Ill.) Western Baptist Educational Convention. (1871 : Ch.

Proceedings of the Western Baptist Educational Convention, held in the First Baptist Church, Chicago, May 24 and 25, 1871 online

. (page 7 of 13)
Online LibraryIll.) Western Baptist Educational Convention. (1871 : ChProceedings of the Western Baptist Educational Convention, held in the First Baptist Church, Chicago, May 24 and 25, 1871 → online text (page 7 of 13)
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should not, at least, be put in a position of safety from financial shipwreck
before more is attempted. Besides, time may thus be aff'orded for the quiet
adjustment, through the logic of events, of local questions which may now
be difficult to manage. If the friends of institutions whose plan, as yet
unconsummated, contemplates a college or university organization, will con-
sent for the time to aim simply at -what is now practicable, and leave all
questions of a State college or its location to the future, availing themselves
for the purposes of higher education of the colleges we already have, much
may be gained in point of denominational union, simplicity of plan, and
means to complete present beginnings. For the present, the idea of a col-


lege for every State in the West is not even a practical one. The brethren in
Wisconsin and Minnesota are, it is believed, wise in allowing this question
to remain simply in its theoretical shape, and consentin<j to wait until
resources shall be larger and the need more pressing before attempting what
is so apt to prove simply an embarrassment and a cause of division.

If the view thus taken is just, the conclusion would seem to be, that while
the colleges we now actually have should be fostered, and as rapidly as pos-
sible put in a condition of the highest efficiency, other enterprises of this
kind may most wisely be held in abeyance till our denominational means
become more abundant, and our denominational want, in that respect, more
urgent An important additional suggestion seems to be afforded by the
character and position of those other institutions in our list which have the
college or university name, although not properly occupying that grade.
These, if less than colleges, are more than academies. Perhaps an appro-
priate designation for them may be that of collegiate schools. They not
only conduct students into the first years of a college course, but they furnish
instruction in theology, with the help of which some of our most efficient
ministers in the West have prepared for their work. The place they fill,
just as Ihey are, is evidently an important one. Some of them must ulti-
mately become colleges in fact. Meanwhile, if under the direction of such
men as now conduct them, they may furnish a measure of educational train-
ing much to be valued, even if the circumstances of the student forbid its
further prosecution, and render a most valuable service in the distinct prov-
ince of ministerial education. They should, it is believed, as collegiate
schools, be regarded as filling a place in our Western educational system
peculiar and important.

3. One other special point demands attention: the place of the University
in the collegiate system of our denomination for the West.
/■^ What the American university is ultimately to become, is a question as
yet far from settled; although it is gratifying to know that in certain influ-
ential quarters it is beginning to receive the consideration it merits. We
may, however, anticipate the result of such inquiry, so far as to say that the
university method adopted in this country will doubtless be shaped in a
large degree by the form of our school system in general, and by our national
needs and characteristics.; It is not likely, judging from present appearances,
that we shall ever have universities, for example, made up of a group of col-
leges, like those of Oxford and Cambridge in England ; the vast extent of our
territory requiring that colleges shall be distributed, rather than concen-
trated. Nor is it likely that our university organization will ever, as in
France, come to embrace the entire educational system, from the lowest
schools up to the highest; the tendency with us being more in the direction
of independent organization, with simply general mutual relations. Nor, as
in Scotland, will it probably ever be true that, as a competent authority there
has said, the university " is not an university only, but a high school, to
supply the deficiency of other schools;" it being presumable that our '"other
schools" will not have deficiencies such as to demand a remedy so elaborate,
but that the university will be needed, rather, to take up their work where
they lay it down, and carry it on to completion. Neither is it likely that the
German or the Italian system will be. strictly reproduced in the American
one. It must be a long time, indeed, before an American vmiversity can,
like that of Heidelberg, in Germany, support sixty learned professors, each
devoting himself to his own especial branch of knowledge; befoi^e, as in the
German universities as a class, the number of students seeking such advanced


instruction will either justify or sustain lecturers so numerous, and each so
occupied with his own specialty, as that there shall remain scarcely a hand-
breadth of unexplored ground in all the world of learning

While, besides, as is evident even from what has now been said, the Euro-
pean universities do themselves so entirely fail to build after anyone model,
they can not fairly criticise our American one if it, also, adopts a model of its
own and becomes what the country and the age require that it shall be. At the
same time, we shall be fairly open to criticism if we do not at least seek to
realize that one university ideal, which, originating with the universities of
Bologna and Paris, in the Middle Ages, may be traced in Europe under all
these diversities of form. This ideal evidently is, that a university shall not
only be the flower and perfection of all the schools, but that it shall both
attempt and accomplish what all the other schools combined necessarily' fail
in; and that is, a comprehension within its scheme of instruction, so far as
possible, of the whole range of human learning, and, at the same time, the
prosecution of inquiry in new directions, or of more thorough inquiry in old
directions, and thus, at the same time, scrutinizing the known, and pushing
on farther and farther into the regions of the knowable. It is plain, then,
that our American university must be more than a college; more even than
a college with its cluster of professional schools. It must be a place where
learning will be sought for learning's own sake, and where shall be trained,
not only American ministers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, agriculturists,
but American scholars.

