The Blind, Deaf & Dumb, Idiots or Imbeciles, Lunatics, and Inmates

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In the present advanced state of statistical inquiry a Census would be incomplete which failed to take special notice of the classes of the population suffering under grave infirmities, such as blindness, deaf-dumbness, idiocy, and lunacy. By the terms of the Census Act, therefore, householders and other occupiers were required to state with respect to the persons returned by them in the Schedules "whether any were blind, deaf-and-dumb, imbecile, or lunatic," and, although the obstacles which prevent the attainment of perfect information on the various matters comprehended in the Census are perhaps greater with regard to these classes than to any others, we have reason to believe that in the numbers presented in the accompanying tables there is a close approximation to completeness. We proceed to indicate the general results of the inquiry on this head, but the detailed Tables should be studied by those specially interested in these classes.

1. The Blind.

The inquiry into the number of the blind was repeated in the same form as in 1851 and 1861, and the same course has been adopted in tabulating the results,—only the persons returned as actually "blind" or described in such a manner as to indicate that they were destitute of sight for all useful purposes having been included in the Tables. Persons described as "partially blind," unless actual inmates of public institutions for the blind, have not been reckoned.

Number of the blind

The number of blind persons in England and Wales on 3rd April 1871 was 21,590, of whom 11,378 were males and 10,212 females. Compared with the preceding enumeration in 1861 the present return shows an absolute increase of 2,238, and it is an increase of 3,284 over the number in 1851; but in proportion to the entire population the blind have not increased, as the following numbers show:—

Year. Blind.
1871 21,590 , or 1 blind to every 1,052 persons.
1861 19,352, or 1 " 1,037 "
1851 18,306, or 1 " 979 "

In Scotland the number of blind persons enumerated at the recent Census was 3,021, and in Ireland the number was 6,347.1 These returns furnish a proportion of 1 in 1,112 inhabitants for Scotland and 1 in 852 for Ireland. For the United Kingdom, with the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, the blind may be set down at 31,159, being in the proportion of 1 in 1,015 of the population. The general result allows an absolute increase as compared with the number returned in 1861 of nearly 2,000 blind persons, but the ratio of the blind to the population in each division of the kingdom has decreased.

Distribution of the blind

As regards the distribution of the blind in England, the present returns are in every respect confirmatory of the conclusions derived from the previous enumerations, namely, that blindness is more common in agricultural than in manufacturing and mining districts. For example, in the south-western counties (Wilts, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset,) the proportion is 1 in 766; in the eastern counties (Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk,) 1 in 925; while in the north-western counties (Cheshire and Lancashire,) the proportion is 1 in 1,201, in the "West Riding of Yorkshire 1 in 1,315, and in Durham 1 in 1,367. As shown by the former enumerations, the counties in which blindness is most prevalent are Cornwall, Devon, Rutland, Hereford, Dorset, and Gloucester, where the ratios are between 1 in 635 and 1 in 791.2

Several obvious circumstances influence the distribution of the blind. The tide of emigration from the agricultural counties leaves behind in their native parishes persons labouring under such an infirmity as blindness. On the other hand, the towns and the manufacturing and mining districts are thickly peopled with immigrants, who labour under no physical disability. Again, loss of sight being one of the infirmities of old age, part of the excess of blind persons in the rural districts must be ascribed to the fact that those districts contain a larger proportionate number of persons in advanced life than the towns, where also large numbers of young persons are employed in factories or in trade as apprentices and workpeople, or in domestic service.

In the London districts there were 2,890 blind persons, or 1 in 1,126, the number being augmented by the presence of children and adults from other parts, who are receiving benefit from the institutions and other charities for this class in the Metropolis. In Manchester the blind were 467, or 1 in 1,268; in Liverpool 631, or 1 in 1,047; in Birmingham 265, or 1 in 1426.3 It appears, therefore, that the effects of crowded dwellings and unfavourable sanitary conditions, combined with the occupations carried on in large towns, in conducing to diseases which may result in loss of sight, are neutralized to a considerable extent by immigration and other conditions; and it may reasonably be expected that the recent legislative measures with respect to public hygiene will not be without effect in diminishing the number of sufferers from the calamity of blindness.

Sexes of the blind

Amongst the blind of England and Wales there is a much larger number of males Sexes than females. The returns show that of the 21,590 persons of this class, 11,378 were men and boys, and 10,212 women and girls, being in the proportion of 111 males to 100 females. In 1861 the ratio was 113 males to 100 females. This excess of blind males might be supposed to be mainly due to the fact that the occupations followed by men are more likely than those of women to produce accidents and diseases causing loss of sight; but in Scotland and Ireland the returns show an opposite result, the female blind being in both countries more numerous than the males. In Scotland the inequality of the sexes amongst the blind is not great, the proportion being 102 females to 100 males; in Ireland there is a larger excess of females, the proportion being 110 females to 100 males.4 The explanation of these disparities must be sought for in circumstances connected with the relative numbers of the sexes living at advanced ages in each division of the country, the effects of migration and emigration, and other local conditions.

On comparing the blind of each sex with the population of each sex, it appears that in "England and Wales there were 10.3 blind males to every 10,000 males enumerated, and 8.8 blind females to every 10,000 of that sex. In nearly all the counties the proportion of blind males is greater than that of females; and the preponderance of the males is very striking in Cornwall, Worcester, East Riding of York, Hereford, Rutland, and North Wales.5

Ages of the blind

The ages of the blind are exhibited in the same detail as in the Census Reports of 1851 and 3861. Of blind children under 5 years of age there are 567, a slight increase on the return for 1861, but affording evidence of the fact that cases of blindness at birth are riot of frequent occurrence. Between the ages of 5 and 20 there are 2,452 blind of both sexes, namely 1,376 boys and 1,076 girls, and these are mostly within the limits of age assigned for admission to the special institutions for this class. At the ages between 20 and (50 there are 8,962 persons, or 42 per cent. of the whole number; while at the advanced ages of 60 and upwards there are 9,609, or 45 per cent., whose blindness must in many instances be a natural infirmity connected with old ago.

At the earlier ages of life, and at each age-period until 65 years, the blind males preponderate; but from 70 years and upwards the numerical excess of the female blind is very marked, as might be expected from the large excess of the female population at advanced ages. The numbers of the blind of each sex at the ages of 70 years and upwards, and of the general population at those ages, are shown in the table at foot.6 It will be observed that of the persons who at the time of the Census had attained ages from 70 years and upwards, no insignificant proportion, namely, 1 in every 107 men, and 1 in every 101 women, were labouring under the affliction of blindness.

The blind from birth

The period of life at which loss of sight occurs exercises an important influence on the future career of the individual. Those who are born blind, or who become so in infancy, depend on the remaining senses, which usually attain increased development, for the knowledge they acquire; but those who suffer loss of sight in adult life are often deprived of all resources by the calamity which has befallen them, deriving little additional aid from the other senses. An attempt was first made in 1861 to ascertain the extent of congenital blindness by means of an instruction in the "Householder's Schedule," to the effect that persons blind from birth were to be so described; and the same course was adopted at the recent Census. As nearly uniform results have been obtained on both occasions it may be inferred that the inquiry was successful, although there is reason to believe that the term "born blind" is not used with absolute precision, hut is applied in a popular sense where loss of sight occurred in infancy.

The number of persons described in the Schedules as blind from birth was 1,968-1,065 males and 903 females—being in the proportion of 1 in 11 of the whole number of the blind. In 1861 there were 1,846 returned as blind from birth, or 1 in 10.5 of the total of blind persons the Of the born blind in the present returns, 943 are under 20 years of age, 897 between 20 and 60, and only 128 over 60 years of age. The males are more numerous than the females at all the age-periods.7

As regards the distribution of the born-blind, the highest proportions in the general population are found in the counties of Hereford, East Biding of York, Nottingham, Sussex, Gloucester, Dorset, and Rutland, while in the London, Welsh, Northern, and South-Midland Divisions the proportions are below the average. Relatively to the total number of blind persons the proportion of blind from birth is highest in the York, North-Midland, and -South-Eastern Divisions, being about 1 in 9; in the other statistical divisions it ranges from 1 in 9.7 to 1 in 19.8

Causes of blindness

The method of taking the Census in England in the course of one day renders impracticable any special investigation of the causes of blindness such as the Census Commissioners in Ireland are enabled to carry out through the constabulary. We are, therefore, not in possession of any facts relating to the causation of blindness in addition to those noticed in our last Report.

