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Seminary notes published by the Seminary of historical and political science online

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lar organized university until the reign of
Philip Augustus, who, in 12 15, prescribed
various regulations for the schools of Paris
and gave the scholars many privileges;
they and their professors were made
amenable only to the ecclesiastical tribu-
nal, and about 1250 took the name of
University. In the thirteenth century the
teaching had advanced so far that the
university was divided into four faculties —
of theology, of canon law, of medicine,
and of arts. It is estimated that at times
during this century, the students numbered
from fifteen to twenty thousand, who,
because of their student privileges, were
not subject to the authority of the magis-
trates of the city, could not be arrested
for debt, and frequently proved a disturb-
ing element in city life because of their
quarrelsome disposition and drunkenness.
Yet the university was not without honor
in that it furnished seven popes in the
thirteenth century alone, and in fact in
every century there were distinguished
men who had studied at Paris.

The universities of Italy were the first
to receive the impetus to learning engen-
dered by the Crusades and the new
acquaintance with the East. Especially
distinguished among them was the Univer-



sity of Bologija, noted for its thorough
study of the Roman law, and the applica-
tion of that law to new conditions. It
was to the professors of this University
that Erederic Barbarossa appealed for a
definition of the Imperial rights and pow-
ers in his famous controversies with Pope
Adrian IV over the beneficium and with
the Lombard cities.

Cordova was the Moorish university city
in the Spanish peninsula and was a more
ancient seat of learning than other Euro-
pean cities. Here were studied the nat-
ural sciences and mathematics, and to this
University many students came from the
northern countries, although the Moorish
nation was regarded as a fit subject of
conquest for the Christian sword. Little
is known of the life of students in either
Bologna or Cordova, yet it is certain that
the government of these Universities was
more firm than that of Paris or Oxford,
and that the loose method of life and law-
lessness of the latter was not usually found
in the former.

Oxford, by the time of the thirteenth
century, was known throughout all Europe
as a great University. The studies pur-
sued were much the same as in the Uni-
versity of Paris. Buildings there were
none, or at least none set apart exclusively
for school purposes. The scholars were
huddled together in bare lodging houses,
attending lectures in church porches and
house porches. They quarreled with each
other and with the townsmen. Feuds,,
begun between families years before, were
oftentimes fought out by the youth who
came to Oxford. Many of the students
were of noble blood and these brought
retainers with them, who took their share
in their masters' brawls. Drunkenness
and gaming were no uncommon evil, and
the Mayor and Chancellor were utterly
powerless to command order among the
seething mob of students. Yet many of



36



SEMINARY NOTES.



the students were so poor that they were
compelled to support themselves by beg-
ging, and some of the teachers were not
much better off. Such students had little
time for the quarrels of their more opulent
fellows, and in Oxford as elsewhere, there
was always a set of industrious and earnest
workers who set the intellectual mark of
the university and who were the recognized
leaders in all new thought. The charac-
teristic of Oxford during the thirteenth
century was its intense life — a life exhaust-
ing itself sometimes in defense of that
which was bad, but more frequently in
propagation of that which was good.

The effect of university life and teach-
ing on civilization may, speaking in gen-
eral, be described as twofold. In the first
place it did much to overthrow the feudal
ideal. Feudalism rested on a hard and
fast distinction between classes, and in
fact upon a sort of separation between
even the members of one class. In the
university all students were placed upon
an equal basis. The only superiority was
the superiority of intellect. It made no
difference from what noble blood a youth
might have sprung, if he did not show
ability he was not considered of so much
importance as the begging student Avho
was a noted scholar. Such a manner of
life could not fail to break down the false
barriers erected by feudalism, and in the
same way the enmities between nations
were forgotten among the university stu-
dents gathered from all nations.

In the second place, it made the intel-
lectual world skeptical of the dogmas of
the Church. This skepticism was a neces-
sary prelude to a reformation of church
doctrine and j^ractice. As men became
better educated they saw the necessity for
reasonableness and harmony in all things,
and the Church seemed in many ways to
have become burdened with unharmonious
teachings. The spirit of the university
was a spirit of honest inquiry, at least
during the thirteenth century, and was
therefore beneficial, even though its first
tendency was toward skepticism. Its later



result was the attempt to reform, and that
reform was to be undertaken by intelli-
gent, educated men.



