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 8 of 13)
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J. C. Dillon, Farm Superintendent.

Says the last register of this institution : " Every science is
taught with reference to its application to agriculture and the
wants of the farmer. The instruction in agriculture and horti-
culture includes every branch of forming and gardening which
is practiced in Massachusetts, and is both theoretical and prac-
tical. Each topic is discussed thoroughly in the lecture room,
and again in the plant house or field, where every student is
obliged to labor six hours per week." The number of students
last year was one hundred and thirty-nine. In regard to the
success of the institution the report continues : " The institu-
tion has been blessed with its usual prosperity, and has accom-
plished much good. The farm and stock have steadily improved,
and some agricultural experiments have been carried on with in-
teresting and important results. There are hundreds of influen-
tial men who, like the lamented Agassiz, were for years after its
incorporation entirely skeptical in regard to the possible utility
of such an institution, but who are now ready to unite in his
magnanimous confession, that he had been mistaken and was
glad to be convinced of the fact, and that the college was a com-
plete success, and worthy a place among the scientific institutions
of the world."

Cornell University, which was established with the same gen-
eral aims as the University of California, affords a still more
interesting instance of the position which agriculture holds in
one institution which shared the national land grant for agricul-
tural colleges. Cornell University consists of a congeries of
colleges, just as did our own University until the recent remod-
eling. One of these colleges is a College of Agriculture. It
has a Faculty consisting of eight professors and ten lecturers,
and these professors and lecturers are engaged purely in special
instruction in agriculture. The President of Cornell might
have put down the thirty or forty other professors who are en-
gaged in the various dapartments of university work, as swelling
this list ; but to him evidently had not occurred that ingenious


theory, the invention of the President of the California Univer-
sity, which makes the teachers of all branches of learning
Professors of Agriculture — a theory, by virtue of which the
Eegents, in their recent " Statements," are able to claim that
seventeen out of eighteen professors and instructors "now teach-
ing at the University/' are teachers of agriculture !

As your committee have asked for special information on this
subject, 1 beg leave to state, that the lectures and exercises in
the agricultural college of Cornell University, comprise the fol-
lowing subjects ;

1. The Chemistry of Agriculture, including the constituents and analytical
composition of soils and of cultivated plants, the constituents and chemical
agencies of the atmosphere and of water, and the composition of manures.

2. The Geology of Agriculture, including the formation or soils, their chem-
ical, physical, and economic character, their suitability for different kinds of
crops, and the principal geological features of various portions of the United
States as affecting the soil and productions.

3. The Physics of Agriculture, including meteorology, or the laws of climate,
and light and heat as influencing plant life.

4. The Mechanics of Agriculture, and their application to the various descrip-
tions of implements and labor required on the farm.

5. The Botany of Agriculture, including structural botany, vegetable physi-
ology, vegetable pathology, and a knowledge of crops cultivated for food and for
technical purposes.

6. The Zoology of Agriculture, including the habits, diseases, and treatment
of live stock, the anatomy of the horse, the cow, the sheep, and other farm ani-
mals, and all branches of veterinary surgery and medicine, as well as a special
consideration of insects injurious to vegetation.

7. The Economics of Agriculture, including the sequence of agricultural
operations, the economical divisions of labor, the rotation of crops, the imrpove-
ment of the soil by manuring, draining, and liming, farm engineering and con-
struction, general agricultural policy, and the management of landed property.


I venture to believe that your committee is now in position
to realize not only how far the University of California is be-
hind the other " National Colleges " in respect of this great
phase of practical education, but also to how considerable a de-
gree the institution has, during the incumbency of President
Gilman, lapsed from the promise of two years ago.

Two years ago the University had an Agricultural College,
so named and announced in the official programmes of the in-
stitutions ; now there is no Agricultural College, not even the
theory of one : but in its room "a special course/' not essential
to any degree conferred by the University.

Then the agricultural graduate received for his four years
study a diploma, equivalent in value to that of the College of
Letters, and bearing the signatures of all the Professors, whose
instruction he had enjoyed; wow the agricultural graduate re-
ceives an inferior style of diploma, signed by to or three Pro-


fessors while, with puzzling inconsistency, it is claimed that
nineteeu twentieths of the University instruction is enjoyed by
the students of agriculture !

Then students were directed towards the Agricultural College
as intended to give special training in agriculture, as the law
provides ; now the whole scheme of industrial education, as fos-
tered by the National Government in past and prospective action,
and as understood and successfully carried out in the several
States almost without exception, is held up to the people of
California, and to the youth who should be directed and encour-
aged into industrial callings, as an ignominious failure or a
Utopian dream.

