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schools for the education of the people. The idea of State support developed very slowly. In Delaware the General Assembly has always encouraged all schools, and has lent a continuous support to higher education. New Jersey has adopted an entirely independent policy in regard to higher education. Princeton College takes great pride in the fact that the State never gave any assistance to that institution. In Pennsylvania the early schools were carried on chiefly by the Friends, the Legislature providing for the tuition of a class of indigent children. The school instituted by Benjamin Franklin was the natural successor of the school of Penn, and later developed into the University of Pennsylvania. This institution received a new impulse in Revolutionary times under the provisions of the Constitution of 1776, which resulted in a liberal State endowment. A remarkable feature of education in Pennsylvania appears after the war, in the numerous grants and endowments made to private and sectarian institutions. Academies, seminaries, and colleges sprang up rapidly through State encouragement and assistance. This process finally developed into a system whereby the State could easily provide teachers for primary and secondary schools by the support of colleges and academies. The system finally broke down with its own weight, and there has arisen in its place a complete normal system for the preparation of teachers. State aid for higher education, with the exception of appropriations to the State College and a recent donation for a hospital in Pennsylvania University, has entirely ceased.


In the early history of the colony of New Netherlands there are frequent references to the schools which were established for the benefit of the colonists. Nearly all of these schools were of an elementary character, and were chiefly taught by teachers sent out from Holland in the employ of the Dutch West India Company. In 1659, at the earnest request of the “burgomasters” and “schepens” of New Amsterdam, Alexander Curtius was sent out to form a school of higher grade, in which instruction could be given" “in the most useful languages, the chief of which is the Latin tongue.” It was desired that this Latin school should finally develop into an academy. This, the only school of higher grade recorded in the Dutch period, closed when the English took possession of New Amsterdam.

1 Historical Records, 26.

*An earlier document has been found in reference to this same school, being a communication from the directors of the West India Company to the director-general— Pratt's Annals, 21.

ENGLISH COLONY. Under the English government that followed there were numerous attempts to establish and maintain Latin schools. The first was opened in 1688 by the Jesuit Fathers, under the direction of Governor Dongan.' In 1702, when Viscount Cornbury was Governor, an act was passed which provided for a Latin free school, and appropriated fifty pounds sterling, annually for seven years, for its support. Under this act George Muirson was licensed, in 1704, to instruct “in the English, Latin, and Greek tongues or languages, and also in the arts of writing and arithmetic.” 2

The most important school of this kind was established by Mr. Malcolm in 1732, to teach Greek, Latin, and mathematics. This school was established by an act of the General Assembly, which provided for its support by appropriation of all the revenues arising from licensing peddlers and hawkers about the city of New York. The assembly also voted 40 pounds per annum for five years, to be-raised by taxation, for the support of the school.

After the expiration of this time, and during the unsettled period of the French and Indian wars, there is very little in the annals of the English colony to indicate any public aid to education. It is not supposable that the schools thus started were suddenly given up; but they were probably carried on by private parties, and therefore did not enter into the history of colonial affairs.


As early as the year 1702, we find references to the founding of a university on the “King's Farm " in New York City. The subject was broached again in 1729, but no action was taken until December 6, 1746, when the General Assembly of the colony passed an act for raising the sum of £2,250 by a public lot tery, for the encouragement of learning and for the founding of a college. Other acts followed, and at the close of 1751 the funds, amounting to £3,433 188, were vested in a board of trustees. Of these trustees two belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church, one to the Presbyterian, and the remaining seven to the Church of England.

The King granted a charter, donated land, and appropriated money for the founding of the college. The charter was granted in 1754, under the title of King's College. The General Assembly, by a subsequent act, provided for its support by granting an excise tax on liquors. A large amount of land had been given to Trinity Church by the King's grant for its support, and on the 13th of May, 1755, the corporation of

1 David Murray, in Historical Records, 26.
? Annals of Education, 87.
* Historical Sketch of Columbia College, 6.
*F. B. Hough, Hist. Rec., 39.


Trinity Church conveyed a large and valuable tract of this grant, lying on the west side of Broadway between Barclay and Murray Streets, to the governors of the college. The college was duly organized in 1754, the trustees in the year previous having called Rev. Samuel Johnson to be its first president. The government of the college was vested, by authority of the charter, in the president of the college; the Archbishop of Canterbury; the first lord commissioner for trade and plantations; the eldest councilor of the provinces; the judges of the Supreme Court of Judicature; the secretary; the Attorney-General; the Treasurer; the Speaker of the General Assembly; the mayor of New York City; the rector of Trinity Church; the senior minister of the Protestant Dutch Reformed Church; the ministers of the Lutheran, French, and Presbyterian Churches; and twenty-four citizens of New York City, a body sufficiently varied in character to control the college and at the same time represent all the interests of the people. The funds for the support of the new college were raised in several ways: By State assistance, by private donations, by lotteries, and by tuition. Provisions were early made by the General Assembly for a lottery to raise funds for the erection of buildings, a site having been chosen near Barclay Street, west of Broadway. It was not, however, until May, 1760, that the buildings were erected, and the remainder of the property was subsequently leased for a term of years. The sum of £3,282 was realized from the lottery; six thousand pounds were obtained by the agent, Dr. Jay, in England; the King gave four hundred pounds; and over ten thousand pounds were contributed by others. In 1767 a grant of twenty-nine thousand acres of land was made by the Government, but this was unfortunately located in that part of the territory afterward ceded to Vermont and was lost to the college. The college was supported by private donations, aided by the colony, and its control was more or less subjected to the colony; yet it could not be claimed as a State institution, as the term is used in its modern SenSe. King's College was closed in 1776 on account of the turbulent times, and was prepared for the use of the American army as a hospital." During its career it had given an impulse to education which enabled the work to be readily revived at the close of the war. In its early years the Government had granted to it the sum of £6,943, equal to $17,358, in current exchange, raised by lotteries and taxes, and lands valued at $83,647, making in all over one hundred thousand dollars, a liberal sum in those days, for the establishment of the new college.

