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The Legislature continued to assist Columbia College in small ways for some years after the separation. In 1792 an act to encourage literature provided for the payment of £7,900 to the college for certain specified objects, and at the same time granted an annuity of seven hundred and fifty pounds for a term of five years.
Columbia College shared with Union College in a land grant from the State in 1801, located at Lake George, Ticonderoga, and Crown Point. A more valuable grant followed in 1814, that of twenty acres of land formerly belonging to Dr. Hosack and purchased from him by the State at a cost of $74,268.75.
Dr. Hosack attempted to establish a botanical garden subservient to the purposes of medicine, agriculture, and the arts. He purchased the land and erected buildings, but was unable to carry out his plans. The land when purchased was three miles and a half outside the city of New York, but is now in the center of wealth and population and is very valuable. It is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, and between Forty-seventh and Fifty-first Streets.
One other act of 1819 granted to Columbia College the sum of ten thousand dollars.
A medical school was early established in connection with Columbia College, which received assistance from the Colonial Assembly and the State Legislature. The corporation of the city of New York granted three thousand pounds, while the State Legislature assisted to the extent of forty-five thousand dollars by means of lotteries, chiefly after this school was united with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
THE LITERATURE FUND.
One of the substantial aids to the success of the school system of New York is what is termed the Literature Fund.
By an act of May 10, 1784, the board of commissioners of the land office was created and empowered to lay out the unappropriated land into townships ten miles square. In each township a lot of three hundred acres was reserved for the use of a minister of the Gospel, and six hundred and ninety acres for a school or schools.
By an act of May 5, 1786, entitled "An act for the speedy sale of unappropriated lands within this State, and for other purposes therein mentioned,” the surveyor-general was authorized to lay out the waste and unappropriated lands” of the State into townships ten miles square, and these townships into lots of six hundred and forty acres each. The act further provided “That in every township so laid out, or to be laid out as aforesaid, the surveyor-general shall mark one lot on the map "Gospel and Schools," and one other lot for Promoting Literature," which lots shall be as nearly central in every township as may be; and the lots so marked shall not be sold, but the lot marked "Gos
1 Greenleaf, II, 479.
2 Hist. Rec., 80.
LAND GRANTS. 137
pel and Schools” shall be reserved for and applied to the promoting the Gospel and a public school or schools in such townships; and the lot marked for “Promoting Literature,” shall be reserved to the people of this State to be hereafter applied by the Legislature for promoting liter. ature in this State.” Of these two provisions the former furnished the basis of local school funds, the latter of the literature fund, which is still held by the State. But the lands reserved for the support of schools were for many
..years unproductive, and the board of regents was without funds for
successful compliance with the law in performing its duties. In the report of 1788 the board of regents lamented this condition of affairs and their inability to make an improvement, unless the Legislature would support them by appropriate acts. They claim: “As the education of youth and culture of learning are connected with the improvement of useful arts, and nourish both the disposition and abilities requisite for the defence of freedom and rational government, so they have been esteemed in every civilized country as the objects of the highest importance. In our State it was evidently intended that the university should possess and exercise a general superintendence over all literary. establishments which might be found among us, and that it should direct the system in such a manner as would conduce to the harmony and interest of the whole. * * * Our attention would naturally extend, not only to subsisting literary corporations, but to the erection of academies in every part of the State; and it is obvious that the most important purposes might be attained by affording timely assistance to infant seminaries, which would otherwise languish for a time and perhaps finally perish.” Therefore, as the university is not provided with funds for the payment of the expenses immediately arising from the duties which the legislature has prescribed, the regents suggest that certain lands be made available for its support.
A plea for necessary assistance was again urged by the regents in the following year. As the result of their petition the Legislature passed an act on March 31, 1790, entitled “An act for the further encouragement of literature,” which, after stating that it is the duty of a free people to promote and patronize science and literature, and that Columbia College and the incorporated academies under the charge of the regents are deficient in funds, notwithstanding the contributions of individuals, provided for the rental and lease of lands and the application of a sum of money without delay for the “advancement of science and literature in the said colleges and the respective academies.”
It was further provided that certain lands of Crown Point, Ticon
* Chap. 67, Laws of 1786; Greenleaf, I, 282. 3. Regents Report, 1788. * Chap. 38, Laws of 1790; Greenleaf, II, 316.
deroga, Fort George, and Governor's Island should be given to the regents for the support of literature. The grant at the south end of Lake George having been found to conflict with prior grants, the Legislature substituted in lieu thereof a tract on the east side of the lake, containing 1,724 acres.
An act of the Legislature of May 5, 1786, granted ten townships at the northern part of the lake for general educational purposes, but these were afterward replaced by a grant of 1,680,000 acres in the counties of Cayuga, Onondaga, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Tompkins, and Wayne. This grant is known as the reservation for educational purposes in the military tract.” Six lots in each township were reserved as follows: one for promoting the Gospel and a public school; one for promoting literature in the State; and the other four to equalize the shares of claimants under the bounty act. In 1769 the supervisors of Onondaga County, which then included the whole of this tract, were authorized to set apart the lots to be devoted to literature. These and other reservations were granted to separate institutions or sold to increase the general literature fund.3 'Thus, for example, the literature - lots in townships 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, and 20 were granted to Union College, while others, from time to time, were granted by special acts of the Legislature to various academies. Eight townships in St. Lawrence County were sold and the proceeds were given to the literature fund, with the exception of $1,000 to Middlebury Academy in 1823, $1,000 to Redhook Academy in 1824, and $2,500 to St. Lawrence Academy in 1825. These latter grants were made by special acts of the Legislature.