To some extent this infirmity arises from unpreventible causes, as when it is produced by the structural changes which accompany old age; but it is more commonly a consequence of diseases which are now regarded as preventible. Smallpox, as is well known, is one of the diseases upon which blindness frequently supervenes, and as this country has since the previous Census experienced a severe epidemic of small-pox, one of its effects may be to increase the number of sufferers from this calamity. Several other forms of disease equally tend to produce blindness. On the other hand, much may be hoped for from the counteracting effects of an efficient sanitary organisation throughout the country, combined with the great advances which are being made in ophthalmic surgery.

Occupations of the blind

From the particulars entered in the Householders' Schedules under the head of "rank, profession, or occupation," tables have been prepared showing the present or previous employments of the blind. But from the mode in which the information is given the occupations carried on in a state of blindness cannot in all cases be distinguished from, those followed previously to loss of sight; there is reason, however, to believe that the educated blind are engaged in a greater variety of pursuits than is generally supposed. Amongst the items which present the largest numbers in the classification of occupations are farmers 331, agricultural labourers and farm servants 519, other labourers 441, miners 275, carpenters 120, shoemakers 131, grocers 135, army pensioners and soldiers 81, navy pensioners and seamen 134. Of the blind following employments presumed to have been acquired after loss of sight there are (males) 490 musicians, 595 basket makers, 157 mat and sacking makers, 111 brush makers, 44 chair-bottom makers. Of the female blind there are 218 domestic servants, 150 milliners and seamstresses, 55 music mistresses, 90 knitters, 84 laundresses, &c. Of the class described as "independent, annuitant" there are 270 males and 665 females; described as "scholar" in the Returns there are 505 boys and girls under 20, and there are 2,215 not so described. With respect to 3,372 males and 6,817 females over 20 years of age, no particulars as to their actual or previous pursuits are given.9

A separate table shows the occupations, as far as stated, of the 1,968 persons returned as "blind from birth." It contains for the males more than 60 items, but for the females only half that number.10

In the Census Report of 1861 we adverted to the attention which had been paid to the amelioration of the condition of the blind in this country, and gave a detailed account of the institutions and charities for their benefit. The active sympathy which their calamity has excited has shown itself in the establishment of asylums or schools for the education of the young and their instruction in some mechanical art; associations have also been formed for supplying the adult blind with employment, for visiting the poor blind, for supplying them with home teachers, and for printing and distributing books in embossed type. In addition there are charities and funds, in some instances administered by the Livery Companies of the city of London, for granting small annuities to the aged blind.

Institutions for the blind

Of these various agencies the most important are the institutions which afford to the Blind moral and intellectual training by methods suited to their privation, with the means of learning some art or trade with the view of wholly or partially relieving them from dependence on their friends, their parishes or the bounty of the benevolent. The first British asylum for the blind was established at Liverpool in the year 1791, and to the end of 1872 it had received 1709 pupils,11 The number of pupils in this institution at the date of the Census was 75, viz., 40 males and 35 females. The Bristol Asylum or School of Industry for the Blind was next instituted in 1793; it contained 35 in-door pupils (and 8 out-door) when the Census was taken.

The school for the Indigent Blind, St. George's Fields, Southwark was established in 1799 and is the largest institution of the kind in this country. At first the pupils were few, only 15 in the year 1800; the number at the recent Census was 140, namely, 75 males and 65 females. The institution is open to pupils from all parts, who are admitted by election, at ages between 10 and 20 years, and are clothed, boarded, and instructed free, except in the case of children chargeable to a parish or union, when a contribution from the guardians is expected The funds of the charity are ample; it possesses a funded capital of upwards of 80,000l . The receipts in 1871 were about 7,000l .12

At Norwich an Asylum and School for the Blind was established in 1805 for aged persons and the young; it contained 35 inmates at the Census. The next institution for the blind founded in England was the Yorkshire School, instituted at York in 1833, in memory of William Wilberforce; the number of pupils in this school was 69 at the Census (in 1872 it was 79, besides 14 outmates)13 Henshaw's Blind Asylum at Manchester was opened for the admission of inmates in 1838,14 and in the same year the Royal Victoria Asylum was founded at Newcastle-upon-Tyne; these institutions contained respectively 81 and 34 pupils at the date of the Census. In the year 1838 also was founded "The London Society for teaching the Blind to Bead and for training" them in Industrial Occupations." The Society established a school in the Upper Avenue Road, Regent's Park, for resident pupils and day scholars, who are taught by Lucas's embossed stenographic characters. The pupils in the house at the date of the Census were 50; the last report (1873) states that 69 persons were under instruction, of whom 64 were resident. Some of the pupils are employed in the printing or embossing office, some are trained to become tuners of pianofortes, and great attention is directed to the development of musical ability.

The institutions more recently established for the systematic instruction of the blind are the West of England institution at Exeter (with 31 pupils), the Brighton Asylum for the Instruction of the Blind (47 pupils), the Catholic Blind Asylum at Liverpool (39 pupils), the Institution for the Blind and Deaf-and-Dumb at Bath (blind pupils 13), the Midland Institution for the Blind at Nottingham (40 pupils), the General Institution for the Blind at Edgbaston, Birmingham (64 pupils). Since the Census of 1861 the Alexandra Institution for the Blind (13 inmates) has been established to provide industrial training and employment for both inmates and out-workers; also the Hampshire and Isle of Wight School and Home for the Blind at Southsea (17 pupils). Lastly, in 1866, a society was established at Swansea "for teaching the Blind and improving their social position"; at present it has no building for the reception of inmates, but 18 blind persons attend the workshops.15

All these institutions are supported by the voluntary contributions of the benevolent (including the bequests of wealthy persons deceased), aided in most cases by payments made by the friends of the pupils, or by the unions or parishes to which they belong. To be qualified for admission, the candidates must be within certain limits of age, in good health, and not incapacitated by weakness of intellect or otherwise from learning some useful art; a householder must engage to receive the pupil on his leaving the school, and must answer for the stated payments while he is there. Candidates are usually admitted by the votes of the subscribers at an annual or half-yearly election, a system which has been condemned by high authorities. The guardians of any union or parish are empowered by the Act 25 & 26 Vict. c. 45. to send poor blind children to such of these special schools as are certified under that Act at the expense of the ratepayers; we have no information, however, as to how far advantage has been taken of this beneficent measure by the guardians of the poor. By the Elementary Education Act of 1870 no special provision is made for the instruction of blind children.

The institutions above named contained at the time of the Census 795 blind pupils or inmates, 443 males and 352 females (in addition to out-mates) nearly the same number as in 1861, but there has been a slight increase since the Census was taken.16 If this number be compared with the return of the blind between the ages of 10 and 25 years, namely, 2,656 persons, it may well be doubted whether adequate provision is made for the instruction of those who are of suitable age, and are otherwise fitted to profit by the training which the special schools alone afford. In the reports of several of the institutions reference is made to numerous applications for admission, which the managers cannot entertain from want of funds, as well as to the unfavourable effect on these charities of the increased cost of the necessaries of life.

Blind in workhouses, &c.

Besides the 795 inmates of special institutions for the blind, 1,214 blind persons were returned as inmates of workhouses, 45 in hospitals, and 116 in other institutions, &c. making a total of 2,170, or about 1 in 10, in public institutions.

2. The Deaf-and-Dumb.

We proceed to state the principal results of the inquiry respecting the deaf-and-dumb, which has been repeated in the same form as at the previous Census. In tabulating the returns the same course has been adopted as before, persons described as "dumb" having been classified with the deaf-mutes, while those described as "deaf" have been excluded; of the former some few were undoubtedly not destitute of hearing, but as the information is necessarily defective as regards young children under the speaking age it may be assumed that the numbers now returned under the head of deaf-and-dumb are not overstated.

Number of the deaf-and-dumb

According to the returns the number of the deaf-and-dumb (including those described as dumb) is 11,518, of whom 6,262.are males and 5,256 females,—being dumb, in the proportion of 1 in 1,972 of the general population. Compared with the number returned at the Census of 1861, namely, 12,236, or 1 in 1,640, the present return shows an absolute decrease of 718 persons, and a proportionate decrease equal to 6 per cent. These figures afford an indication that causes are at work which are diminishing the extent of deaf-dumbness in this country. By the aid of sanitary science fevers and other diseases upon which deafness supervenes will be less frequent and less virulent, so that a diminution of this class of persons might have been expected; and it is satisfactory to find that the decrease has already commenced. "When hygienic measures are effectively carried out, and medical help brought within the reach of all, still more marked results may be looked for in the Census returns.17

In Scotland the number of deaf-and-dumb persons enumerated was 2,088, or 1 in 1,609 of the inhabitants,—a considerable decrease on the return for 1861, which was 2,335, or 1 in 1,311.

