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September 28, 2014

Idiots becoming Lunatics

Here are the figures on certain disabilities from the Census of Nova Scotia, taken March 30, 1861, under Act of Provincial Parliament--Chap. XIV--XXIII VIC. (1862)

.............The returns of the Deaf and Dumb show nearly the same number, compared with the population, as in 1851. Some Counties return a less number than in 1851; but this may be accounted for by there being a number in the Deaf and Dumb Institution at Halifax, from the country, and all of which are included in the number from Halifax. There is 1 of this class in every 1100 of the population. In Canada in 1851, there was 1 in 1372, and in the United States 1 in 2395 of the entire population. The proportion of Deaf and Dumb in Great Britain, is 1 to 1590 of the population, in France, 1 to 1212, in Prussia, 1 to 1364, and in Switzerland, 1 to every  503. The average proportion of this class throughout the civilized world, is estimated at about 1 in 1550 of the population. 

The report of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb for 1860, kindly furnished me by the Rev. James Cochran, M. A., the Secretary, who has always taken a deep interest in its management, shows that 42 of this unfortunate class attended the school during the year, 6 of whom belonged to Halifax, 7 were from New Brunswick, and 29 from various parts of this Province— viz.: 7 from the County of Pictou, 4 from Colchester, 4 from Annapolis, 3 from King's, 4 from Cape Breton, 2 from Queen's, and 1 each from Cumberland, Hants, Digby, Sydney, and Guysborough Counties. 

In 1851 there were 136 Blind persons returned; the present Census returns 185; showing a somewhat larger proportionate increase than that of the population. There is no means of ascertaining from the returns, how many of these 185 were born blind, or how many became so from disease or old age; it is probable that not more than one-half, if so many, were born blind. I would suggest the propriety, in taking the next Census, so to arrange the schedules that such distinctive information may be obtained. 

The number of Lunatics returned shows that this class of unfortunates, during the last decade, has increased in a greater ratio than the population. In 1851 there were 166, being only 1 in 1660 of the whole population ; while the returns for 1861 show 340, including those in the Hospital for the Insane, being 1 in 970 of the population. 

A reference to the abstract at the close of the Census report, will show the number of Lunatics belonging to the several Counties, including those in the Asylum. It is difficult to account for this disparity, otherwise than by supposing that they were not all returned in 1851. The number of Idiots does not exhibit a like proportionate increase with that of Lunatics. There were 299 Idiots returned in 1851, and 317 in the present Census. Probably some who were returned in 1851 as Idiots, are now returned as Lunatics.

That explains everything.


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