We have so frequently taken notice in the pages of this Journal of the valuable researches of Dr. Pliny Earle in regard to the results of care and treatment of the insane, that it is scarcely necessary to do more than to draw the attention of our readers to the collection in one volume of the essays on the “Curability of Insanity,” extending to two hundred and thirty pages. The volume forms, as a whole, an important contribution to the study of mental disorders—that branch of it which is, indeed, of radical import, for it grapples with the questions to what degree insanity is curable, whether it is cured to the extent which has been generally believed, and whether the results of treatment are more or less favourable than they were formerly. These essays extend over a period of close upon ten years. There is amongst us a singular and exclusive employment of the word “scientific,” which would seem to refuse to comprise within its circle statistical inquiries. This is surely as unfair as it is absurdly unfounded. We have no hesitation in including investigations and carefully-drawn conclusions like those of Dr. Earle, under the head of Scientific Work; and were he in our own country, such work ought to entitle him to the coveted letters granted by the Royal Society as much as minute observations on a drop of water taken from a dirty pond. How such distinctions as to what constitutes the claim to be a successful worker in one department of knowledge rather than another can be made, we have always been at a loss to understand.
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