« ForrigeFortsett »
the reception of scholars, students, and teachers of every grade, without any distinction or preference whatever, contrary to the intent for ich the said donations were made. In connection with this idea of free State education, may be quoted section twenty-seven, which shows the catholicity of view then entertained by granting unrestricted privileges to charter private institutions. It reads as follows: “That every association of persons, when regularily formed within this State, and having given themselves a name, may on application to the Legislature, be entitled to receive letters of incorporation to enable them to hold estates, real and personal, for the support of their schools, academies, colleges, universities, and other purposes.” In the amended Constitution of 1851, this section and the twenty-fifth, were omitted ; the third section was essentially retained, while new provisions were made for the protection and preservation of school funds and the establishment of a common school
In the year 1804 the State Legislature repealed the law of 1802, and organized" the “American Western University” under the name of the “Ohio University,” and provided for its control by creating a board of trustees, twenty-one in number, of which the Governor of the State and the president of the university, are ex-officio members and the remainder are nominated by the board with the approval of the General Assembly.” The two townships of land were placed in charge of this board of trustees as an endowment for a university, and explicit instructions were given pertaining to the disposal of the same.
The lands were to be subdivided into tracts of not less than eighty nor more than two hundred acres, to be valued by three disinterested freeholders, as in their original and unimproved state, and to be leased “for the term of ninety years, renewable forever, on a yearly rent of six per centum on the amount of their valuation, so made by said freeholders; and the land so leased shall be subject to a re-valuation at the expiration of thirty-five years, and to another re-valuation at the expiration of sixty years from the commencement of the term of each lease. * * * Provided always that the corporation shall have the power to demand a further yearly rent on the said lands and tenements not exceeding the amount of the tax imposed on property of like description by the State.” Section seventeen exempts these lands with the buildings upon them from all State taxes forever. “This last provision was in effect to give to the university the State taxes upon those two townships, though the State did not undertake to collect them.”
1 Laws of Ohio, II, 193.
2 Smart: Historical Sketches of Education in Ohio, 9.
3 Quoted in Historical Sketches of Education in Ohio, 10."
“George W. Knight: History and Management of Land Grants for Education in the rth-West Territory; Papers of American Historical Association, Vol. I, No. 3, p. 119. 1 Laws of Ohio, III, 79. * Knight, 120. 3 Ibid., 121.
FOUNDING OF OHIO UNIVERSITY, 217
This policy seems to have been very fair and entirely liberal to the lessees; had it been adhered to, doubtless the institution in question would have been well-off to-day. As we look back over the history of the disposition of the educational land grants in the several States, it seems that there could have been no better policy than that of long leases with frequent re-valuations of the property. Twenty thousand acres were applied for in the following year and it appeared that all of the lands would soon be taken. But Governor Tiffin recommended in his message that a more liberal policy be pursued toward the lessees; consequently the law of 1804 was amended so that the lands oppraised in their original and uncultivated state could be leased for a term of ninety-nine years, with the privilege of renewal, at an annual rent of six per centum on the appraised valuation. However, lands were not to be leased on a valuation less than one dollar and seventy-five cents per acre.” These lands, with the exception of about two thousand acres sold in fee-simple, are still held by perpetual lease yielding but a scanty income based upon a valuation of eighty-four years standing. According to President Scott,” the rent from the forty-four thousand acres in 1883 was only twenty-four hundred dollars, while the aggregate assessed valuation of the university lands is $1,060,000. The valuation of the act of 1805 for rental is only seventy thousand dollars; that is, had the first policy been adhered to, the university would now be receiving an income approximating $63,600 in place of $2,400.
A full discussion of the struggles of the university with the lessees and the Legislature is too long and complicated to be properly represented here, therefore only the conclusions will be given. When the law of 1804 was amended, in 1805, its meaning was not quite clear, This led to a contention as to whether the lands were subject to re-valuation. Consequently, in 1841, the trustees proceeded to re-value the lands, the thirty-five years specified in the first act having expired. The lessees objected, and the subject was argued before the supreme court of Ohio, which held that the lands were subject to re-valuation. The lessees appealed to the Legislature, and that body, strange as it may seem, practically set aside the decision of the supreme court in interpreting the meaning of the act of 1805.
Another similar misfortune is to be recorded, pertaining to the collection of the State taxes as an annual rent. The trustees, partly through neglect and partly through difficulty of collection, never received any rent in lieu of taxes until the year 1876. In 1841 they applied to the Legislature for assistance to enforce the collection, but without avail. Not until 1875 did the Legislature pass a law requiring the collection of the rents; since then the rents have been collected regularly, after having allowed the occupants to escape from taxation for seventy years. The yield of income from this source is about three thousand dollars, making the total income to the university arising from two townships of land about seven thousand four hundred dollars per annum. During recent years the Legislature has sought to do justice to the Ohio University, the oldest college of the State, by appropriatons to supplement its small income. In 1881, twenty thousand dollars were voted for repairs on the buildings; 1 in 1883, ten thousand dollars” to assist in the completion of the building; and again, in 1885, four thousand nine hundred dollars for current expenses.” The university has received assistance at different times by appropriations from the Legislature amounting in all to about fifty-five thousand dollars."
