Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/782

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

tified in the munificent gift lately made to the Royal Albert Asylum, and by the opinion of its superintendent, Dr. T. Telford-Smith, thus clearly expressed:

"It is yearly more noticeable that the public mind is coming gradually but surely to recognize the threefold value of the work of such institutions as the Royal Albert Asylum. The educational and the custodial aspects early aroused the sympathies of the PSM V54 D782 Images of the mentally deficient classified as low grade imbeciles.jpgLow-grade Imbeciles. No. 1, obstinate, perverse, indolent; No. 2, gentle and obedient. charitable; but the preventive aspect is another which must force itself upon all who thoughtfully consider the subject. The far-reaching and inexorable law of heredity is written large for those who study the imbecile."

The following paragraph, from a daily paper, shows that, in America at least, public opinion and the acts of the legislature have become ripe for action:

"The State of Connecticut is about to try a curious experiment in social legislation, having passed a law forbidding any man or woman, imbecile or feeble-minded, to marry under forty-five years of age, the penalty being imprisonment for not less than three years; and persons aiding and abetting are also liable. The hope of the legislature is to keep down degenerate families."

That this experiment is wise and justifiable who can doubt?

To glance at another and sadder, but not less real, side of the same question, can any one doubt but that the adolescent and adult female imbecile needs lifelong care and protection? Surely the noble gift to the asylum by Sir Thomas Storey of a home for forty such cases is a wise, far-seeing, and statesmanlike act.

It is greatly to be hoped that this noble example may be speedily emulated on both sides of the sea, and that each State may shortly possess, in addition to its training school, its own colony farm with all the industries of a village, drawing its workers from the well-directed