The Inquiry Commission 1842-1844 - The treatment of Lunacy in England and Wales
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The Inquiry Commission 1842-1844 -
The treatment of Lunacy in England and Wales

4.1 Act establishing the inquiry
4.1.2 Thomas Wakley and The Lancet
4.2 1841 Madhouse Continuation Act
4.3 1842 Licensed Lunatic Asylums Bill
4.3.1 A bill to inspect county houses
4.3.2 A proposed Barrister Commission
4.3.3 Ignoring the medical treatment
4.3.4 Thomas Wakley and the medical campaign against
4.3.5 Government defeat
4.4 Lunacy Inquiry Bill
4.4.2 Moral management and non restraint

4.1 Act establishing the inquiry

The Metropolitan Commission's national inquiry was carried out under the provisions of the 1842 Lunacy Inquiry Act which amended and continued the existing laws for three years and provided for inspection of County licensed houses, County Asylums and Hospitals by the commission (title and s.1). The existing laws (1832 Madhouses Act, 1833 Madhouses Amendment Act and Continuation Acts) were considered as forming part of it, "except so far as ... repealed or altered hereby or inconsistent herewith" (s.48).

All the Acts were repealed by the 1845 Lunacy Act (See Chapter 5).

The commission's name was not altered, but its functions from 1842 to 1845 were unique in that its major activity was the Inquiry. Before 1842 it had been administering the Madhouse Acts in London, after 1845 it was to oversee the execution of the lunacy laws throughout England and Wales. The inquiry period, therefore, also saw its transformation from a unit of local government to a department of national government. (I examine the indices of this transformation in 5.2)

4.1.2 Thomas Wakley and The Lancet

A major influence on bringing about the 1842 inquiry was the medical campaign of Thomas Wakley and The Lancet.

Thomas Wakley (1795-1852), surgeon, founder and editor of The Lancet (First issue Sunday 5.10.1823) was one of the two radical MPs for Finsbury from 10.1.1835 to his death and the Coroner for West Middlesex from 25.2.1839.

In 1840 The Lancet had publicised the statistics of death rates in London's private asylums, and castigated the Metropolitan Commission for its supervision of the asylums. Wakley continued his campaign for the reform of the commission and asylums in parliament and the Lancet during 1841 and 1842.

4.2 1841 Madhouse Continuation Act

The 1832 Madhouses Act required renewal every three years, which it obtained without any problems that I could trace in 1835 and 1838.

But on 21.9.1841 Thomas Wakley opposed renewal for more than a year. He thought Parliament ought to discuss the general question of the treatment of lunatics and argued that continuing the Act for three years would delay reforms in lunacy legislation:

    "the treatment of lunatics had been much discussed of late, and it seemed to be a general impression that some alteration should be made in the existing law, and that without delay." (Hansard 21.9.1841 col.693)

Wakley made a comparison with the Poor Law Commission. Following the extension of the activities of this Commission to the industrial north in 1838 it had become so unpopular that in 1839 and 1840 it was only possible to renew the Act under which it operated for periods of a year at a time. Repeal of the Poor Law Act had been a major issue in the General Election of 1841 and after the election Sir Robert Peel, the new Prime Minister, had declined to renew the Act for a longer period than a year. We now know that Peel supported the law and was only hedging for time, but in September 1841 Wakley thought that something more substantial was involved. Arguing for only a year's extension of the Metropolitan Commission he recalled what Peel had said about the Poor Law Commission:

    "The right hon. Baronet said, `No; when we have such a commission as this, the oftener it is brought under the revision of Parliament the better; it will be wiser to renew it for a shorter period'. So said he [Wakley] as to this lunacy commission." (Hansard 21.9.1841 col.700)

Arguing against Wakley's proposal, Lord Ashley said that the commission had already agreed to meet "before the next session" to consider what amendments "in the system" [of controlling madhouses] they might propose. If the House would agree to sanction renewal for three years Ashley thought the commissioners:

    "would be enabled to propound to the House a scheme whereby the management of lunatics throughout the country should be put upon on e general and uniform footing, and, above all, by which a complete and effective system of visitation should be established over all private asylums." (Hansard 21.9.1841 col.699)

It was in this debate that Ashley announced the decision to publish the Commission's more recent reports (3.14). The decision to publish and the decision to promote a national system of visiting were possibly made at the previous Quarterly Meeting in early July 1841. The next Quarterly Meeting was due in November 1841 which was well before Parliament was due to start its next session in the Spring of 1842.

