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The first movement toward the utilization of these grants was made in 1845, when the following clause was adopted in the amended Constitution : “A university shall be established in the city of New Orleans. It shall be composed of four faculties, to wit: one of law, one of medicine, one of natural sciences, and one of letters."1

This title also enjoined upon the Legislature the duty of preservation of the land grants to keep them inviolate for the purposes therein mentioned.

The university was chartered in 1847, a complete organization being effected? and the new constitution of 1852 asserts that, “The University of Louisiana in New Orleans, as now established, shall be maintained.93

For many years the university received but meagre support from the State. The medical course was organized with the opening of the college and has “ won an enviable reputation.” An act of the Legislature approved March 28, 1850, appropriated twenty-five thousand dollars for the advancement of medical education in Louisiana, to be paid to the university in two installments, in July and December of the following year. The law department also was continued with a degree of success, but the literary department was nothing more than a grammar school, save and except the form of a collegiate organization kept up from 1851 to 1856.” In 1855 the sum of $13,500 was appropriated to complete a building for the law department. The State prior to 1868 had given no aid to the university except a building for students, but in the revised Constitution of this date had stipulated to give "onehalf of the funds derived from the poll-tax * to the support of the free public schools throughout the State and the University of New Orleans," and that “the General Assembly shall provide by law for its organization and maintenance." By the Constitution of 1879 the institution was endowed permanently by authorizing the sum of not more than ten thousand dollars payable annually to the university. At the expiration of this period the university was united with the Tulane University (in 1884). Since that time no appropriations have been made by the Legislature.

A list of the appropriations made by the State is kindly furnished me by the president, William P. Johnston, in a letter dated November 30, 1888.

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8 Ibid., 1879, Art. 227. 880-No. 1- -18


One-half block in the city of New Orleans was granted to the university by

the State for a site, which was valued at'.
In 1847, acts of 1847, p. 105.
In 1850, acts of 1850, p. 189.
In 1853, acts of 1853, p. 173.
In 1855, acts of 1855, p. 192.
In 1857, acts of 1857, p. 106.
In 1866, acts of 1866, p. 254
In 1867, acts of 1867, p. 335..
In 1871, acts of 1871, p. 50.
In 1879, Constitution, Art. 227, ten thousand dollars per annum for five years

from date of act..

$15,000 25, 000 25,000

6,000 13,500 12,500 25,000 3,000 6,500


Total appropriation...

155, 500




This institution is located at Baton Rouge and must not be confounded with the University of Louisiana at New Orleans. The university at Baton Rouge originated in the union of the old State Seminary of Learning with the Agricultural and Mechanical College. Mr. Fay, in his History of Education in Louisiana, traces the history of Rapides Academy, which was incorporated in 1819 under the name of Rapides College, and shows that the State Seminary of Learning was the natural successor to the college. This school was among the first in the State to receive the benefits of the appropriations made to academies and seminaries. The Legislature in 1853 chartered the “State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy," and two years thereafter located and founded the institution on a site about three miles from Alexandria in the county of Rapides. The power of control of the seminary was vested in seven trustees appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Senate, who must render an annual report to the Legislature. Authority was given to the trustees by the Legislature to purchase for a site the “pine-woods seat,” formerly belonging to Mrs. E. R. Williams, at a price not exceeding $3,190.2 It was enacted in 1855 that thirty thousand dollars be appropriated to assist in the construction of buildings, and the carrying out of the act of incorporation. By the same act the trustees were authorized to purchase eighty acres additional for one thousand dollars. The school was not formally opened until January 2, 1860, when it was placed under the superintendency of Col. W. T. Sherman.

But scarcely were its doors opened before they were closed again on account of the Civil War. The seminary suspended June 30, 1861, and resumed its exercises April 1, 186-, continuing just twenty-two days,

1 Letter from President William P. Johnston, November 30, 1823
2 Laws of Louisiana, 1853, p. 47, No. 72.
3 Ibid., 1855, p. 94, No. 96; p. 404, No. 317,




when it again suspended on account of the occupation of the country by the Federal troops.

The college was reopened October 2, 1865; for the necessary expenses of the reopening, the Governor borrowed in behalf of the institution the sum of twenty thousand dollars.

The Legislature acknowledged the indebtedness of the State to the seminary of the interest on the permanent fund of one hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars for the years 1863, 1864, and 1865, and authorized the payment of this to the amount of $25,800. In addition to this special appropriations were made as follows: Five thousand dollars for repairs, five thousand dollars for apparatus, one thousand dollars for current expenses, and $15,600 for the maintenance of fifty-two cadets, or three hundred dollars each, to as many as should attend, not exceeding fifty-two.

In 1866–67 the number of beneficiary cadets was fixed equal to the number of representatives in the Legislature from each parish, and the amount paid to each student was four hundred dollars. The Legislature appropriated over thirty-six thousand dollars to meet the ex. penses of these cadets, besides giving ten thousand dollars for special purposes.

