Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/294

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ure and Pain, and it will be studied by means of lectures, essays, and laboratory work. The present officers of the Philosophical Department are Profs. G. H. Palmer, A. M., C. C. Everett, D. D., William James, M. D., and P. G. Peabody, D. D., Asst. Prof. Josiah Royce, Ph. D., and George Santayana, Ph. D., instructor.


The Founder of Inebriate Asylums.—A sketch of the late Dr. J. Edward Turner, founder of the first inebriate asylum in the world, has been published by T. D. Crothers, M. D., in The Quarterly Journal of Inebriety. Dr. Turner was born in Maine, in 1822, and had his mind turned to the subject of his life work by being called upon to take care of an inebriate uncle at intervals of several months, during his student life and after he began to practice medicine. When he first mentioned his idea of an asylum, where such cases could be secluded, housed, and treated, it was received with derision and contempt. He went to Europe in 1843, and spent two years visiting hospitals and asylums, and discussing his ideas with medical men. On his return he began the systematic collection of facts concerning inebriety. About this time Drs. Valentine Mott aud John W. Francis became interested in his plan for an asylum, and continued all their lives to be his warmest friends. There was much bitter opposition to the idea of treating drunkenness as a disease, and still more indifference to the matter, so that Dr. Turner made but slow headway. In 1848-'49 he made a second visit to Europe. After his return he began to solicit subscriptions to the stock of a company to build an inebriate asylum. A charter was obtained from the State of New York, and finally, in 1858, ground was broken at Binghamton for a building planned by Dr. Turner, and the erection of which he personally superintended. By persistent petitioning he obtained from the New York Legislature a grant of one tenth of the money obtained each year from liquor licenses, for the building and maintenance of the asylum. In 1862 Dr. Turner married. The building had progressed far enough in 1864 to open it for patients, and a number of inebriates were admitted. At this point success seemed to have crowned the efforts of the founder. He had won over public opinion to his side, and the most active interest was being manifested all over the State in the work. But trouble arose over the mode of treatment. Dr. Turner's system was military in its strictness, his first principle being, that the asylum officers should have full control of the patient, and that this control should extend over a long time, and not be governed by the will of the patient or his non-expert friends. An unscrupulous, money-getting lawyer in the board of directors, and a weak president of the board, caused a division, which was followed by persecution of Dr. Turner, and his resignation as superintendent in 1867. The asylum was then sold to the State for a nominal consideration, and thirteen years later was changed to an insane hospital, being known now as the New York State Insane Asylum at Binghamton. The transfer was not legally made, and Dr. Turner began a suit for possession of the property, which was never carried to an issue. Dr. Turner then undertook to raise subscriptions for a woman's hospital for inebriates and opium-eaters. After three years, the subscriptions in money and materials had reached a great amount, ground had been broken for a building, when the Legislature of Connecticut crushed the scheme by repealing the charter previously granted. For the next two years after this discouraging defeat Dr. Turner occupied himself with writing a book called the History of the First Inebriate Asylum in the World, which was a general account of his forty years' efforts. He then started out to sell the work, and to solicit aid to push his suit for the Binghamton asylum, and was busied thus when he died, July 24, 1889. Dr. Turner's career was a striking example of overwhelming defeat for the individual joined with signal triumph for his idea. Inebriety is being more widely recognized as a disease each year. There are to-day over one hundred inebriate asylums in the world, all the direct result of his efforts in founding the first one at Binghamton.


Origin of American Public Museums.—The first chapter in the history of American museums, says Dr. G. Brown Goode, in his lecture on museums, is short. In the early years of the republic, the establishment of