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arose from the Spanish system of alcaldes who, as judges, had various other duties of administration attached. By this plan the better organized counties had schools at an early date, but it was not until 1854 that a lawl was enacted to institute a system of free schools throughout the State. But the provision of the State was entirely inadequate for the maintenance of the schools formed, about four-fifths of their support being derived from tuition. This plan was followed until the inception of the Civil War, when the entire disorganization followed.


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The school system formed in 1854 was based upon the provisions of the Constitution of 1845, which declares that “a general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of this State to make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of public schools."

6. The Legislature shall as soon as practicable establish free schools throughout the State and shall furnish means for their support by taxation on property, and it shall be the duty of the Legislature to set apart not less than one-tenth of the annual revenue of the State derived from taxation as a perpetual fund, which perpetual fund shall be appropriated for the support of free public schools." 4

The Constitution of 1836 was silent on the subject of education, but that of 1866 and the amendment of 1869 repeated in general the sentiments of that of 1845; but it was not until 1876 that specific provisions were made for the support of higher education. These provisions we will speak of under the subject of


The laws of 1839, granting public lands for the support of free schools also granted that three leagues of land should be set apart for the establishment and endowment of two colleges or universities. However, nothing was done toward the establishment of a university until 1858, when a law was passed for the organization of said institution. The next legislation on the subject occurred after the interval had elapsed, set apart by the course of human events for the adjustment of political difficulties. This legislation, embodied in the Constitution of 1866, decreed that the land set apart for the endowment of universities shall be preserved, and authorized such legal provisions by the Legislature "as will organize and put into operation the university. 6

1 Laws of 1854.
2 Report of Commissioner of Educa-

tion, 1876, p. 384.
3 Constitution of 1845, Art. X, sec. 1.

4 Constitution of 1845, Art. X, sec. 2.
6 Laws of 1839.
6 Constitution of 1866, Art. X, sec. 8.


In addition to the three leagues of land granted in 1839, every tenth section of lands granted or that might be granted to railroad companies or to the Galveston and Brazos Navigation Company was reserved for the benefit of the university.

It is estimated that this grant would have reached the magnificent proportions of one million six hundred thousand acres, “ situated in the most thickly settled parts of the State, and worth, perhaps, on an average five dollars per acre.” Unfortunately for the university the grant of the tenth sections was withdrawn by the Constitution of 1876, and in lieu thereof one million acres of the unappropriated public do. main were ordered set apart and appropriated for the endowment, maintenance, and support of the university.

By an act of April 10, 1883, another million acres of land was set apart out of that portion of the public land devoted to the payment of the public debt to constitute a part of the permanent endowment fund of the University of Texas.

Out of the original grant of three leagues “there have been sold and patented 147,238 acres; sold and unpatented, 67,416 acres; in conflict, 21,762.5 acres."

There were located of the tenth-section grants of the Galveston and Brazos Navigation Company nine and four-tenths sections, situated mainly in the eastern portions of the State and bringing no revenue at present."

Of the first million-acre grant of 1876 only 71,040 acres are leased ; these bring a revenue of $3,524.96, the remaining 928,960 acres being wholly unproductive. The second million-acre grant remains entire, none of it having been either sold or leased.

The total remaining grant of 1,928,960 acres is nearly all grazing land.

From the regents' reports of 1886 it seems that the present income of the university from its magnificent landed endowment is only $47,552.54, part of which is from matriculation fees, amounting in 1887 to about $3,200.

From the same report we glean the following items which are presented here in order to show the method pursued by the Legislature in the treatment of the university grant.

First, the Legislature appropriated the fund for the uses of the State to the amount of $145,761.90, as follows:7 By act of January 31, 1860

$109, 472. 36 By act of January 29, 1861

9, 768.52 By act of February 8, 1861.

25,000.00 By act of January 9, 1862

1,520.41 Regents' Report, 1886, p. 7. 5 Regents' Report, p. 6. Constitution, 1876.

o Comptroller's Report, 1887, p. 5. • Regents' Report, 1886, p. 8. Regent Report, p. 69; letter from Comptroller. +Tbid.



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In each case there was a promise to pay the university the amount borrowed as soon as there were sufficient funds in the treasury to warrant it.

These funds have all been returned except in the cases of the second and fourth loans, amounting to $11,289.02, which have not yet been repaid (1886). There was in connection with this the sum of $12,230.39 of State Warrants received in payment of university lands, which appears to have been dropped from the books in one of the acts of the constitutional convention of 1866, securing the school fund and university fund, and which has not yet been restored by the State to the University.

By the Constitution of 1876 the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, established by an act of the Legislature of April 19, 1871, was made a part of the University of Texas. The Legislature has recognized this by appropriating from the university fund, for its support, an act not in accordance with the intent of the Federal and State Governments in making the grants for the support of the two institutions. From July 9, 1879, to April 1, 1885, in four separate acts, fifty thousand dollars were granted to the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Bryan. In regard to this it is set forth by the regents that “the college at Bryan is entitled to say that it is the technical branch of the University of Austin, but the University of Austin is not entitled to say that it has a technical branch at Bryan,”1 for the reason that the branch at Bryan is not under the control of the regents of the university.

