Page images

of the argument under which they had been begun had before this become evident, but it was already too late to retrieve the losses which had been incurred.

The ownership of educational institutions by stock companies, in which the contributors had a voice in the election of Trustees, in proportion to their shares, and in which public utility and not pecuniary profit was the leading motive, has been common at all. periods in our State history, and this custom has much to commend itself to our favor.

The practice of allowing free scholarships to subscribers of a given amount of stock has generally been disastrous. The capital assumed to be sufficient to meet this obligation has frequently been too small for the object, and it has sometimes been expended in preparations which were far from being completed, before the promised benefits could begin.

This custom has ruined some old-established Colleges in other States, and has probably in no single instance met the expectations of those that have tried the experiment.

The endowment of scholarships by the investment of a sufficient capital, the income of which only can be used, is quite a different affair; and where these scholarships are offered as prizes for superior scholarship, they present the strongest incentives to high attainments in learning, and become the means of securing a great amount of good.

(2.) Manual Labor Seminaries.

From about the year 1825 to 1835, the theory of combining literary instruction with manual labor was entertained in various parts of the country, and several experiments of this kind were undertaken in this State. In these, the principal object of devoting a part of each day to labor by the students, was to afford the means for their support. Technical education in agriculture and the mechanic arts may have been suggested in the plausible arguments advanced by the advocates of the system, and was, perhaps, attempted; but with the means then provided every experiment eventually proved a failure, and the four or five institutions in this State, which were begun upon this plan, after a few years abandoned the enterprise, and adopted the usages of other Academies.

The Regents, in a report to the Legislature, in reply to certain inquiries of the Senate made March 20, 1830,' allude to the large

[blocks in formation]

proportion of our population dependent upon agricultural and mechanical industries for support, and which are chiefly based upon scientific principles for their success, remark:

"In our higher schools, science is taught rather as an accomplishment than as a useful branch of knowledge; and as those who study it are generally destined for the learned professions, it holds but a subordinate grade in their acquirements, and seldom sheds its light upon those branches of productive labor which it is calculated most to benefit. Were one or more schools particularly appropriated to qualify young men for an efficient course of instruction in the useful sciences, for agriculture, manufactures and the mechanic arts, it is believed the results would be found highly satisfactory and useful. Should the Legislature accord in these views, a discretionary power might be vested in this Board to appropriate a limited portion of the income of the Literature Fund to make a fair experiment."

They, therefore, submitted to the consideration of the Legislature the following propositions :

"1. That a portion of the moneys hereafter to be distributed by the Regents of the University, to the several Academies under their jurisdiction, be applied uuder their direction to the purchase of scientific books and philosophical apparatus, for the use of such Academies. And

2. That the Regents of the University be clothed with a discretionary power to apply a portion of the income of the Literature Fund to a school or schools, to be devoted particularly to instruction in those branches of science which are applicable and useful to productive labor."

No results followed this recommendation, unless we include the system of appropriations for books and apparatus begun four years afterward.

The following institutions undertook to apply in practice the theories above noticed:

Yates Polytechnic Institute (1825), at Chittenango, Madison Co. Union Literary Society (1826), at Bellville, Jefferson Co.

Aurora Manual Labor Seminary (1829), at East Aurora, Erie Co. Oneida Institute of Industry and Science (1829), at Whitesboro, Oneida Co.

Genesee Manual Labor Seminary (1834), at Bethany, Genesee Co. An account of these is given in our separate notice of Academies. It may be said of all of them that they were failures.

In other States the experiment was tried at about the same period and with no better success; and even under State patronage, and with the ample means provided at Cornell University, the number of students that resort to manual labor as a partial means of support is less in recent years than at first. In some instances individual benefit has been derived from the opportunity afforded for earning by labor in hours not given to study; but with the greater number of self-dependent young men, it has been found more desirable to devote the whole of their time for a season to the earning of the means to enable them to give undivided attention to their studies afterward.

(3.) Educational Institutions formed under the General Act for the Incorporation of Benevolent, Charitable, Scientific and Missionary Societies.

