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terests on the clear proceeds of the sales, are to be exclusively appropriated to the support of primary schools. The first constitution had no such provision.
The first constitution required that the Legislature should provide for a system of common schools, by which a school should be kept up and supported in each school district at least three months in each year; and any school district that neglected this, was deprived of its equal proportion of the interest of the fund.
The revised constitution requires that the Legislature shall within five years, provide for and establish a system of primary schools, to be kept without charge of tuition, at least three months in every year, in every school district. and all instruction is to be in the English language; and any school district neglecting to maintain such school, for such time, is to be deprived not only of its proportion of the school fund. but of all funds arising from taxes for the support of schools.
The revised constitution provides for the election of Regents of the University. It provides for the election of the members of the board of education, to have charge of the Normal School, and it further provides that institutions for the benefit of the deaf, dumb and blind, and insane, shall be fostered and supported. It provides also for the establishment of an Agricultural school. The first constitution provided for none of these.
The first constitution provided for the establishment of libraries, one at least in each township, and appropriated for their establish ment and support, the money paid for exemptions from military duty, and the clear proceeds of all fines assessed for breach of the penal laws.
The revised constitution provides that all fines assessed and collected in the several townships and counties for breach of the penal laws, shall be applied to the support of the libraries ; there being no longer any moneys required to be paid for exemptions from military duty.
Both enjoin upon the Legislature the encouragement and promo: tion of intellectual, scientific and agricultural improvement.
Under the head of “finance and taxation,” the revised constitution further provides that all specific taxes except those received from the
mining companies of the upper peninsula, shall be applied in paying the interest upon the primary school, University and other educational funds, and the principal of the State debt, in the order herein recited, until the extinguishment of the State debt other than the amount due to educational funds, when such specific taxes shall be added to and constitute a part of the primary school interest fund.
A comparison will show that the trust confided by the people to their delegates in Convention, was satisfactorily executed in relation to education; that if they did not wholly agree upon the details to be embodied in the article upon this subject, they established it, finally, upon a basis of wisdom and improvement. It proved to be satisfactory to the people; and it only remains for those who are charged with carrying its provisions into effect, to act with the same amount of industry, zeal and fidelity, to ensure to the people of Mich_ igan and to their posterity, a system of public instruction and educational institutions, worthy of an enlightened and improving age.
1851. EXTRACT FROM GOV. BARRY'S MESSAGE. In view of the paramount interest of agriculture, the framers of the constitution, while they did not fail to provide for intellectual and scientific instruction, at the same time enjoined upon the Legislature the duty of promoting agricultural improvement, and the establishment of an agricultural school.
Opinions will be, perhaps, in some degree divided, whether the school contemplated shall be one of manual labor with farm attached, or one in which the theory and science of agriculture alone shall be taught. It will be the province of the Legislature to determine its character in this regard; but the object to be effected should be kept in view, and the best method of inculcating agricultural improvement adopted.
Of the salt spring lands, the Legislature is authorized to appropriate to this purpose twenty-two sections; but of these lands less than fifteen sections remain unappropriated, exclusive of the twelve sections mentioned in another part of this communication, erroneously confirmed to the State, after their sale, by the general government. The appropriation, therefore, must be limited to the sections on hand, at least until the action of Congress be obtained upon our claim for the remainder.
It may not be fruitless of results to inquire whether, by some appropriate legislation, with small expenditures, you may not put within
reach of the husbandman a knowledge of the improvements made • in the implements of agriculture, and also communicate to him the
discoveries made by the application of science to this pursuit.
Universal education of the masses is the only sure guarantee of the permanency of a republican government. Without general intelligence, a people can neither know nor appreciate the benign influence of free institutions. If ignorance and consequent degradation characterize the mass of a nation, the despotism of a tyrant, or the worst despotism of anarchy, characterize its government. All history, whether ancient or modern, affords abundant and satisfactory evidence of this.
Common schools are designed for the education of the masses, and so beneficial is their influence that their discontinuance would not only work a great evil to society, but endanger even the permanence of our political institutions. In a government so complex and embracing relations so delicate as ours, greater intelligence and consequent moral power is required for its maintenance than in governments otherwise constituted; and these alone will secure, if any thing can secure, its indestructible perpetuity.
Few new States have exceeded Michigan in providing for the education of youth. The grant of every sixteenth section, as far as pos. sible, in the settled portions of the State, has been made available, and further means have been provided by taxation, so that the whole amount expended for the promotion of common schools, including voluntary contributions, will favorably compare with the expenditures of other and older States for the same purpose.
One step more is required to secure to all the children of the State the benefits of a common school education, and that step is the establishment of FREE SCHOOLS. Though hitherto the charge of tuition has always been remitted to those not able to pay, yet, from a sentiment of delicacy or pride, the poor have not, in all cases, sent their children to school. By provision of the revised constitution it is made the duty of the Legislature, within five years, to provide for and establish a system of primary schools, to be kept in each district of the State, at least three months in the year without charge of tuition.