It seems at present most likely that the nucleus of the American univer-
sity, wherever established, will be a college; such appears to be the tendency
now, and to it there can be no objection. The university scheme, too, will
probably embrace a system of professional schools We shall, it may be pre-
sumed, so far disregard the dictum of Mr. John Stuart Mill, as to hold, in
harmony with the practical character of the American genius, that the univer-
sity ts, for one of its functions at least, " a place of professional educa-
tion." , But this must not be all. Though its scheme in this respect should
include all the professions, this alone will not make it a university. It must
also put to practical use that distinction which an able English writer. Pro-
fessor Seeley, makes between educatio7t and learning ; must be a place where
men shall not only be taught, but where they shall teach themselves^ and,
with the aid of the provision there furnished, go on beyond what the prac-
tical detail of any profession calls for, and ascend to the heights that are
highest. Besides, it is fair to presume that for American scholars there may
be departments of inquiry, either for the development of new truth, or the
more accurate re-stating of old truth, specially reserved. What Germany
does in Philology, France in Mathematics, England in Literature, Scotland
and Germany, to some extent, in Philosophy, it may fall to America to do in
some related sphere; perhaps in a clearer and safer expounding of philoso-
phy itself; perhaps in departments of applied science; perhaps in that
supremely important matter, the relation of science to religion. Has not
this youngest and most vigorous of the nations a mission here? And is it
not time for American scholars, and American friends of education, to
realize that there is something more and greater in learning than education

It may be that in the West a complete universit}' will not be witnessed by
the generation now living The question, however, which is here submitted,
is, whether, in what we plan in this respect, we should not aim at that which
ought to be, and which, according to all that we can now see, must be.' Is


it not competent for us to say, and is it not our duty to say, that we will
mean bv a university a university ; something more than a college; more
than a college with two or three professional schools attached? Ought we
not to adjust our other institutions to this ideal, and say that our colleges
shall be simply colleges, our collegiate schools shall be collegiate schools
only, till they can be more; our academies academies, and that we will mean
by a university strictly what the name imports? We, now living, may not
see the ideal fully accomplished, but we shall have the satisfaction of work-
ing toward it, and those who come after us will not have occasion to say that
our work has embarrassed theirs.

If so much as has now been said is accepted, it will follow that, for a long
time to come, the denomination in the West will need to concentrate its
interest and means to this end at some one point. If we are to have a univer-
sity indeed, we can, in the very nature of the case, have but one. There must
be, in buildings, in endowments, in libraries, in facilities of instruction, a
provision which can be made adequate only as a result of concentration, and
steady, patient, generous, wide-minded combination. As an incentive to this,
it may be remembered that an institution such as we suppose, maintaining
suitable relations to other institutions, would be a helper to all. It would
aid them in elevating their standard of scholarship, supply stimulus both to
their teachers and their students, be a center of intellectual power and interest
for all alike, and, in gathering treasures of learning, constitute a source of
supply ever more and more valuable. There is, in the mere hope of a con-
federacy in learning thus friendly and helpful, a prospect so noble that it
might sufficiently reward us who are now living, to have simply been per-
mitted to lay its corner-stone. Surely, since the West is beginning to lead
in so many things, it may aspire to leadership also in this; and since, as
Baptists, we so much have our educational mission still to fulfill, why may
we not begin at this point to plan with a larger hope and a higher aim?

A point suggests itself here which, although not belonging strictly to the
subject of this paper, is still in such an important relation with it that it
should be at least touched in a few words. One university for the West
implies one theological school, properly so called. For the systematic
course in divinity plainly belongs with those other professional courses
which are here supposed to be embraced in the scheme of the one university.
The question will then, no doubt, occur to some, Will not, under such an
arrangement, the aims and hopes of the founders of our colleges in this
regard be disappointed, and what they had provided for the instruction of
the Western Baptist ministry be turned exclusively to the interest of secular
education? In answer to this, it may be said that the college itself, with
reference to its college course purely is a school for ministerial education ;
that course being so material a preparation for the theological one, as that
the latter without the former comparatively fails of its end. But then, fur-
ther, it is submitted to the Boards of those colleges where this matter is felt
to be of vital importance, whether a most important service in the distinct
work of theological instruction — and all which can really be attempted
without overburdening the resources of the college — may not be secured
in the endowment of a theological professorship as a part of the regular
college course. Such a course, with such an amount of studj' in various
branches of theological study as should be included, and pursued from
beginning to end with the understanding that it is the student's preparation
for ministerial work, might send him forth fairly endowed for that work,
while for many brethren it would be a measure and kind of preparation


