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a request that a committee may be appointed to consider what portion of tbe public lots, and of lands in the western territory of the United States, shall be appropriated by Congress to this important institution, in addition to the contents of either of the sites already contemplated therefor within the city of Washington, by Washington himself, and by the commissioners thereof. And further, to consider the expediency (should it comport with the monumental plan to be adopted) of erecting the statue of 1783, or, in lieu theref, any appropriate and characteristic equestrian statue of the original founder of the national university, as a beautiful centerpiece for the entire plan, to be surrounded by halls and colleges as they may be built in successiou by the fund to which the whole people of America are now so liberally and honorably contributing by voluntary subscriptions from Maine to Georgia, inclusive, thus virtually following an ancient custom of the original Americans, when mev, women, and children all carried a stone to the monumental pile of a beloved chief.
It is humbly conceived that no further aid will be necessary for your honorable body to give till in your wisdom it may be deemed proper to follow the sublime and prophetic advice of Washington, and to assume the entire direction of the most important object ever contemplated in the united efforts of all parties, persuasions, and classes of the American people, under a firm belief that the governmental plan and synopsis thereof will be maturely considered and wisely adapted to promote the views of the sage and provident Washington, namely, “to do away with local attachments and State prejudices, as far as the nature of things would or indeed ought to admit, from onr national councils ;” and, in short, to promote a true amor patriæ, as well as the advancement of new arts and universal science, in all useful kuowledge, while “our youth, by associating with each other for these purposes, and forming friendships in their juvenile years, will free themselves from those narro
row local prejudices which, when carried to excess, are never-failing sources of disquiet to the public mind and pregnant of the most mischievous consequences to this country.”
Such are the principles under which this sublime institution, founded by Washington, and indubitably the best monument to his memory, is now rapidly progressing, to the immortal honor of the American name; nor does it require uncommon inspiration to foretell, that so long as it shall continue true that parents are naturally attached to the most amiable of their offspring, so long will the founders throughout the Union, themselves and their posterity, delight to preserve a noble fabric, which in itself will unite the most sublime points that can with reason interest a generous, industrious, and an enlightened people, and equally endear them to their country and to each other. And so long as the divine principles that gave birth and strength to the infancy of the university may continue, so long by turning the tide of emigration in search of learning shall the American character be the pride and boast of the liberal and learned of all nations and the dread of every foe to human excellence.
A synopsis for the university, uniting with it a plan for a free college, adopting and combining therewith the interest of the existing seminaries throughout the Union, accompany this memorial, together with descriptions or duplicates of several monumental plans, which will remain before the present committee of subscribers till Congress may think proper to assume the entire direction of this object, in conformity with the ardent wishes and earnest advice so irresistibly enforced by Washington.'
XXIX. The memorial of Samuel Blodget, presented to the House of Representatives on December 23, 1805, and thus referred to in the annals of Congress:
A memorial was received from Samuel Blodget, representing that subscriptions for a university at Washington bave already been made to the number of eighteen
1 Economica, Appendix, p. XII.
thousand and a sum received amounting to $30,000, and requesting Congress to designate the site, with the lots or lands that may be intended therefor, and to grant such further patronage as they may think proper.'
Reference of the memorial was made to a select committee of five, whose report appears not to have been submitted.
XXX. The earnest efforts of Minister John Barlow for the founding, by Congress, of a great university, as shown
(1) By his letters to President Jefferson and others, while representing our country at the court of France.
(2) By his 6 Prospectus of a National Institution to be established in the United States,” which opens with these words:
The project for erecting a university at the seat of the Federal Government is brought forward at a happy moment and on liberal principles. We may therefore reasonably ope for an extensive endowment from the munificence of individuals as well as from Government itself. This expectation will naturally lead us to enlarge our ideas on the subject, and to give a greater scope to its practical operation than has usually been contemplated in institutions of a similar nature.
Two distinct objects, which in other countries have been kept asunder, may and ought to be united; they are both of great national importance, and by being embraced in the same institution they will aid each other in their acquisition. These are the advancement of knowledge by associations of scientific men and the dissemination of its rudiments by the instruction of youth.
The leading principle of uniting these two branches of improvement in one institution, to be extended upon a scale that will render it truly national, requires some development.
