I have already spoken of the singular tradition which for so long a

period invested the Glen-na-galt, near Tralee, with the character of

possessing healing virtues in madness. The change which in our practical

age has taken place in Kerry, by the substitution of a well-ordered

asylum at Killarney, for popular superstitious practices, represents

what has been going on throughout the whole of Ireland during the last

century or more. After examining all the Acts bearing on the

provision for the insane from the earliest period, and the evidence

given before Parliamentary Committees, I must say I find a very large

amount of strenuous effort and labour devoted to the improvement of the

condition of lunatics, miserably situated as they formerly were in

general, when confined in houses of industry or at home in hovels, where

their needs could not possibly be attended to, even when, as was

doubtless frequently the case, they were regarded with great affection.

Sometimes they were looked upon as possessed, and then the appropriate

forms of the Church of Rome were employed.

In the evidence given before the Select Committee on the Lunatic Poor

in Ireland in 1817, Mr. John Leslie Foster, a governor of the Richmond

Asylum,[251] stated that he had seen two or three lunatics in one bed in

the house of industry. There were fifty or sixty in one room. In the

same room a lunatic was chained in a bed, the other half of which was

occupied by a sane pauper, and the room was so occupied by beds that

there was scarcely space to move in it.

Mr. Rice stated that when he visited the Clonmel Asylum in 1814-15, the

patients were not clothed; some were lying in the yard on the straw in a

state of nakedness. At Limerick he found the accommodation for the

patients "such as we should not appropriate for our dog-kennels." There

was one open arcade, behind which cells were constructed with stone

floors, without any mode of heating or of ventilation, and exposed

during the whole of the winter to the extremities of the weather.

Thirteen cells were provided for thirty-three lunatics and idiots. As

some were furious, the usual mode of restraint consisted of passing

their hands under their knees, fastening them with manacles, securing

their ankles by bolts, passing a chain over all, and lastly attaching

them firmly to the bed. "In this state, I can assure the Committee from

my own knowledge, they have continued for years, and the result has been

that they have so far lost the use of their limbs that they are utterly

incapable of rising." The rooms over the cells were appropriated to the

sick. Mr. Rice found twenty-four persons lying in one room, some old,

some infirm, and in the centre of the room a corpse; one or two were

dying. In the adjoining room he found a woman in a state of distraction,

the corpse of her child left upon her knees for two days; it was almost

putrid. "There was not to be found one attendant who would perform the

common duties of humanity. The most atrocious profligacy in another

branch of the establishment prevailed."

The condition of a lunatic member of a family among the poor is thus

graphically described by a member of the Committee which prepared this

valuable Report: "There is nothing so shocking as madness in the cabin

of the peasant, where the man is out labouring in the fields for his

bread, and the care of the woman of the house is scarcely sufficient for

the attendance on the children. When a strong man or woman gets the

complaint, the only way they have to manage is by making a hole in the

floor of the cabin, not high enough for the person to stand up in, with

a crib over it to prevent his getting up. The hole is about five feet

deep, and they give this wretched being his food there, and there he

generally dies. Of all human calamity I know of none equal to this, in

the country part of Ireland, which I am acquainted with."

In the physician's report of one asylum for 1816, he speaks of the

miserable objects who wander over the face of the country, or are

inmates of jails and hospitals. Such do not appear to have taken refuge

in any Glen-na-galt.

The first asylum for the insane in Ireland (and the only one before the

Richmond Asylum) was that founded in Dublin by Swift, whose act would

probably have been little known or forgotten, but for the familiar lines

in which he himself has immortalized it:--

"He gave the little wealth he had

To build a house for fools or mad,

To show by one satiric touch

No nation needed it so much."

This asylum was opened in 1745, the population being then between three

and four millions. What really induced the Dean of St. Patrick's to

perform this act was the knowledge that there was no charitable asylum

for the insane--nothing more; at any rate, I am not aware that he

contemplated the introduction of any improved method of treatment, or

would have thought that chains were unsuitable means of restraint. It

appears that his attention had been called to the need of an asylum by

"The Proposal" of Sir William Fownes. Swift bequeathed the whole of his

estate and effects, subject to certain small legacies, to be laid out in

the purchase of land for a hospital large enough for the reception of as

many idiots and lunatics as the income of the said lands and effects

should be sufficient to maintain.

From its historical associations I was interested in visiting this

asylum some years ago, but there is nothing otherwise of special

interest in the institution. Writing in 1861,[252] the Inspectors of

Irish Asylums observe, "Though subject to our inspection, it is not a

regularly licensed asylum, being on a charitable foundation. It is

unfortunately situated in a most inappropriate locality, and very

deficient, from its original construction, in many necessaries." And the

Lunacy Inquiry Commission of 1879 observe, "We feel ourselves compelled

to state that St. Patrick's Hospital, though possessing an ample

endowment, with an accumulated fund in bank of L20,000, and situated in

the metropolis, is yet in many respects one of the most defective

institutions for the treatment of the insane which we have visited....

The patients wash in tubs in the day-rooms, the water having to be

carried all through the house, as no supply is laid on; the hospital is

not lighted with gas 'for fear of explosion'! and passages nearly four

hundred feet long have, on winter evenings, no other light than that

which is afforded by three or four small candles." The house was badly

warmed, and the ventilation far from satisfactory.

Further, while the Dean's will did not contemplate the payments of

patients, boarders were admitted at an early period, and this policy

went to such a length that while in 1800 there were a hundred and six

free and only fifty-two paying patients, there were in 1857 eighty-eight

paying patients, and only sixty-six free. As the Commission naively

remark, "if the diminution of free patients and the increase of paying

patients are to continue, it may one day result that no inmates of Dean

Swift's Hospital will be maintained entirely out of his bequest, which

certainly does not appear to have been in the contemplation of the

founder."[253] A somewhat brighter picture might have been expected when

one reflects that, according to the original charter, the government of

the hospital was vested in the Primate, Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of

Dublin, Dean of St. Patrick's, Dean of Christ Church, Physician to the

State, and Surgeon-General, and seven other persons whose successors

were to be elected by a majority of the governors, each of whom was

required to be a fit person.

An asylum was erected at Limerick about 1777, and at Cork in 1788.