In Ireland the number of the deaf-and-dumb and dumb enumerated at the late Census is stated to be 5,554, or 1 in 975 of the population, also a decrease on the number (5,653) returned in 1861. The probable causes of a diminution in the number of deaf-mutes in these portions of the United Kingdom will no doubt be referred to in the Reports on the Scottish and Irish Census. The general result for the United Kingdom, with the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, is a total of 19,237 mutes, being 1 in every 1,644 of the population.18 In 1861 the aggregate return was 20,311 mutes or 1 in 1,432 of the population.

Distribution of deaf-mutes in England

The facts now presented in the Tables relating to the deaf-and-dumb agree in The main with those contained in our last Report, as regards the distribution of this class. If the eleven statistical Divisions be arranged according to the largest proportionate number of deaf-mutes to population, the order is nearly the same as in 1861.

There is a numerical decrease, as compared with 1861, in every Division except the North-western (Cheshire and Lancashire), the Northern, and the York Divisions while a decrease in proportion to population has taken place in all without exception. In London the ratio of the deaf-and-dumb to the general population is affected by an asylum which contained 259 inmates from all parts of the country, and in several of the counties the proportion is raised in like manner by the institutions within their limits. In the following counties the ratio of the deaf-and-dumb to population is above the average: 1 in 1,679 inhabitants and under, Worcester, Cornwall, Derby, Sussex, Hereford, Devon; from 1 in 1703 to 1 in 1733, Bucks, Westmorland, Northumberland, Somerset, Gloucester; then follow those with proportions varying from 1 in 1,804 to 1 in 1,960, Salop, Suffolk, South Wales, Norfolk, Hertford, Dorset, West Riding of York, Lincoln, Rutland, and Oxford. On the other hand, the proportions are considerably below the average in Huntingdon, Leicester, Durham, Surrey (extra-metropolitan), Hants, Middlesex (extra-metropolitan), North Riding of York, Berks, and Notts.19 Although it is certain that there is some connexion between the physical character of a country or district and deaf-muteism, the inferences from topographical conditions must always be faulty in accounting for this mysterious visitation, the prevalence of which is always largely influenced by social causes.

Ages of the deaf-and-dumb

The ages of the deaf-and-dumb are shown in quinquennial periods for the registration deaf-and-dumb, counties and divisions.20 In groups the numbers may be thus stated:—

  Persons. Males. Females.
Under 5 years of age 444 233 211
5 years and under 20 4,575 2,498 2,077
20 years and under 60 5,680 3,115 2,565
60 years and upwards 819 416 403
Total 11,518 6,262 5,256

As already remarked, the numbers in the early years of life are understated. It will be seen that those between the ages of 5 and 20, that is, of an age for receiving instruction in the special schools, are a large proportion (40 per cent.) of the whole; only 819, or 7 per cent., had reached 60 years of age, the proportion of the general population aged 60 and upwards being 7.3 per cent. At the ages between 5 and 25 the largest numbers are returned; after 45 there is a rather rapid diminution of their numbers, and at the advanced ages after 70 the proportion of survivors is small, a marked contrast with the figures showing the ages of the blind. Compared with the general population the blind show an increasing proportion at the successive age-periods to extreme old age, while the proportion of the deaf-and-dumb diminishes at each period of age after 15 in such a manner as to indicate a higher rate of mortality amongst them than amongst the general population.

Occupations of the deaf-and-dumb

The occupations of the deaf-and-dumb, so far as they are stated, are classified in the Tables with distinction of sex and of those under and above 20 years of ages.21 It will be seen that a large number of them are engaged in industrial occupations, and that there is a wide range of employments which persons of this class may follow with advantage to themselves and to the community; in fact to the educated deaf-mute nearly all occupations in which spoken communications are not absolutely necessary are open. Of the males, 61 are returned as engaged in the fine arts as artists, engravers, &c., 253 as tailors, 512 as shoemakers, 90 as carpenters, 45 as printers, and 737 as agricultural or general labourers; 571 under 20 years of age are described as "scholars." Of the female occupations the largest items are 239 in domestic service, 548 dressmakers and seamstresses, 109 laundresses, and 92 employed in the cotton manufacture; 649 are described as "scholars." It is well known that the deaf-and-dumb possess the imitative faculty in a high degree, and this enables them to become efficient workmen in many handicrafts and mechanical arts; but they are said to experience difficulty in finding suitable employment.

Institutions for the education of the deaf-and-dumb

In order that the deaf-and-dumb may be fitted to become useful members of society and to take their share in the pursuits of active life it is of great importance that they should receive instruction in the special institutions which have been established for their benefit. The ordinary means of education are of little avail for deaf-mutes, and the Elementary Education Act of 1870 fails to meet their case in the provision it makes for the instruction of the children of the poorer classes.22 Under such circumstances a valuable work is being accomplished by the institutions for the deaf-and-dumb, in which the children have the benefit of careful training by specially qualified teachers.

There are in England and Wales thirteen public institutions for the reception and education of the deaf-and-dumb, situated in London and the principal provincial towns. The asylum in the Old Kent Road, London, established in 1792, was the first institution of the kind in this country, and from its foundation to the end of 1872 the number of pupils who had been received and educated there amounted to 3,917. In this asylum. and its Margate branch, at the time of the Census, 317 pupils were being maintained and clothed as well as instructed by the charity, with the exception of a few whose friends contributed to the expense of their board. The average income of the institution is about 12,000l. a year. The principal is the Rev. J. H. Watson, M.A. The next institution was established in 1812 at Edgbaston, Birmingham; it contained 108 pupils when the Census was taken. In 1823 the Manchester School for the Deaf-and-dumb was established; one of its features was an " Infant School" for the reception at the earliest age practicable of the deaf-mute, but this school has been amalgamated with the upper school since the Census, when the pupils in the two schools were 138. The Liverpool School was established in 1825; it commenced as a day school, but its pupils are now of the mixed character of boarders and day scholars, and together numbered 100 at the date of the Census. The principal is Mr. D. Buxton, P.H.S.L., whose writings on the subject of deaf-muteism are of great value and interest.23 Two years later the West of England Institution for the instruction of the deaf-and-dumb children of the counties of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, and Dorset was established at Exeter; it contained 65 pupils at the Census. The principal is Dr. W. K. Scott, the author of several educational works for the deaf-and-dumb.

The Yorkshire Institution for the education of the deaf-and-dumb at Doncaster, founded in 1829, has received and instructed more than 800 pupils, and justly claims to have originated plans for the amelioration of the condition of this class which have been adopted in similar establishments both at home and abroad. The school contained 105 pupils; the head master is Mr. C. Baker, whose writings and zealous labours on behalf of the deaf-and-dumb are well known.24 The Northern Counties Institution, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with 77 pupils, and the Brighton Institution, with 97 pupils, complete the list of the principal establishments for the instruction of the deaf-and-dumb. There are besides smaller institutions at Bristol, Swansea, and Bath, also, for deaf-and-dumb children of the Jewish persuasion, in London.25

The total number of inmates of these institutions at the time of the Census was 1,122, an increase of about 121 as compared with the number in 1861. It is stated that about 16 per cent., or one in six, of the deaf-and-dumb are of the proper age for instruction at school; the returns give a proportion of only 1 in 10. In the Householders' Schedules 1,220 boys and girls under 20 years of age were entered as "scholars"; this number probably includes some who were attending the ordinary day schools.

Nearly all the institutions above mentioned are certified by the Local Government Board, pursuant to the Act of 25 & 26 Vict. cap. 43, by which the guardians of the poor are empowered to place deaf-and-dumb children in special schools, and to defray the expense of then1 maintenance therein; and such payments by the guardians are sanctioned although the parents of the children are not on the roll of persons receiving poor law relief. We have no means of knowing to what extent the guardians have taken advantage of this wise measure, through the operation of which poor deaf-mutes may be rendered self-supporting and not burdensome members of the community.26 It appears from the reports issued from these institutions that there is no diminution in the number of applicants for admission; in some instances reference is made to the regret felt by the managers that the finances were not in. a state to admit of more inmates being received, while in other cases the managers had been reluctantly compelled to admit those only whose friends were able to make the annual payment required, or for whom it was undertaken by a Board of Guardians. The admission of candidates to some of the institutions is by selection of the committees, but in others the objectionable system of public voting prevails.

