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system of instruction can scarcely be so fully matured as to be brought into operation.
There are many reasons in favor of an annual gathering of the pupils instructed in the several institutions into an encampment, in which they may be trained to some extent into the experiences of soldier-life. Should the Adjutant-General deem this expedient, it is believed that the expenses of such encampment, the necessary camp equipage having been furnished by the State, may be paid from the balance of the appropriation above the estimated annual expenditure.
In making the above recommendations, the Regents have not been unmindful of the great importance of artillery and cavalry exercise, but having been asked to propose a plan within certain limits of expense, they have been obliged to govern their recommendations accordingly. If any part of the proposed appropriation can be made available for either of the objects referred to, especially that of artillery exercise, the Regents most cordially recommend it.
Acting on the advice of the chairman of the committee of military affairs, the Regents herewith submit the draft of a bill for carrying out the objects contemplated by the Assembly. All which is respectfully submitted.
By order of the Regents,
JOHN V. L. PRUYN,
Although the subject recommended did not afterward secure the sanction of the Legislature as a matter of requirement or aid from the State, the spirit of the times, if not the demands of patrons, induced several Academies to introduce military drill as an incidental subject of education in their institutions, and with good results. Instances occurred in which young men entering the service were able to profit from this instruction, and to begin with the advantage of knowing something practically of the duties of the soldier. A proposition was entertained for the establishment of a school for military instruction in the western part of the State, but it was not carried into effect.
The University Convocation at its session in July, 1864, adopted the following resolutions, which were submitted to the Regents, and referred to a special committee:
Resolved, That in the opinion of the University Convocation of the State of New York it is of the highest public importance that the candidates for admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point and to the United States Naval Academy should be selected, as far as practicable, from the students of the highest merit in the institutions of learning in the State; the degree of merit to be ascertained by competitive examination.
Resolved, That all persons officially charged with the interests of education in this State are earnestly invited to lend their co-operation in promoting a measure of such vital interest to the cause of education, and to the welfare of the country.
Resolved, That the Board of Regents of the University be requested to lay a copy of these resolutions before the representatives of this State in Congress, and that the Board be respectfully urged to devise some practical method by which this most desirable result may be achieved.
It does not appear that further action was taken by the Board upon this subject.
OBSOLETE FORMS OF ACADEMIC ORGANIZATION.
(1.) The Incorporation of Academies and High Schools under Stockholders.
Under a general act passed July 11, 1851,1 it was made lawful for any Academy or High School for literary, scientific, charitable or religious purposes, to issue, create and possess a capital stock not exceeding $10,000, in shares of not less than $10 each, which stock was to be deemed personal property. In the election of Trustees each stockholder was to be entitled to give one vote for each share of stock owned at the time of election.
When such a corporation had erected a building for school purposes worth $2,000, and had complied in all respects with the conditions prescribed by law to authorize the Regents to incorporate Academies, it was to be declared an Academy by the Regents, and became entitled to all the rights and privileges conferred by law on the Academies of this State.
By an act passed April 12, 1853,' such Academies might by their by-laws prescribe the mode and manner of electing Trustees, and make rules and regulations therefor, and might classify them in such a manner as one-third should be elected annually for a term of three years. Vacancies might be filled by the Trustees, and the capital might be not more than $50,000.
The Regents by an ordinance passed April 7, 1854, required in
1 Chap. 544, Laws of 1851, p. 1002.
2 Chap. 184, Laws of 1853, p. 355.
stitutions founded upon capital stock to state in their annual reports whether any and what dividends had been paid, or were payable to their stockholders, to the end that by comparing the rates of tuition and incidental expenses charged in Academies making such dividends with those charged in Academies which did not make dividends, it might be ascertained whether there be any differences with respect to such rates, with respect to the two kinds of Academies.
The results showed that $3,108 had been paid for dividends in 1854, $3,684 in 1855, and $1,600 in 1856.
By an act passed May 13, 1855,' it was provided that any moneyed or stock corporation deriving profit or income from its capital or otherwise, should add to the dividends declared upon any stock owned by the State, or by any literary or charitable society or institution, a sum equal to the assessment for taxes paid upon an equal amount of the stock of such corporation not exempt from taxation.
The provision of the Revised Statutes' whereby all stocks owned by the State, or by literary or charitable institutions, in moneyed or stock corporations, were exempted from taxation, was by this act declared to be for the benefit of the State, or the institutions owning such stocks, and not for the benefit of said corporations.
By a further act in relation to dividends to stockholders of Academies and other institutions of learning, passed April 15, 1857, the income of the Literature and the United States Deposit Funds were directed to be granted only to such institutions under the visitation of the Regents as devoted the whole of their earnings, from whatever source, to the sole and proper use of such institution, and no dividends were allowed to be paid to stockholders.
Under the act of 1851, above mentioned, and with an expectation of dividing large dividends, many Academies sprung up in localities where there was no local patronage adequate to their maintenance, and where a little reflection would convince a person of sound judg ment that they could not be sustained. This was especially the case in Schoharie county, and the reaction which followed the first excitement of competition brought pecuniary disaster upon great numbers who had placed confidence in this mode of investment.
The act of 1855, and especially the one of 1857, effectually put an end to further speculation in this kind of investment. The fallacy
'Chap. 195, Laws of 1855, p. 224.
* Subdivision 6, § 4, Title 1, Chap. 13, Part 1, R. S.
Chap. 527, Laws of 1857. See Assem. Doc. 93, 1859, recommending amendments to this act. The act was further amended April 16, 1859. (Chap. 426.)
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 capi tal 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 su perior 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
proportion of our population dependent upon agricultural and me#chanical 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.