Imágenes de páginas

The university in place of this was to receive an equal amount of land of the same value, but it was impossible to find it. The best land had been chosen in 1830. In 1839 a bill passed both houses authorizing the sale of a large quantity of university lands which had been occupied by settlers, but the Governor wisely vetoed the bill and saved the university fund.

By an act of 1840 three commissioners were appointed to investigate each claim, and if it could be shown that the claimant had settled on the land prior to its selection by the university the claimant should purchase the land at its appraised value, exclusive of improvements. By its operation over four thousand acres were sold at an average price of six dollars and twenty-one cents per acre,4 at a time when university lands were selling at twenty-four dollars per acre. This brought to the university fund sixty-five thousand dollars less than would have been realized had the minimum price of 1837 been adhered to. Again, in 1841, the minimum? price was reduced to fifteen dollars per acre, and in the following year to twelve dollars per acre, which was retrospective.

By this last law the associate judges were authorized to examine any lands that had been sold previous to 1841 for twenty dollars per acre or more, and appraise such lands at their value at the time of the sale, and place the balance to the credit of the purchaser. By the report of the Superintendent for the year 18439 it appears that the sum of $34,651 had thus been repaid to purchasers of university land. The total sales to this date had been two hundred and twenty thousand dollars, but the effect of various acts of relief and retrospective legislation” reduced the amount to one hundred and thirty-seven thousand dollars. 10

In the face of this adverse legislation the sum realized from the sale of the seminary lands amounted to about four hundred and fifty thousand dollars, or less than one-half of the anticipated amount. Still the average price per acre was, for the entire quantity sold, eleven dollars and eighty-seven cents, or more than twice that received for any other educational grant in the North-West Territory.11

In 1880 the account of the fund stood as follows:12 all lands with the exception of 337.26 acres had been sold. There was in the hands of the State the sum of $465,788.46. There was due from purchasers $73,190,08, making the total university fand $538,978.54, with an income of $38,426.48.

In 1883 the lands were all sold but 287 acres, and the fund had increased to the sum of $543,317.66.

Report of Superintendent, 1880, 355.

Senate documents, 1839. 3 Laws of Michigan, 1840, 101. “Knight, 142.

? Laws of Michigan, 1841, 157. 8 Ibid., 1842, 45. 9 Superintendent's Report, 1843. 10 Ibid.,1880, 356. 11 Knight, 144. 12 Superintendent of Instruction, 357.

6 Ibid.

Report of Superintendent, 1880, 355,


The extensive plan early entertained for the branch schools of the University of Michigan resulted in nothing further than the establishment of an excellent system of high schools, connected directly with the university curriculum, but entirely independent of the institution in their support and government.

It is evident that the originators of the plan had plainly in mind the gymnasia of Germany. The plan was very extensive. It was proposed to start eight branch schools.

The Superintendent of Public instruction in his first report recommended that a branch school should be established in each county. The counties were to furnish buildings, then share equally with the regents in the support of these schools.

The Legislature enacted, in the main, according to the Superintendent's report: the branches were to be assisted in regard to philosophical apparatus, and one branch was to consist of a department for the higher education of females and a normal and agricultural department. Thus it was expected to form about one hundred colleges with a university at their head. In this extensive plan the university was to support itself and pay one-half of the expenses of the one hundred colleges on a prospective income arising from a capital which was not to exceed one million dollars at the highest estimate.

In the original law it was enacted that no branch school could be formed without the consent of the Legislature. This was changed in 1837; the power was delegated to the regents, and the regents gave the committee on branch schools full power to act.

It was immediately determined to start eight branch schools, and to appropriate eight thousand dollars for this purpose. Five hundred dollars was to be given to each, and the remainder distributed among the schools according to the number of the students in attendance at each.

Five of these schools, the first at Pontiac, were founded within the first year. The Superintendent's Report for 1841-42 shows that there were seven then in existence.

From 1837, the date of founding of the first school, to 1846, the regents spent the sum of $35,935 on branch schools. It began to be felt that this was all contrary to law, and in 1849 a resolution was offered in the Assembly discontinuing branch schools, but it was not acted upon. In the following year it was made a test case, without reaching any decision. However, it was evident to all that the practice was illegal, and the policy was changed.

It was not the intention of the Government that the seminary grant should be devoted to the support of one hundred colleges, but to found a seminary of learning. The funds were wisely returned to one channel for support of a central university for the State and during many years for the North-West.

[ocr errors]

1 Ten Brook, 145.

In 1870 a law was passed admitting students to the university who should complete the course in the various high schools and pass an examination before a properly constituted committee.


The University of Michigan received no State aid during the first thirty years of its existence, dating from the origin of its present organization in 1837. " It was not until 1867, when the university had already become strong and renowned, when pupils were more numerous than those of any other institution in the land that the State was called to give the first penny to its support, and then the whole appropriation was fifteen thousand dollars a year, which was a tax of just one-twentieth of a mill on the appraisal of the taxable property of this rich Commonwealth. The total sum received by tax and drawn from the State treasury down to January, 1879, is in round numbers four hundred and sixty-nine thousand dollars.

The State has recently generously compensated for its early delinquency in this respect. First of all must be mentioned the loan of one hundred thousand dollars which the State made to the university in 1838. This sum was expended in buildings and apparatus, and by its use the university was prepared to open in 1844.

The loan was made with the hope of early repayment by means of the interest on the land endowment fund. The law provided that both principal and interest should be repaid from the income of the university fund. The loan was invested in twenty-year State bonds for th3 required amount. But, as the payment of the interest on the loan absorbed a greater part of the income from the fund, the prospect of payment of the principal seemed hopeless.

