« PreviousContinue »
were to be located in one body and sold for not less than two dollars an acre, the proceeds to go for the use of two colleges, one in East and one in West Tennessee. The provisions of the act were not closely adhered to. The lands were laid out in detached parcels and sold on credit for one dollar an acre. Even then, only a small part of the proceeds was received. The money that came in first was loaned out to individuals, but in 1813 it was called in and paid over to the colleges, to be invested in bank stock. 4 The payments for lands came in slowly, and in consideration of the delays sustained by the colleges, the Legislature in 1823 vested in the two colleges, equally, one-half the money due on May 1, 1824, as proceeds of the land sold for the benefit of the State. On the basis of these lands the two colleges started.
UNIVERSITY OF NASHVILLE.
of this institution was in existence before Tennessee became a State. By an act of 1785 North Carolina incorporated Davidson Academy and granted two hundred and forty acres of land near Nashville for its support. In 1806 the funds and property of the academy were given to the college established in West Tennessee in accordance with the Congressional land grant. The new col. lege, which was called Cumberland College, was to have one-half of the one hundred thousand acre appropriation, and its property was to be exempt from taxation. Instruction was begun in 1809, but the poor management of the land grant caused theinstitution, in 1816, to suspend its exercises for want of money.? When, ten years later, it again opened its doors, it was as the University of Nashville, with power to raise two hundred thousand dollars by a lottery:8 In 1838 the Legislature granted the university eleven thousand five hundred and twenty acres of land, in lieu of all its claims against the State, and in this way forty thousand dollars was realized.9
For many years the University of Nashville was one of the most powerful educational influences in the South-West, but difficulties arose, and in 1875 the trustees were allowed to discontinue instruction as then given, and convert the institution into a scientifio or uormal school.10
U. S. Statutes at Large, II, 381 ; Phelan, 235; Report of the U.S. Commissioner of Education for 1876, 370. The act also granted one hundred thousand acres for the use of academies, one in each county, and six hundred and forty acres in every six miles square for the use of schools.
2 Phelan, 288.
Phelan, 279. Laws of 1826, 34, 46.
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE.
The origin of the University of Tennessee goes back to 1794, when Blount College was formed, near Knoxville. In 1807 the funds of Blount College were merged with the endowment granted by the act of Congress of 1806, and East Tennessee College was the result. The finances of the college were for several years following involved in the land sales, from which they received very little benefit.
The next assistance granted the college was also Federal. The sbare of Tennessee in the land granted for agricultural colleges was three hundred thousand acres. East Tennessee University (the college had become a university in 1840), was made the recipient of the land scrip, the proceeds of which were invested in Tennessee 6 per cents. A small part of the proceeds was held back by the State and used for other purposes, but the claim was satisfied in 1881 by a grant of $3,775.5
The whole endowment from the land-scrip fund is now invested in three hundred and ninety-six State bonds of one thousand dollars each, bearing interest at six per cent. The name of the institution was changed to the University of Tennessee in 1879.7
In 1846 the United States released its title to certain land in Tennessee, on condition that the State should, out of the proceeds, set apart forty thousand dollars toward the establishment of a college at Jack. son. Accordingly, in the next year the treasurer of the State was di. rected to issue to West Tennessee College at Jackson a warrant for that sum.' The institution was discontinued in 1873, and in 1874 its buildings were occupied by the South-Western Baptist University.10 In 1875, we are told, Mosheim Male and Female Institute received $1.255 from the State. In 1876 King College at Bristol received $1,800.12
In 1881 the Legislature set aside $2,500 annually in scholarships to approved institutions of learning for higher and normal education of children of African descent.13
EXEMPTION FROM TAXATION. The Constitution of Tennessee allows the Legislature to exempt from taxation property held and used for educational purposes.14 Instances of such action are found in 1836 and 1882.15
1 Phelan, 234. Scott's Laws, I, 502.
34. Laws of 1868–69, 12.
cember 4, 1888.
9 Laws of 1847, 68.
of Education for 1875, 401.
Constitutions, 1700. 15 Laws of 1836, 59. Laws of second ex
tra session of 1882, 6.
If we can judge by the utterances of ihe Legislature, Tennessee once contemplated an extensive system of State education. In the preamble to an act of 1817, regulating academies and colleges, we read that "institutions of learning, both academies and colleges, should ever be under the fostering care of this Legislature, and in their connection with each other form a complete system of education.” This high ground, so early taken, was not maintained. Twenty years later, we find a report to the General Assembly attributing the lack of State aid to the prejudice which prevailed against higher institutions of learning. Whatever may be the cause, the fact remains that, with slight exceptions, Tennessee has given no direct aid to higher education. The activity of the State has been almost entirely confined to taking charge of Federal grants.