We find ourselves in possession of a country so vast as to lead the mind to anticipate a scene of social intercourse and interest unexampled in the experience of mankind. This territory presents and will present such a variety of productions, natural and artificial, such a diversity of connections abroad, and of manners, habits, and propensities at home, as will create a strong tendency to diverge and separate the views of those who shall inhabit the different regions within our limits. It is most essential to the happiness of the people and to the preservation of their republican principles that this tendency to a separation should be overbalanced by superior motives to a harmony of sentiment, that they may habitually feel that community of interest on which their federal system is founded. This desirable object is to be attained, not only by the operations of the Government in its several departments, but by those of literature, sciences, and arts. The liberal sciences are in their nature republican; they delight in reciprocal communion; they cherish fraternal feelings and lead to a freedom of intercourse, combined with the restraints of society, which contribute together to our improvement.2
(3) By his preparation of a bill to establish such an institution; which bill was introduced in the Senate by Mr. Logan, of Philadelphia, in 1806, and by him reported to the Senate without amendment.
XXXI. The dedication by Samuel Blodget, in 1806, of the proceeds of his “ Economica,” the first work on political economy ever published in America, to “the benefit in trust for the free education fund of the university founded by George Washington in his last will and testa
1 Annals, 9th Congress, 1st session, vol. 1, p. 301.
2 Origin of the National Scientific and Educational Institutions in the United States, by Dr. G. Brown Goode, p. 85.
3 Economica, p. 2.
XXXII. The further advocacy of Samuel Blodget, in "Economica," first published in 1806, and republished in 1810, from which the fol. lowing passages are taken: 1
After a second visit to Europe the writer returned in 1791, and informed President Washington of the plans he had attempted, from the best points only of the ancient and modern cities of the old world and adapted to his views, for a federal HEART or CAPITOL for this country. But his views for the university were what he most prized, designed in part at The Hague and completed at Oxford, where he had all the universities of ancient and modern times to guide his pencil. From these he borrowed and rejected agreeably to the opinions of the best informed friends he could meet, in order that no childish bias for his own questionable taste might by any means prevent the final success of the important object in view.
Again: That we shall soon have a national university there is now the greatest reason to hope, since many gentlemen who had read only of some objectionable institutions in Europe, and who conceived we should of course imitate them, are now fully convinced that they were wholly mistaken; hence many members of Congress have contributed to augment the fund of Washington, on finding that this national institution was intended both to give additional stability to the Union, and yet to assist in the preservation of the independence of each individual State seminary; and that, instead of interfering with the minor schools, it was to have nothing to do with them; that,instead of controlling and humbling the State colleges, it was to contribute to their independency and to increase their importance, inasmuch as a principal controlling power over the most commanding features of the university might be vested with the principals of the State seminaries.
The injuries complained of by some writers, from the too independent situations, by the tou great salaries and too secure hold of their durable places in the permanent officers of Europe, will no doubt be avoided in ours, and everything done to make the university not only an epitome to correspend and harmonize always with the principles of our Government and Union, but highly conducive to the preservation of that freedom and independence possessed by all classes of the people composing our American commonwealth.
And again: Although our Washington had nothing nearer his heart, after the completion of our independence, than a federal city and a central university, as he felt a diffidence when the question for the republican form for the university arose in his mind, lest it might militate with the prejudices of those who were educated at aristocratical seminaries, and thereby fail from formidable opposition, he nevertheless recommended the attention of Congress, in two instances, to this object, in his speeches while President of the United States.
Referring to Washington's confident expectation that his own wishes and bequest would inspire Congress to action, he further says:
If no aid from Congress or any other source had followed this noble challange of Washington, his donation, at compound interest, would in twelve years have given $50,000, and in twenty-four years $100,000. At this period one of the colleges of the university might have been erected and endowed, and yet a part of the surplus might remain at compound interest for the completion of the whole design.
XXXIII. The efforts of Col. John P. Van Ness, president of the Branch Bank of the United States at Washington, of George Washing.
| Economica, p. 23; Appendix, pp. III-X.
ton Custis, James Davidson, and many other distinguished citizens of Washington, early in the present century, and especially during the the administration of Jefferson; efforts so earnest and practical that, with the proper coöperation of Congress, they would certainly have resulted in the beginning of the proposed university under auspices that would have insured its success.
In further illustration of these efforts, the following extracts from the writings of Mr. Blodget are offered:
The memorial was accompanied by a plan of the equestrian statue of Washington, surrounded by halls and colleges regularly arranged, the whole to be styled “Washingtonia”, or, “ The Monument to Washington.”
It was also stated in handbills that, in conformity with the nomination and appointment at the first meeting of the subscribers, Samuel Blodget had accepted the office of secretary, and the cashier of the Branch Bank of the United States, James Davidson, esquire, that of general treasurer to the subscribers.
