Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/452

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ceiving relief—that is, actually coming under treatment—is proportionally larger in the latter than in the former. In other words, the proportion of fresh cases of pauper lunacy appearing on the poor-roll is higher in urban than rural districts. The commissioners refer this result partly to the greater prevalence of the active and transitory forms of mental disorder—cases which before long are discharged—and partly to the greater facility of obtaining accommodation in an asylum free of charge in a city, from its being at hand; and the greater wealth of the urban districts offering no obstacle to admission. They attribute the above-mentioned persistent rural lunacy chiefly to the constant migration of the strong from the rural to the urban districts; the necessary exodus of the physically and mentally healthy leaving behind an altogether disproportionate number of congenital idiots, imbeciles, and chronic insane, in the agricultural counties. Hence, returning to England, it is quite clear that the mere ratio of accumulated pauper lunacy to the county population, which is constantly relied upon, proves little or nothing as to the relative liability to insanity of the agricultural and manufacturing districts. One conclusion only can be safely drawn from such figures, until minute investigations have been made into the circumstances attending rural and urban lunacy in England as has been done in Scotland—namely, that while theory is apt to say that a country life, passed, as it seems to be supposed, in pastoral simplicity, will not admit of the entrance of madness into the happy valley, fact says that, whatever may be the ultimate verdict as to the relative proportion of urban and rural lunacy, a large amount of insanity and idiocy does exist in the country districts, and that the dull swain, with clouted shoon, but too frequently finds his way into the asylum.

A glance at the annual reports of our lunatic asylums reveals the main occupations of the inmates and the apparent causes of their attacks. In a county asylum like Wilts the great majority of patients are farm-laborers, with their wives and daughters; and next in order, domestic servants and weavers. The number of farmers, or members of their families, is small. The character of the occupations in the population of an asylum like that for the borough of Birmingham of course differs. Here we find mechanics and artisans heading the lists, with their wives. Those engaged in domestic occupation form a large number. Shopkeepers and clerks come next in order. In both asylums are to be found a few governesses and teachers. Innkeepers, themselves the cause of so much insane misery in others, figure sparingly in these tables.

Among the causes, intemperance unmistakably takes the lead. This is one of those facts which, amid much that is open to difference of opinion, would seem to admit of no reasonable doubt. Secondly follows domestic trouble, and thirdly poverty. At the Birmingham Asylum, out of 470 admissions in three years, eleven cases were at-