The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, October 27, 1912, SECTION SIX, Page 4, Image 72

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jJiU- -5Ulk . . T- 7V - Jff y .V iS m More Lunatics Than Six Years Ago Governments M , lll ' Yl?
t'f y ' il- " " fJii Chief AlienistGives Interesting Opinions on Effect of Jr 1 :
!8--5l2r T'-r4t "Xiiw- RZCe Suic'de and ther Modern Conditions. c- IffiS'
WVSHINGTON. D. C, Oct. 23.
(Special Correspondence.) Are
we growing- crazier?
The census office finds that within
six years the insane In our asylums
have increased from 156.2 to 203.8 per
100,000 of our population? And that
lunacy Is increasing throughout the en
tire world was announced the other day
by the famous Dr. Forbes Wlnslow,
who at the same time made the grim
prediction that "there will be more
lunatics In the world than sane people
300 years hence"; that "we are rapidly
approaching a mad world."
Hideous picture thlsl If the majority
Is to rule by direct vote in the golden
future, what Is posterity to do In the
sad year 2212, when that majority is
mad? Haunted by such a horrible
thought, I rushed over the river the
other day to seek consolation from Un
cle Sam's chief alienist. Dr. William
A. "White, superintendent of the Gov
ernment Hospital for the Insane. Dr.
White refused to tremble, nor did his
color blanch.
An Alarmist View, Says Allenlfrt.
"Dr. Forbes' Wlnslow's view is un
doubtedly an alarmist's one," quoth
he. "It is based apparently upon the
assumption that a single social condi
tion may be isolated from all other
social conditions and considered alone
and by Itself. When so considered the
natural tendency would probably be as
Dr. Wlnslow has suggested, but social
conditions are not to be so simply con
sidered. They are always extremely
complex by being surrounded and in
fluenced by other conditions that mod
ify the results. There is hardly a liv
ing species today but what, if It went
on producing at its normal rate with
out being interefered with by surround
ing and modifying conditions, would in
a marvelously short time populate the
entire surface of the globe. But we
know that this does not happen. In
fact. If you will measure off a plot of
ground a few feet square in which are
contained plants and animals of nu
merous species and habitats, any one of
which. If left to itself, would populate
the globe In a few years, you will find
at the end of a few months that the
relative proportions between the sev
eral species has not materially varied.
This fact was pointed out many years
ago on the basis of actual observation
by Darwin."
Insanity Increases With Longevity.
"Dr. Wlnslow is quoted as stating al
so that In every part of the world clv-
IN the camp of the Molliecoddles, at
the rear with the baggage-wagons,
men sat silent about the fires and
avoided one another's eyes. Now and
then one cursed bitterly and the others
would turn his way for an Instant and
then come back to their vacant star
ing. Bewilderment seemed to be their
attitude, utter blind bewilderment.
"We never had a chance," muttered
one. "We never had a chance."
Another suddenly flung down a paper
he had been reading In the red light,
cursed like a drover for a moment, and
fell silent again.
In his tent the Colonel spoke bitterly-
to his Adjutant.
"They needed a scapegoat, and
they've pitched on us," he said.
A common sentiment ran from the
head of the regiment to the meanest
private In the ranks. It was, more
over, a perfectly legitimate. well
founded sentiment, and the facts upon
which it was based were these:
The Mollieooddles were a brand-new
regiment. Most of them had been
clerks and small business men in a cer
tain well-known city. Their hands
were white and soft and their chests
not astonishing either for length or
Therefore, because the spirit is less
easily discerned than the flesh, their
comrades-in-arms, veterans of two
campaigns, dubbed them the Mollie
L - ' &irs-. Tap Ljkw ' - ' r-
lllzation Is advancing and so Insanity
Is bound to advance,' " I added. "Is in
sanity a necessary accompaniment of
advanced civilization? Will not higher
intelligence, produced by advancing
civilization, conquer more and more the
tendency toward madness?"