Several instances have occurred under which educational institutions were organized under the provisions of chapter 319 of the Laws of 1848, for the formation of Benevolent, Charitable, Scientific and Missionary Societies. As provision had long before been made for the incorporation of Colleges and Academies by the Regents, and at a later period all institutions of this kind were entitled to claim a charter as a right, upon compliance with general rules established by the Regents, it was thought that abuses might arise from allowing the practice to continue, and to prevent this, an act was passed June 29, 1882,1 entitled "An act to restrict the formation of corporations under chapter 319 of the Laws of 1848, entitled 'An act to provide for the incorporation of Benevolent, Charitable, Scientific and Missionary Societies,' and the acts amendatory thereof, and to legalize the incorporation of certain societies organized thereunder, and to regulate the same," which forbade the continuance of the practice in the future, so far as related to Literary or Scientific Colleges and Universities, without the approval of the Regents.

This approval might be indorsed upon, and filed with, the certifi cate, and the Regents were empowered as a condition of their ap proval, to impose such conditions as in their judgment they might deem advisable, not in conflict with said acts.

All Scientific and Literary Colleges and Universities organized under this act, which had reported to the Regents within two years prior to the date of this act, were declared legally incorporated, and all degrees conferred by them were confirmed.

Chap. 367, Laws of 1882.

In a suit brought for the purpose of invalidating the charter of the "United States Medical College," that had been formed under this act, it was decided against the College, and the decision, when carried to the Court of Appeals, was in June, 1884, confirmed.



In most Colleges, and in many Academies, Alumni Associations have been organized, and in some instances for many years. They were at first merely voluntary associations of persons united by a common interest, and wholly without corporate rights; but in several instances special acts of incorporation were obtained, either by express provision, or upon the number of Alumni reaching a fixed


By a general act passed June 3, 1882, entitled "An act to provide for the incorporation of the Alumni of Colleges and Universities in the State of New York," associations of this kind were allowed to be formed, upon proceedings analogous to those required for societies and corporations under other general acts. Not less than nine persons qualified for membership, might execute and acknowledge a certificate stating the name and object of the corporation, and the names of first Directors. This, when recorded in the office of the County Clerk of the county where the College or University was located, would invest the association with corporate powers, among which were the right of accumulating a fund, with an annual income of not more than $10,000, the election of one or more of its members as Trustees of the College, as its charter might allow, the publication of a Record or Directory, and the adoption of rules and regulations in a constitution and by-laws, as might be deemed consistent with the objects of their incorporation, and not inconsistent with the laws of the State. Only one corporation could be formed under this act for one College or University. The word "Alumni" was defined as applicable to both male and female graduates. Should the Alumni of two or more Colleges unite in

'In Cornell University this limit was fixed at 100, by section 1, chapter 763, Laws of 1867, amending the original act of incorporation, passed April 27, 1865. 2 Chap. 268, Laws of 1882.

forming a corporation, under the provisions of this act, then but one such corporation could be formed of the Alumni so uniting.

This act was amended April 30, 1884,' by further defining the powers of the associations in voting for Trustees of their Colleges, in adopting rules of membership, in providing for certain expenses, and in verifying their annual reports.

The policy of intrusting a share of the management of Colleges and Universities to their Alumni, as persons presumed to be best acquainted with their condition and most interested in their welfare, has been recognized for many years, and provision has been made for elections for this purpose, from among the Alumni, by special acts, or under amendments of the charters by the Regents, from time to time.

The general acts of 1882 and 1884, above noticed, did not affect any of the special acts previously passed, and applied only to corporations that might be formed under them.



The first direct appropriation of moneys by the Legislature for distribution among the Academies of the State, under the direction of the Regents, was in 1792. In an act passed April 11th of that year, entitled "An act to encourage Literature by donations to Columbia College, and to the several Academies in the State," after granting £7,900 ($19,750) to the College for several objects specified, it appropriates the sum of £1,500 ($3,750), annually, for the term of five years, to the Regents of the University to be by them distributed "among such and so many of the several Academies as now are or hereafter may be erected in this State, during the said terms, in such proportions, and to be appropriated in such manner as they shall judge most beneficial for the several Academies, and most advantageous to Literature.""

In reporting upon their action in this matter to the Legislature at its next session,' the committee of the Regents state:

1 Chap. 216, Laws of 1884.

Chap. 69; 15th Session. Folio edition of Laws, p. 71. 3 Senate Journal, 16th Sess., p. 91.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »