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The interpolated "university grant" connected with the "ordinance of 1787"-The grant for colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts of 1862-Estimate of the gross sum received for the sale of these lands-The management of the lands for which Mr. Cornell bargained with the State of New York-Expressions of opinion which justify provision for the dissemination both of culture and utilitarian knowledge by Government-The effort of the States to foster higher education-The method of Massachusetts, of New York, of Virginia, and of Michigan selected as illustrations--The present time marked by the desire of the people to directly tax themselves specifically for higher education-Summary, by States, of Federal and State aid for the purpose of establishing universities and colleges. In the United States the establishment of higher institutions of learning has been promoted by one or more of five agencies, which are, respectively, the Federal Government, the several State governments, the churches, private individuals, and the promoters of business enterprises. These agencies have so cooperated as to make it impossible to state exactly the financial part each has played in establishing, much less in maintaining, higher education in the country. Nevertheless it is possible to give with some degree of accuracy the amount of public aid for promoting a project which was first distinctly connected with free government in the Massachusetts constitution of 1780 and subsequently repeated, enlarged in matter and condensed in form, in connection with the so-called "ordinance of 1787," or constitution for the new States that were to be formed in the interior of the continent. This original provision of the constitution of Massachusetts reads as follows:

Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this Commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools [in the English sense, or secondary] in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, by rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections and generous sentiments among the people."

1 By Mr. Wellford Addis, specialist in the Bureau.

2 In his Life of Alexander Hamilton, Mr. William Graham Sumner, professor of political and social science in Yale University, remarks: "The facts which we have now presented suffice to show that the great faults in the public affairs of the United States at this time (the régime of the Continental Congress) were indolence, negligence, lack of administrative energy and capacity, dislike of any methodical, businesslike system, and carelessness as to money responsibility and credit. A man with experience of the world finds that there are few things to be got for nothing. His mind inevitably reverts to the cost or the equivalent. He reduces his expectation to the measure of the equivalents he can give. In these observations we have ED 97-72 1137

For the propagation of this extraordinary announcement, due to the genius of the man who became the first Vice-President and second President of the United States, see Note A of this chapter.


In 1787 Congress passed an ordinance for the government of the territory north of the Ohio, then lately converted into public domain through the relinquishment of their claims by the States of Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. This ordinance carefully provided for the interests of elementary education, but said nothing for those of higher education. But under the stimulating influence of a determined and highly educated scientist and minister of the gospel, who was negotiating at the time for the purchase of 5,000,000 acres of land in the territory for which the ordinance had been drawn, a provision was incorporated in the subsequent act authorizing the sale of the lands whereby "not more than two complete townships" were "to be given [to each State] perpetually for the purposes of a university, to be applied to the intended object by the legislature of the State." The precedent thus made has been deprived of its casual importance and has been made a rule for the advantage of every new State.

The sale of the lands thus granted for the establishment of a university in each new State was subject to the action of its legislature. Thus there was necessarily an opportunity left for experimenting with the lands until experience had taught its lesson. The newer States of Minnesota (1858),1 Kansas (1861), and Nebraska (1867) profited by the experience of their predecessors, and in doing so have produced results which are phenomenal in the popular management of public lands. The disasters and vacillation attending the early action in regard to the university lands, some States receiving their quota before admission, make it difficult to ascertain exactly what sum was obtained from the sales, and to this difficulty must be added that in many cases the lands were sold on long time. In Ohio the lands were leased for ninety-nine years at a valuation of $1.75 an acre, and though in 1804 this valuation of the lands amounted to $70,000, in 1893 it was found that they were assessed at $1,060,000, yet the university was only receiving at that date an income of $2,400 instead of $63,600 from the 46,000 acres which had been granted in 1787 for the establishment of a university. Further, it is said by the board of regents of the University of Wisconsin that lands which were sold in 1850 at $25 an acre were sold by that State in 1849 at $3. But by far the greatest difficulty encountered in computing the amount received from the sales is to separate the university fund from the fund arising from the sale of lands given by the Federal act of 1862 and from State aid given regularly or occasionally. It will therefore be well to state first the amount of land received by each State from the Federal Government, which, being a matter of fact, should be kept quite separate from certain estimates as to the amount those lands were sold for, to be made hereafter.

the clew to the career [during the organization of this Government?] of Alexander Hamilton." Excerpted from pages 101-103. But the article of the constitution of Massachusetts was written by the hand of another Federalist. Cf. Philbrick, in his article, États-Unis, in Buisson's Dictionnaire de Pédagogie, 1re partie, page 922; also Barnard's report as Commissioner of Education for 1863, pages 86 and 87, where an interesting circumstantial account is given of the origin of the "scientific" and Mr. Adams's fear for the "good humor" clause.


1 In the first constitution of Minnesota (1858) it is provided that not more than one-third of the school lands may be sold in two years, one-third in five years, and one-third in ten years, but the lands of greatest valuation shall be sold first, and no lands shall be sold otherwise than at public sale.

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