Sir James Graham, The new Home Secretary said that, in consultation with Ashley and the commission, he would support any legislation "for an extension of power" that "the humanity of the subject might seem to demand. Wakley pressed his motion for a limited renewal, but it was negatived on a division. (Hansard 21.9.1841 cols 701-702)

4.3 1842 Licensed Lunatic Asylums Bill

4.3.1 A bill to inspect county houses

Sometime in the winter of 1841/1842 it was decided that Lord Granville Somerset, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, an ex-commissioner and a close adviser to Peel, together with Ashley as the Metropolitan Commission's de-facto Chair (See biography and discussion of Chair) should bring in a bill to extend the Commission's visits to licensed houses in the Counties.

It is clear that Somerset was acting as a Government Minister in co- ordination with the Home Secretary (Graham) and the Lord Chancellor (Lyndhurst). In Peel's personal entourage he seems to have been the person who handled the complexities of lunacy legislation. The bill was described by one MP as "virtually a government Bill" and was given the favourable treatment usual to government bills. (See 6BIOH8).

Somerset sought leave to bring in the bill on 17.3.1842 and it was printed on 18.3.1842. I refer to the initial Bill as the "1842 Licensed Lunatic Asylums Bill", it was indexed in the JHC under "Lunatic (Licensed) Asylums, and it was solely concerned with licensed houses. In fact it was almost exclusively concerned with County houses. An amended bill dated 23.5.1842 (4.4) differs so markedly from the 18.3.1842 Bill that I have given it a separate name as the "Inquiry Bill".

Somerset stated, incorrectly, that the 1832 Madhouses Act "made no provision" with regard to patients confined singly or in County Asylums or Hospitals. He did not intend to offer any suggestions with respect to them either. "He meant to confine his attention to those individuals who were kept in the licensed asylums in the country and not in the metropolis". (Hansard 17.3.1842 col 797)

Somerset's misinformation that the 1832 Act made no provision for single lunatics, County Asylums or Hospitals illustrates how marginal the Metropolitan Commission's Private Return (3S.5.1) and Central Records respecting County Asylums and Hospitals (3.12) were. He referred as his reason for not including single lunatics in the Bill to his memories of previous legislation and the associated Select Committees (Hansard 17.3.1842 col.802) . He did not mention the House of Lords, but its traditional opposition to interference with Chancery Lunatics and Single Houses also extended to protecting what Thomas Wakley (Hansard 17.3.1842 col.805) called "the great institutions" - Hospitals such as Bedlam, Saint Lukes, and the Royal Military and Naval Asylums.

Somerset said he "had confined himself to narrow limits", but even this little "as a precedent of something more extensive" ... "might be useful". He sought leave to bring in a bill:

    "to provide for the more effectual inspection of houses licensed by magistrates in Quarter Sessions for the reception of Insane Persons in England and Wales." (Hansard 17.3.1842 col 803)

4.3.2 A proposed Barrister Commission

The Bill's main proposal was to employ the two legal commissioners full time so that they could make visits to the county houses supplementary to the County Visitors. They were to be paid a salary (a space left in the bill for the amount) instead of an hourly fee, and to be prohibited from practising law whilst commissioners (1842 Licensed Lunatic Asylums Bill, ss 1+2. Hansard 17.3.1842, col.800). No alteration was proposed to the commission's composition, but it was to be appointed in August each year instead of September. In August, or as soon after as possible, the legal commissioners (not the commission. c.f. 4S.2.1 s.7) were to meet and divide England and Wales into two parts convenient for visiting the County houses (Bill). Each was to visit every house in his part at least once in every four months (three times a year). (Bill and Hansard 17.3.1842 col.800).

The bill was occasioned by the belief that County returns were deficient, and that this reflected a widespread failure to apply the Madhouses Act outside London. Somerset considered professional commissioners were far more effective than unpaid JPs.

I reviewed the returns that the Metropolitan Commission received from the Counties in 3.9 where I showed that in some respects the conclusions they drew from them were false. The uneven distribution of returns on licensed houses, for example, reflected an uneven distribution of private madhouses, not a proliferation of unlicensed houses in some counties.