The Cork Asylum was built on the strength of an unrepealed section in an

old Jail Act (27 Geo. III., c. 39. s. 8), which allowed of sums of

public money to be "presented" by grand juries for the use of lunatic

asylums, without limit, and permitted magistrates to commit to them any

individuals, if idiots or insane. It did not provide, however, for the

government of the establishment when formed, or for an account of how

the money was spent. No medical certificates were required--the

magistrate's power was unlimited. Fortunately, however, the Cork Asylum

was in good hands (Dr. Hallaran), thanks to which, and not to the law,

the institution was as well conducted as in those days it could be. So

much was this the case that Mr. Rice stated before the Committee of the

House of Commons in 1817, that it was the best managed he had ever seen

or heard of, realizing, he added, all the advantages of the York

Retreat. He, however, protested against the system under which it, like

other asylums, was conducted as radically wrong; its success was a

success of circumstances, almost of accident.

This Prison Act was at this date the only law which regulated Irish

asylums, the only statute by which they could be carried on. All, in

fact, depended upon the humanity, skill, and conscientiousness of the

superintendent.[254] I believe, as a matter of fact, Cork was the only

county which made use of it.

So far back as 1804, a Select Committee of the House of Commons was

appointed to consider the provision for the insane in Ireland, and

reported that the provisions of the Act 27 Geo. III., c. 39, empowering

grand juries to present the sums necessary for support of a ward for

idiots and lunatics, have not been complied with, and that the demand

for admission into houses of industry greatly exceeds the accommodation

or funds appointed for their support, and that it does not appear that

any institution, maintained in any degree at the public expense, exists

in any other part of Ireland than Dublin, Cork, Waterford, and Limerick,

for their reception. The Committee resolved that the attention and care

necessary for the effectual relief of these distressed objects cannot be

efficaciously extended to them whilst they are connected with

institutions of a very different nature, and that the establishment of

four asylums for idiots and lunatics, one in each of the provinces of

Ireland, would be a measure highly beneficial.

The result of this Report was that on the 21st of March, 1805, leave

was given to bring in a Bill for establishing in Ireland four provincial

asylums, appropriated exclusively to lunatics and idiots--thus providing

for a thousand patients. This excellent Bill shared the fate of so many

Bills for English lunatics, and did not become law.

It is worthy of remark that in the Report of the Select Committee (1815)

to inquire into the state of English mad-houses, it is stated that the

necessity of making some further provision for insane persons appeared

to be more urgent in Ireland than in England, as, "with the exception of

two public establishments and some private houses, there are no places

appropriated separately for the insane."

In 1810 the Government urged upon the House of Commons the necessity of

affording some relief to the neglected condition of the insane poor in

Ireland, the result being that grants were made for building an asylum

in Dublin, called "The Richmond Lunatic Asylum" (55 Geo. III., c. 107).

It was opened in 1815, and proved a great boon to the district. Two

years afterwards, Mr. John Leslie Foster, one of the governors, in

evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the

lunatic poor in Ireland, referred to the humane system of treatment

introduced at the York Retreat, "the good effects of which are

illustrated in a publication[255] of Mr. Tuke," and said, "This system

appearing to the governors of the Richmond Lunatic Asylum to be founded

in good sense, they determined on trying the experiment in their new

institution, and beg to add, as a proof of this, that there is not in

the Richmond Asylum, to the best of my belief, a chain, a fetter, or a

handcuff. I do not believe there is one patient out of twenty confined

to his cell, and that of those who are confined to their cells, in the

great number it is owing to derangement of their bodily health rather

than to the violence of mania." He speaks of the superintendent as the

"moral governor," whose particular business it is to attend to the

comforts of the patients, to remove from them causes of irritation, to

regulate the degrees of restraint, and to provide occupation for the


The Richmond Asylum did not serve, as was hoped and expected at that

time, to supply accommodation for a large portion of Ireland. To the

amazement of those who had induced Parliament to make what they deemed

so ample a provision, it was soon found that not only was the asylum

full to overflowing, but the house of industry was soon as full as

before, and that as to finding accommodation for those at a distance, it

was altogether out of the question. At first, sanguine hopes were raised

by the large number of recent cases discharged cured, and the common but

fallacious inference was drawn that, had all the chronic cases in the

houses of industry or at large been fortunate enough to be placed under

asylum treatment in the first stage of their malady, they would also

have been cured in like proportion. Unfortunately, the accumulation of

incurables, even in asylums, opened the eyes of many to the fallacy of

this inference.[256] Other asylums were, therefore, it was seen,


"Your Committee," observe the Select Committee of the House of Commons

of 1817,[257] "beg leave to call the attention of the House to the

detailed opinion expressed by the governors of the Richmond Asylum, that

the only mode of effectual relief will be found in the formation of

district asylums, exclusively appropriated to the reception of the

insane." It appeared that, with the exception of the Dublin institution,

that at Cork, and one at Tipperary, there was not provision made for

more than one hundred lunatics throughout the whole of Ireland. The

Committee proposed that, in addition to the asylums in Dublin and Cork,

there should be built four or five additional asylums, capable of

containing a hundred and twenty to a hundred and fifty lunatics each.

They recommended that powers should be given to the Government to divide

Ireland into districts, and that the expense should be borne by the

counties included within the several districts. The consequence of this

Report was the Act 57 Geo. III., c. 136,[258] afterwards repealed, but

re-enacted with amendments by the 1 and 2 Geo. IV., c. 33; 6 Geo. IV.,

c. 54; and 7 Geo. IV., c. 14. These statutes enacted that the cost of

asylums, advanced from the Consolidated Fund, was to be ultimately paid

by the counties; that all the principal officers were to be appointed by

the Lord Lieutenant, the general superintendence being vested in a Board

of Commissioners, named by the Government but acting gratuitously; that

the asylums should be brought under the annual review of the

inspectors-general of prisons by the 7 Geo. V., c. 74, and should be

noticed in the reports submitted annually to Parliament. The

inspectors-general had power to enter private as well as public asylums.

The first really effective Act of Parliament, directing the erection of

asylums for the insane poor in Ireland, was, then, that which we have

mentioned as passed in the year 1821, and formed the 1 and 2 Geo. IV.,

c. 33.[259] The Lord Lieutenant (not the justices, as in England) was

authorized to establish any number of these asylums (to accommodate not

less than one hundred and not more than one hundred and fifty paupers)

when and where it seemed expedient, while for this purpose eight

Commissioners were nominated to superintend the execution of the work.

