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do, and as a lunatic might, but without success. The fact of his insanity had been as clearly established before as it has been since the murder; and his dangerous proclivities were known. The prosecuting officer at first declined to admit the plea of insanity; but after considerately hearing the simple story of the lad's physical and mental disorders, he promptly ordered him to the State Lunatic Asylum. In the correction of criminals, the first impulse of government was to appeal to the fears of men, and hence have been instituted the most frightful punishments. While the more simple offences growing out of avarice and kindred propensities were thus checked, the more heinous crimes, which are the result of violent and intensely stimulated passion, received but little restraint. Subsequently a more philosophical study of criminal jurisprudence discovered the fact that vicious men are restrained rather by the certainty, than the severity of punishment. This led to important discriminations in the degrees of crime, and corresponding modifications in the severity of the penalties, and should never be lost sight of in legislation for the suppression of crime. But with the progress of human knowledge and practical Christian philanthropy, new opinions have been formed of man's moral nature, and of his relations to his Creator and his fellowmen, which are yet to lead to the most important modifications of our criminal laws. The question

should not all punishments be so modified as to be reformatory of the individual? is already receiving a practical solution in many States. The final prevalence of the conviction, that the period of restraint of the criminal should be taken advantage of by the State for his reformation, that he may be returned to society a good citizen, will be the grandest triumph of a Christian civilization. The prevention of suicide involves also two points, viz. 1st, The removal of its causes; 2d, The removal of the means by which it is accomplished. The alleged causes of suicide are numerous. They are insanity, intemperance, melancholy, disappointment, revenge, etc. If, however, each case were carefully investigated, we doubt not these causes with due discrimination might, for the most part, be reduced to one, viz. insanity. The researches in psychological medicine have established the fact that insanity lurks in the community in concealed forms, while all are cognizant of its sudden development in the perpetration of shocking crimes. There can be no doubt that many who are actively engaged in business, or walk the streets, or mingle in society, have those mental proclivities which the most trifling perturbating causes would so unbalance as to lead to personal violence. Most physicians can recall instances of the self-destruction of persons, who, on reflection, they recollect have exhibited many singular peculiarities to which they did not attach sufficient importance.

Toward this class of suicides our profession has a most important duty to perform. We should be more thorough in the investigation of the secret springs of melancholy, disappointment, or other disturbing influences of the mind and passions, and so far as possible remove them. The physician alone can frequently recognize those early deviations of the mind from the standard normal to the individual, which give timely indications of approaching danger. And he alone can discover the causes at work, and the physical conditions induced, and suggest the required remedial measures. The remedy is often extremely simple, and perfectly averts the impending evil, if it is thoroughly and judiciously applied. If remedies do not succeed, and the case progresses unfavorably, it is the duty of the physician to secure the patient's restraint or control to the extent necessary to prevent the terrible crimes of homicide and suicide now so frequent. Not only must the community at large, and families which unconsciously retain in their unprotected circle a member who at any moment may commit the most horrible acts, depend upon our profession for the discrimination of this class; but the poor, misunderstood, and often maltreated victim of mental alienation, equally appeals to us for that protection, consideration, and care which he can secure from no other earthly source.

IX.

CARE OF INFANTS.

SOM

OME weeks since we received a communication from an English correspondent who has given much attention to the subject of wetnursing in its bearings upon the public health. From this source we learn that at the International Statistical Congress, held in London last year, Dr. EDWARD JARVIS, a delegate from Massachusetts, in the discussion which followed the reading of a paper on the Statistics of WetNursing, remarked that in the United States "the employment of a wet-nurse is very rarely resorted to; indeed, the custom is almost unknown there." This statement seems to have excited great interest, and has been the subject of much comment. Coming from a responsible source it has been received as authoritative, and has afforded good ground for the supposition that wet-nursing is by no means as necessary as the ladies of England seem to consider. We do not know the source of Dr. Jarvis' information, nor on what investigations his conclusions were based. They should certainly have been arrived at only after extended inquiry, especially in our large cities, as, uttered in that high presence,

they could not but have an important influence upon the discussions which followed the reading of the paper mentioned. Nor has their influence ceased with the adjournment of the Statistical Congress, but we now learn that subsequent writers have alluded to them as conclusive on the subject of wet-nursing. Although we are not prepared to give statistical data, yet the results of extensive observation authorize us to state that wet-nursing is far from being unknown in New York city. On the contrary, it may be considered a very prevalent custom, supported alike by necessity and fashion. Whoever will consult the columns of "Wants" in our daily papers will soon become satisfied of the existence of this practice in our community, though it is not possible to obtain a knowledge of its extent from that source. To gain more accurate information of the amount of wet-nursing requires familiarity with the lyingin departments of our public charities, and with the poor and unfortunate in their homes. Extended inquiry of those who have devoted much time in public institutions, and in dispensary practice, confirms our own observations, that wetnurses always find a demand for their services. The applications for wet-nurses at our Lying-in Institutions often, indeed, greatly exceed the supply. There can be no doubt, therefore, that wetnursing is more customary than Dr. Jarvis would believe. The practice of wet-nursing grows out of: 1st, The inability of the mother to discharge

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