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WILLIAM TUKE (1732-1822)

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Originally appearing in Volume V27, Page 365 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WILLIAM TUKE (1732-1822) was born at York on the 24th of March 1732. His name is connected with the humane treatment of the insane, for whose care he projected in 1792 the Retreat at York, which became famous as an institution in which a bold attempt was made to manage lunatics without the excessive restraints then regarded as essential. The asylum was entirely under the management of the Society of Friends. Its success led to more stringent legislation in the interests of the insane. His son HENRY TUKE (1755-1814) co-operated with'his father in the reforms at the York Retreat. He was the author of several moral and theological treatises which have been translated into German and French. Henry's son SAMUEL TUKE (1784-1857), born at York on the 31st of July 1784, greatly advanced the cause of the amelioration of the condition of the insane, and devoted himself largely to the York Retreat, the methods of treatment pursued in which he made more widely known by his Description of the Retreat near York, &c. (York, 1813). He also published Practical Hints on the Construction and Economy of Pauper Lunatic Asylums (1815). He died at York on the 14th of October 1857. Samuel's son JAMES HACK TUKE (1819-1896) was born at York on the 13th of September 1819. He was educated at the Friends' school there, and after working for a time in his father's wholesale tea business, became in 1852 a partner in the banking firm of Sharples and Co., and went to live at Hitchin in Hertford-shire. For eighteen years he was treasurer of the Friends' Foreign Mission Association, and for eight years chairman of the Friends' Central Education Board. But he is chiefly remembered for his philanthropic work in Ireland, which was in a great measure the result of a visit to Connaught in 1847, and of the scenes of distress which he there witnessed. In 188o, accompanied by W. E. Forster, he spent two months in the West of Ireland distributing relief which had been privately subscribed by Friends in England. Letters descriptive of the state of things he saw were published in The Times, and in his pamphlet, Irish Distress and its Remedies (188o), he pointed out that Irish distress was due to economic rather than politicaldifficulties, and advocated state-aided land purchase, peasant proprietorship, light railways, government help for the fishing and local industries, and family emigration for the poorest peasants. From 1882 to 1884 he worked continuously in Ireland super-intending the emigration of poor families to the United States and the Colonies. The failure of the potato crop in Ireland in 1885 again called forth Tuke's energy, and on the invitation of the government, aided by public subscription, he purchased and distributed seed potatoes in order to avert a famine. To his reports of this distribution and his letters to The Times, which were reprinted under the title The Condition of Donegal (1889), were due in a great measure the bill passed for the construction of light railways in 1889 and the Irish Land Act which established the Congested Districts Board in 1891. He died on the 13th of January 1896. See Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons (1815-1816) ; Dr Conolly, Treatment of the Insane without Mechanical Restraints (1856) ; Dr Hack Tuke, Chapters in the History of the Insane in the British Isles (1882).
End of Article: WILLIAM TUKE (1732-1822)
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