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Observations on Insanity With Practical Remarks on the Disease and an Account of the Morbid Appearances on Dissection   By: (1764-1844)

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OBSERVATIONS ON INSANITY.

OBSERVATIONS ON INSANITY:

WITH PRACTICAL REMARKS ON THE DISEASE, AND AN ACCOUNT OF THE MORBID APPEARANCES ON DISSECTION.

BY JOHN HASLAM,

LATE OF PEMBROKE HALL, CAMBRIDGE, MEMBER OF THE CORPORATION OF SURGEONS, AND APOTHECARY TO BETHLEM HOSPITAL.

"Of the uncertainties of our present state the most dreadful and alarming is the uncertain continuance of reason." Dr. JOHNSON's Rasselas.

London:

PRINTED FOR F. AND C. RIVINGTON, NO. 62, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD; AND SOLD BY J. HATCHARD, NO. 173, PICCADILLY. 1798.

TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL THE PRESIDENT , THE WORSHIPFUL THE TREASURER, AND GOVERNORS OF BETHLEM HOSPITAL.

MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,

The following OBSERVATIONS are respectfully submitted to YOUR notice, as the vigilant and humane Guardians of an Institution which performs much good to society, by diminishing the SEVEREST amongst human calamities,

By, My LORDS and GENTLEMEN,

Your very obedient and humble Servant, THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE.

As the office I hold affords me abundant means of acquiring information on the subject of mental disorders, I should feel myself unworthy of that situation, were I to neglect any opportunity of accumulating such knowledge, or of communicating to the public any thing which might promise to be of advantage to mankind. The candid reader is therefore requested to accept this sentiment, as the best apology I can offer for the present production.

It has been somewhere observed, that in our own country more books on Insanity have been published than in any other; and, if the remark be just, it is certainly discouraging to him who proposes to add to their number. It must, however, be acknowledged, that we are but little indebted to those who have been most capable of affording us instruction; for, if we except the late Dr. JOHN MONRO'S Reply to Dr. BATTIE'S Treatise on Madness, there is no work on the subject of mental alienation which has been delivered on the authority of extensive observation and practice.

It is not intended to present the following sheets as a treatise, or compleat disquisition on the subject, but merely as remarks, which have occurred during the treatment of several hundred patients. As a knowledge of the structure, and functions of the body, have been held indispensably necessary in order to become acquainted with its diseases, and to a scientific mode of treating them; so it would appear, that he who proposes to write on Madness should be well informed concerning the powers and operations of the human mind: but the various and discordant opinions, which have prevailed in this department of knowledge, have led me to disentangle myself as quickly as possible from the perplexity of metaphysical mazes.

As some very erroneous notions have been entertained concerning the state of the brain, and more especially respecting its consistence in maniacal disorders, I have been induced to examine that viscus in those who have died insane, and have endeavoured with accuracy to report the appearances. It seemed proper to give some general history of these cases; perhaps the account which has been related of their erroneous opinions might have been spared, yet some friends whom I consulted expressed a wish that they had been more copiously detailed.

Of the difficulty of enumerating the remote causes of the disease I have been fully aware, and have mentioned but few, that I might be accused of the fewer mistakes. The prognosis contains some facts which, as far as I am informed, have not hitherto been made known, and appear to me of sufficient importance to be communicated to the public.

As it is my intention at some future period to attempt a more finished performance on the subject of Insanity, I shall feel grateful for any hints or observations, with which the kindness of professional gentlemen may supply me.

BETHLEM HOSPITAL, MARCH 14, 1798.

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