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Grants by Federal Government to States for the establishment of higher institutions
of learning, excluding grant of 1862 for colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts.
Not including one half of 1 per cent of all proceeds derived from sale of l'nited States lands in State, $156,613
One township was granted to Territory and given to Vincennes University, which sold 4,133 acres for $6,000. When the State was admitted, another township was given to Indiana University, and subsequently still another township.
Including one-tenth of lands granted to state as "saline,” 4,600 acres.
Three sections were also granted (in addition to 2 townships) by treaty of Fort Meigs in 1817. These realized $5,00).
or which 1,234,210 belong to the new States and the Territories of the Plains and Rocky Mountain region.
In 1862 Congress passed an act for the purpose of establishing institutions for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts, without excluding other scientific studies and the classic languages. The means provided to accomplish this purpose were, including Colorado's share but not the share of any State admitted since 1876, some 9,600,000 acres of public lands—"the land grant of 1862"—as is particularized below: The land granted by the Federal Government, ací July 2, 1862, for the cstablishment
of colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts.
NOTE.-Amount obtained from the sale of these lands is given under the name of each State, pages 1096 et seq.
Here are 13,000,000 acres, that is to say, 20,000 square miles, of selectable lands granted by the Federal Government specifically for the establishment of higher education. The question is, How are they to be valued? for, as before remarked, there is no possibility of discovering, without long and patient research among the archives of each of the State capitols, what sum the lands were really sold for, or exactly how much money came into the hands of the State, or even for what particular educational purposes the amounts received were expended. To this want of precision in regard to the amount received from the lands, and as to the number of acres unsold, or, if sold, yet to be paid for, must be added the far less important difficulty that about 1,234,000 acres of the university lands and about 850,000 acres of the grant for agricultural and mechanical colleges-in Utah specifically for an agricultural college-belong to the new States of the far West. But as these lands thus granted to the new States are. potential but not actual endowment, or, as it is called, "productive funds," we are more particularly concerned with the States admitted before 1889.
The United States valued such lands as it gave to the new States of the far West at $10 an acre, or $6,100 a square mile. If valued on this basis, the lands given by Congress during the century, up to 1889, for the purpose of establishing higher education of all kinds would amount to $109,000,000, or, including the grants since 1889 (2,084,000 acres), $129,000,000. The magnitude of the figure ($108,000,000) as compared with the amount now held by each State institution as an endowment fund from the sale of university and other lands for higher education shows at once that $10 an acre is entirely too high as an average valuation of the lands granted by Congress since 1803 to the date of the acts which admitted the States of the Rocky Mountains.
In placing these lands upon the market the earlier States that came into the Union felt the competition of the lands still held within the State or elsewhere by the United States. These lands the United States were offering at the uniform price of $1.25 an acre. The advantage of the States was that they could select the best lands, and their policy in disposing of them was the Fabian policy of delay. Without lingering in these generalities or dwelling on the difficulties of legislative management of public property to be placed upon the market, an incident may be related of the possibilities offered to such management. The land scrip issued to many of the States in compliance with the act of 1862 was being sold in some cases at 50 or 60 cents an acre in the open market. The State of New York had 990,000 such acres. These were going at the market rate named when Mr. Cornell made a proposition to the State to buy the whole body of scrip yet unsold at 60 cents an acre, to be paid for as resold, provided the scrip be placed in his hands for location and that all obtained for the lands above 60 cents an acre become an endowment for a university. The proposition was accepted, the scrip was skillfully located in the white-pine forests of Wisconsin, all premature longings and solicitations of too-impatient people were resisted, and the lands were eventually sold for $6.73 an acre on the average. As a result the Cornell University has a fine endowment, a monument not only of the public spirit but of the business sagacity of Mr. Cornell and Mr. Henry W. Sage, who so ably effected their splendid project, not by benefactions, but by their personality, the element by which “benefactors" accumulate their wealth. The State of Kansas has also done well by the lands granted. It deliberately fixed the price of its university lands so high that after some years it was necessary to reduce the price one-fourth to get them on the market. Nor is Kansas alone in her judicious management of the fund granted by the people of the whole country to the several States formed from time to time out of the Federal territory.
Stiil it is not fair to take the results obtained by exceptionally good management as the average price for the 10,800,000 acres given by Congress up to 1889. The United States lands were sold in the early days of the century for $1.25, and that figure may seem to be the average value of public lands. But it is to be remarked that when the Government-aided railroads were constructed the price of public (United States) lands along their routes was doubled with good reason. So would it be in a State into which immigrants were rushing. To be admitted, the State must have been fairly settled in the American sense of being run over by a prospecting population, and the internal-improvement movement of the twenties and thirties was aiding in the construction of thoroughfares. It therefore does not appear to be an extravagant estimate to place the average value of the 10,800,000 acres at $2.50. Thus we obtain $27,000,000 instead of $108,000,000 for the 17,000 square miles of public lands given by the Federal Government up to 1889. Yet small as this amount is, it seems too large. It is a fair statement to place the price received for the 9,600,000 acres of land given in 1862 for the establishment of colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts at $1.10 an acre. On that assumption it will follow that $10,500,000 was received for the lands. This amount is a little more than is indicated by the principals of the fund, held separately by the several States, which principals considered as one fund yield, interest estimated at 6 per cent, about $600,000.”
