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Dr. Webster states that there are two asylums for the insane at Bruges, that of St. Julien and of St. Dominic. In the "Flemish Interiors," the former only is_referred to. The following is the account furnished by Dr. Webster of the St. Julien asylum:—

5. St. Julien Asylum.-This institution is one of the most ancient establishments for receiving lunatics, throughout Belgium. It is situated in a wide, airy street, near the railway station, close to the Porta Santo-one of the gates of Bruges-and closely adjoining its ramparts. Being originally a convent, the buildings are old, and some appeared not well adapted for their present purpose. Still, considerable improvements in the interior arrangements having been since effected, it is much resorted to by patients of both sexes. According to tradition, this locality formed a hostelry for pilgrims, so early as the seventh century; but it was not till about A.D. 1500, that insane persons were received within its precincts for protection and treatment. Attached to the present lunatic institution of St. Julien, and under the same superintendence, two other-although much smaller-establishments, are also opened for the treatment of persons afflicted with mental disease. One is, that of St. Anne, situated in a healthy and agreeable district near Courtray; the other being the Convent of Cortenberg, lying between Brussels and Louvain, in a very picturesque locality, celebrated for salubrity. This house has been recently rebuilt, according to the approved principles of modern architecture; but, being intended solely for the accommodation of female patients of the upper and middle classes, the number received is therefore very limited. Having thus three separate establishments—all under the same superior direction-the relatives of private patients may therefore secure, if considered advisable, a change of residence, so that those who wish can then pass the winter in town, and summer in the country.

When I visited St. Julien-early last September, the total population of the chief institution, situated in Bruges, amounted to 310 lunatics; of whom 166 were male and 144 female inmates. Of these, half were tranquil patients, seventy-five agitated, thirty-eight epileptics, thirty idiots, and twelve were then considered convalescents. Amongst the whole, thirty were classified as dirty persons; the sexes being nearly equal, in reference to that particular feature. No female lunatic appeared in camisole, or undergoing any kind of bodily restraint whatever. However, one male patient was temporarily confined by a strait-waistcoat, whilst two men and one woman were in seclusion cells; all three being much agitated and very violent. The general population seemed tranquil, considering the number of inmates congregated in different divisions. Many females occupied themselves in lace-making, domestic employments, and in preparing or mending clothes for residents. A large number of male patients were engaged in agricultural work on the adjoining farm, which amounts to twenty acres, belonging to this institution; as likewise in the garden attached to the building for private male pensioners. These pay a larger sum for board than the indigent residents, and varies from 500 to 2500 francs annually; whereas, the allowance received front communes, for pauper patients, amounts to only 75 centimes per diem-that is, 273 francs, or £11 annually; which truly seems a very low remuneration for such inmates-feeding, lodging, and clothing included.

Being in most parts an ancient structure, this asylum is not conveniently arranged. The apartments are too crowded in several instances, and its buildings being sometimes very close together, there seemed not sufficient separation of several wards occupied by the different sexes. Nevertheless, much has been done to remedy existing defects; and considerable improvements are also in contemplation. The patients' court-yards are four in number, some being, however, rather limited; and there are, besides, three small gardens for inmates taking open-air exercise, with another of greater magnitude for pen. sioners, whose number amounted to forty-eight, comprising twenty-two females

and twenty-six male lunatics. Of these, several were, I understood, natives of Great Britain. Indeed, one was pointed out who had only recently arrived from the north of England.

