Philippe Pinel, a French physician, born at the chateau de Rascas, near Lavaur, Langue-doc, April 25, 1745, died in Paris, Oct. 26, 1826. He was the son of a physician, and studied in several colleges, supporting himself meanwhile by private teaching. In 1778 he went to Paris, where he gave lessons in mathematics, and wrote for the medical and philosophical journals. His proposal for a new classification of animals, based on the formation of the jaw bone, gave him much reputa-. tion. In 1785, taking charge of a private asylum for the insane, he tried with success for six years the substitution of gentle measures for the harshness then almost universally practised. In 1791 he obtained a prize from the society of medicine for the best essay on the treatment of insanity (Traite medico-pMloso-phique sur Valienation mentale), and in 1792 was appointed physician of the Bicetre, which was a prison, almshouse, hospital, lunatic asylum, and nursery, all in one, the different classes of inmates mingling with one another. It was crowded almost beyond endurance, and in bad condition. All the arrangements of the asylum were changed by Pinel. Cruelty had rendered the insane patients so ferocious that no one durst set them at liberty.
The number of cures he accomplished, even among these chronic cases, astonished the profession; and his method of treatment has been adopted in all civilized countries. . (See Insanity, vol. ix., p. 298.) In 1795 he was transferred to the Salpetriere, a similar institution for females. His writings on diseases of the mind gave the first decided impulse to the proper investigation of insanity. His work on the classification of diseases (La nosographie philosophique, 1798) was almost equally famous. Besides the works already named, he was the author of many treatises on insanity and cognate topics, and several on subjects connected with animal mechanics.