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Capitol, as well as the use of the Hall of Representatives for the annual meetings.
(2) By giving grounds to said institute for a botanical garden, in 1823.1
XLVII. John Quincy Adams's no less persistent than brilliant championship of science and learning as demanding the encouragement of Congress, and the strong moral support given by him to the National University in both messages and speeches; as, for example, in his first message, 1825 which contains this eloquent and touching reference to the efforts of Washington in that behalf:
Among the first, perhaps the very first, instruments for the improvement of the condition of men is knowledge; and to the acquisition of much of the knowledge adapted to the wants, the comforts, and enjoyments of human life, public institutions and seminaries of learning are useful. So convinced of this was the first of my predecessors in this office, now first in the memory, as he was first in the hearts, of his countrymen, that once and again, in his addresses to the Congresses with whom he coöperated in the public service, he earnestly recommended the establishment of seminaries of learning, to prepare for all the emergencies of peace and war, a national university, and a military academy. With respect to the latter, had he lived to the present day, in turning his eyes to the institution at West Point he would have enjoyed the gratification of his most earnest wishes. But in surveying the city which has been honored with his name he would have seen the spot of earth which he had destined and bequeathed to the use and benefit of his country as the site for a university still bare and barren. ?
XLVIII. The action of the United States Senate on Thursday, December 20, 1825, in passing the following resolution, upon motion of Mr. Robbins, of Rhode Islaud, namely:
Resolved, That so much of the President's message as relates to a National University be referred to a select committee to consist of members, that said committee be instructed to report upon the expediency of such an institution, and if deemed by them expedient, to report the principles on which it ought to be established and a plan of organization that will embody those principles.3
XLIX. The efforts, in 1820 to 1827, of the eloquent Dr. Horace Holley, D, D., president of Transylvania University, Kentucky, whose views and earnest advocacy of them were made the subject of eulogy by his biographer.
L. The no less zealous efforts of Dr. Charles Caldwell, professor in Transylvania University, especially by means of bis biography of Dr. Holley, published in 1828, in which he says of him:
For the better and more certain accomplishment of this latter purpose [to promote progressiveness in education and uniformity throughout the country], he was an advocate for the erection of a national university and the arrangement of schools on a federal plan, analogous to that of our political institutions. He was an advocate, indeed, for the federalizing of everything susceptible of such modification, with a
1 Annals, 18th Cong., 1st sess., p. 787.
view to the production and confirmation of federal feelings, practices, and habits, to strengthen throughout the country the federal and national bond and aid in perpetuating the union of the States. For he believed that as concerns the permanency of that union, the stability and endurance of a moral tie, the resnlt of education, social intercourse, early friendships formed at school by leading characters, and a consistent interchange of kind offices, the whole cemented and strengthened by a liberalizing and humanizing spirit of letters derived from a central and common source, are much more to be relied on than those of a connection exclusively political.
As a further reason for advocating the establishment of a national university, he believed that in the nature of things great literary institutions are best calculated for the production of great men, at least of accomplished scholars and pupils distinguished for attainments in science. For, morally and intellectually, as well as physically, it is the law of creation that everything begets in its own likeness.
* * * A national university, therefore, being necessarily a grand and magnificent institution, on the same scale must be the educated men it would regularly send forth to participate in the management of national affairs and shed a luster on their native country.
His views of the important influence of a great national institution did not stop here. Considering it as operating on a much more extended scale and covering a field of wider compass, he duly appreciated the effects it would produce on our literary and scientific reputation as a people, in foreign countries. He believed that it would tend much more certainly and effectually than any other measure to secure to us, in that species of reputation, the same ascendency which we are hastening to acquire in arts and arins, and which we have already acquired in practical legislation and diplomatic policy.
LI. The action of Congress in appropriating $25,000 cash to Columbian College, with the approval of President Jackson, in 1832, and that, too, on account of the generally acknowledged "utility of a central literary establishment”, and of the failure hitherto to make any more distinct recognition of the recommendations of Washington and of other Presidents.
It should be said in this connection that during the years between 1849 and the opening of the late civil war there was a temporary revival of the old demand for a national university. The pressing need of such an institution was a common theme of conversation among the leading educators, scholars, and scientists of the time. It found advocacy upon the rostrum and in the public prints. Members of various organizations made it the subject of public discourses, and at one time, as will hereafter appear, something was done toward founding a national university at Albany, New York.