Geography and History.
"ArPHE subject before the Seminary on



Friday, October 28th, was the Rela-
tion of Geography to History.

Mr. Orr gave a short discussion of the
general effect of geography upon history.
He said: ■ We find that in the beginning
of the world the influence of geography
upon history was less marked than at the
present day, since the ingenuity of man
has found a means of surmounting most
of the obstacles in the way of civilization
and progress. Under similar circumstan-
ces the moral, intellectual and social con-
ditions of different classes of people will
become similar. That environment has
much to do with religion is found to be
true in India, Central America and Europe,
where the minds of the people are affected
by the phenomena of nature. Man is the
greatest enemy which man has to overcome.
Tunnels may be made through great
mountains which bar progress, great rivers
may be bridged, and all natural obstacles
overcome. History is a record of man's
achievements, his labor and the religion
he believes. Geographical relations had
much to do with the discovery of America,
on account of the great desire to find a
nearer route to India. In fact, in every
event history and geography are closely
related and cannot be separated.

Mr. Cramer then followed with a dis-
cussion of the effects of geography on the
settlement of America. It would have
been impossible to develop America by
colonization on any great scale in a prim-
itive state of the mechanic arts. To
coloaize from the west eastward would
have been almost impossible since the
Pacific has few good harbors and the
Cordilleran range of mountains extends
almost to the sea. On the contrary the
Atlantic afforded far better facilities. The
first permanent settlement flourished on
account of the fertile soil so well adapted



SEMINARY NOTES.



37



to the cultivation of tobacco. As settle-
ment progressed it followed the rivers into
the interior, and its movements may be
traced in almost every epoch to the char-
acter of the soil and the facility of
transportation to the sea board. Since
the settlements in America were based
primarily upon agricultural advantages,
the influence of soil, climate and rain fall
has been very marked.

In a paper upon the influence of Geog-
raphy on the Subsequent History of
the United States, Mr. Howell discussed,
first, the part geography, and especially
climate, played in bringing about the
civil war, secondly, the part geogra-
phy played in the establishment of a
protective tariff. The topographical con-
struction of the United States fits it to be
the political home of one people, one
nation. The immigration to this country
at the time of its settlement came chiefly
from homogeneous English stock but the
influence of climate upon character after
their settlement is very noticeable. The
southern climate conduced to indolence
and therefore led the southerners to
countenance slavery. The rigor of the
northern climate, on the other hand, ani-
mated the inhabitants to ideas of indi-
vidualism. Thus heat and cold divided
the American people. The result of this
separation was the secession of the south-
ern states, the contest for supremacy and
the abolition of slavery. The develop-
ment of the doctrine of protection in this
country is due to the fact that physical
conditions are so varied that we are able
to produce nearly every needed commod-
ity at home. This being the case, it has
always been thought advisable, by a large
party, to cut off the competition of already
established industries, and cheaper labor
for the purpose of making the country in-
dustrially independent.

Adelia Alice Humphrey,

Reporter.



Public Ownership of the Telegraph.

■^rPHE Seminary was called to order at
''^ 4 p. M., on Friday, Nov. 4th, Prof.
Blackmar in the chair. The work of the
Seminary consisted of a brief review of
the magazines for the month, and a paper
by Mr. James Owen, on The Ownership
of the Telegraph, followed by an informal
discussion of the subject by Prof. Black-
mar, Prof. Hodder, Mr. Owen, Mr. Orr
and others.

Mr. Owen, in his paper, discussed first
the arguments in favor of, then against
the government ownership of the tele-
graph, substantially as follows:

I. The telegraph is a natural monopoly
and, therefore, according to Prof. Ely and
those of like opinions, should be owned
by the government.

n. The people would be best served
if it were owned and operated by the gov-
ernment on the same plan as the Post
Office.

III. The example of Great Britain is
cited as an argument in favor of govern-
ment ownership.

IV. The work of operating could be
performed by the Post Office department,
by increasing the number of employees,
according to Mr. Clark, only five thou-
sand.

