[Daniel Hack Tuke, physician to the York Retreat asylum.] Two Autograph Letters Signed to Bedford Pierce, one on Sir Thomas Clouston, the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, and Pierce's appointment at York, the other on insanity in 'a Lunatic's child'.

Author: 
Daniel Hack Tuke (1827-1895), physician and writer on psychological medicine, visiting physician to the York Retreat asylum and York Dispensary [Bedford Pierce (1861-1932); Sir Thomas Clouston]
Publication details: 
ONE: On letterhead of Lyndon Lodge, Hanwell, W. [London]; 22 June 1892. TWO: No place; 18 November 1893.
£500.00
SKU: 21842

Two good substantial letters, the first written with Pierce on the verge of leaving Sir Thomas Clouston (1840-1915) and the Royal Edinburgh Asylum, and taking up the position of medical superintendent at the York Retreat asylum, and contemplating going to a conference in Paris in the interim; and the second a discussion of the question of the propensity to insanity of 'a lunatic's Child'. Both items in good condition, lightly aged, on grey paper, with thin strips of paper adhering from mounts. ONE: 22 June 1892. 8pp, 12mo. On two bifoliums. Signed 'D Hack Tuke'. The letter begins: 'Dear Bedford Pierce - | I am glad to hear from you & can well understand how fully yr time must be taken up with necessary duties. I am not surprised but much pleased to hear that you find yr. present position a great privilege.' Regarding Pierce's position in Edinburgh Tuke writes: 'It is very kind of Dr. Clouston to afford you such admirable opportunities for distinction. I cannot imagine a more delightful spot for you to be in – or a more invigorating mental & medical atmosphere to breathe.' He regrets that Pierce cannot stay longer ('I suppose you think it is better to go at the end of the month.') He comments on 'the social classes of patients at Morningside and at Wakefield, adding: 'I think you are more likely to get what you want by remaining in one place than by visiting several'. He queries whether Pierce will 'gain much by going to Paris'. He advises him to 'master the internal oeconomy and service of one asylum'. He feels that Pierce will be 'better equipped for the Retreat than most', but thinks that if he has 'any weak point in your armour it will, I take it, be in the administration of an asylum in the detail of the new medical life of institutions'. Pierce should be preparing himself 'with minute care'. Clouston - whose advice will be 'so valuable' – 'will see with me that when you enter upon office at York, you will stand in need of all the knowledge you can lay hold of between now and Octr'. For that reason Tuke feels that Pierce might employ his time 'more economically than attending the Congress on Experimental Psychology'. He asks Pierce to forgive 'the somewhat paternal letter' he has written, and to put it down to his 'interest in the Retreat and in you'. He ends by informing Pierce of the ailment that prevented him from attending a meeting at Bethlem Hospital, and that the writing of his 'Dicty' (i.e. the two-volume 'Dictionary of Psychological Medicine', 1892) is finished bar 'a tremendous Index'. TWO: 16 November 1893. 4pp, 12mo. Bifolium. Signed 'D: Hack Tuke'. He has delayed answering Pierce's letter as he had hoped to have seen him 'at the Meeting on Thursday.' In reply to Pierce's question he writes: 'I have always held the opinion that a lunatic's Child born before the attack is less liable to the disease than one born after, chiefly for the reason that an attack of insanity exerts an injurious influence upon the brain'. He continues on the topic for a few lines, and adds: 'It has so happened that Dr Ireland has been my guest & with[ou]t. Mentioning my own opinion I propounded yr. question to him & his reply tallied with mine'. He directs Pierce to Prosper Lucas's book on heredity: 'he takes the view, if I understand him correctly, that the child born after the perfect recovery of the patient stands a better chance than the one born before'. It is, Tuke feels, 'difficult to collect facts, and I can now only recall one instance but it is that of a lunatic who had children before & after his attack and the former escaped but not the latter'. He has had a 'short talk with Dr. Baker', and is sorry to hear that York does not suit Pierce's wife's health. 'You must have heard that Craig is at Wakefield. I daresay you will be seeing him. He has some golden opinions at Bethlem.' He concludes by offering to send Pierce Lucas's book, adding 'I suppose you have referred to Weissman - & [Merciers Ash?], in the Dictionary'.