Sunday, August 22, 2010

Conflict with a Madman

From: Brooklyn Independent, 18 June 1870, page 2, column 4:

Conflict with a Madman


John Glassbrook, an insane man, has been confined since Saturday in the City Prison, awaiting examination by the Lunacy Commissioners preparatory to being sent to the Stockton Asylum. Sunday, while in one of the cells with a Chinaman, he was seized with an unusually violent attack, which vented itself in a furious assault on his companion. The prison keeper ran to the cell, but neither he nor his assistants dared to go to the Chinaman's rescue, so violent was the madman's rage and so dangerous did he appear. Finally a young man named Mellon entered the cell, and after a severe contest, in which he was several times bitten and scratched, succeeded in overpowering the maniac so that the others could come to his assistance. Several policemen were called in and a straight waistcoat was put on him and his struggles controlled. The Chinaman was quite severely injured. Glassbrook imagines it his duty to die as soon as possible, in as close proximity to the American flag as he can conveniently attain, and with this object in view is incessantly calling for one to hang up in his cell, in order that he may decently expire beneath it. He wrote an order for half a dozen American flags, a cigar and a cup of coffee, and gave it to a turnkey with directions to procure the articles at once. Two mild Chinese lunatics, who were confined in the same cell with him had a warm time of it; he seemed to be persuaded that the American flag was in their blankets, and no sooner had they satisfied him of his mistake than he rooted them out from under them again and yelled wildly for three cheers for the flag. He will be sent to the Asylum as soon as possible. --SF Bulletin

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