Then one of the buildings was designed, named ,and dedicated
the Agricultural College ; now the same building is in the Uni-
versity register designated the " South College," or the lt College
of Science."

Then a noble suite of rooms on the main floor of the Agri-
cultural College building was, by mutual agreement among the
members of the Faculty, and without objection from the Re-
gents, assigned to the Professor of Agriculture for the special
uses of his department ; noiv, by an act of the President, or the
Advisory Committee, or both, this deparment is grounded in the
north end of the basement of said building, where want of sun-
shine prevents the exhibition of important operations, and
where collections are exposed to mold and dampness. (President
G-ilman has stated that this was done by action of the Faculty.
I have never seen a single member of that body who ever heard
of the proposition.)

Then the University was in a position to avail itself of the
further endowment of Congress, as provided in Morrill's supple-
mentary bill, which would add at least thirty thousand dollars
per annum to its income ; now it is not legitimately within the pro-
visions of the new endowment (since the institution has no longer
an Agricultural College, but only a " special course ") ; and if
the present head of the University should bear to the Secretary
of the Interior his ample accumulation of the " failures " of the
National Schools, and also his metamorphosis of the State Ag-
ricultural College into a " special course " in a " subdivision " of
the " Department of Science," as evidence of honest compliance
with the law of 1862, it might be a matter of pleasant specula-
tion whether the Secretary of the Interior would be able to say,
" Well done, good and faithful servant."

Then the number of agricultural students was increasing ;
now it is diminishing. And, indeed, this is to be expected, for


why should students seek instruction where there is neither land
in cultivation, nor stock, nor any other material for illustrating
practical agriculture : where they graduate from a " course "
instead of a college, and receive a diploma which excites their
anger and contempt, and which lacks the signatures of revered
and beloved teachers, while the prestige of honors and dignities
is reserved for the aspirants for " intellectual " callings.

The length into which I have been necessarily drawn by the
exposition of the shortcomings in the Agricultural College, pre-
cludes any cosiderable discussion as to the College of Mines, the
College of Mechanic Arts, etc. And, indeed, I am saved the
need of any discussion of the subject by the fact that these col-
leges do not even exist.


I shall now (at your invitation), present a few considerations
regarding the Board of Regent, and its relations to the r people
and the Faculty. These relations, in my view, are neither
sound nor healthful. A Board of Eegents of twenty-two mem-
bers, which is in a large degree self-perpetuating, and which is
required to render an account of its stewardship but once in two
years, local in its character, interests, and associations, and made
up almost exclusively of lawyers and other professional men, is,
almost of necessity, disqualified from an unprejudiced handling
of the question of popular education in its broadest aspects.
Such a guild becomes, in spite of itself, a solidarity of resist-
ance to the popular demand, which, however crude, always tends
towards reason and justice. I believe this Board has done as
well as would any other Board so chosen and constituted. Many
of its members I personally respect and honor, while I honestly
differ from the educational views to which, as a body, they are
no doubt honestly committed. And, indeed, does not the history
of nearly every college in the country show that these govern-
ing Boards, growing more and more arbitrary and conservative,
have to be swept away, and replaced by others more in harmony
with modern progress ?

What is the remedy ? One remedy that is proposed is the
reorganization of the Board of Regents, so as, while leaving the
present six ex officio members, to substitute for the other sixteen
Regents, eight members, two from each Congressional District,
the term of office being four years. This plan, which would
secure representation for the different sections and interests of
the State, finds favor with the Legislative Committee on Edu-
cation, who, in their recent able report, thus express themselves :


" We are of the decided opinion that no State educational institution, such as
the Univetsity of Califoi-nia is designed to be, can be as prosperous and useful
under the control of local men and interests, as when under the combined con-
trol of men representing the varied callings, interests and sections of the entire
State. The proposition, it seems to us, answers itself, and does not admit of
discussion. We believe that such a change would greatly advance the best
interests of the University."

Whether the eight members should be elected by the people
or hold under executive appointment, is a matter of detail ; in
which ever way created, such a Board could not but be in sym-
pathetic relations with the people of the State. I add, that
this method prevails in many of the Western States.


As regards the relations between the Regents and the Faculty,
I am aware that I am treading on delicate ground ; but I have
seen faithful and honorable men, and that within a few days,
placed in a position far more delicate, where a full and free ut-
terance of their own convictions was morally impossible, without
personal risks that men with families dependent upon them do
not care to run, and where the general interests of the institu-
tion which they have learned to love with an almost parental
sentiment, seemed to require their silence. Nevertheless, I think
that truth and honor demand an outspoken expression of opinion
on my part, for I am not prepared to except that new definition
of treason which makes it consist in doubting for a moment the
infallibility of the Board of Regents as to the whole theory and
practice of University education.

