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There may be objections to the mingling of the two classes; but we believe the Principal, Matron and teachers have as yet succeeded well in surmounting the difficulties (if any) incident thereto; and if this Institution succeeds in thus educating the two classes, it can be done at much less expense than in two separate institutions.
For the manner of conducting the schools in the different departments, the division of classes, number of pupils, branches taught, and for much other valuable and interesting information in regard to the education of the pupils and the general interests of the Asylum, the Board would refer to the very able report of the Rev. B. M. Fay, Prin. cipal of the Asylum, which report is hereto annexed.
It is believed by the Board that the best interests of the pupils demand that they should not only have the mind as thoroughly educated as their unfortunate condition will permit, for the time they may remain in the Institution; but that each one should, so far as practicable, be taught some method of obtaining by honest industry a livelihood. Especially is this necessary for the blind pupils. In other similar institutions, this latter class is taught to manufacture wagons, baskets, paper boxes, &c., and some of them to weave mats and carpets, and to make many other useful articles. The Board fully agree with the views of the Principal, as contained in his report, as to the necessity of having the pupils learn some trade or handicraft, and regret exceedingly their inability, in consequence of the want of room, to make any provision by which the pupils can learn a trade; nor can this evil be remedied until a portion of the main building and wings are completed, and the heating and ventilating apparatus put in operation ; so that the basement of the school-wing, now occupied for store-rooms, culinary purposes, &c., may be converted into work-shops, as intended by the Board.
Until these things are done, the pupils are losing an important part of their education. They should go from this Institution, Providence permitting—self-reliant-feeling fully competent to obtain by their own hands, and by their own perseverance and industry, an honest livelihood-unwilling that the State, after making provision for their education in the Institution, should thereafter be compelled either directly or indirectly to contribute anything further to their support. They should go out from this Institution with well-formed habits of industry, properly directedthen will they be prepared to encounter successfully the ordinary difficulties of life, and to support themselves without any further charge to the State.
Without the appropriation asked for, and so much needed, the designs of the Institution can only be carried out in part, and that part only extended to a limited number of pupils; for it will be seen by the report of the Principal, that there are at present more pupils in the Institution than can be comfortably accommodated; and should others now apply for admission, he thinks they should be rejected until more room is prepared in the institution. The Board would urge these views and facts as additional reasons why the appropriations asked for, should be granted.
It is well known that the original estimates of the ex. pense of erecting public buildings have usually proved to be far short of the amount actually expended. It will be seen, however, from the report of the acting Commissioner,
, that in the erection and completion of the Asylum Buildings, it is intended to keep within the estimates originally made, notwithstanding the increase of expense in changing the plan of the buildings is about nine thousand dollars.
Economy and utility, as well as architectural taste, have been the study of the acting Commissioner; and the Board invite the closest scrutiny into the manner the money
of the public has been expended, as well as an examination of the vouchers rendered.
In closing this report, the Board deem it their duty to bear testimony to the general good management of the
pupils in the institution. They believe that the Principal
Board of Trustees. December 1. 1858.
To the Board of Trustees of the Michigan Asylum for the
Deaf and Dumb and the Blind: Although having submitted to you, on the first of January, a. D. 1858, a report of the commencement and progress of the main building and connecting wings of the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, yet, as the last appropriation was made nearly two years since, and was to be expended, a part during the year 1857, and a part during the year 1858, it seems proper that a report that is to be submitted to the newly elected Governor, and also to the newly elected Legislature, should contain a full history of the commencement and progress of the work for which the appropriation was made, and the manner in which it has been expended.
As reported January 1st, 1858, “Upon commencing the erection of the main building for said Asylum, it was deemed advisable to visit the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, which had been recently finished upon a plan similar to the one upon which ours was to be erected.
“Upon visiting said Institution, it was found that a basement was finished under the whole building, which was so used and occupied as to render it an indispensable part of the building, as without it there would be no place for bath-rooms, washing-rooms, ironing and drying-rooms, storerooms, &c., and that, for many other purposes, room could be procured in that way at much less expense than in any