Bernard Christian Steiner.

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the suit, and Maryland's Dartmouth College Case was decided in June,
1838, entirely in favor of the Regents. The court held that the act of
1825 was void, since it was "a judicial act, a sentence that condemned
without a hearing. The Legislature has no right, without the assent of a
Corporation, to alter its charter, or take from it any of its franchises
or property." The Trustees would not yield at once and, in March, 1839,
presented a petition to the Legislature, praying it not to pass an act
requiring them to give up the property to the Regents. The memorial was
referred to a joint committee, which reported a bill restoring the
property to the Regents. The bill was enacted and the Regents have since
ruled. During the supremacy of the Trustees, the Faculty of the Arts and
Sciences was organized. They contemplated activity in 1821, and issued a
circular, which drew down on them the wrath of Professor Hoffman,
inasmuch as they "contemplated 'academic' instruction" not intended by
the charter. The founders, he said, intended that instruction should be
conveyed by lectures and that no other form of instruction should be
allowed. The discussion which followed seems to show that he had the
idea of having work carried on, like that done by graduate students

But nothing was done, apparently, until Baltimore College was annexed in
1830. That institution was chartered on January 7, 1804,[20] and was the
development of an academy kept by James Priestley, the first president,
on Paul's Lane (St. Paul Street). "It was hoped that it would, together
with the other valuable seminaries of education in the same city and in
the State, become adequate to the wants and wishes of our citizens," and
from the proceeds of a lottery, the grant of which was an easy way for a
State to be benevolent, a plain but convenient building was erected on
Mulberry street.[21]

It is very doubtful if it ever graduated any students, and we learn in
1830 that "the celebrity and, in some cases, the superior existing
advantages of other institutions have prevented the accomplishment of
this object." Still a school had been kept up continuously, and from
time to time, we catch glimpses of its lectures, &c. In January, 1830, a
joint petition of the Trustees of the University of Maryland and of
Baltimore College to the Legislature "proposed the charter of Baltimore
College shall be surrendered to the State, on the condition that the
property belonging to the college shall be invested in the trustees of
the University of Maryland." The petition was granted,[22] and in 1832,
we learn that "the Baltimore College *** has now been merged in the
University of Maryland and constitutes the chair of Ancient

On October 1, 1830, the Trustees issued a prospectus, from which we
learn that it was intended "to maintain an institution on the most
enlarged scale of usefulness and responsibility," and that there was a
"necessity for the proposed organization of a department in the
University of Maryland, exclusively collegiate in its system, requiring
an advanced state of classical and scientific attainments for admission
to its lectures, calculated to conduct its pupils through the highest
branches of a liberal education and to afford them advantages similar to
what may be obtained in the distant Universities of this country and
Europe." A course of study equal to that of any college of the country
was announced, and a brilliant Faculty appointed; but the time was not
yet come for a great college in Baltimore and the institution
languished away. In 1843, the Commissioners of Public Schools petitioned
to have it transferred to the city as a High School, and in 1852, it had
only one teacher and 36 scholars, a mere boys' school.

In 1854 it was reorganized as the "School of Letters under the Faculty
of Arts and Sciences," with Rev. E.A. Dalrymple, formerly of the
Episcopal Theological Seminary at Alexandria, as its head. On paper the
course was fairly complete, and the Faculty an able one, and there were
graduates in 1859, '60, '61, and '63. The course was to be a three
years' one; for "the studies of Freshman year will be pursued in the
preparatory department, where experience has shown they may be attended
with greater advantage." Gradually students fell off, it became a mere
boys' school, and finally Dr. Dalrymple was all that was left of the
"School of Letters" and the "Faculty of the Arts and Sciences," and at
his death, both formally became extinct.

With the restoration of the property to the Regents, the classes in the
medical school increased to a size somewhat like that attained in years
previous to 1825, although, owing to the opening of new schools, they
never quite equalled it. During the war of the Rebellion, the school
suffered from the loss of southern patronage; but at its close, students
came back and the school took on fresh life. It has always been in the
front rank; first of all American medical schools it recognized
Gynecology as a separate branch of instruction, and it was second in
making practical Anatomy a compulsory study. With the session of 1891 it
will require a three years' graded course of all candidates for degrees.

