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lands of the state, by sale or otherwise, as muy best comport with the original intention of the grantors.
It is our sincere wish to excite into activity, the learning, the talents and patriotism of the state, so that the attention of our constituents may be immediately turned towards the subjects committed to us.
The following resolution is respectfully submitted to the consideration of the house:
Resolved, by the general assembly of the state of Ohio, That the Governor be authorized to appoint seven commissioners whose duty it shall be to collect, digest and report to the next general assembly, a SYSTEM of education for common schools, and also, to take into consideration, the state of the fund set apart by congress for the support of common schools, and to report thereon to the next general assembly. ' • This Report and this resolution being read, at the clerk's table, were ordered to be printed, and on the 30th day of January 1822, they passed the house, without a dissenting vote. The joint resolution, for the appointment of commissioners, passed the senate, January 31st, 1822, without opposition.
In the month of May, following, Allen Trimble, Esquire, the then governor of the state, appointed seven commissioners of schools and school lands, to wit: Caleb Atwater, the Rev. John Collins, Rev. James Hoge, D. D., N. Guilford, the Honorable Ephraim Cutler, Honorable Josiah Barber, and James M. Bell, Esquire. The reason why seven persons were appointed, was because there were seven differrent sorts of school lands in the state, viz: section number sixteen in every township’ of congress lands; the Virginia military lands; United States military lands; Symmes' purchase, in the Miami country; the Ohio company's purchase, on the Ohio river; the refugee lands, extending from Columbus to Zanesville; and, the Connecticut Western Reserve land..
Caleb Atwater was appointed for congress lands; John Collins, for the Virginia military lands; James Hoge, for the refugec lands; James M. Bell, for the United States military
tending"s purch purchase ilitary la
district; Ephraim Cutler for the Ohio company's lands, N. Guilford for Symmes' purchase, and Josiah Barber for Connecticut Western Reserve school lands.
All the persons appointed commissioners, accepted of their offices, as it appears, by referring to governor Trimble’s message to the legislature, in December 1822, Five of these commissioners, to wit: Caleb Atwater, John Collins, James Hoge, Ephraim Cutler and Josiah Barber, entered on the duties of their appointment, and assembled at Columbus, the seat of government, in June 1822. They organized their board, appointed Caleb Atwater their chairman, and, inas, much, as N. Guilford, and James M. Bell, did not appear, nor act, the five, who were present and acting, informally appointed Caleb Atwater, to perform the duty, assigned to N. Guilford; and, James Hoge, was appointed to supply the place of James M. Bell. " This board, thus organized, ordered their chairman, to address a circular letter, to all such persons as had the charge of the school lands, in the state, soliciting information, as to those lands; what was their value, how they were managed, how, and by whọm occupied, and finally, all the information, necessary to be possessed, by the commissioners,
Each commissioner, agreed to exert himself in obtaining all the information, in his power, relating to these lands. After an active session of seven days, the board adjourned, to meet again in August then next.
Five hundred letters were addressed to persons in various parts of the state, and fearing that unless the postage were paid, these letters would not be attended to by those to whom they were addressed, the author of them paid the postage. His time was devoted almost wholly to this business, until in August following, the board met again at Columbus. At this meeting which lasted seven days, the chairman was directed, to prepare three pamphlets for the press: first, a pamphlet; showing the actual condition of the school lands; second, a bill proposing a system.of law, regulating commop schools; and
thirdly, an explanatory one, of the school system to be proposed.
The chairman was directed to collect all the school systems, in use, in all the states; and to consult, by letter, or otherwise, all our most distinguished statesmen, scholars, teachers and jurists, on this matter. In pursuance of this order, he opened a correspondence with not a few such men, in all the old, and many of the new states. This correspondence occupied nearly all his time, during the three following months of September, October, and November, until early in December 1822, the board again assembled at Columbus. During all this time, not, a dollar had been advanced by the state, to this board, nor was there a dollar in the state treasury to spare for any object.