"The much mooted question as to
whether the increase of insanity is in
cident to higher civilization is difficult
to answer," Dr. White replied. "Two
matters suggest themselves for consid
eration. In the first place, it is fair
to presume that as the struggle for ex
istence has, through the ages, shifted
from a struggle that throws the major
part of man's work upon his muscular
system to a struggle that throws a
greater part of his work upon his mind
that as this change- has taken place.
his brain, which is subjected to a great
er amount of use, may suffer more fre
quently from disease. And, second, it
must be remembered that with advanc
ing civilization the problem of prevent
lve medicine has come more and more
to the front and that human life is
prolonged materially beyond what it
used to be. The greatest incidence of
insanity is between the ages of approx
imately SO and 40. A very much larger
proportion of people today live to this
period of life than used to be the case.
Therefore the Increase of civilization
may produce an increase in the actual
number of tha Insane by the mere fact
of prolonging human life."
"Anthropologists have advanced the
theory that savages are Insane, as com
pared with enlightened man. Is not the
reverse of Dr. Wilson's rule, therefore,
the true tendency? The lower we get
in the scale of civilization, is there not
more Insanity?" I further asked.
"So far as I know." said the alienist,
insanity does not increase the lower
we go In the scale of civilization."
'before the eugenics congress ine
other day Dr. Mott stated that the gen
eral Increase In lunacy is more appar
ent than real. Do you agree with him?"
was the next question.
"I do agree with Dr. Mott.
"Is not the alienist's conoeption of
Insanity steadily widening, with the
result that many cases are now recog
nized and appear In the statistics which
were formerly overlooked?"
"Insanity Not Medical Term.
"The general answer to the question
would be yes, although It calls for cer
tain criticism as to the use of the word
insanity. Insanity, In my estimation,
is not a medical term at all. The mind
Is subjeot to various diseases. When i
coddles- on their .first appearance.
Tho regiment suffered the label with
only a mild resentment. Individually
they knew they were not cowards, and
they trusted confidently In the future,
to Justify their presence In arms.
As a regiment they had not yet
found themselves. They had no esprft
de corps. They were a collection of
units Instead of the single and par
ticular entity a regiment should be.
Then came the catastrophe.
The army was facing the enemy with
a river in the rear, and it so happened
that the Molliecoddles held the extreme
right wing. Here the general com
manding made his initial mistake.
There being no natural defenses to
protect this wing. It should in common
prudence have been flung back to rest
upon the river and thus present a line
of fire In the event of a flanking move
ment by the enemy.
This was not done, and the Mollie
coddles were left strung out In alr
Not even the colonel, who had been a
successful merchant! understood the
perilous Insecurity of their position,
and the regiment calmly laid Itself
down to .sleep that night, expecting
battle- on the morrow and confident of
acquitting itself well,' but feeling Itself
secure for the' immediate future.
Anon came a heavy column of the
enemy, driving in the pickets, and It
self arriving on their heels. The line
of battle faced south. ' The attack fell
from the west.
Two companies succeeded In form
such diseases are of a nature or de
gree as to render the Individual un
fitted to live in the community either
because of danger to himself or to
others when, in other words, the com
munity is unwilling to put up with him
any longer he is by that community
segregated to the confines of an insti
tution. The process of this segrega
tion is a legal process. It is a legal
process to determine sanity. Sanity, in
the meaning of this process, is fitness
to live In the community; insanity the
opposite. The physician sees the pres
ence of mental disease, the lawyer fixes
the legal status. Naturally as civiliza
tion advances it becomes more and
more complex, and, therefore, the dif
ficulties of a,' given Individual getting
along In the community Decome great
er and greater, and, therefore, again
departures from the normal of less and
less extent become matters which may
lead to one's commitment as Insane."
Chief Factor In Madness.
"Which do you regard as the more
dangerous factor In Insanity today, ex
citing or predisposing causes?"
"The general tendency today is to be
lieve that the more important factors
in the production of mental disease
are those that are resident In the indi
vidual, or the .predisposing."
"A noted alienist lately named "wine,
women, worry and work' as. the chief
exciting causes. Do you agree with
"No, that Is a good example of allit
eration; that's all."
