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"Subjoined is a statement respecting the said Richard Hall.
"mahy Ann Hall, China and Glass Dealer, 45,
name at length . . . Richard Hall. Sex and age .... Male; fifty-six. Married, single, or widowed . Married. Condition of life and previous occupation (if any).
Religious persuasion, as far as known ..... Previous place of abode
Whether first attack .
Age (if known) on first attack .
When and where previously under
Duration of existing attack
Whether subject to epilepsy
Special circumstances (if any) preventing the patient being ex
China & glass dealer,
45, Tottenham Court
Gay company and
1862. amined before admission, sepa
rately, by two medical prac
titioners .... None.
"Mart Ank Hall, China and Glass Dealer, 45, Tottenham Court Road, wife of patient."
"Schedule (A), No. 2, sects. 4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13.
"I, the undersigned, being a Member of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and being in actual practice as a physician, hereby certify that I, on the 28th day of July, 1862, at 45, Tottenham Court Road, in the county of Middlesex, separately from any other medical practitioner, personally examined Richard Hall, of Tottenham Court Road, china warehouseman, and that the said Richard Hall is a person of unsound mind, and a proper person to be taken charge of and detained under care and treatment, and that I have formed this opinion upon the following grounds, viz.:—
"1. Facts indicating insanity observed by myself:—
"He had a wild and staring look, with restless eyes, and nervous agitated manner. He represented to me that his wife was ruining himself and business, and he intimated that she was improperly associating with other men; he is evidently labouring under delusions, and he acts upon those delusions.
"2. Other facts (if any) indicating insanity communicated to me by others:—
"He is guilty of repeated acts of violence; he constantly threatens his wife, and often assaults her; he sleeps with a drawn sword by his bedside, and declares he will murder any one who approaches him, and he has often threatened to stab his wife.
"Robert H. Semple, 8, Torrington Square, London.
"Dated this 29th day of July, 1862."
"Medical Certificate. .1802
"I, the undersigned, being a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and Licentiate of the Apothecaries Company, and being in actual practice as a surgeon and apothecary, hereby certify that I, on the 13th day of June, 1862, at 45, Tottenham Court Road, in the county of Middlesex, separately from any other medical practitioner, personally examined Richard Hall, of 45, Tottenham Court Road, glass and china warehouseman, and that the said Richard Hall is a person of unsound mind and a proper person to be taken charge of and detained under care and treatment, and that I have formed this opinion upon the following, grounds, viz.:—
"1. Facts indicating insanity observed by myself:— "He had a restless, irritable and excited manner, with a wild and glaring look, and expressed much vindictiveness
towards his wife, and said, ' I must be a fool to mind
what that woman has said.' He stated that she had her fellows continually running after her, and intimated that I was one of them.
"2. Other facts (if any) indicating insanity communicated to me by others :—
"On a former occasion when I had called to see him, he had just before broken the looking-glass to pieces, also the marble mantel and bedstead; had been brandishing knives over his wife's head, and using horrid language, sometimes kicking her, tearing her bonnet and clothes off, and all without provocation, as I find from neighbours and old acquaintances that she is a discreet, sober, prudent and patient woman.
"john Guy, 13, Golden Square. "Dated this 29th day of July, 1862."
On the day after the plaintiff was taken to the asylum, the defendant, who had not seen nor tried to see the sword spoken of by the wife, went to the police station
1862. nearest to the plaintiff's house and pressed the police to get hold of it, but they declined to interfere. Some expressions, said to have been used by the plaintiff on this occasion, were relied on as showing a consciousness of rashness in the statements in his certificate. In point of fact, the sword was only an old theatrical or court dress sword which had belonged to a brother of the plaintiff, and did hang up in his bedroom. But, as already mentioned, the wife did not sleep with him nor in his bedroom, nor had she done so for years, and she herself stated that she scarcely ever had been in his bedroom during that period.
A day or two after the plaintiff was taken to the asylum the visitors in lunacy saw him; the medical attendant, one Stone, having previously seen him, as also the proprietor, Elliott. The visitors finding that Guy's certificate was invalid, as already mentioned, directed the plaintiff's discharge on that ground, and gave no opinion as to his sanity.
The defendant, hearing that the plaintiff was likely to be discharged, wrote to the proprietor of the asylum this letter:—
"Sir,—I heard with surprise that it is in contemplation to send out of your asylum a man named Hall, who was taken there the other day. As the man is, in my opinion, a dangerous lunatic, and is now confined under legal authority—one of the certificates being signed by myself—I beg that he may not be discharged until his wife, who is in danger of her life, has an opportunity of laying her case before the Commissioners in Lunacy, to whom she will appeal immediately; and I am willing to appear before the Commissioners to justify my own conduct in the matter."
The plaintiff, soon after his release, about the middle of August, brought the present action, but after that, in September, the defendant and one Dr. Webb had another interview with him, in the presence of a married daughter 18G2 of his, a Mrs. Harding, and of two neighbours; as to which evidence was given at the trial; and after this, the defendant wrote and gave the wife a letter, stating:—
"I hereby express my opinion that Mrs. Hall is an injured and ill-used woman; that there is no truth whatever in the infamous charges brought against her, and that she fully deserves the sympathy of her friends."
These letters were relied upon by the plaintiff as evidence of personal interference on the part of the defendant (a) beyond his duty, and tending to prove that he had not acted bona fide.
Such is the history of the case, as to which an immense mass of evidence was given in the course of several different days.
The plaintiff was called and examined, and was crossexamined as to violence to his wife and the alleged delusions; as to which he asserted the fact of the pawning and running into debt, and denied ever having made the imputation of adultery. His married daughter, Mrs. Harding, was also called and gave her account of it, which was in effect that there had been faults on both sides, but that her father, whom she described not only as quite sane, but as remarkably sensible, was least to blame, and she denied ever having seen or known of any acts of violence to her mother. Her evidence was confirmed by a son-in-law of the plaintiff, one Wright; by the two neighbours who had
(a) As to the effect of the first direct the seizure, he knew that the letter as evidence of ratification, only object of the certificates was a see Wilton v. Tummon, 6 M. & G. seizure of the plaintifTs person. 236, that the act ratified must have The letter, however, was not pressed been professedly done under the as evidence of a ratification, nor authority of the person ratifying. was the attention of the learned There it was not the less done Judge at all directed to it in that under the authority of the defend- point of view, for which reason it is ant's certificate, because it was alto mentioned, lest it should be supdone under the authority of Guy's; posed that it had been so put. See and though the defendant did not Hull v. Pickersgill, 1 B. & B. 282.