Page images

In this classification it is shown that 51,651.01 acres have been granted, aside from those lots whose areas have not been determined. Out of this number at least 26,963.25 acres have been devoted to the cause of higher education.

Tennessee also received, in 1806, a special grant of one hundred thousand acres of land, fifty thousand for each of two colleges, one to be located in East and one in West Tennessee. At the same time an additional one hundred thousand acres were granted for the support of academies, one in each county.


Many special grants of certain percentages of the proceeds of the sales of public lands were made by Congress to the several States. These percentages varied with each grant, the Government following a general policy rather than any specific act. Ohio received the first grant, consisting of three per cent. of the sales of land, to be laid out in building highways. Each of the States from this time on, with the exception of Maine, Texas, and West Virginia, received either three or five per cent. of said sales. The grants were devoted to purposes of internal improvement or to education, according to the terms of the contract.

Illinois, by an act of April 18, 1818, specified that one-sixth of the sums derived from this source should be exclusively bestowed on a college or university. From 1821 to 1869 Illinois received the amount of $713,445.75. The whole amount received by the several States as percentages on land sales (to 1876) is $6,508,819.11. Of this sum it is estimated that $2,997,234.35 have been devoted to education, but it is impossible to determine what part of this fund has been used in the support of higher education. Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida, Oregon, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, and Nevada have applied the proceeds of the percentages to the support of education. In 1841 ten per cent. of the proceeds of the sales of public lands within their respective borders were granted to the following States without specification regarding the disposal of the same, viz: Ohio, Illinois, Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Michigan.3


An act was passed September 28, 1850, granting to the several States the disposal of certain swamp lands, after being redeemed by the States. It was intended that these lands should pay for the construc

Cf. Tennessee.
2 These States had no public lands within their borders.
3 U. S. Statutes at Large, V, 453.
4 See Appendix B.
5 Revised Statutes of United States, sections 2479-90.

[ocr errors]

tion of levees and for the necessary expenses of drainage. Many of the States devoted these lands to the cause of education.

The total amount of swamp lands patented to the States from the date of the first grant to 1876 is 47,802,271.16 acres. It is quite impossible to state how much of the proceeds of the sales of these lands was devoted to higher education. California appropriated a large amount to the State university. It is provided in the Constitutions of Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi that the proceeds of the sales of swamp lands shall be set apart for the support of public education. Also the States of Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin have by statute laws placed these proceeds in the general school fund. Other acts have granted special amounts of so-called saline lands to the several States. Ohio realized $41,024 from this source, and Indiana, $85,000, which sums were added to the school fund. We find that Iowa devoted part of the proceeds of the sales of saline lands to the agricultural colleges.

It is a very difficult problem to find the returns of the sales of these lands separate from others, and much more difficult to separate the respective amounts set apart for higher and common school education. Yet it was thought best to give brief mention of these grants to bring before us the opportunities furnished the States for the support of pub. lic education.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

It was enacted by Congresso in 1841 that each of the eight following States should receive five hundred thousand acres of land for the purpose of internal improvement; for the purpose of constructing roads, railways, bridges, canals, water courses," and for the draining of swamps. This act subsequently was made to embrace all of the new States admitted, with the exceptions of West Virginia and Texas. These lands were not to be sold for less than one dollar and twentyfive cents per acre. By special stipulations in accepting this grant, seven of the States more recently admitted' have reserved the proceeds of the saies of these lands for the benefit of free schools. The number of acres thus granted is nine million five hundred thousand; three million five hundred thousand of which have been set apart for public education. This of course passes into the school fund, and has not been drawn upon for the support of universities.

The General Government has also expended large sums for the benefit of colored schools, for libraries and publications, and for scientific investigations and explorations. So far as they pertain to the subject of higher education, they will be discussed under separate headings.


Report of the Commissioner, 1876, National Education, 16.
2 United States Statutes at Large, V, 455.
3 California, Nevada, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Colorado.


The Federal Government has appropriated lands and money for the benefit of educational institutions within the District of Columbia. The first instance to be mentioned is that of the appropriation of lands in the city of Washington, valued at twenty-five thousand dollars, to the Georgetown College in 1833. The lands were not received by the college until 1837. They have greatly increased in value since the time of the donation. In 1836 Congress gave the same amount of land in the city of Washington to the Columbian University. The lands were to be sold and the proceeds (twenty-five thousand dollars) invested in permanent securities and the interest to be used to pay the professors in college. This is the extent of the aid rendered these two institutions by Congress.

Howard University has also received assistance from the Federal Government. The appropriations to this institution for support during the last four years were as follows: 1885, eighteen thousand five hun dred dollars; 1886, nineteen thousand dollars ; 1887, twenty-five thou. sand five hundred dollars ; 1888, eighteen thousand five hundred dol. lars.



