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" I saw them naked covered with rags. They
only had a bit of hay to shelter themselves
from the cold humidity of the floor on
on which they would lay. I saw them badly fed, with no air
to breathe, no water for their thirst, without
the most vital needs to live. I saw them
at the mercy of real jailers, infected, without
air,  without light, imprisoned in places where
we would hesitate in leaving wild animals
that are better kept by the Government,
at great expenses, in large cities."

 

Esquirol – from his book "Des Établissements Consacrés aux Aliénés em France" – 1818.

The French psychiatrist, Jean-Etienne Esquirol, was a disciple of Philippe Pinel, considered the father of psychiatry. In this short extract, Esquirol describes a place where the lunatics were kept in 1818 in France.