"How can the chief exciting and pre
disposing causes of Insanity best be
"The subject of mental hygiene is an
extensive one. Preventive medicine as
applied to mental disorders has Its
most difficult problem, and Its most
complex. In the main, a more Intensive
scientlflo study of the various mental
diseases In order to determine more
accurately- the various factors that are
at work In their production and de
velopment Is an essential precondition."
"Are not improved methods of living
neutralizing any of these causes that
may be increasing?"
"Improved methods of living so far as
improved sanitary conditions are con
cerned undoubtedly materially diminish
the number of cases of insanity due to
causes of an Infectious, toxlo and ex
haustive character."
Are there any sex differences in
ing, facing about on the new line, and
firing a round or two before they were
overwhelmed. Then the regiment, and
after It the brigade, was rolled up,
telescoped, crushed, with hardly a
chance to fire a shot.
It was not their fault. The best
and most seasoned regiment In the
army could have done no better under
the circumstances.
But when the Major-General had
collected the shattered remnant of his
forces on the safe side of the river,
he felt the need of. a scapegoat, as
the Colonel had divined, and recog
nized the Molliecoddles as the logical
and helpless candidates for the posi
tion. He nominated them accordingly In
his report, and the army, bitter over
defeat and not at all understanding.
Instantly elected them unanimously. In
two days the whole country knew, be
yond hope of refutation, that the Mol
liecoddles had brought disaster on the
division by conspicuous cowardice In
the face of the enemy.
The Molliecoddles, battered and still
dazed, reviewed the situation with a
sort of savage bewilderment. Individu
ally, they knew they were not cowards.
Colleotively they were inarticulate, un
certain, perplexed.
Consequently they suffered many
things, though by no means with
meekness. There were black eyes and
broken heads In neighboring regiments
and a lively lust for blood and slaugh
ter In the minds of the Molliecoddles.
In the meantime they were detailed
to the rear to guard the baggage train,
and the cup of their humiliation over
flowed in bitter murmurings against
their lot But fate had her eye upon
them, and while they were yet In the
mood to kick out viciously at the touch
of a feather, she sent them a golden
opportunity. ,
Having hurled his opponent back
across the river, the enemy proceeded
to take the offensive. By a rapid march
in the night a long oolumn crossed the
river some miles above, aiming by a
wide detour to fall suddenly and unex
pectedly upon the rear of the demor
alized force.
So silently and swiftly was this
maneuver accomplished that no word
of It reached the rival General till his
communications had been cut and a
frightened crowd of teamsters and
camp followers came streaming up the
Close on their heels appeared the van
of the eager enemy. In their way stood
only the despised and rejected Mollie
coddles. At the first sign of trouble the Colo
nel of the regiment deployed his men
across the road and prepared to hold
that line "till the cows came home."
A stone fence afforded excellent pro
tection and the Molliecoddles spread
themselves along this breastwork with
17L V !
07Srrrr 1 ijJL3-UL
J l Xi pfi k f i FiVi r iv'Hc
r 4 ;
modern tendencies toward Insanity?
Does the rate of Increase seem to be
greater among men or women?"
"The percentage of insanity In the
two sexes is practically equal."
Race Suicide and Insanity.
"Does not the general decrease In the
size of families tend toward relieving
women of worries which lay the foun
dation for Insanity?"
"That Is too complex a question to
be answered categorically. The pres
ence of children In a family that Is
poverty-stricken becomes a source of
drain which the mother particularly is
111 fitted to maintain. The actual
etiology of the mental breakdown un
der such circumstances has largely to
do with exhaustive work and poor
nutrition, which, of course, in such an
Instance is focalized about the pres
ence of the child. Of course, the pres
ence of the child is merely Incidental.
Such causes might well produce actual
disease for other reasons than the mere
fact that there were too many child
ren. The absence of children in cer
tain other types of families might
readily leave to idleness an opportunity
for indulgence that would be distinct
ly opposed to the best tenets of mental
health, and so the question might be
the hot blood humming In their veins.
