Below is an exert from a doctor at the California State Insane Asylum near Sacramento in 1854.
The institution has received, provided for and had under medical treatment over 300 souls, deprived of their reason and incapable of taking care of themselves. They have been sent to the Asylum in every variety of form and condition, from raving madness and acute delirium to dementia and melancholy, with a slight wandering of the imagina—some from comfortable and luxurious homes : others from jails and prison ships, habitations unfit for beasts, and in many cases ragged, filthy and covered with vermin— in the early and curative stages of the disease, others old and chronic, ' past hope of recovery— some partially conscious of their condition and desirous of admission, others fearful and in dread of confinement and a dungeon —some in early youth and boyhood, others in the sere and yellow leaf— even in extreme old age. A large majority, however, were in the prime vigor and meridian of life, when all the feelings and emotions possess the highest energy and the greatest activity. H To classify correctly— to establish and maintain some degree of order and harmony among such varying, discordant and dangerous' elements among such a mass of shattered intellects, required constant watchfulness and anxiety, and demanded ' unwearied care and attention. And it is with devout gratitude and thankfulness to him who healeth the sick— the Supreme Ruler of I the Universe— that we acknowledge our dependence i in the recovery and restoration of more than one half of these miserable and unhappy beings.