zur."
" Well, Mr. Webb, whoy do'an't you cum hoam ?"
" Yes, zur ; yes zur ; Oi'll go and zee abaout it, zur, directly. Good morning zur."
Fully impressed with this imaginary conversation with some leading parishioner of Farley, he flies to the keeper, tells him that he has just settled with Mr. Somebody to go home to his wife, guardian, and trustee : that he must go immediately, or the consequences will be very bad to any one who detains him.
Thus he passes his days : at nights he amusesp.202 himself with the like soliloquies, and is constantly in fretful agitation.
He has a son twenty-one years of age, for whom, he says, he has been mistaken in this case ; and that this son is the man who should be imprisoned, and not he. The most remote notion of his own affliction never enters his mind : for he says he never had an hour's illness in his life.
He has conducted himself pretty well since his admission; but is so fretful and uneasy, as to shew symptoms of soon breaking out into violence, on the score of his detention.
Aged forty, came from Suffolk, admitted 18th July 1822. This poor unhappy man had a wife and four children. He evinced no symptoms of violence, or mental deragement, except a settled melancholy. He appeared constantly in a low, dejected, and desponding state, but assigned to no one the cause of his wretchedness ; probably that cause was combined of extreme poverty and embarrassment, and the dread of being unable to support his beloved wife and offspring, so dear to his affections.
When first admitted he appeared quite languid; was ordered by the physicians an allowance ofp.203 wine, but preferred, and was permitted, to have porter instead. After some time he appeared to get better in spirits and health, and was employed in some little offices about the gallery : but he appeared to have an insurmountable antipathy to all social intercourse with the other inmates. If he was sitting down, and a few of his fellow-patients, cheerfully disposed of an evening, began to amuse themselves by singing or dancing, while a keeper played on his flute, poor Parsons would immediately rise from his seat, and wander alone to the remote end of the gallery. He very seldom conversed with or spoke to any one. He had attempted twice to destroy himself, while at home with his friends.
On Sunday, December 1st 1822, he had taken tea with his keeper at six o'clock ; and, after tea, the keeper saw him no more till eight o'clock ; when, on coming to his room-door, and missing him, he supposed he was in the water-closet, or had fallen asleep somewhere about the gallery. He instantly went in search of him, and at last found him in the dining-room, sitting on the floor, with his legs stretched out, his arms and hands resting in front, his chin supported on his breast, with a rope about his neck, fastened at one end to the iron bars of the window. He was quite dead.
The cord with which he effected his fatal purpose was composed of many pieces tied together, andp.204 a slip-noose made to receive his neck : it must, therefore, have required deliberate contrivance, as well as determined resolution, to effect his desperate purpose : a purpose which, sooner or later, if once fixed by the melancholy maniac, he will effect in spite of all vigilance, if the means are within his reach. The keeper, on finding him, instantly cut him down ; and Dr. Wright, with the steward, immediately attended. He was bled, and every means used to restore him, but the vital spark was fled.
A coroner's inquest was held on the body, and returned a verdict, Death in consequence of Insanity. But the manner in which he obtained the cord by which he effected his purpose, eluded all inquiry.
Of London, watch-maker, admitted on the 30th of August 1822. This patient had been an inmate here before, and was discharged as cured, in October last year. But as the derangements of his mind most probably had their chief source in the nature of his occupation, his recurrence to that occupation, after he was first restored to reason, had the effect of renewing his malady : and the art of watch-making is the leading subject of his illusions. p.205
According to his own account, he is the greatest artist of his profession in the universe. He can make a chronometer that will go for a whole year, without varying in the thirtieth part of a second.
He has sent some thousands of them abroad, at prices from fifty to three hundred guineas each.
He boasts continually of his immense property, and his professional excellence. He had forty of his chronometers at Flamstead House, Greenwich Park, the residence of the Astronomer Royal, for examination, and never had one returned as imperfect ; and he talks of his certificates from thence, always describing his work as the best they had ever seen : nay, his chronometers had been sunk many fathoms under water, for twenty-four hours together, without the slightest variation or injury : and no weather or climate, hot or cold, wet or dry, can affect them.
He says, by way of anecdote, that his late Majesty having accidentally heard, one morning, that Mr. Swinden was walking in Kew Gardens, sent his compliments to him, stating that His Majesty would be happy if Mr. Swinden would honour him by his company to breakfast. Mr. Swinden complied ; and while His Majesty and he chatted together about chronometers, Mr. Vulliamy, of Pall-Mall (the famous watch-maker) came in, and wanted to wind up the King's clock : but Mr. Swinden happening to have the key in hisp.206 breeches pocket with some watch-springs, and as he had made this clock, which never varied in a single second, he did not think proper to trust the winding up to another. Mr. Vulliamy, however, demanded the right of winding, in rather an imperative tone and manner ; but Mr. Swinden instantly knocked him down; and when he got up again seconded the motion. Mr. Vulliamy, not having any particular relish for a repetition of the compliment, sneaked off: when His Majesty highly applauded Mr. Swinden for his spirit. He then wound up the clock, much to the satisfaction of his Majesty, who promised him a patent ; and so they shook hands and parted. Mr. Swinden was to have not only the patent, but all the King's work, if he had not been maliciously brought in here as a madman.
Of his immense property in houses he frequently talks. Besides the whole of Skinner Street, he owns many splendid mansions in various parts of the country. His foreign trade is most extensive in every part of the globe. The deaths of his relations all bring him astonishing riches ; and his wife, of whom he always spoke well (contrary to the prevailing custom amongst his fellow-patients), he represents as getting twenty, fifty, and sometimes a hundred guineas from ladies whom she attends as a nurse.
During his sojournment in this hospital he saysp.207 he has discovered a perpetual motion (possibly it is his tongue, which appears to have that quality, for it rarely ever stops or requires winding), and by this discovery he is to make an immense fortune, when he gets out.
Previously to his last admission here he laboured under melancholy and depression of spirits, and would stand for hours at the corner of a court or street, quite lost in insensibility. It is probable that want of employment and distress sometimes brought on his malady ; but as soon as his distresses were relieved, his imaginary wealth was renewed ; and he could earn, as he thought, a hundred guineas a day.
