As was pointed out in Chapter III, the first attempt on the part of the state to provide special treatment for defectives resulted in the establishment of the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. This school was established at Philadelphia, with state aid, in 1821 . *20 The policy inaugurated in dealing with it was continued throughout the period 1826 to 1844.

The Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, which was incorporated in 1834, *21 was, with respect to its general purpose, modeled after the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. The former school had its beginning in the work of a German, Julius R. Friedlander, who with the support of local philanthropy had begun to instruct the blind in Philadelphia as early as 1832. *22 The school was aided by many people of that city, and in 1834 the state agreed to contribute to its support. As in the case of the earlier institution for defectives, the school for the blind probably gained much financial support by being largely educational in character. The fact that it was situated in the only large city of the state and had the approval of the charitably inclined of that city must have contributed to its success in obtaining aid from the legislature. But more potent than any of these facts was the offer of individuals to contribute to its permanent support. The policy of assisting academies and colleges was well established; and in appropriating money for the aid of a school that was assisted by contributions from individuals the legislature was not making an entirely new departure. Then too, the grant to the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, established in 1821, constituted a precedent had one been needed.

The Institution for the Blind was liberally dealt with when the sub-subscribers were incorporated in 1834. An unconditional grant of $10,000 was made to the corporation to aid in constructing a permanent home; and a further payment of $10,000 was to be made from the state treasury if the managers were able to raise in cash, by private subscription, $20,000 for an endowment. The state also agreed to pay annually $160 for the training of each indigent pupil who was a resident of Pennsylvania. Three conditions were placed upon this annual subsidy: the total payment by the state was not to exceed $9,000 annually; no pupil could remain in the school at state expense for a longer period than six years; and the duration of the subsidy was limited to six years. The last provision may have been inserted to indicate that after that period, the institution should be compelled to depend upon private benefactions. It is more likely, however, that it was intended to prevent the appro priation from becoming permanent without further legislative action. The limitation of the subsidy to $9,000 annually was obviously for the purpose of fixing an upper limit to the state's responsibility; while the provision concerning the length of time a pupil might remain at the school at state expense, indicates clearly the educational character of the institution; it was not to become a state home for the blind.

20 See supra, p. 31.

21 Act 27 January, 1834, P.L. pp. 16-18.

22 Wickersham, p. 444.

Table I in the Appendix shows the trend of the grants to the Institution for the Blind and to the school for the deaf and dumb. The amount appropriated by the Assembly did not, of course, fluctuate so much over short periods as the table indicates, since the statistics are for actual payments, and the irregularity of the state treasurer in making annual payments sometimes caused a part of the legislative appropriation for one year to appear in the receipts of the institution with that for the following year.

The annual state subsidy to the institution for the deaf-mutes remained throughout this period at $160 for each indigent child maintained at the school. The same amount was granted to the Institution for the Blind when it was established. In 1836, however, on the representation of the managers of the school that the annual cost of educating a blind child was greater than that of educating of a deaf-mute, *23 the legislature increased the subsidy to $200. *24 Increases in the subsidy paid each school must therefore have been due to an increasing number of state pupils or to occasional grants for permanent outlays or for the liquidation of indebtedness.

The history of the grant to the older institution is quite uneventful for the years 1826 to 1834. In the latter year, however, a distinct upward trend that culminates in the extravagant years of 1837-38 sets in. The usual appropriation was then more than doubled. These augmented payments were utilized to extend the scope of the school and to pay off accumulated indebtedness.

The amount of the subsidy paid to the Institution for the Blind shows the same general trend as that paid to the school for deaf-mutes. In the same year that the annual payment for state pupils in the former was increased to $200, the conditions for maintaining children at state expense were made less exacting in both schools. The age of admission for deaf-mutes was fixed at ten years, but none could remain after his twentieth year; the number of years that a pupil might be educated at state expense was increased from five to six years, and the limitation of a maximum subsidy of $9,000 annually was removed. *25 At the same session of the General Assembly, the maximum period during which any indigent child might be educated at state expense in the school for the blind was increased to eight years. *26 This liberalizing of the conditions, under which the state grant might be claimed, was due, no doubt, to the prosperity of the treasury at that time, and in part to the success of the schools in achieving the objects for which they were organized.

23 See Institution for the Blind, Annual Report (1838), p. 24, for reiteration of this argument.

24 Act 31 March, 1836, P.L. p. 328.

25 Act 4 April, 1838, P.L. p. 265.

24 Act 31 March, 1836, P.L. p. 328.

26 Act 14 April, 1838, P.L. p. 398.

24 Act 31 March, 1836, P.L. p. 328.