The third seminary township granted to the State of Ohio in the contract of the Federal Government with John Cleves Symmes, was selected in Butler County, and is now known as Oxford. Immediately after this grant was confirmed by law,” in 1792, commissioners were appointed to locate the lands. After the location nothing was done toward the founding of a university until 1809, when the Miami University was chartered" and the seminary township granted to it as a permanent endowment. The terms for the disposal of the lands were exceedingly favorable to the new institution. They were divided into tracts containing not over one hundred and sixty acres, which were to be rented for ninety-nine years to the highest bidder, provided that no lease should be based on a valuation of less than two dollars per acre. The lessees were to pay an annual rent of six per centum on the first bid, and the lands were to be subjected to re-valuation every fifteen years. But in the following year the Legislature repealed that portion of the former act requiring a re-valuation every fifteen years." By this action the Legislature gave a blow to the university from which it never recovered. Could a wise policy have prevailed instead of the short-sighted haste to build a university in the wilderness, Miami University would doubtless be a flourishing institution at the present time. The Legislature tried to aid the university, but the entire assistance given amounted to about thirty thousand dollars.”
The university was not opened until 1824, while the lands were all taken as early as 1810. The valuation of the lands represents ninetythree thousand dollars, which yields an income of five thousand six hundred dollars. With this meager allowance the university continued its struggle for existence until 1873, when its doors were closed.
To revive an institution for which the State was in a great measure responsible, the Legislature in 1885 appropriated twenty thousand dol
* Laws of Ohio, 1881, 68. 5 United States Statutes, I. 266. 2 Ibid., 1883, 158. 6Laws of Ohio, VII, 184. 3 Ibid., 1885, 193. 7 Ibid., VIII, 95. * Letter from President W. H. Scott, sLetter from Pres. W. H. Scott, Colum
of Columbus, 1888. bus, July 31, 1888.
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY. 219
lars for repairs to the buildings of Miami University." Other gifts have been made by the State. At present the university is in operation, having a productive fund of sixty-two thousand dollars, which yields an annual income of nine thousand five hundred dollars.”
It is generally conceded by all candid judgment on the subject that the management of the Ohio Seminary lands has been a failure, although the first plan for their management was well formed. It is not easy to explain the causes in a few words. Perhaps the haste to realize funds at once for carrying on the universities, the pressure brought to bear by the lessees and other interested parties, and the fact that the attention of the people was directed to the support of other institutions of learning, may be enumerated as the chief causes of the wild legislation and bad management of the funds.
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY.
Under the grant of 1862 Ohio received, in land serip, six hundred and thirty thousand acres. By an act” of April, 1865, the Legislature authorized the sale of the land scrip at a minimum price of eighty cents per acre.” Subsequently the minimum price was fixed at fifty-three cents per acre. The lands were soon sold, and brought the sum of $340,906.80, or an average of about ninety-four and one-half cents per acre. This amount was increased by interest on its investment until the opening of the college, in 1870, when it amounted to over four hundred thousand dollars, and in 1876 to five hundred thousand dollars. In the year 1878 an act was passed by the Legislature reorganizing the university, under the name of the “Ohio State University.” It was located near Columbus, in Franklin County. The citizens of Columbus and of Franklin County gave three hundred thousand dollars for the erection of buildings. Another fund of about twenty-eight thousand dollars was contributed by the railroad companies and citizens combined. Certain lands reserved by the compact of the United States and the Ohio Company, known as the Virginia military district, contained some remnants, which were donated to the State by the Federal Government in 1871. These lands in the following year were in turn donated by the State to the university at Columbus. They yielded upward of twenty thousand dollars. The funds of the institution have been con- . stantly increasing. The last Report of the Commissioner of Education shows value of buildings, grounds, etc., to be eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars; the amount of productive funds to be $537,841, and the income on productive funds to be $32,270.
* Laws of Ohio, 1885, 193.
The State has been generous in its aid to the institution by making needed appropriations and otherwise encouraging the growing university. The following is a list of the appropriations granted since its organization:"
1876---------------- $5,150.90 | 1885.--------------- $25,500.00
Other items swell the entire appropriation by the State to $179,535.90.
SUMMARY OF GRANTS.
Ohio University, at Athens--------------------------------------------- $55,000.00
Miami University, at Chillicothe ------------------------...------------- 30,000.00
Ohio State University, at Columbus -----------...----...---------. -----. 179, 535.90
The first Territorial Assembly of Indiana adopted measures for the establishment of a university. We have here one of the many instances on record of the attempts to place the “crown of the public school system” before the establishment of the system upon which it was to rest. However, it was not the intention of the early legislators to neglect the public common schools, seminaries and intermediate schools, as the sequel will show. It was to secure the Congressional seminary land grant and to obtain through the means of a university support to secondary and primary schools that a seminary of learning was to be planted in the wilderness. But it took over half a century to mature the plans of the early legislators.
The organization of the Indiana Territory took place in 1800, and four years thereafter Congress passed an act which provided among other things for the disposition of the public lands within the Territory. The act of Congress of 1804 divided the Territory into three land districts, viz, Kaskaskia, Detroit, and Vincennes, which later formed essentially the respective States of Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana.
The fifth section of the said act, after designating what land shall be reserved for public schools, states that there shall be set apart “an entire township in each of the three described tracts of country, or districts to be located by the Secretary of the Treasury for the use of a
* Letter from Pres. W. H. Scott, November 29, 1888.