Hist. Rec. , 40.


After the close of the Revolutionary War, King's College was in a deplorable condition. Many of the board of governors were either dead or missing, the libraries were scattered, the apparatus was destroyed, and a complete disorganization existed. The entire income of the college in 1784 was but one thousand two hundred pounds. With this income the board of regents began to build the university.

In 1784 the governors of the college addressed a petition to the State Legislature, then in session, asking a revision of the charter of King's College. At the beginning of this session of the Legislature Governor George Clinton made the following reference to the higher education, which was the beginning of the organization of New York's present mag. nificent school system: “Neglect of education of youth is one of the evils consequent on war. Perhaps there is scarce anything more worthy your attention than the revival and encouragement of seminaries of learning.93

Earlier in the session, and before the petition of the governors of King's College had been presented, a bill was introduce, and became a law on the first day of May, 1784. This was entitled, “ An act granting certain privileges to the college heretofore called King's College, for altering the name and charter thereof, and erecting an university within this State." 4

The principal provisions of this act are, in brief, as follows: A board of regents was created, vested with power to hold and possess the rights, privileges, and franchises provided by the act, and were to have power to make rules for the government and support of the university, to elect a president and professors of King's College. The regents could possess estates, real and personal, equal to forty thousand bushels of wheat, and they were empowered to found schools and colleges in the State where they deemed it advisable, and to endow the same.

The board of regents consisted of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, mayor of the City of New York, mayor of Albany, Speaker of the Assembly, President of the Senate, Attorney-General, Secretary of State, and twenty-four other persons elected by the Legislature. In addition to this number each religious denomination had the right to elect one regent. This shows the early attempt to unite the church and state in educational matters.

The property of King's College was given into their charge, to be applied solely to the use of Columbia College as the regents might direct. The regents were likewise empowered to grant degrees, and finally in Section X, we read: “ The college heretofore known as King's College shall be known and called Columbia College."

Thus we find a full organization with one college and a small income as the beginning of the University of the State of New York. During


Moore's History of Columbia College, 68. 2 Hist. Rec., 40.

3 Ibid.,

41. 4 Laws of 1784, Chap. LI, p. 69.

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the second session of the Legislature of 1784, the above act was, owing to dissatisfaction, amended in some particulars. These amendments pertained chiefly to administration, but among other things they provided for an increase in the number of regents.

The arrangement provided by this legislation lasted for three years only; at the end of this period of trial it was felt that there was need of a reform. A committee was appointed to consider the measure in relation to the university, and especially to Columbia College. Mr. Duane, as chairman of the committee, reported that the previous acts of the Legislature were considered defective, and recommended changes in regard to the functions of the regents and also in the action toward academies.

The report was adopted, and a subsequent committee presented a bill for the action of the Legislature. The act repealed all former acts and made the number of regents twenty-one, including the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor as members in virtue of their offices. The other regents were appointed by the Legislature, and the board of regents chose their own officers, viz, chancellor, vice-chancellor, secretary, and ireasurer.

The law states as follows: "The regents are authorized and required by themselves or their committees to visit and inspect all the colleges and academies in the State, examine into the condition and system of education and discipline therein and make an annual report of the same to the Legislature." 3 They also have full control of the literature fand, which is annually distributed and appropriated to the different academies and seminaries of learning, exclusive of colleges, according to the number of students passing satisfactory examinations in the classics and higher branches of learning. 4

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The regents of the university and the trustees of Columbia College were made two separate bodies. The charter granted in 1754 was ratified, and the number of trustees in control was limited to twenty-four, in whom were vested all the powers of the governors of the college. Am ple provision was made in this bill for the establishment and government of academies. Since this act the board of regents has been divested of the charge of Columbia College and has had no control of its internal affairs.

From the time of reorganization in 1787 the regents of the University of New York have exercised a supervisory control over the corporations created by them or by the Legislature, while Columbia College, although nominally under the supervision of the regents, has had, as in case of the other great institutions of learning in the State, an almost independent existence.





1 Laws of 1787, 10th session, p. 156.
2 New York Code, 1882, Chap. XV, p. 1114.
3 Ibid., sec. 15, p. 1115.
* Ibid., sec. 23, p. 1116.

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