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FEDERAL AND STATE AID TO HIGHER EDUCATION. 31
VERSITY in a central part of the United States, to which the youths of fortune and talent from all parts thereof may be sent for the completion of their education in all the branches of polite literature, in arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge of the principles of politics and good government, and, as a matter of infinite importance, in my judgment, by associating with each other and forming friendships in juvenile years, be enabled to free themselves in a proper degree from those local prejudices and habitual jealousies which have just been mentioned, and which, when carried to excess, are never-failing sources of disquietude to the public mind and pregnant of mischievous consequences to this country.” In the same document Washington bequeathed fifty shares of stock held in the Potomac Company” “toward the endowment of a university to be established within the limits of the District of Columbia under the auspices of the General Government, if that Government should incline to extend a fostering hand toward it.” But as the Government took no energetic action in the matter nothing ever came of the wise benevolence of the far-seeing statesman except the inheritance by posterity of sound educational ideas which will certainly in due time receive their full and merited appreciation. In his private correspondence Washington often returns to the above views, always emphasizing three points, viz: (1) the education of youth at home rather than abroad; (2) the removal of local prejudices, and (3) the promotion of political intelligence as a national safeguard. These points are strongly urged in his letter to Governor Brooke, of Virginia." In his correspondence with Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson he is no less pronounced in favor of a national university; but with clear discernment he rejects the Jeffersonian scheme of transplanting the Geneva University bodily to America.” He desired an American university for Americans. “The Father of his Country wished to save
* Quoted by Dr. H. B. Adams, College of William and Mary, 43; Sparks, XI, 4. * Adams: College of William and Mary, 44. *The Legislature of Virginia, as a mark of esteem and acknowledgment of the great services of General Washington to the State and to the Federal Government, gave him one hundred shares of James River improvement stock and fifty shares of Potomac stock. He declined to accept the gift, but offered to direct it into channels of public use if so desired. Consequently the donation was withdrawn by an act of the Legislature, and the property was placed at the disposal of Washington, to be devoted to whatsoever public object he might direct. (Hening, Statutes, XII, 44.) Washington, after due consideration, concluded that the entire Potomac stock should be devoted to one object—the prospective university in the Federal City, but he left the disposal of the James River stock to the Legislature of Virginia, and that body decided in favor of endowing a seminary within the State. It was given to Liberty Hall Academy, afterward Washington Academy and Washington College, now Washington and Lee University. (Sparks, IX, 83, 142.) “Adams: College of William and Mary, 43. *Letter to John Adams, November, 1794; Sparks, XI, 1. For a full discussion of this subject, see College of William and Mary, 46,47.
the United States on the one hand from provincialism and on the other from sectionalism,” and in accomplishing these ends he considered national aid to education necessary. Previous to the bold declarations of Washington on national education, two statesmen had taken a firm position in favor of a national university in their deliberations as members of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, over which Washington presided. These were Charles Pinckney, of South Carolina, and James Madison, of Virginia. On the 29th of May the former offered to the Convention a plan for a Federal Constitution, which, among other powers of Congress, authorized it “to establish and provide for a national university at the seat of government of the United States.” His plan was not accepted, and in the discussion of the Randolph constitution, Mr. Pinckney, followed by Mr. Madison, moved, on the 14th of September, to insertin the list of powers vested in Congress a power “to establish an university in which no preferences or distinctions should be allowed on account of religion.” Mr. Wilson supported the motion, but Gouverneur Morris said, “It is not necessary. The exclusive power at the seat of government will reach the object.” The matter was dropped on the ground that Congress already had sufficient power to enact laws for the support of national education. But the discussion doubtless had its influence upon the members of the Convention, and the presiding officer certainly was in sympathy with the movement; for, fresh from the discussions in the Convention, he' presented the recommendations of 1790, hitherto mentioned, to Congress. James Madison, when in the presidential chair, did not forget his earlier zeal for science. In his second annual message he reverted to his favorite idea of a national university: “Whilst it is universally admitted that a well instructed people alone can be permanently a free people, and while it is evident that the means of diffusing and improving useful knowledge form so small a proportion of the expenditures for national purposes, I can not presume it to be unreasonable to invite your attention to the advantages of superadding to the means of education provided by the several States a seminary of learning instituted by the national legislature, within the limits of their exclusive jurisdiction, the expense of which might be defrayed or re-imbursed out of the vacant grounds which have accrued to the nation within those limits.”4 The sentiments of John Adams were expressed at every opportunity in favor of universal intelligence. He wrote to the educational committee of Kentucky as follows: “The wisdom and generosity of the Leg
1 Madison Papers, II, 740.
*Madison Papers, III, 1577. Mr. Madison had previously moved to place among the powers of Congress a power “to establish an university.” (Madison Papers, III, 1354.)
*Annals of Congress, 1810–11, 13,
FEDERAL AND STATE AID TO HIGHER EDUCATION.
islature in making liberal appropriations in money for the benefit of schools, academies, and colleges, is an equal honor to them and their constituents, and a proof of their veneration for letters and science, and a portent of great and lasting good to North and South America, and to the world.” 1
The efforts of Thomas Jefferson in behalf of universal education in Vir. ginia are well known, and the eminent success of the University of Virginia is a living testimony of his great service to his State and country.
Though not so pronounced in favor of national aid as of State aid to education as some of his contemporaries, yet in the development of the University of Virginia he has performed a national service, in the general influence of that great institution on higher education, particularly in the southern portion of the United States. In his sixth annual mes. sage to Congress, referring to the tariff on imports, Jefferson declared in favor of Federal aid to education in the following words: “Shall we suppress the impost and give that advantage to foreign over domestic manufactures ? On a few articles of more general and necessary use the suppression in due season will doubtless be right, but the great mass of the articles on which impost is paid is foreign luxuries, purchased by those only who are rich enough to afford themselves the use of them. Their patriotism would certainly prefer its continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, and canals."