Some years elapsed before asylums were built. Then nine, capable of

accommodating nine hundred and eighty patients, were commenced at

Armagh, Ballinasloe, Carlow, Clonmel, Limerick, Londonderry,

Maryborough, and Waterford, for their respective districts, some being

composed of no less than five counties. It is stated that such was the

dislike of the humbler classes to the name of mad-houses, that they

were not fully occupied until 1835. The eight Commissioners retired, and

the Board of Works took their duties upon them, and acted until 1861,

when the 18 and 19 Vict., c. 109, enacted that two members of the Board,

including the chairman, and the two Inspectors of the insane, should be

appointed Commissioners of general control and correspondence.[260]

The grand juries of assizes were to present such sums as should be

required for asylums. In 1826 an Act was passed (7 Geo. IV., c. 74)

which continued and extended the former provisions, viz. that the

inspectors-general of prisons should be inspectors of lunatic asylums in

Ireland; that no person should keep a house for the reception of insane

persons unless licensed; that justices of the peace might grant them;

that no person should be received into or retained in a licensed or

unlicensed house without an order and the certificate of a medical man

not interested in such houses; that licensed houses not kept by a

physician should be visited by a medical man once a fortnight; that the

inspector must visit such houses once in six months, and may make

special visits, and after two such visits may liberate a patient; and

that the inspectors should make an annual report to the Lord Lieutenant

and Lord Chancellor. This Act did not apply to public asylums. It was to

commence and take effect in the county and city of Dublin, and to remain

in force till August 1, 1845. It may be well to note here that in 1826

"the numbers of lunatics and idiots in every public asylum in Dublin,

and in every asylum in Ireland,"[261] erected under the provisions of

the Act 1 and 2 Geo. IV., c. 33, and 55 Geo. III., c. 107, were only as



Under what Act

Lunatics. maintained.

Richmond Lunatic Asylum 252 55 Geo. III., c. 107.

House of Industry Lunatic Asylum 461




Lunatics. Idiots.

District Lunatic Asylum, Armagh 52 6

The following table shows, at a glance, the number of lunatic and idiots

confined in 1826, and maintained in the public institutions, supported

wholly or in part by grand jury presentments in Ireland.


Under what Act

Location. Lunatics.Idiots. maintained.


Antrim County Jail 1 2 Prison Acts.

" House of Correction 2 1 Ditto.

Carlow County Jail 3 -- Ditto.

Cavan County Jail 7 1 Ditto.

Cork County and City

Lunatic Asylum 234 38 27 Geo. III., c. 39, s. 8.

Clare Lunatic Asylum 12 1 Ditto.

Donegal Lunatic Asylum 12 6 Ditto.

Down County Jail 10 3 Prison Acts.

Fermanagh County Jail 1 -- Ditto.

Kildare County Jail 1 -- Ditto.

Kilkenny County Jail 2 -- Ditto.

" City Jail 7 1 Ditto.

" House of Correction 8 -- Prison Acts.

King's County Jail 4 -- Ditto.

Leitrim County Jail 3 1 Ditto.

Limerick County Jail 1 -- Ditto.

" House of Industry 59 3 46 Geo. III., c. 95.

Londonderry County Infirmary 13 12 45 Geo. III., c. 3, s. 1.

Longford County Jail 2

Mayo Bridewell 17 5

Meath County Jail 1 -- Prison Acts.

Queen's County Jail 1 -- 26 Geo. III., c. 27, s. 4

Roscommon County Jail 20 2 Prison Acts.

Sligo County Jail 5 4 Ditto.

Tipperary House of Industry 26 13 46 Geo. III., c. 95, s. 2.

Tyrone County Jail -- 10 Prison Acts.

Waterford County and City

House of Correction 49 44 46 Geo. III., c. 95, s. 2

Wexford House of Industry 27 11


546 160


The accumulation of incurables pressed heavily upon the Richmond Asylum,

where, as I have said, the most sanguine hopes were at first raised as

to the cure of the great majority of the patients. The governor thus

wrote in 1827 to the Right Hon. W. Lamb:--

"In reference to the paragraph in Mr. Spring Rice's letter [to Mr. Lamb]

which suggests the inquiry how far the asylums in Ireland have proved

effectual, I am directed to state that a very considerable accumulation

of incurable lunatics has taken place in this asylum within the last few

years, and for the reception of whom the House of Industry is

inadequate. In consequence the Richmond Lunatic Asylum, which was

established for the relief of curable lunatics, is at present occupied

by one hundred and seventeen patients, whom the medical officer deems

incurable. I am likewise directed to state that, notwithstanding the

relief afforded by two provincial asylums now open for the reception of

patients, viz. Limerick and Armagh, the number of applicants for

admission to this asylum has not diminished."[262]

One is amused, even while wading through these dry Parliamentary returns

on a painful subject, by meeting with such a passage as the following,

written by Dr. Thomas Carey Osborne in his report of the Cork Asylum.

Speaking of the symptoms of a young maniac, cured by electricity, he

says, "When in the yard, he would look intently on the sun if permitted,

until the albuginea became scarlet, and the tears flowed down the

cheeks, unconscious of inconvenience." His report is very pedantic, full

of quotations from the Scriptures, Shakespeare, and other poets. His

style is shown in what he says of Dr. Hallaran, his excellent

predecessor in office at the Cork Asylum for more than thirty years,

when he informs his reader that the "infuriated maniac and the almost

senseless idiot expressed sorrow for his decease and deplored him as a


One case reported by the doctor is worth recording. He had been some

years under treatment, and his insanity was attributed to the loss of a

hooker off the western coast, his only property, which he had purchased

after much toil as a fisherman. His character was melancholic, and he

conducted himself with propriety. He was appointed door-keeper, and

filled his situation with such kindness and good humour that he was

generally esteemed. He had the whimsical illusion of having been

introduced into the world in the form of a salmon, and caught by some

fisherman off Kinsale. He was found one morning hanging by a strip of

his blanket to an old mop nail, which he had fixed between the partition

boards of his cell, having taken the precaution of laying his mattress

under him to prevent noise in case of his falling.[263]

In 1827 the total number of persons in confinement was reported to be:--


Location. Lunatics. Idiots. Totals.


