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TO INVESTIGATE THE
CHARITIES AND REFORMATORY INSTITUTIONS
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
Joint Select Committee to Investigate the Charities and Reformatory Institutions in the
District of Columbia.
JAMES MCMILLAN, of Michigan,
From the Senate.
MAHLON PITNEY, of New Jersey,
From the House of Representatives.
CHARLES MOORE, of Michigan,
CHARITIES AND REFORMATORY INSTITUTIONS IN THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
March 21, 1898.-Ordered to be printed.
Mr. Faulkner (for Mr. McMillan), from the Joint Select Committee to
Investigate the Charities and Reformatory Institutions in the Dis. trict of Columbia, submitted the following
The Joint Select Committee to Investigate the Charities and Reformatory Institutions in the District of Columbia was organized February 21, 1897, under authority contained in the District of Columbia appropriation acts approved June 11, 1896, and March 3, 1897, as follows:
That a joint select committee is hereby authorized, to consist of three Senators to be appointed by the presiding officer of the Senate, and three Members of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker of the House, which select committee shall make investigation of the charities and reformatory institutions of the District of Columbia, and especially of those for which appropriations are made by this act, as respects their relations to the governmeņt of the District of Columbia and to the United States, whether by special charter or otherwise, their efficiency, their management and resources, whether by appropriations, investments, or otherwise, and also what portion, if any, of appropriations heretofore made to them have been used for the purpose of maintaining or aiding, by payment for services, expenses, or otherwise, any church or religious denomination or any institution or society which is under sectarian or ecclesiastical control; whether such charitable or reformatory institutions are effective and economical in their organization, methods, and expenditure to provide for the poor and destitute in the District of Columbia; whether it is practicable for the Commissioners or other authority in the District to make contracts or to otherwise provide for such care of the poor and destitute with any of said institutions, and if so, which of them and to what extent, within the limitations of the policy herein before declared; and if not, the probable expense of providing and maintaining public institutions for such purpose.
Said committee shall make report as soon as practicable after the beginning of the next session of the present Congress, including in such report any changes by them deemed advisable as respects the methods of dealing with the charities and the reformatory institutions of said District.
Said committee is authorized to sit during the recess, and the necessary expenses of the committee, including clerical and stenographic work, shall be paid out of the contingent funds of the Senate and House of Representatives, jointly, on the certificate of the chairman of the committee.-Act of June 11, 1896.
That the joint select committee, authorized by the act making appropriations for the expenses of the government of the District of Columbia for the fiscal year onding June thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven, to make inquiry and report concerning the charities and reformatory institutions of the District of Columbia, are hereby continued during the Fifty-fifth Congress, with all the powers and duties imposed upon them by said act. And any vacancies which may occur in the membership of said committee by expiration of service or otherwise of any Senator shall be filled by appointment by the presiding officer of the Senate, and any vacancies which may occur by reasou of the expiration of service of any House members of said committee shall be filleil by appointment to be made by the Speaker of the present House of Representatives from Members-elect to the House of Representatives of the Fiftyfifth Congress; and any vacancies which may occur by reason of death or resignation of any House member shall be tilled by appointment to be made by the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the time being; and said committee shall have authority to sit during the recess, and shall make report as soon as practicable after the beginning of the first session of the Fifty-fifth Congress: Provided, That the clerk designated by the committee may be
for clerical services such compensation as may be fixed by the committee in addition to any salary he may be receiving.Act of March 3, 1897.
The committee having been organized began a series of eleven hearings according to a schedule designed to cover the entire question of charities in the District of Columbia. The testimony taken at these hearings, together with the replies of the mayors of a considerable number of the more important cities in the United States, made in reply to questions addressed to them as to appropriations to private and sectarian institutions, was submitted to Congress on July 21, 1897, and was printed as Senate Document No. 185, Fifty-fifth Congress, first session.
Subsequently the committee pursued its investigations into the history of the various charitable institutions, as required by the provisions of the acts above adverted to. The information thus obtained will shortly be submitted to the Senate and House of Representatives.
The following report aims to reply to such questions as were not covered by the two previous publications and to present the recommendations of the committee as to the proper organization of District of Columbia charities,
As supplementing this report the committee submits the following appendices:
A. Report on the hospitals of the District of Columbia, by Dr. Henry M. Hurd, superintendent of the Johns Hopkins Hospital at Baltimore, Md., and Dr. John B. Chapin, physician in chief and superintendent of the department for the insane of the Pennsylvania Hospital at Philadelphia, Pa.
B. Letter from the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, relative to the administration of hospitals.
C. Report of Dr. William C. Woodward, health officer of the District of Columbia, on the sanitary condition of charitable institutions.
D. Report of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia as to the property of charitable institutions exempt from taxation.
E. Report of the sanitary officer of the Metropolitan police as to the number of sick and indigent persons sent to the several hospitals and asylums from 1878 to 1897, inclusive.
F. Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, showing the appropriations made by Congress for charitable purposes from June 30, 1876, to June 30, 1898.
THE BEGINNINGS OF DISTRICT INSTITUTIONS.
At the beginning of its investigation the committee was confronted by the fact that there has never been any organization of District charities. Each institution has been founded to meet some need more or less pressing. As a rule, the institutions so established were founded without expectation of Congressional aid and were maintained for a longer or shorter time by the contributions of philanthropic and benevolent citizens of the District. When the zeal of the founders cooled, or when the institution had developed a constituency greater than private contributions could care for, appeals were made to Congress for aid, and these appeals met with such a response, that at the present time there are in almost every branch of charity several organizations, each aiming to do essentially the same work, but unfortunately no one of which is adequately supported.
Owing also to the lack of cooperation among the institutions themselves and the necessity of securing the means for supporting even a limited amount of work, it has been impossible in most instances to carry out progressive ideas, and as a result the charities of the District are far behind those in operation in other communities. The blame for this state of affairs does not rest primarily with the institutions themselves, for in almost every instance the organizations present records of self-sacrifice on the part of individuals and of real devotion to the cause of charity.
Indeed, considering the peculiar conditions affecting the District of Columbia, conditions involving a comparatively short residence on the part of so many people, and also the large influx to the capital city of persons who have no real claim to the charity of the residents, the committee has been surprised to find an amount of public spirit and private benevolence which it would be difficult to surpass in communities where wealth is greater and where the time of residence of the individual citizen has been much longer.
Moreover, the fact that Washington as a residence city is every year attracting persons of wealth and leisure from all parts of the United States, and the active and intelligent interest many of these people are taking in District philanthropy, make it fair to assume that the amount of money available for charity in the District of Columbia will increase considerably with every year, provided only some system can be arranged by which individuals can be interested in the various charitable works,