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To the Twentieth General Assembly:
Your committee appointed to visit the Asylum for Feeble-minded children, at Glenwood, respectfully present the following report:
On the 6th and 7th insts. we visited the Asylum and made a 'careful examination of the buildings, grounds, and general management of the Institution, including the expenditure of the money appropri'ated by the last General Assembly. We are of the opinion that the funds so appropriated have all been wisely and economically expended.
There are now employed forty-nine persons to care for the inmates and perform all the duties necessary to the management and control of the Asylum.
The following table shows the names of these persons, the kind of service they severally perform, and the price paid each. All of these employed have their board, fuel, lights and washing, at the expense of the State:
The above list of employes may, to such as have never visited the Institution, seem too large, but your committee are satisfied that no more help is employed than is absolutely necessary. The price paid is really a poor compensation when considering the constant vigil necessary to properly control and care for two hundred and fifty pupils, the number now in the Institution, whose every movement must be directed by some one of the teachers or other employes. These teachers seem inspired with a commendable zeal far beyond that which can be induced by a mere money consideration. Seldom, if ever, is such patience, perseverance and energy manifested as we here witnessed. Your committee are unanimous in the opinion that this Institution should be made perpetual and so enlarged at the earliest possible date as to accommodate all this unfortunate class of imbeciles. This should be done not so much on the theory of charity but on the higher ground of public policy, or, rather public safety The reports show that a large majority of the inmates are congenital mental imbeciles, the very sight of which is really distressing, if not absolutely revolting. We know of no reported case where one such of the class referred to has been cured or materially benefitted by any course of treatment now known to science. To turn out into the world one such, to reproduce its kind, is, in the opinion of the undersigned, not only cruel but a high crime against the true spirit of our laws, both human and divine, and almost certain to visit the present and future generations with untold misery and misfortune.
To advance them intellectually only in a small degree, which is all that can be expected, and then turn them adrift on society only enhances the danger already referred to. Had your committee the remotest idea that such would be the future policy of the State, we would not recommend the appropriation of a single dollar to perpet: uate the Institution, but, on the contrary, would earnestly urge that it at once be abolished as an institution calculated to infuse the most dreadful poison into the veins of our progressive race. Again, whatever advancement may be made in the class just referred to, can in no case be sufficient to qualify them to meet and discharge the duties of life not even so far as to support themselves for any considerable time. When turned out then, or permitted to go from the Institution, which should be their permanent home, they at once become the easy prey of the crafty, the unscrupulous and the vicious, and
sooner or later die of starvation and want, or drift into alms or poor houses. Certain it is, that what little scholastic attainments they may be able to acquire can be of no protection to them, and of but little or no value whatever.
As viewed by your committee then, less time and labor should be expended by way of vainly attempting to instruct them in letters, and more attention given to manual labor and pursuits. Many of them, we think, may be so trained as to in a degree be of service to the State by way of cultivating the farm belonging to the Institution, and producing a large portion of the necessary food that now has to be purchased in the markets. The females should, as far as possible, be instructed and required to do the kitchen and laundry work, nearly all of which is now done by hired help. In this manner the running or ordinary expenses could be, by a few years careful and persistent training, greatly lessened, and with a reasonable amount of cultivatable land might, we think, if properly managed and utilized, place the Institution on a self-supporting basis, or nearly so.
True it is, we think, that the State should adopt a rigorous policy, and quarantine such cases as are hopeless for life, and so increase the capacity of the Institution as to be able to furnish a permanent home for all such as are now there, or may hereafter be admitted. We are led to believe that the commingling of the sexes, of the class last referred to is wholly pernicious, and adds greatly to the care and responsibility, which is certainly very great now, devolving upon those in charge. But to effect this necessary change much more room is required.
The present Superintendent, Dr. Powell, concurs with your committee in the views hereinbefore expressed, and is, as we verily believe, doing all that can possibly be done to advance the best interests of this asylum, and to carry out the spirit and intent of the act that created it. The State may well be congratulated on securing the services of so faithful and able an official.
We have carefully examined the report and recommendations of the Trustees of this Institution, so far as the same relate to appropriations by the General Assembly. They earnestly ask an appropriation of $75,000 to construct a central building, with corridors.
Such a building, as we believe, is absolutely necessary and in fact indispensible, but owing to the pressing demands of some of the other State institutions at this time, we have concluded to reduce the
amount asked and recommend that $60,000 be appropriated and applied to this purpose, and that the same be so expended as to partially complete the building at least and fit it, or the greater portion of it, for occupancy within the present year.
We find the old building formerly occupied as a Soldiers' Orphans' Home sadly out of repair, especially the roof and floors. A better and larger supply of water must be had, and cannot be delayed with safety to the lives of the inmates.
In addition to the $60,000 for the new building referred to, we recommend appropriations as follows:
For school apparatus, $600.
Baths, water closets in new cottages and changing same in old building, $2,500.
Repairing old building, $4,000.
Necessary grading and completing basement story under gymna sium, $4,000.
Enlarging smoke-stack, $200.
By reference to the report of the Trustees it will be seen that the above appropriations recommended by us, are, in the aggregate, many thousands of dollars less than the sum by them asked, not on the ground that they have asked more than is really needed, but on the theory that the State is not prepared to meet all the demands that will be made upon her treasury.
In conclusion permit us to say that the present management is admirable and reflects great credit upon the State, but that it may still be much improved by adopting some, if not all, of the changes herein referred to and recommended, will not, we think, be questioned by any one giving the subject a careful and impartial consideration.
0. M. BARRETT,
On part of the Senate.
On part of the House.