Richmond Asylum 168 112 280

Lunatic ward of House of Industry 442 -- 442

Private asylums (4) near Dublin 101 -- 101

City and County Asylum, Cork 138 64 202

Asylum at Waterford 103 -- 103

" Armagh 64 -- 64

Jail at Lifford 18 -- 18

Private house, Downpatrick 17 -- 17

County Infirmary, Derry 12 -- 12

Old Jail, Roscommon 19 -- 19

Asylum, Ennis 14 -- 14

" Kilkenny 14 -- 14

House of Industry, Tipperary 32 -- 32

" Waterford 57 48 105

" Wexford 37 -- 37

Asylum, Limerick 74 -- 74

Dean Swift's Hospital 50 -- (about) 50


Total 1360 224 1584


Sir Andrew Halliday, aware that these numbers bore no proportion to the

actual number of insane and idiots in Ireland, reckoned the number at

three thousand.

In 1830 the Richmond Asylum, Dublin, was converted into a District

Lunatic Asylum for the city of Dublin by the Act 11 Geo. IV., c.


Passing on to 1842, the Solicitor-General for Ireland in that year

introduced a "Bill for amending the Law relating to Private Lunatic

Asylums in Ireland," which became law August 12, 1842. It is not

necessary, however, to give its details in this place, and I shall

proceed to notice the important Report of the Committee of the House of

Lords, with minutes of evidence, which was issued in 1843.[265] A table

is given of the district asylums and the Cork Asylum, from which it

appears that at that period the number amounted to ten, viz. Armagh,

Belfast, Carlow, Clonmel, Connaught, Limerick, Londonderry, Maryborough,

Richmond, and Waterford.

These ten district asylums contained upwards of 2000 patients, although

built to contain only 1220. As 688 were found to be incurable, the

Committee reiterated the warning given at the Committee of 1817, that if

fresh provision were not made, the institutions would shortly become

"asylums for mad people, and not hospitals for the cure of insanity." As

to the treatment, it is reported that "the system of management adopted

in the district asylums appears to have been, with the exception of one

case of gross misconduct and abuse, very satisfactory.... A humane and

gentle system of treatment has been generally adopted, the cases

requiring restraint and coercion not exceeding two per cent. on the

whole. The system is one which, if applied exclusively to the cure of

the malady, and if the asylums were relieved from the pressure produced

by the increasing number of incurables, appears to the Committee in its

essential points to be deserving of confidence and of approval; but,

unless so relieved by some alteration of the present law and of the

present practice, the admission of new cases must necessarily be

limited, and may ultimately be restricted within very narrow bounds

indeed. The necessity of some change in this respect is admitted by all

the witnesses, as well as proved by the documentary evidence before the

Committee. The number of persons refused admission for want of room has

in the present year amounted to one hundred and fifty-two."

At this period, beside the district asylums, there were Swift's

Hospital, and other establishments provided for the custody of pauper

lunatics, supported by local taxation, and connected more or less with

the old houses of industry. At Kilkenny, Lifford, Limerick, Island

Bridge, and in Dublin (the House of Industry) local asylums existed,

characterized as "miserable and most inadequate places of confinement,"

and were under the authority of the grand juries, the funds being raised

by presentment or county rate. "The description given of these latter

most wretched establishments not only proves the necessity of

discontinuing them as speedily as accommodation of a different kind can

be provided, but also exemplifies the utter hopelessness, or rather the

total impossibility, of providing for the due treatment of insanity in

small local asylums. No adequate provision is made, or is likely to be

made in such establishments, for the medical or moral treatment of the

unfortunate patients. Hence the necessity of a coercive and severe

system of treatment. The chances of recovery, if not altogether

extinguished, are at least reduced to their very lowest term.... Whilst

a general improvement has taken place in the management of the insane

throughout other establishments of Ireland, these local asylums, if

indeed they deserve such a name, have continued in the most wretched

state." Evidence of the strongest kind is given to impress upon

Parliament the necessity of an immediate discontinuance of this part of

the system.

It would carry us too far to enter at length into this evidence. One or

two facts must suffice as examples of the rest. At Wexford, where, in

the cells for lunatics, there were two patients in restraint, one of

whom was chained to a wall, Dr. White, the Inspector of Prisons, thus

described the latter: "When I went to his cell with the keeper and the

medical officer, I asked to go in. He was naked, with a parcel of loose

straw about him. He darted forward at me, and were it not that he was

checked by a chain round his leg, and was fastened by a hook to the

wall, he would have caught hold of me, and probably used violence. I

asked how it was possible they could allow a man to remain in such a

state; they said they were obliged to do so, as the funds were so

limited that they had not money to buy clothes for him, and that if they

had clothes they would have let him out.... I went to another cell, and

though the individual was not chained, he was nearly in as bad

circumstances as the other. Altogether these two cases were the most

frightful I ever witnessed. I could not describe the horror which seized

me when I saw them. I went into a room, a very gloomy-looking room, very

low, and in this room there was a fireplace, which was guarded by one of

those large grate-protectors that are very high up; I looked around and

heard some one moaning, and on the top of this screen I saw two

unfortunate lunatics stretched out; they were trying to warm themselves

through the bars of the grating; the room was so dark that I could not

see them at first, and here they were allowed to creep about and to lie

in this kind of unprotected manner." In reply to the question, "Was

there any moral superintendence?" Dr. White said, "There was both a male

and female keeper, but they appeared to me totally unfit for the

discharge of their duties."

The number of lunatics confined in jails was found by the inquiry of

1843 to have increased, partly in consequence of the Act 1 and 2 Vict.,

c. 27, for the more effectual provision for the prevention of offences

by insane persons. Two justices were authorized, acting with the advice

of a medical man, to commit to jail any person apprehended under

circumstances denoting derangement of mind and a purpose of committing

crime. A subsequent clause authorized the Lord Lieutenant to transfer

such person, as well as convicts, to a lunatic asylum. No steps had been

taken to ascertain whether, on the one hand, the jails afforded any

accommodation whatever for such lunatics, or whether, on the other,

convict lunatics could be properly received into the district asylums.