Congenital deafness

We regret that we are unable to report a successful result of the attempt to ascertain the number of the congenitally deaf by means of an instruction in the Householder's Schedule to the effect that persons deaf-and-dumb "from birth" should be distinguished. Although in some instances the fact was duly noted, it was evident that the instruction was not generally attended to, or that the person filling up the return could not give the information. But with respect to children received into public institutions for the deaf-and-dumb, as the history of each case is usually ascertained on admission, the authorities are for the most part able to distinguish the instances of congenital deafness. We have therefore accepted their statements as to the inmates congenitally deaf, although in more than one instance the returns give no information on this head. The results are as follow:—Of 1,054 deaf-and-dumb inmates of twelve public institutions. 665 are described as deaf-mutes from birth while 389 are not so described; the congenitally deaf among these inmates are therefore about 63 per cent. of the whole number.27 This accords nearly with the experience of the London Asylum, extending over a long period and embracing 3,050 well-authenticated cases.28 In Ireland the cases investigated by the Census Commissioners give a larger proportion of congenitally deaf.

Deaf-mutes in workhouses

It is a satisfactory circumstance that at the date of the Census only 529 deaf-mutes, 252 males and 277 females, were inmates of workhouses in England and Wales, and of these 51 were imbecile and 26 blind as well as deaf-and-dumb. This affords evidence of the fact that by means of education the deaf-mute may be transferred from the dependent and burdensome classes into the self-supporting class of the community.

Deaf-and-dumb and blind

The instances in which persons are in the melancholy condition of being deaf-and-dumb and blind are more numerous than might be supposed, for the congenitally deaf are in a measure predisposed to the organic defects which result in blindness. No less than 111 persons were returned as deaf-and-dumb and blind; of these 20 were in special asylums and 26 in workhouses. In 1861 only 30 persons were described as blind and deaf-and-dumb.

3. Idiots or Imbeciles.

In conformity with the terms of the Census Act an attempt has been made for the first time to ascertain the number of idiots or imbeciles amongst the population of England and Wales. This has been done in the manner already noticed, namely, by means of an instruction in the Householders' Schedules, requiring that if any persons mentioned therein were suffering under the infirmity of idiocy or imbecility they should be so described. The results are given in detailed Tables, which show the distribution, sex, and ages of this unfortunate class of the population.29

Number of idiots or imbeciles

According to the Returns, the total number of persons described as idiots or imbeciles in England and Wales is 29,452, the equality of the sexes being remarkable, namely, 14,728 males and 14,724 females. Compared with the entire population the ratio is 1 idiot or imbecile in 771 persons, or 13 per 10,000 persons living. Whether the returns are defective owing to the natural sensitiveness of persons who would desire to conceal the fact of idiocy in their families, we have no means of knowing; but such a feeling is no doubt likely to exist among those who look upon mental infirmity as humiliating rather than as one of the many physical evils which afflict humanity.

As regards the distribution of idiots and imbeciles, the largest proportionate numbers, as shown by the Tables, are in the south-eastern division, which includes the Earlswood Asylum and other institutions containing persons of this class. The numbers are also above the average, in proportion to the general population, in the south-midland, eastern, south-western, and west-midland divisions, and below the average of England in the London, northern, York, and north-western divisions.30

Institutions for idiots

Idiots and imbeciles seem to be the last class which has obtained the attention of philanthropists and men of science. Less has been done for them than for lunatics, partly because they are a less dangerous and troublesome class, but partly also from the doubt which existed as to the possibility of effecting a cure, or even any material alleviation of their condition. But attention has now been directed to them, and in consequence of the observation and experience of the last 25 years it has been ascertained that in a large proportion of cases of congenital mental infirmity a patient may by care and training, be made able to contribute, at least in part, to his own support. This and other important results have been accomplished by the means of the special institutions established for these unfortunate persons. At the time of the Census there were 3,456 imbeciles, 1,998 males and 1,458 females, in special asylums for this class or in lunatic asylums. This is in the proportion of 1 in 8.5 of the whole number. In the south-eastern division the proportion in asylums was 1 in 3, in the Welsh division 1 in 8, in the west-midland and north-midland divisions about 1 in. 9, while in London only 1 in 16 and in the north-western and northern divisions about 1 in 17 were in asylums. Those not in asylums were chiefly in workhouses, which contained 7,976 imbeciles, of whom 3,548 were males and 4,428 females.

A valuable institution for the benefit of this class, the Asylum for Idiots at Earlswood, Red-hill, Surrey, was instituted in 1847, and incorporated by Royal Charter in 1862. This important establishment contained 510 inmates, 342 males and 168 females, at the date of the Census. During the year 1872 the average number of inmates was 553. The most beneficial results have followed the efforts made on behalf of these comparatively helpless persons, a large number of whom are usefully employed.31 As the institution has no funded property whatever, the large sum of 16,000l. has to be raised annually by voluntary contributions for maintaining its successful operation.32

Two important institutions, situated respectively at Caterham in Surrey and Leavesden near Watford, Herts, have been established under the managers of the Metropolitan Asylum district for the reception of harmless chronic lunatics and imbeciles chargeable to the several unions and parishes of the Metropolis. These buildings were opened in 1870, and were soon fully occupied by the transfer of the imbecile and lunatic paupers from the workhouses in which they were previously maintained, or from the county lunatic asylums to which they had been removed. At the date of the Census there were in the Caterham Asylum 511 male and 755 female patients, total 1,266, and in the Leavesden Asylum 716 male and 875 female inmates, making a total of 1,591. In these asylums, as at Earlswood, measures are taken for supplying opportunities of employment and of recreation to the patients.

Ages of imbeciles and idiots

From the Tables showing the ages of persons labouring under defect of brain power it appears that relatively to the general population of the respective ages the ratio per 1,000 is 1.6 between the ages of 20 and 60, and 2.4 at 60 and upwards.

  Total of Idiots
and Imbeciles.
Males. Females.
Under 5 years 428 210 218
5 and Under 20 7,447 4,196 3,251
20 and under 60 17,435 8,512 8,923
60 and upwards 4,142 1,810 2,332
Total 29,452 14,728 14,724

To the age of 30 the males preponderate; after that age there is a considerable excess of the other sex.33

Causes of idiocy

The principal causes of idiocy and imbecility are spoken of by those who have studied the subject as distinctly recognised; they are connected with physical or mental weakness, or with abnormal conditions, either the fault or the misfortune of parents. Residence in deep valleys, damp and unwholesome climate, crowded dwellings or other unhealthy conditions, intermarriages among a limited number of families, and more especially where weakness of brain already exists,—these are allowed to be predisposing causes, and as they are obviously within human control, the hope may be entertained that the extent of this affliction may be limited in the future.

4. Lunatics.

Precisely the same measures were taken to ascertain the number of the insane in England and Wales as those already described with reference to the blind, deaf-and-dumb, and idiots. The result is that 39,567 persons, 18,146 males and 21,421 females, were returned as insane at the time of the Census, being in the proportion of 1 in every 574 of the general population.

Number of the insane

In the Report on the Census of 1861 we were enabled to give only the number of inmates in the principal lunatic asylums and other establishments for the reception of the insane, namely, 24,345 persons, a great increase upon the number in 1851, which was 16,426 persons. This increase was explained chiefly by the fact of the removal of pauper lunatics from union workhouses to county lunatic asylums, partly by the discovery of fit objects for treatment previously unnoticed, and partly by the supposed prolongation of their existence when thus brought under care. The present returns show an increased number of lunatics in asylums, namely, 35,790 of both sexes, 16,545 males and 19,245 females; and the increase must be mainly attributed to causes similar to those in operation between the Censuses of 1851 and 1861.

Supposed increase of insanity not established

It is a very interesting social question, and one of the utmost consequence to the community, whether mental disease is gaining ground amongst the people of this country. The materials for arriving at a satisfactory solution of this question appear to be wanting. Prom the returns published in the reports of the Commissioners in Lunacy it appears that an increase in the absolute number of the insane upon the register is yearly taking place, and that there is also an increase in proportion to the population.34 On 1st January 1861 the total number of lunatics, idiots, and persons of unsound mind on the Commissioners' register was 39,647, and on 1st January 1872 the corresponding number was 58,640, the ratio to 1,000 of the population having increased from 1.97 to 2.54; but much of this increase must be ascribed to improved registration, to wider recognition of the advantages of asylums, and to a diminished rate of mortality amongst the insane and imbecile in well-regulated establishments specially adapted for their protection and treatment. Formerly the friends and relatives of persons suffering from mental infirmity kept them, at home as long as it was safe to do so, because they associated the lunatic asylum or "mad-house" with the idea of ill-treatment or neglect; whereas now, owing to the increasing confidence felt in the humane treatment of the sufferers from mental disease, the first thought of the relatives is to send the patient to an asylum, where they know he will have a certainty of careful attention and the best chance of recovery. The aggregate return of lunatics, idiots, and imbeciles at the Census is 69,019, while the Commissioners in Lunacy had on their register on 1st January 1871 only 56,755 "lunatics, idiots, and persons of unsound mind"; so that there might be a large addition to the registered number without a corresponding increase of new cases. Upon the whole, notwithstanding an impression to the contrary, we think that an increase of persons alllicted with mental disease cannot from the facts before us be assumed to have taken place among the population of England and Wales.

