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Legislative Assembly, those locations have become valid, not because they were made by our authority, but because the said Secretary, on receiving a description of the lands selected for that object, confirmed and ratified the doings of the authorities of the Territory in the premises.
The act referred to, may be found on page 785, of the 9th volume of the Laws of the United States, and is in the words and figures following, to wit:
“ An act concerning a Seminary of learning in the Territory of Wiskonsan.
[Sec. 1.] Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatiaes of the United States of America, in Congress assembled ; That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized to set apart and reserve from sale, out of any of the public lands within the Territory of Wiskonsan, to which the Indian title has been, or may be, extinguished, and not otherwise appropriated, a quantity of land not exceeding two entire townships, for the use and support of a University within the said Territory, and for no other use or purpose whatsover, to be located in tracts of land not less than an entire section, corresponding with any of the legal divisions into which the public lands are authorized to be surveyed.” [Approved June 12, 1838.]
From the wording of this act, as well as the views herein before taken of the subject, it will be seen that another act of Congress must be passed, in reference to this subject, before we are authorized to take any action for the sale or use of the lands in question. But as it is deemed important that the earliest action practicable, both by Congress and this Assembly, be had in the premises: it is believed that an act establishing the University, and providing for a suitable disposition of those lands for the uses and purposes intended, should be passed by this Assembly, and submitted to Congress for its approval-thereby virtually making it the act of Congress—would be the most speedy course to be pursued.
By this means Congress could perceive at once, the uses to which this Assembly proposes to apply the lands, the modus operandi of the same, and the guards and securities with which they are protected, all which, it is believed, would be approved.
By resolutions of this Assembly, approved January 11, 1840, and January 29, 1841, two thirds of the University lands have been located, and submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury for his sanction and approval. The most of these locations have been thus approved and sanctioned, and it is expected the remainder will soon be.
The policy of locating but two-thirds of the University land up to this time, was adopted with a view to locating the remaining third on the north side of Wiskonsan river, so soon as those lands should be surveyed, and come into market. This has now been done to some extent, and to secure the best and most valuable of them for this noble purpose, your committee recommend the location of the remaining third with as little delay as possible.
The Governor recommends the commencement of the institution to be erected and sustained by the avails of these lands, but before they can become productive they must be located, disposed of, and the proceeds invested in some way so as to yield an annual income to the Territory or State.
On this, however, a question arises at once, as to the expediency of selling them at this time. Different opinions obtain in reference to it. Some think it best to leave them for ten or twenty years to rise in value, when, as a matter of course, the proceeds would amount to more than if sold at the present time.
To this policy there are several weighty objections to be urged. It is seriously doubted whether the rise in the value of these lands can possibly be of as much public utility as the education of the youth now among us. On the education of the rising generation depends the morality, prosperity and perpetuity of our institutions. And without it the unanimous voice of the country proclaim the downfall of American freedom.
Is it good policy to leave the present generation without the means of education, with a view to leaving a greater fund for that purpose to future generations and future emigrants? It is a known truth that one object of the General Government in granting these lands for the use and support of a University, was to encourage the settlement and sale of the public domain. And it is equally true that the first settlers of a new country endure many privations in preparing the country for settlement by others. One of the privations thus endured by the pioneers of the country, is the want of schools. But shall the early settlers have this privation continued till their children have grown up in ignorance or been educated in other states, merely to give future emigrants a greater fund to educate theirs with? Ten years hence the present population will be better able to educate their families than they now are, and those who may immigrate to the country will not be under the necessity of enduring the privations their predecessors have done.
There are now in the Territory youth enough to make a large school of the higher class, and who must go abroad for their education, and that, too, at an expense of several thousand dollars, which is taken from and expended out of the Territory, or remain in ignorance; and it is believed that the amount of money which must be sent abroad for the education of our youth, would be greater than the rise in the value of the land will be, so that the territory as a whole, would not only be the loser in a pecuniary point of view, but also in the amount of education obtained, because but few would be sent abroad for that purpose, compared with the numbers who would be educated at home, if the institution was immediately put in operation.
