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conditions most favorable for rendering wisdom contagious. There is no instrument of political, social, or administrative reform to be compared with the influence of a national university. (From The Forum, January, 1897.)
DAVID STARR JORDAN, Leland Stanford Junior University, California.
While the Senate was acting favorably the House was not considering it so favorably. However, in 1890 a bill was introduced in the House by O'Neill, of Pennsylvania, to establish a memorial national university, to be one of the achievements brought about on the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America in 1893. In 1896 the Senate District Committee reported a bill recommending the granting of a charter for the national university.
| House Report No. 261, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session.] The Committee on the District of Columbia have considered the bill (H. R. 4785) to incorporate the national university in the District of Columbia, and report same with recommendation that it do pass, with an amendment inserting the word “of” after the word “name,” in line 8 of section 1 of the bill. This is purely a clerical error, and the amendment corrects the same.
The object of the bill is to grant a special charter of Congress to this university. It now has, and has had for many years, a charter obtained under the general law, under which it maintains a university, with full corps of teachers, etc.
This university asks for this general charter because it is proposed to provide by law that colleges not incorporated by special act of Congress shall not be allowed to conduct their business in the District of Columbia unless such colleges shall be registered by the Commissioners of the District, and granted by them & written permit to commence or continue business in said District.
They ask for no new power or powers not granted by their present charter. The only object is to avoid the necessity for this university to apply to the District Commissioners to be registered, etc., before doing business.
Mr. PLATT. Have you studied the bills?
Mr. Fess. No, sir; the last bill did not carry a dollar of appropriation. It did not ask the Government to do anything in the way of an outlay of money.
Mr. PLATT. What did it do?
Mr. Fess. It simply asked for the assembling of these bureaus here, which is really a disorganized university already, and to open them up for research work. One of the bills, however, provided that there should be bonds issued, the interest of which should be utilized for the immedite expenses of the university. Of course, you understand that it would ultimately entail an appropriation.
Mr. Platt. I suppose you have worked out a plan.
Nr. PLATT. It szems to me that a national university ought to start on the principle of the University of London. It ought to be an examining board only and grant degrees
Mr. Fess. Well, I am coming to that. Gov. Hoyt, who, by the way, was once an Antioch man, continued to keep the matter before the educators of the country. In 1892 he published a memorial of 124 pages, and it was published as a Senate document in the Fifty-second Congress. In the meantime there was a committee, called an advisory crmmittee, of educators and business men under the leadership of Melville Fuller, Chief Justice of the United States Supr me Court.
This committee was called the committee of four hundred. This was in 1902. He had good grounds for accepting membership on the committee, because the national university proposition had been indorsed by Chief Justices John Jay, John Marshall, John Rutledge, Associate Justices Joseph Story, Chase, and that class of jurists. And so when this senatorial movement began Chief Justice Fuller interested himself in it and headed the executive council, composed of such men as Edmunds, White, Strauss, Hunton, Herbert, Miles, Langley, Newcomb, etc., This council represents the highest possible rank of public welfare and scholarly attainment. Then they added to that advisory council the general committee of four hundred, representing all professions and every part of the Nation. I have the report of that committee. I have seen copies of nearly 500 letters, written by the best educators and business mcn of this country, indorsing this proposition.
I now have a reprint of those letters in the form of a report made to the Senate in 1902 in the Fifty-seventh Congress. In spite of all this wonderful movement the national university idea slept in the Senate. In 1908 it was again revived by Senator Frye, when he reported the findings of a special committee, which report I will make a part of these hearings.
[Senate Document No. 143, Sixtieth Congress, first session.)
