12 January 2019

12th January 1843 - outrage on humanity

The Lord Chancellor of Ireland could hardly believe that such an outrage on humanity could have been perpetrated at that time - on 12th January 1843.

The outrage was on a gentleman from a highly respectable family who had, through no fault of his own, become afflicted by mental illness. His brother had put him into the care of somebody without taking the trouble to visit and find how he was being treated. The patient was found later in Cork by two magistrates who took pity on him.

He was ... in an out-house belonging to the man with whom had been placed, and from the state of the roof there was access for the weather and the rain; and, though it was in the latter part of the year, he was stark naked, and his legs chained and clenched together, and fastened in chain not more than two feet in length, without even straw, and not able, on account of his chains, to lie down in such way to rest himself, and without power to move beyond the limit of the narrow circle which the chain would allow.

They took him to a place where he had some comfort and was not in chains. The matter was then raised through the law to get his family to provide better care for him since they had means.

The Lord Chancellor was outraged and took on the case himself because he believed others could be suffering similar conditions.

Thankyou to the British Newspaper Archive for this date.

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