Author : Samuel Tuke (1784-1857)

Title : A Description of the Retreat (1813)

Keywords: principle of fear, comfort, classes, patients, treatment, conduct, system, children.

Pages : Introduction | page 1 | page 2 | page 3


Samuel Tuke (1784-1857) was the father of Daniel Hack Tuke and the grandson of William Tuke, the founder of the York Retreat and one of the earliest practitioners of moral treatment in the care of the insane. In this excerpt, taken from V. Skultans (ed.), Madness and Morals: Ideas on Insanity in the Nineteenth Century (London, 1975), Tuke details the important role that the ‘principle of fear’ might play in the treatment of lunatics, and briefly describes the relationship between conduct and classification within the walls of the asylum. Both aspects of life at the Retreat reinforce the paternalistic nature of moral treatment and foreground the humanity of this radically new approach to the care and treatment of the insane. As Richard Hunter and Ida Macalpine point out, this book was written by a Quaker philanthropist, not a physician specializing in mental disease. Yet it did more to improve the treatment of the insane than many medical tracts and treatises.

Back to Madness Documents | Introduction | page 1 | page 2 | page 3