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sufficient to say at this point that the Ordinance has been the means of creating many of the foremost universities in the United States."


Under an act of Congress passed in 1836, the surplus in the national treasury on hand at the beginning of the next year was ordered to be distributed, after deducting the sum of five million dollars, among the several States according to their respective numbers of Representatives in Congress. The money was to be distributed in four instalments, all during the year 1837. The States were to bind themselves to pay back the

money when called upon, provided that not more than ten thousand dollars be demanded at any one time from a single State without thirty days' notice, and that all States were to be called upon at the same time for their pro rata.3

This can be called an educational measure on the part of the Federal Government only in so far as it presented opportunities for the States to use the funds for the promotion of education, and as such it is worthy of notice. As far as the National Government was concerned, its chief aim was financial and not educational. It was desired to remove the surplus revenue which had accumulated by means of unprecedented land sales and revenues arising from a protective tariff.4 Mr. Webster in introducing the measure made a long and able argument in support of the bill, in which he estimated that at the beginning of the year 1837 there would be at least forty million dollars of surplus in the Treasury, and it was supposed at the beginning of the distribution that the amount to be thus disposed of would be $37,468,859.47. But the first three quarterly instalments exhausted the Treasury, and there was consequently only the amount of $28,101,645 paid to twenty-seven States.

Mr. Murray, secretary of the board of regents, has prepared a table5 showing the amounts given to each State, and the purpose to which it was devoted. The table will be given here, although it does not show the amounts devoted to the support of higher education. As far as this can be ascertained it will be given in the discussion of the respective States.

See Appendix B.
2 U. S. Statutes at Large, V, 55.

3 This fund has been held by the several States subject to call from the Federal Government. During the late war New York signified her readiness to discharge the obligations.

4 Webster's works, IV, 252. 5 Historical Records, 91.

6 New York devoted the whole amount to education, and as it yields an annual interest of $236,000 the total income and its interest amount, for forty-three years, to about eleven million dollars.



No. electors.

Amount received.

Objects to which applied.

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New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York...
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina

11 1,051, 422. 09 One-third education, two-thirds general purposes.
5 477, 919.13 Education and internal improvements.
9 860, 254. 44 One-balf education, one-half general purposes.
15 | 1, 443, 757. 40 Education.
5 477, 919. 13

General purposes.
10 955, 838. 27 General purposes.
14 | 1, 338, 173. 57. General purposes.
10 955, 838. 27

Education and general purposes.
4 382, 335.31 General purposes.
4 382, 335. 31 Education.
286, 751. 48

Internal improvements.
669, 086.78

General purposes.
764, 670. 61

General purposes.
42 4,014, 520.71 Education.
15 | 1, 433, 757.40 Education in part, internal improvements.
21 2,007, 260.36 Education.
302, 867, 514.80 Education in part.

4 382, 335. 31 Education.

1,051, 422.09 Education one-third, general purposes two-thirds.
15 1, 433, 757. 40

General purposes.
7 669, 086. 78 Education.
23 2, 198, 428.04 General purposes.



With proper

Next to the Ordinance of 1787, the Congressional grant of 1862 is the most important educational enactment in America.

Though less than a quarter of a century has elapsed since the acceptance of this gift by the majority of the States, far-reaching results pave already been attained from this well-timed donation. treatment the donation itself was a magnificent aid for the actual support of higher learning; but its chief excellence consists in the stimulation which it gave to State and local enterprise. By this gift fortyeight colleges and universities have received aid, at least to the extent of the Congressional grant; thirty-three of these, at least, have been called into existence by means of this act. In thirteen States the proceeds of the land scrip were devoted to institutions already in existence. The amount received from the sales of land scrip from twenty-four of these States aggregates the sum of $13,930,456, with land remaining unsold estimated at nearly two millions of dollars. These same institutions have received State endowments amounting to over eight million dollars.


The origin of this gift must be sought in local communities. In this country all ideas of national education have arisen from those States that have felt the need of local institutions for the education of youth. In certain sections of the Union, particularly the North and West, where agriculture was one of the chief industries, it was felt that the old classical schools were not broad enough to cover all the wants of education represented by growing industries. There was consequently a revulsion from these schools toward the industrial and practical side of education. *

Evidences of this movement are seen in the attempts in different States to found agricultural, technical, and industrial schools.

These ideas found their way into Congress, and a bill was introduced in 1858, which provided for the endowment of colleges for the teaching of agriculture and the mechanical arts. The bill was introduced by Hon. Justin S. Morrill, of Vermont; it was passed by a small majority, and was vetoed by President Buchanan. In 1862 the bill was again presented with slight changes, passed and signed, and became a law July

2, 1862.

