« ПретходнаНастави »
On his being once taunted with a question, that 'if he was Christ, he could break his chains,' he solemnly replied, Frustra tentaris Dominum tuum.' His whole life was a romance of religious excitement. He undertook, on foot, pilgrimages to Cologne and Rome, and made a voyage to America for the purpose of converting the Indians: his dominant idea became changed into actual mania, and on his return to France, he announced himself as the Saviour. He was taken by the police before the archbishop of Paris, by whose orders he was confined in the Bicetre, as either impious or insane. His hands and feet were loaded with heavy chains, and during twelve years he bore with exemplary patience martyrdom and constant sarcasms. Pinel did not attempt to reason with him, but ordered him to be unchained in silence, directing, at the same time, that every one should imitate the old man's reserve, and never speak to him. This order was rigorously observed, and produced on the patient a more decided effect than either chains or the dungeon; he became humiliated by this unusual isolation, and, after hesitating a long time, gradually introduced himself to the society of the other patients. From this time, his notions became more just and sensible, and in less than a year he acknow
ledged the absurdity of his previous prepossession, andwas dismissed from the Bicetre.
"In the course of a few days, Pinel released fifty-three maniacs from their chains; among them were men of all conditions and countries; workmen, merchants, soldiers, lawyers, etc. The result was beyond his hopes. Tranquillity and harmony succeeded to tumult and disorder; and the whole discipline was marked with a regularity and kindness, which had the most favorable effect on the insane themselves, rendering even the most furious more tractable."*
To these cases, we might add many more selected from the Lunatic institutions of our own country, especially those at Charlestown and Worcester, Mass. But those instances already presented, are sufficient for my purpose. In them, the mightiness of the law of kindness is strikingly apparent. It had not to deal with the wise, the reasonable, and the Christianizedthose who understood its divine origin, and felt its requirements. But it came in contact with the insane-those whose mental light had been quenched in the boisterous waters of madness, and the star of whose reason had set in darkness; those who could not appreciate the influ ences and tendencies of kindness; those who
*I am indebted for this extract, to one of the Reports of the Boston Prison Discipline Society.
had been confined and chained for a number of years-who had been rendered fierce by ill treatment, and whose insanity had been aggravated by violence. And what was the result of the operations of this law? It made the stormy maniac gentle as a child; it hushed piercing screeches into softness; it changed violent opposition into obedience; it gave comparative happiness to those whose previous days of insanity were not relieved by a single spot of pleasure. And how did it effect this? It reared no chilly dungeon, gloomy with filth and damp straw; it threw no chains upon the limbs of those who came under its charge; it uttered no threats; it wielded no lash. It castthe oil of gentleness upon the raging waves of violence; it wove its web of silk around the bitter and blighted soul; it threw its light into 'mental darkness; and it knocked gently for admittance into the fleshly house which was deprived of its lamp of reason. And, lo! not only did insanity bow to its holy influence, but in almost every instance, it succeeded in re-arranging the disturbed brain, and in replacing the light of reason in its socket, to fit and prepare its subject once more for the varied duties of human life. Oh, if aught is wanting to convince the skeptical of the power of kindness, it is found here! For if that law will subdue the maniac, calm
down the raging storm of insanity, and render the poor victim of dethroned reason, as mild and obedient as a child, it certainly will have a powerful influence over those who are sane, whatever may be their situation. If Deity has so constituted his creature, that violent madness will bow before the law of kindness, we may well believe, that in reference to sane men, it is far the best to obey the direction of his inspired servant, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for, in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head," illustrated, as it is, by the conduct of the Saviour, who for his enemies prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
KINDNESS AND CRIME.
"The secret of the success of the Prison Discipline Society, is its use of the great principle of the Gospel-love to the guilty."-PRISON DISCIPLINE Report.
There is yet another department of human life, in which the law of kindness is acquiring extensive and powerful influence. I have reference to criminals-those victims of vice who break the laws of society, and consequently endure the penalties attached to those laws. In times past, criminals have been visited with constant severity, and in multitudes of instances, with positive cruelty. And at the present day, it is not only the fact in many prisons, that prisoners, in order to subdue them, are subjected to vindictive and frequent corporeal punishments, but multitudes of people still cherish the erroneous notion, that prisoners can not be controlled in any other manner than by unrelenting severity. This, however, is a fatal mistake. For, in every instance in which kindness has