The statute operated widely. Previous to it, in 1837, there had been

only thirty-seven lunatics in jails, while by the year 1840 they had

augmented to one hundred and ten, of whom eighty-one were maniacs,

seventeen were idiots, and twelve were epileptics; while by the 1st of

January, 1843, the number amounted to two hundred and fourteen. Of these

only forty had been convicted of any criminal offence, showing that the

application of the Act had gone much beyond the intention of its

framers. Thus it was that "the numbers crowding the county jails were

truly distressing, and were made the subject of universal complaint by

the local authorities."[266]

The Lords' Committee, of course, insisted on the necessity of

discontinuing the committal of lunatics to jails and bridewells, and

amending the Act 1 Vict., c. 27, which had led to such serious abuses;

the inexpediency of appropriating the union workhouses or houses of

industry to the custody or treatment of the insane; the necessity of

providing one central establishment for criminal lunatics, under the

immediate control and direction of the Government of Ireland, to be

supported from the same funds and under the system adopted in respect

to criminal lunatics in England; the necessity of increasing the

accommodation for pauper lunatics in Ireland, and of providing for the

cases of epilepsy, idiocy, and chronic disease by an increased number of

the district asylums, by enlargement of these asylums, or by the

erection of separate establishments, specially appropriated for these

classes of patients.[267]

At this Committee Dr. Conolly gave the results of his non-restraint

experience at Hanwell since September, 1839.

The following tabular statement, delivered in at the Committee by the

Rev. E. M. Clarke, presents a valuable picture of the state of lunacy in

Ireland on the 1st of January, 1843:--

1. Population of Ireland in 1841 8,175,238

2. Total insane confined January 1, 1843 3,529

3. Total curable, comprised in No. 2 1,055

4. Total incurable, ditto 2,474

5. Total curable (not including private

asylums) confined January 1, 1843 848

6. Number for which the district asylums

were first built 1,220

7. Number confined in district asylums,

January 1, 1843 2,061

8. Confined in other than district asylums,

January 1, 1843 1,468

9. Number confined in thirty-two jails,

January 1, 1843 211

10. Number confined in workhouses, March 31,

1843 557

11. Number of curable cases confined in

thirty-two jails, January 1, 1843 78

12. Number of curable cases in district

asylums, January 1, 1843 698

13. Number of incurable cases in district

asylums, January 1, 1843 1,368

A correspondence took place between the Irish Government and the

managers of the district asylums on the subject of the Report of the

House of Lords' Committee on the state of the lunatic poor, commencing

November, 1843, by a letter from Lord Elliott to the superintendents,

asking for their opinion. These unanimously endorsed the conclusions

arrived at by the Committee, and, in some instances entering into the

mode of inspection of asylums by the two inspectors-general of prisons

at their half-yearly visitation of gaols, asserted that "it must from a

variety of causes be of no use whatever."

The Irish Government also opened a correspondence in 1844 with the grand

juries of each county, and their opinion was asked as to the eligibility

of the sites proposed for new asylums. As the Acts of Parliament limited

the number of patients in any single asylum, it was sought to remove

this obstacle by an Act in 1845, 8 and 9 Vict., c. 107. This Act also

provided for the erection of a central asylum for criminal lunatics,

which carried out one important recommendation of the Lords' Committee.

The Cork Asylum was at the same time added to the district asylums.

In 1846 an Act (9 and 10 Vict., c. 115) was passed to amend the laws as

to district asylums in Ireland, and to provide for the expenses of

inspection of asylums.

From a return made in this year (1846) showing the total number of

lunatics in the district, local, and private asylums and jails on the

1st of January during each of the previous ten years, I observe that in

1837 there was a total of 3077, and in 1846 a total of 3658, thus



Year. District Local Private Jails. Total.

Asylums. Asylums. Asylums.


1837 1610 1236 152 79 3077

1846 2555 562 251 290 3658


Inc. 945 Dec. 674 Inc. 99 Inc. 211 Inc. 581


Of the 3658, as many as 2473 were incurable, leaving only 1185 curable

patients. For 1846 there is also a return of the number in poor-houses,

1921; wandering idiots and simpletons, 6217; lunatics under the care of

Court of Chancery not in asylums, 76; making a total of 11,872, of whom

327 only were private patients.

In the following year the annual report of the Inspectors thus speaks of

non-restraint: "The non-restraint system has been introduced, and is

generally acted on, mechanical restraint being seldom applied except

where the patients are very violent, and even then it is not often

resorted to, as a temporary seclusion is now substituted as a more

effectual means of tranquillizing the patients without the risk of

personal injury often resulting from the application of bodily

restraint, and arrangements are being made to have apartments fitted up

for this purpose in each asylum."

The percentage of cures and mortality during the previous seven years

was as follows:--Per cent. on the admissions, 38.65; mortality

calculated on average number resident, 8.39--not an unsatisfactory


In 1849 the proportion of lunatics (i.e. ascertained) to the

population in Ireland was 1 to 900, while in Scotland it was 1 to 740,

and in England 1 to 870.

In their report of this year, the Inspectors of Asylums express their

regret that no provision exists for the insane who, not being paupers,

are legally inadmissible into the public institutions, and are unable to

meet the charges made in private asylums, the only mixed institutions

being St. Patrick's Hospital and the Retreat in Dublin, managed by the

Society of Friends.

The number of patients in the district asylums in 1851 (exclusive of

Cork, 394) was as follows:--

No. Opened.

Armagh 131 1824

Belfast 269 1829

Carlow 197 1832

Clonmel 197 1834

Ballinasloe 312 1833

Limerick 340 1827

Londonderry 223 1829

Maryborough 192 1833

Richmond 279 1815

Waterford 115 1835


Total 2255

In 1855[268] the Act 18 and 19 Vict., c. 76, continued the Private

Asylum Act of 5 and 6 Vict. The 9 and 10 Vict., c. 79, and 14 and 15

Vict., c. 46, were continued till 1860. The Act 18 and 19 Vict., c.

109, made further provisions for the repayment of advances out of the

consolidated fund for the erection and enlargement of asylums for the

lunatic poor in Ireland. Seven asylums had been built under the Board of

Works since 1847.

By far the most important attempt to take steps for the reform of Irish

lunacy was the appointment of a Royal Commission in 1856, to inquire

into the state of lunatic asylums and other institutions for the custody

and treatment of the insane in Ireland. Among the Commissioners of

Inquiry were Mr. Lutwidge, Mr. Wilkes, and Dr. Corrigan. The Report was

issued in 1858. They found that on January 1, 1857, the total number of

patients in asylum districts amounted to 5225, of whom 1707 were in

workhouses, 166 in jails, and 3352 at large, while the inmates of

district asylums numbered only 3824. They therefore urged the pressing

need of additional accommodation. They proposed that the Irish law

should be assimilated, with respect to single patients, to the 16 and 17

Vict., c. 97, s. 68, the police being empowered to bring before a

magistrate any wandering lunatic, and justices of the peace having power

on sworn information to cause such person to be brought before them.