In 1850 the Hon. John P. Kennedy, statesman and author, was chosen
provost, and on his death in 1870, the Hon. S. Teackle Wallis was made
his successor and he now fills the office with honor.

The Faculty of Law revived the Law School in the beginning of 1870, with
a class of 25. An efficient faculty has caused a steady increase,
until, in 1890, there were 101 students in the three years' course. The
instruction is given by lectures, examinations, and moot-courts. In
1884, the Law Department moved from its former quarters in the old
Baltimore College building on Mulberry Street, to a new building erected
for it on the University property on Lombard Street, next to the
building of the Medical Department.

In 1882, the University of Maryland obtained from the Legislature
authority to open a Dental Department.[24] In 1837, the first Dental
Lectures in America had been delivered before the Medical Students of
the University, and it was quite fitting that there should be a dental
school connected with it. The first class numbered 60, the last 132, and
in eight years there have been 250 graduates. This fact and the further
one that twice has it been found necessary to make large additions to
the buildings of the department on Green Street, adjoining those of the
Medical School, will show how rapid has been its growth.

The University has, at present, flourishing departments of Medicine,
Law, and Dentistry, and worthily maintains the reputation of thorough
and careful training, which it has gained in its history of eighty


In Maryland was the first Methodist Church in America, and it was
natural that here too should be the first Methodist College in the
world. There was no permanent organization of this denomination in the
United States, until John Wesley, on the petition of the American
churches, consecrated Rev. Thomas Coke, Superintendent for the United
States, in 1784. Dr. Coke sailed directly from England, and arrived in
New York on November 3, 1784. He thence traveled southward and, on the
15th of the same month, met Francis Asbury at Dover, Delaware. At this
first meeting, Coke suggested the founding of an institution for higher
education, to be under the patronage of the Methodist Church.[25] This
was not a new idea to Asbury; for, four years previous to this meeting,
John Dickins had made the same suggestion to him. The earlier idea had
contemplated only a school, on the plan of Wesley's at Knightwood,
England, and for that purpose, a subscription had been opened in North
Carolina in 1781.[26]

Coke's suggestion, to have a college, was favorably received and, at the
famous Christmas Conference at Baltimore in 1784, the Church was
formally organized, with Coke and Asbury as Bishops, and the first
Methodist College was founded. Thus the denomination which has increased
to be the largest in the United States, recognized the paramount
importance of education at its very foundation.[27] To the new
institution, the name of Cokesbury was given, in honor of the two
Bishops, from whose names the title was compounded. For this College,
collections were yearly taken, amounting in 1786 to £800 and implying
great self-denial by the struggling churches ill-supplied with

As early as January 3, 1785, only two weeks after the College was
decided on, its managers were able to report that £1,057 had been
subscribed, a sum that put the enterprise on a firm footing. The site
was next to be chosen, and Abingdon in Harford County was pitched upon.
Of the 15,000 Methodists in the Union in 1784, over one-third were in
Maryland, and hence, it had the best claim for the College, and the
beauty of the situation of Abingdon charmed Coke so much that he
determined upon placing the College there. It was also a place easy of
access, being on the direct stage line from Baltimore to Philadelphia
and near the Chesapeake Bay. Bishop Coke, the most zealous advocate of
the College, contracted for the building materials; but was prevented
from being present at the laying of the corner-stone. Bishop Asbury,
however, was present and preached a sermon on Psalms 78, verses 4 to
8.[29] In this sermon, "he dwelt on the importance of a thoroughly
religious education, and looked forward to the effects, which would
result to the generality, to come from the streams which should spring
from this opening fountain of sanctified learning." The building was
built of brick, one hundred feet in length and forty in width, faced
east and west, and stood on "the summit and centre of six acres of land,
with an equal proportion of ground on each side." It was said to be in
architecture "fully equal, if not superior, to anything of the kind in
the country." Dormitory accommodations were provided in the building;
but it was intended that "as many of the students as possible, shall be
lodged and boarded in the town of Abingdon among our pious friends,"[30]
Gardening, working in wood in a building called the "Taberna Lignaria,"
bathing under supervision of a master, walking, and riding were the only
outdoor exercises permitted. The students were prohibited "from
indulging in anything which the world calls play. Let this rule be
observed with the strictest nicety; for those who play when they are
young, will play when they are old."

In 1785 the Bishops issued a "Plan for Erecting a College intended to
advance Religion in America." It is quite long and many of its
provisions are very quaint. From it we learn that Cokesbury is intended
"to receive for education and board the sons of the elders and preachers
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, poor orphans, and the sons of the
subscribers and other friends. It will be expected that all our friends,
who send their children to the college, will, if they be able, pay a
moderate sum for their education and board; the others will be taught
and boarded and, if our finances allow it, clothed gratis. The
institution is also intended for the benefit of our young men, who are
called to preach, that they may receive a measure of that improvement,
which is highly expedient as a preparation for public service." Teachers
of ancient languages and of English will be provided, and no necessary
branch of literature shall be omitted. "Above all, especial care shall
be taken that due attention be paid to the religion and morals of the
children, and to the exclusion of all such as continue of an
ungovernable temper." "The expense of such an undertaking will be very
large, and the best means we could think of, at our late conference, to
accomplish our design, was to desire the assistance of all those in
every place who wish well to the cause of God. The students will be
instructed in English, Latin, Greek, logic, rhetoric, history,
geography, natural philosophy, and astronomy. To these languages and
sciences shall be added, when the finances of our college will admit of
it, the Hebrew, French, and German languages. But our first object shall
be, to answer the designs of _Christian_ education, by forming the minds
of the youth, through divine aid, to wisdom and holiness by instilling
into their minds the principles of true religion - speculative,
experimental, and practical - and training them in the ancient way, that
they may be rational, spiritual Christians. We have consented to receive
children of seven years of age, as we wish to have the opportunity of
teaching 'the young idea how to shoot' and gradually forming their
minds, through the divine blessing, almost from their infancy, to
holiness and heavenly wisdom, as well as human learning. We shall
rigidly insist on their rising early in the morning (five a.m.), and we
are convinced by constant observation and experience, that it is of vast
importance, both to body and mind.

"We prohibit play in the strongest terms, and in this we have the two
greatest writers on the subject that, perhaps, any age has produced (Mr.
Locke and Mr. Rousseau) of our sentiments; for, though the latter was
essentially mistaken in his religious system, yet his wisdom in other
respects and extensive genius are indisputably acknowledged. The
employments, therefore, which we have chosen for the recreation of the
students are such as are of greatest public utility: - agriculture and

"In conformity to this sentiment, one of the completest poetic pieces of
antiquity (the Georgics of Virgil) is written on the subject of
husbandry; by the perusal of which and submission to the above
regulations, the students may delightfully unite the theory and practice

There is something extremely ludicrous in the idea of making the average
student delight in spending his leisure hours in farming, by means of a
study of the Georgics in the original. But we can hardly laugh at these
men, they were too much in earnest. To return to the circular, "The four
guineas a year for tuition, we are persuaded cannot be lowered, if we
give the students that finished education, which we are determined they
shall have. And, though our principal object is to instruct them in the
doctrines, spirit, and practice of Christianity, yet we trust that our
college will, in due time, send forth men that will be a blessing to
their country in every laudable office and employment of life, thereby
uniting the two greatest ornaments of human beings which are too often
separated: _deep learning_ and _genuine piety_."

