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have an end; the evils of misgovernment are temporary in their nature, and may be corrected; the chastisement of heaven, even, through the merciful Providence of God, are, in this world, ordinarily, of short duration. But who can measure the extent, or see the end, or estimate the intensity, of the evils which flow to a people, from ignorance and vice? If any political axiom to be better established than another, it is this, that no republic can long exist, unless intelligence and virtue predominate among, and characterize the great body of its people. Gathered principally from the older states of this happy Union, our fellow citizens have, for the most part; participated, more or less, in the benefits of their excellent and long established institutions—their common schools, and all their highly improved literary and religious establishments. We may, therefore, justly claim for them the present possession, in equal degree with our fellow citizens of the older and more favored states; of those high and ennobling attributes of human nature, intelligence and virtue. But in so far as we may justly claim this high distinction, in the same proportion are the motives strong. er and the obligation more imperative, to secure to those who shall come after us—to our own children—at least, an equally elevated rank in the scale of intellectual being. But, have we been sufficiently mindful of this great duty ? Not experiencing in our own person, perhaps, or but in a slight degree, the immeasurable evils likely to result from a deprivation, in early life, of the benefits of such institutions, have we not accustomed ourselves to think but seldom, and then with too much indifference upon the vital importance of the establishment, multiplication and perfection of similar systems, in our own beautiful, but recently reclaimed, peninsula ? The character of our state, the happiness and the destinies of our people, are fast passing into the custody of those who shall come after us; and shall it in future times be said of them, that through the improvidence of their fathers, it was their unspeakable misfortune, to be deprived of those advantages of early mental, moral and religious education, that we ourselves have possessed ?

The importance of the early and methodical development and culture of the intellectual faculties of man; the influences which habits formed, and knowledge attained in early life, (through a general and judicious system of education,) cannot fail to exert, not only upon individual happiness, but upon the political institutions of our country; have been too frequently the topics of discussion among the learned, the wise and the eloquent of the land, to render it necessary or proper for me to delay you by further comments upon the subject." I recommend a careful review of all existing statutory enactments, relative to the system of education heretofore adopted in the

state, and especially relative to that part of it, which concerns the broad basis of the whole--the common schools.

I know of no section of the Union, in which the subject of education, (comprehending a system of common schools,) has engaged more the attention of the public authorities, or for a longer time, or more suocessfully, than in Connecticut. And appreciating very highly the benefits to be derived from longtried experience, I respectfully lay before you some well reasoned reports made to the legislature of that state, exhibiting the present condition and the leading features of their system. I am not in favor of a literal and too servile adoption of the legislation of other states; our system should, in general, be our own, and be made to accord with whatsoever may

be

peculiar in our circumstances, or in the condition of society among us. But considering the success which has attended the efforts of our fellow citizens of that state, in the great cause of education, I have supposed that an attentive examination of their greatly perfected plans, might suggest important improvements in our own. That our system is susceptible of amelioration in many particulars, I have little doubt; while at the same time, it is proper to remark, that in this, as in all other matters of legislation, no innovation should be made, but with great caution, and the more especially, because its establishment has been so recent, that its merits can scarcely yet have, in all things, been fully tested. For reasons, however, which heretofore I have had the honor to communicate to your inmediate predecessors, and which I propose again to advert to, I do not hesitate to recommend, that a more equal and just mode of taxation for the sustainment of common schools, be substituted in lieu of the existing provisions of the law in that respect. And also, that the fiscal arrangements and pecuniary affairs of the system be either separated entirely from the other more intellectual functions of the superintendent of public instruction, or else, that by some other appropriate modification of the law, the existing powers and duties of the superintendent, relative to pecuniary affairs, may be made more entirely subject to the direct control of the head of the financial department.

The revenues necessary for the erection of school houses, and the sustainment of the system generally, are derivable, first and principally, from a course of taxation provided for by existing laws. The entire plan upon which ihis course of taxation is founded, seems to me obnoxious to the most serious objections. The legislation of last year, though beneficial, in no wise removed the evil.

Every system of taxation, to be just, should be reasonable, equal and uniform. It is a proposition as notorious as it is lamentable, that the assessments of taxes for school purposes as

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well as for highways, are neither uniform nor equal, and in some instances have been most highly unreasonable. legislature has prescribed no uniform standard by which assessments are made; the same species of property, and of the samo estimated value, may be taxed a hundred fold more in one district than in another bordering upon it; and every little neighborhood may be erected into a separate school or road district, with power to tax almost at pleasure. But the power of taxation is one of the highest attributes of sovereignty. It should never be exercised but with much caution-the most miture consideration, and the most scrupulous regard to jus. tice, uniformity and equality. If otherwise exercised, it be. comes unjust and oppressive. No tax, I am persuaded, would be paid by the people of Michigan, with more cheerfulness, if it be just, cqual and uniform, than a tax for the hallowed pur. poses of education. But it deeply concerns the honor and good faith of the state, that the practical injustice of our prce sent system should be avoided, and the evils I have alluded to, promptly corrected.

The remaining source of revenue, applicable to the support of our common schools, consists in the annual interest accruing upon the purchase money, for which sales of school lands may have been, or may be effected; and the rest reserved for the use and occupation of such as may be leased.