WASHINGTON, D, C., December 19, 1907. To the honorable the Senate of the United States:
The members in general of your honorable body will not need to be than reminded of the several important steps taken by it during the past 17 years toward the establishment of a graduate national university in the District of Columbia—the university ofttimes proposed, provisionally located, and partially endowed by the Father of his Country, also favored and recommended by 10 of his successors in the Presidential chair, and earnestly advocated by numerous other statesmen of higest rank, as well as by a multitude of the country's distinguished scholars, men of science, and practical educators most competent to judge of the country's educational needs. They will readily recall the introduction, by Senator George F. Edmunds, in 1890, of a bill to establish the University of the United States, and its reference to a special committee, afterwards made one of the standing committees of the Senate; the printing of 5,000 copies of a “ Memorial in regard to a National University,” in 1892, and the several affirmative reports of the Senate's committee, submitted in 1893, 1894, 1996, and 1902. by Chairmen Proctor. Ilunton, Kyle, and Deboe, respectively, and embracing, besides the arguments of the committee itself, and hearings before it by many of the most competent authorities in the country, no less than 700 letters of approval from other distinguished statesmen, jurists, officers of the Army and Navy, and 250 college and university presidents—all of them warmly indorsing the measure.
But the recent installation of a number of Senators and the lapse of five years without action by either the Senate or its committee, together with the prolonged absorption of Senators in matters of pressing importance, will justify a fresh calling of the Senate's attention to the subject, with a concise rest:itement of the case, and the appeal now respectfully submitted, in the name of the National University Committee of Four Hundred, by the undersigned members of its executive council, with the request that it may be printed and have any reference deemed appropriate.
In a study of American education four things are especially noteworthy, namely: · 1. While, at the beginning, and for a considerable period afterwards, the whole field of education wis mainly in possession of the ecclesiastical organizations of the country, there sprang up at length a conviction, which has since steadily deepened, that the State and National Governments, dependent as they are for their security on the highest intelligence of the people, have educational oblig" ions most solenn and important. Indeed, so deep and moving has been
this conviction that to-day not only is there no commonwealth of the American Union without its public-school system of such scope and efficiency as to qualify students for the collegiate studies, but in the States generally, though not in every one, there are yet higher institutions, known as universities, established by authority of the State, and with endowments from the General Government in all cases where the public lands therein were still owned by the United States at the date of their founding.
2. Notwithstanding all this intelligent interest in educational agencies--ele mentary, secondary, and superior-10 institution in the United States or in the Western Hemisphere has yet so entirely passed the collegiate rank as to constitute a university in the highest sense; that is, an institution exclusively devoted to graduate work. The foremost of them can boast of little more than beginnings of it in some of their departments.
3. Even if there were an exclusively graduate university elsewhere in the country, or several of them, there are certain offices, many and important, as well as national in both name and character, that would especially attach to a university at Washington, established by the Government and with national ends in view—such, indeed, as could be fulfilled by none other.
4. The chief advocacy of a true university for the country at large has been in connection with propositions to establish at Washington a graduate national university of the highest possible rank for all the States; we might even say for all the American republics, their representatives in Congress assembled (at Philadelphia, in 1891) having already given the proposition their unanimous approval.
That an actual beginning of such an institution was not made long ago is one of the strangest facts in our national history. For, as every one familiar with what has been done and attempted in American education well knows, it came very near being provided for in the Constitution itself, George Washington, Charles Pinckney, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and others of the most illustrious framers urging its inclusion therein as a means of making it sure, and yielding only when exclusive jurisdiction over the District of Columbia had been conceded to Congress, which body it was believed would be wise enough to take su action in the matt as would early realize the desires and expectations of the founders of the Republic.
Hence the earnest efforts to secure action by Congress so often made by the farsighted Washington, who not only in his messages repeatedly urged it upon the Congress, but also by means of many letters to John Adams, Edmond Randolph, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Gov. Brooke, Alexander Hamilton, the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, and others, as well as in his farewell address, kept the subject before the statesmen of his time, and finally went so far as to select a site for the institution and to remember it in his last will and testament with a bequest of $25,000 in stocks of the Potomac company, which at that time were in high favor.
Hence the timely efforts of Gustavus Scott, William Thornton, and Alexander White, commissioners under the act to establish the temporary and permanent seat of the Government, who ably supported President Washington's recommendations by a memorial to Congress in 1796.
Hence the support of the proposition by 10 of Washington's successors in the presidential office, 6 of them in unbroken line and 4 within our own time, namely, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, and Benjamin Harrison, all of whom placed a very high estimate upon the service that such a university would render to the country in many ways, especially by bringing multitudes of the ambitious young men of all the States into friendly association at a common center and for a common objectPresident Madison so high an estimate that, like Washington, he strongly urged it upon Congress three times; while Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield, and Harrison even thought, as other statesmen have, that if the high purpose of Washington had been duly and early fulfilled there would have been no Civil War.