That its advocates did not press the thought of a national university at Washington was, perhaps, because at that time Washington was little more than a mere political center, and a not very attractive one at that, and because sectionalism held such despotic sway as to preclude the thought of governmental action in that behalf. But since they who originated and coöperated in the movement earnestly contended for the main idea of a true university that should be national in character and influence, and since, moreover, nearly, if not literally, all of them twenty
i Register Debates in Cong., Vol 8, part 3, p. 3210.
years later fully accepted and indorsed the proposition of a national in. stitution to be established in the national capital, with a sufficient endowment secured to it by Congress, it seems proper that place should be accorded to them in this paper.
The subject appears to have been first publicly broached at Albany by Henry J. Raymond, in the State legislature of 1849. Finally, by agreement between leading educators, scholars, scientists, and statesmen, in the year 1851 a preliminary arrangement was made for the organization of a university of the highest type, as the same was then apprehended, and in accordance with the following governing principles:
The concentration of the ablest possible teaching force for each and all the departments of human learning.
The utmost freedom of students to pursue any preferred branch or branches of study.
Support by the State, for a period of two years, of one student from each assembly district, to be chosen by means of open competitive examinations, so conducted by competent examiners as to exclude all considerations but that of real merit; such public support to be had, however, only after at least fifteen departments had been so endowed as to command the best professional talent the country could afford.
The movement awakened so much interest among distinguished educators that conditional engagements are said to have been made with such men as Profs. Agassiz, Peirce, Guyot, Hall, Mitchell, and Dana.
The efforts in this behalf first resuted in the passage on April 17, 1851, of an act to incorporate the “University of Albany.” Some fortyeight persons of that city were named as trustees, with power to create departments of medicine and law, and such others as might be deemed desirable. The institution was authorized to confer degrees and was made subject to the visitation of the regents. In accordance with the general plan, on April 21, 1851, a law school was organized, with Thomas W. Olcott, president of the board of trustees; Hon. Greene C. Bronson, president of the faculty, and Ira Harris, Amasa J. Parker, and Amos Dean as the other members. The first course of lectures was begun in the following December by Amos Dean. By a donation of land and by generous contributions from the faculty and private citizens, an excellent building, with considerable equipment, was in time erected. In 1873, upon the establishent of Union University, the Albany Law School was merged in that institution.
Likewise an attempt was made in 1851 to establish a department of scientific agriculture, and lectures were announced upon geology, entomology, chemistry, and practical agriculture. A course on the “connection of science and agriculture” was begun in January, 1852, by Prof. John F. Norton, of Yale College, at the opening of which, as reported by the Albany Evening Journal, he spoke of the need of a national university as follows:
No one was of more advantage to community than the close, investigating student. He would assuredly bring forth something of value to the world. True science was
always useful, always noble, always elevating. It was thus for the interest of everybody to encourage its advancement. We had done so but little yet. Our youth were compelled to cross the Atlantic to find the advantages they wished. There was no school among us where they could go and find all they desired.
Subsequently, courses of lectures were also delivered by Prof. James Hall and Dr. Goodly.
In March, 1852, there was great activity at Albany among the friends of the proposed national university. Public meetings were held on the 10th, 11th, and 12th in the Assembly Hall, attended by members of the legislature and addressed by distinguished gentlemen from different parts of the country, including Messrs. Hooper C. Van Vorst, H. J. Hastings, Isaac Edwards, Judge Harris, and Samuel B. Ruggles, Profs. William F. Phelps and Joseph Henry, and Bishop Alonzo Potter. In order that the sentiments, purposes, and hopes cherished by leading citizens at that time may appear, extracts from the Journals reports of some of the speeches then made, especially those of March 11, are here introduced.
From the speech of Rev. Dr. Kennedy: Now, there is an intellectual Mont Blanc as well as a physical, and there are multitudes of young men panting to ascend this mount. They come from every quarter of our country.
Where are they to find intellectual guides? But further, the character of our political institutions demands that we should have greater facilities for education. These institutions rest upon the fundamental principle that all men are born equal. This is a great practical principle with us, for we have no aristocracy here.
The road to eminence must be opened to the masses-equally open to all. There are no royal avenues; intellect must be the recommendation.
We should encourage the desire and furnish the means by which to gratify the aspirations of those who wish to be master in whatever pursuit or calling they engage.