Of the 69,019 lunatics and imbeciles returned at the Census more than two-thirds were chargeable to the poor rates under the denomination of insane paupers. The following is the official return of "insane paupers" on 1st January 1871:—

In county or borough lunatic asylums 27,534
In registered hospitals or licensed houses 2,741
In workhouses 10,877
Residing with relatives, or in lodgings, or boarded out 7,292
Total 48,444*
First Report of Local Government Board, 1871-2, p.457. There is a discrepancy between this number and that returned by the Commission in Lunacy, namely 50,185 pauper lunatics, on 1st January 1871.

With respect to this return it is stated that it "includes a large proportion of persons imbecile from old age and of harmless idiots"; the distinction between the idiotic and the insane is not observed in the statistics of poor law relief.

Return of Commissioners in Lunacy

According to the returns of the Commissioners in Lunacy the total number of lunatics, idiots, and persons of unsound mind registered on the 1st January 1871 was 56,755, being in the ratio of 2.49 per 1,000 of the population, and they were thus distributed: in county and borough asylums 28,979, in workhouses 12,161, in registered hospitals and licensed houses 7,078, in naval and military hospitals and Royal India Asylum 354, in Broadmoor Criminal Asylum 460, residing with relatives or others 7,723. The total of 56,755 is made up of 6,110 private patients, 50,185 paupers, and 460 criminals. With respect to workhouses the Commissioners are able to exercise only a limited control over the arrangements for the comfort and proper care of the insane inmates. The power given by a recent statute for the removal to asylums of patients thought unfit to be kept in a workhouse is said to have proved to he a most salutary provision; hut the Commissioners state that they are still without direct power to remedy defects they may notice in these establishments, or to enforce the carrying out of the measures suggested by them for securing improved accommodation for the insane. The first experiment of providing institutions intermediate in character between the workhouses and the county asylums for the reception of harmless chronic and imbecile cases has been successfully earned out at Leavesden and Caterham. On 31st December 1871 there were in England and Wales 54 county and borough lunatic asylums, 16 registered hospitals, 4 state asylums, and 106 licensed houses, making 180 establishments for the reception of the insane, exclusive of about 300 private houses each containing a single patient.35

Local distribution of the insane

The local distribution of the 39,567 persons returned as insane at the Census depends very much upon the situation of the county and borough asylums and other large establishments for the reception of this class. In some instances two or more adjoining counties have combined to maintain one asylum. The number of lunatics (exclusive of persons described as idiots or imbeciles) in each of the eleven statistical divisions, with the ratio of lunatics to the general population, is shown at foot.36 It will be seen that the proportion of lunatics to the population is highest in the south- midland division, which includes the Hanwell, Colney Hatch, and other large asylums; the south-eastern, south-western, eastern, and west-midland divisions follow next in order; in the more northerly divisions and in Wales the proportions are much lower, and in London, although it contains several large asylums, the ratio is lowest of all.

Sex and ages of the insane

It is clearly shown by the returns that while cases of idiocy are somewhat more frequent amongst males than females, insanity is more common amongst females than males, and in a marked degree. The 18,146 male lunatics and 21,421 female lunatics returned at the Census are in the proportion of 16.4 males to every 10,000 of the male population, and 18.4 females to every 10,000 of the female population of England and Wales. These facts do not support the hypothesis which has been advanced that the greater activity of brain demanded now-a-days from men engaged in commercial and professional pursuits, and the nature of the toil of large bodies of workmen congregated in towns and cities, tend largely to produce an increase of mental disorders,—for if this were true, the returns would not show a large excess of cases of insanity amongst women.

As regards the ages of the persons returned as lunatics, the abstracts furnish the following results:—

Ages. Males. Females. Total. Proportion
per Cent.
Under 20 years 553 489 1,042 2.6
20 and under 40 years 7,027 7,139 14,166 35.8
40 and under 60 years 7,512 9,227 16,739 42.3
60 and under 80 years 2,919 4,260 7,179 18.2
80 and upwards 135 306 441 1.1
TOTAL 18,146 21,421 39,567 100.0

It will be observed that the excess of females suffering from insanity commences at early periods of age. The large proportion of the insane at advanced ages above 60 points to the success of the means taken for the prolongation of life in the case of chronic incurable lunatics as well as others.

Insanity not the result of civilization

As this inquiry has revealed the fact that there were no less than 69,019 insane or imbecile persons in England and Wales at the time of the Census we may remark that there is perhaps no social problem which demands greater attention than how to prevent the growth of mental disease amongst our population. The theory that insanity is a product of civilisation, and that it has been increased by the spread of education among the masses, is entirely unsupported by evidence. The statistics of lunacy fail to show any increase of insanity amongst the ranks in which the mental powers have of late years been so much more cultivated and exercised than formerly. On the other hand amongst the poorer classes there is an increase in the number of persons under supervision and treatment for mental maladies.37 This increase has been so marked during the last two years as to have suggested the idea that the explanation is to be found in higher wages, and the consequent means of undue indulgence afforded to some of the working class, while others, by the operation of the laws of supply and demand, have been reduced to the direst poverty and distress.

Some of the causes of insanity

It has been established by the observations of many authorities that intemperance Some of the is the most prolific cause of insanity, especially among the working classes.38 To the cases of madness resulting from habits of drunkenness on the part of the individuals themselves must be added the numerous instances in which persons owe their insanity to the intemperate habits of their parents. It is said that the fruitful source of mental disease, hereditary taint,—insanity inherited from parents,—is fostered by the insane being allowed to propagate their kind with scarce an effort to check so deplorable an event. Large numbers of the insane and the idiotic still remain at home or are "boarded out," and become in many instances the agents of extending the fell malady through their offspring.39

Numbers and proportions of the Blind, Deaf-and-Dumb, Idiots or Imbeciles, and Lunatics at different ages

The following are the absolute numbers and the proportions to the general population, at vicennial periods of age, of each of the four classes of persons suffering from infirmities just reviewed: —

20 Years
of Age.
20-40. 40-60. 60-80. 80
The Blind { M. 11,378 1,666 2,205 3,089 3,538 885
F. 10,212 1,353 1,565 2,103 3,841 1,350
The Deaf and Dumb { M. 6,262 2,731 2,031 1,084 393 23
F. 5,256 2,288 1,629 936 376 27
Idiots or Imbeciles { M. 14,728 4,406 5,546 2,966 1,597 213
F. 14,724 3,469 5,483 3,440 1,996 336
Lunatics { M. 18,146 553 7,027 7,512 2,919 135
F. 21,421 489 7,139 9,227 4,260 306
The Blind { M. 10.3 3.2 6.9 16.3 48.3 166.8
F. 8.8 2.6 4.5 10.3 45.8 181.3
The Deaf and Dumb { M. 5.7 5.3 6.4 5.7 5.4 4.3
F. 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.6 4.5 3.6
Idiots or Imbeciles { M. 13.3 8.5 17.4 15.6 21.8 40.1
F. 12.6 6.7 15.6 16.8 23.8 45.1
Lunatics { M. 16.4 1.1 22.1 39.6 39.9 25.4
F. 18.4 0.9 20.4 45.1 50.8 41.1

5. Patients in Hospitals.

Reference has been made in a former part of this Report to the large number of persons who, when the Census was taken, were lodged in the numerous public and charitable institutions. Following the course adopted in 1851 and 1861 we have caused abstracts to be prepared showing the number, sex, and ages of the inmates of hospitals for the sick, of workhouses, and of prisons; the principal results presented in these tabular statements will now be briefly noticed.

Hospital accommodation

Since the previous Census a large amount of additional hospital accommodation has been provided in the cities and towns of England; in several villages "cottage hospitals" have been established; and it may be truly said that there is scarcely any form of bodily suffering to which the doors of one or other of these institutions is not open. The hospitals, sometimes called infirmaries, are chiefly of three classes: general hospitals, in which are received as in-patients or treated as out-patients persons suffering from diseases (with certain exceptions) accidents, injuries, and deformities; special hospitals for patients suffering from one class of diseases, as fever, small-pox, or consumption; and class hospitals which receive only one description of persons, as soldiers, sailors, women, children, &c.

