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July 27, 1889


JAMA. 1889;XIII(4):130-131. doi:10.1001/jama.1889.04440030022006

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Recent events, too familiar to our readers to call for special mention, have set in motion one of those periodical waves of popular distrust in regard to the treatment of the insane in public institutions, which from time to time sweep over our country, leaving behind them some wrecked reputations, but too often, accomplishing little but destruction. While the excitement lasts the innocent are apt to suffer with the guilty; when it subsides things settle back into very much their former condition. We do not propose, at present, to discuss particular cases, but to suggest some general considerations which it seems to us well to bear in mind when such charges are made.

In the first place, there is no class of cases in which the maxim that a man is to be held innocent till he is proved guilty, is more applicable than this. The Superintendents of asylums for

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