It may be questioned whether a military academy should be properly classified with those schools commonly known as institutions of superior instruction, or whether it should stand alone as a special school, having no bearing upon the subject of higher learning. Viewed from a political standpoint it is only a means of national defence, and this is the great aim of the military school. Yet the national military school, as well as those of the several States, in their practical operation send out yearly scores of educated men who find their way into the various civil pursuits in times of peace, and as engineers of roads or mines, as officers, scholars, and statesmen, form a valuable portion of the community. Leaving out the idea of making armies, the discipline of the military school is the best possible education for a large percentage of our youth, and as for the questions of national defence and national safety the statesmen of the Republic must ever consider these the essential ideas of all state education.

The Military Academy contributes indirectly to science and learning by furnishing officers and engineers to surveying and exploring parties; it contributes directly to the general welfare and improvement of the people by furnishing competent superintendents of public works. Says Adams: “It is the idea of strengthening the country by internal improvement, and binding its different sections indissolubly together by ties of economic interest, such as river improvements, canals, roads, bridges, and other great public works described under the comprehen. sive name of engineering."1 It is not infrequent that men, graduates of this school, have done their country great service by devoting themselves to the study of science. It is through this institution that our meager but necessary standing army is kept respectably well officered.

1U. S. Statutes at Large, IV, 603.

2 Ibid., V, 214.

As a means of defence in time of war it gives little enough military education for a great people, and the experience of war shows that the great majority of our able military leaders have arisen from this school. It is fortunate when in war they are all upon the same side; otherwise the conduct of the ofticers of West Point fighting against one another after having sworn to defend the nation may shake the faith of the people in the supposed advantages of a military academy.

Although the first expression on record of sentiments in favor of a military academy did not come from Washington, it is due to him more than to any other that such an institution was established. He maintained that in times of peace training for war is necessary to prepare for emergencies that may rise.


It was near the beginning of the War for Independence that the necessity for a national military academy forced itself upon the leaders of the young nation. It was the growing sentiment of nationality, together with the consciousness of entering upon the struggle with few efficient commanders and a poorly disciplined army, that taught the need of such an institution.

As early as September, 1776, a committee was appointed to inquire into the state of the army at New York. After a thorough investigation, the committee reported the army in a state of disorganization, the soldiers insubordinate, and the commanders incapable. There was em. bodied in this report, among other things, a resolution that the board prepare a continental laboratory and a military academy, and provide the same with officers." 3

Two days prior to the reception of the report of this committee a second committee was appointed by the Continental Congress and instructed to submit to that body a plan for a military academy. In the work of these committees is foreshadowed the events which led to the establishment of the peace arrangements of the army, and finally to the Academy at West Point. It seems that the latter committee never reported. The precipitation of imminent war engrossed the attention of the leaders, while the raw recruits and the half-trained officers found ample instruction in military tactics in the severe school of experience. Nothing further was attempted toward a school until the close of the war in 1783, at which time the question was again agitated under the discussion of the peace arrangements for the army.

1 The College of William and Mary, 48. 2 American Archives, series V, II, 1373. 3 Ibid., 1387.

4 Ibid., 1383.


Alexander Hamilton was appointed by Congress chairman of the committee for preparing a plan for the peace arrangement of the army. Hamilton at once addressed a letter to General Washington, soliciting his views on the subject. Washington replied in his clear and decisive manner, and recommended, among other things, that a military school should be established at West Point. At this time General Timothy Pickering was in command of the forces near West Point, and General Washington addressed a letter to him for his views and report concerning the situation and the condition of the army.

Pickering replied to this letter on April 22, 1783, giving his views at some length on the peace arrangements of the army. It is to be noted that the suggestions of Pickering became the policy of the Government to a considerable extent. At the close he says: “If anything like a military academy in America be practicable at this time it must be grounded on the permanent military establishment for our frontier posts and arsenals, and the wants of the States separately of officers to command the defenses on the sea-coasts. On this principle it might be expedient to establish a military school or academy at West Point.” 2

The military organization was in a state of confusion for several years, the chief attention of legislation being directed toward civil affairs. But the first President of the United States had no intention to allow the subject to be forgotten which he deemed to seriously affect the people. Therefore in his annual message of 1793 he recommended that a military academy be established. In the discussion of this clause in the cabinet, Thomas Jefferson thought the power to create a military school unconstitutional, but his opinion was not of sufficient weight to overrule the strong convictions of Washington. It seems that when Thomas Jefferson became President he had changed his views, and strongly recommended the support of the military academy.


Preparations were made for a peace organization of the army for the education of cadets, and in fact for executing all the plans of Washington, except the immediate formation of a local school after the design which he had in mind. In the year 1802 an act was passed which made more ample provisions for the military peace establishment. The army was reorganized, the artillery corps was separated from the engineer corps, and both were stationed at West Point, the former having forty cadets attached to it and the latter only ten.3

1 Sparks' Washington, XIII, 417.
2 Life of Timothy Pickering, IV, 442, Appendix.
3 History of West Point, by E. C. Boynton.

« PreviousContinue »