Two physicians and one surgeon are attached to the St. Julien Asylum, one of whom pays daily visits, or oftener, if necessary; but there is no resident medical officer. The chief authority and director is M. le Canon Maes, who has a lease of his present premises from the Mendicity Depôt of Bruges. That reverend gentleman may be therefore considered the proprietor. He is principal manager, takes all pecuniary risk upon himself, and must be at whatever expenses either improvements or alterations may entail. Those now essential are certainly considerable, in order to meet the requirements of constituted public authorities; and consequently, to render the interior more in unison with the present ideas entertained, regarding what seems proper treatment for lunatics. Having been only previously licensed until the 1st of last April, on condition that various important changes, admitted by impartial parties as urgently required, were effected in its internal arrangements, this institution remains at present without legal sanction; and will continue, till the Committee of Inspection's suggestions are completed. Different propositions were made to arrive at a satisfactory solution, but, hitherto, every effort has proved unsuccessful. As the Communal Council of Bruges have not yet sanctioned any of the plans proposed, and as the administrators of hospital property, the Inspectors of lunatics, besides the parties interested pecuniarily in this establishment, all entertain very different opinions with reference to the questions in dispute, some time may yet elapse ere matters shall be arranged satisfactorily. This dilemma is much to be regretted, since the hospital of St. Julien has long been known as a useful institution; and if properly reorganized, whilst various admitted defects were removed, it would doubtless confer most useful benefits upon those unfortunate persons, for whose individual advantage it is destined. The anomalous position, in which this institution is now placed, forms the subject of a special notice in the Committee of Inspection's last Report, who think it cannot much longer exist as at present. The ameliorations demanded must be carried out efficiently, or the establishment will be shut up and suppressed.

During the past year fifty-two new patients were admitted, thirty-two being male, and twenty female lunatics; twenty-seven left the asylum cured, of whom nine were male and eighteen female inmates, and thirty-three died; the male patients in that category being twenty-one in number, with only twelve females. These figures hence show that insanity oftener affected male persons applying for relief at this institution, and fewer were discharged cured; whilst the proportion of deaths ranged higher amongst that sex, than those recorded in female patients. Such results, however, become less remarkable when it is known that two-thirds of the inmates were classed as incurable lunatics; and in about one-third only was a slight hope entertained of ever doing much good, still less gave any prospect of recovery. In fact, the mental diseases of many being of long standing, their favourable termination consequently appeared utterly hopeless."

Contrast with Dr. Webster's description, the following entry in the Flemish Interiors :"


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'Wednesday 5th Sept. Having arranged to visit the Hospice St. Julien one of the Chanoine Maes's admirable institutions, I proceeded to the Rue de la Bouverie, where I was to meet Father Ignatius at ten o'clock. Arrived at the Convent, we were shewn into the Salle-à-Manger or guest-chamber, a fine noble room in the style of the last century, with noble windows, tapestried walls, and substantial furniture. It is here that annual and other meetings are held by the friends and supporters of the institution. On the occasion of a dinner given to such persons, the guests are waited upon by the convalescent patients, who acquit themselves so well, that no one could discover in them any mental indisposition. The Mother Superior soon appeared, received us with great civility, and readily consented to shew us the institution. e2

The building is extensive, but irregular and rambling, not having been originally constructed for its present purpose. This as well as the land on which it stands is parish property, which occasions much inconvenience to the occupants. Such are the restrictions, that they can neither add, alter, nor even repair any portion of it, without express permission. There is a farm of about fifty acres attached, which furnishes occupation to the male patients, and contributes to their common support. The house contains about 330 inmates of both sexes.

The inmates in this institution are for the most part les indigens de la ville, but middle class patients are also received on paying a moderate sum annually, being accommodated with a private room. The former are paid for by the parochial authorities by whom they are sent. The cost of each inmate is estimated at 75 centimes (about 7d.) per diem.

The care of the Alienées of both classes is committed entirely to the Sisters; and though there are servants, their duties are confined to the gros ouvrages, in which they are superintended by the Sisters, and assisted by such of the inmates as are sufficiently sane to be employed. Everything that is personal to the patients, is done for them by the Sisters; this, indeed, is a part of their vow, and even the cooking for them is done by the Nuns. They are Hospitaliéres of the order of St. Augustine, sixteen in number at this house, and eight at the convent St. Joseph-a similar institution for the reception of patients of the upper classes at Cortenbergh, near Brussels. In consequence of the nature and variety of their employment, these Nuns have been permitted by cpiscopal authority, to reverse the white habit and black scapular, for a black habit and white scapular. They are all Flemish but one, who is a young Englishwoman, not yet professed. Besides the Chanoine himself, who says Mass daily here, there is a Chaplain at each house; all the inmates who are in any degree able attending the services, and rarely behaving otherwise than remarkably well.

