The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. MONDAY, APRIL 4, 1881. Wellington Lunatic Asylum Inquiry.
TOWN EDITION. [lssued at 4.30 p.w.'J
The disclosures which have now come to light in reference to the management of the Wellington Asylum must' cause great uneasiness in the minds of our colonists, who, lake any interest in our public institutions. That such a state of affairs should have been found existing in one of our principal cities is a disgrace to those connected with the inspection or management of an institution of this nature. It was hardly to be expected that an asylum, directly under ihe eyes of the legislators of our adopted country could possibly be conducted in such a manner, as the evidence which has been given for some lime past proves. Serious as the charges are against all concerned, whilst the case is sub judice, we will refrain from making comments on the evidence of any particular witness. These comments, however favorable or unfavorable, must not prevent us from drawing the attention of the public to the now existing necessity of demanding our Government to place upon a proper basis, the efficient working of our various hospitals for the insane, so that we shaU not again have them conducted in such a manner as to remind us of one of those saddest chapters in human history, which describes the cruel manner in which the insane were treated in the Old Country in times past. Siluated as we are in a new country, it is a difficult thing, perhaps, to get qualified public men to give an opinion regardin'* the management of hospitals o( this nature, or to take a greater in'erest in their working, than to find that they are supported by the Government, and as long as the usual vote for their maintenance is forthcoming, nothing f irther is required. It is a wellknown fact that with the public generally, insanity is looked upon as a calamity of a special kind, and such, they try all they can to conceal it, and invariably treat it as a crime. This is not as it’should be. We should endeavor to treat the insane in the same sympathetic way that vve treat those who suffer ordinary bodily disease. Now that our members in will have matters of ibis kind brought prominently before them, owing to the Wellington inquiry, we hope that steps will be taken to place our various institutions for the insane on a par, at least, with those of our sister colony, New South Wales. There, they have Iwo or more large hospitals for the insane. One ofthemisat Paramatta, and another at Gladesville. Both these inslitufions ate marvels of systematic working, and thanks to an efficient head, are a credit to that colony. In one of these hospitals there are 600 inmates, and no serious complaints have ever been made in reference to its management. How is .it that we cannot have similar institutions managed with such creditable results? The whole organisation of the present asylums throughout New Zealand require remodelling, and the sooner it is done the better. It is certainly a disgrace to us to learn that the afflicted ones in the Wellington Asylum have been so inhumanly treated, but are we sure that this is the only case demanding an enquiry ? Large sums of public money are expended ; n the erection of suitable buildings, increasing annually are the expenses connected with the so-called management; therefore, the public must demand from the Government immediate action to prevent the cruel treatment of the insane. The inquiry now held will do a great deal of good—its publicity more, inasmuch that the public will see for themselves the necessity existing for reform, and that those who occupy our asylums shall not be treated by paid officials in a manner akin to that which is displayed by any of the lower animals to one of their kind that has fellen ill. Pending the result of the inquiry, we shall let the matter rest ;■ but sball return to the subject in a future article.