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA.
Alabama Territory was formed from Mississippi in 1817.3 The following year Congress reserved one township of land for the endowment of a seminary of learning;t and in 1819, when Alabama was admitted as a State, another township was granted. The attitude of the State toward these donations is seen in its first Constitution. After providing for the support of schools and care of school lands, the Constitution of 1819 directs as follows :
“ The General Assembly shall take like measures for the improvement of such lands as have been or may be hereafter granted by the United States to this State, for the support of a seminary of learning, and the moneys, which may be raised from such lands, by rent, lease, or sale, or from any other quarter, for the purpose aforesaid, shall be and remain a fund for the exclusive support of a State university, for the promotion of the arts, literature and the sciences; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly, as early as may be, to provide effectual means for the improvement and permanent security of the funds and endowment of such institution."6
The lands were immediately leased and the proceeds set apart for a seminary of learning. In striking contrast to the waste of educational resources in some States, we find Alabama taking measures to secure the full benefit of her land endowment. An act of 1820 provided that the yearly rent of the seminary lands should not be less than two dollars an acre. When the lands were sold, the minimum price was at first fixed at seventeen dollars an acre, but later they were divided into three classes, to be sold at not less than seventeen, twelve, and eight dollars an acre, respectively.3
1 Scott's Laws, II, 331.
6Art. VI, Education. Poore, Charters and
Constitutions, 43. Report of Commis
sioner of Education for 1867, 107. ? Laws, second session of 1818, 43. Laws
of 1819, 60.
The first move toward establishing the university was made in 1819, when commissioners were appointed to select a site. Tuscaloosa was chosen as the location, and in 1821 the university was incorporated. The proceeds of the land sales were invested in stock of the Bank of Alabama, and were guaranteed by the State. In 1848 the amount of the university fund was declared to be two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, on which the State pledged to pay interest at six per cent. forever. After the State capital was removed to Montgomery, the university received the rent of the old State House at Tuscaloosa. In 1860 fifty thousand dollars was added to the university fund, and six per cent, interest on this amount since 1848 was directed to be paid to the university, on condition that the trustees should establish a military department. To increase the efficiency of this department, interest on the university fund was raised, the following year, to eight per cent.10
Since the War, donations have beeu made to the amount of one hundred and thirty thousand dollars.
MOBILE MEDICAL COLLEGE.
In 1800 this institution was established as a branch of the State University and given fifty thousand dollars.11 Other grants have been made, amounting to $17,250.
AGRICULTURAL AND MECHANICAL COLLEGE.
The acceptance of the agricultural land grant was provided for by the Constitution of 1867.12 The grant consisted of two hundred and forty thousand acres, which were sold for a net sum of two hundred and sixteen thousand dollars. East Alabama College at Auburn offered its entire property, amounting to over one hundred thousand dollars, in buildings and lands, in case the new college should be located there.13 The offer was accepted, and Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College was established in 1872.14 The State has given $42,500 in money, and the college gets one-third of the tax on fertilizers, which has
1 Laws of 1820, 4.
9 Laws of 1859–60, 25.
sioner of Education for 1867, 126.
College for 1872.
yielded it nearly forty thousand dollars. The interest on the landscrip fund was in 1883 twenty-four thousand dollars.2
Besides the provisions of 1819 and 1867 already cited we find the Constitution of 1875 guaranteeing the inviolability of all educational funds, regulating the trustees of the University of Alabama and the State Agricultural and Mechanical College,' requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to change the location of these institutions, and permitting that body to exempt educational institutions from taxation.
Alabama has been liberal in assisting higher education. Federal grants have been well administered and increased by State benefactions. Exclusive of the interest on the university fund and the landscrip fund, the following aid has been given : University of Alabama?
$130,000 Mobile Medical College...
67,250 Agricultural and Mechanical College...
It is gratifying to see the attention paid to education by the early settlers of Mississippi. The Territory, then comprising all of Alabama and Mississippi between thirty-first degree and the mouth of the Yazoo, was organized in 1798, and by an act of May 10, 1800, Congress authorized the first Territorial Legislature.9 Before three years had passed, this body made provision for the establishment of a college, to be known as Jefferson College. The institution was located at Washington, and its property was free from taxes. The trustees were permitted to raise ten thousand dollars by a lottery and to collect subscriptions for the college. In an act of 1803, regulating the disposal of
Letter from President Brown, November 30, 1888.
7 The university also received for several years the rent of the old State House at Tuscaloosa.
8 U. S. Statutes at Large, 1, 549. Poore, Charters and Constitutions, 1049.