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February 11, 1831.


Of the committee on medical societies and colleges on the memorial and petition of the New-York Dispensary.

The committee on medical societies and colleges, to whom was referred the memorial and petition of the New-York Dispensary,


The New-York Dispensary was established in the year 1790, by a number of benevolent citizens, for the purpose of relieving such sick poor and indigent persons, as were unable to procure medical assistance, and derives its whole support from the donations of the humane and liberal, and they have gradually extended their acts of mercy to all who have applied, as far as their limited means would


The Legislature, in 1795, passed an act conferring upon them the usual corporate privileges, and from that time to the present, they have regularly dispensed medical aid and advice to the children of poverty and wretchedness of every description.

The business of the dispensary has, until very recently, been conducted in a small and inconvenient building, with but one room, into which were very frequently crowded patients of every description under almost every variety of disease, producing many times perplexities and difficulties which could in no ways be obviated but by more enlarged and commodious apartments. They have, therefore, the past season erected a building suited to their wants and necessities, and have, from the sale of their stocks, and the lib

[A. No. 158.] 1

eral donations of the city corporation and humane individuals, been enabled, in a great measure, to pay for the same, in which the business of the dispensary is now transacted, which will enable them to extend their usefulness and humanity.

It appears to your committee from the memorial and annual report of the trustees, that but little less than twenty thousand persens have been prescribed for, and experienced the benefits of this institution the past year, and that ninety thousand persons, with all the variety of diseases, to which man is subject, have been more or less the subjects of the dispensary. And it also appears that great numbers of those who receive this aid are foreigners, arriving in this country without the means of support, and who having paid hospital money, present their claims on the dispensary, as if it derived aid from that fund, and although as the petitioners state, and your committee verily believe, no aid from that or any other fund belonging to the state has ever been bestowed upon them, yet the applicants have in all cases enjoyed the benefits of the institution equally with our own citizens; being thus restored to health, and unoppressed with debt to which their sickness would otherwise have subjected them, they have oftentimes become industrious and useful citizens:

It appears also that the New-York dispensary has afforded much benefit to the country in arresting the contagion of that most loathsome disease, the small pox, for it is one of their regulations to visit every house in the city, and offer gratuitous vaccination to all, at least once in the winter of every year, by which many evil consequences to community have been prevented, at the same time affording genuine matter to all who may apply.

Your committee are of opinion that the dispensary ranks among the first of charitable institutions of the city and state, affording relief to thousands, in arresting contagion, and as a school of medicine for young practitioners, all of which are public benefits, and while other and not more deserving charitable associations have experienced the liberal bounty of the state, the prayer of the petitioners ought not to be overlooked, but that they should in some measure be relieved from their present embarrassments consequent to the erection of their buildings, and the increasing demand of the institution. If it be the duty of humanity to relieve the distresses and evils incident to Poverty, how much stronger are its claims when to these evils are

added the pains and sufferings of sickness and disease in all their complicated forms.

Under these considerations, your committee are impressed with a belief that the prayer of the petitioners ought to be granted, and have therefore instructed their chairman to ask leave to introduce a bill.

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