Number of in-patients

The number of in-patients under treatment in hospitals of these several kinds (excluding the sick wards of workhouses, prisons, &c.,) on the day of the Census was 19,585, namely 11,425 males and 8,160 females. In 1861 the number of in-patients in the civil hospitals (the military and naval hospitals not having been included in the tables) was 10,414. Some part of the greatly augmented number of sick persons in hospitals on 3rd April 1871 was owing to the severe epidemic of small-pox then prevalent, which appears to have killed in England and Wales, within the year, upwards of 23,000 persons. In the hospitals for small-pox under the Metropolitan Asylum Board situate at Homerton, Stockwell, and Hampstead, 12,840 patients were admitted during the year, of whom more than one sixth died.40 The aggregate number of the sick in hospitals gives the ratio of 1 in 1,160 of the general population.

The highest ratio of the sick in hospitals is found in London, where 25 males and 21 females in every 10,000 of each sex were in-patients. Considerably more than one third of the total number returned were in these hospitals, whither patients are attracted by the high reputation of the medical officers, the extent of the accommodation, and the immediate attention that is given in cases of accident and emergency. Next to the metropolis the in-patients were most numerous in proportion to population in all the south-eastern counties, and in Devon, Gloucester, and Warwick. They were proportionately least numerous in the Welsh statistical division.

Ages of the sick in hospitals

The abstracts of the ages of the sick in hospitals present the following aggregate results:—41

Males. Females. TOTAL. Proportion
per Cent.
Under 10 years 1,137 1,066 2,203 11.2
10 and under 20 2,404 2,213 4,617 23.6
20 and under 40 5,181 3,006 8,187 41.8
40 and under 60 2,054 1,172 3,226 16.5
60 and under 80 609 619 1,228 6.3
80 and upwards 40 84 124 0.6
  11,425 8,160 19,585 100.0

The children under 10 in hospitals were more than double the number enumerated in 1861. At all the age-periods to 65 years the males preponderate.

As powers are now given by statute enabling every sanitary authority to provide within its district hospitals or temporary places for the reception of the sick, a further extension of hospital accommodation may be expected, and the means will no doubt be provided to secure the isolation of cases of dangerous infectious disease in localities where no such provision has hitherto been made.

6. Paupers in Workhouses.

Extent of provision for the poor

The large provision made in England to provide poor and destitute persons with food, shelter, and medical attendance is shown by the fact that, according to the returns of the Local Government Board, the amount expended in relief to the poor in the year ended Lady-day 1871 had reached 7,886,724l. , being at the rate of 6s. , 11¼d. per head of the population. For the same year the mean number of paupers at one time in receipt of relief was 1,037,360, and of these 156,430 were "in-door" paupers in workhouses, district schools, and similar establishments.42

Number of indoor paupers

It appears further, from the returns of pauperism, that the total number of in-door paupers in workhouses and schools on 1st January 1871 was 168,073, and that on the 1st July following it was 141,552. Many paupers who are in the workhouses in the winter leave as soon as the weather becomes less severe and work is likely to be obtainable; by the first week in April, therefore, the number is greatly diminished.

The number of paupers in workhouses, including those in the district and other schools for pauper children, on the Census day was 148,291, of whom 79,968 were males and 68,323 females. The ratio of in-door paupers to the general population was therefore 1 in 153.43 At the Census of 1861 there were 125,722 paupers in workhouses and schools, and the ratio to the population was 1 in 160.

It will be observed that in the counties contiguous to the Metropolis, namely, in the extra-metropolitan parts of Middlesex, Surrey, and Kent, and in Essex and Hertford, which contain schools for pauper children chiefly belonging to London parishes, the ratio of in-door paupers to population is much above the average. On the other hand, the proportionate number of in-door paupers is considerably below the average in the counties of Stafford, Derby, Nottingham, Chester, in the West and North Hidings of York, in Durham, Northumberland, and Monmouth, and in Wales,—in fact, in all the mineral districts of the country.

Age of indoor paupers

From the tables showing the ages of paupers in workhouses and schools, it will be seen that 48,228 (viz. 26,639 boys and 21,589 girls), or 33 per cent. of the whole number, were under 15 years of age; at ages between 15 and 40 there were 11,280 males and 17,467 females; between 40 and 70 there were 25,715 men and 18,747 women; and upwards of 70 years of age, 16,334 men and 10,520 women. Amongst these aged inmates of workhouses were some of the oldest people in the country, although it cannot be assumed that their exact ages were always given; 501 were returned as aged 90 and upwards, of whom 21 were said to be centenarians.44

Official return of able-bodied and not able-bodied

In the official returns of pauperism the 141,552 in-door paupers on 1st July 1871 are distinguished as able-bodied and not able-bodied , as follows:—

  Able-bodied. Not able-bodied.
Males (adult) 6,277 34,159
Females (adult) 12,662 24,694
Children under 16 14,223 33,024
Vagrants 3,440
Insane:— Males 5,429
  Females 7,101
  Children 543
  36,602 104,950
  Total    141,55245

The number of adult able-bodied paupers (viz. 18,939) in workhouses at the above date was therefore 13 per cent. of the whole number of in-door paupers; but it is stated that the returns include among the able-bodied many paupers relieved on account of the sickness of themselves or their families, and also a large number of widows. The only prospect of any material reduction of the burden of pauperism would seem to arise out of the possibility of diminishing the number of adult able-bodied paupers (in-door and out-door) in receipt of relief. As compared with the period of the previous Census, this class has shown a marked increase.46

Due allowance being made for increase of population, for temporary disturbances in the labour market, and other circumstances which influence pauperism, these figures, when considered with the vast expenditure on out-door relief, must be regarded with solicitude; such results clearly imply that a further improvement may still be made in the administration of poor-law relief.

7. Prisoners.

Number of persons confined in prisons

The tables relating to prisoners include, in addition to actual criminals in confinement, persons accused of crime and remanded or awaiting trial, and a small number committed for debt or on civil process; but boys and girls detained in reformatories and industrial schools, to prevent them from falling into crime rather than as punishment, are not included. It appears that on the Census day there were in the different convict prisons, county, borough, and liberty gaols and bridewells in England and Wales 28,756 prisoners, of whom 23,475 were males and 5,281 females. The ratio of these prisoners to the general population was 1 in 790. To every 10,000 males and as many females there were in prison about 21.2 males and 4.5 females.

The excess of prisoners above the average proportion to population in London, and in the extra-metropolitan parts of Surrey and Kent, in Hampshire, Dorsetshire, and Devonshire, arises from the circumstance of the state convict prisons being situated within the Metropolis and the counties named. The ratio of prisoners to population in the South-eastern division is highest; next in the South-western and London divisions; in the Eastern and the "Welsh divisions it is lowest.

According to the prison returns in the "Judicial Statistics," prepared at the Home Office, the daily average of prisoners in the local (county, borough, and liberty) prisons in England and Wales for the year ended 30th September 1871 was 18,465; and for the Government convict prisons the daily average for the official year 1871-2 was 9,546; making together 28,011 prisoners. The number of persons in confinement in prisons at the date of the Census, namely, 28,756, approximates very nearly to the average prison population. These prisoners were confined in about 80 county and liberty prisons, 35 city, town, and borough prisons, inclusive of Newgate (for the City of London and county of Middlesex), 10 convict prisons, and a few small bridewells and penitentiaries. Of the State prisons, Pentonville, Portland, Portsmouth, Chatham, Dartmoor, Parkhurst, and Brixton are for males only; in Millbank and Woking, both males and females are received; Fulham Refuge is a prison exclusively for females. In several of the local gaols the number of prisoners was exceedingly small.47

Reformatory schools

The number of certified reformatory schools in England and Wales, to which youthful offenders may be sent after having been sentenced to a previous term of imprisonment for ten days or longer, amounted in 1872 to 53, including three training ships. The offenders at the time of commitment must be under 16 years of age, and the period of detention in the reformatory is not less than two years or more than five. At the commencement of the year 1871-2 the total number of offenders in the reformatories was 4,368, of whom 3,522 were males and 846 females.

