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TO THE ALUMNI
BY THE AUTHOR
HE foundation of Cornell University marks an epoch in the history of higher education in the United States. Its origin is coeval
with the new direction in modern learning. The classical languages, philosophy, and mathematics had formed the basis of instruction in the older colleges. The claim of modern languages as instruments of literary culture, and their historical study as furnishing a philological training as far-reaching and as fruitful in its results as that of the ancient languages, had not been previously recognized. The revelations of mediæval literature, English, German, French, Italian, and Norse, were not for the college student but for the specialist. History unveiling national growth, the development of society and civil institutions, the struggle of humanity for liberty, and the expansion of the human intellect in art and science were, a half-century since, subjects unknown in the curriculum of many colleges. Political economy received partial recognition, but the relations of labor and capital, the study of social conditions, of the rights of the employed in factories and mines, the whole theory of punishment, of population and crime, were the speculation of solitary thinkers and of a few philosophers.
Natural science, even experimental physics, and laboratory methods in chemistry, were largely ignored in instruction. Scientific agriculture had few votaries and but few students. Possible national wealth from the scientific treatment of soils and forests, the care of domestic animals, the investigation of insect pests, the scientific study of fruits and grasses, the wealth of the