Portsmouth Asylum
Excerpts from Peterson's History of Rhode Island

  Portmouth Asylum Erected1

The town of Portsmouth, a few years since, purchased a farm containing about sixty acres of land, as an Asylum for the Poor. It is most delightfully located, and every necessary comfort is furnished the inmates, which their condition requires. It was an act highly creditable to the town, as it went to ameliorate the evils of poverty, to which all are exposed in this world of vicissitude and change. Dyre's Island lays nearly opposite the Asylum.

Since penning these thoughts, we have met with the Report of Thomas R. Hazard, Esq., on " The Condition of the Poor and Insane in Rhode Island," in which he has presented a most melancholy picture of the treatment of the poor in the Portsmouth Asylum. For the honor of the town, if such be the painful fact disclosed, we would indulge the hope that an amelioration of their condition may at once be effected. Let it not be said, that in the nineteenth century, and more especially on the island of Rhode Island, where toleration has been so highly enjoyed, that a want of principle exists towards a class of unfortunate beings, who have such strong claims on our sympathy and compassion. All are liable to misfortune in this changing world, and the prosperous to-day may be in adversity to-morrow. This shows the necessity for those having the supervision of the poor, to treat them with that degree of kindness which they themselves would expect, were they in the same unhappy condition. And none can lay claim to the character of a Christian, who do not feel called upon to soothe and mitigate the evils of poverty, so far as in them lie, which we conceive to be the test of Christian character, agreeable to the teachings of the Saviour, recorded in the 25th chapter of Matthew.

Mr. Hazard has shown a commendable spirit, in thus devoting his time and attention to the investigation of this most important subject; which has already led to an improvement in the condition of the poor, in many of the towns in our State.

God speed the day, when Rhode Island shall be found foremost in every good work to advance the happiness of man. We take pleasure in being able to state that a marked improvement has taken place in the Portsmouth Asylum, since the publication of Mr. Hazard's Report, and to him belongs the credit.

Cover Page Title Page
Page 287 Page 288


[1] Rev. Edward Peterson, History of Rhode Island, New York: John S. Taylor, 1853.

 

Portsmouth Asylum Links
  Introduction
  Historical Context
  Timeline
  Act Establishing (1832)
  Inventory Report (1833)
  Rules & Regulations (1838)
  Committee Report (1840)
  Committee Report (1857)
  The Portsmouth Cripple (1848)
  Produce Sold (1849)
  Meat Sold (1849)
  Town Council Excerpts
  1865 Census Excerpts
  1875 Census Excerpts
  1892 Account Book
  Committal Letters (1867)
  Oakum and Idle Hands
  Newport Daily News Clips (1851)
  Site Mapping (10/5/01)
  NPR Interview
  Town Farm Cemetery

Historical Texts:
  Report on Poor & Insane (1851)
  Fales Memoir (1851)
  Peterson's History (1853)

Selected Biographies
  Thomas R. Hazard -1
  Thomas R. Hazard -2
  Seth R. Anthony
  William R. Fales

Fun and Games
  
A Day at the Portsmouth Asylum

Other Poorhouse Links
  
The Poorhouse Story


For the honor of the town, if such be the painful fact disclosed, we would indulge the hope that an amelioration of their condition may at once be effected.

Rev. Edward Peterson - pp 287-288

We take pleasure in being able to state that a marked improvement has taken place in the Portsmouth Asylum, since the publication of Mr. Hazard's Report, and to him belongs the credit.

Rev. Edward Peterson - pg 288

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