Industrial schools

Industrial schools are institutions to which children under 14 years of age who are found begging or wandering about, haying no home or visible means of subsistence, or are found destitute, either being orphans or having a surviving parent in prison, and children who frequent the company of reputed thieves, may be sent by the justices before whom they are brought. Children under 12 charged with light offences, and refractory children under 14, may also be sent by the justices to such schools. There are 71 industrial schools certified by the Secretary of State, and in these establishments 5,798 children—4,418 boys and 1,380 girls—were under detention at the commence of the year 1871-2.48

The criminal classes

The facts derived from the Census enumeration of the persons confined in prisons of all kinds are necessarily meagre, and, as before stated, include many who, although committed for trial, have not been convicted. But the evils and burdens inflicted upon society by the criminal classes are so great that no labour would be ill-bestowed in the collection of full and accurate information respecting them as the basis of measures calculated to thin their ranks, whether by improved penal and reformatory discipline or by preventive agencies. In the annual volumes of "Judicial Statistics" valuable materials are presented for the study of questions connected with the criminal classes; and it is satisfactory to find in the tables evidence of a falling off in the class of habitual criminals , as shown by the diminished number of those who have been convicted more than once; and further, that there is a diminution in the -number of offenders under 20 years of age, indicating the success of the measures taken to rescue and intercept those who would otherwise be the recruits of the ranks of crime.49

1 We have been furnished with these numbers by the Census authorities in Edinburgh and Dublin. In Scotland the blind returned in 1861 were 2,820 (or 1 in 1,086); in Ireland the number of blind in 1861 was 6,879 (or 1 in 843).

2 See Table No. 161, Appendix A, showing the number and distribution of the blind, and proportion of blind to population.

3 The following are the numbers and proportion to population of the Blind in districts representing some of the principal Towns:—

No. of Districts. Towns represented. Blind. Proportion to
1-28 London 2,890 One in
454-6 Liverpool and Birkenhead 631 1,047
465-7 Manchester and Salford 467 1,268
387-8 Birmingham 265 1,426
497-500 Leeds 219 1,255
496 Bradford 186 1,386
507-8 Sheffield 226 1,105
552-3 Newcastle-on-Tyne & Gateshead 246 860
320-1 Bristol 285 669
495 Halifax 101 1,517
494 Huddersfield 101 1,388
519-20 Hull 130 1,050

The Numbers of the Districts refer to the Tables in Vols. II. And III. Several of these towns contain institutions for the blind.

4 The numbers of the blind of each sex are, according to the return for Scotland, 1,495 males and 1,526 females,—for Ireland, 3,022 males and 3,325 females.

5 The proportion of the blind in 10,000 of the population of each sex is shown for the Divisions and Counties of England and Wales in Table No.168 of Appendix A.

6 Number of the Blind, and of the GENERAL POPULATION over 70 years of age:—

Males. Females. Males. Females. Males. Females.
70 and under 75 927 1,113 149,887 174,086 One in
One in
75 and under 80 848 995 82,091 99,896 97 100
80 and under 85 574 751 38,573 51,265 67 68
85 and under 90 242 418 11,685 17,896 48 43
90 and under 95 57 150 2,383 4,338 42 29
95 and upwards 12 31 431 974 36 31
Total 2,660 3,458 285,050 348,455 107 101

7 See Summary Table No.XXIX. in Vol.III.

8 The following shows the ratio of the blind from birth to the total blind in each of the eleven statistical divisions:—

1. London One in
2. South Eastern 9.1
3. South Midland 12.2
4. Eastern 12.0
5. South Western 12.4
6. West Midland 10.2
7. North Midland 9.0
8. North Western 9.7
9. York 8.9
10. Northern 13.1
11. Welsh 19.0

9 See Summary Table No. XXXVIII. in Vol.III.

10 Ib., No.XXXIX.

11 The following interesting details as to the circumstances under which these pupils had been deprived of sight, so far as they could be ascertained by the officiers of the institution, are given in the Annual Report for 1872:—

Blind from Birth 141 Loss of sight after fever 26
Blind from Small pox 260 Loss of sight after Measles 15
Blind from Inflammation 522 Loss of sight after Convulsions 6
Blind from Cataract 169 Loss of sight at sea 9
Blind from External injury 209 Loss of sight by gradual decay 9
Blind from Defect of optic nerve 174 Causes not mentioned or imperfectly described 71
Blind from Amaurosis 69    
Blind from Imperfect organization 29 Total 1,709

The proportion entered as born blind was therefore about 1 in 12.

12 The annual Report of the institution for 1872 describes the character of the religious and secular instruction imparted to the pupils, and gives the result of some inquires made respecting old pupils by Rev. B.G.Johns, M.A., Chaplain.

13 The Superintendent of this School, Mr. Buckle, has drawn up some useful suggestions to the parents and friends of blind children seeking admission into the institution.

14 An endowment of £20,000 for the support of such an asylum was left in 1810 by the will of Mr. Henshaw, but no portion of this bequest could be appropriated to the purchase of land or the erection of a building, and the sum of £10,000 was subscribed by the inhabitants of Manchester for these objects.

15 A similar society has been in existence in Liverpool for several years, and a new building, erected as "Workshops for the Blind" was finished and opened in 1872.

16 In addition to the above Institutions for the Blind, a College for the blind sons of gentlemen is established at Worcester.

17 In an article on the "Vital Statistics of Deaf and Dumb", in Knight's English Cyclopędina (1859), the writer, Mr.C.Baker, Principal of the Yorkshire Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, predicts a decrease of this class:

"The Deaf and Dumb are found chiefly among the poor in England, and it is probable that deafness will diminish from the great attention now given to this class, whether within or out of unions. In this respect the very poor are better cared for than those just above them, who never seek parochial aid, probably better, in the matter of medical attendance, than the well to do scattered rural population, and this circumstance alone will tend to prevent the supervision of deafness from supposed eruptions in various diseases".—Eng.Cylco.,Vol.3, Arts and Sciences, p.407.

Mr. David Buxton, Principal of the Liverpool Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, suggests the following as probable causes of the diminution of the Deaf and Dumb since 1861:—

"As to congenital cases,—(1) a higher state of physical health in parents;(2) a purer morality; and (3) the avoidance marriages. As to post-natal cases,—by sanitary improvements and general attention to the laws of health we are striving that the invasions of disease will become less frequent and less prevalent. If as the result there is not only a reduced mortality, but also a diminished malignity in those diseases which destroy hearing in early life, we have gained a great blessing and made a grand discovery for coming generations to profit by. I believe, too, that something is due to improved medical treatment. Our visiting surgeon, Dr.F.J.Bailey, states that deafness from scarlet fever has hardly occurred in his own practise; from the treatment employed, the danger to the ear is diminished, and as a result, otorrh?a , one of its most disagreeable accompaniments, which formerly was very common, is now very rare".

18 The numbers for Scotland and Ireland have been furnished by the Census authorities in Edinburgh and Dublin. In the Irish Return of 5,554 are included 1,087 persons "dumb not deaf," a large proportion of the total number of mutes.

19 See Table No. 162, Appendix A.

20 See Tables at the end of each Division in Vol. III. of Population Tables; also Summary Table XXXI. in Vol. III.

21 See Summary Table XL. in Vol. III.

22 In reply to inquiries addressed to the Education Department, we were informed,— (1) that no special provision is made in the Elementary Education Act, 1970, for the instruction of deaf-and-dumb and blind children; (2) that the admission of such children to board schools would depend on the discretion of the school board; (3) that no special provision is made in the code for their instruction; and (4) the Education Department has no power to order the admission of deaf-and-dumb or blind children into special schools.

23 Mr. Buxton, in a paper read before the Historic Society of Lancashire in Feb. 1865, says—

"One hundred years ago the condition of the deaf-mute was one of total darkness; seventy, nay fifty years ago, one institution existed in Great Britain—one only; forty years ago our own was founded; but really we may say that education has been readily accessible to the deaf-and-dumb poor (and the poor form by far the largest class of these afflicted ones) only within the last twenty-five years."

24 Mr Baker was one of the first to urge upon the attention of public men the need of an inquiry into the numbers of the deaf-and-dumb in connexion with the general Census. See his Historical Account of Forty Years' Work at the Yorkshire Institution for the Dumb-and-Dumb, 1869.

25 See List of Institutions for the Deaf-and-Dumb, Table No.164, Appendix A.

26 In the present session of Parliament a Bill was introduced by Mr. Wheelhouse, M.P., to render it obligatory on the guardians of any union or parish, or any school board formed under the Elementary Education Act, 1870, on the application of parents, &c.,to send any deaf-mute or blind child under the age of 14 to a special school, and to defray the expense out of the funds in the possession of such guardians or school board; but the Bill was withdrawn.

27 The following are the numbers of deaf and dumb born deaf and others, according to the Returns from the under-mentioned institutions:—

Deaf from
Others. Total.
London Asylum, Old Kent Road 169 90 259
Asylum at Hackney 28 8 36
Jews Deaf-and-Dumb Home 6 4 10
Brighton Institution 93 4 97
Exeter Institution 48 17 65
Bristol Asylum 24 9 33
Birmingham Institution (Edgbaston 45 63 108
Manchester Schools 81 57 138
Yorkshire Institution (Doncaster) 68 37 105
Northern Counties Institution (Newcastle) 32 45 77
Cambrian Institution (Swansea) 15 11 26
Liverpool School 56 44 100
TOTAL 665 389 1,054

The deaf and dumb "from birth" are not distinguished in the enumeration Returns for the Margate Branch of the London Asylum.

