Harry Yandell Benedict.

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Why, sir, if there is to be a rivalary instituted and maintained by
the different section of this State as between East and West, this
view of the case will be realized, and we shall find the East and
West with distinct interests, distinct aims, with jealousies and
with alienations of feelings, ingrained, cultivated and encouraged,
until every bond of union and tie of friendship is torn asunder.
How are we to avoid this? Not by establishing rival Universities.
We would avoid it, however, by establishing but one, which would
be resorted to from every portion of the State. It would be the
means of producing friendships and affinities and regards, that
would run throughout all the different circles of society and relations
of life, and cement and bind together the State of Texas, perhaps
more certainly and permanently than any other cause that could
be brought to bear in the accomplishment of this great and in-
estimable purpose.

This is known and has been seen and felt by men of the South
everywhere. And in consequence we have the plan now agitated
in the South of endowing one great central Southern University,
forming a nucleus around which the sons of the South may gather
and form their friendships, being the most certain means of uniting
and cementing the South. This, sir, would be a rallying point;
a high classic ground; a place where the young men of the South,
from every State of the South, may go up and furnish their alliances

120 University of Texas Bulletin

and associations, and by so doing be better enabled to maintain
the integrity of the South. Are not the cases analogous? Perfectly
so. Every son of Texas soil, educated at such an institution as we
propose, would leave its consecrated walls with th-e proud and en-
nobling feeling that I am a Texian and not an Eastern or a Western
man. Those geographical lines would soon be forgotten. — But
establish two and the reverse of this proposition will inevitably
follow, and the brightest gem upon the fair brow of our young
and growing State, will be plucked away and cast in the dust.
Her beauty, her glory will have departed. Then if we would break
down and eradicate any disposition of this kind to separate the
East from the West, the best and most effectual means would be
building up one great Central State University. As to its location,
let that be a matter ' for future consideration. But be that as it
may, East or West, it does seem to me that there is ample reason
for creating a State University, and for creating but one. And
the very simple fact that two would involve an outlay, if you place
them on high ground, of a vast amount of money, demanding a
large expenditure, without increasing in the same proportion, the
benefits to be derived from it is, to say the least of it, in a financial
point of view, a strong reason for creating but one.

But it has been said that this institution will not be resorted
to by sons of the poor men of the country; that its advantages
will be restricted to the favored few who have the means of attaining
an education at any and every cost. Such I do not consider the
fact. It will not be so if this University is established upon the
principles which I am satisfied the lights around us will enable
us to adopt. Endow it with sufficient liberality to throw wide its
portals — with tuition gratis for every Texan, rich or poor. Adopt
this plan and we will place its advantages within the reach of
almost every man within the entire country, without distinction.

I would not vote for an institution to be based upon the old
plan of college graduation. But I would have as it were a system
of Colleges, upon the German plan of a University, with no expense
attachments to the College of any kind, leaving it optional with
the student to select his own course of study, and determine for
himself the time he should remain there. I would have him graduate
in any branches he might see proper, and board how and where ha
may choose. A University established in this way would afford
the facilities desired now, and would place education within the
reach of nearly every man in the country. Then it does seem to
me that the objection that it would not be accessible to the masses
is an objection existing more in the imagination of gentlemen than
in reality.

If on this great and important question it is decided, that we
will have a Universitv and but one if the details cannot be mads

A Soura Book of the University of Texas 121

subservient to the interests of the masses, it will be time enough
then to interpose the objections which have been urged.

Thus, Mr. Speaker, I have briefly given you the skeleton or
outline of what I conceive should be the prominent features of this
great enterprise, with a few, and but few of the many cogent reasons
that might be urged in its behalf. I trust, sir, there will be but
little division of sentiment when we come to vote on this matter —
a matter, the magnitude and importance of which can scarcely be
realized, unless with prophetic ken we could look far into the dim
and shadowing vista of coming years, and behold the gigantic
achievements of the arts and sciences. I trust, sir, that gentlemen
upon this floor will for' the time forget the geographical sections
which they represent, and will march square up to this work, with
a proud consciousness that is worthy our best ■energies and noblest

Mb. Bbown: — I have taken no part in this discussion hitherto, and
shall not now detain the House for more than five minutes.

This is a simple resolution expressing the sense of this House
that we will endow but one University in contra-distinction to two.
What I wish to call the attention of members to is the fact that
most of the discussion here is based upon the idea that if it is
decided that one University shall be created, it is proposed to grant
four hundred thousand dollars in money and a hundred leagues
of land for the purpose of carrying out that object. Now, sir, I
am in favor of one University. Many of the gentlemen who have
spoken on the subject have sufficiently explained their reasons to
impress my mind in favor of one. But I am opposed to establish-
ing a University with so large an appropriation either in money
or land. I am opposed to appropriating more than two hundred
or two hundred and fifty thousand dollars at most in money, and
I do not care whether you appropriate any land or not. We have
already set apart fifty leagues for this purpose.