Without giving the entire text of this familiar act, a few of its main provisions will be mentioned. It stipulated to grant to each State thirty thousand acres of land for each Senator and Representative in Congress to which the States were respectively entitled by the census of 1860, for the purpose of endowing “at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of Iearning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the Legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life.” It is to be noticed that the main requirement is to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, and that, this being accomplished, such other studies as were thought proper could be introduced. Secondly, the defence of the nation was provided for by the suggestion concerning military tactics and the subsequent act pertaining thereto. Again, the “liberal” as well as the “practical” education of the industrial classes was sought after. And, finally, the youth were to be fitted for “pursuits and professions of life.” From this proposition all sorts of schools sprang up, according to the

local conception of the law and local demands. It was thought by some that boys were to be taught agriculture by working on a farm, and purely agricultural schools were founded with the mechanical arts attached. In other States classical schools of the stereotyped order were established, with more or less science; and, again, the endowment in others was de


voted to scientific departments. The instruction of the farm and the teaching of pure agriculture have not succeeded in general, while the schools that have made prominent those studies relating to agriculture' and the mechanic arts, upon the whole, have succeeded best. Among the conditions of this grant it was imperative that no mineral lands should be “selected or purchased,” and that if there was not suf. ficient public land in a given State, scrip should be issued for the actual number of acres to which the State was entitled, and this land scrip could be sold, the purchaser being allowed to locate it in any of the States where there was sufficient land entered at one dollar and twentyfive cents or less per acre. In several instances the managers of the land scrip have understood that by this provision the State could not locate the land within the borders of another State, but its assignees could thus locate lands, not more than one million acres in any one State. By considering this question, the New York land scrip was bought by Ezra Cornell, and located by him for the college in valuable lands in the State of Wisconsin, and thus the fund was augmented. However, the majority of the States sold their land at a sacrifice, frequently for less than half its value. There was a lull in the land market during the Civil War, and this cause, together with the lack of atten. tion in many States, sacrificed the gift of the Federal Government. The sales ranged all the way from fifty cents to seven dollars per acre, as the average price for each State. It was further enacted that the proceeds should be preserved entire, as a permanent fund, and that the income derived from it was to be used in the support and maintenance of the college. It could not be used in the erection of buildings or otherwise diminished, except that ten per centum of the fund might be used for the purchase of sites or experimental farms, if so ordered by the Legislature of the State. In addition to this, it was provided that if any portion of the invested fund or interest thereon “shall, by any action or contingency, be lost, it shall be replaced by the State to which it belongs.”


It is to be observed by the tenor of this act that the Federal Government intended the grant should form a nucleus in each of the several States, around which buildings, libraries, laboratories, workshops, gymnasiums, military halls, and other educational appliances should be grouped, by means of private munificence and State bounty. It was to prove a stimulus to the generosity of the people and the liberality of the States.

To this test the people, through private gifts, and municipal and State governments, have responded, with few exceptions, in a liberal way. Thirty-seven of these colleges formed under the land-scrip act

880–No. 1–4

have now an aggregate value in lands, buildings, apparatus, libraries, etc., of $8,416,682. This, taken with the amount used for current expenses supplied by State appropriations, would swell the amount of expenditures on the part of the States in response to the Congressional grant to a sum nearly equal to that actually realized from the original gift.

In some instances State Legislatures, through neglect or disregard of the law, have failed to comply with the provisions of this act, but in every instance are now hastening to make good the losses sustained by the funds held in trust.

It is worthy of attention that the responsibility was thrown upon the States entirely, and that in so far as the administration of the fund was concerned, it was State rather than National education. The National Government charged upon the several States the effective working of a system of education which allowed the most liberal construc

From a recent Report of the Commissioner of Education, the amount of State appropriations to twenty-six of these colleges, twentytwo of which received aid, is found to be $397,833, while the income from productive funds amounted in the aggregate to $563,204.

The sixth clause of section 5 of the act limits the application of the grant by stating that “No State, while in a condition of rebellion or insurrection against the Government of the United States, shall be entitled to the benefit of this act.” The privilege of the grant has since been extended to every State in the Union, thus making the only universal law ever established by the Federal Government for the cause of education, no other having applied to all of the States.

Section 5 asserts that any State taking the benefit of the provisions of this act must accept the terms within two years from the date of passage of the act, and must provide within five years for at least one college.

These provisions were altered by an amendment approved July 23, 1866, extending the time of acceptance to three years from the date of the amendment, and the time of the establishment of a college to five years from the date of filing an acceptance of the grant.

While the primary object of this grant was not to discourage the existing schools with their traditional classical four years' course, it was intended to widen the sphere of knowledge and training, to take new ele. ments into the curriculum of education, 56 The fundamental idea," says Senator Morrill, 3 " was to offer an opportunity in every State for a liberal and larger education to larger numbers, not merely those destined to sedentary professions, but to those much needing higher instruction for the world's business, for the industrial pursuits and professions of life."

1 Cf. Historical sketches of the several States, in subsequent chapters.
2 Report for 1886–87, 708.
3 Address in behalf of the University of Vermont Agricultural College, 11,

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