Ezra S. (Ezra Slocum) Carr.

The University of California and its relations to industrial education : as shown by Prof. Carr's reply to the grangers and mechanics; Prof. Swinton's testimony before the Legislature; the new education, by Columella; memorial to the Legislature by joint committee of the state grange and mechanics online

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Online LibraryEzra S. (Ezra Slocum) CarrThe University of California and its relations to industrial education : as shown by Prof. Carr's reply to the grangers and mechanics; Prof. Swinton's testimony before the Legislature; the new education, by Columella; memorial to the Legislature by joint committee of the state grange and mechanics → online text (page 10 of 13)
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wealth of the nation, more to the happiness and elevation of
our race, than any other institution in the world.

These practical advantages commend themselves to the sym-
pathies and support of that great portion of our fellows who are
to be benefited by them. The wealthy farmer, mechanic or
merchant who fails to appreciate, and hence to admit, the par-
ticular utility of a classical education, and closes his purse
strings against every appeal to aid it, cannot be blind to the
wide spread and practical blessings which must flow from this
new system, nor deaf to the claims it has upon his class of so-
ciety for assistance in the hour of need. Nothing is more cer-
tain in the future, if we may judge from the records of the past,
than that the " new education " when generally undersood and
appreciated, will never want for means necessary to effect its
widest dissemination.

The " new education " will make mechanical and agricultural
pursuits attractive. The country needs farmers and mechanics
more than it needs lawyers, physicians and clergymen. The
professions are all overcrowded. More than half the number
of those engaged in them, eke out an unprofitable, unremuner
ative existence ; few in proportion attain to eminence, and many


depend upon other pursuits for the acquisisition of wealth. One
great reason for this is, that neither farming or mechanics of
themselves, present to the youthful mind, especially to young
men of ambition and enterprise, any of those opportunities for
intellectual renown, which are the necessary conditions of suc-
cessful professional life. The avenues to cultivated society, to
acquaintance with men of eminence, to intimacy in personal
relations with men of education, are opened grudgingly to the
most successful agriculturists and mechanics ; and to those in
humble condition closed altogether. The new system, by making
these pursuits intellectual as well as useful, will obtain for them
an equal rank with the professions. Let our young men see
that equal opportunity is afforded for eminence in the one pur-
suit as the other, and the time will soon come when our great
men and rulers will as often be found among the industrial as
the professional classes. Farmer's sons will then from choice
follow the occupation of their sires ; but will be none the less
qualified to fill with ability and dignity, the highest positions in
public life.

But these pursuits to be made attractive must have thorough
culture. The lessons of the lecture room must be illustrated in
the field and the workshop. These are the real laboratories
where the student can practice and observe the benefits of ap-
plied science — the only means by which he can make an ac-
complishment of an otherwise hard and laborious occupation.

The culture too, without being necessarily ornamental or ele-
gant, must be liberal and comprehensive, so as to afford the
student an outlook from his pursuit upon the world of science
and letters, but this must not be mistaken for the grand object
of his life.

Nothing less than a thorough, radical course of instruction
can ever convince the farmers and mechanics of the utility of
the new system. They are not as a class scientific men. They
must have practical exemplification of the utility of these col-
leges before they can give them their confidence. If they can
see the experiments in agriculture and horticulture — the select-
ed stock, the crops, the fruits, if they can receive the seeds, read
the results of the various methods of handling, reclaiming and
fertilizing soils, the information thus given them will do more
to build up colleges and fill them with students, than all the
labor and instruction of the class room. It is but fair to pre-
sume that it was because they did not see any of these appli-
ances to successful culture in the University of California,
that the two great producing classes of the State memoralized


the Legislature on the subject at its recent session. And what
did they say— listen :

" Believing that the first and higest employment of men is to feed, shelter
.and clothe the world, we ask that the graduates of our industrial college may be
peers of scholars in mental culture, and peers of laborers in manual skill and
physical developement. Agriculture in its various departments should be so
taught and practiced in our University as to send forth scientific farmers, whose
labor and skill can utilize the soil and delvelope its greatest resources while the
mechanical department should graduate learned and skilled mechanics ; and it is
the earnest desire of the agriculturists and mechanics of this state to make these
great departments of industry the leading feature of our State University."

