A long looked-for trip to Russia became at last possible, and during my visit I made an inspection of nine lunatic asylums, both public and private, which may be taken as fair examples of other institutions for the treatment of the insane in that country. Each province in Russia has one or more asylums, within or near its chief town, and each province is responsible for the maintenance and government of its own asylums; the general management of the latter depends, therefore, upon the interest maintained in them and the discipline enforced by the governing committee. The difficulty which a foreigner, unacquainted with the language, has in appreciating the details of management is naturally very great, and, I fear, if it had not been for the notoriety of Russians as linguists, fully justified in my experience, the information I obtained would doubtless be unreliable. I found that many of the Russian medical superintendents were travellers, and that England had been visited, that the asylums of Bethlem, Colney Hatch, and Hanwell had been also visited. They all (in the nine asylums inspected) spoke French fluently; two ventured to speak English, but they expressed themselves more correctly in writing. All seemed aware of the difficulties of English pronunciation, and were aware of the treachery that existed in applying general principles to our complex language. Although I was favoured with photographs and plans, statistical, structural, and medical reports of these asylums in the Russian language, I fear that I have not profited much in the following account by their possession; what I have to say being mainly from notes made during my visits.
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