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COLLEGES AND ACADEMIES.
SOME ANNALS OF A WESTERN COLLEGE.
In the year 1854, Judge George Gale, of Trempealeau county, Wisconsin, having projected a scheme of a very extensive literary institution, and having made a liberal donation of land for that purpose, secured, with others, the charter of "Galesville University." Eight years later the act of incorporation was so amended as to give the Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Northwest Wisconsin the right to appoint eight of the fifteen members of the board of trustees. This Methodist control lasted for fifteen years; but in 1877, that is, six years before this Presbyterian Board of Aid was established, the charter was again amended, the right to appoint the eight trustees being transferred from the Methodist Episcopal conference to the "Presbytery of Chippewa, which is in connection with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America." The change appears to have been made with good feeling on all sides, there being hope that the institution would gain by it, and the whole community being bent chiefly upon the advantage of the institution. The Presbyterian trustees appear to have brought the school into real usefulness. In the year 1883, the year of the organization of this Board of Aid, it enrolled nearly 150 pupils.
But just then a great calamity befell it. The building was burned. The trustees and community, however, thought of nothing but to replace it. Thereupon began in a farming population, for the most part of very moderate means, a subscription which, by small amounts, was gradually built up to about $15,000. But this was a work of years. Before the close of 1884, indeed, the subscription had seemed to warrant the restoration of their building. Yet it had not made full provision even for that; nor had it provided at all for needed furniture, nor for the many debts inevitably resulting from
the scattering of pupils and the diminution of income. Accordingly, for the last four years the half-paid teachers have been forced to a desperate struggle for the life of their school. Meanwhile some of them were receiving invitations to easier and more profitable fields. The self-denial by which they refused them has won the affectionate admiration of the community for whose advantage the wearying battle was waged. Two things appear to have held the teachers to their task: the distinctive Christian aim which has manifestly predominated in all their efforts, and the consideration that the most of the population within whose reach they were placing collegiate learning would be debarred from it if their institution should perish. Very evidently was this true of the numerous youth of Norwegian blood, who, though very commonly limited in present means, were giving the best promise of manly and Christian development.
The readers of this magazine already know in what way this wearing struggle has been ended: a notice of the critical need of help that was felt at Galesville was put into one of these pages, and the helper responded. The response came just in time. The trustees, badgered with bills that they could not pay, were actually holding, at the close of the last scholastic year, the meeting that was to decide whether their effort was not to be abandoned, when the message came from the Board of Aid giving them their first intimation of succor at hand.
But their help was for $4000; and their deficiency, upon a careful examination, was found to amount to $5000. It was agreed on all sides that, with the goal so nearly reached, the gap of the lacking $1000 must be closed. This was in May last. A new canvass of the region was at once begun. By and by word came to the secretary of the Board that the needed subscription was complete; and on a fixed day, about the beginning of July, he visited Galesville, in order
to arrange for the transfer of the $4000 gift. For the information of other intending donors, it is proper to say that a chief part of that arrangement consisted in securing for the Board a "good and valid" lien upon all the college property for the amount of the donation which the Board had been trusted to apply. The document carefully stipulates, indeed, that neither principal nor interest is to be collected so long as the institution shail continue in organic connection with our denomination. But a first mortgage made to the Board in those terms guards the property from being frittered away by the possible indiscretion of future trustees.
Here now, after a struggle of thirtythree years, this Wisconsin college had come to its first real breathing spell. Now it owns its property and furniture. Mechanics, storekeepers and teachers are all paid up; and the classes which last year, in spite of debts and discouragements, rose from a previous total of 42 to 71, are likely now, under the attention and sympathy which so notable a benefaction,commands through all the region, to grow more rapidly by far.
The region is exceedingly interesting. Those who have taken the charming sail along the upper Mississippi will remember that one of the highest of the conical grassy bluffs which, with their crowns of woods and castellated rocks, diversify its banks, rises over the town of Trempealeau. A few miles farther north the two lines of bluffs recede from each other, and make room between them for the beautiful expanse of Lake Pepin. The whole region is finely varied with hills and woods and fertile fields. The college stands inland from Trempealeau about seven miles. You approach it across a grassy plateau of twenty or thirty acres, on the farther side of which a campus of stately trees nearly hides the new building of yellow sandstone. The building is of three stories, with lecture-rooms each side of central halls. It shows every sign of well-planned, thorough work. Leaving the plateau, you cannot walk half a mile on any road without getting a new aspect of the landscape; and every aspect is pleasing.
The community has been made orderly
and intelligent by thirty years' possession of an institution of Christian learning whose very difficulties have furnished an education in character as well as in knowledge.
The observation of things like these, and of the signs of thorough work which the recent examination had left upon the blackboards in the bright and commodious lec ture-rooms, gave to the visitor the impression of a place for study which graduates would be glad to remember, and for which our church will find an important page in the history of her work in Wisconsin. As to the prospect of realizing a "Galesville University," neither the Board of Aid nor the trustees nor their liberal helper expect any such result. It is, therefore, very desirable that in this case, as in so many others, the institution's excess of name may be abated to the measure of actual and possible performance. Thus relieved, the Christian college at Galesville will not fail to honor God and bless men, and so to offer lasting recompense to its distant and generous benefactor.