In 1867–68 the Legislature provided for the support of ninety cadets at the above rates, thirty-six thousand dollars, and the following session appropriated twenty-five thousand dollars for buildings and improvements.

In 1870 there was appropriated the sum of twenty thousand dollars to the seminary, and allowed $35,700 for the support of cadets. In 1871 there was appropriated twenty thousand dollars to the university? at large, ten thousand dollars for apparatus, and $46,200 allowed for the support of cadets.

It seems that the Legislature failed to make the usual appropriations for the support of the university for several years subsequent to 1871 and consequently the life of the institution was at a low ebb.


The Agricultural and Mechanical College was founded in 1874, and its union with the university in 1876 brought new life to this institution. The agricultural college was opened temporarily at New Orleans, but retained its separate existence for only three years, to the date of its organic union with the university at Baton Rouge.

The new university was organized in 1877 aud reorganized in 1880. It was placed under control of twelve supervisors appointed by the Governor, in addition to three ex officio members, viz, the president of

'Fay: History of Education in Louisiana; part of the facts on this subject have been taken from Mr. Fay's manuscript, which was kindly lent the writer.

The name of the seminary was changed in 1871 to that of university.

the faculty, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor of the State.

The proceeds of two hundred and ten thousand acres of land donated to the State by Congress yielded a net return of $182,313.03 in United States currency. This was invested in State bonds, making a fund of three hundred and twenty-seven thousand dollars, drawing six per cent. interest. Two years later (1875) these bonds were converted by constitutional amendment into new consolidated State bonds to the amount of $796,200, bearing seven per cent. interest.? Again in 1879, this investment was converted by constitutional enactments into a simple obligation aud the original sam ($182,313.03) was entered upon the auditor's book to the credit of the university at an interest of five per cent. The bonds were destroyed.

The first investment yielded an income of $19,620, the second $13,734, and the last $9,115.65, the present income.

Since the organization of the new institution known as the State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, it receives its support from three sources, viz, from four per cent. on one hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars, the seminary fund;4 five per cent. on $182,313, the agricultural college fund, and the annual appropriation of ten thousand dollars per annum out of the public treasury since 1879.6

The income from these sources amounted in 1881–82 to $24,556, and in 1886–87 to the same. The appropriation of the Legislature for 1889 is ten thousand dollars, and for 1890 the same; provided that two thousand dollars of each appropriation be used for necessary building repairs. In addition to the above amount the sam of four hundred and fifty dollars is appropriated for insurance.


This school was organized by the Legislature in 1880 for the education of the colored race. At its foundation the Legislature granted an annual appropriation of ten thousand dollars for its support.

The school has grown with wonderful rapidity, and is a monument of the present good will of the State toward the education of all citizens. The Legislature in 1888 increased the appropriation for the years 1889 and 1890 to seventy-five thousand dollars each.'


It is quite impossible to make an estimate of the sums spent in Louisiana by the State for higher education. But we can at least estimate the several recognized State institutions.

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Report of the Board of Supervisors, p. 38.
3 Regents' Report, 1888, p. 38,

5 Poore, Constitutione,

6 Report of the Commissioner of Edu

cation, 1881, p. 88. " Acts of the Assembly, 1888, No. 48:

+ Ibid.,

* ļbid.

Tulane University ....
State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy
State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College
Southern University

$155,500 299, 090 120,000 220,000

Total appropriations

794,590 Col. William P. Johnston estimates the amount received by the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Baton Rouge to be over one million dollars; this probably includes the incomes on the Congressional donation. In a memorial made to the General Assembly in 1860 by the Governor of Louisiana it is stated that more than three million dollars had been spent on colleges and academies. As before stated, Mr. Farrar, in an address delivered June 30, 1880, estimated that over two million dollars had been spent in this way. It is very difficult to arrive at any exact statement concerning the amount spent for higher education, for indeed the academies and some of those called colleges would be classified under the head of secondary instruction.

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The peculiar conditions attached to the admission of Texas into the Union enabled her to retain the title to her public lands, and thus to have entire control of all reservations for public education. However, the method pursued here did not differ materially from that pursued by other States under the ordinance and policy of 1787.

In the year 1839, while Texas was yet an independent republic, the Legislature enacted 1 that there should be granted to each county then organized three leagues of land” for the purpose of establishing a primary school or academy. These lands were to be located in the county receiving the benefit of the grant if such suitable land could be there obtained, otherwise they were to be located in any of the public lands of the State and were to be located and surveyed at the public expense. The lands were to be surveyed in tracts of not less than one hundred and sixty acres each. In the following year the grant was enlarged to four leagues for each county and in 1850 the act 3 was made general for all newly organized counties.

The chief justice and two associate justices of each county were made ex officio school commissioners to adjust and apply the land grant to the support of the schools heretofore mentioned.4

This peculiar method of forming a school board out of the judiciary

1 Laws of 1839, p. 120.

2 The square league was the unit of land measure used by Spain, in all the Spanish American provinces.

3 Laws of 1850.
4 Laws of 1840, p. 146.

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