V. The signal and war service demand
and prove the practicability of govern-
ment ownership.

VI. Private ownership excludes the
United States from the International Tele-
graph Union.

The means proposed for the govern-
ment to obtain control of the telegraph
are: First, that the government should
build new lines in order to regulate prices;
second, for the government to purchase
existing lines; and third, for the govern-
ment to establish a Federal Committee to
control rates.

In 1866 a bill providing for government
control of the telegraph was passed, but
was immediately repealed. In 1870 the
Hon. C. C. Washburn of Wisconsin, intro-



38



SEMINARY NOTES.



duced a bill into the House, endorsed by
the Postmaster General and by the Presi-
dent in his annual message of 1871, which
is typical of later bills. It provided, first,
for the absolute control of the telegraph
by the United States, after a specified
time; second, for the appraisement and
purchase of the property of all existing
telegraph companies; third, for a rate of
one cent per word, including address and
signature, for all messages, regardless of
distance; the creation of a Telegraphic
Bureau in the Post Office department; the
salaries of officers; the negotiation of con-
tracts with foreign companies for the use
of their lines for foreign messages; and
for providing efficient employees.

The "Hubbard Bill" provided for the
incorporation of a private company with
special privileges, which should transmit
messages at rates fixed by the government.

The government has been offered the
telegraphic patents, once by Prof. Morse,
and again twenty years later; but in each
instance refused to purchase. The tele-
graph companies have received no appro-
priations from the government, except a
small one to Prof. Morse; but has been
developed by private enterprise and has
been heavily taxed. Under these condi-
tions, it does not seem just to deprive pri-
vate enterprise of its property by legal
force. Again, in spite of a general advance
in wages, telegraphic rates are now less
than half what they were in 1866.

A comparison of American and Euro-
pean lines favors the former in services
and facilities, as the following figures
show: In 187 1, Europe, with a population
of 300,000,00, had 175,000 miles of lines,
474,000 miles of wires and 15,500 offices;
while the United States, with a population
of 40,000,000, had 80,000 miles of line,
180,000 miles of wires, and 6,300 offices.
According to the census of 1880, the
facilities in the United States have been
doubled, showing a much greater increase
than those of Europe.

It is almost impossible to make a com-
parison of rates, owing to the different



ways of making charges, and the inter-
national relays. At a very low estimate,
it would cost the government about ^100,-
000,000 to purchase existing lines and
build necessary extensions, even if the
existing lines could be purchased at their
real value, which is highly improbable.

Cheap rates and increased taxes are
correlative, for, to cheapen rates would
produce a deficit, resulting in increased
taxation. The following table shows the
deficit in European government-owned
lines:

Hungary, deficit 1881, ^72,060.59

Belgium, " *' 87,522.25

Denmark, " " 21,790.89

Netherlands, " " 149,463.02

Norway, " " 30,993.60

Roumania, , " " 131,079.59

Great Britain, " 1889, 1,325,915.00

These figures clearly prove that there

will be a deficit, which, plus the interest

on the necessary investment, would amount

to at least ^10,000,000, which must be

made up by taxation. As only three per

cent, of the people use the telegraph, and

eighty-eight per cent, of the business is-

commercial, this' vyould be taxing the

many for the benefit of the few.

Another consideration is that of man-
agement. It is generally agreed that pri-
vate management is more economical than
government; is much more efficient; more
reliable, and can be held to account for
its shortcomings.

Public ownership of the telegraph is
inconsistent with the theory and mainten-
ance of Republican institutions and is a
great stride toward paternalism — toward
the state described by Edward Bellamy.

But one of the greatest objections to
government ownership of the telegraph is
that it would offer an almost unlimited
opportunity for corruption, favoritism and
political patronage. If Mr. Washburn's
scheme were carried out, 25,000 offices
with at least 50,000 employees would J^e
required to perform the service. A use-
less extension of lines would be made to
satisfy office seekers; the service could be



SEMINARY NOTES.