Was this appeal unnatural ? The University had been in
existence six years. It had received the government endowment
and was virtually pledged by its charter to establish among its
first departments a College of Agriculture and a College of
Mechanics. Thirty-two colleges for instruction in these pur-
suits had been established in as many States of the Union, and
were in successful operation. The farmers and mechanics learn-
ed from the reports they had made to the government, that they
were not only provided with all necessary scientific apparatus,
but they had farms under cultivation, green houses, arboretums,
orchards, that they were raising fine stock in cattle, horses and
sheep, making numerous experiments in all the varieties of cul-
ture, and the occupations incidental to farm life, and realizing
to a very considerable degree all the beneficent purposes of their
creation. The same volume which contained these facts, in-
formed them, under the authority of the new President of their
University, that while they have a farm, " students were not in-
structed in agriculture outside of the school room/' They knew
from observations that agriculture and mechanics were virtually
ignored, and that nothing would be done to assign them a prop-
er status in the curriculum of the institution, unless legislation
compelled it. These were the reasons which caused this com-
plaint by the people.

The attempt to ridicule this demand of the people in the edi-
torial pages of a recent number of the Atlantic Monthly, is not
the least objectional feature in an article whose distinguishing
qualities are ingenuity of misrepresentation, and utter barren-
ness of fact. The very memorial, there so flippantly character-
ized, came near destroying the University. Neither the President
or the Board of Regents replied to the legislative demand* for
information, which followed the memorial with lightness, or in
a tone of assumed superiority. It required all their adroitness
to gloss over, cover up and conceal the charges arrayed in the
bold and manly indictment of the people. And to prove that
they did not, as is intimated in the Atlantic article, originate in



any capricious desire of " the uninformed, who wanted a good
thing,"" or in " popular clamor," but in the most substantial
causes for complaint, we have only to refer to a few of the de-
velopements they occasioned.

It is only necessary in this connection to refer to the reply ot
the Professor of Agriculture, to inquiries by the Board of Re-
gents as to the need and feasibilities of the institution, which is
published with the statement of the board made in reply to the
qustions of the Legislature. He says :

"What I regard as feasible, and imperatively necessary, is first the adoption
of a plan of operations for the practical development of the department.

That an annual appropriation of $500 be made for the purchase of seeds, etc.
of our indigenous vegetation, for home use, exchanges, etc. ; .

That an annual appropriation of $500 be made for the purchase and introduc-
tion of fruit trees not existing in this State. u

That a oreen house and a small porpagating house be erected. I hat a compe-
tent gardener be appointed. That it shall be the duty of the Professor of Agri-
culture to superintend these operations, etc. t ^

To this I would add, I consider important not to lose another season ot growth,
and that the labor of students be utilized with a view to confer skill in the pur-
suits of Agriculture and Horticulture. % .

2 The employment of experts in special culture, as the vine, silk, nsti, in
veterinary science, agricultural entomology, and the mechanics of agriculture,
to give from four to fifteen lectures annually on each of the above specialties.

3. The holding at the University of an annual farmers' institute, tor the dis-
cussions and comparisons of views and methods, as has-been done at other agri-
cultural colleges, (especially Illinois; see State reports.)"

Now it is certain, that when this letter was written (Feb. 26,
1874,) our University was in need of all the aids to agricultu-
ral instruction mentioned in it, and yet these are among the
very first auxiliaries to instruction provided by other institu-
tions. Indeed the Professor of Agriculture has been soliciting
the Board of Regents for them, for the past four years, all ot
which period he has been lecturing and striving with such slen-
der means as the Board allowed, to give instruction in agncul-


The memorial, among much other matter; called forth this
letter, which tells its own story of our Agricultural College for
the past six years. Was there not cause for " popular clamor ?
And does it not prove, that while farmers and mechanics are
duly observant of their own rights, they will not be satisfied
with anything less than a thorough institution.