The chief service of Jefferson to education was rendered in remodelling the curriculum of William and Mary College and in founding a "university of character in his own State.”
James Monroe was very pronounced in favor of the promotion of intelligence by wise legislative measures, and so expressed himself at different times to Congress.
John Quincy Adams in his first annual message, after referring to some of the powers of the Constitution, thus represents the obligation of the Government concerning education and internal improvement: “If these powers and others enumerated in the Constitution may be effectually brought into action by laws promoting the improvement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, the cultivation of the me. chanic and of the elegant arts, the advancement of literature, and the progress of the sciences, ornamental and profound, to refrain from exercising them for the benefit of the people themselves would be to hide in the earth the talent committed to our charge, would be treachery to the most sacred of trusts.94
These opinions of the early fathers of the Republic concerning the education of the people clearly represent it as as a national trust.
1 Report of the Commissioner of Education, 1867–68, 320.
Congressional Debates, 1825–26, Appendix, p. 8,
Although the early plans for national university education have not yet been realized, Congress has continued to favor from time to time the cause of education by grants and appropriations intrusting to the several States the responsibility of the education of youth. While the greater effort has been put forth in favor of “common public schools,” much has been done to forward and support higher education. There always have been, and are now, many statesmen with a large following who adhere to the principle laid down by Thomas Jefferson, that the university is as much a public trust as is the primary school. During the last fifty years, since the benefits of the Ordinance of 1787 have been more fully realized, and since the results of the Congressional grant of 1862 have begun to be seen, there has been an upward tendency of State education, and in many sections a growing antagonism (entirely uncalled for) between State and non-State institutions. The author of this sketch may be pardoned if, without entering fully into the discussion of this subject, he refers to it in such a manner as to show the progress of educational ideas. Edward Everett, in his oration on “Aid to the Colleges,” says: “But, sir, we are still told * * * that common school education is a popular interest, and college education is not; and that for this reason the State is bound to take care of the one and not of the other. Now, I shall not put myself in the false and invidious position of contrasting them; there is no contrast between them, no incompatibility of the one with the other. Both are good; each is good in its place; and I will thank any person who can do so to draw the line between them; to show why it is expedient and beneficial in a community to make public provision for teaching the elements of learning, and not expedient nor beneficial to make similar provision to aid the learner's progress toward the
mastery of the most difficult branches of science and the choicestrefine-.
ments of literature. * * * “As far as individuals, many or few, are concerned, I have just as much natural right to call on the State to pay the bill of the tailor who clothes, or the builder who shelters, my children, as of the school-master or school-mistress, the tutor or professor, who instructs them. The duty of educating the people rests on great public grounds, on moral and political foundations. * * * “We enter not into particulars; we do not presume to suggest a limit to your liberality, or to dictate the form it shall assume. But we do with some confidence call upon you to recognize and act upon the principle that the encouragement of academic education is one of the great interests of the State. We do ask you to reject the narrow, and, as we think, the pernicious doctrine, that the colleges are not, equally with the schools, entitled to your fostering care. This, sir, is not Massachusetts doctrine. It is not the doctrine of the Pilgrims. This Commonwealth was founded by college-bred men, and before their feet had well laid hold of the pathless wilderness they took order for founding an institution like those in which they had themselves been
FEDERAL AND STATE AID TO HIGHER EDUCATION.
trained, the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, in England. * Amid all the popular susceptibilities of the day it never entered into their imaginations that academic education, less than school education, was the interest of the entire people.” 1
RECENT DISCUSSION PERTAINING TO STATE AND NATIONAL EDUCA
In a very able address, delivered in 1873, President Eliot, 2 of Harvard University, took strong grounds against State support to higher education. He held that the State might provide for universal elementary education on the ground that it was a cheap system of police for the national defence, but that no man ought to be taxed to send another man's son to the high school or college.
On the other hand, ex-President White, of Cornell University, one of the foremost champions of State education, in answer to the above argument has formulated the following propositions :3 " The main pro. vision for advanced education in the United States must be made by the people at large acting through their legislatures to endow and maintain institutions for the higher instruction, fully equipped and free from sectarian control. I argue, first, that the past history and present condition of the higher education in the United States raises a strong presumption in favor of making it a matter for public civil action, rather than leaving it mainly to the prevailing system of sectarian development.”—“ I argue, next, that careful public provision by the people for their own system of advanced instruction is the only republican and the only democratic method.”—“Again, I argue that public provision, that is, the decision and provision by each generation as to its own advanced education, is alone worthy of our dignity as citizens."--"Again, I argue that by public provision can private gifts be best stimulated.”— “I argue, next, that by liberal public grants alone can our private endowment be wisely directed or economically aggregated.”_"But I argue, next, that our existing public school system leads logically and necessarily to the endowment of advanced instruction.”_"Again, I argue that the existing system of public endowments for advanced education in matters relating to the military and naval service leads logically to public provision for advanced education in matters relating to the civil service of the nation.”—“Again, I argue that not only does a due regard for the material prosperity of the nation demand a more regular and thorough public provision for advanced education, but that our highest political interests demand it.”—“And, finally, I
Everett's Orations and Speeches, II, 618, 623, 625. ? See paper read before the higher department of the National Educational Association at Elmira, N. Y., August 5, 1873, by President Eliot, and a review of the same by John W. Hoyt, chairman of the National University committee of the above Association.
3“National and State Governments and Advanced Education;" Am. Jour. of Soc. Sci., No, 7, 1874, 302–11.