Much had been done for the support of academies by general and special grants of land, and the Legislature had attempted to supply the deficiency of these grants by special money appropriations. The greatest of the latter was the act of 1792, which granted an annuity of £1,500 for five years for the benefit of academies. But the origin of a permanent Literature Fund, the interest of which was to be used for the support of academies and the principle to remain undiminished, dates from the act of the Legislature of 1813, which provided that certain unsold lands in the military tract, or the counties of Broome and Chenango, should be sold and the proceeds invested to secure a regularly-paid interest. “And the regents of the university shall make such distribution of the annual income amongst the several incorporated academies of this State as in their judgment shall be just and equitable.96
By an act passed April 12, 1813, the Crumhorn Mountain Tract was authorized to be sold and the proceeds were to be used for the benefit of academies, as the regents might direct. The avails of this sale, amounting to $10,416, went into the Literature Fund.
1 Afterward used for military purposes.
4 Statutes, 45, 330, 82.
LOTTERIES FOR THE LITERATURE FUND.
The Literature Fund was further increased by an act of 18191 authorizing the arrears of quit-rents, amounting to $53,380, to be equally divided between the Literature and the Common School Funds. And in 1827, April 13, the avails of the lands belonging to the Canal Fund to the amount of $150,000 were to be devoted to the enlargement of the Literature Fund, and to be distributed for the support of incorporated academies and seminaries, excluding colleges, which were subject to the visitation of the regents.
LOTTERIES FOR THE LITERATURE FUND.
At the present day it seems a questionable way to support colleges and schools by means of lotteries. But at the beginning of this century there seems to have existed a mania for lotteries, and they were considered a legitimate method of raising money. Many colleges and academies and even churches availed themselves of lotteries to replenish their funds. Nearly all of the young States indulged in this method, and New York especially was much given to this mild gambling for public gain.
By an act of the Legislature, passed April 3, 1801, entitled “An act for the promotion of literature," provision was made for four successive lotteries of twenty-five thousand dollars each ; $12,500 of the avails of each was to be paid to the Literature Fund, and this was to be distributed among the academies by the regents; the remainder was to be devoted to the support of the cominon schools.3
By an act of 1832 the management of the Literature Fund was di. rected to be transferred from the control of the regents to the State Comptroller, who was to audit all accounts for the support of academies and for current expenses. At this time the Literature Fund was largely invested in bank stock, State stock, bonds, and mortgages, amounting in all to only $59,407.51, with property held in trust by the regents amounting to $9,905.07. This fund amounted September 30, 1888, to $284,201.30. Its revenue is applied entirely to the support of academies.'.
The United States Deposit Fund of 1836 was entirely devoted to education. The principal of this fund amounted to $4,014,520.71, and from its income, $28,000 are given annually to the support of academies. Thus has the Literature Fund continually increased, and its entire proceeds have been directed to the support of academies. But this fund failing to meet the requirements, an appropriation of $125,000 was made by Legislature, the money to be divided as the present Literature Fund. A tax of one-sixteenth of a mill was levied on each dollar of valuation. It was provided in the act of distribution of the funds in 18737 that no more money should be paid to a school under the control
Chap. 222, Laws of 1819, p. 298.
5 Chap. 571, Laws of 1872.
of any religious or denominational sect or society. This State aid to academies, which was appropriated in 1872, was not continued by subsequent Legislatures. But in 18871 the Legislature enacted that sixty thousand dollars should each year be appropriated, to be distributed by the regents of the university in the same way as the income of the Literature Fund is distributed.
The first movement toward the foundation of Union College was made in 1779, by the circulation of a petition for a bill to charter Clin. ton College at Schenectady. This plan failing, measures were taken in 1785 to found an academy in the town of Schenectady. The enterprise was supported entirely by private munificence. On December 30, 1791, the Legislature was memorialized without success for a grant of land for the support of the new institution. In February, 1792, the proprietors of the academy petitioned the Legislature for a charter, which was denied on account of lack of sufficient funds. In the following year the petition was renewed in a different form, asking for an aca-, demic charter, which was granted January 26, 1793.
After repeated attempts a charter for Union College was obtained February 25, 1795, from the segents of the university, to whom authority had been given by the Legislature. The property of the Schenectady Academy was made over to its support. The Legislature came to the assistance of the new and struggling institution, and made the following grants: By an act of April 9, 1795, the sum of $3,750 was granted for books; April 11, 1796, ten thousand dollars for building purposes; March 30, 1797, $1,500 for salaries; and on March 7, 1800, ten thousand dollars for building and permanent funds. By the last act the trustees were granted the power to select ten lots in the military tract, to be sold, and the proceeds to be devoted to the use of the college. The sale of these lands, together with others near Lake George, yielded over fifty thousand dollars. Previous to 1804 the whole amount given by the State in support of the college was $78,112.13, and this was either as appropriations of money or funds from the sale of lands.
In 1804 began the celebrated administration of Dr. Nott, continuing for over a half-century. Dr. Nott, although a Christian minister, according to the fashion of his times began to provide for an ample endowment by the aid of lotteries. On March 30, 1805, an act of the Legislature granted the privilege of a lottery of eighty thousand dollars in four drawings, and on April 13, 1813, an act authorized a lottery of two hundred thousand dollars, designating the proceeds for several purposes. Thus was Union College aided in time of need by the generosity of the State, although, like most of the old colleges, it was largely sup
3 Chap. 120, Laws of 1814.
1 Chap. 602, Laws of 1887.