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ment in 1867, five hundred and thirty-one thousand dollars in direct appropriations from the State. This sum together with the appropriation of four hundred and fifteen thousand dollars made to the Southern Illinois Normal University, which we have considered as coming within the scope of this work, constitutes the total material aid given for the benefit of higher education by the State of Illinois.

Slow at first to comprehend the benefits of a higher education, and to make use of the advantages in that line given to her by the Federal Government, Illinois has at last awakened to a sense of her needs, and is now making amends for her lost opportunities.


Illinois Industrial University:

Entire State appropriations...
By the citizens of Urbana, and bonds of county, etc.

Illinois Central Railroad ...
Illinois Normal University..

Total appropriations by the State for higher education ... State appropriations, including the Southern Normal University.

$531,000 400,000

50,000 415,000

531,000 946, 000


The history of State higher education in Michigan centres around one institution. But that institution is the foremost university of the great West, and indeed the first model of a complete State university in America. The State has performed such an important part in the development of this university that a complete history of the legislation pertaining to it would extend beyond the compass of this paper; an attempt will be made to give only an outline of the important relations of the State to its establishment and support.


The leading citizens of Michigan in early times were of hardy New England stock, either emigrants directly from the far East or from the colony of Ohio. They carried with them the characteristics of their fathers in respect to their devotion to higher learning; they brought with them the sense of the great necessity of a system of education to insure the continuance of free institutions; they had an admiration for the highest means of culture.

With these ideas for a heritage, untrammeled by precedent and the binding force of custom they entered a new territory to build upon virgin soil a university to suit the needs of a growing community; consequently the struggle for intellectual elevation began at a very early date in the new settlements. There bad settled about Detroit as early as 1810 a company, about five chousand 1 souls, many of whom were of French descent and as a rule very illiterate. But there were among them Anglo-Americans of indomitable will and energy.

The population continued to increase slowly as the emigrants came toiling overland, or made their way through the Great Lakes or up the Mississippi, always receiving their provisions overland from Philadelphia. Although the Jesuits had settled in Michigan at a much earlier period? and established their missions, very little had been done toward education, and their illiterate French followers were calculated to be a hindrance rather than a help to any organized effort. There had been but little progress in this early period toward material comforts and less toward culture and learning.

But about the year 1816 there began to be decided thoughts expressed in favor of steps toward higher education, and in the following year, when the whole population did not number over seven thousand souls, an act was passed providing for the founding of and maintaining a university.

Prior to this, in 1804,4 when Michigan was organized as a Territory, Congress granted a township of land for a seminary of learning, and the university to be established in 1817 was to be in accordance with this grant.

The Territorial government committed the interests of higher education to the care of the Governor and the Judges, and it is supposed that through the exertions of Hon. A.B. Woodward, then presiding Judge of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Michigan, that the act establishing a university was framed. A portion of this most curious document of the early history of Michigan will be given.


It is entitled "An act to establish the Catholepistemiad or University Michigania."6

Be it enacted by the Governor and Judges of the Territory of Michigan, That there shall be in the said Territory a catholepistemiad or university denominated the Catholepistemiad or University Michigania.

The Catholepistemiad or University of Michigania shall be composed of thirteen didaxum or professorships; first, a didaxia or professorship catholepistemia, or universal science, the dictator or professor of which shall be president of the institution; second, a didasia or professorship of anthropoglassica, or literature embracing all of the epistemum or sciences relative to language; third, a didaxia or professorship of mathematica or mathematics; fourth, a didaxia or professorship of physiognostica or natural history, etc.” The act thus continues through the whole range of the "thirteen didaxum ;" the remaining nine are as follows: Natural philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, medical sciences, economical sciences, ethical sciences, military sciences, historical sciences, and intellectual,

i Ten Brook, 95. 2A Jesuit mission was established at Sault Ste. Marie in 1668. 3 Territorial Laws of Michigan, Vol. II, p. 104. 4 United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VII, p. 166. 5 Ten Brook, 90. 6 Report of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Michigan, 1880, p. 360.

The university was to be under the control of the professors and . president, who were to be appointed by the Governor, while the institution was to be the center and controlling power of the educational system of the State. It was to be supported by taxation by an increase of the amount of taxes already levied, by 15 per cent. Also power was given to raise money for the support of the university by means of lotteries.

This remarkable document was not without its influence in shaping the public school policy of Michigan, but it was many years before the State approximated its learned provisions. Impracticable as this educational plan appears for a handful of people in the woods of Michigan, it served as a foundation upon which to build.

The officers and president were duly appointed, and the work of the new university began at once. At first the university appeared as a school board, to establish and maintain primary schools which they held under their charge. Then followed a course of study for classical academies, and finally, in October, 1817, an act was passed establishing a college in the city of Detroit called “ The First College of Michigania." Thus the university had assumed control of the education of the State and had taken steps toward primary, secondary, and collegiate education. But, owing to its short duration and its want of adaptability to the needs of the Territory, the institution failed to accomplish much in practical education.