Hence the interest felt by such eminent justices of the Supreme Court of the United States as John Ilay, John Rutledge, John Marshall, Joseph Story, John McLean, David Davis, and Salmon P. Chase--felt, it may be said, by the chief justices generally, from the very beginning to the coming of our patriotic present head of the Supreme Court, who for so many years has stood fast for the measure and is pleased to still hold his place at the head of the executive council of the National University Committee of Four Hundred.
Hence the deep interest in the university proposition shown by the most eminent of Cabinet officers along the whole line of presidential administrations—such heads of departments as Edmund Randolph, Timothy Pickering, Albert Gallatin, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, William M. Evarts, William H. Seward, George S. Boutwell, John Sherman, Alexander W. Randall, Carl Schurz, William F. Vilas, William E. Chandler, Timothy 0. Howe, L. Q. C. Lamar, Augustus H. Garland, Redfield Proctor, Oscar S. Straus, and others.
Hence the concurrence of such distinguished heads of the United States Army as Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, Lieut. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, and yet others.
Hence the support of the proposition by such other of our most distinguished public men as Senator George Logan, of Pennsylvania, who, while United States Senator, introduced the first national university bill, and in due time reported it without amendment; as Samuel Blodgett, author of the first. American work on political economy, who, while a Member of the House of Representatives, reported to that body, in 1806, no less than 18,000 subscriptions toward the university, with $30,000 paid in as a beginning of endowments, to become available when Congress should grant the charter; as Samuel Mitchell, of New York, who, as chairman of the House Committee on the President's Message, reported in favor of the university, in 1810; as the scholarly Richard Henry Wilde, of Georgia, who, in reporting affirmatively on President Madison's third recommendation, at the same time offered a bill to establish the university; as the able Charles W. Atherton, of New Hampshire, who offered and saw adopted the House resolution declaring the constitutionality of a national university, and as Mark L. Hill, of Massachusetts, who ably supported the recommendation of President Monroe.
Hence the support given to the measure, in the form of resolutions by the entire Congress, in 1820, 1823, 1825, and 1832.
Hence the support accorded by such eminent legislators of a later day as Senators Sumner, Patterson, Ingalls, Garland, Carpenter, Davis, Hoar, and the great body of Senators of the more recent past, whenever the question of the proposed university has come before them.
Hence the unanimous report of the House Committee on Education, in 1873.
Hence the support accorded by many of the most distinguished of our diplomats, beginning with Joel Barlow, minister to France, who drafted the first national university bill, and concluding with Gen. Horace Porter, late ambassador to France; John A. Kasson, once minister to Austria-Hungary and then to Germany; Oscar S. Straus, late minister to Turkey, and David J. Hill, minister to Belgium.
Hence the advocacy of the university measure throughout the whole period of our history as a Nation by the foremost of our men of science and learningsuch men as Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, Josiah Meigs. Edward Cutbush, Thomas Sewall, Thomas Law, Alexander Williams, Horace Holley, Charles Caldwell, Alexander Dallas Bache, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, Louis Agassiz, Joseph Henry, James Hall, Benjamin Pierce, 0. M. Mitchell, Arnold W. Guyot, Edward Everett, Amos Dean, James Dwight Dana, Theodore D. Woolsey, Spencer F. Baird, Hooper C. Van Voorst, Henry H. von Holst. Samuel P. Langley, John F. Norton, Daniel C. Gilman, Alexander Graham Bell, and others too numerous to mention in this connection.
