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treated in a great variety of ways without success, all the usual
remedies for club-foot proving ineffectual. Both of these cases
appeared in the clinic of Dr. Sayre at Bellevue Hospital, and were
operated upon by him.
We have recently observed several cases of spinal disease which could
be traced to no origin but masturbation. Two patients were small boys,
naturally quite intelligent. They manifested all the peculiarities of
loco-motor ataxia in older persons, walking with the characteristic
gait. The disease was steadily progressing in spite of all attempts
to stay it. An older brother had died of the same malady, paralysis
extending over the whole body, and finally preventing deglutition, so
that he really starved to death.
Insanity.--That solitary vice is one of the most common causes of
insanity, is a fact too well established to need demonstration here.
Every lunatic asylum furnishes numerous illustrations of the fact.
"Authors are universally agreed, from Galen down to the present day,
about the pernicious influence of this enervating indulgence, and its
strong propensity to generate the very worst and most formidable kinds
of insanity. It has frequently been known to occasion speedy, and even
[Footnote 51: Arnold.]
"Religious insanity," so-called, may justly be attributed to this cause
in a great proportion of cases. The individual is conscience-smitten
in view of his horrid sins, and a view of his terrible condition--ruined
for both worlds, he fears--goads him to despair, and his weakened
intellect fails; reason is dethroned, and he becomes a hopeless lunatic.
His friends, knowing nothing of the real cause of his mysterious
confessions of terrible sin, think him over-conscientious, and lay the
blame of his insanity upon religion, when it is solely the result of
his vicious habits, of which they are ignorant.
In other cases, the victim falls into a profound melancholy from which
nothing can divert him. He never laughs, does not even smile. He becomes
more and more reserved and taciturn, and perhaps ends the scene by
committing suicide. This crime is not at all uncommon with those who
have gone the whole length of the road of evil. They find their manhood
gone, the vice in which they have so long delighted is no longer possible,
and, in desperation, they put an end to the miserable life which nature
might lengthen out a few months if not thus violently superseded.
If the practice is continued uninterruptedly from boyhood to manhood,
imbecility and idiocy are the results. Demented individuals are met
in no small numbers inside of hospitals and asylums, and outside as
well, who owe to this vice their awful condition. Plenty of half-witted
men whom one meets in the every-day walks of life have destroyed the
better half of their understanding by this wretched practice.
A Victim's Mental Condition Pictured.--The mental condition of a victim
of this vice cannot be better described than is done in the following
paragraphs by one himself a victim, though few of these unfortunate
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