Imágenes de páginas

ing as follows: “Whereas the education of youth is necessary for the advancement of morality, virtue, and happiness, and tends to render a people or State respectable; to promote which establishments for seminaries and colleges have been patronized by all good governments; and whereas several grants of land have already been made by this State,

and private and liberal donations have been offered for promoting so.

useful an establishment within the same, which demand the attention of the Legislature for laying the foundation for an institution so beneficial to society: Therefore, SEC. I., It is hereby enacted, That there be and hereby is a college instituted at such a place in the township of Burlington * * * as the corporation herein names,” etc.' It was incorporated further that “the estate of said university, both real and personal, to the extent of one hundred thousand pounds sterling ($333,333}), shall be exempt from taxation,” and that all persons, officers, and

| students belonging to the university shall be exempt from taxes and

military duty. This law was modified, in respect to property, in 1802, so that the es

tates of the president and professors lying within the town of Burling

ton should be exempted from taxation to the amount of one thousand

dollars each.”

It was further provided in the charter that the university could hold land to the extent of seventy thousand acres.

The early years of the university, planted as it was in the wilderness, were full of struggles and misfortunes. The State was generous in the extreme at the beginning, but failed to support the university it had created. The land was poor and brought little income, the whole tract bringing but twenty-five hundred dollars at that time.*

In 1813 the buildings of the university were seized by the Government and used for the storage of United States arms, by which much damage was suffered, and the houseless students all left, most of them to shoulder muskets against the British invaders. The buildings were rented in 1814 for the United States Army. Worse misfortunes occurred in 1824, the buildings being consumed by fire, but were restored by the citizens of Burlington in the following year. For the first ninety-five years of the corporate existence of the university the State never gave anything toward the support of it more than has been set forth in the above statements.

The trustees in their report" of 1886, realizing this, after speaking of

the resources of the university, state: “Of the above the only item which includes any gift or grant from the State to the university is “value of lands.” The reservation of lots for the benefit of the university in the later grants to townships resulted in securing to the university about twenty-nine thousand acres of land scattered throughout

* Laws of Vermont, Slade, 581. *Letter from President M. H. Bartlett, Decem* Ibid., 583. ber 20, 1888. Ibid., 586. "Biennial Report, 1886, 5–6.

[ocr errors][merged small]

the State, mostly wild mountain land of little value. From the ‘public lands’ included in the above item an annual rental of about twentyseven hundred dollars is received, making the gift to the university from the State to be of the value of about forty-five thousand dollars. As most of these lands were at an early day leased in perpetuity, their rental value can never be greatly increased. A portion of the original grants still remain unleased, the land being either worthless or inaccessible. When it is remembered that the Legislature of Vermont granted to Dartmouth College, before the chartering of the University of Vermont, the entire township of Wheelock, consisting of twenty-three thousand acres, from which, or from the capital arising therefrom, that institution still derives a revenue, and that the above grant of wild lands and the remission in 1852 of a small debt due the State for borrowed money, constitute the sum total of the gifts, grants, donations, and largesses of the State of Vermont to the University of Vermont, during the entire history of both, it will be seen how deficient the State has been in that care and interest and support by which institutions of learning are built up, and which the university had every right to expect from the State which called it into existence.”


Vermont sold one hundred and fifty thousand acres of land scrip granted by the Federal Government, which yielded the sum of $122,626, which at present gives an income of $8,130. An attempt was made in 1863 to form a new institution by consolidating Norwich University, Middlebury College, the University of Vermont, and an agricultural college not then created. It is needless to say that such a scheme failed. In the following year the State chartered the Agricultural College of Vermont, thinking that a separate institution would be in demand by some wealthy town. “Accordingly the college went up and down the State offering itself to the highest bidder.” In 1865 the Legislature, finding that the former plans failed, proposed a union with the University of Vermont.

It asked that the University curriculum be enlarged so as to include departments of agriculture and the mechanic arts, and that one-half of the trustees be appointed by the Legislature. The proposition was acceded to, and in 1865 the law forming the University of Vermont and the State Agricultural College was enacted. Each corporation wastoelect nine trustees, who with their successors were to constitute thereafter the board of trustees, with the addition of the ex-officio members, the Governor of the State and the president of the college. In speaking of this new partnership of the university and the college, Judge Powers says: “The firm assets were made up by the contributions on the part of the university of all its lands, buildings, libraries, and appliances, worth

1 Biennial Report of University of Vermont, 1886, 5–6.

hundreds of thousands of dollars, and on the part of the State by the con. tribution of eight thousand dollars not obtained from the pockets of the tax-payers, but eight thousand dollars of other people's money."