Round the coups de bâtiment, appropriated to the Aliénées, runs a cloister opening with arches into the garden, which belongs to them. Being fine bright weather, a great number of the patients were seated on the benches, which are fixed against the wall, others on chairs, and many in the garden itself; some were occupied with needlework or lace making, others were conversing together, and some were walking or playing; a few looked wild, and several seemed in a passive state of melancholy tranquillity. As we entered, we observed a little knot of the patients collected in one spot, and giving way to rather noisy demonstrations of mirth and hilarity; the cause of which, proved to be the costume of a party of Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul, who had come to visit the institution, and whose large white caps being new to them, had greatly attracted their attention, and appeared to create no small degree of merriment, in which the Sisters of Charity themselves heartily joined. Most of them nodded familiarly as we passed, and seemed pleased to be noticed or addressed. They all appeared conscious of the presence of the Mother Superior who accompanied us, and saluted her as we walked through the various rooms. Some asked her for snuff, of which they are very fond. In a large room within, was another detachment, under the surveillance of a Sister, sitting very quietly, occupied in different kinds of work, but chiefly lace making. The most part of these had quite the appearance of sane persons. They seemed gratified when we stopped to admire the result of their industry, which is sold for their own benefit. One among these, who was not employed, called to us to stop, and then asked if we did not know who her parents were, and immediately added, 'Je sais moi que nous serons tous jujés par Dieu aprés notre mort.' They are all treated with the greatest humanity and gentleness, and force is rarely if ever employed. The consequence is, that they are excessively fond of the Sisters, and seem to obey them from motives of love and gratitude. The kitchen is attended to by the Sisters. The farm and gardens are worked by the male patients, under the surveillance of attendants. Those we saw occupied in these avocations, looked not only contented, but interested in their employment. Two were sawing wood.

The chapel is small, but they have made the most of it. Though very dark and sadly out of repair, they are unable to restore it under their present tenure, and the parish (to whom it belongs) cannot be persuaded to the necessary expense of making it water tight. St. Godeliéve, the Patron Saint of Bruges has a shrine here, &c. &c. &c."

The other Belgian asylum which we wish to notice, is the asylum for female patients at Ghent.


Dr. Webster thus describes his visit there:--

Asylum for Females.-The establishment which now comes under review is situated not far from the ancient Asylum for male patients just described. It lies in the same quarter of Ghent, being close to the street and canal already mentioned-having only intervening the large buildings at present occupied as the College of Jesuits. According to an inscription still visible on a stone placed over the antiquated gateway, the year 1605 is stated to be the date of its foundation. The present structure was ereeted by the magistracy of Ghent, upon ground formerly constituting part of the ancient ramparts, but which now forms almost the centre of the modern city.

Being surrounded by streets, many private houses, besides public buildings, and having a large factory close to its very entrance-the noise of whose revolving machinery never ceases during day-time-the outward condition of this Asylum seems by no means favourable. In the interior, with reference to the actual number of inmates, sufficient space appears wanting for the existing population. Hence, it is only through various ingenious combinations, carried forward by the constant zeal of managing authorities, that this institution has been made convenient, or able to contain comfortably its numerous residents under treatment. Like the establishment for males, it receives lunatics of the indigent classes belonging to Ghent; and likewise, by special permission, patients from other districts. The property belongs to the Civil Hospitals' Commission, and is managed under their administration. Although greatly superior to the male department in many attributes, nevertheless, impartial observers cannot out agree in the expressed opinion of several officials, that a time not distant must arrive, when some new locality will have to be chosen, and another structure erected, for the reception of indigent females; much of the same description as the building now in course of construction for the pauper male lunatics. In the meantime, however, this institution continues to render important services to suffering humanity, being distinguished by the order, as also cleanliness everywhere prevalent, besides the care and attention exhibited towards patients. To carry out these important objects more effectually, the administration propose to add an adjoining house to the present accommodation; so that several further ameliorations may be accomplished, which cannot be now fully realized, in consequence of the limited space possessed, and from other existing inconveniences.

