A Lunatic Asylum Scandal.
A case attracting attention at present recalls the iniquities exposed in the novels by which Mr Charles Reade made his name. A Dr. Nowell, in good practice in London, and with a moderate independent income, was dilatory in making certain proposed settlements on his wife. To expedite matters, she and her brothers resolved to have recourse to a method disgracefully simple. They easily found two doctors venal enough and culpable enough to sign a certificate of lunacy. Their unhappy victim was surprised in a garden, and forcibly removed to the conveyance of the asylum. Tins is a specimen of the coachbuilders’ art which should attract the attention of the Government. The unfortunate Mr Nowell, naturally objecting to his capture, struggled to resist being placed therein ; immediately the assistants locked the normal side doors, opened a kind of trap in the top, and dropped their prisoner in. Lord Coleridge, the presiding judge, expressed a hope that full shorthand notes were being taken, as he should send them to the Home Secretary. The man was no more mad than the right honorable gentleman is, but for years he has been confined in a private madhouse, with all its indignities, solely on the certificate, of two doctors, wliose motives seem to have been none of the purest. It is the fact that the same horrible fate may be inflicted on anybody with such shameless facility that gives the case its exceptional interest. After long discussion, it has been postponed to the November sessions, and, meanwhile, will be brought before tiro Government. Readers of Mr Reade’s novels hardly believe that what seem to be his sensational and highly-colered pictures are only the reflections of what really takes place in London, perhaps many times a year, at the present day.
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