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slight; most of the soil is poor- a mere sheep pasture — and its exposed condition renders a very large outlay necessary to make even the hardiest plants or vegetables thrive. It would seem impossible to protect the buildings or the grounds by planting trees along the edge of the bluff, for neither trees nor shrubs have been able to stand against the fury of the northeast. storms to which this place is especially exposed.

And if it be possible, by years of labor and a lavish expenditure of money, to make trees grow there, and to render the soil productive, is it not better, in view of the great need of both to secure some other site which already possesses these with other important requisites?

The view of the surrounding country is not particularly attractive; and the view of the ocean, except in fine weather, would tend to excite rather than soothe the unfortunate inmates of the institution.

The opinion of certain physicians familiar with the care of the insane has been much dwelt upon in connection with this location. But it should be understood that they were called upon to give an opinion upon that location alone. Visiting it for a few hours, on a fine day, seeing a large tract of land on the seashore, which on a hasty examination seemed capable of being beautified by a liberal expenditure of money, it is natural that they should regard it favorably, more especially as they were taken there for that very purpose.

It is a noticeable fact, that since this important matter has been under consideration, the consulting physicians of this city have never been called upon by the Board of Directors to give an opinion; and it may also be remembered, that in the fall of 1867, six of a committee of seven, appointed by the Suffolk District Medical Society on motion of Dr. Walker, and at the request of the Board, after visiting the site, gave their opinion, in writing, to the mayor, that they considered this location unfit for the purpose.

Since the subject has been more fully discussed and appreci ated, a more decided opposition has been developed among the medical fraternity; and I believe that a large majority of the leading physicians in Boston are, to-day, earnestly opposed to the location at Winthrop.

Being of this opinion, I addressed a note a few days since to Dr. Charles G. Putnam, the President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, asking for his opinion and the opinions of some of the other leading physicians in this city on this subject; and I would ask your particular attention to the certificates, annexed hereto, which I have received in answer to my requests.

In reviewing the last annual report (1868-69) of Dr. C. A. Walker, the Superintendent of the Boston Lunatic Asylum, the editor of the Medical and Surgical Journal of this city (July 22, 1869, page 456), says: "We are constrained to say that we do not share the regret expressed by Dr. Walker at the abandonment of the Winthrop Farm as a site for a new lunatic hospital. On the contrary, it seems to us that if nature had furnished a place on purpose to keep away from it such an institution, the spot indicated would be the very one." "Dr. Walker, however, treats the matter as, what it no doubt is, a past issue."

In regard to Breed's Island, one strong objection would be the quantity of land which the city would be obliged to purchase, and which could not be disposed of without detriment to the institution if located there. It has been suggested that the House of Correction could be established on the same island; but in answer to that I would state, that one of the most urgent reasons for removing the Insane Hospital from South Boston is for the purpose of disconnecting it from the criminal institution located on the same grounds; even if a highway were to be laid out between the two institutions on Breed's Island, the stigma which, in the popular mind, attaches to being sent to the vicinity of a criminal institution would be felt none the less. In fact

to purchase Breed's Island at this time would be simply paying $250,000 for a site- and not a very desirable nor attractive one for an insane asylum; and, moreover, the expense of preparing the grounds for the institution and beautifying them would be very large.

The location of the Codman Estate, in Dorchester, appears to me to possess advantages vastly superior to either of the other two. It is within the limits of the city, and easily accessible from the central portion. A portion of the grounds is suf ficiently elevated to afford a view, unsurpassed, of Boston Harbor and the surrounding country, the most delightful in the environs of the city. The Mansion House and other buildings now occupying the estate can all be used to good advantage in connection with the hospital building. The land is fertile, and a considerable portion is under a high state of cultivation. The size of the estate, sixty-one acres, nearly equal in area to the Common and Public Garden together, is undoubtedly suf ficient to meet all the present or future wants of such an institution. The first cost of the estate may be large; but upon examination it will be found the cheapest for the city in the end. To bring the same extent of land on the Winthrop Farm into a corresponding state of cultivation with the Codman Estate, would cost far more than the difference between $28,000 and $100,000.

I have not gone into the question of the comparative cost of building and maintaining an institution for the insane, at the different sites named, as the order relates only to the question of location. But as the cost is an important consideration, I will venture to say, that I believe it can be demonstrated, that the same establishment can be erected, and maintained, when completed, at a much less expense at the Codman Estate than upon either the Winthrop Farm or Breed's Island.

Respectfully submitted,



BOSTON, 17th Novem., 1869.


President of the Mass. Medical Society, 24 Marlboro' Street: SIR, An order has been passed by the City Council of Boston, requesting the Board of Directors for Public Institutions to give their opinion, in writing, as to which one of the three sites presented for its consideration, namely, the Winthrop Farm, so-called, Breed's Island, and the Codman Estate, is most suitable for the location of a hospital for the insane.

As a member of the above-named Board, I desire your opinion, as also the opinions of such other members of your society or of your profession as it may be convenient for you to furnish on this matter. I consider the question one of great importance, and am desirous of obtaining the best information I can to assist me in maturing an opinion; and I know of no more competent testimony to be adduced, than that of the society and profession which you represent. Your early attention to this matter will greatly oblige

Yours respectfully,

(Signed) SAM'L C. COBB.

BOSTON, Nov. 22, 1869.

DEAR SIR, — I enclose herewith my opinion, together with the replies of several medical gentlemen to whom it was submitted, according to your request. I may add that these replies were made without any hesitation by every gentleman to whom it was presented.

Respectfully yours,

S. C. COBB, Esq.

(Signed) C. G. PUTNAM.

BOSTON, Nov. 22, 1869.

DEAR SIR,Breed's Island, though for many reasons objectionable, is less so than the bleak and dreary hills of the Winthrop Farm, which besides the difficulty of access, are especially inappropriate for an institution for the treatment of mental diseases. If Boston is to be called upon to provide a hospital, the site of the Codman Estate is most decidedly to be preferred. The situation is healthy, and, while sufficiently retired, is within easy reach of whatever might promote the well-being of the inmates.

Respectfully yours,

S. C. COBB, Esq.

(Signed) C. G. PUTNAM.


BOSTON, Nov. 15, 1869.

DEAR SIR, Being personally familiar with the three locations proposed for the site of an asylum for the insane, I am fully of opinion that the Codman Estate in Dorchester presents advantages superior to the others on the score of salubrity and fitness for the requirements of the insane.



I concur fully in the opinion of Dr. Putnam, as above expressed in regard to the location of the proposed insane asylum. The Winthrop Farm, in my opinion, is not worthy of a thought in comparison of the Codman Estate at Dorchester.


I fully agree with the views expressed by Drs. Putnam and Reynolds.


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