In 1844 the Legislature accelerated the sales of lands by offering to accept in payment for them outstanding warrants against the State which could be purchased for fifty cents on the dollar. The State credited the university with the full legal price of the land which cost the purchaser just half as much. The university lost nothing by this. The purchasers were the direct gainers and the university the indirect gainer by the act.4

The law further provided that the loan might be paid from the principal of the university fund.

This was not in accordance with the provisions of the grant.

The Higher Education, Pres. J. B. Angell. “The total appropriations of the State of Michigan to her university, up to date [1889], amount to $1,842, 142.” Address on State Universities in the West, by Pres. James B. Angell, Proceedings of the Twenty-seventh Convocation, University of the Siate of New York, 1889.

2 Joint documents, Mich., 1879. 3 Michigan Laws, 1848, 248.

* Knight, 143. The university also had the opportunity of the direct benefit, for all of the warrants were accepted by the State from the university at par.

Interest on the loan was paid for some years until, in 1853, the State authorized the interest on the entire university fund to be paid to the university, thus virtually canceling the obligation of the latter. In 1877 the Auditor-General, by virtue of a resolution of the Legislature, made the loan on the records a part of the university fund.1

The endowment fund was not sufficient to provide for the growing needs of the university. The Legislature was made to see this in 1867 and accordingly passed an act in that year granting an annual appropriation of about fifteen thousand dollars, but with the following proviso that at least one homeopathic professor should be appointed in the medical department.

Fearing that such a move would bring on a detrimental controversy, the university failed to accept the grant. Two years later the grant was made without the proviso, and the accumulations of the grant of 1867, amounting to over thirty thousand dollars, were paid.?

From this time on the Legislature has provided well for the university. Considering the heavy taxation Michigan has undergone, the university has received a liberal support.

In 1873 the appropriation of one-twentieth of a mill on each taxable dollar was made for a permanent endowment. It is also provided that the amount paid to the university because of this act should not exceed fifty thousand dollars, and when the amount reached this sum it should be the annual assessment for the support of the university. Thus the Legislature gave from 1867 to 1873 the sum of fifteen thousand dollars per annum; from 1873 to present date one twentieth of a mill taxation on all assessed values; from 1875 six thousand dollars per annum for the support of the homeopathic department.

Besides this, special appropriations have been made for various objects in the support of the several departments, as follows: 4 In 1875 the sum of

$44,500.00 In 1877 the sum of

49,000.00 In 1879 the sum of

75,000.00 In 1880 the sum of

88,000.00 In 1881 the sum of

70,000.00 In 1882 the sum of

47,500.00 In 1883 the sum of

37,200.00 In 1884 the sum of

27, 200.00 In 1885 the sum of

56,000.00 In 1886 the sum of

51,500.00 In 1887 the sum of

108, 365. 94 In 1888 the sum of


1 Report of Superintendent Public Instruction, 356, 357. For a full discussion of this question, upon which there has been a great controversy, see Ten Brook, 128, 135.

2 By an act of 1875 an annual endowment was fixed of six thousand dollars per anpum for the support of the homeopathic department, to be paid to the regents for this purpose.

3 Revised Statutes, 1882, art. 4944.

4 Compiled from the president's reports. These appropriations are exclusive of the receipts from the one-twentieth of a mill tax and the six thousand dollars approprition for homøopathic department, except in case of 1880, which includes the former.

To show the direction of these appropriations a part of the act approved June 24, 1887, making these appropriations, will be given.

For the year 1887 the appropriations were made for the following pur. poses : 1 For repairs....

$5,000.00 Contingent expenses..

6, 250.00 Library and books....

5,000.00 Homeopathic College and Hospital.

6, 200.00 University Hospital...

5,000.00 Dental College...

8,000.00 Apparatus for experiments in natural philosophy

2,000.00 Transportation and placing, Rogers's statuary.

1,973,01 Transportation and placing, Chinese exhibit.

1,792.93 Vault for chemicals, storage.

400.00 Forge and foundry....

5,000.00 Machinery in engineering laboratory.

6,750.00 Scientific, building and apparatus.

35,000.00 Boiler and boiler-house.

15,000.00 For additional salaries.


Total of special appropriations..

$108, 365.94 To this amount should be added the sum of six thousand dollars, given annually by the act of 1875, and the sum of $43,886.25, the amount received from the one-twentieth of a mill tax for the year 1887. This gives a total of $158,252.19 raised by taxation and appropriated out of the public treasury for a single year, the largest sum given in any year.

According to a statis tical table in the report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Michigan in 1880, the total amount received from the permanent funds, that is, from the United States grant, from the year 1839 to 1880, inclusive, was $1,129,910.91. The income the first year, 1839, was $9,433.13. The minimum amount raised was $994.83 in 1843, and the maximum in 1879 was $46,921.95.

As heretofore stated, the first appropriation from taxation was made available in 1869, the amount received in that year by the university from the State treasury being $38,197.02. The total amount appropriated from 1869 to 1880, inclusive, was $654,421. The receipts from other sources amounted, during the period from 1839 to 1880, to $622,634.97, less than the donations by taxation, and a little more than one-third of the entire income derived from the Federal and State grants.


The provisions of the Constitution of Michigan adopted in 1850 required that the Legislature "shall, as soon as practicable, provide for the establishment of an agricultural school.” This was the first step

1 Report of president, 1887.

% This agrees approximately with President Angell's statement given above, the amount of the donation being $185,375 for 1879 and 1880.

3 Constitution of Michigan, 1850, Art. XIII, sec. ii.

« AnteriorContinuar »