On the other hand, the State appropriated in 1886 the sum of thirtyfive hundred dollars annually for an experiment station under the care of the university; in 1888 the sum of six thousand dollars per annum for chemistry for the next four years, two thousand four hundred dollars for tuition, and three thousand six hundred dollars for instruction in branches relating to the industrial arts.

The following statement, together with what has already been given, will give a fair estimate of the financial condition of the university, ex. .clusive of the Congressional grant:


Total value of property, exclusive of contingent fund

$520,000 Value of lands

130,000 Value of buildings.

200,000 Value of collections.

60,000 Value of trust fund.

120,000 The appropriations to Vermont University and State Agricultural College are as follows: Grant of “town lots,” 29,000 acres; annual rental is $2,500; estimated value. $50,000 Annual appropriation for experiment station, $3,500; 1886–89

10,500 Annual appropriation for chemistry, $6,000; 1888–91, inclusive

24,000 For tuition, State students For instruction

3,600 Total:

90, 500


1 Pres. M. H. Bartlett· letter of December 20, 1888.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]



The honor of planting the first schools in the territory about to be considered belongs to the Swedes and the Dutch. The colonists brought with them the institutions of their native land and endeavored to foster them in the settlements. For many years these schools were very meager affairs. They were elementary in their nature, embracing only two or three branches in their curricula. It was customary for the West India Company to send out a school-master with each party of emigrants departing for any of the colonies.

The schools in New Amsterdam were supported by the Reformed Dutch Church in connection with the authorities. The church was a state institution in the mother country, and all education was intrusted to its immediate care. The company made itself responsible for the appointment of school-masters, preachers, and tenders of the sick. These three offices frequently devolved upon the same individual, but more frequently the school-master was chorister of the church.1

The schools in New Amsterdam were licensed by civil authority. The first school-master regularly employed in the colony was Adam Rælanstein, who came to the settlement about the year 1633. It was not, however, until the year 1638 that any mention was made of taxation for the support of schools. This proposition received no definite action. In the year 1654 the burgomasters agreed to support at the expense of the city, one school-master, one minister, and one dogwhipper (sexton). This proposal was never put into practice. The first academy and classical school in New Amsterdam, taught by Alexander Carolus Curtius in 1659, was supported in part by tuition and in part by the Court through taxation of the people.

After the English obtained possession of the territory the same general plan of education was pursued in the New York colony as existed formerly. Thus we find that Johannes Van Eckkelen, in 1692, engaged with the “ Honorable magistrates” to “serve the Church and school” for a salary of two hundred and thirty-four guilders, in grain, in addition

1 Pratt: Annals of Public Education in the State of New York,
2 Pratt's Annals, 4.


1 Ibid., 6. 880No. 1-9


3 Ibid.,

to a tuition ranging from three to six guilders per quarter for each pupil. The school must be kept open nine months in the year." The General Assembly of the provinee took a more decided stand in 1702, and passed an act providing for a “free school in the city of New York,” to be supported by an annual tax of fifty pounds current money. Thus gradually the schools developed from elementary to grammar grades, and by degrees the legislative authorities took more important steps toward the support of schools. But it was not until 1746 that the first movement was made toward the founding of a college. The first step was to organize a lottery to raise money to found a college. This was repeated several times, and the process of raising money by lot. teries for school purposes became a settled policy of the province. In

fact, in this period it was considered a legitimate method of raising

funds, and was practiced, more or less, by nearly all of the colonies. It was not until the year 1754, one hundred and eighteen years after the founding of Harvard, that King's College was chartered. This marks the real beginning of higher education in New York. After the close of the Revolutionary War, King's College was reorganized under the name of Columbia College. The policy of the province and State toward higher education was exceedingly encouraging and liberal. All of the early colleges received valuable assistance by means of legislative endowments, grants, or appropriations. The remarkable feature of the system of education in the Empire State is the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. It represents centralized authority for the control of public education, particularly that usually called “higher.” In this capacity it has power to grant charters and regulate the laws pertaining to the same, though its work is seconded by legislative enactment. Through its instrumentality a property qualification has been instituted for the admission of colleges to chartered rights. This appears to be a wise measure, and would naturally have a tendency to prevent the establishment of institutions without financial support. If this policy had been pursued by other States fewer institutions would have been brought into existence merely to perish. The measure was not intended to check new non-State institutions. Indeed the State has ever been liberally disposed toward these institutions. The University Convocation, called annually by the Regents of the University of the State of New York, brings together the chief educators of the State to discuss the most recent problems of education. This has a tendency to unify educational interests and create harmony in the entire system, besides keeping before the public the advanced views of the foremost men in the educational world. The educational policy of the Swedes on the Delaware was similar to that pursued by the Dutch in New York. After the English domina“on the policy of Penn was decidedly in favor of founding sufficient

1 Pratt's Annals, 6.

« AnteriorContinuar »