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charitable societies, and partly through a citizens' relief committee specially organized for the purpose. The action of the community in its corporate capacity was contined to the legitimate expenditures authorized by the statutes and to. such coöperation in the way of accelerating the prog. ress of the public works as seemed proper under the circumstances. An open winter favored the prosecution of these works, and it was possible for the first time in some years to continue work upon the parks and sewers throughout the year. No special appropriations were voted, not even under the law of 1874, and no public money was disbursed in this crisis that would not have been in any event expended, except that the Overseers of the Poor received a larger appropriation than usual in the annual appropriation order for 1894-5 for the purposes for which they are authorized by law to expend money.
At a time when State and municipal legislatures all over the country were besought to authorize the undertaking of public works for the sole purpose of furnishing occupation for the unemployed, and to resort to other methods of relief still more direct, it is cause for congratulation that the people of this city were able to meet the crisis and to avert the expected distress without recourse to illegal or unwise uses of the powers of government. Wherever a contrary policy was adopted, it failed, so far as my information goes. The Legislature of the State of New York passed an act authorizing the Park Department of the City of New York to expend $1,000,000 in park construction for relief purposes. It is notorious that this money was largely wasted, so far as its utility for park purposes was concerned, and that it was at the same time of little assistance in relieving the necessities of the poor. The result of the appeals made to the Legislature of this Commonwealth for the relief of the unemployed was the passage of an act authorizing the Metropolitan Park Commission to expend $500,000 in the construction of roadways. Not a dollar of this sum was expended
The final report of the Citizens' Relief Committee is printed as Doc. 197 of 1894.
at the time, or has been since. Instances of the failure of the efforts made last winter to relieve the distress that then prevailed through the creation of work for the unemployed might be multiplied, if space permitted. The knowledge thus gained, taken in connection with the history of the experiments made during the past few years in London and other English towns to avoid the evils of pauperism through the establishment of public works, points to one of two conclusions : either that such efforts are after all unavailing to relieve distress, or that they operate to create the very evil they are intended to prevent.
PAUPER AND PENAL INSTITUTIONS.
These since early in 1889 have been in charge of the Board of Commissioners of Public Institutions, created by chap. 245 of the acts of that year, and consisted in 1891 of the House of Correction, io South Boston ; the House of Industry, the House of Reformation, and the Truant School, at Deer Island; a lunatic hospital, partly in South Boston and partly at Austin Farm ; a home for pauper children, on Marcella street in Roxbury; and three almshouses, on Long and Rainsford Islands and in Charlestown.
Disturbances, finally resulting in open riot, occurred at Deer Island in the latter part of 1891. 'A careful personal investigation satisfied me that those disturbances had been fomented by one of the commissioners and some of the subordinate officers at the island; and these officials were therefore removed, under circumstances more fully set forth in the messages to the City Council of February 5 and February 23, 1892. The ease with which discipline has been maintained among the prisoners from that day to the present seems to be proof conclusive that the right course was followed at the time.
Induced by this occurrence to investigate more carefully the general condition of our public institutions, I soon became convinced that they were one and all suffering from an utter inadequacy of accommodations, as well as from certain defects of management and system largely due to the lack of proper buildings.
The accommodations in the House of Industry at Deer Izland were wholly insufficient for the average number of prisoners there, and the close proximity of this institution to the House of Reformation and Truant School for boys was objectionable in the highest degree. At Long Island there
PAUPER AND PENAL INSTITUTIONS.
was hut one building, constructed in 1885–8 without regard to modern methods of treatment and classification ; and the building at Rainsford Island was still older, and wholly unadapted to the needs of a modern almshouse. The Lunatic Hospital at South Boston was unfit for the care of the insane in every respect, apart from its overcrowded condition. It was opened in 1839, and enlarged in 1846, since which time no money had been expended on it except for ordinary repairs. Some of the inmates were removed to Austin Farm in 1887, but that had furnished no permanent relief.
With the assistance of a Board of Visitors, composed of public-spirited citizens familiar with institutional work, appropriations have been made amounting to $907,500,1 with which 376 additional cells have been provided at Deer Island ; five new buildings for the insane have been erected at Austin Farm ; 774 acres of additional land have been purchased in the vicinity of Austin Farm, and three buildings for the insane erected thereon ; a parental school for boys, consisting of two buildings, has been built on about 29 acres of land purchased in West Roxbury; and several hospitals and a new dormitory have been erected at Long Island.
These buildings are practically complete, and are either already occupied or will be within a few weeks. They will permit the department to concentrate at Long Island? all the paupers entitled under the laws of the Commonwealth to permanent support by the city ; to transport all the truant boys to the beautiful home provided for them in West Roxbury; to devote Deer Island exclusively to the lIouse of Industry and its prisoners ; to remove the House of Reformation for boys to Rainsford Island ; and to remove all the insane patients of the city, not boarded out in the State institutions, to Pierce and Justin Farms in Dorchester.
Or more than the aggregate appropriations of the preceiling twenty years for land and buillings for our public institutions.
2 The Commissioners lave been directed to place the new hospital at Lone Island in charge of a corps of visiting physicians and surgeons, and this assimilate', so far as possible, the management of'this iustitution to that of the city hospital.
The new buildings will also permit the arrangement, separation, and classification of patients upon approved modern theories, and include larger and better hospital accommodations than can, I am satisfied, be found in similar institutions elsewhere in this country.
A large part of the time of the Board of Aldermen has been occupied during the year just closed with an investigation into abuses alleged to exist in these institutions. Investigations by a tribunal which has no power to compel the attendance of witnesses or to administer a binding oath, and to which the most reckless statements can be made without subjecting the witness to the penalties of perjury, are not apt to be fruitful in results. The Board has listened with great patience to every one who had a complaint to bring against the management of the institutions, and has finally exonerated the commissioners from the charges brought against them. This result is, in my opinion, matter for public congratulation, as more vicious and undeserved attacks upon public officers than have at times been made in the course of this investigation have seldom been witnessed in the annals of municipal government.
I would not be understood, however, as condemning the opinions held by the Board of Visitors or by the publicspirited ladies and gentlemen who, if mistakenly, yet honestly, thought that the best way to secure the desired reforms was through a public investigation carried on in advance of the possibility of reform. The reports of the Board of Visitors in 1892 and 1894 contained many valuable suggestions which were promptly acted on by the department, others were found impracticable without additional legislation, and others were impossible of execution until the new buildings were completed. There was no possibility of intro)
1 See message of February 23, 1892, for a fuller discussion of the difficulties surrounding such investigations. The chief practical result of the aldermanic investigation of 1894 has been to postpone for an entire year the filling of the vacancy caused by the resignation of the chairman of the Board, who desired, and in my opinion was entitled to, an opportunity to defend the management of the institutions from the charges brought.