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share in its bounty. This, if judiciously expended, would, in the course of fifteen or twenty years, amount to a million of dollars, and in thirty or forty years to two millions, for drainage purposes alone, without encroaching one particle on the principal. Ought not the counties more especially interested in drainage, to be satisfied with a fund which promises to yield so large a revenue, and generously restore the other twenty-five per cent. to the School Fund, from which it was taken, and where it rightfully belongs, to aid in educating their children for all coming time?
The fact should not be overlooked, that in the greater part of our State the pioneer settlers made their roads and bridges, cleared up and drained their swamps, with no Drainage Fund to aid them; and they did it too, during an early period, amid untold poverty, self-denial and hardships, in paving the way for later and more fortunate adventurers-oftentimes going from fifty to one hundred miles to mill with a single grist; at other times taking their wheat to Milwaukee to market, spending a week or more in the effort, and not realizing as much for a whole load as would pay the expenses of the trip. This class of early settlers, who, under God, have made Wisconsin what it is to-day, claim, as they have a just right to claim, the early restoration of the twenty-five per cent. net proceeds derived from the Swamp Lands, to the School Fund, and there be left forever untouched, so that their children and children's children may enjoy its common benefits to the latest generation. Is this unreasonable—is it asking too much, while a sufficient fund, properly husbanded, is still left for all needful drainage purposes for the newer portions of the State?
Whoever attempts to divert any portion of our sacred School Fund from its consecrated purposes of education, should feel that he is treading on holy ground. That noble Fund is the hope of our people—the only hope of two hundred and sixtyfour thousand children now living in our midst, and of millions yet unborn. They crave the boon of education, which is their chief, as well as best, inheritance; and for that education they must ever mainly rely upon the People's Colleges, the Common Schools of our State. Those children need a fit preparation, for they must soon wield the destinies of Wisconsin. Every dollar abstracted from the School Fund, under whatever plea, will yet have to be replaced with more than compound interest, or ignorance, vice and crime will be the penalty of our children, and our children's children will have to suffer as the natural consequence of our misguided folly.
I would respectfully urge the restoration of twenty-five per cent. of the net proceeds of the sales of Swamp Lands, from the Drainage to the School Fund; or that it be set apart for a School Library Fund ; or, if this be not judged best, that so soon as the income of the Drainage Fund, as at present constituted, reaches the sum of sixty thousand dollars annually, all the surplus ever after be added to the School Fund income, or to a School Library Fund, as the Legislature may direct. The twenty-five per cent. of the Swamp Land proceeds transferred by act of the last Legislature from the School to the Drainage Fund, already amounts to $261,598 54 ; and it will one day reach from eight hundred thousand to a million of dollars. If it could now be restored to the holy and perpetual purposes of education, no harm or injury would occur to the counties intended to be benefitted by drainage, for no plans are yet formed, or contracts entered into; and the original Drainage Fund will prove abundantly ample for the object in view.
If I have urged this matter with seeming pertinacity, I may plead in justification the sentiment of LA FAYETTE in the Assem of French Notables in 1787 :-“We are summoned,” he exclaimed, “to make the truth known-I must discharge my duty:" Having, in the language of the Constitution, “the supervision of public instruction," and being required by law to submit to the Legislature "plans for the improvement and management of the Common School Fund," I should feel that I had. unworthily shrunk from the performance of a solemn trust, had I neglected to bring this matter fully and fairly before you.Having discharged this duty, I must leave the responsibility of the result where it justly belongs—with the representatives of the people. While other States are anxiously seeking how they may augment their School Funds, which experience is proving to be quite too inadequate for the vast mission they are expected to fulfil, we should suffer no opportunity to pass, by which we might hope to improve ours. Legislation can find no nobler object of attention than to wisely provide for the best education of the hundreds of thousands of children now in our midst, and the millions yet to follow ; for if we do this faithfully, we may rest our heads quietly upon our dying pillows, with the confident assurance, that, in this particular, we have conscientiously done our part for the future moral and intellectnal well-being of the State, and the permanency of our free institutions.
SCHOOL FUNDS OF THE NEW STATES.
While speaking of our own School Fund, it may be interesting to recur to the School Funds, in the aggregate, of the new States generally, that we may see at a single glance with what provident forecast the General Government has treated the
younger children of the Republic-exercising an unceasing care, in this particular, that should shame some of our Western States to more vigilance in husbanding and augmenting the noble fund confided to their keeping.
“Did I know,” remarks Judge Swift in his Digest of the laws of Connecticut, the name of the legislator, who first conceived and suggested the idea of common schools, I should pay to his memory the highest tribute of reverence and regard." † should feel for him a much higher veneration and respect, than I do for LYCURGUS and Solon, the celebrated law-givers of Sparta and Athens. I should revere him as the greatest benefactor of the human race; because he has been the author of a provision, which, if it should be adopted in every country, would produce a happier and more important influence on the human character, than any institution which the wisdom of man has devised.