Again, it is a truth too well known to need proof, that an educated people are the greatest friends and best patrons of institutions of learning; and therefore to create facilities to educate the present generation, is a better and more certain means of securing support to the university in coming years, than to keep the lands lying unoccupied and a portion of the people without the means of education. And it is no small detriment to the settlement of the country, to have these lands, the best that can be selected, lie in a state of nature; and one great reason for locating but two-thirds of the land up to this time, was, because it would keep so many valuable tracts of land from settlement and occupation. But if the lands are subjected to sale and settlement, this objection to their immediate location will be removed.
It is proposed that the Auditor of the Territory be authorized to take the general oversight and superintendence of these lands, and offer them for sale, and once in six months inform the Governor of the tracts, not exceeding one quarter section to one man, at any one time that have been applied for: that the Governor issue his proclamation, describing the tracts, and fixing a time for their sale: that no tract be offered for sale at less than two dollars per acre, and to be sold to the highest bidder; that the purchaser receive a certificate of the sale and amount, payable in ten years, with interest semi-annually, at the rate of seven per centum per annum, the title to remain in the Territory till payment is made; and when made, and a deed given, the proceeds to be funded in some profitable stock, so that the land or its avails shall constitute the fund, and the interest only to be expended in the erection and support of the institution.
Many sections of the University lands, will, no doubt, sell for more than two dollars per acre; while possibly some few sections may eventually be sold for less. But assuming two and one-half dollars as the average price, 46,080 acres would sell for $115,200, which at seven per cent. interest, would yield annually $8,064.—This sum in two years would erect a building and purchase a library and apparatus equal to our present wants:-it would then pay annually, four professors or teachers $1,000 each, and leave $4,064 to be expended annually in erecting additional buildings, or high schools in different parts of the Territory, as branches of the University.
It is not, however, supposed that the present grant of lands for a University, is the utmost limit of the munificence of Congress for this noble object. It is believed that so soon as the extensive public domains north of the Wiskonsan river and south of lake Superior is surveyed and brought into market, and settlements are extended over that vast and fertile district, that Congress, in view of the geographical extent of the state-one of the largest in the Union-will make other grants for the purposes of education.—But we cannot reasonably expect such additional grants until we make use of what we now have at command. This, in addition to the arguments already offered, in favor of immediate action in the premises, should not be lost sight of.
In every view, therefore, your committee have been able to take of the subject, it is for the interest of the Territory, to facilitate pre
OF THE . Jan. 10. sent settlement, the education of the present generation, and to obtain extended grants, with a view to greater and more extended facilities for education, to place the University lands now granted to the Territory, in a situation to be productive, and to commence therewith such operations as the means afforded will justify and authorize.
But as the entire fund cannot be made available in one, two, or even five years, your committee are aware that operations in the premises must for some years be limited. But, at the same time, they are aware that the wants of the present population are limited; and probably the limit of the one will be about equal to that of the other. But because the number of youth to be educated is small to what it will be twenty years hence, shall we, therefore, leave the present number to be raised in ignorance, or subjected so the expense of foreign education; for the sake of aiding immigrants not yet in the Territory, or children yet unborn, to enjoy facilities of which we the pioneers of the country, are deprived of ? Shall we adopt the antirepublican policy of oppressing the few and the poor, in order to benefit the many and more wealthy who may follow us? We protest against such a policy.
But what evidence have we that the delay of this matter will give any greater relative or proportionate benefits to a future generation, than the present use of the fund would to the present number to be educated? If we say that the number to be educated at present, is but small, so we say that the lands cannot all be sold at once, and of course the proportion of the avails thereof will be but small. But as the sales of lands, and the consequent increase of available funds advance, so that the number of youth to be educated will advance. The limit of the one now meets the limit of the other, and the increase of the one will meet and equalize the increase of the other. This is conceived to be more in accordance with our Republican Institutions --with the wants of a newly settled country, and with the designs of Congress in granting those lands, with a view to encourage the settlement and sale of the public domain, than to hoard up the treasure like a miser, with a view to make a princely fortune for a person or persons yet unborn.
Furthermore, in the disposition and management of public affairs,