The Asylum’s preference for recent, curable patients fit into contemporary medical theories about types of insanity. Johann Spurzheim, a leading expert on insanity whose works were available to the managers of the Asylum, wrote that insanity was, “the incapacity of distinguishing the diseased functions of the mind, and the irresistibility of our actions” (53). Within that definition, Spurzheim argued that the traditional medical distinctions between mania and melancholy as types of insanity were false. He divided insanity into other categories, such as idiotism and fatuity. Spurzheim defined idiotism as “the diseased inactivity of any faculty of the mind since birth,” and fatuity as the type of insanity that occurred when patients lost their minds later in life (72). Bonsall used the terms similarly at the Asylum. People who suffered from idiotism were thought to be very unlikely to recover, and Bonsall employed the word “fatuity” to refer to the state of patients who were not expected to recover. He also distinguished “idiots” as outside of the scope of the Asylum.