In his encomiums on his wife, he said he was not always in earnest. He had his own views in speaking well of her, for he threatened, whenever he got out, to cut her throat, and that of his brother Charles. He was discharged from here as cured, on the 11th of April 1822. He was quite harmless, and, in his lucid intervals, seemed a quiet, good sort of man ; and was said to be an excellent workman. But his enlargement served to revive in him the exciting causes of his disorder, and he has been re-admitted here by petition, at the date already mentioned. He is in a very desponding state, and this is the third attack of his disorder. p.208
Aged forty, admitted in December 1822. This is a Welshman. He was tried for cutting and wounding his wife, and attempting to murder her : but on his trial was found to be insane, and was consigned to restriction in a mad-house. Since his confinement here reason seems to have resumed her seat ; for he has behaved himself very well, is quiet and regular, and has shewn no symptoms that bespeak mental derangement.
London, aged twenty-one. This poor fellow was convicted at the Old Bailey, in October 1822, of stealing some pigs. It was his first offence : but whether it was an act of insanity, or his insanity arose from the remorse, terror, and despondency, naturally arising in a mind not naturally corrupt, from a sense of ruined character, is doubtful. He was sent from Newgate to the Penitentiary, where he proved to be deranged, and was thence sent here. He is at present in a low and desponding state, but quiet, regular, and perfectly harmless. p.209
RICHARD B. E—R—G,
Aged twenty-three, admitted 5th September 1822. This young man was a surgeon and apothecary in Southwark, and his derangement is attributed to the intensity of professional study and application. When he came here he was impressed with a notion that he was principal apothecary to the King, and was to be raised to the dignity of a baronet. He has written several letters, intended for Dr. Cholmley, urging him to forward his views, and confirm his appointment as apothecary to his Majesty ; and to the Lord Bishop of Durham, and others, to obtain his baronetcy. As to the former, he urges his ample qualifications ; for he has walked the hospitals, attended lectures, and passed his examinations at the College of Surgeons and Apothecaries' Hall, and cannot see what should delay the confirmation of his appointment; and as to the latter, he thinks himself quite old enough to be a baronet, and knows no reason why he should not be one. His views of advancement are not confined to these two points ; for he looks to matrimony as an important round in the ladder of elevation.
He wants to obtain a wife with property : ten or fifteen thousand pounds, or so ; but even five thousand would do, if no more could be gotp.210 and if any one would procure for him a wife with such a portion, he would have no objection to make him a handsome present of five or ten pounds. He would not be over particular as to the lady's person or education. If he should like her, he would live with her a short time, perhaps : but if not, he would allow her something handsome to live on : half a guinea a week, or so, he should think might do. He has no particular wish to see the lady before-hand, nor to waste time in the tedious forms of courtship : when she comes to church to be married would be quite time enough. He has a high opinion of his own personal symmetry, views himself in the glass, when he has an opportunity, examines the proportions of his limbs, and asks all about him what they think of him.
Besides his medical and anatomical talents, he assumes deep knowledge in theology and moral philosophy ; and he has written here several sermons, moral essays, and treatises on human nature, as he calls them ; but all in a style of wildness and incoherency perfectly congenial to the deranged state of his intellects, and not legible, in any connection, for two lines together.
His professional pursuits frequently occupy his anxiety in the round of miscellaneous topics. At one time he is extremely busy on subjects of anatomy ; at another, in making out accounts ofp.211 money due to him from his patients, while in practice. But in no two bills made out for the same person do his charges correspond. That which is- charged at ten shillings one day, is but five shillings the next ; or perhaps fifty, according, as he says, to his consideration of persons, and their circumstances.
He is ever starting from one subject to another, and in that unsettled, uneasy state, which Dean Swift termed " the fidgets." Sometimes he proposes going into the army ; but not abroad, as he does not like, nor understand, fighting : at other times he proposes to travel, for the two-fold purpose of improving his knowledge, and affording him opportunities of gaining a rich wife. But at all times he assumes great consequence, is highly susceptible of the least imaginary slight, extremely irritable, and prompt to violence on those at whom he takes offence, but is much afraid of being hurt in the encounter.
His friends and connexions are respectable, and extremely attentive to him since his confinement.
Aged thirty-three, admitted 21st June 1822. This man had been a rustic labourer. When admittedp.212 to this hospital he was in a very weakly state. His countenance and complexion were scarcely of human aspect, having more the resemblance of a baboon, without the lively grimace of that animal.
His mind was deeply impressed with the notion that he was here on board a convict-ship, on his voyage to Botany Bay ; that the weather was extremely stormy and dangerous; and he expected the vessel every moment to be upset, wrecked, or sunk ; and nothing could dissuade him from this opinion. His conversation every morning was about the rocking and heaving of the vessel during the preceding night. " My eyes !" he would exclaim, " how she did roll about, pitch, and heave last night ! I thought it was all over with us." One morning his keeper found him with his legs and body under his bed, and holding on with both hands by the side of the bedstead.
On asking him what he was about ; he answered, " my dear soul ! I am glad you are come. I have been holding on all night, and am almost gone. I expected that I must have let go, and have gone smack over-board."
When the keeper shewed him his error, the poor fellow said : " Lord have mercy on me ! Why it is a bed !" and heaving a deep sigh, continued, " I thought I was hanging by the ship'sp.213 side all night. I did not know till now that I was in the cabin all the while !"
He was asthmatic, had very ill health, and was discharged sick and weakly, July 18th 1822.
Aged thirty-four, from Kettering, in Northamptonshire, admitted the 11th of April 1822. This poor object had been a common labourer. He was obstinate and untractable, almost beyond all example : it was scarcely possible to do anything that met his wishes, or render him any kindness that seemed agreeable. He stoutly resisted every attempt to dress or undress him. In order to shave him, it required the aid of a keeper at each arm and leg, another at his head, and others to restrain his body : and yet, with all, the operation could not be thoroughly effected. Although apparently reduced to a skeleton, through his obstinate abstemiousness, he was remarkably strong, and on every occasion opposed his strength to any efforts for bettering his unhappy state. He would be induced to take no part of his provisions but by dint of force : and although he would cry out repeatedly, " for God's sake give me something to eat ;" yet the instant that food was brought beforep.214 him he would reject it with horror, as a patient in the hydrophobia would reject any liquid, and would struggle with all his might to avoid it.
So far did delusion carry this man's fancy, that he actually believed he had neither eyes, nose, mouth, tongue, nor teeth. While feeding him, his keeper would desire him to open his mouth.
