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Modern Persecution, or Insane Asylums Unveiled
She had left a young babe, this time, which her physician advised her to wean, since she was now in a delicate condition. Thus her overtasked physical nature, abused as it was by bad medical treatment, added to the double burden she was called to endure, could not sustain the balance of her mental faculties.
Her nerves were unstrung, and lost their natural tone by the influence of opium, that most deadly foe of nature, which evidently caused her insanity.
The opium was expected to operate as a quietus to her then excited nervous system; but instead of this, it only increased her nervous irritability. The amount was then increased, and this course persisted in, until her system became drunk, as it were, by its influence. The effect produced was like that of excessive drinking, when it causes delirium tremens. Thus she became a victim to that absurd practice of the medical profession, which depends upon poisons instead of nature to cure disease.
It is not natural to cure disease by creating disease. To poison nature, is not the natural way to eradicate poison from the system. To load nature with additional burdens, is not the way to lighten its previous burdens.
But common sense dictates that the natural way to aid nature in throwing off her diseases, is to strengthen the powers of healing, and thereby directly assist her in curing disease.
Nature's energies are strengthened, renewed and nourished by rest, quiet, sleep, food, air, cleanliness, freedom, exercise, etc.; and medical skill consists in adapting these agencies to their peculiar functions, so that the special want of nature may be met by its natural supply.
What Mrs. Cheneworth wanted, was the nourishment of her exhausted physical nature, by rest, food, air, and exercise.
She did not need to have the powers of her system thrown into confusion by taxing them with poisons, which nature must either counteract and resist, or be overcome by them, and sink into death. Nature was importuning for help to bear her burdens, being already overtasked.
But instead of listening to these demands, her blinded friends allowed her to be thus medically abused. After having suffered her to receive this treatment, which brought into a still worse condition -- an insane state -- when more than ever she needed help and the most tender, watchful care; then to be cast oft in her helplessness upon strangers, who knew nothing of her character, her habits, her propensities, her cravings, her disposition, or her constitution; how could they reasonably expect her thus to receive the care necessary to her recovery?
They probably did expect it, and on this false basis placed her here for appropriate medical treatment.
What a delusion the world is laboring under, to expect such treatment here! Did they but know the truth, they would find that all the "medical treatment" they get here, is that of locks and keys!
Thus having hidden them from observation, and cut them off from all communication with their friends, they then inflict upon them what they consider condign punishment for being insane!
Why cannot their friends bestow upon them this "medical treatment" at home, without the expense of sending them to the Lunatic Asylum?
This is the sum and substance of all the "treatment" they get here, which they could not get at home -- that is, they could not get this treatment from reasonable friends, any where, out-side of these inquisitorial institutions.
How doleful is this purgatory! thus legally upheld for the punishment of the innocent! Great God! Is this Institution located within the province of thy just government? or is this Satan's seat, that has not yet been subjected to thy Omnipotent power?
Mrs. Cheneworth is only one among many, many others, which her case represents. During the few weeks she was in my ward, after she first came, she was kindly treated. Perhaps her own parents could not have done better by her, than did Miss Tomlin and Miss McKelva, so far as their limited powers extended.
They could not grant her that liberty and freedom she so panted for, nor could they gratify her longings to see her own offspring, and bestow upon them the love of her maternal heart; nor could they bring to her the sympathy of her fond mother, for which she so ardently longed; neither could they summon to her side her husband -- her chosen protector -- who had sworn before God never to forsake her in sickness or in health, although it was her most earnest wish that he might come and see her condition for himself.
No, neither of these influences could these attendants summon for her relief or benefit; but so far as the ward duties extended, they did as well by her as they could.
I never saw either of them get the least angry or impatient towards her, although she tried them exceedingly by her antics. They seemed to feel that instead of getting angry at an insane person, they were placed here to "Bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please themselves."
I feel that they have nothing to dread in the revelations of Mrs. Cheneworth's Asylum discipline. Of each of them I trust the Judge will say, "she hath done what she could" for her suffering sister.