Cowards, eh?
They would show what sort of cow
ards they were. They ceased that mo
ment to be a collection of units, and
were in a way to become a regiment.
They were madmen, most of them,
ready to go red-eyed and homicidal at
a pin-prick. They had been goaded
and buffeted with no chance to reply.
They had read ironical newspaper com
ments by men who had never smelled
powder till their nerves were strung
like hair-triggers.
Almost to a man, they yearned for
slaughter with the primitive thirst of
savagery. They wanted to get square.
They wanted to clear themselves. They
wanted to show up their critics for the
blatant liars they were.
Across a field In front of them came
a line of hurrying men, followed by
another and another. They were overlapped-
on either flank. What matter?
An aide galloped up to the Colonel.
"Hold them for 20 minutes!" was his
cry, almost despairing. "Hold them
If you lose every man."
"I'll hold 'em," said the Colonel,
He knew the temper of his men. It
was Identical with his own.
Directly a battery whirled up and
unllmbered In- the road. That would
help. The staff officer had gone to
hurry up the support. The Colonel
stalked along his line.
Across the open ground In front the
enemy neared rapidly. They came al
most recklessly, expecting little oppo
sition. The only task they saw. be
fore them was to drive their foe Into
the river.
They made for the stone wall with a
yell. At sight of the guns In the road
a shout of triumph broke out. These
should be the first fruits of their vio
tory. The Colonel, crouching now be
hind the wall, surveyed them coming,
only his head projecting above the
The impatient privates fingered their
weapons and cursed beneath their
breath. Would they never get the
word to fire? Were they to be run
over again and trampled on without
a chance?
A hundred yards away a compact
line of men was tolling up the Elope.
In the road a column swung forward
full In the face of the silent guns.
Then when men's nerves were fairly
snapping with the tension, the Colonel
gave the word.
The front of the stone wall burst
into flame, and above the rattle Of
musketry came the bursting roar of
the guns in the road, as the gunners
leaped from concealment. Out on the
grassy slope the first line of hurrying,
eager men melted into shapeless masses
on the ground.
In the road the grape and canister
tore great holes in the compact col
umn. The surprlsera were surprised;
-.. -. ..- ' - : i
- - . r
considered, you see, from many stand
points." "Is Insanity becoming more and more
"We are learning how to influence
mental disorder as never before. So
far, however, the general result on the
curability of that whole mass of con-
The front ranks recoiled, shattered out
of all semblanco to formation.
But tho attack was delayed for only
a moment. Behind that foremost rank
was another which came steadily on,
leaving a man now and then sprawling
out or writhing in the grass, but driv
ing straight forward notwithstanding.
Down the line behind the stone wall
went the command, "Cease firing."
It almost caused a mutiny, but the
officers persuaded the madmen to obey.
The enemy came on with a yell then.
Evidently it was but an insignificant
force in their front. They were minded
to run over them.
Telling like fiends, they rushed across
the open. It was Bunker Hill repeat
ed. Again the Colonel let them come
'within a hundred yards before he gave
the command to fire, and again when
the order came and the sheet of flame
burst forth the advancing line with
ered as before the breath from a blaz
ing blast furnace.
Flesh and blood could not face It.
They were men who would go un
flinchingly where there was one chance
of coming through.
Here there was none. It was death,
bald and certain. Those who could
recoiled down the slope. Many stayed
silent in the grass.
Meanwhile the carnage In the road
was fearful. The steady plying of the
guns loaded with grape and canister
had piled the advancing column in a
mass of dead and dying till the order
came to halt and deploy across the
adjoining field.
This added to the labors of the de
voted Mollieooddles. The next advance
was in skirmish formation and far
more difficult to stop.
Men began to fall behind the breast
work. Bullets sang over their heads
and spat viciously into the wall in
front of them.
But 15 of the needed 20 minutes had
elapsed. If they could, hang , on for
five more!