" Mouth !" he would answer, " I have got no mouth ; I had a nice large one once, but I have got none now." He actually supposed his mouth to be quite an opposite part of his person, and would call aloud to his keeper when endeavouring to feed him, " don't ! pray don't put meat and things in there ! it's so unnatural. Nobody ever did that before to any man ; its so unreasonable : pray don't do it !" The like perverse and revolutionary notions of his other organs, already mentioned, gave rise to the most extraordinary misconceptions, as if perception and all its natural organs were at open variance with each other.
In this intestine war of the organicSomething that is, or was, alive. elements, his person became emaciated, feeble, and sickly; and he was discharged on the 80th May 1822, and sent to a private mad-house. p.215
From Coggershall, Essex, aged forty, admitted 21st March 1822. This man had been here before, in April 1818, and was discharged well ; but became disordered again, it is supposed, from continual inebriety. He was only mischievous, so far as tearing his clothes, and generally wore a number of ornaments about his person, such as pieces of his handkerchief tied about his legs and hat, and of coloured fragments of the rugs, swung from a button-hole of his coat, from which was suspended a piece of old hat, leather, or a button or two, &c. He was continually complaining of his confinement, and for ever proclaiming gross charges against his brother and friends, of robbing him of his farms, estates, houses, lands, gold, silver, brass, furniture, bills of exchange, leases, annuitiesFixed sums of money paid to someone each year, typically for the rest of their life., cows, horses, sheep, cats, dogs, his intended wife, children, &c. &c. He always had some alleged cause of complaint, and was never deficient in the names of things he had been robbed of: but nothing appeared to hurt him so much as traducing and scandalizing his character, by representing him as a madman. Of his disorder no man could be more unconscious : he would justify every action of his life by an argument as fallacious as possible ; his excuse forp.216 tearing his clothes was, because he ought to have better ; and wearing a collection of strings and fantastical rags about him was, because he ought to have honours and distinctions instead ; but they were mere substitutes. He was extremely noisy by day and night, a very strong man, did no mischief, was by no means dangerous, but abusive to excess when crossed or vexed, which a very little was sufficient to do. He had been a married man and had a large family, who were entirely supported by his brother, a respectable farmer.
He lost his wife, and he now again felt a second tender emotion towards matrimony : he complained of being imprisoned when he was about being made the happiest of mankind ; and frequently said he would not take a million of money to compromise this scandalous and unjust affair. He, however, became less noisy, more calm and rational ; and continuing to improve, was enlarged, on leave, 5th December 1822.
Aged sixty, admitted 21st November 1822. This poor old man is married, has one daughter, is from Greenwich, and was a labourer in Deptford VictuallingProviding with food or other stores. yard for twenty-nine years; but, in the late economical arrangements in manyp.217 departments of the country's expenditure, he was lopped off; and not meeting with employment of any kind, he became low and desponding, tormented by night, unhappy and restless by day : he attempted at last to beat his head to pieces against the wall, but was prevented and sent to this hospital. He imagines that he is charged with stealing government stores, and that he has been sent here for a temporary purpose ; but expects every hour to be carried to prison, and condemned for an offence, of which he most solemnly protests his innocence. He is continually under the most painful apprehensions, and every new face he sees, he supposes " that person is come to fetch him away to Maidstone goal." Soothing advice is completely lost upon him ; for although he appeal's satisfied of his erroneous opinion for the moment, it returns again with increased conviction, five minutes afterwards. He bears an excellent character for sobriety and honesty, civil, harmless, and peacable—a good husband, an affectionate father, and is much to be pitied.
JAMES B R,
Aged thirty-seven, admitted 18th April 1822. This patient seemed, from the whole bent of his mind, and the tenour of his life, to have beenp.218 destined by nature for the stage. From his earliest youth the histrionic profession engrossed his thoughts, and occupied his highest ambition ; but the taste of his friends took an opposite direction, and they inexorably opposed his favourite object, and forced him to adopt the graver path of commercial life, for which his taste and talents seemed equally unsuited. " A poet must be born, not made," says a Latin proverb ; perhaps the maxim would be equally applicable to an eminent player.
Natural genius is indispensable to genuine excellence in either ; and as to emoluments, instances are not wanting in modern as well as ancient times, to prove that poets and players may attain wealth from their professions, as well as the most plodding votaries of Cocker and the counting-house; and, probably, if the stage-struck B____r had not been thwarted in his favourite pursuit, he might have found his way to fortune and eminence, as well as the Kembles and Keans of the age in which he has lived. But the source of his misfortune lay in the very track his friends marked out for his prosperity. He was engaged in trade, was unlucky, got into debt, was arrested, and thrown into prison ; where his philosophy was not proof against the hopeless privation of liberty. He became deranged in his intellects as well as in his circumstances, and was ultimately sent here a bankrupt in mind.
Still, however, his attachment to the stage borep.219 the ascendant in his ideas. When he came to this place he was tolerably quiet : he supposed Bethlem Hospital to be a Royal Theatre, and he looked with eager attention at the patients in the airing ground, whom he considered as rehearsing their several parts ; but finding no person to push him forward for a display of his talents, he determined to volunteer an effort by himself, and to become the busiest actor in the whole drama.
He commenced his preparation for appearance by kicking his shoes over the wall ; then threw himself into all the varieties of stage attitude, and occasionally personated Richard, Othello, Shylock, Coriolanus, Macbeth, King Lear, Brutus, Alexander, and, in short, ranted through the whole round of tragic characters, in which the Garricks, the Barrys, the Kembles, the Keans, the Youngs, and all our most celebrated dramatists have waged their way to fame and fortune. To specify all the parts he enacted in the course of six months would be an arduous task. His delight was to go without shoes or stockings, probably from his conception of the part he was going to perform, and whenever he received new shoes or half-boots, he took the first opportunity to get rid of them. He would place them loosely on his feet, and by a sudden jerk send them over the wall : whenever he was discovered to be thus discalced, he was directly brought to his own room. p.220
One evening while a party of learned theologians, his fellow patients, were in solemn converse, and profoundly discussing the question, " what became of man after death," B____r, with both his hands full of mud, advanced to the outer part of the ring formed by this conclave.