At the instance of the Board of Aid, the charter of the institution now requires that two-thirds of its trustees, and not a mere majority, be appointed by the Presbytery of La Crosse.
WHY DOES NOT THE WEST BUILD ITS OWN SCHOOLS?
The West does build its own schools, and is sure to keep on building them till there shall be a plenty. Common schools and high schools and state universities—they are multiplying, away to the Pacific. The legis latures see to that, and the public funds provide the means. But do those schools meet the needs of the church? A late number of the Northwestern Presbyterian contained a reply from a "student of a denominational college" to an argument that had shortly before been made in Minnesota to this effect that the students of the denominational colleges should be sent to the University of Minnesota, and the money spent on such colleges should be spent for preaching the gospel. The student answered, in part, as follows:
Recently two young men from Princeton travelled to obtain as many as were willing to enlist in our grand cause of missions. At Carleton they received 32, at Hamline 14, at Macalester 10 (those three being denominational colleges), but at the State University 6. The number of students at each institution is
about as follows: Carleton 300, Hamline 175, Macalester 88, University 490 to 500. What a vast difference between Macalester's one to every nine students and the university's one to every eighty-two!
COLLEGES AND ACADEMIES.
No doubt something could be said to modify that showing. Probably the university included among its students a larger proportion than either of the denominational colleges did, of students committed from the start to special scientific or professional study. Even a Christian university could not be expected to show, out of its great aggregate, so large a proportion of students for the ministry as has commonly been found in the Christian colleges. But after all such considerations are liberally weighed, the fact is so manifest that it cannot be disputed, that of students who are uncommitted to any profession the Christian institutions turn far more than the state institutions do to the work that serves the church and her Master.
lieves them. What then if Dr. Kendall and Dr. White should say of those same mission communities, "They can, unaided, build their denominational colleges, though they cannot build their churches; and they can support their teachers from the start, though they cannot support their preachers;" would the statement be credible? Those well-informed men are as far as possible from making such a mistake. The experienced almoners of the church's gifts for western evangelization are the emphatic advocates of her liberal giving to this long-neglected but co-ordinate branch of the common work; for they know that the denomination's schools cannot seize the right places at the right time, except by the denomination's help. Having once gained the early foothold, they can be sure that the church at the West will develop them just as fast as her own strength develops.
What our denomination is doing by this Board for Christian education in the new places comes no nearer to what those places will ultimately do for that cause than a sapling cedar taken over from Lebanon into Colorado comes to the tree that is to stand up, by and by, between the western soil and the western sky.
That most moderate statement shows that the church at the West, like the church at the East, requires the denominational college; for, as to undenominational Christian colleges, experience proves that, like undenominational churches, they are apt to prove organized temptaions to that type of Christian character that leans toward management and sharp practice. The question, then, must take this form: Why does not the West build her own denominational colleges? And that is exactly parallel to the question, Why does not the West build her own denominational churches? The answer, in both cases, is, She does, so far as her denominational strength serves; but at the beginning she needs help. When the Board of Church Erection says, "We must help the mission churches to put up their church buildings," and the Board of Home Missions says, "We must help the mission churches to support their ministers," every one be
DENOMINATIONAL, BUT NOT SEC
These lines are written in a western town, in which is one of our church's new colleges. They are prompted by an interview just had with one of the heartiest friends of our institution-a Methodist Episcopal minister of leading influence in his denomination. No one questions his loyalty or serviceableness toward the Methodist Episcopal Church. If there were a Methodist Episcopal college a hundred miles from ours, and there were a Methodist youth half way between the two, no doubt the minister would urge him to prefer his own college to ours. But for this town and region this gentleman finds provided a Christian college that is under Presbyterian control. He knows that there are many youth who will not go to any Christian college unless they go to this. He
knows, besiles, that the Christian matters emphasized by our professors are those which belong to Methodists as much as to Presbyterians; and so he counts it his Christian duty to uphold our college. He does just what a Presbyterian ought to do toward a Methodist college under an exchange of circumstances.
It is a great mistake to consider that a denominational college, rightly conducted, is a sectarian fort, with guns set against all sects but one. On the contrary, while honestly flying its denominational colors, it is pledged to exalt Christ and not to proselyte; and so it becomes to all the large-minded Christians of its community a centre of Christian sympathy and co-operation, a fort against nothing but the common enemy. May the land have just enough of such colleges-not too many, not too few.
involving a burden of interest very difficult to manage. In one case, at least that of Sumner Academy, Washington Territoryboth of these evils occur. There is an unfinished building, and debt enough to threaten the sinking of all the money that has gone into it. Advices have just been received that, unless friends in the East come to the rescue, the loss of the property, worth now about $8000, with a conditional promise of $2000 toward permanent endowment, is inevitable. In another class of cases the existing buildings are complete and free from debt, but the possible work of the institution is not half done for lack of rooms for students.
