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to the same rules, regulations and duties, as respects the business of the district, which by law appertaineth to the collectors of town-hips in this territory; and the said trustees, clerks and collectors shall not be compelled to serve more than one year at any one time; and it shall be the further duty of the trustees of each district, as soon as may be, afier the trustees have voted a tax, to make a rate bill or tax list, which shall raise the sum voted, with four cents on a dollar for collector's fees, on all the taxable inhabitants of said district, agreeably to the levy on which the township lax was levied the preceding yeir, and annex to the said tax list or rate bill, a warrant, which warrant shall be substantially as followeth:
Collector of the district, in the town of in the county aforesaid. Greeting:- In the name of the United States of America, you are hereby required and commanded to collect from each of the inhabitants of said district, the several sums of money written opposite to the names of each of suid inhabi. tants, in the annexed tix list, and within days, after receiving this warrani, to pay the amount of the money by you collected, into the ban is of the trustees of said district or some one of them, and take their or his receipt therefor. And if any one or more of said inhabitants shall neglect or refuse to pay the sum, you are hereby further commanded to levy on the goods and chattels of each delinquent, and make sale thereof. according to law. Given under our hands and seals, this
(1 s.) In 182: Congress anthorized the Governor and Council to take obarye of the school sections, to protect them from waste and injury, and to provide by law for leasing them. In 1833 the school law of 1828 was repealed and another act passed, which provided for the election of three commissioners of schools and ten inspectors, whose duties were similar to those of inspectors under the present law. They were charged with the protection of section 16, with power to Jease and manage it, in whatever manner they deemed best calculated to enhance its value. Any moneys arising from such care and management were to be applied to the support of common schools. The mode of taxation to build a school house, after a majority of the inbabitants approved of the estimate of expense, was similar to later provisions, requiring the directors oi districts to obtain a transcript of so much of the last assessment roll of the township as related to bis district, and to add to it all the property of persons who had be
come residents, and of residents who had purchased since the last assessment roll was made.
A humane provision of the law gavo discretion to directors, when. ever there was within any district, any poor and indigent person, unable to pay for the instruction of his or her children, or where there were poor children without parents, to order such children to be instructed at the school, and the expense of such instruction was defrayed by tax upon the property of the district.
This law gave authority to the several commissioners of adjoining townships to constitute and establish conjointly school districts on the line dividing such townships. It also authorized the appointment of some person, by the governor of the territory, as "Superintendent of common schools," who had authority to take supervision of section 16, and all fractional sections for the use of schools, where trustees or commissioners hal not been chosen. The directors of districts were to report to the Superintendent, the whole number of scholars taught in the district for three months, and any additional time, together with the amount of moneys received from the commissioners. It was made the duty of the Superintendent to report annually to the Legislative Council, the number of scholars taught, the condition of the school lands, suits or actions brought, and moneys arising from this and other sources, and whatever else might to bim appear necessary, concerning the lands and the condition of the schools.
In 1835, the same year in which the law was passed to form a constitution and state government, an amendment to the act of 1833, made it the duty of the school commissioners to make yearly dividends of all moneys coming into their hands by virtue of their office, for rents or damages done to section 16, and distribute and
over the amount to the directors, in proportion to the number of scholars laught, according to the provisions of the law of 1833. This amendment repealed the sections of the previous act relating to the Superintendent, and provided for his appointment by the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislature, with the same powers and duties as before.
During the year (1835,) the people of the Territory adopted a constitution and formed a State government. The ordinance of the
convention submitted to Congress the following propositions in relabon to educational funds:
First. That section numbered sixteen in every township of the public lands, and where such section has been sold or otherwise disposed of, other lands equivalent thereto, and as contiguous as may be, shall be granted to the State for the use of schools.
Second. That the seventy-two sections of land set apart and reserved for the use and support of a university by an act of Congress approved on the twentieth day of May, eighteen hundred and twentysix, entitled “an act concerning a seminary of learning in the Territory of Michigan," are hereby granted and conveyed to the State, to be appropriated solely to the use and support of such university, in such manner as the Legislature may prescribe: And provided also, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to impair or affect in any way the rights of any person or persons claiming any of said seventy-two sections of land, under contract or grant from said university
Thes propositions became subsequently a part of the ordinance admitting Nichigan into the Union and form the basis upon which rests the educational system of the State. Previous to the admissiou of Michigan, the other States of the Northwest Territory took the grant of the school section “to each township respectively in the State for the use of schools," or "to the State for the use of the inhabitants of the lounship for the usc of schools." The difficulties under wiich these states liad lubored in making the fund available and effective for educational purposes, were avoided in the ordinance admitting Michigan into the Union as a State, and the foundation was laid for a better order of things, the results of which have been witnessed with abundant satisfaction during the sixteen years of its existence. In no other State of the Union, under all circumstances, has education been so amply and abundantly sustained by a sure and steadily increasing fund. This great advantage bas been secured, as facts will demonstrate, from two causes: the taking of the grant to the State to be appropriated to the use of all the schools of the State, and to the constitutional provision subsequently adopted, creating a distinct and separate departm«nt of public instruction.