He listened some time with apparent attention, but suddenly exasperated by some of their arguments, he started into a stage attitude, and exclaimed, in a stentorian voice, " curse ye all ! ye vagabonds, and the woman too!" and dashing the mud amongst them, retreated grim as Bajazet ; and as he retired, made frequent stops and pauses, darting angry looks at the group, and at each pause reciting some dramatic passage expressive of his rage, until he reached the bottom of the airing ground, when he made his exit, not to the green room, but to the privy.
He was at one time necessarily confined in straw, when his malady was at the height ; and during that time he imagined that his task was to reduce into chaff the material of his couch ; in his endeavours to effect which he was extremely sedulous, for next morning there was not a single fragment of straw to be found longer than a pin. He slept but little at a time, for a very considerable period: so that nearly the whole of each night was employed in thrashing to chaff the straw he lay on.
The notion " that Bethlem was a large theatre "p.221 was still uppermost in his mind ; and that he had an unlimited number of parts to act. And when he saw so great a number of brother actors in the airing ground, each performing his own part in the way his fancy suggested, he declared he could observe no regularity in their acting, nor meaning in their speeches. A fine opportunity thus offered, in his notion, for a happy display of his own superior talents, and never did tragedian enter with more earnest solemnity into the respective parts he assumed for the moment, during the successive scenes of this heterogenous pasticcio, which was continued daily for near six months, when the happy denouement of his own convalescence terminated his dramatic labours.
In spite of the incessant action of his mind and body, which would have worn out the most robust health of a sane subject in half the time, his strength and vivacity continued undiminished, by the aid of a perpetual appetite for all food he could meet. Never was insanity more impetuous, nor less abated by intervals of tranquillity.Since the recovery of this man, Dr. Munro has been heard to declare, that he would never entirely abandon the hope of effecting the cure of the most obstinate insanity. His whole frame was in constant and violent action, and his tongue never at rest day or night, but during his short and unfrequent snatches ofp.222 sleep. Besides his dramatic occupations, his mind was in constant ferment from notions of ill-treatment conjured up by his own fancy.
For his wife he had conceived the most inveterate antipathy, and constantly vented against her the most horrid epithets and imprecations. In every part he acted, or speech he uttered, he always contrived to introduce her name in terms of abuse and execration : but there could not be a stronger trait of a perverted mind ; for this afflicted partner in his misfortunes, during the whole period of his confinement, was unceasing in her attentions, and made daily inquiries after his health ; managed his affairs with singular application and economy, paid off a great portion of his debts, greatly improved his house and business, and conducted herself as a worthy examplar to all her sex.
But as his malady abated, and " reason resumed her seat," his gratitude and affection to her was not only restored, but redoubled. To abuse and execration, succeeded affection, panegyric, and benediction ; and he seemed to hail his recovery only as it would enable him to make her amends. After the lapse of six months, his health daily improved ; and on the 7th November 1822, he was discharged cured ; and he returned to his home well dressed, calm, collected, and rational, with his excellent wife. p.223
Aged forty, admitted 14th November 1822. This poor fellow was a respectable agriculturist in Devonshire, near Plymouth : but the severe losses he sustained obliged him to give up the concern, when he became deranged, owing to his failure in business. It is impossible to describe the variety of wild ideas he entertained. He called himself a sailing master, captain, admiral, general, in fact, almost every thing in turn ; was very noisy by day, and had very restless nights ; swearing and cursing, and calling to sailors aloft and below. He was utterly insensible to his own situation, and even the calls of nature. His health was in a very precarious state when he was admitted, which generally declined till the 15th of January 1823, when he paid the debt of nature.
He was of a respectable family, and was remarkable as a good moral man ; sober, industrious, and discreet in every particular. He has left a family.
Aged forty, admitted 19th December 1822. This poor man was a butcher in London, andp.224 was in a bad state of health when he came here.
His derangement was attributed to a cause, very rarely, if ever heard of, namely, his extraordinary success in business : it is sometimes usual for a man, when anticipating any singular good fortune, to say, if such an event was to occur " I should go mad for joy ;" but here we have practical illustration, if the report of his friends be true. He had formerly been much embarrassed, and sustained many severe losses and disappointments ; but latterly every thing he undertook was successful : his trade flourished, he was paying off rapidly his former debts, and succeeding in his business far beyond his most sanguine expectations, when he became disordered in his intellects, and was brought to Bethlem.
Here his ideas were continually occupied on his trade ; he was always giving answers to his customers ; praising the various joints of meat, and fixing his price ; and one time he imagined he had bought five hundred bullocks at a halfpenny each ; sheep, two for three farthings ; and lambs three a penny. He was continually making bargains in Smithfield ; " send me home these fifty bullocks, here's your money, fifty pence make four shillings and twopence ; fifty halfpence are two shillings and a penny; here you are; here's your money ; what do you buy ? what are you looking for ? very well, come in an hour, ma'am, p.225 my man's out; kill them bullocks; yes, sir; do it directly ; I am going to get half a pint of beer ; very well, make haste ; bring me a glass of brandy and water," &c. &c. &c. In this manner was his distracted mind continually exercised, until his health declining very fast, he kept his bed, and died 14th January 1823.
Aged fifty-four, from Ongar in Essex, admitted 21st July 1822. This poor fellow's malady took its rise from his disappointment of receiving a large property which was said to be left to him by a relation; though the rest of his family entertain very strong doubts about it. But his deluded imagination has assigned him much higher concerns than those of mere earthly property, for he conceives that he has the entire management and regulation of the sun ; and he is extremely diligent in his duty, for he watches the great luminary from its rising to its setting, and will stand on tiptoe to take a last affectionate glance, as it descends below his horizon. He thinks he can see in it all manner of things : rabbit-warrens, coaches, horses, wars, battles, &c. &c. ; and he says, that had it not been for his p.226 care, much mischief would have come of it.
He can stop it whenever he likes, and has the sole direction of its course. It would have fallen to the earth several times but for him ; and sometimes he thinks it so low that he is obliged to raise it up again. He complains piteously of mischievous boys and others throwing stones at it, by which means they must hurt the poor thing. It does them no harm, and why should they ill use it? He can't think how people can be so cruel ! He was detected one day with his blanket under his arm, going into the airing ground to catch the bright object of his care, as it was sinking down, that it might fall soft. He looks at the poor dear creature, until the tears trickle from his eyes in profusion. He is at times very noisy, and will talk most incoherently day and night ; and, when in a high fit, he says he is the ruler of all things ; the great and mighty master of heaven and earth, as "will shortly be seen, for the consummation of all things is at hand.
He pretends to know all persons, and gives to every one an appellation of his own. One physician is a waggoner ; another a ploughman ; a third a shoemaker, from Chipping Ongar. He knows all about him ; tells him he has no business here, and bids him to be off as he is wanted at home.
To all he sees he is equally ready to assign newp.227 avocations, and nothing can dissuade him from these whims.
Aged twenty-one, from Long Ditton, Surry, admitted 21st July 1822. This young man's case is very curious, for the nature of the symptoms vary everyday, without any appearance of amendment. One day he barks like a dog ; the next he will mew like a cat ; a third he is a lion ; on the fourth he is a wolf; on the fifth he walks upright and stiff as a pole ; on the sixth he goes about all day with his eyes closed, groping his way as if he were in utter darkness. He will eat his meals in the same whim, and will only open his eyes when indispensably necessary to find his way up or down stairs. A seventh day he will laugh from morning till night ; and some whole days he will maintain a black and sulky aspect.
As he begins in the morning, so seems his order of the day until bed-time, still continuing ta vary his mode of action every day from that of the past. He has been a gentleman's servant, and this is his first attack. p.228
Aged forty, from Horsham, Sussex, admitted in April 1822. This was a robust, noisy, athletic fellow ; he had been extremely violent, and broke doors, windows, and every thing that looked like restraint on him. When brought in here, he was melancholy, and much depressed, and so continued for many months ; after which his disorder took a turn, and he became extremely noisy, and talked loudly and incoherently day and night upon various subjects, but was not violent. He had been a carrier, and he was not to be persuaded that a grey horse, which was sometimes brought to the hospital, was not his own old grey mare that he had some years ago, and he could swear to her marks. Like many others in their derangement, he violently suspected the fidelity of his wife, a very decent, modest young woman, who came occasionally to visit him. Jealousy, even in a madman (often in itself the cause of madness) is ingenious in the fabrication of imaginary causes to feed its own rancour.
He says, " he came home one day, unexpectedly, when his wife lay ill, and found the doctor in bed with her; this surprised him a little, but the doctor told him it was necessary to feel her pulse : so he was satisfied, as the doctor mustp.229 know best. At another time he came home, and found his wife was gone to be christened : he lost no time but proceeded to the bath, where he found a baptist friend of his and his wife naked in the bath together. This he was told was usual at christenings, so he was satisfied—the baptist knew best."
He had the voice of a stentor, and sung a number of songs of his own extempore composition, not very accurate in the poetical measure, as may be supposed. They were all roared to the same tune, if tune it was, and Jack Wheeler of Horsham was the hero of all.
He afterwards became more tranquil, and obtained leave of absence on the 6th September 1822: but he has never returned, or expressed his thanks in any way, for the care and benefit he had experienced .
From Shrewsbury, admitted April 4th, 1822. This imaginary great man was no other, as he firmly believed, than his Grace the Duke of Shrewsbury. He had been an upholsterer, but failed in business, and this misfortune is thought to have caused his derangement. The poor fellow hadp.230 been in a private mad-house in the country, where he seemed to have been treated with great violence, for his body was covered with bruises, and his ancles and the small parts of his legs severely cut with cords and manacles.
He maintained for a long time his ducal dignity by a very pompous deportment ; and when his keepers would greet him with " how does your Grace, this morning ?" he would turn about with a highly consequential air, and answer with dignified condescension and coolness, " passing well." He was extremely filthy in his person, and for a long time highly deranged : but he at length changed his attachment to nobility, abandoned his dukedom, and became " plain John Dickens," as he would say.
He was for ever talking of the Hon. Grey Bennett, as his most intimate friend and companion ; and though he had relinquished his nobility, he assumed to the last great consequence. He seemed to have a large share of natural front, considered himself of high importance, was continually writing letters, whenever he could procure paper, and no man could be less susceptible of his state of mental disorder, from its commencement.
The following is a specimen of his epistolary style, dated 7th July 1822. p.231
" My dear loving Wife :
" This comes with my best duty, love, and affection, for your dear children and mine, and to assure you of my perfect recovery from the dangerous malady that affected me ; and to tell you that the Almighty restored me to reason immediately after you left me, as if your presence had charms. I was much vext at your not saying you were going home, and your leaving me so abruptly. My prayers is continually about you, night and morning, on my pillow : and I am also broken hearted about you and my dearest children.
" Pack up all your goods and send them to the house in But's Row, if not taken by any one else. Get Mr. Robert O. K. Y. to take D.'s house in the Market-place, late C_____ks, and get a lease of it. I should like that house much, as I could open a grocer's and tea-dealer's shop, with millinery and confectionary. Pack up all my papers, and buy a trunk, in which, with my linen and clothes, send to Mr. Thos. L___w___e ; and purchase me a new suit of blue and black, with blue pantaloons and black silk waistcoat. Let these be forwarded by you immediately, and I shall send you some money to bring you and all your family to London in a few days. My childrenp.232 must all come : I long to see them, and be sure to be punctual in all things I have said.
" Your loving and affectionate, &c."
The next is addressed to his brother-in-law.
" Dear Brother-in-law :
" I am happy, and restored to reason. Call upon Mr. O_____ , tobacconist, in Fleet Market : tell him to send me some best tobacco, snuff, and segars, with two boxes ; and tell him I should be happy to see him, on Monday morning, from ten to twelve, with you ; and bring me also a few buns and cakes, paper a quire, pens and inkhorn, also a writing portable desk ; and some stockings and a new hat is also wanted, a few shillings for pocket-money : about twenty shillings to get tea and sugar, &c. Pray be punctual : bring your wife, and desire Mr. H___g___t, Hemmings Row, St. Martin's Lane, to call on me.
" Your Friend and Brother-in-law,
" I.T.L." "
N.B. I will write you a check on Monday, to get money sufficient for all you want."
This patient was discharged cured, on the 25th July 1822.p.233
From Ditton, Surry, admitted 14th of March 1822. This poor fellow was a market-gardener, and the source of his malady seems to have been religious enthusiasm. He became a follower of Methodism, and received his call one day while pruning his vines. His zeal increased by degrees to downright fanaticism, and became so bewildered and miserable, that the derangement followed, which required his removal hither.
So depressed is he, by despondency, under a sense of remorse for his sins, that he thinks death would be a blessing. Every thing with him is wickedness, corruption, and sinfulness : the air is sin, the smoaking of fires is sin, the ringing of bells sin.
