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Mr. Millar and the Bucks Visitors.

The Committee of Visitors of the Bucks County Asylum have at length condescended to make public their reasons for the summary dismissal of their Superintendent. They have presented a lengthy report to the Quarter Sessions, incriminating, as far as lay in their power, the object of their anger; and exculpating themselves, to the best of their ability, from the grave accusation which has been preferred against them, even by their brother magistrates, of conduct hasty, intemperate, and unjust. After a careful perusal of the Visitor's Report, and assuming that its statements are strictly accurate and fair, we must confess our conviction that it shews no sufficient grounds for the sudden and peremptory dismissal of their chief officer. Our own opinion, indeed, may be thought not free from bias on this point, and therefore of little value; but we have the satisfaction to know that it is an opinion which the Visiting Justices of Asylums in several counties have also come to. The prevailing impression made by the perusal of the report is that the visitors had indeed no confidence and no liking towards Mr. Millar, but that they had utterly failed to shew any sufficient grounds for the opinion they entertained; and that, at the bottom of the whole affair, there was some deep, but concealed motive.

Some of the accusations brought against Mr. Millar are frivolous in the extreme. For instance, that he allowed the matron to take his children through the wards, and that he allowed patients to help the Chaplain in his garden. Some of them suffice to prove that his judgment, like that of other men, was sometimes at fault, especially in the confidence he reposed in a bad and dishonest servant, named Lissaman. The very worst thing we see alledged against Mr. Millar is that he permitted this man, who was his head attendant, to use the shower-bath without his own previous knowledge. Mr. Millar extenuates this fault by stating that it occurred on very few occasions, that a report was immediately made to him on the subject, and that the kind of bath and supply of water was such that it could not be abused. It is not, in fact, alleged by the visitors themselves that the bath was ever used in an excessive or improper degree, or that any ill

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consequences resulted from its employment. Still it was wrong to delegate its use to an attendant or to a matron. But that the visitors of Bucks would have dismissed their chief officer for such an offence is incredible, when we reflect that but for recent occurrences it is probable that in many asylums it would scarcely have been looked upon as a departure from medical discipline, especially in an asylum where the medical superintendent had no assistant to see his orders executed; and, consequently, where he was likely to regard the head attendant in the light of an assistant. Had a general good understanding existed between Mr. Millar and his visitors, a temperate expression of opinion on their part, respecting the improper delegation of medical authority to others, would have been punishment enough for the offence and a safeguard against its repetition.


Alas, such a general good understanding did not exist! Why it did not exist, neither Mr. Millar's letter to the Magistracy, nor the report of the visitors, nor Mr. Millar's rejoinder, afford any light or explanation whatever. these documents, indeed, we stumble upon some remarkable facts which may stimulate curiosity, but none calculated to satisfy that feeling. A medical superintendent, elected to his post on the strength of excellent testimonials, and the knowledge of his previous success in the management of a large asylum, is found in total disaccord with the members of his committee; and this, notwithstanding their own repeated testimony to the excellent condition of his asylum, and his devotion to the happiness and welfare of his patients. Indeed this one fact stands out very strongly, that Mr. Millar earnestly devoted himself to the care and treatment of his patients, that he paid great and diligent attention to the condition of the wards, and that he actually brought them into a high state of comfort and excellence.

This reflection must console him greatly in the annoyances he has experienced. His skill and attention in the management of the insane is a fact unquestioned, even by those who have been most bitterly opposed to him, and one which will stand greatly to his credit long after the present angry feelings of his late masters have yielded to a more just and temperate estimate of his merits. But how is it that a man with such claims to the confidence of his visitors, finds himself in such a position with them, that they are ready to give credence to the most unfounded and unworthy accusations, and to desert their duties, and thus bring the working of the Asylum to a stand unless he re

signs. This is not the general characteristic of a body of English gentlemen holding the position of Asylum Visitors. It is directly contrary to the experience which Superintendents in other counties have of the country gentlemen under whom they have the honour and the pleasure to act.

It is a strange fact, quite unexplained by any of the documents before us.