There is another demand for such an institution. It seemed to him that there was a native energy in the American mind and character that asked for means for greater development than has been furnished. As a nation we are in our infancy; we have accomplished much; not by the means at hand, but by the energy we possess—by indomitable perseverance.
American ingenuity and energy have done much and will yet do more. Let, then, this energy and genius be fostered. Give them facilities for improvemeut and you will see yet greater wonders.
Prof. O. M. Mitchell, director of the Cincinnati Observatory:
He thought it not requisite to argue this point, but would take it for granted that a necessity exists. He had about him a sort of devotion to his own country. He could not consent in his humble way to follow eternally the lead of others. Europe has pointed to us and said, “Behold, a nation of money-getters! They understand how to gather the money and they hold it in a firm grasp.” They say, "Where are your La Places, your Newtons, your Miltons, your Shakespeares ?”
Alas, we have not been able to answer these inquiries in a way to gratify our national ambition.
It was not contemplated to take young men whose minds are not trained, but after they have been trained, it is to open up to them a grand field of inquiry. He referred to the great benefits conferred by European universities. There it was that you find concentrated everything that is truly glorious in science, emanating from the great emporium of kuowledge.
From the address of Hon. Samuel B. Ruggles, of New York City:
For what was the theory in regard to public works? Was it not they would lessen not only national but commercial and social inequalities; that they would place the poor by the side of the rich-inferior districts by the side of the superior; the agricultural by the side of the trading communities; and, so far as nature's laws would permit, would equalize the condition of all?
We hold to a similar theory in regard to education, and that it is its true aim and best effect to raise up the low, the helpless, the down-trodden, to lessen the inequalities that prevail in the intellectual culture and condition of the people, to remove or batter down the obstacles that retard the advancement of the sons of poverty and misfortune, and to place them side by side, on equal terms, and in fair and open competition with the favored sons of fortune.
By a similar analogy we hold that in education, as in public works, and in truth in all the great efforts of mankind, the secret of success is found in concentrating strength.
But here, just at this very point, we suddenly encounter a school of political philosophy—not very numerous, for, God be praised, the race is nearly extinct—whose great delight it is to proclaim aloud that the “world is governed too much”, and that government has no right to do more than “protect a man in the possession of his life, liberty, and property, and must then stop”!
Now, if this miserable doggerel were true, even to its letter, it would not be difficult to show that the protection of "property” itself would imperiously require ample and extended education as its only means of safety against ignorance, its deadliest enemy. But we descend to no such special pleading. We meet the proposition at once in its full extent and deny that any such limitation of the great blessing of human government, the greatest of all social blessings God has bestowed upon man, has any foundation or justification in experience, reason, or authority. We brand and denounce the whole doctrine as mischievous, cruel, and destructive—the diseased offspring of feeble minds and cankered hearts.
It is, then, this unequaled variety, this unprecedented combination of intellectual strength, which is to impart to the university its distinguishing characteristic. Here the pupil of any taste and aim can select the subject he wishes to pursue, each and all to any extent he may desire.
A good example of an institution like that we propose, made for the people and composed of people coming from the people, is furnished by what was once our sis. ter Republic of France. It was among the earliest results of the downfall of the royal power in 1792. The Polytechnic, then called the central school of Paris, was born and baptized in blood and slaughter, amid the most fearful spasms of the revolution; but it contained the one vital, all-important, all-possessing element of pupils collected by fair, free, open competition among the people.
We further contend that no State can afford that any one of its people shall needlessly be deprived of any of his natural powers, or that those powers shall be lost through want. of proper culture and development, and that in a merely economic view the State suffers positive pecuniary loss when any useful faculty is thus needlessly neglected or suffered to lie dormant.
It was in this light that the prudent and calculating but sagacious Dutchmen, ancestors of those who founded this goodly city of Albany, in which we are now standing, viewed this matter. It was in Holland-economical, industrious, thrifty, liberty-loving Holland—that learning was most highly valued. It was amid the sunken fens and marshes of the Rhine and the Vecht, holding fearful and unequal conflict with the ocean, that the hardy burghers, who sent forth the Rhinelanders and Van Vechtens to carry the virtues of their parent laws into another hemisphere, founded the cities where science loved to dwell. In the early days of their republic, while battling with the whole power of the Spanish crown, it fell to the arms of