The university lands, however, were not thrown on the market, like the agricultural and mechanical college lands, in an immense block during a distressing period of the country's history, so that scrip was sold for 60 cents an acre, as in the case of New York, or 55 cents, as in the case of Pennsylvania, or 54 cents, as in the case of Ohio, and so on. These university lands, all told, up to 1889, were 1,214,902 acres. Deducting from these the lands given to Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee, it is probable, from returns and estimates, that the 993,622 acres remaining brought about $1,016,000, or about $1.08 an acre, which will compare favorably with the sales of Cornell University which had about the same quantity and for it obtained $6.73 an acre. Let us assume that $1.08 an acre will be a fair average price for the whole body of 1,244,902 acres, and it will be found that these lands yield $5,000,000 for the establishment of institutions for the higher education of the minds of the youths of the several States. Putting these two grants-one for spiritual and the other fox technical or scientific education-together, it will be seen that the value to higher education of the 17,000 square miles given by the people of the United States to the several States before 1889 was in the neighborhood of $15,000,000 or $16,000,000.
The grant of 1862 was insufficient, and the Federal Government again came to the aid of the States. In 1890 an act for the “more complete endowment of the institutions called into being or endowed by the act of 1862 ” was passed. Under this act $8,208,000 has been already furnished from the Federal Treasury, and in virtue of the act of Congress of 1887 the experiment stations, which are being inore and more intimately connected with the agricultural colleges, have received nearly $8,000,000 from the same source, Thus the sum total estimated and really given by the Federal Government as aid to higher education of some kind or another is in the neighborhood of $31,000,000 or $32,000,000, to say nothing of the future, which now shows an annual offer of about $1,700,000 from the Federal acts of 1990 and 1887 alone.
The uniformity of the legislation of Congress regarding the granting of land for the purpose of establishing higher education in the several States as each came into the Union was interrupted by the provisions of the act of 1889, which adinitted the States of North and South Dakota, Montana, and Washington. In 1854, 1857, and 1881 Congress had given to each of the Territories the usual grant of two townships, and the Territory of Washington as early as 1855 had established a university at Seattle. On the admission of two of the Territories as States in 1889 and the subdivision of another into two States, Congress, instead of granting a certain quantity of land for“internal improvements,” another quantity as “saline lands," and still another as “swamp and overflowed lands," gave large blocks of land in lieu of these general unconditioned grants for the specific purpose of establishing institutions for higher education and for charitable purposes and the
· The attorneys for Cornell University place it at $1.65. But it is their duty to make the most of the magnificent management of Mr. Cornell, and they include the sale of 989,920 acres belong. ing to New York, not at 60 cents an acre, at which the State sold it, but at $6.73, at which Cornell University sold it, or held it. They put the receipts for the sale of the 9,600,000 acres at $15,900,000, 36,188,000 of which being what was obtained over the amount ($473,000) paid by Cornell University to the State of New York. But in this statement of Messrs. Halliday & Finch, the attorneys of Cornell in a friendly suit between that institution and the State, Nebraska is put down for $39,000, whereas it is claimed that $600,000 is nearer the mark, as will be found when the lands are sold.
? See Report of Cominissioner of Education 1895–96, Chap. XXVII.
education of the deaf, blind, and vicious. These lands are to be leased by the
20,812,000 That Congress is annually appropriating for agricultural and mechan
ical colleges a sum equal in 1897 to a capital, at 4 per cent, of ..... 20, 400,000 That Congress is annually appropriating for experiment stations a sam equal to a capital, at 4 per cent, of
80,742,000 The lands granted since 1889 being priced at $10 or more are, as it wero, tied up, and are only “productive funds" as far as they are leased. The University of Washington, however, had quite a capital to go on. Two citizens of Seattle had given 10 acres of land about 1855 for the university. When the site was changed this property was certainly worth $150,000, for the legislature advanced that amount in 1893 (to be repaid “from the sale of lots in Seattle ") for the purpose of providing new buildings for the new university. The tied-up land, however, having a value, is utilized in providing buildings by pledging it as security. As an instance of this method of using the lands, sections 1, 2, and 5 of an act of one of the new States are now given.
