THE SUFFOLK COUNTY
Very few people on the Island, comparatively speaking, are aware that such a systematical, economical, and well--regulated institution exists so near them.
about the place there hovers an air of stern, yet
pleasing discipline and exactness and the rules of the
house are rigid, but reasonable.
It contains about eighty acres of highly-cultivated land, and ninety of growing woodland. Nearly one-half is cultivated, and the paupers are constantly employed breaking up new land. The farm is convenient, and easily tilled. It lies in a square, level body, and is very fertile. The recent owner made a, snug fortune on the same farm, before it was cultivated to its present highly productive state, and our county should roll up another, in its present condition.
A certain class here are never weary in extolling the managers of this self-supporting affair, and praising the well-oiled system in the House and on the Farm. None can deny that all concerned deserve medals for the remarkable order they instituted over the chaos; but the county pays for this system, and supplies implements, manures, and every necessary article for properly conducting one of the finest estates in the county. The affair should be "self-supporting." Those of the paupers that are able, are re-quired to work eight hours each day-Sundays excepted -and when the weather is unpleasant, they do the in-door work of the House and Farm. Not only is basket- making, coopering, and other trades represented, but finely finished wagons have been manufactured on the premises.
If the one hundred and seventy acres of land, properly managed, cannot support an average of one hundred and twenty-five paupers, who can be clothed and fed for "about ninety-five cents a week, for each one," this model home for unfortunates had better be evacuated. The many articles manufactured on the premises, are sold, of course, to the interest of the county, and must assist in defraying minor expenses.
To the original
cost of the establishment was appended over five thousand
dollars in repairing the building, and making
improvements about the grounds. Much of the land has been
recently fenced, the barns have been reno-vated, and
surprising improvements made everywhere.
building contains about fifty rooms. The first floor
contains eighteen large rooms, the second twenty -seven,
and the third but four. The superintendent, over-seers',
and assistants' private apartments, are on the first and
second floors of the main building; and the engineer's
and medical room are included in the number.
The workshop, storage-rooms, drying-room, coal and engine rooms are in the basement, which also contains cells for the raving lunatics.
A powerful engine in the basement supplies the boilers, which have pipes attached that pass through every room.
The heating apparatus is excellent-the entire cost of which was eleven thousand dollars.
Hose, which can
quickly be connected with the water- tanks in the
garrets, are carefully coiled in the halls, ready for
instant use in case of fire,
The laws of the Institution are stern but reasonable, and are enforced to the letter. The paupers are obliged to retire at dusk, and to rise as soon as the first gray light of dawn peeps through the windows. The inmates are managed by signals; in fact, everything goes by 11 cracks and snaps."
A flowery penned reporter of a city paper says: "After rising, the pauper makes his bed, sweeps his room, and prepares for the morning meal. The first bell rings out an intimation to be in readiness for breakfast, and at the sound of the second bell, the door of the dining-room is thrown open and he is requested to be seated. At the 'snap' of the third bell, he begins eating. The sane and insane eat separately, and so admirable is the discipline, that not even a lunatic pauper touches his food until he hears the signal from the keeper."
" On the first floor in the wing of the building, cripples are kept in several rooms, but allowed the free use of the halls and ground to hobble in and out at pleasure. A bath-room on the same floor contributes to the cleanliness and comfort of the inmates."
When admitted into the House, the pauper undergoes a thorough examination. In the examining department he is thoroughly questioned, stripped of all clothing, shaved, washed, and clothed in warm, clean clothing. He is then examined as to his physical abilities. If ailing, he is sent to the hospital department; if able to labor, he is required to work eight hours a day, at the labor he is best adapted to.
The " Charities' Aid Society" comprises some of the most wealthy and benevolent people in our County, and has contributed much toward appeasing the minor wants of the poor unfortunates. Many heart-sick paupers have been cheered and made happy by the Heavenly efforts of this Heaven-inspired Society; and should misfortune ever come to any of its noble sustainers, as come it may to all, may kind faces beam upon them, and their hearts laugh for the good works that are not forgotten.
The following named gentlemen are prominently connected with the County House:
:-CHARLES HALLET, Riverhead.
If there were deception in tranascting the County affairs, Mr. Gerard was no accessory. If there were a "ring" during his term of office, he was a missing link.
oily-tongued outsiders, with their own interest in view,
may have endeavored to culminate their plans through him,
but it never will be credited that Mr. Gerard ever,
knowingly, ~ assisted in forwarding their schemes.
No reasonable objection could be produced against him unless it was the death of only one pauper during his whole term of office. He never said that " paupers were better dead than alive," and his acts portrayed his skill, and his tender heart.
In the performance of his duty he might have felt contempt for the daily exposure to the presumption of preposterous pragmatism, but when interference with the duties his office prevented him from protecting the county from the possibility of imposition, his sense of honesty was in compatible with a further continuance under such restrictions. At the expiration of the first quarter, the Superintendents proposing to adopt such measures as would, in Dr Holden's opinion, be the most effective means of favoring imposition, he tendered his resignation.