Mr. Millar presents us with the following analysis of the eleven gentlemen of his committee. Three of them took no part in the proceedings against him. Of the remaining seven, one had never been through the asylum, and three had only been through it once. Therefore, says Mr. Millar, "I have been tried and condemned chiefly by strangers." What made so large a proportion of his small Committee strangers to his asylum, but not so much strangers to himself, as to be impartial and free from hostile feeling? We shall venture to give the explanation which has been offered to us by gentlemen who possess good opportunities for estimating rightly the hidden causes of much that appears so strange in this matter. The erection of the Buckinghamshire Asylum was forced upon the magistracy of the county, by the powers of the Asylum Act, and it has therefore always been a sore and unpopular subject with them. It was built however, the visitors were appointed, and a Superintendent, giving promise of its successful management, was impartially elected. Mr. Carrington was made Chairman of the Visitors; and now commenced the great mistake in the management of the Asylum, which has resulted in the dismissal of Dr. Millar by seven visitors, four of whom were strangers to the Asylum. Mr. Carrington, the Chairman, was the only one of the visitors who from the first, took any interest in the Asylum; the others cared not upon what principles it was conducted; neglected to make themselves acquainted with its management, and never even took the trouble to converse with Mr. Millar on the subject of his arduous and important duties. Mr. Carrington and Mr. Millar were willing to incur, and did incur, all the responsibility of the management. Mr. Carrington had the utmost confidence in the Commissioners in Lunacy, "whose suggestions and recommendations were at all times law with him." He empowered Mr. Millar to furnish and decorate the Asylum wards in a manner which, for the use of paupers, was, in the judgment and taste of the Buckinghamshire magistrates, extravagant, inconsistent, and absurd; and which has

actually been made one ground of accusation against Mr. Millar in the recent difficulties. While the feelings of the magistracy were either indifferent or adverse, the manner in which all the recommendations and suggestions of the Commissioners in Lunacy were adopted as law, could not fail to be gratifying to the latter gentlemen. Indeed, they not unfrequently expressed the highest approbation of Mr. Millar's management, and of the state of his wards; and they went so far as to recommend the superintendents of other County Asylums to visit these wards, as patterns of excellence. The very practice which has been the cause of the bitterest discontent to the Bucks Visitors, namely, the liberty granted to the patients beyond the grounds of the asylum, is one of which the Commissioners have very properly lent all their authority to promote. Even subsequently to Mr. Millar's dismissal, the Commissioners have officially eulogised the condition of the asylum, and of the patients, which they attribute, in the most pointed manner, to Mr. Millar's exertions. Now it cannot be expected that when a body of country gentlemen first assume the responsibility of governing a newly-built County Lunatic Asylum, they will not stand in need of having some prejudices removed, and of receiving some instructions respecting the modern requirements in the treatment of the insane. is a phase which has been passed through in all counties. But knowledge comes with instruction, and confidence with knowledge. In Buckinghamshire, however, the case was different. Mr. Carrington and Mr. Millar managed the asylum in the strictest obedience to the regulations and suggestions of the Commissioners in Lunacy, while the body of visitors stood aloof, jealous or indifferent. Carrington might have said, "after me the deluge ;" and when circumstances obliged him to reside abroad, and to resign the chairmanship of the visitors who did not visit, the deluge came.


The great charge made by the visitors against Mr. Millar is that of want of judgment. In the application which they make of this charge we think they have been far from proving their case. But if gaining the confidence of the gentlemen in whose hands he had placed himself, was part of his duty, we certainly do think that Mr. Millar has not displayed that judgment and knowledge of character which was likely to conduce to his own comfort and welfare. He maintained and pursued without compromise all the views

of the Commissioners, and thus he lost the good-will and confidence of his visitors, and sacrificed his personal interests.

Mr. Millar has "from the earliest period placed the whole matter before the Commissioners," and "begged that the matter might be referred to them," but the visitors "have declined." They truly state that their powers are absolute, and not until he is adrift does Mr. Millar find that he has tied his anchor to the wrong cable. The Commissioners power of interference in the management of county asylums is narrowly and strictly limited by the statute. Perhaps it may be enlarged when the lunacy laws are again revised and reformed, and when the English antipathy to centralization has yielded to a general love of bureaucratic rule. In the mean time we trust that the Commisioners of Lunacy will not forget Mr. Millar's services, and that they will find for him some honorable and remunerative employment in the central district, where they are absolute over the fate of the insane and the fortunes of asylum officers.


Mr. Millar has quite recently published " A Refutation' of the Bucks Report. He might have saved himself the trouble. The visitors have failed to make out any case against his character. To reply is to assume that they have done so. If left to reflection, these gentlemen will the sooner regret the very unhandsome manner in which they disembarrased themselves of his services. He may prove that he deserved their confidence, but he cannot prove that he took the best way to obtain it. The result, indeed, proves the contrary, a fact which cannot be refuted.

Was Verger of Sound Mind?

The assassination of the Primate of France, while in the discharge of his sacred duties, is an act of violence so atrocious as at once to suggest to the mind the belief that, the assassin was not as other men are, and to stimulate the curiosity of the psychologist respecting his exact mental condition. The history of Verger's private life is in the keeping of that close and secret fraternity, of which he was a member, and the information possessed by the public does not afford satisfactory grounds for the formation of an opinion respecting his disposition and temper. It is certain, however, that he had been for some years a source of trouble and anxiety to his ecclesiastical superiors; but whether the source of this anxiety was a wicked and dissolute course of life, as some have affirmed, or whether it originated in

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