SECTION 1. That for the purpose of providing money for the support and main. tenance of the normal schools of the State of Idaho, located at Albion, in Cassia County, and Lewiston, Nez Perce County, and for the construction and repair of buildings for the use of said schools, a loan of $75,000. is hereby authorized to be negotiated by a board consisting of the governor, treasurer, secretary of state, and attorney-general of the State of Idaho, on the faith and credit of the State of Idaho, and secured by the proceeds of the sale of State normal school lands and the timber thereon as hereinafter provided.
SEC. 2. The treasurer of the State is hereby authorized, empowered, and directed immediately upon the passage of this act to issue 75 bonds of the State, to be known as normal school bonds, in the sum of $1.000 each, payable in twenty years from the date of their issuance, to bear interest at the rate of 5 per cent per annum, payable semiannually on tho 1st days of January and July each year, at a bank in the city of New York to be selected by State treasurer; said bonds, however, to be redeemable at the option of the State at any time after the expiration of ten years from the date of their issuance.
Sec, 5. For tho purpose of securing the payment of the principal of the bonds provided for in this act the proceeds of the sale of all the lands, or of timber growing thereon, granted to the State by the United States for State normal schools are hereby set apart as a separate and distinct fund to be known as the normal school sinking fund; and after the payment of said principal of said bonds, then the proceeds of the sales of said land or timber shall be paid into the general fund in the State treasury until an amount equal to the total amount of interest that has theretofore been paid out of said general fund on said bonds, less the amount of interest that may have been paid into said general fund from investment of nor
mal school sinking fund moneys in State Warrants, as hereinafter provided for, has been so paid into said general fund. When the principal of said bonds shall have been fully paid and the general fund of the State reimbursed for interest on said bonds as herein specified, then and thereafter the proceeds of the sales of such lands and timber shall be disposed of as may by law be provided.
This is not the place to enumerate the merits or to extol the objects of the institutions that the university land grants and the grants for the colleges of agriculture and the mechanic arts have called into being or have encouraged. All that has been repeatedly done elsewhere. But attention may be asked to two judgments which appear to justify the most strenuous exertions in promoting the cause of higher education. The first of these dicta relates to higher spiritual education and contains a passage very frequently quoted, or rather misquoted; the second is from a recent report of a British commission on technical education.
In the preface to his Questions Contemporaines, Mr. Ernest Renan criticises his own and this country in the following language:
The false idea being still alive in France that education should be given only to those children whose social position in after life will warrant it, and therefore that to cultivate and to instruct the poor is to sow wants and ambitions which it will be impossible to satisfy, nothing can be definitely accomplished until that idea is repndiated. The strength of the education of the peasantry in Germany is due to the strength of higher education in Germany. It is the university which makes the school. It is said that the elementary teacher conquered the Austrians at Sadowa.' Not at all. It was German science and German virtue that conquered at Sadowa. It was Protestantism, it was philosophy, Luther, Kant, Fichte, and Hegel that conquered at Sadowa. The education of the masses is the result of the high culture of certain classes. The people of those countries which, like the United States, have created a great school system for the people without a serious higher instruction shall for a long time yet expiate their fault by their intellectual mediocrity, their coarseness, their superficiality, and their lack of general intelligence.
Or if it is proper to take the French literary savant's “instruction of a class of persons," or perhaps as he would have said, “a class of instructed persons," as meaning the same thing as a “general diffusion of knowledge,” his apprehension concerning the defects of education in this country as regards parlor manners was antedated nearly a century by a warning as regards politics. In his Farewell Address, Washington said: “Promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge; for in proportion as the structure of government gives force to public opinion it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened."
Turning from the value of higher education as a preparation for entering into the realm of culture and for the discharge of the duties of citizenship, we may regard the subject from a purely business standpoint. During the year 1896 a British commission visited Germany and reported on the technical education of that country. From that report the following quotation is made: 3
In fact, our recent visit has brought it clearly home to us that the Germans have not ceased to believe in the value of higher scientific education. On the contrary, they appear now to attach greater importance than ever to the connection between such higher scientific training and the development of manufacturing industry. No nation, especially if not overburdened with capital, would continue to erect and equip institutions for advanced instruction and scientific research without a firm conviction of their industrial value. The demand, too, for such higher teaching seems to increase as the facilities for providing it are
1 This now famous phraso is usually gotten to read Sedan instead of Sadowa. Questions Contemporaines, 3d ed., preface, p. vii.
* Report on a visit to Germany with a view to ascertaining the recent progress of technical education in that country, being a letter to His Graco the Duke of Devonshire, K. G., Lord President of the Council, by Sir Philip Magnus, Mr. Redgrare, dr. Swire Smith, and Yr. Woodall. (These gentlemen were on a commission that reported about thirteen years ago. Sco report of this Bureau for 1882-83, p. 203, et seq.)