Somerset's claims that the Metropolitan Commission was more effective had much more substance. I discussed his arguments in 3.10 and, in general, the claims for greater effectiveness in 3.9 to 3.11. I compared the Metropolitan Commission and Hampshire. and pointed out that the Metropolitan system should have been many times more systematic than Hampshire because it cost 15 times as much per patient. London and the Counties had the same responsibilities under the law, but in London extra costs of professional administration were paid for by the Treasury.

Somerset alleged that "In many counties, in some years" the commission's returns showed that JPs had made no visits at all to the houses they licensed:

"This showed that some remedy was wanting; and that remedy ought not to be left to the gratuitous exertions of individuals, but should be provided by imposing on some parties official responsibility." "It was not his intention to do away with the visits of the magistrates in the country districts ... He thought, that the barristers, from their knowledge of the law, would make the local magistrate more active in the discharge of their duties, and that the result would be a very regular superintendence on the part of the magistrates as well as by the commissioners." (Hansard 17.3.1842, cols 798 + 800)

On visits the legal commissioners were to inspect every part of each house, see every patient, examine licences and certificates to see if they were in order, and enquire if any patients were under restraint and why. They were to read County Visitors' observations in the Visitors book and enter their own minute of the condition of the house, any irregularities in certificates and licences, details of patients under restraint, whether suggestions of the County Visitors had been attended to, and any other remarks they thought proper. (1842 Licensed Lunatic Asylums Bill. The clause became s.7 of 1842 Inquiry Act. See 4S.2.5). In the House of commons Somerset said he proposed the legal visitors' attention should be especially directed to "how far the patients were fitting or otherwise for removal to a lunatic asylum". (Hansard 17.3.1842 col.801)

4.3.3 Ignoring the medical treatment

Somerset said he would not have the commissioners or visitors "interfere in the medical treatment". Thomas Wakley retorted that: "the whole evil of the present system consisted in the medical treatment", so Somerset's bill "did not touch ... any of the defects of the present system" (Hansard 17.3.1842 cols 799 and 805).

The commissioner's inquiry, Somerset said again in committee:

    "was not as to the medical treatment of the patient, but whether he was treated properly and with kindness."

All the bill sought was:

    "that the provisions of the law should be carried out, and that ... would be better done by gentlemen of the ... law than by medical men." (Hansard 20.4.1842 col.887)

The existing law had limited objects. Somerset summarised them as

    "to take care first, that there should be proper houses, of a proper character, licensed for the reception of insane people ... to cause those houses to be conducted on such principles as would conduce to the comfort, and ensure the proper treatment, of the inmates ... to prevent persons not in a state of insanity being placed in confinement; and, lastly, to prevent persons properly placed in lunatic asylums being kept their after their recovery." (Hansard 17.3.1842 col.797)

In emphasising the objective of ensuring comfort and proper treatment, Somerset locates the priorities of the existing legislation more accurately than Lord Ashley who emphasized the protection against wrongful confinement (See 3.9).

Ashley was correct, however, when he said on the same occasion that:

    "the Act under which they derived their powers was not an Act directing the methods to be employed in the cure of patients ... " (Hansard 21.9.1841 col.697, already quoted at 3.9).

All that was sought from the proposed barrister inquiry was a more strict observance of the existing law. Somerset, for example, said that one of the most important [my emphasis] duties of the barrister visitors would be to make sure that a house licensed for a certain number of patients was not receiving a larger number. (Hansard 17.3.1842 col 801)

The barristers proposed County inspection was modelled on the established system in London where the Commission attached great importance to punctilious observance of the Madhouse Act (3.9), but was not to superseded the county system. Somerset intended to "superadd" the legal commissioners "experience and knowledge" to the County JPs exertions. The JPs retained the control as licensing authorities and the only control the commissioners could would have in the Counties was the power to release patients (3S.4.4).

Even within the Bill's limited objectives its effectiveness was to depend heavily on any stimulus it gave to JPs to emulate the London Visitors.

No one who spoke in the Bill's favour had much confidence in it. Somerset, Ashley and Wynn all said they wished it could have gone further (Hansard 17.3.1842, Somerset col.803, Ashley col.806, Wynn col.807 (quoted 6BIOH10). So why didn't it?

