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To the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
The Trustees of the Institute of the State for the education of the Blind, present their fourth annual Report.
It will be gratifying to the Legislature to observe a continued increase of the number of the afflicted blind of the State, who enjoy the beneficent provisions made by the people for their improvement.
The whole number of pupils, participating in the instruction of the Institute in the past year, has been fifty-two.
Adequate provision has been made for the education of the present number of pupils and of any anticipated increase of the year
The continued fidelity of Mr. W. H. Churchman in superintending and of the other Instructors in the literary department, as well as of those engaged in teaching music and handicraft, and of the Matron, has been attended with gratifying success.
The resignation of Miss Eliza M. Hamilton, whose brief connection with the Institute had given us much hope of her success, was tendered on account of ill health, and accepted.
The valuable services of Miss Editha M. Curtis, as a teacher, have been again secured, she having been necessarily disconnected with the Institute during part of the year.
On account of the large proportion of male scholars, several of whom are young men, the Trustees have been for some time past desirous of procuring the addition of a male teacher of suitable capacity and promise of usefulness; and therefore we availed ourselves of the vacancy occurring, to effect such object. Not having
such a teacher, experienced with the blind, offered to us after inquiry, as was desired, we were gratified in procuring by appointment, the services of Mr. Barnabus M. Fay, who had, for six years, discharged the duties of an Instructor in the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, which is under the charge of Dr. Peet, the distinguished Principal. As the same desire to benefit the afflicted, which led Mr. Fay to engage for so many years in the instruction of mutes, has determined him to devote his life to the improvement of the blind, we have every confidence, from his talents, deportment and whole influence, that he will be a valuable acquisition to the Institute.
We have continued to authorize exhibitions, during the vacation by the acting superintendent, with some of the pupils, which have been given in as many counties of the State, as was practicable. But little expense is thus incurred, and even this would be cheerfully discharged by the citizens, but that it is our direction, that no charitable appeals should be made.
These exhibitions of the attainments of the pupils of the Institute will be successively extended to the various portions of the State, bringing thus, to the friends of the ignorant and helpless blind, convincing proof of their capability of improvement.
As authorized by law, we have applied part of the means intrusted to our charge in the construction of an excellent stone foundation for the main building of the Institute, the plan of which having been adopted, after its examination and approval by the officers of the principal Institutions for the blind in the United States.
Pursuing the settled policy of the Board to invite fair competition in every leading branch of expenditure by receiving public proposals, and to insure the lowest bids which prompt payment will justify by providing for the punctual discharge of every obligation incurred, we have procured the materials and workmanship of approved quality, at very favorable rates.
In this, as in every branch of disbursement, the means are only drawn from the Treasury, in such limited sums as they are needed, and every account has to be allowed by the Board before becoming a charge to the Fund.
It will, we trust, meet the views of the General Assembly to extend such an enlargement of means to this department of the public benevolence, as will permit a progress, in the erection of the main
building for the Institute, such as a regard to the best management of its operations, and to the increasing demands of the blind of the State calls for.
We have for the first time to record the decease of pupils; three of our most promising scholars having died during the past year, not however of disease to be ascribed peculiarly to their residence hereon the contrary, we are well satisfied, that the health of the inmates of the Institute, under the attention faithfully given to their cleanliness, exercise and general habits, is much safer, than it would ordinarily be, at their respective homes.
We cannot forbear to testify to the unwearied care and attention of our excellent Matron, Mrs. Demoss, during the illness of the pupils. She merits and receives, together with the sympathizing teachers and fellow pupils, our warmest commendations.
These sad and repeated providences admonish us of the obligation we owe to the pupils and their friends, that while their hands are trained to useful craft, and their minds to research and perception, they shall be faithfully pointed by those engaged in their instruction, to that gracious Redeemer, whose delight, when upon earth, was to give sight to the blind, and through whom, that eternity, so near to them, may be an eternity of vision and joy,
We add a summary, classifying the objects of expenditure of the year comprised in the Treasurer's statement, herewith submitted :
$1,982 50 1,755 01
649 68 240 18 203 25
Salaries of Superintendent, Teachers and Matron,
164 03 80 00 24 95 91 73 12 75 41 87
Raw material for work department,
1.121 89 341 06 22 00 - 18 00 17 05
Expenses of tour with pupils,..
vation for the same,....
and store room, Miscellaneous improvements and repairs, Discharge of Loan from the Sinking Fund in anticipa
tion of the revenue, Add amount unexpended in hands of Superintendent
Nov. 1, 1850, above the amount of last report,....
901 59 414 01
The attention of the Legislature is invited to the accompanying detailed and comprehensive report of the acting Superintendent, and to the important suggestions therein which merit the careful consideration of the friends of the blind.
GEO. W. MEARS,
JAMES M. RAY,