They were firing at will now. The
The volleys had ceased, but there was
a steady, continuous rattle of musket
ry. The Colonel walked back and
forth behind his line, fiercely chewing
his mustache, pausing to glance at
the cloud of skirmishers coming stead
ily on, or noting with a groan that his
left was overlapped for a quarter of a
mile and must speedily be turned.
It could not be helped. He was
holding what he could, but his line
was woefully thin and every moment
becoming thinner. The singing bul
lets took a steady toll.
Down the slope before the stone
wall a mass of men pressed forward
yelling. The thin line behind the wall
concentrated all its fire upon them,
but it no longer availed. On they
came, dogged, determined.
Men dropped steadily, but still they
came on. The 20 minutes were up.
Where were the reinforcements?
The Colonel glanced about. Woods
dltlons which are comprised under the
term 'insanity Is not material."
"Are there any new forms of insan
ity?" I asked Dr. White, in conclusion.
"In all probability there are no new
forms of insanity," he said. "If they
are not recorded In the older works it
was simply because they were not ob
served. Probably they all existed, and
the more we are acquainted with the
older writers the more we are astound
ed to find recorded in their works ob
servations of conditions which we
thought we had discovered."
But let us get back to the original
question: "Are we growing crazier?"
and to the census office, whose recent
figures would indicate that we are. It
appears from these statistics that the
number of persons becoming Insane,
in the average American community of
100,000 persons, has increased nearly
18 in six years. Commenting on these
figures. Dr. J. A. Hill, chief statisti
cian, has this to say:
"It must be remembered that these
figures include only the insane who
are committed to hospitals. As to the
number of cases of insanity not re
sulting in such commitments the cen
sus has no data. It is entirely possible
that the increase in the number of
commitments per 100,000 is not due In
any considerable degree to an in
creased prevalence of Insanity, but slm-
:h 5
behind him shut out all view of the
regiments and brigades hurrying
breakneck to the rear that had be
come the front.
All he knew was that Jie was alone,
protecting the army rrom overwhelm
ing defeat. Cowards, were they?
Even in that red, fiery moment he
had time for an instant of bitter pride
and exultation as he viewed his dead
behind the stone wall.
The rushing mass in front was close
up now. He knew he could not stop
them. He lacked the men. He had
held them back for more than
time demanded of him.
Should he order his men to
back? The regiment had done
work. More could not reasonably be
asked of them. '
They were outflanked on either
hand, and about to be overwhelmed.
Should he order them back?
There came to him another thought.
"They called us cowards," and with
that he hurried along the line with the
command, "Fix bayonets."
He would stay there and meet
them, if it cost him every man. "They
called us cowards, .boys," he shouted.
"This is our chance."
On came that yelling wave in front.
Loading and firing as fast as they
could, the remnant of the regiment
could not stop it. But not a man be
hind the stone wall flinched before it.
The inevitable weaklings that are in
every regiment had long since sought
the rear. Those who stayed would
stay to the end.
They were lamentably few, but those
few were bad men to face. At their
colonel's call they rose, gripping their
weapons, whole men, men with bleed
ing heads, men with limp arms, men
who rose only to fall again and again
struggle to rise.
With a yell the wave broke over the
stone wall, and in an instant the Mol
liecoddles were overwhelmed. Fighting
like demons, madmen, or heroes, they
went down before superior numbers,
but not before they bad taken full toll
for their defeat.
Through his glasses the general in
command saw their heroic stand. The
regiments breaking from the woods be
hind saw It and burst into cheers. A
sudden wave of firing broke out on
either flank, and then the conquering
enemy reeled before the charge of the
advancing regiments.
A moment of fighting hand to hand,
bayonet to bayonet, and then the fresh
troops dropped behind the stone wall
and poured a galling fire Into the re
treating foe. The day was won, the
army was saved, and it was the Mollie
coddles who had done it.
In the camp of the Molliecoddles that
evening men sat weary and dejected
about the fires. Their attitude seemed
much the same as on that other eve
ning. There were gaps in every group,
and men's voices were low and awe
stricken. They dlsousied their casualties with
ply to an extension of this method of
caring for the insane. It Is a change
that might result from an Increase in
the number of institutions of this class
and from an increasing disposition on
the part of the public to resort to aucn
"It is somewhat startling to reflect
that the 187,454 patients connned in
our hospitals for the insane make up
a population larger tnan that of the
City of Columbus, O.