No greater or more important object was contemplated m the
establishment of these institutions, than that of educating and
qualifying teachers in mechanics and agriculture. A demand
for instruction in these pursuits would be a natural outgrowth
of the system. As this increased, the College as an advanced
educator, would become as indispensable as the normal school


in the preparation of teachers for our common schools. The
instructor in these sciences would rank with other men of learn-
ing. The young man who made choice of this occupation would
meet with hundreds of subjects in the wide field afforded him
for experiment and investigation, full of much needed practical
information. The opportunities for authorship upon new appli-
cations of science would be illimitable, and each improvement
of them would probably prove a benefaction to the world. Brief
as has been the existence of these institutions, they have al-
ready demonstrated their tendency to an efficiency in this kind
of culture. But these labors have been the result of faithful,
persistent experiment in the field and in the laboratory. In so
vast a field as that of agriculture, where millions are involved
in the success or failure of a single product, a single discovery
will oftimes prove of more value than the entire endowment of
the institution credited with making it.

President White of Cornell University, speaking of the " fit-
ting up an establishment for experiments in the best rotation of
crops and in the feeding of cattle," says that the Hon. George
G-eddes, whose jugment in such matters is beyond dispute, said
in allusion to it :

" This experiment fairly tried will be worth to the State of New York more
than your whole endowment, no matter which way it turns out — no matter
whether soiling is found profitable or unprofitable."

The same compliment has been paid to the Massachusetts
Agricultural College by no less an educator than Professor Ag-
assiz, who declared that the production of the single paper on
the circulation of sap in the sugar maple and other species of
trees, " was an ample return for all that had been expended on
the College/'

No State in the union possesses greater or more numerous in-
terests than ours, to be benefited by valuable discoveries in va-
rious kinds of culture — in farming implements — in agricultural
manufactures, and in the selection and improvement of stock.
The same may be said of its varied opportunities to profit by
improvements in mining and operative mechanics. If our Uni-
versity could furnish a teacher a year competent to give techni-
cal instruction in these branches, the benefit of the industrial
and agricultural classes derivable from his labors would be in-
calculable. Keflect for a moment upon the vast yield even now
of our fields and mines, and then contemplate if you can, their
probable increase within the next quarter of a century. Is it
not worth all that we can do, both with the governmental bounty
and the products of voluntary munificence to make our Colleges
equal to the demand of this immense theatre for a display of


their capabilities ? Shall they fail for the want of any appilance
either of science or illustration in giving value to any experi-
ments which may enhance the interests of the State ?

In enumerating the various objects sought by the new system,
that of furnishing our young men whose tastes incline them to
adopt agriculture or mechanics as a pursuit, with the means of
liberal and special culture is very prominent. How many, fitted
by nature to adorn these occupations, nave frittered away their
lives in those of less congenial character for want of the proper
aids to developement, or because of some supposed inferiority of
condition incident to an industrial life. All such, and there are
thousands in every commonwealth, can now indulge their predi-
lections without sacrificing their ambition. They are the men
who make the best farmers and mechanics who fail in profess-
ional life, and in the walks prescribed by what is termed par
excellence, the "higher education." Unfitted by inclination for
classical pursuits, and still ambitious of renown, now that the
way is open, they will leave for others better qualified the devi-
ous paths of politics, journalism and the learned professions, to
climb by a more harmonious route the mount of immortality.
And for this great multitude which is to supply the nation with
its future artists, mechanics, engineers and farmers, the way
should be made as plain and easy as possible. They will need
all that applied science can do to fit them for life work. If to
make the perfect scholar, the eminent divine, the adroit lawyer,
the great statesman, a large foreground of ancient and modern
culture is indispensable, so is it equally urgent that to produce
men similarly equipped for industrial renown, they should have
an education which unites with liberal knowledge the most thor-
ough training in their chosen pursuits. The eye, the ear, the
hand, the muscle, must each obey the creative dictates of the