Two of the commissioners, had been elected members of the general assembly, to wit: Ephraim Cutler and Josiah Barber. The other three, Messrs. Atwater, Collins and Hoge devoted up their whole time to this service. Occupying a room, in a public house, it became a centre of attraction, for all the lov: .ers of learning, who visited the seat of government, during that session of the state legislature. In this legislature, were many influential men who were opposed to a school system; to a sale of the school lands; and, to internal improvements. Calling occasionally, at the commissioners' room, these enemies of all improvement, discovered the commissioners discussing the merits of the different school systems, which they had. .collected. These opposers, as it now appears, with the intention of swindling the commissioners out of what would be justly due to them for their expenditures of time and money, requested the chairman to let them see what the postage on his official correspondence amounted to, and they would pay it. This being acceded to, and that being found to be seventy dollars, these legislators so framed a report, in the senate that it would appear, that all the services had been finished and paid for, nine weeks before the commissioners, concluded their session !!!
The board proceeded in their labors, day after day, and
week after week, and prepared for the press and printed, the three pamphlets aforesaid, at the expense of printing and paper, paid for by the chairman, and never fully remunerated to this day, by the state! Fifteen hundred copies of each, or four thousand five hundred copies, after an absence from home on that business, of eighty-two days were printed, and done up in handsome covers. They were circulated over the whole state in the spring, summer and autumn of 1823..
On the assembling of the legislature in December, as soon as that body were properly organized the report of the commissioners was presented to the general asembly which they accepted, thanking, but not paying any thing for their labors and expenditures. This session had a majority in both houses, opposed to the school system and the sale of the school lands, and all that was done by them, was to quarrel about these subjects. They finally broke up in a row and went home. . During the next summer and autumn, the contest about the sale of the school lands, the school system, the canal, and an equitable. mode of taxation, was warm and animated, but the friends of all these measures, triumphed over all opposition, at the polls in the October election of 1824. Large majorities were elected in both houses, friendly to these highly beneficial measures. These measures were carried through the general assem· bly, and the greatest revolution, politically, was effected that our history offers to the reader. That legislature was the ablest in point of talents and moral worth that we ever had in the state. !
They gave us a system of education for common schools; changed the mode of taxation; created a board of fund commissioners who were authorized to issue stock and borrow money on it, wherewith to make our canals. They passed many other wise, morally healthful and useful acts. These measures effected more for us than all others, ever originating with the people, and carried out into execution by the legislature.
Our domestic policy thus established, has never varied since
that time, and this new state has as fixed a policy as any other state in the Union.
PREPARATORY MEASURES LEADING TO THE OHIO CANALS, BE
GUN JULY 4TH, 1825. COMMENCEMENT OF THE CANALS, AND GOVERNOR CLINTON'S VISIT TO OHIO.
But we are anticipating a great era in our civil history. As we have stated already, great efforts had been made by our writers to produce a total change in our civil policy. Not less than seventy writers for our newspapers, had urged the necessity on the people, of having a good system of education introduced into our common schools; of changing the mode of taxation, into an equitable, honest and just one; of opening and rendering permanent a navigable water communication between lake Erie and the Ohio river. There was a perfect coincidence of views between the friends of these three great measures. The tide of public opinion began to move in the direction favorable to all these improvements.'
There had been an act of the general assembly already passed some two years or more, before this time, relating to the subject of a canal. Private individuals had endeavored to get a charter for a company to make such a canal, but all had failed. In October, 1821, MICAJAH T. WILLIAMS of Cincinnati, had been re-elected by the people of the county of Hamilton, to a seat in the house of representatives. Immediately at the commencement of the session of the legislature in December, Mr. Williams, began to sound the minds of members on the subject of a canal. At an early day, December 6th 1821, he laid a resolution on the clerk's table for appointing a committee of five members to take into consideration so much of the governor's message as related to the subject of canals. The resolution passed, and Messrs. Williams, Howe, Thomas. Worthington, W. H. Moore and John Shelby, were appointed on the committee.
Within fifteen minutes after the passage of this resolution,