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8743,306 72 Other sources
1,134,890 74 Expenses during the yearTeachers' wages...
4,881,447 53 Libraries.....
24,414 86 School apparatus
211,637 82 Building and repairs of school houses..
1,712,523 36 Miscellaneous and incidental ...
850,884 73 Balance reported on hand ....
1,192,324 06 Total number of children and youth between the ages of five and twenty-one years.....
1,372,853 Number of children between the ages of six and seventeen years ......
943,699 Number of children of school age who have attended the
public schools during some portion of the year..... 947,162 Teachers employed in public schools for twenty-eight weeks or more...
15,606 Number of male teachers.
5,263 do female teachers.
21,218 school districts..
11,724 do school houses...
11,580 Aggregate number of weeks
357,137 Volumes in district libraries ..
1,113,147 Number of pupil teachers attending the three Normal schools ....
689 Teachers instructed in teachers' institutes
9,682 Teachers in teachers' classes in academies ..
1,373 Amount of money to be apportioned for the support of common schools for the current fiscal year
$2,400,134 65 The report further shows that the number of children and youth in daily attendance at the public schools is 30.62 per cent. of the entire number between five and twenty-one years of age, or 44.54 per cent. of the whole number of children between six and seventeen.
In my last annual message, I expressed the opinion that the propositions for the location of normal and training schools in the villages of Fredonia, Brockport, Cortland and Potsdam, would be carried into full effect at the earliest practicable period. That opinion has been confirmed. The erection of the buildings has been vigorously prosecuted, and when they are finished and furnished, with the grounds upon which they are located, the value cannot be less than four hundred thousand dollars. The schools at Fredonia and Cortland will be open for the reception of pupils during the ensuing summer or early autumn.
The main part of the building at Brockport is completed and occupied for a normal school, which is in successful operation. The Oswego and Albany normal schools are reported to be in a prosperous condition, each numbering as many pupil teachers as can well be provided with instruction.
The establishment of two additional normal schools has been authorized by law, one at Buffalo and one at Geneseo. The liberality and public spirit of the people of these places will not fail to consummate an enterprise of so much local and general importance. I am informed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, that the law of last winter, which abolished rate bills and charges, though it has been in operation only since the first of October last, is producing a very large increase of the aggregate number of pupils at the schools, and greater regularity in their attendance. It is believed that the additional tax imposed by
that law, will eqnal the amount of money which has heretofore been raised by rate bills. It has the effect, as will be seen, to decrease local or school district taxation, by so much as it increases the general State tax. It simply transfers the burden from the few to the
from those with limited means, but possibly with large families to the aggregate property of the commonwealth. An examination of the assessed valuation of taxable property in the several school districts of the State, will show that even for the support of inferior schools the percentage of taxation in certain districts often largely exceeds that in neighboring districts in which there are superior schools, and the same or a greater number of children of school age. Conceding that the education of the people is a matter of common concern, to which each one should contribute according to his pecuniary ability, the justice of reducing this local district taxation by the general State tax for the support of schools, is apparent. Even should the support of free schools require an increase of this tax, I should still concur in the opinion " that in promoting the great interest of moral and intellectual cultivation, there can bo no prodigality in the application of the public treasury."
In all our cities, and in most of our large villages, the education of youth is provided for by special acts, giving enlarged powers to the local authorities, or creating boards with exclusive control of the schools. They are generally well managed, and it is believed that our schools in the city, as well as in the country, have advanced the character of our population above that of any other people. If it is true, however, as asserted, that poverty, crime and ignorance, still largely prevail in our most populous cities, the result, in part at least, of neglect to educate all the young, should we not extend and improve our schools and bring every child within their influence ? In some of our cities, and especially in New York and Brooklyn, the school accommodations are insufficient, and thousands of children are unable to gain admission. The provision for higher classes and more advanced pupils, is not deficient, but the rooms for primary scholars are overcrowded. It is probable that the city authorities have power to correct this defect, but if otherwise, I feel confident that the Legislature will apply the appropriate remedy.
The Cornell University has been developed quietly and effectively during the past year. One large and substantial edifice in stone bas been completed, and another is being pushed rapidly forward. A large number of professors have been chosen, and all the preparation for oper ing the university has so far advanced as to induce the trustees to announce that students will be received in September next. The law granting to this university the proceeds of the land grant of Congress, continued in force, will form a noble endowment, and place the institution upon a foundation which cannot fail to give it prosperity and permanence. It can hardly be doubted that the original intention of the act to promote agriculture and the mechanic arts will receive, in the progress of this university, its highest fulfillment. Combining the grearest scientific, literary and practical advantages, with a large number of free scholarships open to competition in all the Assembly districts of the State, and somewhat connected as it is with our common school system, it seems well worthy of the fostering care of the Legislature, and of the confidence of the people of the State.
I would also call your attention to the State Cabinet of Geology and Natural History, and the importance of keeping up its collections, and of completing the publications connected with the Natural History of the State, which have proved important auxiliaries in the progress of [Senate JOURNAL.]
geological science. These works are cited as standard authority in all parts of the civilized world. Our collections have been largely increased during the past year in many of the departments, and perhaps in no other State are the results of scientific research more diligently sought or more carefully preserved. Our material interests are so intimately connected with the advance of science in every departmeut of investigation, that I do not hesitate to commend it to further recognition and support.
The report of the Regents of the University presents the condition of the colleges and academies of the State as highly prosperous. Among the interesting suggestions contained in the statement, is that which relates to the growing munificence of individual citizens in the permanent endowment of the higher institutions of learning. It is stated, however, that instances have occurred in which parties wishing to set aside funds for educational purposes, have been at a loss how to secure their permanent application to the end in view. While the State provides free instructions for all in the elements of knowledge, it may properly encourage individual liberality, by providing whatever is needed in legielation for the protection of gitts and bequests to colleges and academies imcorporated by the State, and subject to its general supervision.
STATE AND NATIONAL INTERESTS. The predictions of disaster to the country from the emancipation of four millions of slaves, have been most signally falsified by the event. They have exercised the rights of freemen; and as they before proved themselves brave and trusty soldiers, they have now shown themselves faithful and willing laborers, and peaceful and law-abiding citizens. They have diligently tilled the fields which others owned, for wages hardly adequate to the support of human life, and they have submitted patiently to the wrongs which others were too ready to inflict. Availing themselves of the means of education whenever the efforts of humanity in their behalf have vindicated the wisdom and justice of Congress, in admitting them to share with their late masters, in the exercise of the freedmen's right of suffrage.
The propriety of this measure, like that of enrolling them in our armies during the war, became in the public mind too obvious to be postponed; it was, however, the occasion of earnest solicitude to many good and loyal men. It is no doubt desirable that those who exercise the elective franchise under a democratic form of government, should be educated and intelligent; but if the right of suffrage was restricted by such a standard, it would not tend to the extension of these advantages, or to the elevation of the humbler orders of the community. It cannot be doubted that most of the privileged class thus created, would be content to retain undiminished the power deposited in their hands ; and few of them would care to raise those below them to equality of political rights. One of the leading merits of our system of representation, is its tendency to secure the benefit of just and equal laws ; to interest every citizen in the general welfare and prosperity ; extend to all the means of education, and to hold out inducements to honorable exertion and the prospect of advancement. But still more important than the qualification of intelligence and education is that of loyal allegiance to the government, and a condition of things existed at the South which made this a vital consideration.
It is conceded that, at the fall of the Confederacy, the States which composed it were “deprived of all civil governments." They were disorganized communities, and while they failed to escape from their obli
gations by destroying the Union, they succeeded in renouncing their political rights under the Constitution, and in destroying their local state organizations. The President, doubtless, had authority to hold them under military rule until provision could be made for their reorganization under the authority of public law; but he had no right to institute civil government for the insurgent States. He had no power to enact or to repeal an act of Congress. Clearly these were questions for the law-making power of the Government, and to be determined, not by his will, but by the will of the Nation, expressed in the form prescribed by the Constitution. His policy, as disclosed, was to assume the prerogatives of Congress, and to exercise in those states the powers relinquished by the Confederate leaders. He not only proposed his own terms to them, but also to the Nation, and by reinstating the rebel authority with increased political power, to confer upon the vanquished the fruits of victory. His plan embraced no less than immediate representation at Washington; the Congress at Richmond having been overturned. It was proposed by him to restore those who had been defeated in war, to the position of a governing class ; ruling those whom they had recently held in bonds, and making laws for the nation which they had tried and failed to destroy. It was a policy revolting to the general sense of national justice and manhood, and acceptable only to those who loved power, hated liberty, or sympathized with the rebellion. From the west, the east and the north came the voice of dissatisfaction, and the work of reconstruction was entered upon by the law-making power to which it belonged.
