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November 7, 1896


JAMA. 1896;XXVII(19):1018-1019. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430970040010

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The uninterrupted increase of suicides in Great Britain as officially verified for more than forty years, so says the recent three years' report, is again attracting attention. This, the jury verdict of insanity is far from explaining, as in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the act of self-destruction is the only evidence of unsound mind on the part of the deceased. But this plea in most instances is a fiction of coroners' juries, originally designed to subvert the almost savage treatment of the corpse by the law itself. The disgrace of a cross-road burial with the impaling stake has never attained its object of a warning to the living, and the penalty of imprisonment in case of failure has likewise succeed not a whit better. In the State of New York there are already signs of a reaction in the shape of modifications of the latter law, or for

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