This resource, upon which so much expectation was found.. ed, seems too likely, for present purposes, in a great measure, to fail us. The overthrow of the general currency of the na. tion, which has produced so much distress, and the continuing process by which, what little remains available, scems rapidly passing out of the state, have already prostrated all uniform standard of value; and the ruinous diminution in the prices of agricultural products, have rendered all real estate of little present worth. School lands, therefore, are no longer sought after by purchasers; and, hitherto, in times of so great pressure and general distress, the legislature have found it difficult to resist applications for relief, and delay of payment on the part of those who have heretofore purchased these lands.

From this source, therefore, little, comparatively, has been realized, and the sanguine hopes of the friends of education have been thus far disappointed. The same general cause, very materially affects also the present condition, and, for a time, the future capacities of the university. What great interest of the country, indeed, has not felt its blighting influences ? Aided most materially by the loan which it was heretofore authorized by the state to negotiate, the principal buildings necessary for its accommodation, have been steadily progressing, and with a solidity of workmanship and material, and an architectural taste, worthy of its high destination, and of the state. The four buildings for the professors, commenced last year, are finished; the university grounds are handsomely inclosed; commodious apartments for sixty-four students will have been finished in June next, and a valuable library, consisting of three thousand, seven hundred and seven volumes, have been recei. ved. There are seven branches of the university in operation, viz: at Detroit, Pontiac, Monroe, Tecumsch, White Pigeon, Niles and Kalamazoo. Thirteen teachers are in employ, and the number of pupils is two hundred and forty-scven. The disbursements of the university have been great; and I fear that the original calculations of the board of regents, under whose direction and control the work has proceeded, were founded upon presumed resources, which the universal depreciation of property, may prove to have been in some degree fallacious. The last legislature, by resolution, required of the board that they should cause a report to be made to you during your present session; the pecuniary affairs of the institution will then probably be fully exhibited to you. The reputation of the staie certainly, if not the public faith, requires the most strict and punctual performance of all its pecuniary responsibilities. I would recommend that by a special committee, to that end appointed, a critical investigation be made of its finan. cial concerns, with a view to such ulterior legislation as the exigency may require.

The commissioners appointed according to the provisions of the " Act to provide for the sale of certain lands to the settlers thercon, and for other purposes," have performed the laborious and very highly responsible duties devolved upon them, in a manner creditable, I think, to themselves, just to the public, and I have reason to hope, satisfactory to the community. Their report to me of their proceedings, I herewith lay before you. li exhibits briefly, but very clearly, the scope of their operations and the principles of their action. While you will equally with myself, feel deep regret and disappointment that the uni. versity and state lands should, in poini of quality and value, fall so greatly below our previous expectations, yet I also persuade mysell

, that you will not feel the less disposed to approvo and sanction the justice of their decisions. That portion of the report which treats of the cxpcdiency of further legisl.is tion in the matter, is in strictness, extra official. It can be con. sidered, I apprehend, only in the light of a gratuitous expression of opinion; but it is the opinion, I have no doubt, of just and honorable men, particularly conversant with the subject; and results from their sense of what justice may seem to require; as such, I would respectfully commend it to your favorable, but cautious consideration. The general result of the minute inspection which the commissioners have taken of the university and other lands, has given occasion to the belief, on the part of some of our fellow citizens, that the minimum prices established for all the lands over which the state has control, are, perhaps, too high, and should be reduced. Abstractly from ulterior consequences, there is, I think, some ground for such opinion; but, on the other hand, the influences which such a measure may exert, upon the pecuniary undertakings of the university, and especially upon the loan the institution, under the sanction of law, has negotiated upon the credit, (or hypothecation) of these lands, or of their product in money, at certain legally ascertained prices, cannot, in the consideration of such a measure, be overlooked. And I submit it to you, that it is better the university should be deprived, for a time, of any productive revenue from these unsold lands, than that, in this crisis of commercial instability, a course should be adopted of doubtful tendencies, or which might bring into question the good faith of the institution.

ses.

I am not at all satisfied, gentlemen, of the soundness of the principle said to have been assumed by the treasury department of the United States, in the assignment to this state, of the lands to which we are entitled for the erection and endowment of a university. By the propositions which accompanied the adınission of this state into the Union, the state became entitled to a quantity equal to two entire townships of land for those purpo

This quantity of the public domain had, indeed, been secured by acts of congress to the people of Michigan, many years before our recognition as a state. While yet under a colonial government, this grant had been holden out, not merely as a munificent donation, but as an inducement—as a lure to incite and encourage purchasers of the public lands. The strongest motives of good policy, forbade its location in a body. It was to be taken dispersed over the state in so small quantities, as that no strong local interest should be embodied and built up, peculiar to itself, and adverse, perhaps, to the general interesis of the state. But the quantity of acres was not intended thereby to be diminished. The principle excepted to is this: that every fractional part of an entire iract, assigned to the state, is charged as an entire tract. Thus, if there be, among the tracts assigned, a fractional section, containing three hundred and twenty-one acres, it comes charged to the fund as six hundred and forty acres—that being the contents of a full section and an entire tract. If, on the contrary, we be entitled to claim, as a part of the university fund, a number of acres equal to the contents of two entire surveyed townships, then there remains, not yet assigned to us, a very considerable quantity; in respect to which, I hold it to be our duty to claim it as accruing, by every fair construction of the grant and propositions. And to this branch of the subject, I ask leave to invite your special attention. I must also ask your conside

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