He thinks he has destroyed the world, and that all evil has been occasioned by him. Sometimes he exclaims, there is no God, that he is dead, and that he is unhappy and miserable. He is continually asking if it would not be better for him to die. He thinks that all the other patients are kept here on his account. Under these circumstances, he has long been suspected of a design to destroy himself, and therefore he is strictly watched. In contemplation of his own death, he has written several wills ; and he once wrote thisp.234 account of his own death, which he wished to have inserted in the newspapers :
" Died, on Wednesday, the 5th of June, by his own request, in Bethlem Hospital, William Robertson, of Thames Ditton, gardener, aged thirty. (Signed)
" William Robertson, dead."
The following are specimens of his testamentary documents :
" The last dying speech and confession of Mr. William Robertson. I wish that every fire may be extinguished, all wars to stop, no guns to fire off, all men in Bethlem Hospital to go home to their friends, if they please; no judges; all bells to have done ringing ; to die on the 25th of June, by my own wish : all these things to take place immediately throughout the world. I was born at Thames Ditton, was lost in 1822. Richardson wishes to die with me. My clothes I leave to Mr. Smith (one of the keepers)."
Another specimen :
" The last dying speech and confession of William Robertson. To die the 27th June 1822. I humbly beg and request that all the following things maybe performed immediately: bells to have done ringing, fires to cease smoaking, work of all kinds to be left off; no guns to fire off, no kings, nop.235 wars, no judges, no bishops, no smoaking of tobacco. I leave my clothes to Mr. Smith, keeper."
" Last dying speech and confession of William Robertson. When I first received my call was in 1819; to die 29th June 1822. I desire that all fires may be extinguished, all work and labour to stop, and all bells to have done ringing all over the world.
" I request Mr. Jones (another maniac) to cease conversing with the walls, or, as he says, with his wife.
" I desire Lloyd to leave off begging, Groves to leave off swearing, Mr. Smith to leave off advising, and all persons to have done eating and drinking. Mr. Smith, and all the patients, to be discharged, Mr. Longley to go home to night to his wife and family ; Mr. Lintott to go home to his friends before he dies ; Taunton to leave off killing men and beasts of men ; William Griffin to get better tempered ; George Tester to leave off his mad pranks ; Whennell to leave off chewing tobacco ; Pinion to have his parish, and be restored to his friends; Phippard not to stamp and rave as he does sometimes ; George Brown not to be so simple ; Gardener to leave off looking at the sky, sun, moon, and stars ; and the Duke top.236 leave off crying about his family. Mr. Smith to have my clothes, and the gooseberry-pie to be sent to my brother Charles ; and, when all these things are performed, I wish to die any death the Governors chuse. With their leave, I prefer bleeding to death. Longney to have my jacket, to be buried in the church-yard ; all things to be performed as soon as possible.
" Witness my dying speech and wish,
" William Robertson."
Witnesses : Thomas Longney, John Thomas Lloyd Dicken, Duke of Shrewsbury, Henry Taunton, Henry Lintock, William Griffin, Esq., John Groves.
From Leigh, near Tunbridge, Kent, aged sixty- seven, admitted 4th March 1822. The previous character and conduct of this poor old man greatly enhances one's sympathy for his melancholy state of derangement. He had only filled the situation of a common labourer, and had from his earliest days maintained his character for honesty, industry, and good conduct. He had brought up a numerous family, and procured them a plain and suitable education, to fit themp.237 for honest exertions ; and all with the praiseworthy spirit of declining parish assistance.
The death of his worthy and faithful wife, who had for upwards of forty years shared his labours and affection, was a misfortune too heavy for his fortitude to bear, and he almost sunk into despondency with grief.
By some carelessness, a load of stones, to repair the road, was deposited near his dwelling; and a gentleman driving that way was upset and thrown from his chaise by means of those stones, and received much personal injury. He in consequence brought an action against the trustees for compensation, and, by some errors in the proceedings, much delay, expense, and trouble accrued to the parish.
The original cause of the accident was erroneously imputed to poor Pinion's negligence ; and the vexation of this circumstance, added to his previous affliction, so preyed on his spirits, that, in a fit of insanity, he cut his throat in a shocking way ; but the wound was not mortal. He was afterwards taken to a private mad-house, and ultimately conveyed to Bethlem.
He was perfectly harmless, but the constant victim of melancholy, dejection, and despair.
He appeared sensible that, at some time or other, he should be discharged from Bethlem : but then he should have lost his parish, and driven fromp.238 his native place and his children, and must become a miserable wanderer, turned out naked for the boys to mock and laugh at; that no one would give him a day's work, and that he must pine and starve to death. He always appeared extremely grateful for any little kindness shewn him, which, he would say, he did not deserve. Nothing could persuade him that he was not naked ; and he would sometimes address the keepers in a humble and piteous tone : " If you please, Sir, when I am turned out of this good house, will you have the kindness to let me have my breeches on ; I don't so much mind the rest of my clothes, but I have never been used to go without my breeches. Pray let me have them, for decency sake, and God will bless you."
For many months he continued under these delusions, from which nothing could dissuade him. At length, however, he became a little more cheerful ; and, at the earnest request of his son, he was enlarged on a month's leave of absence, on the 26th September, which leave has been since extended. But still he could not be induced to believe he had not lost his parish, to which it is more than probable, he has been ere this restored.
In addition to the long proved honesty, industry, and good conduct of this poor fellow, it should be mentioned that, besides what his humble earningsp.239 and economy enabled him to do for his family, by his thrift he had saved £40, which he had out at interest when he was sixty-eight years old, had his cottage decently and comfortably furnished, and owed no debts.
Aged sixty-one, from Sutton, admitted February 7th 1822. This poor old man appeared naturally harmless, kind-hearted, and simple. While here he appeared constantly ready and anxious to do any thing for his fellow-patients, and especially those who were unable to assist themselves. His prevalent notion was to think himself immensely rich, and he expected every day to hear that he was to go and take possession of his estates.
He had been a humble sawyer at Sutton ; but when out of work in that trade, would do any thing else to earn a few shillings.
Amongst his other miscellaneous occupations was that of supplying the place of an alarum-clock to his neighbours, who had occasion to rise early, for the market or other objects, by rousing them from their slumbers at one, two, three, four, or five in the morning. For this purpose poor Killick usually sat up all night, in order to be up early : and forp.240 these services he received a few shillings per week.