The people contributed liberally to these early schools, the sum of three thousand dollars being subscribed at the beginning. There was. also a sum of five thousand dollars derived from the land grant made in the treaty of Fort Meigs in 1817. The devotion of the people to education is seen in the following incident:

After the fire in Detroit of 1805 certain sums of money were sent on from Montreal and Mackinaw for the relief of the sufferers. As the holders of the money could not obtain satisfactory security for the money it was not given out, and the sufferers requested that it be given to the university.

An act was passed on the 30th of April, 1821, by the Governor and Judges establishing a university in Detroit to take the place of the catholepistemiad and to be called the “University of Michigan." In its charter nearly all the powers of the former institution were substantially confirmed, except the provision for taxes and lotteries, and in addition

3 Ten Brook, 102.

1 Ten Brook, 101.
? Laws of Michigan, Territorial, I, p. 879.

the township of land granted by Congress and three sections obtained in the Fort Meigs treaty were placed under the control of the university. The new institution was made the legal successor of the old, and more conformable to the requirements of the use of the seminary lands as laid down in the ordinance of 1787.

It was not until May, 1824, that the first lands were located. Those of the three sections granted by the Fort Meigs treaty were located on the river below Detroit, and patents granted by the Government.

Difficulties arose pertaining to the location of the township for a seminary of learning, granted by Congress in 1804, and a committee was appointed to memorialize Congress and to petition for the removal of the difficulties? and location of the seminary lands. The memorial was successful, and Congress responded by an act of May 20, 1826, author. izing the Secretary of the Treasury to set apart and reserve out of any of the public lands in the Territory of Michigan two townships of land for the endowment of a 6 seminary of learning” in lieu of the one township granted in 1804. A small portion of these lands was located by the Board of Education prior to the admission of Michigan as a State.




The second. corporation, known as the “University of Michigan," carried on the work of education already begun from 1821 to the third organization, in 1837.

The education was very limited, consisting in one classical academy at Detroit, and part of the time a Lancasterian school. The boards of education kept up and transmitted the university idea to such an extent that it may be said truly and legally that there was one University of Michigan, which passed through three successive stages of development marked by the dates 1817, 1821, and 1837.

After the organization of the State government the university passed through another transformation, and was placed under the control of a board of regents appointed by the Governor. The new organization succeeded to the property of the old, which consisted in the academy and lot in Detroit and private subscriptions. The seminary lands were placed under the control of the Legislature.



For a full discussion of this subject the reader is referred to more extended histories of the University of Michigan. The annals of the institution have been well kept and recorded by careful historians.5

1 One of the chief difficulties was that the lands must be located on lands freed from Indian titles at the time of the grant. As no such lands existed until after 1817, the township could not be located. Ten Brook, 106.

2 United States Statutes at Large, Vol. IV, p. 180.
3 Knight, 138.
4 Ibid.
6See Ten Brook, C. K. Adams, and G. W. Knight.

880-No. 1. 16


Yet a brief outline of the subject must be given here to present the method adopted by the Legislature of Michigan for the disposal of the land grants.

It may be premised first that the public lands donated for a seminary of learning were almost invariably well located by the commissioners, were sold at a good price, but would have brought much larger returns had their sales been less hasty.

A committee appointed by the trustees of the university in 1827 re. ported favorably concerning lands on the Maumee River, and two sections were located and reserved where now is the city of Toledo, in Ohio.1 These lands were very valuable, and there were consequently ready purchasers. The trustees, having obtained the permission of Congress, exchanged the most valuable half of this tract for less valuable lands in the vicinity of the grant. Thus 4014 acres were exchanged for 777 acres of less valuable land.3

Subsequently (1834) Mr. Oliver, with whom the lands were exchanged, bought back the tract (777 acres) which he had exchanged, paying for it the sum of five thousand dollars. For over four hundred acres of land now in the heart of the city of Toledo the trustees received the sum of five thousand dollars. The remainder of the tract was sold principally in 1844 and 1850, at an average price of over nineteen dollars per acre.

The Toledo lands, which are now worth millions of dollars, brought the paltry sum of seventeen thousand dollars.4

The Superintendent, in his first report in 1837, suggested that the first twenty thousand acres of land would bring at once at least twenty dollars per acre, and the remainder would bring the same price when necessary for it to be sold. By an act of the Legislature approved March 21, 1837, the Superintendent was authorized to sell as much of the university lands as would amount to five hundred thousand dollars at a minimum price of twenty dollars per acre. The sales the following year show an average price of $22.85 per acre, and the total amount received was more than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This was an excellent beginning, and promised well for the university endowment.

But unfortunately there were difficulties to arise which would materially modify the estimates of results. It was found that very many of the best lands were already occupied by settlers, although the lands had been regularly located by the university. The clamors of the settlers induced the Legislature to release 10,240 acres of said lands that had been located for eight years.

1 This territory then belonged to Michigan, but was ceded to Ohio in 1836. 2 United States Statutes at Large, Vol. VI, p. 402. 3 Ten Brook, 108. 4 Ibid., 109. 5 Report of Superintendent, 1880, 354. * Ibid., 355.

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