I take this view, that the amount I have mentioned will be
enough to provide the necessary buildings and every thing th«
institution may require at this time. And I think something should
be left to future legislators to act upon. I do not think all the
wisdom of Texas is in this hall, and am willing to leave our suc-
cessors the means of profiting by experience.

Suppose that after a while public opinion should change against
this meausre. Suppose our expectations in relation to it should
fail. Is there any sound reason on earth why we should appro-
priate more than is necessary to establish and put the University
in operation? If the institution succeeds, as we hope it may, then
the State will stand by it and make needful appropriations from
time to time. But let us leave it for future Legislatures to de-
termine whether it proves to be an institution worthy of State

122 University of Texas Bulletin

patronage or not, and leave something for them to appropriate
if it shall become necessary.

As to the location of this institution, I don't care three groats
where it is located. It it were left to me, I could name the bounds
within which I think it should be situated, for I have lived all
over the State, and am as free from sectional feeling as any man
on earth. It should be located with a view to meet the demands
of our population, when this State becomes filled up with millions
upon millions of inhabitants. I would prefer to place it at jome
suitable point between the Brazos and the Trinity, and between
latitudes thirty and thirty-three. — For there it will be most con-
venient to the population which is to come after us, and especially
if our system of railroads is developed and carried into full practical
operation, it will there be most accessible from all parts of the State.

I now desire to make a few remarks in reply to the gentleman
from Jasper (Mr. Hicks) on the sectional question. I came to
Texas when quite a youth, and was present at the first session of
Congress which was held in this city, eighteen years ago. I have
spent a number of years on the Western frontier, and being thrown
into association in the volunteer service with men from all parts
of the country, I had as good opportunities as any young man to
judge of the spirit of sectional feeling which formerly prevailed
among us. For the last twenty years this feeling has been con-
stantly growing less and less. And I say it is less to-day by one
hundred per cent than it was ten or twenty years ago. At that
time there was an actual feeling of hostility. — This feeling was in
me, Mr. Speaker. We felt that the West had the brunt of the
battle to encounter; that the East was not molested by an invading
enemy; and that while she had the voting population, the West
had the burthens to bear. This sectional feeling was fostered, as
I believe, by Sam Houston, then the great gun of the country.
I never voted for him; I never would. And I believe as Sam
Houston's influence has declined, this sectional antipathy between
the East and the West has grown less and less".

The intelligence and liberality of the people should always frown
down this contracted feeling — this unpatriotic feeling. — We all meet
together biennially as the representatives of one people — yes, we
do so now! There is no such thing as sectional feeling; it is obso-
lete; it is a by gone idea. Let it never revive. What it the East? A
portion of our beloved, and in fact a small portion — I mean the
old East. We have had a new empire grow up here to the North
in our glorious State. And if there is any distincition to grow up,
it will be between the Northern and the Southern portion of the
State. But that may never be. Sir, I regard this idea of a diversity
of soil and climate leading to a division of the State as wholly
unfounded. On the contrary, I draw from this diversity the strongest

A Source Book of the University of Texas 123

argument for union, based on domestic exchange and domestic
trade — mutual exchange. When railroads are completed from the
North to the South, Red River and Galveston will be neighbors-
These very things will bind us together, so far as they operate.
The great size of the State, however, and that alone in view of
Southern strength in Congress, I am free to admit, may induce an
ultimate division into three states; but there is much and will
continue to be much to bind this people together for all time to

If Texas shall ever be divided, in my humble judgment, it will
be for the purpose of giving us more strength in the Congress of
the United States, and not for the purpose of conferring any benefit
upon our people at home. And that is the only motive which
would ever induce me by my vote to sanction a division of our
State. A division would seem to me, whose heart I humbly trust
is large enough to love nil, all Tents, like the severance of a long
blessed family tie — like bursting the cords of love which, springing
from the spirit of God himself, had bound together for life two
angelic twin sisters.

Mr. Speaker, if it ever comes that Texas mush divide, I pray
in humility that we shall divide as brothers, for great reasons of
State — for a high and noble purpose, — but in anger never' never! !
To a petty sectional feeling I shall never lend aid or countenance;
but to make the South strong, united and great, I would ever be
prepared to sacrifice much — as much as for any object this side
of the grave.

Mr. Ward said: — Mr. Speaker, I am confident that this is a ques-
tion of too great importance to be hurried through this House.
And I am fully assured of this fact from the discussion which'
has already taken place, and the conflicting opinions which exist
between the members on this floor. I must candidly admit that
I am not prepared to vote for the resolution, nor am I prepared
to discuss the propriety of its passage. It is a subject in which
every county in the State has a direct interest, and which may
truly be said the gravest and greatest question which has been
presented to the House; and one which has not been properly
considered. I will therefore move a postponement of the whole
subject until the second Monday in December, ' by which time
we may each, and every one of us, come up and vote upon it
understandingly, after having given it that consideration which
its importance demands.