39



^lsed in police regulations and any message
could be held; which is entirely incompat-
ible with a democratic form of govern-
ment and savors of despotism. The tele-
graph could also be used by the dominant
political party, to the detriment of its
rivals, thus producing still greater corrup-
tion in the civil service.

It is asserted that it would much facili-
tate the signal service to have government
ownership of the telegraph; this may be
true, but it could be done only at the ex-
pense of other business. The telegraph
lines are chartered under state charters,
which, according to the constitution. Con-
gress has no power to annul.

It is argued that the Western Union is
in combination with the Associated Press
to preserve a monopoly of news for a few
papers; but such is not the case. The
Associated Press is a limited combination
of papers which receives a low rate for
messages because it transmits a large
amount of matter.

It is suggested, also, that reduced rates
would so increase business that no loss
"would result; but the statistics of the
Western Union and of the government-
owned lines of Europe show that the per-
centage of expenditures increases faster
than the percentage of receipts as the
business increases from a reduction of
rates.

The newspapers reflect the opinions of
the people; yet, out of twenty-five thou-
sand daily and weekly newspapers in the



United States, only one hundred and for-
ty-four are quoted as being in favor of the
"limited plan," the first step toward gov-
ernment ownership, and seventy-seven
newspapers quoted as being in favor of
government ownership not included in the
first number. Out of over nine hundred
boards of trade and chambers of com-
merce, only twenty have adopted resolu-
tions favoring government ownership.

The decreasing number of bills favoring
government ownership that are introduced
into Congress shows that the people do
not demand it, hence there is no reason
why the government should attempt to
assume control of the telegraph at present.

After the reading of the paper, Mr. Orr
made a short address in favor of govern-
ment ownership, stating that he believed
it to be in harmony with the spirit of the
constitution and with the spirit of the age,
and quoted Prof. Ely as being strongly in
favor of government ownership.

Mr. Owen stated that Switzerland is the
only country of Europe having lower tele-
graphic rates than the United States.

Prof. Blackmar and Prof. Hodder then
discussed the subject, drawing a compari-
son of the postal laws and the workings of
the Post Office with the possible laws and
workings of a Telegraph Bureau.

Prof. Hodder stated that we have not
sufficient data to make a comparison of
European and American telegraphic rates.
J. L. Harrington, Reporter.







SEMINARY NOTES.



- SEMINARY - NOTES. -

PUBLISHED ON THE FIRST DAY OF OCTOBER,

NOVEMBER, DECEMBER, FEBRUARY,

MARCH, APRIL AND MAY,

BY

the seminary of
Historical and Political ■ Science.

State University, Lawr^ce, Kansas.
Frank W. Blackmar. )
Frank H. Hodder, \ ' ' ' Editors.
Ephrahn D. Adai7is, j

Terras. Ten Cents a Nurabcr, - Fifty Cents a Year

'p-r' HE purpose of this publication is to increase the
((3) interest in the study of historical science in the
^^ University and throughout the State, to afford
means of regular communication with corresponding
members of the Seminary and with the general pub-
lic—especially with the Alujnni of the University, and
to presjive at least the outlines ot carefully prepared
papers and addresses. The number of pages in each
Issue will be increased as rapidly as the subscription
list will warrant. The entire revenue of the publi-
cation will be applied to its maintenance.
Address all subscriptions and communications to

F. W. BLACKMAR,

Lawrence, Kansas.

The Association for the Promotion of
Profit Sharing has just issued the first
number of a quarterly magazine, called
Employer and Employed, to be devoted to
that mode of industrial co-operation. Mr.
N. P. Oilman, the author of the best
Axnerican book on the subject, is the
editor, and Geo. H. Ellis, 141 Franklin
Street, Boston, the publisher. The mag-
azine is modest in proportions and in price,
but is crowded with interesting matter.
Among other articles are reports on the
condition of profit sharing in England,
France and Germany, and notes on the
literature of the subject. In view of the
great importance of the labor problem,
every device which promises a possible or
even a partial solution, should receive
careful attention.



which has been called the arsenal from
which all arguments for protection have
ever since been drawn, Gallatin's ''Free
Trade Memorial," and Walker's ''Treas-
ury Report for 1845," the best arguments
on that side of the question, and two
speeches on the tariff of 1824 — one by
Webster and the other by Clay. The
special value of the collection lies in the
fact that it exhibits the different phases of
the tariff question at different periods in
our history. The documents are not eas-
ily accessible, and their reprint in this
f-orm is a service to all students of the
subject, among whom should be included
all American citizens. The volume is
issued for the small sum of one dollar.



Professor Taussig, of Harvard Uni-
versity, has issued a reprint of important
"State Papers and Speeches on the
Tariff." The volume contains Hamilton's
celebrated "Report on Manufactures,"



The department of History and Soci-
ology sustains a Historical Seminary, of
which most of the students taking work in
the department are members. It is a
question whether all of these members
derive the benefit which should be obtained
from the Seminary, and the fault undoubt-
edly lies in the fact that the subjects dis-
cussed are not sufficiently studied before
the Seminary hour arrives. It is not
meant that those students who have sub-
jects assigned to them, and who prepare
papers, do not devote time to the subject
matter, but that, perhaps, half the mem-
bers come to the meeting without having,
in any way, considered that which is to be
discussed. The papers are usually care-
fully prepared and well arranged, so tliat
the subject is fairly opened for discussion.
But the mere listening to good reports is
not sufficient. Every member of tlie
Seminary should have read something
upon the topic under discussion, and be
prepared to listen intelligently to the re-
port and to ask pertinent questions or
make pertinent remarks. After a report
is finished, the person making that report,
whether a student, an instructor, or a cor-
responding member, is required by the
rules of the Seminary to stand ready to
answer any questions which may be asked
him, or to reply to any criticism which



SEMINARY NOTES.



41



may be made. To ask questions, however,
without knowing something about the sub-
ject matter of the report, is both foolish
and a waste of time. Of course it is not
expected that either the reporter or the
hearer will know all that is to be known
about the matter, but at least to have some
well grounded idea upon it is essential.
It is essential also that every member,
whether he desires to ask questions or not,
should have read something upon the topic
up for discussion. It is not difficult to
obtain such reading. In the library may
be found magazines or papers, in some of
wh'ch concise statements or essays are
given upon most of the subjects brought
up in the Seminary. In case it should
happen that the subject for discussion is
not to be found in these magazines or
papers, the student has but to speak to the
instructors, or to the members who are to
report, to be referred to such works in the
library as will furnish him with some of
the desired information. This criticism
is not directed to the majority of the
members of the Seminary, but to those
who apparently attend the Seminary merely
because of the passing interest in the re-
ports made. Something of value is to be
had from listening to reports without any
previous knowledge of the subject matter
on the part of the hearer, but that- is not
the best benefit to be derived from the
Seminary.



The celebration of the 400th anniver-
sary of the discovery of America has
brought with it an immense addition to
the literature relating to Columbus. Some
time ago Harrisse catalogued 600 books
relating to Columbus exclusively, and the
last year or two must have added all told
a hundred more. No man ever lived
about whose character there has been a
wider divergence of opinion than there is
about the character of Columbus. The
popular notion of the man is derived
largely from Washington Irving's life,
written in 1828. This was before the time
of critical biographical writing. Until



within a comparatively recent time writers
of biographies aimed to make heroes of
their subjects. Editors of collected writ-
ings carefully omitted or altered lines
which were likely to injure the writer's
reputation. Authors of biography omit-
ted to mention or touched very lightly the
faults of their subjects.

More recently biographers have made a
critical study of the lives and times of the
men they write about and attempt to give
an impartial estimate of their character.
The reaction against hero worship has,
perhaps, in some cases gone too far, so
that too little space is given to the virtues
and too much to the faults of actors in the
world's history. It is surely a difficult
thing to gauge accurately the differences in
the moral standards of different periods,
and to ascertain in estimates of character
how much allowance ought to be made on
account of the difference. Irving's life of
Columbus was clearly a biography of the
old style. He praises Columbus for his
magnanimity, his generosity, his skill in
controlling others, his powerful judgment



Online LibraryKansas. UniversitySeminary notes published by the Seminary of historical and political science → online text (page 40 of 62)