of the minds of men throughout the civilized and enlightened nations of the world to a realization of the man's duty to his fellow man. The dissemination of knowledge among the people was gradually killing out the grosser forms of superstition, holding such a hypnotic influence over the ignorant. The spirit of liberty, fraternity and equality was abroad. With this zeal for the acquirement of knowledge, the spirit of investigation and the kindling of enthusiasm for scientific research, philanthropic ideas began to develop in men's minds, pity for the suffering and the unfortunate and a desire to better the condition of all. Prison reform was agitated, hospitals were organized for the sick in body. The treatment of the insane was made a matter for legislative investigation and although little or nothing was done toward the immediate relief of their condition, yet public sentiment was being slowly aroused in their behalf. Gradually the light of a brighter day was dawning. The propriety of abusive treatment, of cruelty, of chains, of stripes, formerly regarded as essential for the control of the maniac, or looked upon with indifference, was now brought into question. Much was written relative to insanity during this period but no decided step was taken for the betterment of conditions until near the close of the century when the noble-hearted Tuke, in England, and the brave Pinel, in France, started the grand reform, broke the fetters and brought the great restorative, hope, to stimulate the weakened mind.
The York Asylum, founded by general subscription in 1777, for 'the decent maintenance and relief of such insane persons as were in low circumstances' was, about 1791, the worst among the bad institutions in England. In this year a young woman, a member of the Society of Friends was committed to the York Asylum. Her friends were denied the privilege of seeing her and in a few weeks she died. Her death arousing suspicion of improper treatment among the Friends, one of their number, Mr. William Tuke, "resolved (1792) to establish an institution in which there would be no secrecy and where the patients would have humane and judicious care." Thus was the Retreat at York established and, in 1796, launched upon its memorable career, continuing from the first a leader in psychiatric progress.
The year 1792 also is made memorable by the appointment of Philip Pinel as physician to the insane at the Bicêtre. Coming to this position a trained alienist, he was deeply stirred by the condition of the men confined there, fifty of them in chains, many for a long period of years. His repeated and persistent appeals to the Commune for authority to release them from their bonds were finally given a reluctant affirmative answer, and in the end he was able to remove the chains from all the patients and to continue the good work at the Salpêtrière, an institution exclusively for women.