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Response To Dix's Request For Federal Support Of Indigent Insane

Creator: n/a
Date: January 1849
Publication: American Journal of Insanity
Source: Available at selected libraries

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MEMORIAL OF D. L. DIX, Praying of Congress a Grant of Land, for the Relief and Support of the Indigent, Curable, and Incurable Insane in the United States.


"Should Congress legislate on the subject? Asylums are now quite numerous in the states, and gradually increasing, and it seems legitimately to belong to them to provide for the unfortunate lunatics, within their own territorial jurisdiction. Should the government assume the responsibility of creating an establishment for the class referred to in the memorial, prodigious efforts would be made to empty local hospitals into the great national reservoir of insanity. So well do towns and corporations understand practical economy, that the more they could slide off their hands on to the United States, the better, as it would relieve them of a portion of taxation. However commendable the philanthropic exertions of Miss Dix may be considered, and we honor her for her untiring manifestations of Christian regard for those who are bereft of reason, whose cause she is unceasingly pleading, we are fully persuaded that no such provision as she contemplates in the petition, is either constitutional or necessary. If there are soldiers or sailors who have lost their reason, while in the service of their country, it would devolve upon Congress to make ample provision for their comfort; but to create a mammoth hospital, into which the States might send their incurable insane, would soon become an instrument with adroit, designing politicians for disturbing rather than quieting the peace of the country." -- Boston Medical and Surgical Journal.


We presume Miss Dix did not contemplate the establishment of one "Mammoth Hospital, into which the states might send their incurable insane;" but whether so or not, we entirely concur in the views expressed by the writer in the Boston Journal, and hope and believe Congress will do nothing upon the subject.