"The state which, in proportion to
Its population, had at our last inquiry
the largest numberof insane reportes1
In Institutions was Massachusetts wltlX.
344.6 per 100,000 population. New York, TV
however, had almost the same pro-;J
portion, namely, 343.1 per 100,000 pop
ulation. And the state which ranks
next is Conneclcut, where the ratio is
321.1 per 100,000 population. But it
should be borne In mind that the varia
tions between different states In tho
number of Insane In institutions, in
proportion to population, are probably
due to differences in the sufficiency of
provision for caring for the Insane in
this way, and also to differences as
regards the practice of committing ths
Insane to Institutions, quite as muca
as to variations in the insanity rate
prevailing In different communities.
There is no doubt, for example, that in
Massachusetts and New York, where
the figures are the highest, better pro
vision is made for the care of the in
sane in institutions than in most of the
other states.
Least Insanity In West.
"In general, the number of Insane in
hospitals is, in proportion to popula
tion, much smaller in tho West than in
the East. The ratios are also smaller in
the South than in the North. In 31
of the states and territories the ratio
of Insane in Institutions to total popu
lation has increased in the six-year
period. Most of the states in which
this ratio has decreased lie west of the
Mississippi, these commonwealths In
cluding all of the Pacific Coast statei
and all of the mountain states but thres
Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.
"The section of the country showing
this decrease has undergone a very
rapid development in recent years and
It Is possible that the new population
coming from other sections of the
United States represents a class In
which insanity is less prevalent than in
the stay-at-homes."
(Copyright, 1912, by John Elfreth
an appearance of wonderment. "Tuck
er's gone, eh?" "Billy Aken got it in
the head." "They've took off Morton's
leg," and so forth.
"How's the Old Man tonight?" asked
one. "Heard anything?"
"They say he's doin' well. If he pulls
through, I reckon they'll make him a
"Too bad they got him. He hadn't
ought to have stood up."
"Well, anyway, we held 'em."
That was the finale always. No mat
ter what had come to pass, no mat
ter who had died or who was wounded,
or who was missing: "Well, we held
A battery came past, the trace-
chains rattling, the wheels clanking in
the ruts.
"What regiment is that?" called
"The Molliecoddles," came the defiant
"Oh!" snld the officer, and the bat
tery moved on.
But every gunner's eyes turned sud
denly toward the campfires, and the
Molliecoddles returned the gaze wltb.
erect heads. It was as though they
asked: "If it wasn't for us, where
would you be?"
And from the faces of the gunner
one understood that they had no ade
quate answer.
(Copyright The Frank A. Munsey Co.
English Village Bethels.
If the village Is a fairly large one,
there are several Bethels. There will
at least be the Methodist, the Congre
gational and the Baptist; and of the
Methodist there are often several vari
eties, perplexing to the outsider. In,
their attitude toward the churchfollc
they may agree, but on other things
they differ with all the acridity of
nearness. There are many shades of
doctrine, hard to be fathomed by "the
uninitiated. There is also the more
vulgar competition of material pros
perity. One Bethel does not like to be
outdone by another; if the Baptist
Ebenezer has a new coat of whitewash,
the Methodist Bethesda must revarnlsh
Its benches, and congregational Salem
will repaint its texts. The conclusion
of such doing must be celebrated by
special services and a beanfeast. Now
and then a shining light in one of the
chapels goes wrong; commits some
small peculation or embezzlement.
There is so keen a flutter In the rival
dovecots that, if one were cynical, one
might take this for Joy. Human na
ture is very strong in the Bethels; we
must not throw stones. They are small
worlds of passion and desire, love and
charity, littleness; and greatness-
where much of good enters, the doorS
cannot be quite shut on envylngs and '
backbltlngs. They have the complex
ity of our human life. The Churchman.