The Government's main inhibition was probably the political sensitivity of interference with the traditional privilege of the landed gentry to govern their counties without interference from Westminster. We will see (4.8.6), in connection with the Poor Law, that Peel and Graham were very conscious of the advantages of making themselves well informed about local affairs, before they acted to increase the power of central government to interfere with local authorities. We can assume with some confidence that the main advantage somerset saw in the Bill was not the effect of its timid provisions, but that by it central government would become better briefed on the performance of the JPs. He expected that:

    "after the information which the commissioners would acquire ... the whole subject would be brought to a focus before the London board ... and eventually Parliament would be enabled to legislate ... on a broader and more extensive basis." (Hansard 17.3.1842 col.803)

4.3.4 Thomas Wakley and the medical campaign against

Thomas Wakley gave the Bill a contemptuous reception. Having thanked Somerset for giving his time to it, he agreed it was

"a small measure indeed, compared with what was required and called for"

In fact, in his opinion it

"was too insignificant to admit of any designation at all".

Wakley's specific objection was to legal commissioners carrying out what he thought should be an inquiry into the medical treatment of lunacy (Hansard 17.3.1842 cols 803-804 + 805). His general objection was that he wanted a Royal Commission on the whole subject before the House of Commons attempted "to legislate further in the absence of such information, as it is well known that such a commission was perfectly competent to obtain" (Lancet 23.4.1842 p.137)

Wakley campaigned against the Bill outside the House of Commons, publicising the issues in the Lancet (4.4.2) and presenting from the then British Medical Association (of which he was a leading member)

a petition praying the House of Commons not to pass it:

    "without altering the clause by which ... supervision is henceforward to be delegated to two barrister commissioners"

(See Lancet 2.4.1842 pp 137-138 and the JHC + Hansard for 20.4.1842)

4.3.5 Government defeat

The offending clause was rejected in committee by 22 votes to 19 on 20.4.1842, Wakley moving that in the first clause, instead of two barrister commissioners, the words two commissioners should be introduced. Thus, according to the Lancet, leaving it to the Lord Chancellor:

At the same time he "strongly insisted" that the duties could only be performed by gentlemen of "great experience in such matters" or equipped by "an adequate medical education, and a study of the class of diseases to which the bill more particularly referred".

After this defeat Somerset agreed to defer further consideration of the bill until Wakley had had the opportunity to raise the general issue in a motion for a Royal Commission. (Lancet 23.4.1842 col. 137 and Hansard 20.4.1842 col. 886-890). Although different the two accounts are not inconsistent).

On Tuesday 3.5.1842 when Wakley had a motion down "To call attention of the House to the treatment and custody of Lunatics" (Votes and Proceedings) the House of Commons was pre-occupied debating whether the representatives of an "immense ... concourse of people" assembled outside to deliver a petition for manhood suffrage should be heard at the bar of the House of Commons (GAMAGE 1894 p.209 and Hansard 3.5.1842 for the whole day). Proceedings on the Licensed Lunatic Asylums Bill, which had been down for the following day, were deferred to May 23rd (JHC) and Wakley's motion appears never to have been debated.

4.4 Lunacy Inquiry Bill

On 23.5.1842 an amended Bill was ordered to be printed (See 1842 Inquiry Bill). It was substantially different from Somerset's original bill, contained the provisions for a general inquiry (See legal summary), and was very similar to the Act eventually passed. This, not Somerset's bill, was the origin of the Metropolitan Commission's national inquiry.

Under the amended Bill the commission, its composition altered for the purpose, was to send teams of two commissioners, one legal and one medical, to visit all licensed houses and county asylums in England and Wales and visits to (any) other asylums could be authorized by the Lord Chancellor or the Home Secretary. Bethlem was later exempted by a House of Lords amendment.

The visiting commissioners were to make specified enquiries about the treatment regime in each asylum, whether a system of non-coercion was used, what classification of patients was made and what occupations and amusements were provided, they were also to enquire about the physical and mental condition in which paupers were received (from the Poor Law authorities), whether that was such as to impede their recovery, and what diet they received in the asylum. Their reports on each asylum were to be sent to the London clerk.

The above outline of the Inquiry Bill could serve equally well as an outline of the Act. In the summary of the Act I have marked subjects first added in the amended bill. From the subjects of inquiry in the Act it can be seen that two major themes were incorporated on 23.5.1842:

1. The system of treatment

2. The condition in which paupers arrived at asylums.

How the system of treatment was taken on board can be traced from Hansard, the Lancet and Ashley's diary, and I do this below. (4.4.2) The issue of pauper lunacy is not such a salient one in the Lancet at this time, and it is not a major theme in the amended bill. It comes in as a consequence of reforms taking place at the Poor Law Commission which I will have to discuss separately (4.8). In the course of the Inquiry it became the major theme.

