Page images
PDF
EPUB

may be granted by the President of the College in which the person taking the same shall have been graduated, and the diplomas shall be signed by the said President; that the persons to be elected fellows, professors or tutors as aforesaid, be also Regents of the said University, ex officiis, and capable of voting in every case relative only to the respective Colleges to which they shall belong, excepting in such cases wherein they shall respectively be personally concerned or interested.

X. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the college within the city of New York, heretofore called King's College, be forever hereafter called and known by the name of "Columbia College.”

Upon the 5th of May, a quorum was obtained and the following appointments to office were made by the Board:

Chancellor –His Excellency, Governor Clinton.

Vice-Chancellor-The Hon. PIERRE VAN CORTLANDT, LieutenantGovernor.

Treasurer — BROCKHOLST LIVINGSTON, Esq.
Secretary ROBERT HARPUR, Esq.

The Treasurer was instructed to demand and receive from the late Treasurer and Clerk of King's College all records, papers and property, giving receipts therefor. The new Treasurer was required to give bonds; a committee for repairing the building was appointed, and measures were adopted for filling, without delay, the various offices in the faculty, and in the administration of the affairs of the College. A seal was ordered to be prepared, the occasions for its use prescribed ; - a committee was authorized to send a person to France to solicit subscriptions, and measures were to be adopted for obtaining aid in other countries of Europe, as might be judged most effectual, and attended with the least expense. 1

On the 17th of May, DeWitt Clinton presented himself as a candidate for admission to the junior class, was examined, and admitted as the first student under the new organization. A grammar school was instituted under Mr. Wm. Cochran, who previously had a private school in the city, and he was made temporarily an instructor in Greek and Latin. The Rev. John Peter Tetard, who had been ap

1 On the 4th of June, Col. Clarkson, one of the Regents, was appointed to proceed to France and the United Netherlands to solicit funds, and he accepted the appointment without pay, beyond his expenses. He was furnished with credentials, and authorized to purchase such philosophical apparatus for the college as Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, ministers of the United States, might advise, and as his collections would admit.

pointed professor of French at the first meeting, was allowed to move his school into the College.

Although much zeal was shown by this Board of Regents, as Trustees of the College, in the recovery and care of funds, and in the organization of a faculty, it became apparent that the act above given required amendment, by reducing the number necessary for a quorum and in some other respects, in order to render it more easily and effectual in its operation. An amendatory act was accordingly obtained at the next session, as follows:

“ An act to amend an act, entitled "An act for granting cer. tain privileges to the College heretofore called King's College, for altering the name and charter thereof, and erecting an University within this State. Passed the 1st day of May, 1784.” 1

PASSED 26th November, 1784. [Chap. XV, Laws of 8th Session (folio), p. 23.) WHEREAS, It is represented to the Legislature, that from the dispersed Residences of many of the Regents of the University of this State, and the largeness of the quoruin which are made capable of business, the interest and prosperity of the said University have been greatly obstructed. And it is also represented that certain doubts have arisen in the construction of the act, entitled “ An act for granting certain privileges to the College heretofore called King's College, for altering the name and charter thereof, and erecting an University within this State, passed the first day of May, 1784." For remedy whereof :

I. Be it enacted by the People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the Authority of the same, That in addition to the Regents appointed in and by the before-mentioned act, the several persons hereinafter named shall be, and hereby respectively are constituted, Regents of the said University (that is to say), John Jay, Samuel Provost, John H. Livingston, John Rodgers

, John Mason, John Ganoe, John Daniel Gros, Johann Ch. Kunze, Joseph Delaplain, Gersham Seixas, Alexander Hamilton, John Lawrence, John Rutherford, Morgan Lewis, Leonard Lispenard, John Cochran, Charles McKnight, Thomas Jones, Malachi Treat and Nicholas Romain, of New York; Peter W. Yates, Matthew Visscher and Hunlock Woodruff, of Albany; George J. L. Doll, of Ulster; John Vanderbilt, of Kings; Thomas Romain, of Montgomery; Samuel Buel, of Suffolk; Gilbert Livingston, of Dutchess; Nathan Kerr, of Orange; Ebenezer Lockwood, of Westchester; John Lloyd, Jr., of Queens ; Harmanus Garrison, of Richmond; 1 See “ Legislative Papers,” No. 384, State Library. ? The name of Aaron Burr was in the original draft, at this place. 3 This name and all the following ones were inserted by way of amendment.

and Ebenezer Russel, of Washington. And that the said respective Regents hereby constituted shall enjoy the same power and authority as are granted to, and vested in, the other Regents appointed by the said act as fully and effectually as if they had been therein expressly nained.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the Chancellor of the said University, and in his absence the Vice-Chancellor, and in the absence of both the Regent next nominated in the before-mentioned act, who shall be present, together with any eight or more of the Regents, duly convened, to form a quorum of Regents for the dispatch of the business and affairs of the said University, whose acts and proceedings shall be as valid and effectual to all intents and purposes as if all the members of the said Regency were actually present; Provided, always, That to constitute a legal meeting of the Regents the time and place for holding the same shall be previously fixed by the Chancellor, or in his absence the Vice-Chancellor, or in the absence of both the Regent next nominated in the said act, by writing under his hand and notice thereof, signed by the Secretary of the University, shall previously be advertised in one of the public newspapers for at least two weeks, to give all the Regents within a convenient distance an opportunity of attending.

III. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be an annual meeting of the Regents of the said University, which shall be held at the time and place where the Legislature shall first be convened, after the first Monday of July in every year, and that at every such meeting the acts and proceedings of the Regents of the said University shall be reported and examined.

IV. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to, and for the clergy of each respective religious denomination in this State, respectively to meet at such time and place as they shall deem proper, after the passing of this act, and then and there, by a majority of voices of the members of each respective denomination so assembled, to elect one of each of their respective bodies to be a Regent of the said University, and in case of death or resignation, to elect successors in the same manner;

and every Regent so elected shall have the like powers as any Regent constituted by this act, or the act hereby amended.

V. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the next meeting of the Regents of the said University shall be held at the Senate chamber, the day after the rising of the Legislature, if that day shall not happen on Sunday, in which case the said meeting shall be held on the day succeeding, and a sufficient quorum of the Regents being assembled, shall have power to adjourn from time to tiine, and to any place they shall think tit for the dispatch of the business of the said University,

VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall and may be lawful to and for the Treasurer of this state, and he is hereby authorized and required to advance to the Treasurer

of the said University for the use of Columbia College, a sum not exceeding £2,552, for which the said Regents shall be accountable, out of the funds of the said Columnbia College.'

During the following winter various Professors in the several departments were appointed, a Steward established in the College for the boarding of students and care of property, the lands not needed for present use were leased, and a Medical Faculty organized.

The College was still without a President; and on the 4th of April, 1785, it was resolved :

“That from the deranged state of, and great losses which the funds of Columbia College have sustained, they do not think the Regency have it in their power to offer such a salary as will be an inducement to a respectable character to accept the office of President; they, therefore, report that the present Professors in the Faculty of Arts shall be requested to execute the office of President for one year by inonthly rotation.'

This plan being adopted, the Regents found themselves left to the expedient of granting certificates to their graduates at the first commencement in 1786, showing that the holders were entitled to the degree of Bachelor of Arts, as soon as a President should be appointed who could grant it.

It does not appear from the records that a farther attempt was made to fill the office of President by this Board of Regents, and this was not done until a separate Board of Trustees had been created under the reorganization to be soon noticed.

Although the Regents under the act of 1784 were empowered to found schools and colleges, it does not appear that any thing was accomplished in this matter, although the subject was not forgotten. At a meeting held February 28, 1786, on inotion of Dr. Livingston it was ordered “that a comunittee be appointed to consider of ways and means of promoting literature throughout the State, and that Dr. Livingston, Dr. Rodgers, Mr. Mason, General Schuyler, Mr. Wisner, Mr. Haring, Mr. James Livingston, Mr. John, Mr. Dongan, Mr. Clarkson, Mr. Townsend, Mr. L'Hommedieu and Mr. Williams be a committee for that purpose.

An application was presented February 8, 1787, froin Samuel Buell, Nathaniel Gardiner and David Mulford in behalf of themselves and other founders of an academy at East Hampton, in Suffolk county, was read and referred to Mr. L'Hommedieu, Mr. Tredwell, Mr. Stoutenburgh and Mr. Vanderbilt. The object of the petition is not mentioned, but it was doubtless for the incorporation of the institution afterward known as Clinton Academy,

But in the ineantime the experience of three years had brought to notice serious defects in the law under which this first Board of Regents had been organized. Upon the last day of January, 1787, a committee, consisting of the Mayor (Mr. Duane), Mr. Jay, Dr. Rodyers, Dr. Mason, Dr. Livingston, Gen. Clarkson, Mr. Grus and Mr. Hamilton, was appointed, to consider the measures necessary to carry into effect the views of the Legislature with respect to the University, and particularly with respect to Columbia College. This committee reported February 16, 1787, as follows:

First. With respect to the University. It appears to your com: mittee that the acts by which it is constituted are defective and require amendinent in the following particulars. Although in the first instance the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the University are eligible by the Regents; no provision is made for supplying the vacancies which may happen in either of those offices. No effectual means are appointed for the convening of the Regents. The right of adjournment is unascertained. The annual meetings prescribed by the first act are not sufficiently definite. The presiding Regent at any meeting in the absence of the official Regents is not accurately described. These are objections in point of form evidently occasioned by the haste in which the act must have been prepared, amidst the multiplicity of business which employed the attention of the Legislature during their first session after the peace. But your committee are of opinion that to render the University beneficial according to the liberal views of the Legislature, alterations will also be necessary in the substance of its Constitution. At present, the Regents are the only body corporate for literary purposes. In them are not only the funds, but the governinent and direction of every College are exclusively vested, while from their dispersed situation, it must be out of their power to bestow all the care and attention which are peculiarly necessary for the well-being and prosperity of snch institutions. Experience has already shown that Regents living remote from each other cannot with any convenience forin a board for business. The remedy adopted by the second act Was to reduce the qnorum to a small number; but thus placing the riglıts of every college in the hands of a few individuals, your committee have reason to believe, excited jealousy and dissatisfaction, when the interest of literature require that all should be united. These reasons, withont entering into a more full discussion, your committee conceive to ground their opinion that each respective College ought to be intrusted to a distinct corporation, with competent powers and privileges, under such subordination to the Regents as shall be thought wise and salutary.

Secondly. Your committee are of opinion that liberal protection and encouragement ought to be given to Academies for the instruction of youth in the languages and useful knowledge; these Acade.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »