Washington Gardner.

History of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) online

. (page 7 of 74)
Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 74)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

in each township "lnr tlic niaiiitenance of the public schools within such
township." In Ohio antl Indiana, the primary school lands in each
township had been "granted to the inhabitants of such townships
for the use of schools.""

Such lands in Illinois had been "granted to the inhabitants of such
townships for the use of schools. "'*

The school lands of ^Michigan were excepted from sale by the act of
March 2(3th, 1804, as "section sixteen shall be reserved in each township
for the support of schools within the same."'"

]Mr. Grary clearly realized the weakness and dangers of the federal
policy. He was also familiar with the barren and disastrous results of
that policy in the other states previously organized out of the Northwest
Territory.-" He conceived, formulated and secured the adoption of a
polic}' which avoided the weakness and dangers of the old S3'stem and
secured the inestinuible benefits of the new. Time and experience have
demonstrated the wisdom of the Crary or the Michigan policy — it has
been accepted and followed by the federal government, and by all the
states receiving primary school lands, which have since been admitted
to the Union.-'

Congress adopted this system of land tenure in its magnificent grant
for agricultural colleges. July 2. 1862, vested the title in such lands in
the several states as trustees, and re(iuired that the proceeds thereof be
perpetually reserved as an endowment fund and that the interest thereof
should forever be used for the "endowment, support and maintenance"
of such schools.^-

16 Laws of Michigan for 1836, pp. 39, 49.

IT 2 U. S. Statutes at Large, 173, and 3 U. S. Statutes at La

IS 3 U. S. Statutes at Large, 428.

19XJ. S. Laws, 1789-1818, p. 598.

20 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1880,

21 Mich. Semi-Ontennial Address, Sill. pp. 199, 20(1.

22 12 V. S. Statutes at Large. .103; 2 Brightlv's Digest of V


Thus Isaac E. Crary though dead, rendered invaluable services in
securing the endowment for the Michigan Agricultural College. Mr.
Crary 's great measure, for the first time set down in Section 1 of Article
X of the Constitution of 183.5, providing for au independent department
of public instruction with a constitutional officer in the State govern-
ment, has been copied by nearly all the states, and the Federal Bureau
of Education is an outgrowth of this measure. Mr. Crary 's wise states-
manship not only secured aud provided for our magnificent school funds,
but being followed by other states, it has been the approximate cause of
securing the magnificent school funds in those states adopting his system.
The seminary or university lands in Ohio were conveyed directly to the
universities or companies, receiving such lands for the purposes of the
universities and the title was never vested in the State. Such lands
in Indiana and Illinois were respectively "vested in the legislature of
said State to be appropriated solely to the use of such seminary by said
legislature." - ' One township of our university land was excepted from
sale by said act of March 26, 1804, as a township ' ' for the use of a semi-
nary of learning."

It will be observed that in these states, the seminary and university
lands and the proceeds thereof were placed in a general fund, available
for any seminary or university purpose whatever in the discretion of
the legislature. Mr. Crary secured a radical change in the nature of these
funds. Section 3 of Article X of the constitution of 1835 provided that
the proceeds from such lands "shall be and remain a permanent fund
for the purpose of said university. ' ' The ordinance of the constitutional
convention setting forth the conditions upon which the Territory was
willing to be admitted into the Union provided that the university lands
should be conveyed to the State and "shall be appropriated solely for
the use and support of such university in the manner as the legislature
may prescribe," and the congressional ordinance of June 23rd, 1826, in
the counter proposition to Michigan used the language above quoted.
These words were written by Isaac E. Crary and were crystallized into
constitutional enactment and congressional compact by the magic of his
genius. These words converted the general funds under the Indiana and
Illinois policy into a specific and perpetual endowment fund for the
Michigan university.

This endowment fund sustained the university for thirty years of its
most critical history, and enabled it to make a name, and to acquire a
fame as a great educational institution, which attracted to it and over-
whelmed it with students and compelled the legislature to, come to its
relief and provide means to accommodate the ever increasing hosts of
students from all over the world, knocking at its doors for admission.
Jlichigan university thus founded and endowed, to-day not only stands
in flic fii-st rank of such institutions, but is the acknowledged model of
all the tloiii-isliing state universities in the west.

It must not be forgotten that Mr. Crary completed his great work for
education in the constitutional convention and Congress prior to June

at Large 220, 428; 1 Brightly 's Digest of Laws of 1815-1819,



2(itli, lS3(i. Where was John 1). Pi.'iee. the alleged louiuler vi the j)ul)lie
school system, during the time tliat ^Ir. Crary was doing this work?
He was an ohseure missionary in the wilds of JMichigau, unknown out-
side the little hamlet where he resided and hy a few scattering pioneers
in the vicinity, who were fortunate enough to receive liis ministrations.

Mr. Crary gave to Michigan three measures which have produced
our magnificent school system, viz-.

First — He created a centralized department of public instruction with
a constitutional officer at its head in the state government.

::>'rcnd — He vested the entire primary school funds in the State to be
held by the State as trustee and re(iuircd the income thereof to be appor-
tioned for "the support of schools throughout the State" forever.

Third — He converted a general fund, available for any university pur-
pose into a specific endowment fund for Michigan university, and vested
the title of .such funds in the State as sole trustee and required the in-
come thereof to be perpetually used for the maintenance of said univer-
sity. Mr. Crary grasped the prin(>iple that centralization was essential
for prompt and effectual power, and he incorporated that principle into
his measures for educational supervision, tenure of educational lands
and administration of educational funds. While the department of edu-
cation was borrowed from the centralized Prussian system, ^Ir. Crary
adapted it to a republican form of local self-government. In the tenure
of educational lands, he rejected the assumption that the township was
the unit of all government, and that the township meeting was the source
of all political power, which up to his time, had molded the federal
policy ; and he made the State sovereign over the public schools and of
educational funds. Truly ilr. Crary po.s.sessed the understanding to
conceive, the wisdom to direct and the hand to execute the essential
elements of successful statesmanship.

The work and statcsiiiMnshi|i of Isaac E. Ciary have thus far been con-
sidered in his legislative ca])acit\-. as a iiu-mlicr of the constitutional con-
vention of 1835 and as an unseated member of the first session of the
Twenty-fourth Congress, but his subse

Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 74)