4.4.2 Moral management and non restraint

Wakley's opposition to the Licensed Lunatic Asylums Bill was not simply because it provided jobs for lawyers and not for doctors. It was because he wanted to see a new system of treatment established. An outcome that was unlikely to flow from a barristers inquiry that was instructed not to involve itself in the medical treatment!

Wakley was an outspoken advocate of that system of asylum management known as non-restraint, which, for reasons I give below, he preferred to call the humane system.

Speaking about Hanwell Asylum in the debate on the 1841 Continuation Act (4.4.1), Wakley had declared that:

    "It has been shown within a brief period, that an enormous number of patients in one asylum may exist almost without restraint - that the chains and manacles that used to be hung about upon the limbs of these unfortunate persons might be entirely laid aside, merely by the appointment of an additional number of keepers and intelligent and humane superintendents." (Hansard 21.9.1841 col.695)

James Clitherow (b.6.2.1766, d.12.12.1841)
William Charles Ellis (b.1780, d.24.10.1839) and
Mrs Mildred Ellis (1785/1786 - 25.5.1879)
John Conolly (b.1794, d.5.3.1866)
see below and under Lawn House. Also books

Hanwell was the Middlesex County Asylum built under the 1828 County Asylums Act. Colonel James Clitherow had been chair of the JP committee governing the asylum from 1827-1839 and a Metropolitan Commissioner from 1828 to 1838 and I have outlined the early history of the asylum under his biography.

Clitherow's departure from the Metropolitan Commission coincides with the arrival on it of provincial JPs interested in lunacy affairs outside London. (3.##) His departure from the Hanwell Committee precipitated a revolution in asylum management.

Clitherow's departure, as I show in the biography, permitted the appointment as Hanwell's Resident Superintendent of Dr John Conolly who introduced non-restraint at Hanwell.

When Conolly started work in June 1839 he found over 40 of the 800 patients restrained. Before his appointment he had visited the Lincoln Lunatic Asylum, a Subscription Hospital with about 130 patients, where, between 1834 and 1838, all forms of instrumental restraint had been phased out.

At Hanwell, Conolly required a daily report of the number of patients restrained. The number fell rapidly and after 21.9.1839 no restraints at all were used (See Hunter and MacAlpine 1963 p.889 + 1030-1038).

Non-restraint was the most newsworthy development of "moral management", the system of treatment through institutional regime developed in many asylums over the preceding decades - often at first with a strong religious basis. The religious angle may have attracted Clitherow, a very devout Tory and equally devout low-Church Anglican, to the Methodist Dr William Ellis, a gentleman whose Methodism had not prevented him from becoming part of the hunting fraternity in Yorkshire when he was Superintendent of the West Riding County Asylum.

Ellis became the first resident Superintendent at Hanwell, and his wife the matron, in 1831. They left in 1838, a year before Clitherow.

Mr and Mrs Ellis regarded the asylum as a community. They referred to staff and patients as a "family", of which they were the heads. In this they followed the example William Tuke (b.1739, d.1832) had set at the York Retreat of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) as early as 1796 (See Foucault, M. 1967 chapter 9 and BIOH13).

Medicine, Ellis claimed, was the least important part of treatment. What mattered most was "moral treatment". He endeavoured to employ keepers and nurses of "character and respectability" and to engage patients in useful employments around the asylum. "The reward of a little tea, tobacco, beer or some other luxury" was used to induce them to work in wards, workshops or grounds. deprivation and confinement were used as punishment. (See Hunter and MacAlpine 1963 pp 870-877)

The Ellis system was both humane and economic, because the work of the patients considerably reduced the costs of running asylums.

The Ellis system was not non-restraint, however, because instrumental restraints were used when needed. In the early 1840s asylum doctors divided into hostile camps of those who practised "mild restraint" and those who followed Lincoln and Hanwell in establishing non-restraint. The debate involved the JPs who governed the asylums, the religious ministers required in Asylums under the 1828 County Asylums Act, the medical profession outside asylums, the medical press, the non-medical press, parliament - and eventually everyone with a taste for reading salacious and vitriolic accusations and counter-accusations as the contenders published selections from one another's case notes in an effort to prove their point.

