attitudes toward mental illness 18th and 19th century england essay sample essay

During the late 18th and early 19th centuries. attitudes toward the mentally sick and their intervention varied throughout England. Almost all private and public refuges at this clip upheld a policy of inhumane behaviour towards patients. and questionable medical patterns. The general populace. for the most portion. tolerated these methods. and even engaged in mortifying the mentally ailment for amusement. New techniques for intervention of the mentally sick emerged during this clip in English history. which created differing positions of mending methods. These assorted positions on the appropriate manner to turn to the population of insane people in England would impact the intervention of them throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. The mentally sick were frequently times regarded as less than homo. and because of that. they would be treated as if their life did non affair and live in the most dismaying conditions. The lurid actions of private refuges were touched upon by an article written in Gentlemen’s Magazine explicating how a individual could be taken into a Bedlam. to be stripped of their humanity and even apparels.

“A individual is forcibly taken. stripped bare and ties him down to a bed from which he is non released until he submits to their pleasure” ( Doc 2 ) . No 1. no affair how powerful or respected would be spared from the unbelievable insensitiveness directed toward the mentally ill. As shown by Countess Hartcourt. even King George III would be subjugated to the horrors of late eighteenth century maltreatment of the insane. “The patient was no longer treated as a human being. He was sometimes chained to a basic. and often beaten and starved” ( Doc 6 ) . the living conditions of a patient’s cell in a Bedlam were flagitious and wholly gross outing. This is grounds that during this clip. the lives of the mentally sick were non valued every bit much as the healthy. One illustration of merely how foul an refuge could be. comes from an probe of the York Asylum by County Magistrate. Godfrey Higgins in 1813. In the study Higgins recounts a point during the probe where he became so disgusted with the life conditions of the patients he vomited ( Doc 2 ) .

Two old ages subsequently Henry Alexander. who had visited fourty-seven workhouses in West Country. made a testimony before a choice commission of parliament. asking into the intervention of the insane. “At Taristock the malodor was so great that I felt about suffocated. It should be remembered that these cells were washed out that morning” ( Doc 13 ) . It would look that the popular position of the mentally sick in England during this clip was one of bitterness and hatred. The awful intervention of the mentally ailment was popuuar throughout England. Peoples would intentionally tease the insane for their ain amusement. and learn this to morally incorrect behaviour to kids. who would come to make the same as they grow up because it was gregariously acceptable. In his diary entry. Jonathan Swift describes his trip with some suckled and kids to see the sights of London in 1760. “Set out to the tower. saw the king of beastss. Then to Bedlam.

Then dined at the Chop-House. and concluded with a marionette show” ( Doc 3 ) . The casual mode that Swift writes about the visit to Bethlehem infirmary suggests that it was common for people to mistreat the insane for amusement. One of the first public mental refuges in England was Bethlehem infirmary. The scratching titled The Rake’s Progress. by William Hogarth in 1735. is a scene from Bethlehem in which the maltreatment of the patients is made evident. Peoples would play music while others. taunted. laughed at. and tied down patients. and some merely sat and watched the errors ( Doc1 ) . These actions of the people in the engraving demo the atrocious attitude people held against the mentally ill. One other history of how people taunted the insane for merriment was recorded by William Perfect in 1787. about a adult male who was strapped to the floor of a workhouse. “Continuous visitants were indicating at. roasting. and annoying the patient who was therefore made a spectacle of public sport” ( Doc 5 ) .

The societal credence of teasing the mentally sick for merriment is shown here. with a big figure of people take parting in mortifying this unfortunate person. The mistreatment of the mentally ailment was non appealing to all. In 1806 George Paul. the High Sheriff of Gloucstershire writes to the secretary of province about his feelings toward the intervention of the insane. “There is barely a parish in which there may non be found some unfortunate human animal left to jog through the streets. teased bu all that is nescient. vulgar and unfeeling” ( Doc 8 ) . Paul’s missive expresses his understandings toward the defenseless insane. which shows that even though some people enjoyed mistreating them. people like George Paul. would seek to better life for people who could non make so themselves. Though surveies were conducted at the clip. small was known about mental unwellnesss and their causes during the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1809 an decision maker at Bethlehem infirmary John Haslan studied the connexions between insanity and heredity of on patient R. G. Haslan came to the decision that “Where one of the parents have been insane it is more than likely the progeny will be likewise affected” ( Doc 9 ) . Medical patterns for the patients of mental infirmaries were mostly uneffective and harmful during the early nineteenth century. Dr. Bryan Crowther. a surgen at Bethlehem. writes about the process of shed blooding patients on a regular basis without covering the cut. Crowther didn’t find it necessary to “Adopt any other security against haemorrhage” ( Doc 10 ) . alternatively the patients would merely be sent back to their cells. The traditional English medical professionals viewed their manner of intervention the best. and with small cognition of the causes of mental unwellness. these patterns would go on. In 1792 an English Quaker named William Tuke founded a new refuge called the York Retreat. This refuge would implement a method of mental intervention subsequently called moral intervention by William’s grandson Samuel Tuke.

The Frenchman Charles-Gaspard de la Rive describes the cardinal thoughts of moral intervention in 1798 when he writes a description of his visit to the Retreat. “They must be given immediate penalty and wagess. They must foremost be subjugated. so encouraged. so applied to work made agreeable by attractive means” ( Doc 7 ) . Advocates of moral intervention rejected medical patterns and alternatively promoted limited usage of restraints. work. and cultivating reason and moral strength. In 1813 Samuel Tuke writes. in a book about the Retreat. about one peculiarly big adult male who was brought to the Retreat. and was so antiphonal to his intervention at that place. that he was discharged in approximately four months “completely recovered” ( Doc 11 ) .

The York Retreat was a topographic point where the people believe that the mentally sick were non evil. and that they could larn to populate in society. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the people who suffered from mental unwellnesss besides had to endure the cruel and inhumane intervention of them by the remainder of society. The infirmaries were more lik prisons. and workhouses condoned the humiliation of the insane. Peoples thought of the mentally sick as less than homo. and they lived in conditions far worse than farm animate beings. Some establishments like the York Retreat were mere sympathetic to the mentally ill. but no refuge at that clip could to the full mend them. Ultimately. there was no manner for a individual populating with a mental unwellness to acquire the aid they needed and deserved in order to populate a life that was portion of society.

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