On April 11th, 1767, Royal Governor of the colony of Virginia, Francis Fauquier, addressed Virginia’s House of Burgesses:The subject I mean is the case of the poor lunatics. I find on your journals that it was Resolved, That an hospital be erected for the reception of persons who are so unhappy as to be deprived of their reason; And that it was Ordered, that the Committee of Propositions and Grievances do prepare and bring in a bill pursuant to the above resolution. But I do not find that any thing more was done in it. It was a measure which I think could offend no party, and which I was in hopes humanity would have dictated to every man, as soon as he was made acquainted with the call for it. It also concerns me much on another account; for as the case now stands, I am as it were compelled to the daily commission of an illegal act, by confining without my authority, a poor lunatic, who, if set at liberty, would be mischievous to society; and I would choose to be bound by, and observant of, the laws of the country. As I think this is a point of some importance to the ease and comfort of the whole community, as well as a point of charity to the unhappy objects, I shall again recommend it to you at your next meeting; when I hope, after mature reflection, it will be found to be more worth your attention than it has been in this.”
This speech led to creation of Eastern State Hospital, pictured above. Located in Williamsburg, VirginiaIt became the first public facility in the United States built solely for tending the mentally ill. It opened on October 12th, 1773. This led to a new movement where facilities opened where the mentally ill could be treated for their illness. Francis Fauquier died before its opening, but Eastern State Hospital (not to be confused with Eastern State Penitentiary) remained a force in the treatment in the mental health field until 1935, when the facility was moved from the outskirts of Williamsburg, Virginia.