South Carolina - Acts on Education Topics

An Act to Carry Into Operation the Lunatic Asylum.

December 18, 1827

The Statutes at Large of South Carolina - Volume VI, Pages 322-334

I. Be it enacted, by the honorable the Senate and House of Representatives, now met and sitting in General Assembly, and by the authority of the same, That there shall be elected by both branches of the Legislature, nine Regents of the Lunatic Asylum, who shall hold their offices for six years from the day of election, except those who shall be first elected, who shall go out of office according to a ballot to be drawn by the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate, and reported to the Legislature, in the following order, viz : The three Regents whose names are first drawn, shall go out of office at the end of two years from the day of election; the three Regents whose names shall be next drawn, shall go out of office at the end of four years from the day of election; and the remaining Regents shall go out of office at the end of six years from the day of election. The Regents shall be re-eligible. A vacancy in the Regency shall be filled by the other Regents till the next regular Legislative election.

The said Regents, by the name of "The Regency of the Lunatic Asylum of South Carolina," shall form a body corporate in deed and in law, for all the purposes of the said institution, with all the powers incident to corporations; and they shall be, and they are hereby, authorized and empowered to make and establish all rules, regulations and by-laws for the government of the institution; which, when made, shall be reported to the next Legislature for their approval or rejection; but until rejected by the Legislature, shall be in force; to appoint a keeper, and all officers and medical attendants of the institution, which by the said rules shall be provided for, and to remove them from office at their pleasure, and to fix the amount of the salary or emoluments of such keeper, officers or medical attendants. To establish the rate of admission, maintenance and medical attendance of all the subjects of the said institution, providing such rates as shall support the institution without any charge on the treasury of the State; and to expend any surplus income which may be derived from the institution in the two first years in improving the grounds of the Asylum.

It shall be the duty of the Regency to admit as subjects of the institution all idiots, lunatics and epileptics, being citizens of this State, according to the following regulations, and subject to the following conditions, that is to say:

All persons who shall be found idiots or lunatics, by inquisition from the courts of chancery, or on trials in courts of common law, where the court shall order such admission, or where it shall be requested under the hand of the husband or wife, or (where there is no husband or wife,) of the next of kin of the idiot or lunatic.

All persons who shall be declared lunatics, idiots or epileptics, after due examination by one justice of the quorum and two licensed practising physicians of the State, Where the subject is a pauper, the admission shall be at the bequest of the commissioners of the poor of the district, town or parish liable to support such pauper; otherwise, the admission shall be at the request of the husband or wife, or, where there is no husband or wife, of the next of kin of the idiot, lunatic or epileptic.

All idiots and lunatics from any of our sister States shall be admitted, on such evidence of their lunacy or idiocy as the Regents regard sufficient; but no foreign lunatic or idiot shall be admitted or kept in the institution, to the exclusion of subjects being citizens of this State—they shall pay the same rates as citizen subjects.

No lunatic, idiot or epileptic, who are declared fit subjects of the institution, by a justice of the quorum and two physicians, or who shall be sent from a sister State, shall be retained in the institution more than ten days after his admission, except where there shall be entered in the records of the institution an order for his retention, made, after full examination of his state of mind, by the medical attendant or attendants, and not less than three of the Regents; and upon such order being made, it shall be the duty of the secretary of the Regency to make out a certified copy of the declaration of the justice and physicians, and of the order of retention, and immediately send the same to one of the Chancellors of the State, or to one of the Judges of the courts of common law, who shall, thereupon, either in open court, or at chambers, make such order in relation to the custody of the estate of the said subject, as would liave been made, had the proceedings been under a writ de lunatico inquirendo.

No subject shall be admitted into the institution until one half year's expense of maintenance and medical attendance there, shall be paid to the treasurer of the Regency; and a bond and good security shall be given to pay the said expenses half yearly in advance, so long as the subject remains in the institution, and to pay all funeral charges in case of his death; but such bond shall not be required of the commissioners of the poor sending a subject to the institution.

In case the half yearly advances are not paid, the bond shall be immediately put in suit, and no imparlance thereto shall be allowed; and in case commissioners of the poor neglect to pay such advance, the Comptroller-General shall issue his warrant to the tax collector of the district or parish liable to pay the same, requiring him immediately to collect the same, with five per cent, advance thereon, for his commission, from the taxable inhabitants of the district, town or parish liable to support such pauper, on the principles of the general tax of the State.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be the duty of the said Regents to remove from office, and cause to be indicted, any person employed in the said institution, who shall assault any idiot, lunatic or epileptic, or use towards any such idiot, lunatic or epileptic, any other or greater violence than may be necessary for his or her restraint, government or cure.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That whenever any lunatic or epileptic shall have recovered, it shall be the duty of the Regents to discharge him or her from the Asylum.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be the duty of the Regents, hereby directed to be appointed, to report annually to the Legislature the state and condition of the institution, fully and particularly; and they shall also annually report to the Comptroller-General the amount of income of said institution, and the amount of expenditures, and the items thereof.

Whenever a Chancellor or Judge of the court of common pleas shall direct an order to any justice of the quorum, to enquire as to the idiocy, lunacy or epilepsy of any person, it shall be the duty of such justice to call to his assistance two licensed practising physicians, and examine such person, and the evidence of his or her idiocy, lunacy or epilepsy; and if, after full examination, they shall find such person an idiot, lunatic or epileptic, they shall certify to the said Judge or Chancellor whether in their opinion such person is curable or incurable, and whether his enlargement would be harmless or dangerous or annoying to the community; and thereupon, the judge or chancellor, in his discretion, may make an order that the said person shall be sent to the Lunatic Asylum.

When information, on oath, shall be given to any justice of the quorum, that a person is an idiot, lunatic or epileptic, and is chargeable for his support on the district, town or parish, it shall be the duty of such justice forthwith to call to his assistance two licensed practising physicians, and examine the said person, and the evidence of his or her idiocy, lunacy or epilepsy; and if they shall find such person an idiot, lunatic or epileptic, it shall be the duty of the commissioners of the poor of the district, town, or parish, charged with his or her support, to send him or her to the Lunatic Asylum; unless the said justice and physicians shall certify that, in their opinion, he or she is incurable, and that no danger, annoyance or disturbance will result to the community by his or her not being confined in the Asylum.

In the Senate House, the eighteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, and in the fifty-second year of the Independence of the United States of America.

JACOB BOND I'ON, President of the Senate.
JOHN B. O'NEALL, Speaker of the House of Representatives.



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