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ture, petitioning for the grant of a charter for a FEMALE COLLEGIATE INSTITUTION, in connection with the Wesleyan Seminary, at Albion. The application is briefly set forth, as follows:
We would respectfully set forth that the said Seminary has now been in successful operation for more than five years, and has sent forth a large and healthful influence in the cause of education. Still there is wanting an institution in this State, which will meet the highest wishes and literary aspirations of the females of our growing and highly prosperous State. In granting what is here prayed for, you will in no manner interfere with any institution now established under your fostering care.
Comparatively nothing has been done to cultivate, enlarge and properly direct the intellectual powers of those who are to give the first direction to thoughts of those who are to succeed us on the great theatre of life, and to whom is to be entrusted the perpetuation of our free institutions.
What is petitioned for, is properly an enlargement of an existing charter, so as to meet the exigency of the case.
By granting our petition we are fully persuaded you will confer a great public benefit.
A MEMORIAL was presented relative to agriculture, by Bela Hubbard, Titus Dort and J. O. Holmes, representing that the committee of the State Agricultural Society had bad in consideration a subject of great importance, viz: the establishment of a CENTRAL AGRICULTURAL OFFICE, and an appropriation was deemed desirable for a Li
Of this subject, in connection with the UNIVERSITY, the agricultural committee say:
In the organization of our State University, it was contemplated, (as appears by section twenty-six of the act,) that “in one of the branches there should be a department of agriculture, with competent instructors in the theory of agriculture, including vegetable phys. iology, agricultural chemistry, and experimental and practical farming and agriculture.” Such a department, it is plain, to be vigorously and practically carried out, must have its more immediate and vital connection with the State Agricultural Society and its institutions. With an agricultural college should also be associated a model and experimental farm, a botanical garden, and perhaps a veterinary establishment.
By these means will the farmers of our State—its great leading class-be furnished with institutions peculiarly theirs. They will be provided with the means of educating their youth in every practical and scientific detail necessary or useful to that most important of all occupations, to as full an extent as is now afforded by the higher colleges of our land, to candidates for the so-called "learned professions."
On the 21st of January, the Senate adopted a resolution in rela. tion to the management of the loan of $100,000 and to a certain claim, arising out of the same, which it is only deemed necessary here to refer to, and which is to be found in Senate document No. 11, of the session, (1850.)
This document contains the reply of the Secretary of the Board, extracts from the journal of the Regents, copy of the bond given by Major Kearsley, and also by the Bank of Michigan, the report made by Major K. of his proceedings in July, 1838, and also a statement of his claim.
The memorial of G. M. Barber and other students, relative to the proceedings of the Regents and Faculty as to secret societies, was presented to the Senate. A report was made in relation to the same subject by a committee of the Board of Regents, and also by the Faculty. All the documents relating to the controversy may be found in the journal of the Senate, being documents number 15, 16, 11, 37 and 38. As they do not relate to the legitimate object of this compilation, they are here referred to, simply as a matter of reference to those whose duty it may be to examine them, if a similar question should be raised in the future, in the local government of the University. As this is not anticipated, the subject is not of importance otherwise, in the history of its affairs.
Another memorial from the State Agricultural Society was presented to the Legislature, praying for the establishment of a State AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE. As to the character and scope of such an institution, the memorial says:
The first and most important consideration is, that the institution would be a labor school; in which the actual work performed by the pupils would be passed to their credit, in the account for their instruction. Thus the expense would be greatly diminished if not altogether paid. The very act of labor would be a practicable application of the precepts taught, and the poor would enjoy equal priv. ileges with the rich.
The institution should be attached to, or form a branch of the State University, as is contemplated by the charter of that institution, and having the benefit of lectures from the professors, and such other sources as may be expedient, resident professors, with expensive salaries, would not be necessary.
There should belong to the institution a Farm, of sufficient capacity to embrace a variety of soil and surface, upon which all the operations of agriculture, connected with tillage, the culture of all the
useful grains, grapes and roots, the raising of stock, &c., could be conducted to the best advantage, and where the operations of draining, and the treatment of different soils, could be thoroughly exhibited-in fact, a farm which, under the superintendence of practical and scientific masters, should become a Model for the farms of our State.
There should also be attached a Botanical Garden, to be under the charge of the professor of Botany of the University, in which should be cultivated specimens of the trees, shrubs and plants indigenous to our State, as well as all plants and weeds, a knowledge of the properties and habits of which is useful to the farmer.
The studies taught at this college should be of an eminently practical kind. Bende's agriculture in its details, mathematics and the keeping of accounts, mechanics, natural philosophy and the natural sciences, with their applications to agriculture. With these could be profitably associated Anatomy, so far as connected with the structure and diseases of animals, and the study of insects and their habits, and, to some extent, engineering, architecture, and landscape gardening. Nor should the clainis of literature and the fine arts be wholly neglected. as tending to polish the mind and manners, refine the taste, and add greater lustre and dignity to life. In fine, those branches of education which will tend to render agriculture not only a useful, but a learned and liberal profession, and its cultivators not the "bone and sinew” merely, but the ornaments of society.