“The system of free schools," observes BANCROFT, “though still very imperfectly developed, has made such progress since it first dawned in Geneva and in the parishes of Scotland, that we are authorized to claim it of the future as a universal institution.” In 1635, five years after the settlement of the town, the first public or common school was established in Boston. schools of Boston," nobly exclaimed Hon. Geo. S. HILLARD, “are the best jewels in her crown. If I were asked by an intelligent stranger to point out to him our most valued possessions, I would show to him—not our railroads, our ware-houses filled with the wealth of all the earth, our ships, our busy wharves and marts, where the car of commerce is ever thundering loud with her ten thousand wheels;' but I would carry him to one of our public schools, would show him its happy and intelligent children, hushed into reverent silence at their teacher's word, or humming over their tasks with a sound like that of bees in June. I would tell him that here was the foundation on which our material prosperity was reared, that here were the elements from which we constructed the State. Here are the fountains from which flow those streams which make glad our land. The schools of Boston are dear to my heart. Though I can have no personal and immediate interest in them ; though no child on earth calls me father; yet most gladly do I contribute to their support, according to my substance; and when I see a father's eyes filled with pleasant tears as he hears the music of his child's voice linked to some strain of poetry or burst of eloquence, I can sympathise in the feeling in which I cannot share. May the blessing of Heaven rest upon our schools. They are an object worthy of all efforts and sacrifices. We should leave nothing undone which may tend to make them more excellent and more useful. For this, we should gather into our own stores all the harvests of experience which have been reaped from other soils.”
Since the planting of the first free school in Boston, the system has expanded, until it now embraces our whole wide-spread Republic. Four millions of the youth of this country are connected with the various educational institutions in the several States of the Union; their teachers number more than a hundred thousand, and the annual current expenses are estimated to be about fourteen millions of dollars.
The new States of our Union have been favored as no other country has ever been on the face of the globe. I allude to the grand conception of dedicating the sixteenth section of every township of the public domain to the perpetual benefit and furtherance of common school education; and more recently, upon the recommendation of Hon. ROBERT Í. WALKER, while Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, the granting of an additional section in each township to the newly organized States and Territories—so that under this new arrangement, California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Minnesota, Kansas and Nebraska have received double the proportional amount of other Western and South Western States. It is, in the language of Hon. CALEB CUSHING, “ a noble and beautiful idea of providing wise institutions for the unborn millions of the West; of anticipating their good by a sort of parental providence; and of associating together the social and the territorial development of the people, by incorporating these provisions with the land titles derived from the public domain, and making school reservations and road reservations essential parts of that policy.'
Would that we knew the name of the member of the old Congress, who devised the idea, and caused it to be incorporated into the law of the land, of setting apart every sixteenth section of the public domain for a perpetual educational fund for the masses of the people. I should honor his name and
memory more than those of SOLON or LYCURGUS ; I should reverence his wisdom and patriotism as I do those of WASHINGTON and FRANKLIN.But history is silent. We only know, that on the 7th May, 1784, Mr. Jefferson, as chairman of a committee for that purpose, introduced into the old Congress an ordinance for ascertaining the mode of locating and disposing of lands in the Western territory, which did not, however, pass; but it contained no provision for reservations for school purposes. Mr. Jefferson then left Congress to represent our country at the Court of France. But on the 4th of March, 1785, another ordinance for disposing of the public lands in the West, was introduced in Congressby whom, the printed Journals do not inform us ; that on the 16th of the same month, it was re-committed to a committee
consisting of Pierce Long, of New Hampshire, Rufus King, of Massachusetts, David Howell, of Rhode Island, Wm. S. Johnson, of Connecticut, R. R. Livingston, of New York, Charles Stewart, of New Jersey, Joseph Gardner of Pennsylvania, John Henry, of Maryland, William Grayson, of Virginia, Hugh Williamson, of North Carolina, John Bull, of South Carolina, and William Houston, of Georgia. On the 14th of April following, this committee reported the ordinance—by whom reported, no clue is given ; which after being perfected, was passed the 20th of May following, and became the foundation of the existing land system of the United States.
By one of its provisions, the 16th section of every township was reserved for the maintenance of public schools ;"! or, in other words,
one section out of every thirty-six composing each township. This same provision was incorporated in the large land sale, in 1786, to the Ohio Company; and, the following year, in Judge Symmes' purchase. The celebrated ordinance of 1787, for the government of the Territory North-West of the river Ohio, and which confirmed the provisions of the land ordinance of 1785, further declared, that, “RELIGION, MORALITY and KNOWLEDGE, being necessary to good government, and the happiness of mankind, SCHOOLS, AND THE MEANS OF EDUCATION, SHALL BE FOREVER ENCOURAGED.' From that day to the present, this noble policy has been confirmed and extended, till its blessings now reach even the distant shores of the Pacific, and FIFTY MILLIONS OF ACRES of the public domain have been setj apart and consecrated to the high and ennobling purposes of education ; together with five per cent. of the net proceeds of the sales of all public lands in each of the States and Territories in which they are situated. If wisely husbanded, what a munificent fund this is destined eventually to become ; and yet, large as it may be, it will, with our rapidly increasing millions of children, prove greatly inadequate to the mighty work it is expected to perform. It has been
well remarked of Louis PHILIPPE, late King of France, one of the most sagacious and austere of sovereigns, that he had caused to be expended forty millions of dollars for the defence of Paris, and had placed his batteries in such positions that their shots might reach every house in the city; and yet, at the very first movement of the people, he fled from his country with but a five franc piece in his pocket. So in all the mighty West, let the intellectual batteries of the school house be planted on every hill-top, with the special design of throwing educational shot into every dwelling. In this kind of defence, a defence of moral power, consists the welfare of our race, and the
permanence of our free institutions; and with such a defence, we shall ever prove invincible. But to accomplish this mighty