I feel bold to say that the University of California cannot
rest on a sound foundation until there is a rational readjustment
of power between the Regents and the Faculty. The relations
of the Faculty to the Regents have become more and more that
of " employes " to an employer, while the relations of the Re-
gents to the people seem to be less and less those of employed
and employer. And between Faculty and Board there is noth-
ing like correlation of rights. The greatest discovery of modern
political science is the introduction of checks and balances, as
guards against the absolutism of power lodged in the hands of
any single body. But, with no power in the hands of the Fac -
ulty, and all power in the hands of the Regents, there has en-
sued the necessary consequence — timidity on the one hand, and
despotism on the other. In this state of affairs, a President,
however willing to voice the Faculty, would, from the very con-
stiution of human nature, be sure in the long run to go where
power lay. I believe President Gilman has been acute enough
to see this, and to act accordingly. Now, if in this state of
affairs we suppose a President to have some special educational



"crank," bias, or prejudice (say opposition to industrial educa-
tion), lie might, being wholly independent of the Faculty, by
assiduous court paid to the Regents, succeed in bringing them
over to his " policy," and thus in placing the University in an
utterly false position.


It is, in my opinion, precisely through this train of circum-
stances that the Hoard of Regents have, by President Oilman,
been placed in the present lamentable position of antagonisn to
the popular educational demands. It is only unfortunate that
honorable and high-minded men should consider it a matter of
pride to maintain this attitude, and, at the slightest suggestion
of criticism, form a circumvallation of defence around the privi-
leges of their guild ; for the odd contradictions of fact and logic
into which they have thus been precipitated, are hardly less
amusing than pitiable.

The whole energies of the Board and the President are direct-
ed to prove :

That Agricultural Col-

That there is no demand
for agricultural education
— i. e. that the university
has no agricultural students

That the only reason why
agriculture is not taught
practically is want of means.

That the Agricultural
Professor is inefficient.

That the management of
the University demands elev-
en eminent lawyers to secure
its success.

That the University has
an Agricultural College
now, and that the regents
are devoting nineteen twen-
TIETHS of the University in-
come to its developement.

That of the eighteen pro-

but one are engaged in teach-
ing agriculture.

That the legislation ask-

to secure such means, ought
not to be granted.

That his urgency in behalf
of agricultural education is
disloyalty to his employers,
and requires that he be made
an example of to evil doers.

That these lawyers are
unacquainted with the stat-
utes respecting the univer-



I have said that the remedy for the kind of evils here spoken
of is to be found in the rational readjustment of power between
the Regents and the Faculty. In any such plan, there are two
desiderata that should certainly be secured :

1. Legislative action that shall make the summary removl of
a Professor impossible, by providing that such removal shall be
only for cause, and after fair trial. The j ustice of this measure
is obvious, for what man of superior talent will dedicate his life
to University instruction without other guarantee than the
pleasure of the Board of Regents ? It is not an agreeable thing
for a quiet scholar to lie down to rest a University Professor
and to find in the morning that his chair has been vacated with-
out notice or reason alleged. Nor is this an imaginary case :
it happened three years ago in the instance of a Professor in
the University of California, and sent a thrill of horror and
shame throughout the world of letters. That such an outrage
was possible in a civilized country, in the nineteenth century, is
reason enough for demanding that law shall regulate where
honor is silent.

2. Legislative action that shall place in the hands of the
Faculty the power of annually choosing from their own number
one who, in addition to his professional duties, shall act as
executive officer or President of the University. This is the
plan devised by the wisdom of Jefferson of the University of
Virginia (in which institution it has been in successful operation
for over three quarters of a century), and which has been adopted
by various modern Universities such as that of Melbourne. (For
over a year after the organization of the University, one of the
hardest worked professors, John Le Conte, was "acting president ;"
and this was precisely the period of the greatest harmony and
success of the institution.) The advantage of this method, on
the score of economy, is obvious ; but, to my mind, it has another
advantage still more important. As I said in my testimony
before you, " Such an officer, being annually elected by the Fac-
ulty, and responsible to that body, is in a position analogous to
an English Prime Minister, since he may be passed on with
regard to confidence or want of confidence." It is, in effect, a
self adjusting arrangement, whereby, in the event of a President'
ceasing to represent the best interests of the University, he would
be removable before his influence could seriously damage the
institution. It had been happy indeed, for the Universily of
California, had there been such a safeguard against the mischief
of an executive officer, who, while a person of respectable at-


tainments is, both by training and temperament, simply incapa-
ble of grasping either the grandest phase of modern education
or the practical wants of the people of California.