better suited to their circumstances than a more elaborate one. If it should
be said that in one Western college this plan, upon trial, has been thought
not consistent with the maintenance of a desirably high standard in the
strictly college course, it may be also said, in reply, that in another it is now
being prosecuted successfully. Should this expedient be found acceptable
and practicable, it will take away one ground of difference in the views and
plans of our educators in the West, and enable us to secure a desirable con-
centration of interest and means in the promotion of theological learning
in its stricter and larger sense.

/^he result of all that has been said, then, seems to be this : that we nave
in our Western Baptist colleges institutions fairly entitled to the name they
bear, and which, in their present condition and literary standing invite not
only the confidence of the denomination, but an energetic and generous
co-operation in the work of completing their endowments and putting them
every way in a condition of the highest efficiency; that in the schools
founded with the design of making them colleges in due time, but not as
yet arrived at that stage, we have a class of institutions, excellently adapted
to the special service they now render, and justified in anticipating a devel-
opment, in due time, most of them at least, to the rank of colleges in fact;
that, however, it is better for these schools, filling as they do a place inter-
mediate between the college and the academy, to remain as they are, even
for an indefinite period, than by any forced effort to elevate them, or any one
of them, at once to the college grade, to increase the number of partially
endowed colleges, and embarrass and hinder the general interest of higher
education ;/that it is now time for us to distinguish strictly between the
university and the college, and that while accepting the theory that colleges
must be multiplied as fast, though emphatically no faster than the demand
requires, and the resources warrant, the very nature of the university organi-
zation requires that we shall have but one, so located as in the speediest
and best way to be built up in the true proportions of a university, and
embracing within its scheme along with other professional courses our <)«e
theological school; that at the same time the college course is susceptible
of modification so as that the college also shall be for such as so desire a
school of ministerial preparation, and thus our plan for such education,
while it shall have more concentration in one direction, be made to have,
at the same time, more scope and variety in another, j

These views are submitted to the Convention, and to Baptist educators
and friends of education in the West, with a diffident consciousness how
very delicate as well as important are many of the questions involved, yet
with a frankness which the duty assigned called for, and confidence in the
indulgence and intelligence of the brethren has inspired.


In the enumeration of colleges and universities at the beginning of the
above paper, one at least ought to have been included. La Grange College,
at La Grange, in Missouri. This institution, embracing males and females,
deserves to rank with the best of the collegiate schools, although not as yet
ranking fully as a college. Its building occupies a handsome site, overlooking
the Mississippi, while as a school, under the Presidency of Dr. Cook,
it enjoys a large patronage and does excellent educational work. Elmira
College, in Illinois, was regarded by the writer of this paper as belonging
more properly to the institutions whose work is so well discussed by Dr.


Wajland; a remark which may also be made of Mount Carroll Seminary —
like the one just named, an excellent school. Another, fully ranking with
these, Rural Park Seminary, at Upper Alton, we regret to say, is announced
as suspended.

The CHAIR announced that tlie subject of the paper just read
was now open for discussion.

Dr. CUTTING wished to refer to a matter connected with the
general subject of the paper — that of the State institutions wliich
have been established in the West. These institutions are facts, and
they will exist and abide in the land. The question for us was our
relations to them. He referred to the University of Michigan. He
would not say that the Baptists of Michigan should not avail them-
selves of the advantages of this University. But have they no other
duty in the cause of Christian education.? He thought they had.
It may not be advisable to attempt a university in Michigan, but a
college we should have. If we rely upon high schools we shall fail
in securing recruits for our ministry. It was not proposed to estab-
lish academies everywhere, but only in such places as they were
needed, and where they could be supported. He referred to Phillips
Academy as an example of what an academv should be.

Prof. OLNEY, of Michigan, said that from beginning to end the
paper had his entire approbation. He regarded its suggestions as
eminently wise ; and if they were carried out he thought we should
enter upon a new and upwai'd career of progress. He made some
remarks concerning academies. It is not feeders that are so much
wanted as food at the places where students are to be fed. Give our
universities and colleges adequate endowments, and they would
exert an influence which would attract students.

Prof. TEN BROEK said that the foundation of the University
was actually laid as long ago as 1817, when Michigan contained but
six thousand people, half of whom could not read. Although it
had a beginning and a charter so long ago, it was not an actual Uni-
versity until 1841. This shows that the idea of beginning early with
our higher institutions is not a new thing. The main point is, that
an early beginning has accomplished that which has been accom-
plished in Michigan, to which reference has been made.

