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Modern Persecution, or Insane Asylums Unveiled
The principle has just flashed upon my mind by which you expect to cure insanity, and this principle is faithfully applied to your patients, viz.:
"Evil of the like kind must be used to correct an evil," that is, you act as though the more insane the treatment bestowed, the more likely to effect a cure of insanity! You seem entirely averse to even meeting us on the plane of rationality.
I cannot hold converse with any one who will not manifest more rationality and common sense than you do in these wards.
For example, last Saturday night, I could not talk with you in response to those "beats of your hand!" I do not know how to meet you on so low a plane of rationality or intellect as you come about us with, and seem to expect our response as insane as your introduction; and there is not one in our hall (if I except Mrs. Fisher, and even she expresses more when she does speak) but shows more intelligence in their intercourse with me, than you do, in our wards.
Even when I, in as lady-like a manner as I possibly could do it, went to your parlor, Sabbath afternoon, and asked you if you did not pity us, for our disappointment in not having chapel service; your only response was:
"Oh! you must read to them."
But, at the same time, must have nothing to read!
Indeed, this is a more insane act than I know how to perform for your patients.
But, by pressing my suit, I did get some old papers to read, plainly saying:
"Good enough for insane beings."
And, if I attempt to manifest even intelligence enough to express a preference for the news as found in the late papers, I must only expect some renewed expression of insult and indignity, derision and scorn.
Again, when I told yon, in as lady-like manner as I could, that my room was so cold that a cloth would freeze in it, and I was obliged to go to bed to keep sufficiently warm, not to expose my health; you simply turned speechless away, as much as to say:
"Insane people don't know whether they are cold or hot, neither do I care."
No wonder, Dr. McFarland, that I do not seek you as a comforter, a friend, a brother. I do avoid you, out of respect to my feelings as a human being,
Oh! Dr. McFarland, it is hard for me, with my intellect and my Christianity, to put up with such treatment, from a human being, who has a form like God. I can't understand you, I can't see what you can mean to treat me so.
I used, at first, when I heard complaints of wrongs, to tell the patients
"Go with them to Dr. McFarland, he is our friend, we can confide in him."
But they would reply," it is of no use, he will turn from us in disdain, speechless!"
And now I know, from both sad experience and observation, that it is too true, you are not our friend. You are our tormentor, and we avoid you to save our feelings.
What is it that causes such a wail of horror to pervade this house, at the intelligence of a now arrival?
And what causes the thrill of joy at the discharge of a patient, when they leave exclaiming:
"I am thankful to get away from this place with my life?"
"What means the oft repeated expression on the part of both the patients and the employees:
"If there is any hell in the universe, I believe it is here?"
"It is almost impossible to do right here -- no encouragement whatever."
"If it is possible to do right in hell, we can do right here," &c., &c.
Oh! Dr. McFarland, can you cause such a state of things and not be an insane man?
I really fear that Nebuchadnezzar's punishment has already so far been felt, by you, that you are past the power of reason to move you. I have even now tried this, my last appeal upon you, in defiance of the oft repeated instruction:
"It is of no use -- you cannot affect the doctor -- he is adamant itself."
Yes, your own wife has told me: "Writing will be of no use, whatever."
"But it will be of use -- it will clear my skirts of the guilt of your own lost soul -- lost, in spite of warning and rebuke. And I shall receive from my Saviour the plaudit, "she hath done what she could" for suffering humanity under Dr. McFarland's charge.
And, although I speak no more to you upon the subject, I shall not relinquish my purpose, until both the Trustees and the Legislature are importuned, by facts, to trust no more human beings under your care, until you have been disciplined in an insane asylum, yourself, until you can claim to give evidence of being a sane man, by your own actions.
You need not sneer at this. I have hundreds on my side, already; such men as the one who told me himself, that he believed this Asylum was conducted more like a penitentiary than an insane asylum. He has had a wife here for years, and made no better by your punishments.
Many men have had wives and daughters here, whose testimony is credited in spite of your calling it "their insanity."
The world are no longer to give more credit to testimony than to their own observation. Those that you call insane, others do not. You have stood upon your position, now you must stand upon your own acts.