Header img
Beyond Penn's Treaty

The Life of Thomas Eddy; Comprising an Extensive Correspondence

Page out of 347

Were I to select the especial objects which, amidst the great
variety that demanded his services, more particularly absorbed
his attention, and occupied his deepest consideration, I might
dwell upon his close devotion to the interests of the African; the
promotion of the leading measures of the Manumission Society;
and the enactment of laws for the final abolition of slavery in the
state of New York. The education of the blacks, and the esta-
blishment of African free schools, were also among the objects of
his solicitude. The bettering the condition of the poor, the
organization of the Lancasterian free schools, and an improved
code of prison discipline, were subjects which engrossed most
of his time for many years; and I think you will find many
documents among his papers, which evince his successful efforts
to further these benevolent purposes.

The claims of Mr. Eddy

to a lasting consideration will, how-
ever, I think, rest mainly on the early begun and long continued
zeal and abilities which he exhibited on the subject of insanity,
and the unfortunate beings afflicted with that calamity. At a
comparatively youthful period of his life, he was appointed to the
duties of hospital direction; and he seems at nearly the same
period to have turned his attention to the treatment and hospital
discipline of those afflicted with mental derangement. Our esta-
blishments for the better medical government of lunacy were
then very few and imperfect. Pennsylvania had indeed done
something—New York nothing. The public spirited governors
of the New York Hospital, were induced from urgent represent¬
ations made them, to erect a separate edifice on the hospital-
grounds for the exclusive benefit of lunatics ; and this institution,
which opened its doors in 1808, under the professional direction
of the late Dr. Bruce, for a while seemed to answer the benevo-
lent intentions of the board of governors. It was, however, ere
long, apparent that this city asylum was of too limited a capacity
for the accommodation of its numerous applicants; nor was the
receptacle itself of the character demanded for the afflicted and
valuable beings of all ranks of society who became the inmates
of it. Mr. Eddy had read much, and thought much on the sub-
jects of mental derangement, on prison and penitentiary discipline,
on the structure and economy of mad-houses, and on the domestic
and sanative treatment of the insane. His correspondence with