They also regarded as absolutely necessary a total alteration of the

rules affecting the manager and physician of an asylum, previous rules

having been drawn up in contemplation of the former officer not being a

medical man. Among other recommendations, there were proposals in

reference to private asylums, for which no legislative enactment was

passed prior to 1826 (7 Geo. IV., c. 74),[269] and no special law for

licensing them or securing their proper management until 1842, when the

statute of 5 and 6 Vict., c. 123, enacted that the Inspectors-General of

Prisons, whose duty it was to inspect private asylums, should be

Inspectors of Lunatic Asylums--a function which, with others connected

with asylums, was by the 8 and 9 Vict., c. 107, transferred to the then

newly appointed Inspectors of Lunatics. The Commission proposed that the

power of issuing licences should be transferred from the justices to the

Inspectors of Lunatics; that the licence should require that some

medical man should reside on the premises; that any abuse, ill

treatment, or wilful neglect of a lunatic by the superintendent or any

other person employed in the care of lunatics, should be deemed a

misdemeanour, and punished accordingly; and that, for inspection,

licensed houses should be visited by one or more of the Commissioners

four times a year. Many other important recommendations were made by the

Commission, some of which bore fruit in subsequent Irish legislation,

but to how limited an extent is evident from the recommendations of

another Commission, to which we shall shortly refer.

The Commissioners notice the culpable disregard with which the rule of

the Privy Council, which requires that "the manager is to take charge of

the instruments of restraint, and is not, under any pretence, to allow

the unauthorized use of them to any person within the establishment; all

cases placed under restraint, seclusion, or other deviation from the

ordinary treatment, being carefully recorded by him in the daily report,

with the particular nature of the restraint or deviation resorted to,"

has in many instances been treated. So also had the rule that the

superintendent was to enter in the Morning Statement Book "the names of

those in restraint or seclusion, and the causes thereof." Some managers

were not aware of the existence of the rule, while others deemed it a

sufficient compliance with the rules to leave the instruments of

restraint in charge of the keepers, trusting to their integrity to

report the cases in which they were used. In one asylum a female patient

was strapped down in bed with body-straps of hard leather, three inches

wide, and twisted under the body, with wrist-locks, strapped and locked,

and with wrists frayed from want of lining to straps, and was seriously

ill, but yet no record had been made in the book. "Wrist-locks and

body-straps were hung up in the day-room, for application at the

attendants' pleasure. A male patient was strapped down in bed; in

addition, he was confined in a strait waistcoat with the sleeves knotted

behind him; and as he could only lie on his back, his sufferings must

have been great; his arms were, moreover, confined with wrist-locks of

hard leather, and his legs with leg-locks of similar kind; the strapping

was so tight that he could not turn on either side; and any change of

position was still more effectually prevented by a cylindrical stuffed

bolster of ticken, of about ten inches thick, which ran round the sides,

and top, and bottom of the bed, leaving a narrow hollow, in the centre

of which the lunatic was retained, as in a box, without power to turn

or move. On liberating the patient and raising him, he was very feeble,

unable to stand, with pulse scarcely perceptible, and feet dark red and

cold; the man had been under confinement in this state for four days and

nights;" yet the manager stated he was not aware of his having all these

instruments of restraint upon him, and no record of the case appeared in

the book.

At another asylum the Commissioners found a bed in use for refractory

patients, in which there was an iron cover which went over both rails,

sufficiently high to allow a patient to turn and twist, but not to get


Before leaving the Report of the Commissioners of 1858, we may add that,

during the period comprised between the date of the Committee of 1843

and this Commission, the number of district asylums was increased from

ten to sixteen, affording additional room for 1760 patients, exclusive

of Dundrum and a large addition to the Richmond Asylum. Thus:--


When first opened.

Name of +-------+----------------------+-----------

asylum. Number of

Date. Cost including site. beds.


L s. d.

Cork 1852 79,827 1 5 500

Kilkenny 1852 24,920 12 1 150

Killarney 1852 38,354 8 3 250

Mullingar 1855 37,716 15 9 300

Omagh 1853 41,407 12 2 310

Sligo 1855 39,769 0 7 250


Total 261,995 10 3 1760


The Report of the Commission recommended that parts of the workhouses

should be adapted and used for some of the incurable class of patients.

This was not done, and we cannot be surprised, seeing the unfortunate

state of these abodes. But, in addition to the removal of incurable

cases to workhouses, the Commissioners recommended additional buildings

in connection with existing asylums, for the reception of cases which,

although incurable, might yet, from their habits or dangerous tendency,

be considered improper cases to be removed from institutions especially

devoted to the treatment of insanity. They were satisfied that the

number of district asylums would be found more and more inadequate for

the wants of the country.

There was a Select Committee of the House of Commons on lunatics in

1859.[270] In the minutes of evidence great stress is laid upon the

necessity of providing, in Irish asylums, accommodation for the class

immediately above paupers, whose friends were willing to pay a small

additional sum for their maintenance; and also establishing district

asylums, similar to the chartered asylums in Scotland. Two years later

(1861), and three after the Royal Commission, the Act 24 and 25 Vict.,

c. 57, continued the various Acts respecting private and public asylums

(5 and 6 Vict., c. 123; 18 and 19 Vict., c. 76). The subsequent Act of

1867 (30 and 31 Vict., c. 118) provided for the appointment of the

officers of district asylums, and amended the law relating to the

custody of dangerous lunatics and idiots. These were not to be sent to

any jail in the land after January 1, 1868. Dangerous lunatics

previously had to pass through jails, instead of going direct to

asylums. The 31 and 32 Vict., c. 97, made provision for the audit of

accounts of district asylums, and is of no general interest.

During three years (1866-69) six additional asylums were erected,



When first opened.

Name of +-------+----------------------+-----------

asylum. Number of

Date. Cost including site. beds.


L s. d.

Ennis 1868 51,316 8 6 260

Letterkenny 1866 37,887 5 3 300

Downpatrick 1869 60,377 6 5 300

Castlebar 1866 34,903 14 11 250

Monaghan 1869 57,662 5 5 340

Enniscorthy 1868 50,008 0 6 288


Total 292,155 1 0 1738


Returning to 1861, the tenth report of the Inspectors of Asylums, issued

in that year, gives much important information on the state of lunacy in

Ireland at that time, but there are only two points to which it is

necessary to refer here. The writers, Drs. Nugent and Hatchell, speak

indignantly of the shameful manner in which the friends of lunatics in

confinement neglect them, "as if their malady entailed a disgrace on

those connected with them ... months--nay, years--passing without an

inquiry being made by a brother for a brother, or a child for a parent."