One prominent advantage possessed by the pupil in such an institution should not be overlooked, in the judicious combination of labor and study; resulting in confirmed health, and thence increased mental as well as bodily vigor.
But the importance of the plan proposed will weigh little, unless it shall be proved to be practicable. The only obstacle that can be reasonably supposed to exist, is the expense of founding and conducting such an establishment. In the communities of the old world, this obstacle, serious as it is under their circumstances, has been overcome, and with triumphant results. Probably no community in the world possesses greater facilities for the experiment, if it be deemed such, than ours. On the plan suggested, no large endow .
. ment is necessary. The connection with the University would furnish a large part of the means for instruction, at comparatively little cost to the institution.
No where, in a settled community, is land so cheap, at the present moment, as in this State. No State is more amply provided with landed and other means for the promotion of education. May not a part of this fund be as legitimately applied to this object as to other plans of educational improvement?
In the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, the committee on education, through Hon. Hovey K. CLARKE, their chairman, made a report in relation to the establishment of FREE SCHools and other matters
embraced in the report of the Superintendent. The following er. tract contains substantially the views of the committee:
The committee on education, to whom was referred the annual report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, respectfully report:
That in the judgment of your committee none of the topics presented in the report of the Superintendent which would seem to invite the action of the Legislature, can be considered of greater importance than that which relates to the establishment of Free Schools throughout the State. The voice of the public press, the petitions which have been presented to the Legislature at the present session, and the generally expressed desire in many parts of the State, that the public should assume in practice the duty, which in theory has long been acknowledged, namely, the education at the public cost of the children of the State, have induced your committee to examine this question with a view to ascertaiu its present practicability.
The example of other States is undoubtedly operating extensively among the people of this State as a stimulus to the establishment of free schools. And the fact, that three of the States formed out of the ancient North-West Territory, have already preceded us in this step upon a higher level of educational effort than we have yet attained, ought to commend our earnest attention to a subject of such paramount importance. Michigan has thus far maintained an honorable pre-eminence in the education, intelligence and general cultivation of its people. But these qualities will
cease to be our characteristics, unless earnest and well directed efforts be made to extend the influence, and to elevate the standard of education among us. As a means of elevating this standard, the recent legislation of the State, providing for a supply of competent teachers, through the agency of the Normal school, may be regarded as a measnre at once liberal and wise. And as a means of extending the influence of education, a system of free schools, if conducted by competent teachers, will undoubtedly be found to be the wisest and most efficient policy. Yet all this involves an inquiry into the present ability of the State to sustain them without imposing an onerous burden of taxation upon the people.
This question is obviously one which should be carefully pondered; for there is, perhaps, some danger that a premature effort to accomplish an object so eminently desirable might react with mischievous effect
. This danger should be considered, that it may be well understood, and the means to avoid it may be wisely chosen.
It is very much to be regretted that the only means we have to ascertain the present expense of supporting our common schools, do not afford perfectly reliable data. The provision of law whieh requires the annual levy of a tax of one mill upon the assessors' valuation for the increase of township libraries and the support of schools, ought to have produced for these objects, for the year 1849, upon the valuation of 1848, the sum of $29,908 76. Yet the returns to the Superintendent of Public Instruction show an aggregate of only $17,830 13 for this purpose, by which it would appear that the school funds were deprived of over $12,000 for the last year. The law which requires the levying of this tax is positive in its terms—absolutely requiring the supervisors to levy it; and yet it seems to have been disregarded, to a certain extent, in all parts of the State alike. A comparison of the aggregate valuations of the counties, as exhibited on page 43 of the Auditor General's report, with the amount of the mill tax, as appears on pages 72 and 73 of the Superintendent's report, shows to what extent this duty has been neglected by the supervisors of townships.
So also the attempt to ascertain the amount raised by tax which the districts are authorized to raise per capita, is baffled by the neglect of some six or seven counties to make any return under this head; and many others, and some of them large counties, return such inconsiderable sums, that great doubts are suggested of the accuracy of the reports.
Taking these reports, however, as true, it would appear that the amounts
actually expended for tuition in the primary schools during the past year, are as follows: Raised by tax: The mill tax,
ships, reporting at $25 each.. 11,200 00
$6,630 13 Per capita tax, not exceeding $1 per scholar,
The sum of eighty thousand dollars must be assumed as the nearest approximation we can make from the reports to the actual cost of tuition in the primary schools during the past year. It is not unlikely, however, that a much larger sum was collected upon the rate bills than the reports exhibit. And it is possible that this sum should be further increased, in fact, by the portion of the mill tax levied and collected but not reported. It is quite impossible to ascertain the degree of allowance which should be made for such inaccuracies; your committee are therefore obliged to assume from the returns to the Superintendent, that the tuition of 102,871 scholars for five months in the year, has cost an average of about eighty cents each.