Is it claiming too much for this new system, to say that in its
future growth and developement it may afford a more practical
solution of the question, what shall we do with our boys? than
any plan yet submitted to the public. The best use we can
make of a young man is to educate him. As a general rule ed-
ucation overcomes depravity. That class of population which
we call "our boys," is idle, vicious, and growing up in crime,
because it has no reputable means of support. As noble minds,
as generuos hearts, as ambitious hopes, as pure and lofty aims,
animate these boys as any other class, if they can only be pro-
vided with means for their developement. Afford them the op-
portunity for culture, and tell them what it will do for them,


and how many of them will refuse to avail themselves of it?
It will require money to accomplish such an object, but to what
better use can money be applied ? Is it not better in every
point of view to pay for the cultivation of " our boys," than to
pay for their prosecution ? Is not such culture as they can ob-
tain from the new system of education, to be preferred to for-
cing them into service as seamen ? Give to this new education
all the scope it require for a ^perfect developement, and educa-
tion will become as much an obligation in this government as it
is in Prussia. When that day arrives, California will cease to
ask : what shall we do with our boys ? The remarkable imita-
tive faculty of the Chinese gives them a great advantage over
our own laborers in obtaining emplopment. This would not be
the case in Prussia or the German States, where the use of tools
is taught as part of the ordinary system of instruction. The
new education will not be confined to colleges any longer than
is necessary to open the eyes of the thinking masses to the im-
portance of its introduction in the elementary schools. Dr.
Huxley truthfully says :

" At present, education is almost entirely devoted to the cultivation of the
power of expression, and of the sense of literary beauty. The matter of having
anything to say beyond a hash of other people's opinions ; or of possessing any
criterion of beauty so that we may distinguish between the godlike and the
devilish, is left aside as of no moment. I think I do not err in saying that if
science were made the foundation of education, instead of being at most stuck on
the cornice to the edifice, this state of things could not exist."

The same writer advocates the instruction of physical science as a leading el-
ment of education in " those primary schools, in which the children of the poor
are expected to turn to the best account the little time they can devote to the ac-
quisition of knowledge."

" What I mean is," he says, " that no boy or girl should leave school without
possessing a grasp of the general character of science, and without having been
disciplined more or less in the methods of all sciences ; so that when turned into
the world to make their own way. they shall be prepared to face scientific prob-
lems, not by knowing at once the conditions of every problem, or by being able
at once to solve it ; but by being familiar with the general current of scientific
thought, and by being able to apply the methods of science in the proper way
when they have acquainted themselves with the special problem."

Can we not see that this course of instruction when pursued
under a compulsory law, must produce a more efficient and self
reliant people than any now adopted ? Such a system for all
our schools will sooner or later be evolved as a natural and
necessary result of the success of our Agricultural and Mechan-
ical Colleges.

Is the scheme adopted and published of our University cal-
culated to accomplish any of the objects sought by the new
system ? We have before us the register of the University, the
statements of the Kegents to the joint committee of the Legis-
lature, and the address of President Gilnian before the Legisla-


ture. These are supposed to contain the views of the officers
of the University relating to the agricultural and mechanical
college, and the methods of instruction in those particular branch-
es. If we are to interpret the register by the statements of the
Kegents and the address of the President, we shall learn that
there is in fact but one Professor in each of the special branches
— and that the other instruction purporting to be given by the
special colleges is the same in all, and in no degree differs from
the course of instruction of those colleges which have no spe-
cial courses. In other words, all that a special student in agri-
culture or mechanics learns from other professors, than the two
charged with those specialities, he could learn at Yale or Bow-
doin, or any other University which has no agricultural or me-
chanical department. These two colleges therefore, have one
Porfessor each and no more. In all other respects the Univer-
sity of California is simply a college of letters. Neither agri-
culture or mechanics can be considered the " leading object " of
the institution, unless it can be made to appear that all the
English branches ordinarily taught in our colleges relate to these
pursuits. The register is deceptive, and without explanation,
would convey the impression that both the Agricultural and
Mechnical Colleges were supplied with a separate faculty, and
pursued such courses of instruction as were generally adopted
by other scientific institutions.