When perambulating the different dormitories, court-yards, and other appurtenances of this Asylum, although some appeared rather of a limited extent -owing to the nature of its ancient buildings, and confined interior precinctsthe cleanliness, excellent ventilation, general tranquility, and good order which prevailed throughout, were very gratifying to behold. Much attention appeared given to keep the various wards always thoroughly ventilated. This became the more necessary, although it was attended with greater difficulty in effecting, seeing apparatus had to be applied to an anciently constructed domicile like the present. M. Guislain has especially undertaken this very responsible task; and, judging from various effects already produced, by the machinery employed for that purpose, as likewise the absence of all unpleasant odours, when passing through different apartments at an early hour, visitors might conclude on such evidence that these hygienic operations have proved successful. Consequently, critics may fairly say that one step in advance had been made towards solving the much disputed problem-Can efficient ventilation be ever really accomplished?

Throughout, the wards looked very clean, the inmates tranquil, well clothed, and apparently contented. In one apartment I saw about 120 patients at work, many being then engaged in lace-making, which seemed to me of much better quality, if not finer, than that made by ordinary sane persons. Indeed, report states, the article manufactured in this establishmeut is highly esteemed, from its unusual cleanness and beautiful texture; these qualities being particularly noticed in a lace veil lately presented to H.R.H. the Duchess of Brabant. Subsequently, a large party were noticed at dinner, who then conducted themselves quietly, the same as ordinary persons, and really behaved very like rational creatures. In another apartment, upwards of a dozen young females-all idiots or imbeciles-were assembled at their singing-lesson, under the tuition of a zealous "sister." These poor girls sung delightfully, accompanied by their teacher on the piano, which made quite a musical treat; and as several juvenile performers were blind or dumb, while their execution hence seemed more surprising, this unexpected performance by intellectually bedimmed and unfortunate fellow-creatures caused us greater gratification. Many inmates seemed helpless from physical infirmities; but, considering their previous position in the external world, they now lived comparatively more comfortable.

The number of resident lunatics under treatment, on the day of my visit. amounted to 269 altogether, of whom 201 were considered incurables, and twenty-five as doubtfuls, in reference to any prospect of ultimate recovery; the remainder being classed as curable or recent cases. The agitated patients were reported at fifty; the epileptics comprised forty-seven examples; whilst the dirty furnished thirty instances. No person was under restraint of any kind whatever, nor in seclusion. Indeed, it may be added, that physical coercion in any form is very seldom employed at this establishment; the great objects constantly kept in view being to amuse and occupy the inmates, whereby tranquillity becomes promoted, at the same time that such means tend to improve their mental condition.

About half the entire population are usually engaged in some kind of employment. Many zealously spend hours in lace-making-the common occupation of females in this part of Flanders. Numbers work as mantuamakers; others in the laundry, and at wool-picking; besides a large proportion who attend to household and domestic duties; as, also, knitting stockings, or in making and mending clothes; of which the amount annually accomplished is considerable. It must however be added, that M. Guislain does not consider the quantity of work done as always an unerring criterion of its utility. He even objects to any excessive development of physicial labour in confined apartments, or close workshops, as thus imparting to the establishment an aspect of being a factory, a prison, or like ordinary depôts of mendicity. Further, M. Guislain thinks, unless the occupation chosen is carried out with discernment and caution, it may aggravate a lunatic's malady; whilst bodily labour which is severe, fatiguing, or too long continued, may do much harm; nay, even render the mental disease incurable.

During the past year seventy-seven new patients were admitted, and sixteen discharged cured, the deaths reported being thirty-two; thereby showing that recoveries were few, and fatal cases numerous. Amongst the latter, nine were cases of dementia, seven melancholia, and four general paralysis; the rest being mania and other varieties. Viewed with reference to the chief patholological phenomena observed, chest diseases were most numerous, faffections of the abdominal viscera followed next, whilst the cerebral and nervous system supplied the fewest fatal illustrations.

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Somewhat analogous to the experience observed amongst male patients, in reference to particular causes producing insanity, it may be also said that moral influences were frequently reported, of which anxiety, chagrin, family misfortunes, devotion, and religious exaltation, seemed the most common; whereas the abuse of intoxicating liquors was very rarely observed. On the other hand, affections of the sexual organs, and disordered catamenia, not unfrequently appeared to have been a marked exciting cause of mental disease amongst female inmates.

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