Prof. ALLEN, of Minnesota, spoke in relation to the University
of that State, and to the institution at Wasioja, of which he is Prin-
cipal, and to other educational matters in Minnesota. The question
is, shall Baptists have anything to do in this matter, or shall we let
things take their course, and not attempt to educate our sons and
daughters in our denominational schools.?

Prof. TEN BROEK said that it had been said that we have no
religion in the Michigan University. Do you not remember that one


of the missionaries designated last evening was converted there ? It
was all a mistake that we can not have religious influence in State

Prof. JOHN STEVENS gave some reminiscences of Denison
University. He thought that the starting out on a grand plan was
the making of that school. He was of opinion that the true way
for Baptists was to start a college in every one of the larger States ;
not an academy. The Western people wanted something with a
large and high-sounding title. He advocated the wisdom of having
colleges in every State, and he would urge their early establishment
in all the new States, and rally around them all the strength possible
to secure.

Dr. READ, of Minnesota, strongly advocated the commencing
our educational work in the new States of the West with colleges
and universities, instead of academies. They would be more suc-
cessful from the beginning. Every ambitious town would subscribe
money and lands for a college or university, while they would not
look at a proposition to establish an academy. There is something
in a name, after all. And then, colleges would create feeders for

Dr. CUTTING inquired if Dr. READ did not think that the
existence of academies would add largely to the number of college

Dr. READ replied that it undoubtedly would. He again reit-
erated that it would be much easier to obtain contributions for a
college than for an academy, even of the same grade. People at
the West want something that sounds large.

Prof. TEN BROEK, of Michigan, remarked that he need not say
how much he admired the paper which had been read, for the clear-
ness and force of its statements. Of all education he thought uni-
versity education might be most safely obtained by Baptists in State
institutions. By the time the student reaches that stage, he has
opinions formed and fixed ; while in the academy period his views
were unformed and immature. He thought that the question of
denominational universities had better be indefinitely postponed,
that we may expend our efibrts on academies and colleges.

Rev. J. N. SEELEY, of Iowa, spoke generally upon the questions
before the Convention. He was opposed to Baptists having any-
thing to do with institutions of learning under the patronage of the

The Convention then adjourned with prayer by Rev. JAMES
UPHAM, D.D., of Massachusetts.


Thursday, May 25.


After prayer by Rev. Dr. WOOD, of Upper Alton, the Convention
listened to the reading of a paper by Rev. J. BULKLEY, D.D., of
Shurtleft' College, upon the question :


By the "West" we understand the Northern portion of the Mississippi
valley and the regions bordering on these lal<es. By " Christian Institutions "
we suppose to be meant especially institutions under denominational control.
The question propounded is entirely practical and exceedingly difficult.
The ability of the church to rise to the measure of her obligation can not
be questioned. Her willingness must depend upon her clear perception of
recognized obligation. The difficulties in the way of building up these
higher institutions are not peculiar to the "West;" if we except perhaps
two elements — her youth and her consequent want of large wealth which
can only accumulate through the investments of centuries. Time was when
elements of Western character were peculiar. The richness of the virgin
soil of this valley, the low price at which the most desirable homesteads
could be obtained, the salubrity and comparative healthfulness of the
climate, the freedom of religious opinions, the essential equality of all
classes in social position, and the wonderful opportunities for political pre-
ferment, presented strong attractions to those who sought wealth or power,
position or honor, a d brought together in this valley, from all parts of the
world, elements of character most dissimilar and antagonistic. It has been
declared to be a heterogeneous mass without any homogeneous character.
Wildest confusion reigned supreme. Even now, every city, town and village
is a perfect Babel. Almost every shade of political and religious opinion in
the world is firmly held, fearlessly advocated and freely tolerated. It is the
crucible, heated seven times hotter than it is wont to be heated, into which
the Almighty chemist has cast every conceivable social, political and
religious opinion, and the resulting amalgam is as yet by no means
determined. Well will it be for the world and church, if in the experiment
the crucible itself, by the intensity of its own action, is not rent into a
thousand fragments.

But in this respect the West is no longer peculiar. The foundations of
society in the old world are broken up. Cherished political and religious
institutions are no longer revered simply because their locks are hoary
with the frosts of many centuries. Men are demanding their birth-right.
The divine right of kings is questioned and denied. The inalienable rights
of man are discussed in the very cabinets of kings and emperors. Papal
infallibility possesses no power to save a crumbling religious despotism.
The " Star of the East" guides the masses as well as the "wise men" to

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Online LibraryIll.) Western Baptist Educational Convention. (1871 : ChProceedings of the Western Baptist Educational Convention, held in the First Baptist Church, Chicago, May 24 and 25, 1871 → online text (page 7 of 13)