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Eleven thousand seven hundred and forty-nine messages were despatched during the year over the fire-alarm and police telegraph.
The 6th section of an act entitled "An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the government for the year ending June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and for other purposes," approved July 28, 1866, increased the pay of ihe Metropolitan force $30 per month. It was claimed that the commissioners, secretary, clerks, police magistrates, detectives, police surgeons, and others were entitled to the benefits of the act. My predecessor was of opinion that the term “ Metropolitan force” which occurs in that section must be construed to embrace such persons only as were declared to constitute it by the act of August 6, 1861. The right of the other claimants to the increased compensation was therefore not recognized. I concur in this interpretation, but if it does not, in the opinion of Congress, give full effect to their intentions, a declaratory act will remove the difficulty. Congress, at the last session, authorized the appointment of one captain, twenty sergeants, and fifty patrolmen, but made no provision for their compensation. The entire force, including officers and detectives, consists of two hundred and thirty-eight men. Although active and vigilant, it is not sufficient to meet the exigencies of the service. I respectfully invite the attention of Congress to this subject. The salaries of all persons connected with the office of police commissioners, or subject in any way to their order or control, should be fixed by act of Congress.
The eleventh annual report of the board of visitors of the Government Hospital for the Insane shows that, during the year ending June 30, 1866, there were admitted, from the army, one hundred and thirty-six patients ; from the navy, nine; from civil life, seventy; from the quartermaster's department, three; from the Soldiers' Home, one; rebel prisoners, three; total, two hundred and twenty-two, of whom thirty were colored. The whole number under treatment during the same period was four hundred and eighty-three, of whom three hundred and sixty-two were males; two hundred and sixty-five were from the army and navy. During the same period one hundred and twelve were discharged as reco
covered, twenty-six as improved, and ten as unimproved; fiftyfour died ; leaving under treatment, at the close of the fiscal year, two hundred and eighty-one, of whom one hundred and eighty-five were males. Valuable tables accompany the report, showing the physical and mental condition of those who died, and of those who were received into the institution, during the year; the time of life at which each of the two thousand two hundred and nine patients treated since the opening of the institution became insane; their na. tivity; the form of disease under which they labored when admitted ; the number who paid the expenses of their maintenance and treatment, and the number entitled to gratuitous admission. A singular and interesting fact is established. The instances of the recovery of patients who have been received from the army or navy are by three hundred per cent. more numerous than in the cases of persons who have been admitted from the avocaticns of civil life. This very marked difference in results is attributed to the fact that the former are sent to the hospital immediately on the appearance of symptoms of insanity,
and their treatment is not interrupted or thwarted by injudicious friends. The importance of these two conditions-early entrance and uninterrupted treatment-is fully and ably discussed in the report.
During the year the receipts were one hundred and eleven thousand one hundred and sixty dollars and eighty-four cents, and the expenditures one hundred and seven thousand seventy-nine dollars and ten cents, leaving a balance in the hands of the superintendent of four thousand and eighty-one dollars and seventyfour cents. Estimates are submitted for the next fiscal year by the board of visitors and the superintendent of construction.
My predecessors have alluded in terms of commendation to the management of this institution under the auspices of the eminent professional gentleman who is at its head. It continues with signal success to subserve the great objects for which it was created. It is a noble charity, founded and owned by the government, and worthy, in all respects, of its fostering care.
There have been on the rolls of the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, since July 1, 1865, one hundred and six pupils, of whom seventy-three were males, and thirty-three were females. Ninety-six are now in attendance, of whom twenty are from the District of Columbia, and two are children of persons in the military service of the United States.
During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1866, the receipts for the support of the institution were twenty-six thousand eight hundred and thirty-five dollars and forty-four cents, and the disbursements twenty-six thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight dollars and fifty-eight cents, leaving a balance due to the president of one hundred and fifty-three dollars and fourteen cents.
For the erection of buildings the receipts from appropriations and a small balance on hand were thirty-nine thousand four hundred and ninety dollars and fifty-three cents, and the disbursements were thirty-seven thousand and fiftysix dollars and sixty-eight cents, leaving a balance on hand July 1, 1866, of two thousand four hundred and thirty-three dollars and eighty-five cents.
For the improvement of the grounds there was at the same date an unexpended balance of two thousand two hundred and twenty-two dollars and fortysix cents remaining from the appropriation of three thousand five hundred dollars made for this purpose at the last session of Congress.
The report of the board of directors contains an interesting and instructive comparison of the system of instruction of semi-mutes which prevails in this country with that adopted in Germany. It is proposed to confer upon the pupils the advantages and benefits of each method.
The institution embraces a primary school and the collegiate department. In the former, instruction is confined to the elementary branches. In the latter there is a class for such pupils as evince a desire and an adequate capacity for a more extended and liberal education. On completing the preparatory studies there pursued, and passing a satisfactory examination, they may enter the college proper, where the course comprises the ancient languages, French, German, mathematics, history, metaplıysics, the natural sciences, and the science of government. Such large educational facilities, especially in the more advanced studies, are not afforded in any of the twenty-two excellent asylums for the deaf and dumb now in active operation in the United States. The collegiate and academic departments have been efficiently and successfully conducted by the accomplished president and professors of the institution. It is gratifying to record that many of their pupils manifest an ardent love of knowledge and a high capacity for acquiring it.
This is not a government institution. The United States have no control over it, nor are they vested with the title to the property purchased with their munificient benefactions. It had its origin in the generous purpose of publicspirited individuals to secure a home and the means of intellectual and moral training for the indigent children of this District who were blind or deaf and dumb. At the time this movement was inaugurated, neither Congress nor the local authorities had made special provision for this afflicted class, although asylums had been opened in many of the States for their own citizens, whose infirmities and necessitous circumstances gave a just claim upon public bounty. An association was formed, and, by the act of February 16, 1857, was created a body politic and corporate under the name of the “ Columbia Institution for the instruction of the deaf, dumb, and blind." The Secretary of the Interior is authorized to procure admission to the institution for all of this class of teachable age and indigent circumstances who belong to this District, or are the children of persons in our military or naval service, and to pay $150 per annum for the maintenance and tuition of each pupil admitted by his order.
Congress, by an act approved May 20, 1858, allowed for five years to the institution three thousand dollars per annum for salaries and incidental
expenses. At the expiration of this period four thousand dollars was allowed for this purpose, and successive annual appropriations were made respectively of four thousand four hundred dollars, seven thousand five hundred dollars, and twelve thousand five hundred dollars.
In the mean time the institution desired to be relieved of the care of the blind. The requisite amendment to the charter was obtained. The government beneficiaries of this class are now educated at an institution in an adjoining State.
The directors, in their annual report for 1865, proposed, in lieu of the annual allowance for each government pupil, an appropriation in gross for the support of the institution. Their estimate was twenty thousand seven hundred dollars, which sum was allowed by Congress for the current year.
Congress has appropriated one hundred and thirty-six thousand and sixty-five dollars and eighty-seven cents for the purchase of grounds, the erection of buildings, and other improvements. Deducting from the existing appropriation the sum of three thousand three hundred dollars, to which the institution would have had undoubted claim on account of the twenty-two government pupils, and it appears that Congress, in addition to the payment of the stipulated per capita charges, has advanced to this institution the sum of one hundred and ninety-six thousand eight hundred and sixty-five dollars and eighty-seven cents.
The directors submit the following estimate for the next year: twenty-five thousand dollars for the support of the institution, and sixty-two thousand one hundred and seventy-five dollars for buildings and improvements, making an
aggregate of eighty-seven thousand one hundred and seventy-five dollars, being fifteen thousand two hundred and thirty-five dollars in excess of the last appropriations for the same objects.
The expediency of granting so large a sum is submitted for consideration. If it is the intention of Congress to pay the salaries of the officers and teachers, and to provide merely for those who are entitled under existing laws to the privileges of the institution at the charge of the government, the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars is fully adequate to the purpose. But it has been suggested that the advanced department sbould be maintained on such a footing that the deaf-mutes of the several States, on completing their preliminary studies, may enjoy, free of charge, the privileges of a course of instruction equal to that pursued in the best American colleges. Such persons, if in indigent circumstances, have been heretofore maintained and educated at the State establishments at the expense of the States to which they belong. The directors conceive that an institution which offers advantages “ which cannot be afforded in the local institutions, should be as free to the citizens of the States as to those of the federal District and to children of the army and navy." There is, in my judgment, an obvious distinction between the exercise by Congress of its conceded power to legislate for the local wants of this District, and for the army and navy, and its assumption of a power which has wisely and to the fullest extent been conferred upon the States. No necessity whatever exists for the erection of addi. tional buildings to meet present wants. But should Congress provide for the gratuitous collegiate instruction of the deaf-mutes of the United States, I concur with the directors in the opinion, that accommodations for a hundred students in the college will probably not be " in excess of the demand that will be likely to arise within a few years.”
The whole subject is respectfully presented for consideration, in connection with the estimates furnished by the board. In my opinion no further sums should be advanced until the charter of the institution be so modified as to secure to the government an efficient control in its management, and a proper accountability in the application and disbursement of the funds appropriated.
I desire to bear testiinony to the energetic and faithful manner in which the officers of this department have, since my connection with it, discharged their duties; and I cannot suffer this opportunity to pass, without asserting their just claims to more ample compensation.
The chiefs of bureaus are charged with weighty responsibilities, and required to determine difficult and complicated questions. I am unable to perceive any difference in the relative importance and value of their respective services. Their pay was formerly the same. No one familiar with the subject will pretend that the duties of the Commissioner of Patents are the most difficult and exacting; and yet, by a singular inadvertence, his salary was alone increased. It is now fifty per cent. more than that of the Commissioner of the General Land Ofice, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, or the Commissioner of Pensions, and even exceeds that of the Assistant Secretary, who, in the absence of the Secretary, is exclusively charged with the entire supervision of the department. I am not of opinion that it is too large. Indeed it is less than that of many bureau officers at the seat of government. But I respectfully submit that no such discrimination should be made between officers of the same grade in this department, and that the Assistant Secretary, in view of his official position and arduous duties, should receive a salary less only than that of the head of the department.
The clerks are not adequately paid. Many of them are charged with duties bringing into constant requisition acquirements which are the fruit of long experience and special study. The present salaries were fixed many years ago, and since then the cost of subsistence has increased one hundred per cent. The remuneration of the laborer, the mechanic, and the professional man has, in the intervening time, increased in a corresponding ratio, while that of these valuable public servants remains the same. Those of ripest experience and greatest merit frequently resign, as stronger inducements are offered to them in other pursuits than in the service of the government. The applicants for clerkships are numerons enough, but do not possess the needed capacity for the higher branches of duty. No one, with the most limited experience in an executive department, can, I believe, avoid the conclusion that its efficiency would be largely promoted by a radical change in the organization of its clerical force, and that the increased outlay necessary to secure the services of experienced and skilful clerks would prove in the end to be true economy. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
0. H. BROWNING,
Secretary of the Interior. The PRESIDENT.