A provision of this kind cannot but meet the cordial approbation of every patriotic individual and well-wisher of his country. The taxation necessary to carry this into effect, will hardly exceed that of the last and previous years collected for the purpose of education; and the common schools will, in name and in fact, be free to all. Complaint of taxation, for the purpose of education, has scarcely ever been made, for the proprietors of estates, though without children to educate, have property to protect, and the tax paid is but a small premium advanced for insurance of its safety.
The number of children in the State reported between the ages of four and eighteen years, is 132, 234, and the whole number that have attended school the year past, is 110,478.
After the liquidation of the public debt, the primary school interest fund will be greatly increased by the addition thereto of all specific taxes collected in the State.
The number of students in the department of arts and sciences in the University, is 64; and the number in the medical department
exceeds 80. The whole amount paid last year to the treasurer of the University, from the University interest fund, is $9,644 70.
The organic law of the University makes it the duty of the Regents to establish and maintain branches; but, from the insufficiency of the funds placed under their control, they have not been able fully to comply with this requirement. The consequence has been that, from the want of sufficient institutions to prepare young men to enter the University, the number of its students, in the department of the arts and sciences, has been limited. Other causes have, doubtless, contributed to this result; but the main reason, I doubt not, may be found in the want of preparatory schools, constituting an intermediate grade between primary schools and the University. The means at the disposal of the Regents not being adequate, we must look for their establishment to some other source, as their existence, beyond doubt, is indispensable to the prosperity of the University, and the promotion of intellectual and scientific improvement made imperative on the Legislature. The Superintendent of Public Instruction suggests, as worthy of consideration, whether, in the absence of sulicient means to sustain the branches, we may not, with advantage, extend assistance to existing incorporated institutions of learning, on equivalent terms, and in such manner, as, working no detriment to the University, will make them tributary to that institstion, and prevent, ultimately, that antagonism and rivalry which otherwise might arise.
The advantages offered to the student, in the department of the arts and sciences, in the University of Michigan, are scarcely exceeded in the colleges of the older States; and the expenses of the col. legiate course in the former are considerably less. And though the number of students are less, than with the advantages offered, we might have reason to expect, yet perhaps no other like institution, not longer established, has contributed more to the promotion of science.
The present class of students in the medical department, being the first formed, is unprecedentedly large. The inducements offered, will, I doubt not, secure the attendance of an increased number in succeeding years.
The Regents are hereafter to be elected by the people, and the first election is to be held on the first Monday of April next, at the time of the election of judges of the circuit courts. A State board of education is also to be elected at the general election in 1852. The requisite provisions of law should be passed at the present session.
The board of education have contracted for the erection of a suitable edifice for the State normal school, for $15,000; and of this sum $12,000 have already been paid the contractor, in notes and obligations donated by the citizens of Ypsilanti
. Ample security has been taken for the completion of the contract by the 1st day of March, 1852, when it is expected the institution will be in readiness to receive pupils.
The board of trustees of the Michigan asylum for the education of the deaf and dumb and blind, and of the asylum for the insane, will,
in due time, present a report of their proceedings. The means appropriated, it is believed, will be found entirely inadequate to effect the objects contemplated.
EXTRACT FROM SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT. The management and supervision of the University continues to be a subject of very general and deep interest. Its condition at the present time, as far as official information has come to this office, is derived from the reports of the Board of Regents, and the Board of Visitors, appointed in pursuance of the provisions of section 15 of chapter 57 of the revised statutes, to both of which the Legislature is respectfu!ly referred. The estimated receipts for the coming year are calculated at $17,088 23. The estimated expenses, $16,263 33. The former exceeds the receipts of last year by $5,088 23, wbile the expenses are also increased $4,976 92. The sum of $6,010 00 is set apart in this estimate, to pay interest upon the loan of $100,000, and the balance for the support of professors, officers of the board, expenses of Regents, insurance and incidental expenses. It would be of no utility at this time, perhaps, to discuss the financial or general policy which has been adopted by successive Boards of Regents
. The heavy loan early contracted, and the large amonnt invested in buildings, has proved a serious detriment to the interests of the institution, and will continue to embarrass its legitimate field of operations until effectual provision is made for sinking the debt. What provision has been made for this purpose is unknown to this department. Information in this respect was required from the Board of Regents, but not in season for that body to prepare and submit it at this time. It is believed, however, that the importance of relieving the University from this burden must be apparent to all. A heavy expenditure has been incurred in erecting the building for the medical department. According to the report of the building committee it has cost nearly $9,000, and the whole of this amount will be required to complete it. An increase has been made in the number of medical professors, and one professor has been transferred. The whole number of professors in the institution is ten; who are receiving a salary each of $333 33 per term, for the time actually employed-the academic year consisting of three terms. The importance of this branch of the University is fully appreciated, and it is justly remarked by the executive committee, that the “ young men of our State who have heretofore in large numbers sought instruction in other institutions abroad, are now assured of at least equal advantage at home.” The reputation of the medical corps of professors stands deservedly high, and in this respect the greatest inducement is afforded, not only for a large accession of students from our own, but from neighboring States. While it is gratifying that this department is now ready for service, it continues to be a question whether heavy expenditures for building purposes, or for objects collateral to the main department of the institution, and in some respects secondary in impartance, though by no means to be neglected under better auspices,) will not still further embarrass and retard the progress