It has given me pleasure to appear before your commit-
tee, and I have, at considerable personal sacrifice, deferred my
journey to New York, for the purpose of doing so, because I am
deeply interested in the welfare of the noble institution with
which it was my happiness to be connected from the time of its
inception until the 3d instant. During five years I devoted
myself to its service with passionate ardor, and now that my re-
lations to it are finally severed, my constant prayer is and ever
shall be, " Glod bless the University of California."

These declarations which, if unjustified by the occasian, might
savor of self sufficiency, I make now with honest boldness, for
the reason that attempts have been made to obscure, if not to
obstruct investigation, by raising false issues aud side issues, in
substituting questions of mere personality for the momentous
concernments of the University. I think it my right and duty
to make reference to two or three illustrations of this, in con-
nection with my own testimony.

Thus it has been sought to make it appear :

1. That my views on certain matters, were influenced by as-
pirations for the presidency of the University. This impression
was conveyed rather by implication than by direct statement,
and is scai-cely worthy of serious denial here, for it is notorious
that I have ever proclaimed myself not only unambitious of the
position, but wholly unfitted for it,. both by taste and tempera-

2. That my views should lose their force from my not being a
so-called "University-bred" man. If "University breeding"
afforded a reasonable guaranty for infallibility of judgment, the
objection would be weighty, indeed ; though if it does afford
such guaranty, I have certainly been unfortunate in many of
the products of this miraculous breeding that I have had the honor
to encounter. Such mental discipline as may be derived from
four or five years attendance on college courses, in several insti-
tutions, it was my happiness to gain, by my own effort, amid
the bitter experiences of that " chill penury " which, contrary
to the poet's phrase, has not always been able to " repress the
noble rage." When, a very few years after the period at which
the need of bread-winning compelled me to quit my college
without a parchment voucher, that same honored institution
sent me a master's degree, it was with the statement that it was


merited by literary performances which " University breeding "
does not always secure. And, as regards the whole matter of
the absurdly ex post facto question of my intellectual fitness
for a Professor, 1 shall simply say that the biographic details of
my education, such as it was, and of my literary contributions,
such as they are, are of record in all the cyclopcedias and histo-
ries of American literature, published both at home and abroad
— a fact which it has not been my good fortune to discover in
the case either of my interlocutor, or of the gentlemen who, I
believe, suggested the characteristic question (President Oil-

3. That I have been, while in the University, a maker of
text books. What relevancy this can possibly bear to the ques-
tion of my capacity as a witness on the condition and manage-
ment of the University, it is not easy to discover. That I ever
neglected the duties of my chair to occupy myself with literary
labors, I think will hardly be charged by any one cognizant of
the facts of the case. And if, in connection with my University
work, I have contributed somewhat to educational literature — a
fact which, on the occasion of my examination before you, a
Regent sought by inference to put in the category of a " high
crime and misdemeanor " — I can but say that I have never be-
fore heard this considered as other than matter of reasonable
pride. I had imagned that it was by just such services that the
chairs in Universities are rendered of good repute in the land.
And, indeed, I shall have to confess that not only have I, myself,
written, but that I have aided and abetted other of my colleagues
in writing and publishing works that have found national and in-
ternational approval ; but it may be fairly supposed they will
now take warning by the censure that has been passed on me,
and not make any more books. The temptation to indulge in
irony on this subject, while great, must, however, be put aside
by me, and I shall content myself with the honest avowal that
it was bound up with my deepest convictions of duty as a Pro-
fessor to do my part tor school literature. I judged that as the
incumbent of a chair in a University avowedly the head of the
public educational system of the State, a praiseworthy piece of
work would be to prepare in my own department a series of
books which might facilitate the passage from the school to the
University, and thus bridge over a gulf which I have always
regarded as unhappily too wide.

But enough of tliese poor matters of personality, which would
never have been referred to by me had they not been provoked.
My career in the University has ended. The severance of my


connection with the institution was made voluntarily (although
not without deep regret on my part), being necessitated by busi-
ness considerations, the detailed statement of which would not
be pertinent to this investigation. What my relations were,
both with the Faculty and student, at the time of my resigna-
tion, is sufficiently evidenced by the underwritten resolutions
adopted by these bodies, respectively :


At a meeting of the Faculty of the University of California, held on Friday,
March sixth, eighteen hundred and seventy-four, the following resolution was
offered by President Welcker, which was unanimously adopted :

Resolved, That it is with deep regret that we learn that our colleague, Pro-
fessor William Swinton, has, by his resignation of the chair, which he has hitherto
filled with such distinguished ability and success in this institution, severed his
connection with us ; and further, we heartily tender to Professor Swinton our
cordial wishes for his prosperity and happiness in the time to come.

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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 8 of 13)