The desire for an early restoration of the insurgent States to their practical relations in the Union, led the people to hope that the expectations held out to the rebels, had not checked the returning spirit of loyalty, which was gaining ground in each of the Southern States after the close of the war. Then it was that Congress at the first opportunity, in a noble spirit of conciliation and forbearance towards those who had risen in arms against the Republic, proposed, in the form of constitutional amendments, conditions of restoration both generous and just. I did not doubt, as expressed in my last annual message, their prompt acceptance, if the communities lately in rebellion were ready to accept the results of war, and return to the support of a government framed by our common fathers. This peace offering, which was promptly ratified by most of the loyal States, was rejected with scorn by the rebels.
They thus put it beyond all question that they were yet animated by the spirit of the rebellion. It is equally clear that there could be no restoration, so far as the issue depended on their voice, except on terms involving the abandonment of the unprotected Southern Unionists, and the abject surrender by Congress of increased political power in the government, to disloyal persons, as a reward for their attempts to overthrow it. This spirit was inflamed by encouragement received from official quarters, until the last, the scenes at Fort Pillow were re-enacted at Memphis and New Orleans, in the butchery of unarmed Union men, under the shadow of the federal flag. This method of reconstruction being thus closed, Congress availed itself of the only remaining opening to an early and peaceful re-establishment of these States.
It is well known that there was a large body of Union electors distributed throughout the South, consisting of those who were never in sympathy with the rebellion, and of those who, thongh numbered with the insurgents, were ready to accept the results of war and to return to their old allegiance. These were, however, mainly powerless, because they were largely outnumbered by those with whom they shared the
privilege of access to the polls. There was also a large body of men, composing two-fifths of the whole population, born on the same soil, equally true to the Government, and equally powerless, because they were disfranchised. If these two classes were allowed to act together in the use of the rights of our common manhood, it will be seen that the only obstacle was peaceably removed; as together, they outnumbered the rebel electors who prevented the work of reconstruction. Therefore the question to be determined by Congress was not one of abstract theory, as to the highest qualifications for a wise exercise of political rights. The question in this case, was one of practical statesmanship, in view of the actual condition of the country, and the importance of early and complete reunion. The end to be accomplished involved the peace, the honor, and the interests of the republic. It was essential to the return of order, the removal of military authority, and the renewal of commercial prosperity to the States which had been the theatre of war. It promised to secure our future unity and repose ; settle our public credit on firm and just foundations, and enable the insurgents to repair the waste of war, and to bear their share of the common burden, which their crime had brought upon the country. Under their pretended State organizations, the local offices were filled by those who defied the authority of the Nation, and who had refused to take the oath of allegiance required of every legislative, executive and judicial officer in all the States of the Union, by the sixth article of the Federal Constitution.
The loyal portion of the population was for reunion on any acceptable basis, and giving assurance of the future security and repose. On the other side, the disloyal, emboldened by new hopes, were arrayed in hostility to the people of the Union. Would it have been wise, let me ask, on the part of Congress, to make these men the arbiters of reconstruction ? Should we have reconstructed the insurgents into a privileged class, and disfranchised the loyal population, for the benefit of the rebel minority ? Should we have delivered over the white Unionists to the mercy of the enemies, by whom they were pursued and oppressed? Should we have remanded to a condition of serfdom the whole body of the colored race, who became, by the terms of the amended Constitution, entitled like ourselves to the immunities of free citizens? In a word, should we have rejected the aid of those who had proved their loyalty and love of liberty, by befriending our armies at the peril of their lives, and by fighting in our ranks when victory brought no promotion to them, and when the captive could look only for slavery or death? To questions like these there could be but one response from the representatives of the loyal people.
The work of reconstruction has progressed, though for a time slowly. Constitutions have been framed, so liberal and just in their provisions as to extort conimendation even from rebel generals. Those who were arrayed against the government are coming over to its support. The return of liberal institutions, it is gratifying to pote, is welcomed in States exhausted by war; and unless new obstacles are interposed to delay it, we have every reason to believe that the work of restoration is on the eve of final success. While, then, we deeply deplore the loss of life and the desolations of this sad war, let us rejoice, in that it has resulted in the recognition of civil liberty as the common heritage of humanity, and in the establishment of equality of right before the law, as a fundamental principle of free government. I do not overstate the patriotism of the people in the remark, that they were never more united than now, in the purpose to hold what has thus been achieved, as the