Eastern State Hospital

Eastern State Hospital

Eastern State Hospital

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Eastern State Hospital, located in Williamsburg, Virginia, was the first public facility in the United States constructed solely for the care and treatment of the mentally ill, and remains in operation today.

Francis Fauquier and the Enlightenment

The Royal Governor of the colony of Virginia, Francis Fauquier, addressed the opening session of the House of Burgessess in Williamsburg for the first time on November 6, 1766, since he had dissolved it following the Stamp Act Resolves. He presented the relationship between the Mother Country and the colonists, and expressed high optimism for the future relations between these two parties. Before concluding his speech, he added the following statement:"It is expedient I should also recommend to your Consideration and Humanity a poor unhappy set of People who are deprived of their senses and wander about the Country, terrifying the Rest of their fellow creatures. A legal Confinement, and proper Provision, ought to be appointed for these miserable Objects, who cannot help themselves. Every civilized Country has an Hospital for these People, where they are confined, maintained and attended by able Physicians, to endeavor to restore to them their lost reason."

About a year after this speech was given, Governor Fauquier presented another to the House of Burgess on April 11, 1767 which included:

"There is a subject which gives me concern, on which I......
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