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April 18, 1896

Popular Lunacy.

JAMA. 1896;XXVI(16):787-788. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430680039012

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Chicago, April 9, 1896.

To the Editor:  —In a recent editorial entitled "Popular Lunacy," you refer to the highly educated young woman of London who suddenly asserted her conviction that marriage was immoral and her intention to live in concubinage with a workingman. In the following paragraph you say, "whatever may have been the actual condition of the woman the moral of the decision (made by the Commissioners in Lunacy) is this: Insanity must be of a definite type, no new forms are to be discovered, our knowledge of it is exhaustive. This is an opinion, that, however satisfactory it may be to the legal mind, can have no medical standing whatever, its mere statement is a reductio ad absurdum in itself." Herein, it seems to me, you have touched the cause of much of the real trouble in regard to expert testimony in our courts, especially in cases of

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