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On the 12th day of September, 1889, there was mailed to the Treasurer of each State in the Union a circular letter of which the following is a copy :
LAW OFFICES OF
HALLIDAY & FINCH, 22 East State Street, Ithaca, N. Y.
Sept. 12th, 1889.
TO THE TREASURER OF THE STATE OF
DEAR SIR.-In 1862, the Congress of the United States passed an Act; “Donating public lands to the several states and territories which may provide Colleges for the benefit of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts," and apportioning to each State public lands or land scrip equal to thirty thousand acres for each Senator and representative in Congress.
The State of New York made Cornell University, at Ithaca, N. Y., the sole beneficiary of the fund derived by it from the said lands or land scrip.
There is now pending between Cornell University and the State of New York, an entirely friendly action, in which both sides ask for a judicial construction of many provisions of said Act of Congress, and a determination of the obligations and relations of the State to the said fund.
It is deemed desirable to ascertain as far as possible what has been the actual practice in the various States and Territories in regard to the management of said Agricultural Land Scrip Fund. As every State will be interested in the decision in the above case, we venture to make the following inquiries in regard to the management and condition of the fund in your State:
First-Has there been any Judicial determination or construction of said Act of Congress in your State? If so, can you inform us where the decision is reported, and as to its general nature ?
Second-What institution is the beneficiary in your state?
Third-Does your State pay to the said beneficiary the full 5 per cent. income contemplated by said Act of Congress, whether the fund actually earns 5 per cent. or not?
Fourth-Does your State pay out of its general funds all the 'Expenses of the management, superintendence, &c.,” of said fund, such as commissions, premiums on securities, &c. ; or are these expenses taken from the actual income of the fund, and the balance of said income only turned over to the beneficiary?
Fifth-Briefly and in general terms, please give us the nature of the securities in which the fund is invested.
Sixth-Has the State ever parted with the custody of any of the principal of said fund; or intrusted its management to the beneficiary, or to any other person for the beneficiary?
Seventh-What is the amount of the principal fund in your State ?
If you, as Treasurer of your State, are not the proper person to furnish the above information, will you kindly see that this communication is handed to the proper officer or department?
An early answer is much desired.
Very truly yours,
HALLIDAY & FINCH,
Att’ys for Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y.
Answers have been received from all the States. Most of them have been received from the various Departments having charge of the fund, and may
therefore be considered as official. The others came from sources that are undoubtedly reliable. These communications have already served the purpose for which they were obtained, as indicated in the above circular, but it has been decided that they contain information of such historical interest and importance as to justify their publication in full. They will be found in the following pages indexed under the names of the respective States. These communications contain a complete history of the Agricultural College Land Grant Fund, created by the Congressional Act of July 2nd, 1862, and show the amount of the fund, the nature of the securities in which invested, the rate of interest realized, the system of management, the name of tire beneficiaries and the general status of the fund as it now exists in each State in the Union.
To make this volume more complete in itself, the Congressional Act referred to above is also printed.
It appears by that Act that each State had to, and by accepting the fund, did, assume certain burdens and responsibilities in regard thereto, one of which was (Sec. 5) that:
“If any portion of the fund invested as provided by the foregoing section, or any portion of the interest thereon, shall, by any action or contingency be diminished or lost, it shall be replaced by the State to which it belongs, so that the capital of the fund shall remain forever undiminished."