Very little has yet been done either in the agricultural or me-
chanical department of the University, still, if there were any
promise of completness in the future, this might not be the
proper time to complain of the past. But if every promise for
the future were fulfilled, the institution would be deficient in
those ample means and forms of instruction so generally adopt-
elsewhere. Both the President and the Board of Regents seem
to realize that some sort of apology is necessary to the public
as well for past deficiencies, as for the future shape they intend
to give to agricultural and mechanical instruction.

"If," say 8 the President, "careful inquiry should show that under the most
favorable circumstances (such as large funds, fine farms, capital teachers, and
practical co-operators,) the friends of agricultural education in Germany and in
France, in New England and in the Mississippi Valley, were disappointed ; and
that men as eager as any of you to promote the progress of agriculture, have
abandoned many of 'the hopes they held and the plans they tried here within the
last few years, and are now seeking by other methods to reach the same result,
would it not be wise for California to avail herself of this experience. ?"

"Would it not be well before determining to make any radical change in the
organization of the University, or' increasing any extraordinary expenses, to
ascertain the lessons of experience elsewhere?"

In the illustration of his meaning, the President cites the in-


stances of one French and one German Agricultural College,
having changed their locations from country to city, in order tf
obtain for their students the benefit of the libraries, museums
and courses of instruction of other institutions, and of there
having been but seven students in agriculture among four hun-
dred and sixty-one in attendance upon the Cornell University,
and three in the Bussey Institution the past year.

It is quite clear that so much of this illustration as relates t#
the change of location in the Colleges alluded to, can have no
reference to our agricultural and mechanical colleges. They
are part of a University. They have or are supposed to have
all the benefits of the highest culture. The students can attend
all the lectures, have access to the museums and libraries, and
other courses of instruction so far as necessary to facilitate their
progress in the special branches.

As to the other point, that so few students attend the Agri-
cultural Colleges, it has been fully answered by Dr. White, the
President of Cornell University. He says :

" That the number is at present very small, but I presume that no thougtful
man expected that so early a period after the establishment, the number would be
very large, nor, indeed do I expect that for some years to come the number will
greatly increase. In a new country like ours, those professions which present
the most brilliant returns will be sought for first."

" There are those who are now living amongst us, who will stand among a
hundred millions of citizens within the boundaries of this Republic. When that
day comes — nay, long before — the present condition of things must change.
The present system of routine cultivation, this present system of ' skinning '
lands and then running away to soils more fruitful, for the intention of robbing
and running away from them in turn, cannot last. Men must get a subsistence
on less and less land ; and they can only get it by bringing to bear upon il better

" But suppose that no young men came forward to take agricultural studides,
the new education would still tell powerfully on agriculture. Think you that
we can send out year after year, as we did last year, a hundred graduates front
all our various departments, whose powers of observation have been trained and
whose real knowledge of subjects bearing on agriculture has bean extended by
close study in Botany, Animal Physiology, Geology and Chemistry, w ithout ito
telling ultimately on the progress of agriculture ?"

Here is the reply of one President to an objection made by
another. We leave to our readers to decide which has the bet-
ter of the argument.

With this reply we might take leave to President G-ilman's
objections, but his omission to give credit to the large number

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Online LibraryEzra S. (Ezra Slocum) CarrThe University of California and its relations to industrial education : as shown by Prof. Carr's reply to the grangers and mechanics; Prof. Swinton's testimony before the Legislature; the new education, by Columella; memorial to the Legislature by joint committee of the state grange and mechanics → online text (page 10 of 13)