But after his mental derangement commenced, he still remembered his old calling, followed it up without any particular orders, and would awake half the neighbourhood at all hours of the night : so that instead of being a useful monitor, he became a general nuisance ; and he persevered in this practice, until many of his customers actually paid him for desisting from those unseasonable visits, and not calling them through the night.
By these kind of services, negative and positive, he made out a little weekly income for his support. He was never under restraint here ; always kind and obliging, and a sort of favourite with every one.
On the 29th of March, after (as may be presumed) a very learned discussion upon religion and politics in the keeper's room, as the poor fellow was in the act of making up the bed of a stupid patient, he was seized with a fit of apoplexy, and instantly expired, without even a sigh. He had reared a fine comely family. p.241
Aged thirty-one, admitted on the 17th January 1822. This man, whether from the effects of his malady, or the cast of mind which nature so strongly depicts on the countenance of some men, without art enough to conceal their genuine propensities, had something in his physiognomy extremely repulsive and suspicious ; of an artful, gloomy, and mischievous disposition, void of candour and kindness. He had been a footman in the family of a clergyman, the Rev. Mr. V_____, of Bushy ; and while at Brighton with his master, he dreamt that if he should only murder his mistress, with a part or the whole of the family, he would succeed to all their property and possessions. This visionary idea was afterwards always uppermost in his thoughts. He was a firm believer in the supernatural inspiration of dreams, and his ambition to be a rich man combining with this prophetical hint, seemed to suggest a means of accomplishing his wishes, which might, in such a mind, have produced the most dreadful results. It had, however, much influence on his cogitations ; and he one day mentioned his dream to a female fellow-servant, and wondered what it meant. But his confidantA person with whom one shares a secret or private matter, trusting them not to repeat it to others, not naturally prone to secrecy, communicated the story to others of herp.242 fellow- servants, with the miscellaneous news of the morning. The story reached Mr. V_____, who knew too well the liabilities of a low, ignorant, and superstitious mind to the most desperate temptation from such a combination of excitements as immediately occurred to him ; and, perceiving that the natural sullenness of Vale assumed apparent symptoms of distraction and wildness, he took the precaution of having his footman lodged in New Bethlem, as the safer place to get his dream interpreted by the seers of this temple.
After his admission here he maintained for some time a sullen and cautious silence : but as he had shrewdness enough to discover that the chance of his liberation depended on his conduct, he changed it for the better, assumed a more cheerful aspect, told his dream to his fellow-patients with an air of jocular levity, declared he had no intention whatever of destroying his master's family, but had merely told his dream to his fellow-servants, as any other person might do. But dreamers of such dreams were not to be tolerated in a prudent family, without apprehension and alarm ; and though this man was discharged quite well, on the 18th of April 1822, he was not again received into the service of Mr. V_____.p.243
Aged thirty-one, from near Petersfield, Hants, admitted 17th October 1822. This poor simpleton had been a farmer, and rented a few hundred acres of land, but, from the late misfortunes attending agriculture, as well as from his own want of skill and judgment in the management of his affairs, from which, with all his industry, he could not pay rent, tithes, and taxes, he was reduced, with his wife and family, to extreme poverty ; and would probably have come to his parish-workhouse, but for the temporary aid of his friends. Without knowledge or experience for any other pursuit than that of farming, or capital to adopt any if he were competent (and he has made some efforts), he became quite low and despondent ; for he was destitute of employment, with nothing but famine and despair in his prospects. In this state he was sent to this hospital, where, after a short time, he affected to throw off his melancholy and cheer up his drooping spirits, and determined, in his own phrase, " never to say die."
He details amongst his fellow-patients, whom he can induce to listen, a series of adventures in search of livelihood, after he abandoned farming.
He first resolved to try his fortune in London, asp.244 a promising field of speculation. He waggoned it up to town, attired in his professional smock-frock, and lodged for a short time with a relation, who advised him to try an advertisement in the newspapers for a place ; and the first that offered was a situation in Hart Street, Covent Garden, where his duty was to attend as major-domo, in a hotel occupied by six single ladies, and to bring them gin, beer, and such other refreshments as they occasionally required. When gentlemen came to visit any of the ladies, he was to act as master of the ceremonies, and to preserve order and decorumProper and tasteful behaviour ; and suffer none to depart without paying their costs, for sundry accommodations furnished them. The better to discharge this office of comptroller, he was to take his post near the street door ; and, in remuneration for his services, he was to live as well as the ladies, his employers, and receive custom-fees of office, in the way of perquisites.
He was quite willing to accept this engagement, wholly unsuspecting its true nature, but was dissuaded by his friend.
The next post that offered was to take care of a horse and gig, and carry out small parcels, for a young gentleman who kept an oil-shop ; but, having no skill in the management of a gig, and not knowing the topography of London, this prospect failed. p.245
Another situation offered, better suited to his taste and qualifications, where much activity or address were not requisite. It was to distribute printed papers in Oxford-street, for the information of such ladies or gentlemen as might happen to be peculiarly indisposed. These papers were the professional announcements of the celebrated Doctor Eady, of Dean-street, Soho ; who was pleased with poor Foster's operations, and paid him a shillingOld British currency, before it went decimal. There were 20 shillings in a pound (£), and 12 pennies (d) in a shilling. per day. The faithful distributor did his duty with zeal, and indiscriminately, to personages of all classes and descriptions, from the right reverend prelate, or the noble peer, to the lowest porter ; from the duchess ascending her vis-d-vis, to the match-girl or barrow-wench ; all were faithfully apprized, in print, of the doctor's unparalleled skill. But as his trivial income by no means equalled his expenditure in the articles of food, drink, lodging, and washing, and the occasional drops of comfort he had been used to enjoy, he relinquished his employment, and commenced business on his own account, in retailing playbills, at nights, about the entrances of the minor theatres, for the ladies and gentlemen " to know all about the play." The unsold surplus of one evening's merchandize he vended on the next or succeding night, no matter how the performance changed. But this trade was too good to last : for the fruit-women, and other ladies inp.246 the bill trade, considered him an illegitimateIn terms of children, those born out of wedlock (to unmarried parents). intruder on their privileges ; and by dint of eloquence, and threats to tear his eyes out, obliged him to retire.