As soon as the building was under roof, a preparatory school was opened
and the Trustees applied to John Wesley for a President. He suggested a
Rev. Mr. Heath, and this suggestion was accepted on December 23,
1786.[31] His inauguration occurred a year later and was a grand affair.
Asbury presided on each of the three days of the ceremony, and his text
on the second day, "O man of God, there is death in the pot,"[32] was
looked on by the superstitious, in time to come, as a presage of
disaster. The faculty was filled up and all seemed to bid fair for
prosperity; but Mr. Heath remained in charge of the College less than a
year, resigning because of certain charges of insufficiency, which seem
rather trival. Another professor left to go into business and Asbury's
soul was tried by these "heavy tidings."

The good Bishop was indefatigable in his care of Cokesbury. His visits
were frequent, and while there, he was very active, examining the
pupils, preaching, and arranging the affairs, both temporal and
spiritual. Abingdon became a centre of Methodism, families moved there
to enjoy the educational advantages, and the Conference regularly
visited the College, coming over from Baltimore for that purpose.

Dr. Jacob Hall, of Abingdon, was the second President, and had under him
a faculty of three professors and a chaplain. The school prospered and
had public exhibitions of its students' proficiency from time to time.
It is doubtful if sufficient care was exercised in the expenditure of
money and, in December, 1790, the Trustees felt obliged to contract a
loan of £1000. The charitable contributions fell off, and Asbury was
forced to go from house to house in Baltimore, "through the snow and
cold, begging money for the support of the poor orphans at
Cokesbury."[33] The instruction was good, and Asbury could write to
Coke, then in England, that "one promising young man has gone forth into
the ministry, another is ready, and several have been under awakenings.
None so healthy and orderly as our children, and some promise great
talents for learning."[34] Still, "all was not well there," and on
October 2, 1793, he "found matters in a poor state at college; £500 in
debt, and our employes £700 in arrears." A year later, matters were
desperate and the good Bishop wrote that "we now make a sudden and dead
pause - we mean to incorporate and breathe and take some better plan. If
we can not have a Christian school (_i.e._ a school under Christian
discipline and pious teachers), we will have none."[35] The project of
incorporation was not favored by some, who feared that the College would
not be thereby so directly under the control of the Conference, but was
carried through, and the charter bears date, December 26, 1794.[36] By
it, the institution was allowed to have an income not exceeding £3,000.

How a charter was to avoid increased indebtedness does not appear and
the College's debt had so increased, that the Conference in 1795 decided
to suspend the Collegiate Department and have only an English Free
School kept in the buildings.[37]

Misfortunes never come singly: an unsuccessful attempt to burn the
buildings had been made in the fall of 1788, and now, on December 4,
1795, a completely successful one was made, and the building and its
contents were consumed. Rewards to discover the incendiary were offered
in vain, and Asbury writes:[38] "We have a second and confirmed report
that Cokesbury College is consumed to ashes - a sacrifice of £10,000 in
about ten years. If any man should give me £10,000 to do and suffer
again what I have done for that house, I would not do it. The Lord
called not Mr. Whitefield, nor the Methodists to build colleges. I
wished only for schools; Dr. Coke wanted a college. I feel distressed at
the loss of the library."

Asbury despaired, but Coke did not and, going to work, he raised £1,020
from his friends. After the determination was made to move the College
to Baltimore, the Church there gave £700, and a house to house
solicitation brought in £600 more. A building originally erected for
balls and assemblies was purchased and fitted up. It stood next the old
Light Street Methodist Church and a co-educational school was opened
therein on May 2, 1796. The high course planned for girls is especially
noticeable at this early period. The school opened with promises of
success, and within a month there were nearly 200 scholars.

Fatality pursued the enterprise, however, and a year to a day from the
burning of the first building, this second one was reduced to ashes,
with the adjoining church and several houses.

Asbury writes rather philosophically:[39] "I conclude God loveth the
people of Baltimore, and he will keep them poor to make them pure;" but
even Coke gave up hope at this new disaster, and it was twenty years
before a second Methodist College was attempted.


