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Home - Rules of an Asylum - Insane British - Curious Punishments

General Rules

1. Persons employed in the service of the Asylum will learn that
character, proper deportment, and faithfulness to duty, will alone keep
them in the situations in which they are placed; and they should
consider well, before entering upon service, whether they are prepared
to devote all their time, talents, and efforts, in the discharge of the
duties assigned to them. The Institution will deal in strict good faith
with its employees, and it will expect, in return, prompt, faithful, and
self-denying service.

2. No one can justly take offense when respectfully informed by the
Superintendent, that his or her temperament is better adapted to some
other employment; and those receiving such information should regard it
as kindly given, that they may have opportunity to avoid the
unpleasantness of being discharged.

3. Those employed at the Asylum be expected to hold themselves in
readiness for duty when directed by its officers; and the neglect of any
labor, or duty, on the ground that laboring hours are over, or to
hesitate, after proper direction, on such pretexts, will be regarded as
evidence against the fitness of the employee for the place he or she may

4. It must be remembered by all the employees, that their duties are
peculiar and confidential, and that there is an obvious impropriety in
disclosing the names, peculiarities, or acts of the inmates. It should
never be forgotten that the most cruel wounds may, by imprudent
disclosures, be inflicted on those whose conduct and language, during
their misfortune, should be covered with the veil of deepest secrecy.
Conversations, in relation to the Asylum and its inmates, sought by the
idle and mischievous, should be studiously avoided.

5. All persons employed in the Asylum are required to cultivate a calm
and deliberate method of performing their daily duties--carelessness and
precipitation being never more out of place than in an insane asylum.
Loud talking, hurrying up and down stairs, rude forms of address to one
another, and unsightly styles of dress, are wholly misplaced where
everything should be strictly decorous and orderly.

6. In the management of patients, unvarying kindness must be strictly
observed by all. When spoken to, mild, pleasant and persuasive language
must never give place to authoritative expressions of any kind. All
threats, taunts, or other kinds of abuse in language, are expressly
forbidden. A blow, kick, or any other kind of physical abuse, inflicted
on a patient, will be immediately followed by the dismissal of the
person so offending.

7. Employees having charge of patients outside of the wards, whether for
labor or exercise, will be held responsible for their safe return,
unless, by the direction of an officer they shall be transferred to the
charge of some other person; and when patients employed out of doors
become excited, they must be immediately returned to the wards whence
they were taken, and the fact reported at the office.

8. It will be expected of all employed in or about the Asylum, to check,
as far as possible, all conversations or allusions, on the part of
patients, to subjects of an obscene or improper nature, and remove, when
in their power, false impressions on their minds, respecting their
confinement or management; and any person who shall discover a patient
devising plans for escape, suicide, or violence to others, is enjoined
to report it to an officer without delay.

9. The place of duty of those having charge of patients is in the wards,
or in the yards, or in the garden with the patients. During the day and
while the patients are out of their sleeping apartments, they have no
business in their rooms, except for a momentary errand to adjust their
own clothing; and any employee who shall enter his or her room, and
engage in reading, writing, entertaining visitors, or be otherwise off
duty, will be acting in violation of rule.

10. The employees are not permitted to correspond with the friends of
patients; and all letters or packages to, or from, patients, must pass
through the hands of the Superintendent or Assistant Physician. All
making of dresses, working of embroidery, or any mechanism, for the use
of employees, is prohibited, unless by the special permission of the
Superintendent; and no employee of the Institution shall ever make any
bargain with any patient, or his or her friends, or accept of any fee,
reward or gratuity from any patient, or his or her friends, without the
Superintendent's consent.

11. Employees will not be permitted to leave the Asylum without the
consent of the Superintendent or Assistant Physician, and, when allowed
to leave, they will be expected to return by 9 o'clock P. M.--unless
expressly permitted to remain out longer. Before leaving they must hang
up their keys in the place, in the office, provided for that purpose.
Non-residents will not be permitted to remain in the Institution at
night without the knowledge and consent of the Superintendent or
Assistant Physician.

12. No person will be employed in or about the Asylum who is intemperate
in habits, or who engages in gambling or any other immoral or
disreputable practice; and as the patients are not allowed the use of
tobacco, within the Asylum, the employees are expected not to use it, in
any form, in their presence.

13. While employees are not prohibited from occasionally visiting each
other in their wards, it should never become a habit, and the indulgence
is only allowed in view of the spirit of emulation, which may thus be
encouraged by sometimes inspecting each other's sphere of duty. When it
is discovered that the permission is abused, or that visits are being
spent in idle conversation, it will be held as a violation of rule.

14. The two departments of the Institution--male and female--must always
be separate to its employees, and no person, whose post of duty is
exclusively in the one, shall ever be permitted to enter the other,
unless some express or proper occasion shall demand it; and any one who
shall discover, and not disclose, or who shall in any way encourage, an
acquaintance between two patients, of opposite sex, will be held highly
culpable for such misdemeanor, and will be forthwith dismissed from

15. No employee will be permitted to appropriate to his or her use any
article belonging to the Asylum, or purchased for the use of the
patients, however small or comparatively valueless it may be. From the
salary of the person so offending, the cost of the article will be
deducted, and he or she dismissed from service.

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Previous: Assistant Physician

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