Hence the concurrence of nearly all the most distinguished of American ecclesiastics who were ever approached on the subject, among them Bishops Alonzo Potter, Henry C. Potter, Ethelbert Talbot, Henry Y. Satterlee, William Paret, Thomas March Clark, Thomas Underwood Dudley, and Thomas F. Starkey, of the Protestant Episcopal Church; Bishops John P. Newman, Charles C. McCabe, David H. Moore, William F. McDowell, and Earl Cranston, of the Methodist Episcopal Church; James McCosh, Francis Lindley Patton, Thomas De Witt Talmage, and Robert S. Booth, of the Presbyterian Church; Henry Ward Beecher, Congregationalist; James Dana Boardman, of the Baptist Church, and Edward Everett Hale, Unitarian, and present chaplain of the United States Senate-even such as have been deeply concerned in the establishment and maintenance of institutions of learning in the interest of their respective denominations; seeing, as they have, that a graduate national university at Washington would fulfill important offices that could be fulfilled by none other.
Hence the support not only of the State university presidents, as would naturally be expected, but also of the eminent heads of the more important independent universities, both old and new; for example, Presidents Thomas
Hill, of Harvard; Theodore D. Woolsey, of Yale; Francis Wayland and E. Benjamin Andrews, of Brown; James McCosh and Francis L. Patton, of Princeton; F. A. P. Barnard and Seth Low, of Columbia; William Pepper, of the University of Pennsylvania; Horace Holley, of Transylvania ; P. B. Barringer, of the University of Virginia; James C. Welling, of the Columbian; J. G. Schurman, of Cornell; Daniel C. Gilman, of Johns Hopkins; David Starr Jordan, of Leland Stanford; William R. Harper, of the University of Chicago; and Edward B. Craighead, of Tulane--in a vord, the presidents generally, even to the number of 250.
Hence the highly important advocacy of the national university measure by the State superintendents of public instruction and the United States Commissioners of Education, every one, and by the National Education Association—the most important educational organization in the world, numbering its members by the thousand; which body, during the past 40 years, has repeatedly, with unanimity and emphasis, declared its recognition of this high demand by resolutions and by the formation, many years ago, of a committee of promotion.
Hence, coming now to what we think of as present time, the unanimous action of the United States Senate in forming a select committee of that body, in 1890, to receive and report upon a bill for a national university, offered by Senator George F. Edmunds, of Vermont-a committee significantly entitled “ The committee to establish the university of the United States,” afterwards made a standing committee, submitting decided reports in '93, '94, 96, and 1902.
Hence the unanimous action of the Pan-Republic Congress, in 1891, in adopting a resolution in favor of the establishment at Washington of a graduate university of highest rank in the common interest of all the American Republics.
Hence, to conclude this recital, the remarkable facts that nearly every one of the Presidents of the United States and the greatest of other Americans in every walk of life and in every period of our national history who have touched the subject in any way have, with almost no exception, declared for the university, and that no American of acknowledged greatness, from the days of Washington until this present, has raised his voice against the propositionnot one. The truth is, no valid objection to such a university as Washington proposed has ever been made or is possible. · Accordingly, we are constrained to ask, What has been the matter?
WHY THIS DELAY OF AN HUNDRED AND NINETEEN YEARS.
There has been nothing like it in American history or in any other.
The delay has not been due, as we have seen, to serious convictions that nothing more in the way of university education is needed, as a little circle of ambitious head of institutions have insisted, although the wrong thus done to higher education has been very great.
The delay has not been because of any serious doubt of the congressional right to establish such a university. There never was any room for a real question of this sort, and it has finally ceased to be urged.
The delay has not been because of too large demands by friends of the measure, for we are asking of the Government nothing in the way of material aid other than that the provision by Washington himself be made good--nothing; although fully satisfied that if the Nation's resources are to be further used for objects not strictly governmental none are more deserving than the establishment of the institution of learning most needed and most universally demanded. Our faith is great in the wisdom of patriotic citizens of large wealth-in the matchless givers of the present and in their worthy successors; and when they fully understand the need we believe that they will see both the fitness and the moral gain of devoting to this purpose gifts even greater than any hitherto accorded and will gladly follow the example of Washington and share with him the honor of the final realization of his exalted aims.
The delay has not been due to a serious conviction anywhere, much less to a prevailing belief, that the proposed university would weaken or in any way injure existing institutions, and such an objection would be considered too absurd to require mention had nobody been deceived by it.
In the first place, there is no conceivable way short of violations of law, punishable by the courts, in which one institution can, in any proper sense, * injure” another. One may, by presenting superior attractions, draw to itself