It is also to be noted that the Legislature appropriated at different times in the years 1879 and 1881 the aggregate sum of $27,600 for the support of the Prairie View Normal School, established for the professional instruction of colored teachers, but for some cause only $14,495.73 has been disbursed.

As this normal school, though a State institution, bas never been recognized as having any relation whatsoever to the University, it would seem that the Legislature has gone far from justice and fallen short of duty in this respect.

Nevertheless, in the face of the above misdirections, there is no reason to fear that the State will not eventually make full and complete restoration of all misappropriated funds.


Texas received from the Congressional grant of 1862, 180,000 acres in land scrip, which were formally accepted by the State in 1866. The scrip was sold in 1871 at eighty-seven cents per acre, yielding net proceeds of one hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars, which were investeil in seven per cent. gold frontier defence bonds of the State, issued under act of August 5, 1870, and thus making a permanent fund of one hun. dred and seventy-four thousand dollars.?

1 Report of Regents, 1886, p. 15.

* Catalogue, 1885, p. 66.

There had accrued as interest on these bonds, in 1876, the sum of about thirty-five thousand dollars, which increased the permanent fund to the amount of two hundred and nine thousand dollars.1

The Legislature very promptly fulfilled its obligation by authorizing the establishment of the college by an act approved April 17, 1871, and by making liberal successive appropriations for building purposes, ag. gregating one hundred and eighty-seven thousand dollars, extending over the years 1871–76. The county of Brazos, in order to secure the location of the college within its limits, donated the present agricultural farm of 2,416 acrés, situated five miles from the town of Bryan.

An act approved March 9, 1875, and amended March 30, 1881, is the law for the present government of the college. It is controlled by a board of five directors appointed by the Governor of the State, said directors to be selected from different parts of the State and to hold office for six years. The government of the college is vested in this board, which has power to make rules and regulations for the same.

In 1876 the Constitution adopted at that time made the college a “branch of the University of Texas for the instruction in agriculture, the mechanic arts, and the natural sciences connected therewith.” 3 And three years later the State librarian was authorized to turn over all books, minerals, and other geological specimens to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.

At the time of the organization of the college in 1876 there was but little sentiment in the Southern States against the exclusive study of the classics at the expense of the sciences and mechanic arts, and it is, therefore, not surprising to learn that the college opened as a classical and mathematical school for academic instruction rather than a techni. cal school for the purpose of special training. While not neglecting the instruction in agriculture and the mechanic arts and studies adjunct to these, the classical instruction and general culture of the institution received the most attention. In this the institution but supplied the demands of the citizens of the State, and was not contrary to the general act of the Federal Government making the grant and establishing the conditions upon which such schools should be founded. But totally unprepared for teaching sciences and agriculture, the multitude of students who flocked to the school, did not receive what they came for, dissatisfaction arose, and the school proved so nearly a failure that it was necessary to call a meeting of the directors in November, 1879, when the school was reorganized. The Latin and Greek courses were consolidated and made subordinate and optional while the courses in science and agriculture were made more prominent.

It is to be noted that the attempt to maintain a system of manual labor on the farm failed here as elsewhere in the majority of cases

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where it has been tried. It was not until 1882 that the agricultural and mechanical departments were put into full operation.

There has been a flourishing military department from the beginning.

In 1888 the board of directors, in accordance with the act of Congress of 1887, established an experiment station in connection with and under the control of the authorities of the college.

SUMMARY OF GRANTS. The State has made the following liberal appropriations for the support of the school: 1871, for building, etc.

$75,000.00 1874, for building, etc

40,000.00 1875, for building, etc.

32,000.00 1876, for building, etc....

40,000.00 1879, for library and apparatus

15,000.00 1881, for improvements....

4,987.44 1881–82, State students.

15,000.00 1883–84, State students..

6,000.00 1883–84, expense of land suit..

8,000.00 1883–84, repairs, improvements, etc.

40,000.00 1885–86, maintenance and support ?

30,000.00 1887–89, maintenance and support

35,000.00 1888, for repairs and further equipment.

41,500.00 Total State appropriation .....

382, 487.44 The State misappropriated from the university fund as follows: Act, July 9, 1879...

$15,000 Act, April 1, 1881

15,000 Act, April 23, 1883

10,000 Act, April 1, 1885

10,000 Total.

50,000 The productive fund of the institution is two hundred and nine thousand dollars, yielding an annual income of $14,280, one hundred and seventy-four thousand dollars being invested in seven per cent. State bonds and thirty-five thousand dollars in six per cent. State bonds.

The value of the lands and buildings amounts to $228,972. The productive fund amounted in 1886–87 to two hundred and nine thousand dollars, which yielded an income of $14,280.



By an act of March 2, 1827, Congress set aside two townships of land for the use and support of a seminary of learning in the Territory of Arkansas. The Assembly in 1833 made it the duty of the Territorial


Catalogue 1885, p. 28.
· Letter from the president, Louis M. McInnis, December 4, 1888.
3U. S. Statutes at Large, IV, p. 235; see, also, p. 661.

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