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Some Irish District Asylums


Belfast.—Dr. Graham gives his authorities a large quantity of sound advice concerning the chief causes or factors in the production of mental disease. In relation to the lessening of the opportunities for handing down the taint, he writes:

And in regard to the prevention method, perhaps the greatest legislative effort ever made to apply it in a large scale is that of the Mental Deficiency Bill. By its means a standing menace to the welfare of the social body will be destroyed; the hitherto unchecked liberty allowed the feeble-minded to propagate their kind and hand down their malady to unborn generations will be no longer permitted, and posterity will be the gainers. Unhappily, this beneficent measure is not applicable to Ireland, though if ever there was a country in need of it, it is our own. In Great Britain private philanthropy can endow, and has endowed, homes for the feeble-minded, but owing to the poverty of the Irish people there is greater need of State aid here than in England or Scotland. It is most unfortunate that a class which cries so pitifully to us for help, and which unwittingly takes such a terrible revenge for our neglect, is left by Parliament exactly where it was. Much good is also to be anticipated from the spread of the eugenic movement, which aims at the awakening of the public conscience to a sense of race responsibility, so that marriage, the symbol of all that is divinest in human life, will be no longer the channel along which may run the chartered curses of the world. But the champions of eugenics will do well to depend more upon the slow but irresistible power of an educational propaganda than upon the doubtful expedient of coercive legislation. It is their task to inform the public mind to drive home such a single truth, for example, as has been verified by many a sinister historical illustration, that the confluence of the tainted streams can have but one outcome—a stream more tainted still. And when the reason and conscience of the community have been convinced, the laws which regulate conduct will be conformed to the con viction.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Some Irish District Asylums

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