His next occupation was to bear about a pole, sustaining a sort of banneret, emblazoned by a large printed sheet, with a great many names on it, describing " all about how the play was to be done." His station was assigned in Leicester square ; but such a number of folks came to stare at him and his board, that he was soon stared quite out of countenance, and he resigned this employment.
The next post that offered was with a reverend gentleman, a Methodist parson, near Newington. It was to cultivate a small kitchen-garden, attend two pigs, milk a cow, wait at table, transact the business of valet to his master, and attend devotions morning and evening. But so many occupations were beyond his skill : besides, he had no taste for psalmody, and therefore he declined so lucrative a post, though it was ten pounds a year !
He then applied to an eminent cow-keeper at Islington, where he was told there was a vacancy for a skilful milker. But, unfortunately, the post was previously filled by a more fortunate candidate.
A great variety of other occupations tempted his ambition, and cherished for some weeks hisp.247 hopes of advancement : but he was always either too late, or not liked. He was at one time in ardent hopes of a good place at the English Opera House, to clean sinks and gutters, dust scenes, and other minor offices about this court of Thespis, at fourteen shillings a week, but then there was a long vacation to intervene before his talents could be put into action ; and seeing no chance of any other engagement, he took the resolution of returning to the country, with his extensive stock of London experience and knowledge. Unhappily, he could not find any one to estimate his value, and his speculations ended in transmission to this asylum.
He now thinks himself competent for any thing, and contemplates a hundred different employments, some of which he is to adopt the moment he gets out. He intends to give a bottle of wine to a celebrated dancing-master in Nelson's square, for teaching him to dance ; and then he can soon get a guinea a day on the stage, for he has seen a play, and he that played the farmer seemed to know nothing about it. At another time he will make his brother-in-law procure him an engagement with a great haberdasher in Fore-street. He understands measuring land ; and, of course, he must know how to measure flannels, calicoes, ribbons, and tapes. But a stillp.248 more feasible project is, that when he gets out, and has money enough, he will go to Cambridge University, and learn to be a parson. No people, he says, have less to do than the parsons, and none live better. He will soon reform things in that way, for he will only take half the tythes.
He will be very good to the poor, attentive to the sick, and preach twice every Sunday, and he will charge no fees for weddings, or christenings, or burials, to poor people. At another time he is to go to a chandler's-shop in London, to study the business for three months, and then set up for himself, and make a fortune.
But, at all events, he will never be a farmer again, though he should get land rent-free ; for all his hard work could hardly raise produce to pay tythes and taxes, and keep his family, and he knows fifty farmers, not called madmen, who think the same way.
One of the keepers sometimes plays on a flute, and poor Foster, who is alive to the sympathies of merry music, instantly begins to dance— certainly not in the most graceful style. Some of his fellow- patients, rather more tame than himself, are cunning enough to make fun of him ; they encourage his dancing-fits by mock applause, and persuade him to strip off all his clothes, his breeches and shirt only excepted, telling him itp.249 is best for good dancers to be as loose and unencumbered as possible. To the agility of his dancing he sometimes adds his musical powers of voice ; and they highly applaud his songs, which are groaned in a style at war with all harmony, while his motions in the pas seul surpass in awkwardness those of a bear. But these mirthful intervals do not at all divert his clerical speculations, for he says he is about composing his first sermon in a few days. He declares he is perfectly well, and never was so happy in all his life, which is probably true, as to his own state of mind. And then he says he has learned so much since he came into Bethlem, that in less than twelve months after he gets out, he would not call the King his uncle, nor the Lord Chancellor his grandmother. He is in robust bodily health, and, by way of counteracting his mirth, will sometimes weep bitterly, which he says is to do him good ; and if happiness consists in opinion, few men enjoy more of it than poor Foster.
From Margate, aged twenty-one, admitted March 14th, 1822. This young man's first symptoms of insanity were discovered from his eatingp.250 candles, starch, chalk, and other trash, and drinking urine wherever he could come at it. He is cheerful and harmless, but vain of his universal qualifications. According to his own account, he was the handsomest boy in all Margate ; and can dance, sing, swim, and do many other feats, to admiration. He appears to have been bred to the sea ; vaunts much of his skill and seamanship, and performed a voyage to the East-Indies and back, in a fortnight. He imagines himself still on board ship. The gallery floors he calls the deck, the windows are the port-holes. When ordered into the airing ground, he terms it " going on shore;" and when ordered up, he calls it " going on board again." Any questions put to him he sometimes answers with smartness, and sometimes with wit or shrewdness, but, in general, is rather silly.
Shortly after his admission, he stood one day in the stone sink under the pump ; but on the approach of one of the governors, he jumped down. The governor, seeing him a new patient, kindly asked him how he was, and where he came from ? Brown returned the civility of the first inquiry, and pointing to the sink said he came from that.
" Aye, but," replied the governor, " where did you come from originally?" His answer was, " from my mother: and where did you come from ?" The governor declined to continue the conversation. p.251
Aged forty-three, admitted 28th February 1822. This imaginary great man had formerly been a ship-carpenter in the British navy, and was on board the fatal expedition to Walcheren, in 1809; where he caught the fever and ague, then so prevalent and so destructive to our brave troops. The master chord of this poor fellow's malady is an insurmountable notion that he is bewitched by his wife ; and so prevalent with him is this persuasion, that whether his appetite fails or he wants sleep, or feels pain or extraordinary uneasiness of mind, he attributes all to this witchery of his helpmate.
He frequently holds conversations with himself, and will smile at any thing pleasant that seems to occur to him in these soliloquies. He was stationed for several years in the East-Indies, from his recollection of which he assumes much importance.
According to his own account, he was intimately acquainted with all the admirals, generals, and other principal officers in that quarter. " Surrounded," says he, " by all the brave men of the age, I was highly honoured and respected : I had my sepoys to attend me, and was just as I ought to be, treated like a gentleman."
His fancy supplied him with exhaustless details of battles never fought, sea engagements thatp.252 never occurred, and most extraordinary events which have never taken place. He was, according to his own story, the leading man on all occasions ; first called on to build up, or pull down ; and his professional instruments, the axe, mallet, hammer, and chisel, were uppermost in his fancy.
His disease, however, was so far cured, that he obtained liberation, on leave of absence, on the 9th of May ; and was finally discharged well, on the 24th of October 1822.