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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE
DEAF, DUMB, BLIND AND INSANE.
To his Excellency, the Governor of the State of Vermont :
'The Commissioners for the instruction of the deaf, dumb and blind for the year 1842, respectfully submit the following report.
Within the year ending on the 14th of May last, there were at the American Asylum for the deaf and dumb, twenty-two beneficiaries from this state who had been admitted by former boards of commissioners; of which number, during that year four completed their terms of admission and were discharged; two have left the institution and one other deceased.
At the meetings of our board in February and May last, we gave warrants of admission to four, as bereficiaries, three of whom are now under instruction; we have also extended the terms of two former beneficiaries two years. During the recent vacation of the Asylum one other of our pupils deceased, reducing the number of our beneficiaries at the insti. tution at the commencement of the present term, to seventeen. Your commissioners have drawn upon the Treasury for the payment of the semi-annual bills of the Asylum to the amount of $2207 14, also $ 15 for the expense of trans. porting one of the beneficiaries to the Asylum,
Your Commissioners further report, that at the commencement of the present year there were four beneficiaries at the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the blind, who had been admitted by former boards. Of this number one has since completed her term and been discharged. We have admitted to the Asylum the present year four pupils for instruction, three of whom have entered the institution. We have also admitted one to the work department, and have extended the terms of two others for one and two years.
We have drawn upon the Treasury to meet the bill of the
institution for the year ending April 1, 1842, the amount of $654 94, but having discovered an error in the bill for the amount of $66 65, we have placed that amount to the credit of the state, which reduces the expenses for our blind beneficiaries for the present year to $588 09.
Your Commissioners further report, that in the appropriation of the fund for the support of the insane poor, in pursuance of an act of the Legislature of the last session, we found the duties and responsibilities of the office much increased. As the fund appropriated by the act was insufficient to meet all the cases that were reported to us, it became our duty to select, out of more than one hundred cases which were reported, such as appeared to us to be the most meritorious objects of public charity. In this view, having consulted with Dr. Rockwell, the superintendent of the Vermont Asylum, and made such other investigation as we were able, we were led to the conclusion that we ought generally to afford aid to those poor persons whose insanity had been of the shortest duration. Regarding insanity as a disease, which like all others, will more readily yield to early medical treatment, we believed that by granting aid to this class we should in most instances furnish the means of a speedy restoration to health, while we could generally do little more than to add to the comfort and convenience of those whose insanity had by long continuance, become confirmed and hopeless. In the one case, the appropriation would subserve the purposes of state charity by granting relief to the unfortunate individuals, while in the other, we should do little more than to relieve the towns of a portion of their public burthens. In carrying out this design we have granted aid in a few cases to those who have for a long time been afflicted with only occasional or partial insanity where improvement and recovery might be expected.
Of all the cases reported to us, we have designated twenty. four as beneficiaries. Of that number four have since recovered and been discharged; one other has since been discharged. One other has been discharged who was improved, nine are convalescing, four are improving, and six are stationary.
The persons thus designated by us, were placed in the Vermont Asylum for the insane, by contract with the trustees, at the rate of one dollar and fifty cents per week. The semi-annual bill of the asylum against the state will be about $678. And we have drawn upon the treasury for $20 to
meet the expense of transporting one of the insane persons to the Asylum.
Your commissioners here take occasion to express their high regard for this institution, and particularly for Dr. Rockwell, its distinguished superintendent, in whose scientific skill, humanity and persevering faithfulness, they have the utmost confidence.
By the provisions of the existing law, it is the duty of the board of civil authority, annually to report to the commissioners, all the cases of the deaf, dumb, blind and insane within their respective towns. From our experience in respects to these provisions, we deem it our duty to suggest the propriety of an alteration of the law, by which it should be the duty of the selectmen in each town, to report to the commissioners, or some one of them, all recent cases of insanity occuring between the annual meetings of the civil authority as often as they occur.
We think this more especially important in respect to cases of insanity, wherein effectual relief can rarely be afforded, except in the earliest stages of the disease. This immediate attention cannot be secured by the provisions of the present law, which merely brings such cases annually to the knowledge of the commissioners. All which is respectfully submitted, by
HENRY STOWELL, )
O. P. CHANDLER,
To the Hon. the General Assembly of the State of Vermont :
The Trustees of the Vermont Asylum for the Insane res. pectfully submit their sixth annual report :
Since the last annual report, the new wing has been completed,which has furnished additional accommodations and has increased our facilities for a better classification of the patients. . Large and well ventilated halls, neat and pleasant sleeping., rooms, a plenty of pure water, and kind and faithful attendants are furnished the establishment, and every thing is supplied to promote the comfort of the unfortunate inmates.- . The trustees confidently believe that this institution now possesses all the facilities for restoration, which can be found at any similar institution in our country.
The institution has now been nearly six years in successful operation. During this time four hundred and twenty-four insane persons have partaken of its advantages. Three hundred and eleven have been discharged, and one hundred and thirteen now remain in the institution. Of those who have been discharged, one hundred and seventy-nine have been restored to their reason and usefulnes. Many of the others, who had been confined in cages and chains, have become mild and greatly improved in their habits, and now partake of the comforts of life.
Since the first opening of the Asylum, notwithstanding the embarrassments peculiar to the commencement of all similar institutions, no serious accident whatever has ever happened to any one (patient or otherwise,) connected with the establishment. And, notwithstanding the large number of suicidal cases which have been adınitted, artfully seeking every opportunity for self-destruction which a morbidly excited ingenuity could invent, we have thus far escaped the melancholly event of suicide. For a watchfulness and care, so vigilant and unremitting, great credit is due to those to whose charge they were committed.
We are gratified that we have so healthy a location. The climate is mild, and the mountain air is salubrious. Since the first opening of the institution, notwithstanding the severe
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