A question involving a claim of great magnitude, however, hals been raised as to the subsequent and existing rights of the inhabifants of towaships under the ordinance of Congress, in con sequence of the alleged departure from its original terms. During the
senatorial term of Gov. Woodbridge in the Congress of the Unitod States, he eloquently and ably maintained the right and justice of a further claim on Congress in behalf of the individual inhabitants of townships, and at three different sessions introduced and got suocessfully through the Senate a bill granting a million and a half of acres of land to the State, sustaining it before that body on the ground of a want of fair equivalent for the rights of taxation which the State had given up in the adoption of the ordinance of admission, still leaving untouched all question of compensation to the inhabitants respectively of the several townships. The question may yet in the view of many, become important to Michigan and other States, which have been admitted under similar provisions. Should it become so or not, it is a subject which deserves to be generally understood, or at all events not lost sight of, as a part of the history of our legislation. The substance of the ground thus asgamed is, that the provision of the ordinance of the Congress of 1785, amounts to a solemn covenant with each purchaser and settier that he should be forever entitled to the usufruct of that fund, with the other settlers in the township, as a means of educating their children within such tourship; that every man who buys a lot of land and pays for it, buys with it the right to his proportion of the use of section 16 within his township, establishing thereby a claim of great magnitude in behalf of the inhabitants of each surveyed township: that the right to taxation is a right which no State may surrender or abrogate; that if the right may be commuted for or surrendered for an equivalent, no just equivalent has been rendered, and nothing gained but what was before guaranteed to the inhabitants of the townships; that the equitable and available right—the use—the beneficiary interest in it had passed from Congress; that in the case of Michigan, Congress had resumed that which it had before sold, to the purchasers of its wild lands, as if it were an equivalent for the surrender by the State of the brightest jewel of its sovereignty-the right of taxation--no matter how the State may have been required to dispose of these lands; in short that the resulting rights of the people of the townships were the same, as if it were a case, between two individuals, where either the second conveyance by the trustee would be pronounced void, or an adequate indemnity for the right
taken, would be decreed. The considerations however, which inducel the action of the convention which gave its assent to the ordinance of admission embracing the grant of the school lands to the State, were based upon the light of experience afforded in the educational history of the other States of the North West. Tho States of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois hnd reserved the grant to tho inhabitants of the township; such inhabitants exorcising over the section 16 the duties and powers of a landlord, and disposing of it by vote; such management requiring a multiplicity of oficers without any identity of purpose, and without the authority or means to consolidate their action to produce an equal amount of benefit to all the citizens. The history of the educational affairs of these States afforded practical evidence, (even if it was a doubtful assumption that these States possessed the right to take the grant to the State, that the management and disposition of these sections by the inhabitants of the townships was a source of difficulty, embarrassment and expense. fatal to the success of any educational achievement worthy of the people, or productive to them of the greatest amount of good.
Such considerations afford satisfactory grounds for the action of our own Convention, in submitting Gifferent terms to Congress for its assent, and to the people for their sanction. In taking the grant to the State, it avoided a multiplicity of officers otherwise located in different counties; it contributed and is still contributing in an unexampled manner to the education of all the youth of the wholo State; it has saved many towaships from asking legislative aid, where the school section was unavailable, either from prior locations by actual settlers, as was the case in the counties of Waync, Macomb and Monroe, or where the section was covered with heavy timber, which prolonged the event of its being cleared for a series of years; and in many instances, saving not only time, labor and expense, but the means of education itself, to the inhabitants of those townships where the section was entirely unavailable from natural causes, and relieving the inhabitants in such cases from the management of equivalent sections, at a distance from their townships.
In taking the grant to the State, there was a higher principle of equity involved in relation to the whole people, than would have obtained, bad Congress refused its assent to the terms demanded in the