Report from the Committee on Madhouses in England.
Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, 11 July 1815
Folio, pp. 7, (3), 129, (3), 131–152, (2), 153–182, (2), 183–214, and 8 engraved plates (6 double-page) of designs for the West Riding, Bethlem, and other asylums. Early manuscript pagination in upper corner of rectos and plates. Foxing on the plates, otherwise a clean copy. Original blue boards (corners a little worn), new paper spine with printed paper label, new endpapers.
FIRST EDITION of the four Reports for 1815, one of the most important documents in the history of psychiatry. The actual report of the committee comprises the first 7 pages, the four Reports themselves containing the Minutes of Evidence, taken from some of the leading figures in psychiatry of the time. There were four Reports in 1815, published between 25 May and 26 June, and a further three in 1816. “Together they were a survey of the conditions and treatment of the insane wherever they were confined… A revelation to all but a few when they appeared, they are today a historical source of the first importance containing information nowhere else to be found about how the insane actually fared as opposed to what was written about insanity in books, a disparity between theory and practice which emerges glaringly. Next to them the two earlier Parliamentary enquiries…appear almost insignificant. In contrast the 1815/16 Committee’s Minutes of evidence is a monumental documentary…with plans of asylums, covering all aspects of asylum life…” (Hunter & Macalpine, pp. 696–703). COPAC has one entry but gives full pagination, recording 2 copies.