This section is from the "The Subvention In The State Finances Of Pennsylvania" book, by Frederic B. Garver.
In the case of the Institution for the Blind, as can be seen from the table on page 48, the tendency of private giving was just the opposite. As the school grew older and the state appropriation increased, the income from legacies and from donations also increased, both absolutely and proportionately. A large part of this income was, however, derived from the benefactions of a single man,30 and the benevolent interest of one wealthy patron is by no means so significant as the growth of indifference on the part of the general public. The conclusion that may be drawn from the experiences of both schools relative to the effect of state support upon private giving is, therefore, a negative one. As far as the evidence goes it does not show that private giving was greatly discouraged by the introduction of state aid.
The state did not have a share in the management of either institution commensurate with its contributions. The managers and the officers of both were elected or appointed by the subscribers, and no state administrative officer had, during this early period, any voice in the management. This statement applies not only to the methods of instruction employed, but also to financial arrangements and to the selection of the personnel of the official staffs. Both institutions were required to make an annual report to the legislature, but so meager was this document that it cannot be regarded as furnishing that body with satisfactory information as to actual administration. It consisted of only a few pages devoted to a financial statement and a brief outline of the instructional policy of the school, together with a list of the pupils and numerous self-laudatory passages for the consumption of the members of the General Assembly.
Not only was state control quite lacking with regard to the educational policy of both schools, but formal audit of their accounts by a representative of the state was also absent. The central government not only expended money for services, the standards of which it could not control, but it also contributed that money for the support of the schools under such defective arrangements that misapplication could not have been prevented. Despite this lack of audit by authorities representing the state, there seems to be no evidence that these funds were not faithfully applied for the benefit of the indigent state pupils and to serve such other purposes as the legislature designated.
See Annual Report (1841), p. 5.
Relief of the second class of indigents, neglected and abused children, was carried on during this period, for the most part, without contribution from the state. There were two excepions to this general policy. In 1838, after the General Assembly had become recklessly extravagant in expending the revenue derived from the chartering of the Bank of the United States and from the deposit of the surplus federal revenue, an act was passed granting to the president and managers of the Orphan Asylum Society of Pittsburg and Allegheny, $1,000 annually for ten years. *31 This amount was to be paid out of the dividends on stock owned by the state in the Allegheny Bridge Company. At the same session the Orphan Asylum of Lancaster received a grant similar in amount and duration. *32 These subsidies were practically unconditional grants without audit or control. Both grants were discontinued when financial disaster overtook the state. Had the treasury continued prosperous, it is probable that a considerable number of such subsidies would have arisen at this early date. This conjecture is supported by an act passed by the legislature in 1838, which authorized a subsidy of $25,000 to the Western Pennsylvania Hospital Society (of Pittsburg), on condition that a similar amount should be subscribed by the people of Pittsburg. *33
Another type of local service receiving aid from the state during this period, while not strictly a form of charitable relief, had also to do with the provision of proper environment and training for neglected children. Investigations about 1824 had shown that the local jails and prisons contained many juvenile offenders and incorrigible children, who, instead of receiving elementary education and training in a trade, were in many cases becoming professional criminals. In response to a local demand the legislature in 1826 incorporated subscribers to establish an institution in Philadelphia for the reformation of juvenile delinquents. *34 The purpose of the institution was to provide moral training, instruction in elementary branches, and knowledge of a trade or occupation for such children as were committed to its care. *35
31 Act 14 Feb., 1838, P.L. p. 12.
32 Act 4 April, 1838, P.L. pp. 264-265. This was another section of the act which provided for the incorporation of the Lancaster orphanage.
33 Idem, pp. 263-264. The Hospital was to be governed by a board of nine managers, three of whom were to be elected by the stockholders, three appointed by the mayor and common council of Pittsburg, and three by the governor of the state. The hospital was designed to serve the "destitute, sick and insane of Western Pennsylvania. " No record of any payment to this society can be discovered in the reports of the Auditor General, and since the grant was not repealed, it may be assumed that the local subscription failed to materialize.
34 Act 23 March, 1826, P.L. p. 134.