“I Never saw anything like the English people,” remarked a foreign expert to me at an International Congress; “they have the best institutions for public assistance in the world, but they never have a word of praise for their own asylums: on the contrary, they are always criticising them.” My reply was: “Is it not because we are always criticising our institutions and trying to remedy their faults that they are the best in the world?” Our friends across the channel appear to be very much of the same opinion as the expert. They praise our asylums as being better and costing less than the French; specially do they praise the administration of them; the character of the attendants in our asylums as compared with their own comes in for warm commendation; even our lunacy law is—mirable dictu!—described as plus simple que chez nous. If it is, then the French lunacy law is decidedly complex; for it does appear to me monstrous that while under our present law we have only three medical inspectors for 100,000 patients under the care of the Lunacy Commissioners, we should have two for the care of less than 1000 Chancery patients, two thirds of whom are in asylums and therefore already under the care of the Lunacy Commissioners. The system is wrong, and in my opinion it is a mistake to place one class of cases suffering from mental disease under one authority, another class also suffering from mental disease under a second authority, and a third class of cases under the Local Government Board, for that is what our present system amounts to.
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