THE NEEDED “PROPERTY FUND."
The opening of our church's Centennial year indicates for the general treasury of this Board (the treasury which supports our teachers) a further increase of receipts. No former year has brought us as much by the same date. But over and above this moderate gain of our general treasury, this year ought to bring to our Board a generous "property fund." There is great need of it; and there is great encouragement to give it.
The NEED is this: Under the care of this Board there are thirty-five institutions, whose joint property aggregates over a million dollars. Of that large amount, by far the greater part has come out of the communities that have required the institutions. Of course, then, no little local industry and self-denial has been called forth in the collecting and giving of money for this cause. Yet all this giving still leaves the respective properties not only incomplete, but, in many instances, utterly inadequate to their present ends. In some cases a little more money spent upon plastering and joiner-work would turn the shell of a building into a competent edifice. In other cases the edifice has been made available, but at the penalty of a debt
1. Every one of these cases is under the oversight of a Board whose disposition to be careful is already complete, and which is every month learning more and more about the best methods of carefulness.
2. This Board will not suffer any money that is committed to its discretion, or that is given under its advice, to be applied outside of these two conditions: The institution receiving it must have had already the strenu ous help of its own community; and it must have a prospect of permanence and special usefulness. That is, it must represent a hopeful work, in which liberal home investment has been made. In every such case the power of new money is cumulative; for it stands on the shoulders of other money. While the effect of withholding is destruction, it allows the waste of the good money that has done its best, but gets no help.
Now, apart from all canvassers, with whom, if we could, we would at once dispense, we ask for direct contributions to a college property fund, to be applied where the Board, in consultation with the donors, shall think best. We are painfully hampered this moment, and great interests are endangered by our lack of such a fund. We could deal out a hundred thousand dollars to the same good purpose that was served by the four thousand dollars of which we have spoken at length on a former page. Will not others, "whom God has entrusted with money," write to us for our facts?
CHILDREN AT THE FRONT.
It is with profound gratitude that the announcement is made that the debt of the Board has been almost entirely removed. This result is largely due, under God, to the children of twelve hundred and sixty-six of our Sabbath-schools that on Children's Day contributed the noble sum of more than $15,400. The following letter has been sent to every school that united in the contribution:
July 30, 1887. TO THE PASTOR, SUPERINTENDENT, OFFICERS, TEACHERS AND SCHOLARS OF THIS SABBATH-SCHOOL.
DEAR FRIENDS:-We congratulate you on the excellent arrangements and delightful exercises of Children's Day, June, 1887. We desire also to thank you for your part in the noble contribution made on that day to the Sabbath-school and Missionary Work of this Board. Your gift helped to swell the entire collections of our Presbyterian Sabbath-schools on Children's Day to the great sum of over $15,400. We cannot tell you how much this money has already done for the cause of Christ. Our Sabbath-school and Missionary treasury was far behind. We could do nothing to enlarge the work until the debt was paid. The great enterprise of Sabbath-school missions was paralyzed. What could we do? We prayed to God. He answered our prayers by putting it into your hearts and hands to give us this magnificent sum of money. The Sabbath-schools have well-nigh lifted us out of debt. They have placed us in a position to do great things for the perishing millions of boys and girls in our land outside of all Sabbathschools. In the name of these neglected youth, in the name of our great Board, and in the name of our Saviour, we thank you heartily and sincerely. May he richly reward you for your work of faith and labor of love. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you, every one.
ORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD.
As has already been stated in this periodical, the Board, under the direction of the last General Assembly, has been reorganized. It now consists of three departments, namely, Sabbath-school and Missionary Work, Editorial and Business. Of these departments, the first alone appeals to the church for contributions; the Editorial and Business departments are both supported by the latter, which is also a large contributor to that of Sabbath-school and Missionary Work.
SABBATH-SCHOOL AND MIS
The object of this department is not merely to establish Sabbath-schools and to supply them with lesson helps and libraries, but to institute a system of lay evangelization throughout all the spiritually destitute districts of our own land. It is designed that, so far as practicable, every family in such districts should be visited by an approved missionary, whose duty it shall be to carry to them the gospel, to pray with them, to leave in every home some pages of the pure and spiritually-enlivening publications of the Board, and also a copy of the Word of God wherever needed. It needs but to state the objects contemplated to convince every thoughtful mind of the importance of the work.
But in order to carry on this work successfully, money is needed for the salaries of the missionaries, for the gratuitous distribution of tracts and books and Bibles to individuals, and for the supply of lesson helps and libraries to needy Sabbath-schools. To pay off the debt that rested on the Board at the close of the last fiscal year, and to prosecute the work as it should be carried on, will require at least the $100,000 recommended to the churches by the last Assembly.
Yours in his work,
E. R. CRAVEN, Secretary. JAMES A. WORDEN, But not only is the Board called upon to Superintendent of S. S. and Missionary Work. give aid to needy schools in our own land,