Some of those who favoured the older methods of moral management saw the issue as a defence of conservative religion and politics. Those who propounded non-restraint the loudest were known to be somewhat heterodox in their beliefs; people influenced by the materialist implications of phrenology (and sometimes mesmerism), or seeking new forms of spirituality in debate with those implications. The medical content of the argument suggested they were people sympathetic to the claim of the Owenite socialists that a human being's character was shaped by biology and environment and not the result of either original sin or moral choice. It was because of these implications that Clitherow had resisted Conolly's appointment to Hanwell. (See 6BIOH13)

The humane system

Much of the debate over non-restraint took place through the columns of the Lancet - which was one-sided in its support of the non-restrainers. Wakley preferred the term "Humane System" to "non-restraint" because:

    "The term `non-restraint' is not literally correct; for when the system is most rigidly carried out, the patient is confined to the asylum, and in many cases to his room. But this confinement is not felt like fetters, it is less degrading, irritating and exasperating, than ligatures on the limbs. The restraint is little more severe than the voluntary confinement of servants to the house, or of workmen to their daily task. The violent, raving maniac has, however, necessarily to submit to further restraint; the keepers arms are called into action, and have to supply the place of the straight waistcoat, straps and chains" (Lancet 5.12.1840 p. 377)

Wakley believed that "kindness and reason" had been discovered to be the scientifically correct medical treatment. He also thought that this had implications with respect to the treatment of criminals and "the lesser aberrations from reason and rectitude in the mass of mankind."

    "Madness, crime, sin, were at one time all treated summarily; death, chains, stripes, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, anguish and eternal agonies, were the sovereign remedies ... a few eccentric persons" [he names Pinel and the Quakers] "applied their convictions practically to the treatment of the insane; and on comparing the results of the systems of treatment, it was discovered that the humane treatment was the most efficient, the best for the unhappy patients, and the best for society." (Lancet 5.12.1840 p.377)

4.4.3 Ashley and Hanwell

Whatever the implications of Wakley on sin and eternal agonies, an unorthodox theology was not essential to be impressed by what Conolly was doing at Hanwell. During the conflict over what kind of inquiry the Metropolitan Commission should carry out, supporters of non-restraint directed some of their efforts to winning over the deeply religious, evangelical Ashley. Ashley had been sceptical about the practicability of non-restraint:

Ashley was not, however, very happy about what he said in defence of the Licensed Lunatic Asylums Bill. He wrote in his diary:

    "March 18th 1842. Spoke again last night on the Lunacy Bill: I seemed to myself to do it without force or point, and with difficulty; half left unsaid and the other half said ill. This is humbling and despairing, because I plough not in hope. How can I look to success in the great measures I propose if I am so weak in the smaller? The House will despise schemes so brought forward." (Hodder 1, p.410)

One of Conolly's most loyal supporters on the Hanwell Committee was John Adams (died 1855/1856), a Serjeant at Law, who persuaded Ashley to visit Hanwell. Ashley's diary entry afterwards was ecstatic:

    "May 17th 1842. This day I have visited Hanwell, in company with Serjeant Adams and well may I ... heartily thank God for all that I saw there. Could any man, who has the least regard for his fellow man, as created and redeemed by the same Blessed Lord, behold such triumph of wisdom and mercy over ignorance and ferocity and not rejoice, and give God the glory? These things cannot be expressed, no, nor felt, by any but the spirit of Christian love, of the love of that dearest Lord, whose very essence is the indivisible, necessary, and single principle of goodness itself. What sufferings mitigated, what degradations spared, what vices restrained, what affections called forth!" ( Hodder 1, p. 410)

This visit was made six days before the amended (Inquiry) Bill was printed with provisions for Inquiry into treatment regimes. Later ashley made his changed opinion of non-restraint clear to the House of Commons:

    "Lord Ashley expressed a hope that the measure would tend to ameliorate the condition of the pauper lunatics throughout the kingdom. He had formerly entertained some doubts as to the practicality of carrying out the system of non-restraint, but these doubts had been removed by a visit which he had lately made to the Hanwell Asylum. Having witnesses this system pursued there, he felt that he could not speak too highly either of the system itself or the manner in which it was carried out by the talented superintendent, Dr Conolly." (Hansard 16.7.1842 col 223)

The same asylum that demonstrated to the radical Wakley the results of experimental reason was a demonstration to Ashley of the wisdom of the one who stilleth the madness of the people.

"Mr John Adams, Serjeant at Law of Ansty Hall, Warwick" was amongst the "eminent persons recently deceased" who had their obituaries in the Illustrated London News for 19.1.1856

© Andrew Roberts 1981-

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