After stating that during the previous ten years four new asylums had

been licensed, the Inspectors recur to the importance of supplying

asylums for patients who, unable to pay the ordinary charge of a private

asylum, not being paupers, are ineligible for admission into public


In 1874 a new code of rules, issued by the Privy Council, contained many

important regulations. Of it, however, the late Dr. Robert Stewart[271]

observed, "On the whole, we cannot speak very highly of the tact or

wisdom shown by the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council in the framing of

the new code of regulations."[272] In this code the duties of the

medical superintendents of Irish asylums are minutely laid down.

In 1878 a Lunacy Inquiry Commission was appointed by the Lord Lieutenant

of Ireland, the Report of which in the following year, after an

examination of a large number of witnesses, contains much valuable

information as to various questions connected with the asylums and the

provision for the insane poor, present and future. The following "most

distressing case," recorded by the Commission, speaks loudly of the need

of increased provision for the insane poor in Ireland:--

"On approaching a small farmhouse at a place called ----, I heard," says

Dr. Robertson, "a most peculiar howling noise, and, to my horror, when I

came near the house I saw a lunatic stark naked, confined to a room,

and looking through the wooden bars that closed the windows, for there

was no glass whatever. He is about nineteen years of age, and I heard

from his mother that up to ten or eleven years he was a most intelligent

boy; but at that age he suddenly lost the power of speech and became

moody and abstracted, wandering about the fields alone, and constantly

uttering a low, muttering noise, and with incessant tendency to

mischief. By careful watching, the family prevented him injuring himself

and others, until of late he has got so strong and unmanageable, and his

inclination for destruction is so great, that they have been obliged to

confine him in the room I have described. He breaks the window directly

it is glazed, tears his bed-clothes into shreds, and won't allow a

stitch of clothing to remain on his body; besides, his habits are most

disgusting."[273] The incumbent of the parish wrote: "This case is

indeed only suited for a lunatic asylum. The form which his lunacy has

assumed is most shocking, and is detrimental to morality." An English

tourist happening to see this case had him removed to the Monaghan

Asylum. One cannot but remark that what an English tourist did, the

proper authorities ought to have done. The law appears to have been

sufficient for the occasion.

The members of the Commission were not content with hearsay evidence.

"We took occasion ourselves," they report, "to visit several of these

cases in different parts of the country. Some of them we found in a

deplorably neglected condition; others disturbing the arrangements of a

whole family, the head of which would willingly contribute a small sum

towards maintenance in some suitable place of refuge. It admits of no

doubt that many a case, if taken in hand at an early stage, might have

been restored to society, instead of lapsing into hopeless, incurable

insanity. Serious evil often results from the freedom with which idiots

of both sexes are permitted to wander abroad, often teased and goaded to

frenzy by thoughtless children, often the victims of ill treatment or

the perpetrators of offences far worse. The interests of the public, no

less than of the insane, require that means should be adopted to

ascertain that all of that class are properly cared for. That can only

be done by substituting the visit of a medical man for that of the

constable, and a professional report for the incomplete return that is

now made."

The chief conclusions were, that while it would not be proper to

dispense wholly with any workhouse, portions of some might be dispensed

with for sane paupers, and appropriated for the accommodation of a

certain class of the insane. Over-crowding, it was proposed, should be

relieved by the removal of lunatics to auxiliary asylums. School

buildings belonging to certain workhouses were suggested as auxiliary

asylums, as in Dublin, Cork, etc. For the better cure, relief, and

treatment of the lunatic and idiotic poor, a complete reorganization of

the whole lunacy administration was regarded as essential, viz. that

under the provisions of s. 15 of 8 and 9 Vict., c. 107, the existing

district asylums should be classified, reserving one or more, as might

be required, in each province as "lunatic hospitals," especially for

the curative treatment of the insane; that the remaining district

asylums should be appropriated as "lunatic asylums" for the

accommodation of the chronic insane requiring special care, a certain

number of this class being accommodated in the "lunatic hospitals," as

about fifty of each sex would be required for the service of those

establishments; that the inspection of the "lunatics at large" should be

made one of the duties of the dispensary medical officers, who should be

remunerated for this duty, and whose certificate that any one of this

class is neglected or improperly cared for, should be made the ground

for action by the lunacy authorities; that the accommodation for the

third or harmless class, who are at present in lunatic asylums, in

workhouses, or at large in a neglected state, be provided by the

appropriation of spare workhouse buildings, a sufficiency of which is to

be found in each province, thus also meeting the very general complaint

of guardians being compelled to maintain superfluous workhouse

accommodation; and that all expenditure upon the building or enlargement

of district asylums should be suspended.

By this means, each province would be provided with three classes of

lunatic establishments: (1) One or more lunatic hospitals for the cure

of insanity in an early stage; (2) first-class asylums, in which the

chronic cases requiring special care would be treated; (3) second-class

or "workhouse auxiliary asylums" for harmless lunatics. The Commission

expressed a strong opinion that the whole lunacy administration of

Ireland should be placed under the general control of the Local

Government Board.

I may add that the estimated cost of the first class was L26 per head;

that of the second class, L20; and that of the third, L14 6s. Of this

scheme it must be said that, excellent as it is in intention, it is not

in some of its provisions without danger in the direction of lowering

the condition of the insane poor, as regards comfort and medical

supervision, not, indeed, below what they are in some Irish workhouses,

but below the standard aimed at in the best county asylums. "Let it be

understood that there is no recommendation to constitute anything like

an auxiliary asylum, such as Leavesden or Caterham, where large numbers,

being brought together, can be kept at a cheap rate, and can at the same

time be properly treated under medical care. No provision is made for

the necessary supervision, medical or otherwise. The dispensing medical

officer is to visit the insane at large, but those in workhouses are to

be left to the tender mercies of attendants. The amount of care and

comfort these unfortunate beings are to enjoy can be imagined by the

fact that the Commission considers that L14 6s. a year will be the cost

of their maintenance, after paying attendants, whilst the cost of those

in the second-class establishments is to be L20, or about L6 less than

what they cost at present."[274]