28 On the Constitution of the Deaf and Dumb . By James Hawkins, London, 1863.

29 See Tables at the end each "Division" in Vol. III., also Summary Table XXXII.,in Vol.III.

30 The following are the numbers returned in each of the Statistical Divisions, with the ratio to the population of each:—

Divisions. Idiots and Imbeciles. Ratio to Population.
1. London 1,905 One in:
2. South Eastern 4,188 518
3. South Midland 2,250 641
4. Eastern 1,917 636
5. South Western 2,811 669
6. West Midland 4,240 642
7. North Midland 2,114 666
8. North Western 4,068 833
9. Yorkshire 2,660 901
10. Northern 1,376 1028
11. Welsh 1,923 739
England and Wales 29,452 771

31 The following list of employments is taken from the Report of the Asylum for 1873:—Males—tailors 30, shoemakers 27, carpenters 24, gardeners 18, basket-makers 15, on the farm 11, in the laundry 14, boot and shoe cleaners 17, mat-weavers and helpers 105, plumbers and painters 5, printers 5, (the Report is printed in the Asylum,) others engaged in housework, &c. 23, total 294. Females—in industrial room 60, housework 20, bedmakers 24, wardrobe, &c. 7, total 111.

32 The Royal Albert Asylum, for the Northern Counties, situated at Lancaster, contains (according to the Report, 1873) 162 patients.

33 See Summary Table XXXII., in Vol. III.

34 The following is the Return of Lunatics, Idiots, and persons of unsound mind, and the ratio per 1,000 to the population, given in the Twenty-sixth Report of the Commission in Lunacy, p.5:—

YEAR. Total
number of
Idiots, &c.
per 1,000
to the
Jan.1 1861 39,647 1.97
Jan.1 1862 41,129 2.02
Jan.1 1863 43,118 2.09
Jan.1 1864 44,795 2.15
Jan.1 1865 45,950 2.18
Jan.1 1866 47,648 2.24
Jan.1 1867 49,086 2.29
Jan.1 1868 51,000 2.35
Jan.1 1869 53,177 2.43
Jan.1 1870 54,713 2.47
Jan.1 1871 56,755 2.49
Jan.1 1872 58,640 2.54

35 26th Report of Commissioners in Lunacy .—The District Asylums at Leavesden and Caterham, which contained a total of 2,857 patients at the date of the Census, for the class of chronic harmless cases previously retained, often under very unfavourable circumstances, in the workhouses of the Metropolis, the Commissioners "regard as a great boon to the patients." The cost of them has, it appears, been considerably less than that of any county asylum which has at present been built, the land, buildings fittings, and furniture at Leavesden having amounted to about 146,000l. for 1,638 patients, or less than 89l. per bed, and that at Caterham, for 1,672 patients, to about 147,000l. , or under 88l. per bed.

36 Number of persons returned as lunatics, and proportion of lunatics to the general population:—

Divisions. Lunatics. Ratio to
1. London 3,630 One in:
2. South Eastern 5,606 387
3. South Midland 7,264 199
4. Eastern 2,320 525
5. South Western 3,742 503
6. West Midland 4,762 571
7. North Midland 1,643 856
8. North Western 4,256 796
9. Yorkshire 2,827 847
10. Northern 1,776 796
11. Welsh 1,741 817
England and Wales 39,567 574

37 According to the 26th Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy (Table VIII.) the per-centage of "pauper lunatics"—idiots and imbeciles being included in this term—to the total number of paupers has increased from 3.66 in 1859 to 5.30 in 1872;—a large increase in 14 years, but in part due as already stated to improved registration and more extended supervision over cases formerly disregarded.

38 It is stated by Dr. Thurnam, Superintendent of the Wilts Asylum, that of those insane who came under his treatment during the year 1872 not less than 34 per cent were manifestly cases attributable to habits of drunkenness. Dr . Yellowlees, Superintendent of the Glamorgan County Asylum, has recorded in "Asylum notes" the following facts: "During the last six months of 1871 and the first three months of 1873 the mines, and consequently the docks, were deserted by reason of strikes, and the effect of these strikes on the insanity and crime of the county was most marked and instructive. In the first six months of 1871, 47 men and 30 women were received as patients into this asylum, but only 24 men and 26 women in the second six months of the year. In the last three months of 1872, 21 men and 12 women were admitted, but only 10 men and 12 women in the first three months of 1873. It is thus shown, by a double proof, that during a strike the male admissions fell to half their former number, the female admissions being almost unaffected. This decrease is doubtless mainly due to the fact that there is no money to spend in drink and debauchery. On inquiry at the county prisons, I find that there was a marked diminution in their male admissions during the same periods, so that the production of crime as well as of insanity is greatly lessened while the strikes continue."

39 Address on the means of checking the growth of insanity, by G.J. Hearder, M.D., Medical Superintendent of the Lunatic Asylum, Carmarthen. (British Medical Journal , No.655.)

40 First Report of Local Government Board, p.XXX.

41 See Summary Table XXXIV. in Vol.III.

42 First Report of Local Government Board. The following numbers for the years 1866-71 are from the same Report:—

Years ended at Lady-day. Mean Number of Paupers of all Classes
(including Children)
at one time in receipt of Relief.
expended in
Relief to the
per head on
In-door. Out-door. Total.
1866 132,776 783,376 916,152 £.    
1867 137,310 794,236 931,546 6,959,841 6
1868 150,040 842,600 992,640 7,498,061 6 11½
1869 157,740 860,400 1,018,140 7,673,100 7
1870 156,800 876,000 1,032,800 7,644,307 6 11½
1871 156,430 880,930 1,037,360 7,886,724 6 11¼

43 See Table 167, App.A. Insane and idiotic paupers in asylums or elsewhere than in workhouses are not included in this return.

44 See Summary Table XXXV. in Vol.III.

45 First Report of Local Government Board, Appendix No.63. It appears that "children relieved with able-bodied parents are classed as able-bodied , but children relieved without their parents, or relieved with parents who are not able-bodied, are classed as not able-bodied ". The majority of insane paupers are in asylums, and are classed among the "out-door". Although reference is made in the above Report to a "Census" of the in-door paupers the tables afford no information as to their ages (except as to children under 16), or the circumstances under which they are inmates of workhouses. We were unable to obtain a statement of the number of blind and of deaf-and-dumb paupers.

46 The mean number of adult able-bodied paupers (exclusive of vagrants) at one time in reciept of relief in England and Wales was for the year ended at Lady-day:—

In-door. Out-door. Total
In-door. Out-door. Total
1871 24,700 147,760 172,460 1861 2,396 20,396 125,380
1870 25,200 149,600 174,800 1860 16,268 16,268 115,852
1869 24,960 145,750 170,710 1859 18,209 18,209 117,575

47 It appears from the returns in "Judicial Statistics" for 1872 that the "daily average number of prisoners" in seven borough prisons (viz., Buckingham, Barnstaple, Tiverton, Poole, Grantham, Stamford, and Berwick) amounted to 42, while the "establishment of officers" for the same prison was 33. In six county prisons (viz., Lincoln, Rutland, Westmorland, Anglesey, Cardigan and Radnor) the average number of prisoners was in the aggregate 52, and the establishment of officers 39. A further reduction of the number of small and subsidiary will, no doubt, be found practicable as the means of intercourse are extended by the railway system, and local administrative arrangements are improved.

48 Judicial Statistics, 1872.—The following numbers of the Criminal Classes , estimated for 1871-2, are from the Introductionary Report by Mr. Leslie of the Home Office:—

In confinement:  
  In local prisons (exclusive of debtors and naval and military prisoners) 16,805
  In the covict prisons 9,684
  In Reformatories 4,424
At large:  
  Known thieves and depredators, recievers of stolen goods, and suspected persons (from returns by the police) 46,877
Total of criminal persons 77,790

49 Dr. W. A Guy, F.R.S., President of the Statistical Society, by whom an active part was taken in promoting two detailed enumerations of convict criminals, remarked in his inaugural address (1873):—

"I venture to suggest that though an annual Census of our entire population may be reasonably objected to on the ground of expense, no such objection need lie against an annual, or even six-monthly census (one in the height of summer, one in the depth of winter) of the population of our workhouse, prisons, almshouses, lunatic asylums, and hospitals."

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