This was the second Methodist College in the world, and was organized in
1816, the year of Bishop Asbury's death. After a year or two of
successful work, a charter was applied for and it was granted to the
College February 10, 1818.[40] The President, Samuel K. Jennings, M.D.,
a Methodist local preacher, was a rather remarkable man. Coming from New
Jersey, graduating at Rutgers, and settling in the practice of the
medical profession in Virginia, he was converted by the preaching of
Asbury, and was persuaded by him some years later, to move to Baltimore
and take the leadership of the new enterprise.[41] He was said to be, at
one time, the only Methodist preacher with a collegiate education and
was well adapted to the task, from his administrative ability and wide
learning. Around him, he gathered an undenominational faculty of four
professors and began the life of the institution in a large brick
building on the corner of Park Avenue and Franklin Street. In March,
1818, the _Methodist Magazine_ tells us that there were one hundred and
seventy students, and that "The Asbury College has probably exceeded in
its progress, considering the short time it has been established, any
literary institution in the country."[42] In that spring, a class was
graduated, and yet only a few months later Dr. Bangs wrote that the
College "continued for a short time and then, greatly to the
disappointment and mortification of its friends, went down as suddenly
as it had come up, and Asbury College lives only in the recollection of
those who rejoiced over its rise and mourned over its fall."

This statement is not absolutely correct; it is probable that there was
some catastrophe, and possibly Dr. Jennings then began to break away
from the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he left entirely, when the
Methodist Protestant Church was formed in 1828. Still some sort of an
organization was kept up under the old name; for does not good Hezekiah
Niles, of Register fame, tell us of examinations and exhibitions he
witnessed in the early spring of 1819,[43] at which time prodigies of
learning and cramming were exhibited, and do we not find in 1824, a
pamphlet published by Dr. Jennings, entitled "Remarks on the Subject of
Education, to which are added the general rules of the school under the
appellation of Asbury College." Apparently the College had passed
entirely out of the control of the church, and having lowered its grade,
was now little more than Dr. Jennings' private school. The school was
then situated on the corner of Charles and Baltimore Streets and, in
1833, when we catch the last glimpse of it, another removal had taken it
to the corner of South and Fayette Streets. It was then merely a boys'
day school and doubtless soon perished. So the second Methodist College
failed as the first had done and another was added to the many abortive
attempts to found a college in Maryland.


Three other attempts to found colleges demand a passing notice.

_Mount Hope College_ stood at the corner of Eutaw Place and North
Avenue, and was charted as a college in 1833.[44] The building was
constructed by the Baltimore branch of the United States Bank in 1800,
during an epidemic of yellow fever in the city. People feared to come
into town to transact business and so a suburban banking house was
built. This building was bought by the Rev. Frederick Hall in 1828 and
in it a school was begun, which was later expanded into the College. The
institution lasted some ten years and is worthy of note from the fact
that among the teachers were two young Yale graduates, who afterwards
obtained considerable renown: Professor Elias Loomis and Rev. S.W.S.

_The College of St. James_ was situated in Washington County and
was originally intended by its founder, Bishop Whittingham, as a
preparatory school. It was opened in October, 1842, with Rev. J.B.
Kerfoot,[45] afterwards Bishop of Pittsburg, as Principal, and had such
speedy and encouraging success, that it was chartered as a college in
1843, under the control of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

The College prospered greatly under Bishop Kerfoot's able management,
and was kept up during the War of the Rebellion in spite of the loss of
Southern students, a large portion of the entire number. In 1864,
however, General Early, of the Confederate Army, invaded Maryland and
took Dr. Kerfoot and Professor Coit prisoners, and the College thus
forcibly discontinued, was never again reorganized.

_Newton University_ was chartered by the Legislature[46] on March
8, 1845 and was situated on Lexington Street, between North and Calvert.
It was originally intended to combine the Baltimore preparatory schools
and to furnish boys, graduating from them, the means of completing their
education without leaving the city. There was an enormous list of
Trustees and the unwieldy character of the board, coupled with the
irregular habits of the President, made the failure of the enterprise
inevitable. Still it offered in its catalogues a good course of study
and gave exhibitions, at which polyglot orations were delivered. The

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Online LibraryBernard Christian SteinerThe History of University Education in Maryland → online text (page 2 of 7)