It is left to the discretion of a majority of the trustees, at any of their meetings, to commence one of the buildings on such ground as they may deem
after consulting the President of the United States, with due deference to his opinion in aid of the views of Washington and of the entire plan of his subscribing followers.
It shall be the duty of the secretary to make known, at discretion, to all the friends of science in Europe and universally, that presents are admitted from any quarter of the globe, either to the museum or library, and that foreigners (although not admitted in the list of contributors to the monumental pile in honor of the Father of His Country) may, nevertheless, contribute to the endowment of the university in any way consistent with the liberal and honorable views of an institution at which the youth of all nations are to be admitted on equal terms, excepting only in the provi. sion for the free education of indigent youth of genius who intend to remain citizens of the United States. 1
XXXIV. President Jefferson's correspondence with Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, in November, 1806, concerning his draft of the annual message to be delivered in December following, from which it appears that he then had two important projects in mind: First, the establishment and endowment of a national university, and, secondly, an amendment to the Constitution explicitly defining the powers of the Federal Government in matters of education and internal improvements, so as to place both of those great interests beyond the possibility of a question.
It further appears that Mr. Jefferson had framed his message with a view to the very certain establishment of a national university by the Fourth Congress, and the appropriation of money therefor out of the general fund so soon as the condition of the Treasury would warrant it.
The letter of November 14 to Mr. Gallatin dealt with questions of the army, the tax on salt, and the university, his comments on the lastnamed point being as follows:
3. The University. This proposition will pass the States in all the winter of 1807–08, and Congress will not meet, and consequently can not act on it, till the winter of 1808–09. The Florida debt will therefore be paid off before the university can call for anything.
Economica, Appendix, pp. XIII, XIV.
2 Writings of Gallatin, Vol. I, p. 313.
XXXV. The very practical letter of Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury, to President Jefferson, on November 16, 1806, the same being in answer to Mr. Jefferson's of the 14th, and consisting of suggestions concerning the several points embraced in the forthcoming message to Congress, wherein he dealt with the national university passage, sentence by sentence, in the following critical manner:
University.—“They cannot, then, be applied to the extinguishment of debt, etc.”
I would wish that between the words then and be the following should be inserted: “without a modification assented to by the public creditors "'; or that the idea should be inserted in some other way in the paragraph.
It will be consistent with the opinion expressed that the extinguishment, etc., and liberties, etc., are the most desirable of all objects, and Congress have now under consideration a plan for the purpose, which I submitted last session, and was postponed because reported too late by the Committee of Ways and Means.
Again, under the head “On Fortifications, etc.”, he says:
The surpluses, indeed, which will arise, etc. [Quoting Mr. Jefferson]. It may be observed on whatever relates to the connection between these surpluses and the supposed improvements and university, first, that, war excepted, the surpluses will certainly and under any circumstances—even while the debt will be in a course of payment—be, after January 1, 1809, sufficient for any possible improvement. I have no doubt that they will amount to at least two millions a year; and, if no modification in the debt takes place, to nearly five. Second, that it will take at least the two intervening years to obtain an amendment for the laws designating improvements and make the arrangements preparatory to any large expense. Third, that the existing surpluses are at this moment sufficient for any university or national institution.
But the whole of this part of the message rests on the supposition that a long time must elapse before we are ready for any considerable expenditure for improvements, and that we would not be able to meet even that for the university before the time which must elapse in obtaining an amendment.
The general scope of this part of the message seems also to give a preference to the university over general improvements; and it must not be forgotten, apart from any consideration of the relative importance, that the last proposition may probably be popular and that the other will quite certainly be unpopular.
It appears to me, therefore, that the whole of that part from the words “the surpluses indeed,” etc., to the words “to which our funds may become equal," should undergo a revisal, introducing in the same the substance of the last paragraph of the ninth page, respecting a donation of lands."
[The message will show that the last recommendation prevailed for the most part. But this fact counts for nothing against the exceeding liberality and farsightedness of Mr. Jefferson, who had planned an appeal for money appropriations; nor indeed against his high courage, for that was in the youth and poverty of the nation, when a million seemed an enormous sum, and the people of the country generally had not only not become accustomed to vast expenditures for education, but had not come to even an appreciation of the priceless value of science and learning. 7
XXXVI. The sixth annual message of President Thomas Jefferson, delivered on December 2, 1806, containing these words:
Education is here placed among the articles of public care; not that it would be proposed to take its ordinary branches out of the hands of private enterprise, which