In their review of the results of past lunacy legislation in Ireland the

Commission make the melancholy statement that "although several years

ago the legislature made provision for the classification of

asylums,[275] and the Inspectors of Lunacy concur with other witnesses

of the highest authority in thinking that such classification would be

attended with the utmost advantage--would, in fact, meet the

difficulties of asylum administration--yet not only has no attempt ever

been made to give effect to the provisions of that law, but"--strangest

of all--"the Lunacy Inspectors appear to have been unaware of its


The Commission found that the evil of overcrowding with incurable cases,

complained of by the Committee of 1843, and by the Royal Commission of

1858, "has continued to the present day not merely unchecked, but in a

more aggravated form than ever." In 1856 there were 1168 curable and

2656 incurable patients in Irish asylums, while in 1877 these numbers

were, respectively, 1911 and 6272, the percentages being in the former

year, curable 30.5, incurable 69.5, while in the latter year the

corresponding percentages were 23.3 and 76.7. Taking the patients not

only in asylums, but in workhouses also, the total in 1856 (or more

correctly 1857) was as follows: curable, 1187; incurable, 4468;

percentages, 20.9 and 79.1. In 1877, curable, 1911; incurable, 9644;

percentages, 16.5 and 83.4--a frightful revelation of incurable lunacy.

The Inspectors complain that the Act 30 and 31 Vict. has caused this

increase of unsuitable cases,[277] but, as the Commission observe, it

has simply increased an existing evil, and not produced a new one.

Besides, "how otherwise are these unhappy people to be dealt with? Has

any other accommodation been provided for them? Though not suitable

cases for curative hospitals, they are, at all events, suitable cases

for care and humane treatment, and not until provision for such

treatment is made, ought the door of the asylum to be shut against


The condition of workhouses is proved by this Report to be most

unsuitable for the reception of the insane; yet they contained in 1879

one quarter of the pauper lunatics of the country. It was desirable to

remove a large number of these somewhere, and the only suitable place

was the district asylum. Dr. Lalor, in his evidence before this

Commission, says in regard to this increased number of admissions under

the 30 and 31 Vict., "I think it is an immense advantage, because before

that Act there was a great number of persons kept out who ought to be

sent into lunatic asylums, but there was not sufficient machinery for

doing so." Dr. Lalor then goes on to say that they have not in Ireland

the same provision as in England for taking up merely wandering lunatics

not chargeable to the rates. This witness, I should add, is strongly in

favour of larger asylums for even curable cases, and would classify the

institutions for the insane into three classes, the curable, the

improvable, and the incurable. For curable and improvable cases of

lunacy, including those requiring special care, and for the training and

education of imbeciles and idiots chiefly of the juvenile classes, he

would have the same asylum; for the incurable and unimprovable, he would

have another. He would leave it to a central body to distinguish the

cases, and would allow that such a body might find it more convenient to

class the juvenile idiots and imbeciles under the second division.

At the date of this Commission there were 22 district asylums,

containing 8073 patients. There were 150 workhouses, with 3200 insane

inmates. In Dundrum[279] were 166 criminal insane, and in private

asylums about 680 patients, making a total of 12,200. In addition to

these, the inspectors obtain a return of every idiot, imbecile and

epileptic, at large, from the police, not being under the supervision of

the Lunacy Board; the number in 1878 was 6200, bringing up the figures

to 18,400.

That practical effect might be given to the recommendations contained in

this Report, Lord O'Hagan called attention to them in a speech delivered

in the House of Lords, August, 1879, in which he said, "Let me ask the

attention of the House to the case of neglected lunatics in Ireland. It

is the most pressing, as it is the most deplorable." He cited the

statement of the Royal Commission of 1858, that there were 3352 lunatics

at large, of whom no fewer than 1583 were returned as "neglected;" and

the recent statement of the Irish Lunatic Inquiry Commission that within

the last twenty years the number of that class had increased by more

than a hundred per cent.--from 3352 to 6709--without "any diminution in

the proportion of those who may still be classified as neglected." Lord

O'Hagan referred to the case of a naked lunatic in a farmhouse, which we

have quoted at p. 424, and maintained that some four thousand lunatics

were in a condition "better or worse according to circumstances." We

cannot but think that the speaker generalized a little too much. He was

right, however, in his contention that none of the neglected cases "are

protected by any intervention of the law from exhibiting themselves in

as shocking an aspect."

"Only," observed Lord O'Hagan, "when the life of George III. was

threatened by a lunatic in England, did Parliament interfere and send

the insane to jails; only in 1838, when it was discovered that jails

were not fit receptacles for them, was provision made for committing

them to asylums; and only in the Consolidating Act of 1853 were

provisions made for such inspection and report as were needful for their

protection and the safety of their neighbours. I lament to say that

Ireland was left without even the benefit of the Act of 1799 until 1838,

and that the advantages which the Act of that year gave to England were

not extended to her lunatics until 1867; whilst you will scarcely

believe that the salutary reforms of 1853 have not to this hour been

made operative in Ireland."

Lord O'Hagan asked for identical legislation for Ireland and England,

the want of this having caused "incalculable mischief."

After observing that the Commission proposed the classification of

asylums for the purpose of curative treatment, the care of chronic

cases, and the allocation of workhouses as auxiliaries for the benefit

of the quiet and harmless, Lord O'Hagan referred to the fact that "the

Commission and the Inspectors of Lunacy differed as to material points

on the modus operandi, the inspectors desiring the extension of

district asylums, and the Commission not agreeing with this view; the

consequence being that at that time their extension was suspended." The

speaker did not presume to decide between them, but simply called upon

the Government to recognize the responsibility which the Report of the

Commission had cast upon them.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Cairns) replied that the Report was engaging

the attention of the Government; that he trusted it would not be in the

category of those Reports "which have gone before" and produced no

result; but that he could not give any further answer.[280]

The Lord Chancellor of Ireland (Lord O'Hagan) brought in on the 20th of

January, 1880, the "County Court Jurisdiction in Lunacy Bill

(Ireland),"[281] which not only passed the House of Lords, but was read

a third time in the House of Commons, August 17th of that year.[282]

Lord O'Hagan's measure had for its object to protect the interests of

lunatics possessed of small properties, beyond the control of Chancery

on account of the expense incurred thereby. There were in Ireland under

the jurisdiction of the Lord Chancellor, committed to him by the Queen's