Moorfields, the necessity for increased accommodations becoming greater 'as the country came more and more into systematic government and as the wholesale burning of such unfortunate persons as wizards or witches died out.'
Little appeared in medical literature during this period upon the care of the insane. Daniel Sennert (1572-1637) wrote sensibly upon mania and melancholia, but left nothing as to treatment, except to bleed and to purge. Sydenham (1624—1689) had little to say on mental affections. An adherent to the current doctrine, he attributed insanity to a disabling of the 'animal spirits' by a prolonged fermentation. He prescribed a cordial of Venice treacle, containing the flesh and broths of vipers, amber and sixty-one more ingredients in Canary wine and honey to be given three times a day, the patient to remain in bed and to be liberally supplied with liquids. For ordinary mania he ordered the withdrawal of nine ounces of blood on two or three occasions with three days' interval between each bleeding. A course of pills of colocynth and scammony followed, and on the days when the patient did not take the pills he was to have an electuary composed of conserve of monk's rhubarb, rosemary, candied angelica and other pleasant ingredients.
Something more rational was attempted in Paris when by an Act of Parliament in 1660 the insane passed through two wards, especially reserved for them in Hotel Dieu, the ward St. Louise for men containing ten beds for four each and two small beds; the ward St. Martin for women containing six large beds and six small ones. Treatment here was by means of douches, cold baths, repeated bleedings, hellebore, purgatives and antispasmodics. If there was no improvement in a few weeks they were sent to the Petits Maisons, the Salpêtrière or the Bicêtre, where they were kept clothed in rags, confined by chains, poorly fed, bedded on rotten straw, often in cells infected with disease. As in England on holidays they were exposed to the gaze of the public, admitted for a small fee as to a menagerie. In 1667 Dennis, in Paris, successfully employed transfusion of blood taken from a calf in the case of a young man insane after an unhappy love affair.
The early years of the eighteenth century saw the gradual evolution of the asylum idea and the slow increase in the number of establishments for the insane, founded not only by the state but by private individuals. The condition of the insane in the latter was particularly distressing for many years, and, even until well on in the last century, many of them were more to be dreaded than the larger public asylums.
Dean Swift had in mind the foundation of a hospital for the insane as early as 1731 when he wrote the verses on his own death and described his determination thus.