Stevens 1884-08-31

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Rain all day, the congregations being, in consequence, very small. Took Boys’ School morning and afternoon, Mr Elley being away for his holiday.

Miss Maria Dix signified to me her extreme dissatisfaction with the sending of Sally Green to the Lunatic Asylum, so did Miss Sarah. Miss Dix is away. They did not apparently know that I had had anything to do with it but appeared to forget that it was less cruel to deprive a poor lunatic of her liberty than to leave her free to endanger herself and others – and that the constant violation of decency and order could not be tolerated. I afterwards wrote a note to Maria Dix saying that though I was not responsible for placing her in the Lunatic Asylum I was willing to take all responsibility as I thought it important that society should be protected against the recurrence of the scandals she had created and that she should be protected against herself. That she had been guilty of such conduct as, in a sane person, would cause her to be sent to prison, and that it was much better she should be removed by Bonner as she was than that she should be taken before the magistrates by a policeman. That the magistrate who had signed the order for her removal would not have done so without being quite satisfied as to her condition and the necessity for her seclusion. Moreover, I added, the inhabitants of Sibford owed a debt of gratitude to those public officers who had performed an unpleasant task in the kindest possible manner.

Miss M. Dix wrote me a very nice note in reply: for I told her that I felt hurt that she should think I could be guilty of allowing any poor woman of my parish to be treated with harshness and cruelty if it was possible for me to prevent it.