On motion of Mr. Poao the House adjourned till Monday, 10:00
o'clock, A. M., pending Mr. Ward's motion to postpone until tlu>
2d Mondav of December.

124 University of Texas Bulletin

House, December 14, 1857; pp. 105-108

University Resolution

The resolution to establish one University was again taken up, and
Alii. Jennings offered a substitute, to locate one branch in the Eastern
portion of the State.

Whereupon Mr. Ward made the following remarks:

Mr. Speaker — I have thus far, during the animated discussion on
this subject, been a silent witness of the scene, and have not as
yet publicly expressed my humble opinions upon the question,
which I conceive to be perhaps of more importance than any other
that will be brought before the Legislature during its present ses-
sion. The subject then being of such weight and general interest,
it behooves us to give it a calm and deliberate investigation. And
I must here be permitted to say that I have been surprised, and
greatly astonished, to see some members upon this floor endeavor-
ing to hurry this resolution through in hot haste, and seem un-
willing and deeply chagrined because Hon. members desire to
postpone to a certain day, for the purpose of giving the subject
that investigation its great importance demands. Some members
on this floor, whose course in this discussion I fully endorse, have
been anathematized and denounced, because they were the first to
rise and call the attention of the House to the importance of the
resolution. Then, upon a like principle, may I not expect to be con-
demned and almost beheaded for my sectional and contracted

1 shall not enter upon the discussion of the subject, by making
the broad assertion that no member of this, floor shall outstrip me
in making liberal donations for the purpose of establishing a sound
and permanent system of Education. But the mode and manner
in which the system shall be indoctrinated, is the question about
which members will differ. Let us, then, in the outset, take a
plain and practicable view of the subject, and not permit our minds
to be led astray by the eloquent and partiotic demonstrations made
by Hon. members, without giving a spark of a reason why
their proposed plan should be adopted. I can see no reason for
such hurry and bustle on this resolution, unless it be an overgrown
desire to be hailed as god-father or founder of this imaginary Uni-
versity — forgetting in the undue excitement of the moment, that
there are facts and preliminary questions which must be settled
before this matter will meet the united approbation of the different
sections of our wide and fertile country. When we take a retro-
spective view of this subject, we find that as far back in our his-
tory as 1839, it was thought proper and expedient for the State
or Republic of Texas, to have two Universities or Colleges. If

A Source Book of the University of Texas 125

Texas at that early period in her history, thought and deemed it
necessary (when she had but a handful of citizens in comparison
with her now immense population* to endow two institutions, what
reasonable mind can, for one moment, entertain the idea that her
demands are not now greater than at this early epoch in her his-
tory. By reference to the discussions upon the passage of the
act of 1839, it will be seen that the same arguments were used
as have been promulgated during this lengthy discussion.

Our State possesses wealth sufficient to establish more insti-
tutions of learning than any other State that has ever been admit-
ted into the confederacy. Why not, in view of these facts, if the
people desire it, make liberal donations at this time for the pur-
pose of carrying out this policy in future. The only proper mode
of acertaining the popular will on this subject, is through the
manifest representations of the agents of-the people, who have, this
day, by their vote on the amendment proposed by the gentleman
from Cherokee (Mr. Jennings), openly and boldly proclaimed that
they desire more institutions than one. But why do members on
this floor come forth with such sweeping denunciations of section-
alism on the part of the East, because we who occupy our places
here from that section, think it but for the general interest of the
State at large, that more institutions than one should be endowed,
and receive liberal donations from the treasury and public domain
of the State. I here say, that I intend to deal candidly with this
subject, and not permit myself gagged to the exclusion of opinions
which I have and do now entertain. Past and present circum-
stances have riveted the conviction upon the mind, that at no very
distant day this large and extensive State of ours will divide. This
subject has oftentimes been discussed, and very many who are
the advocates of a division, are scorned and cowered into silence
by those whose mouths are filled with honeyed words or braga-
docio threats, fearful, if they make a public declaration of this
kind, that they will be decapitated. I do not here intend to con-
vey the idea, or make the impression, that we should legislate with
a view to this future occurrence. I would ask gentlemen on this
floor, if we are under no obligations to our Southern sister States
to form more States than one if they claim it at our hands. Did
we not solemnly promise this in our articles of annexation? And
should they make the request, and we refuse to comply, it would
be recreant to the trust reposed in us, and basely unworthy of the
high and honorable position which we now occupy among the
bright stars that cluster in the constellation. The different sections
of our State are not identical in interest, and although it may be
politic to remain undivided, yet when interest demands it the

126 University of Texas Bulletin

masses will rise and claim it. I make these suggestions for the
purpose of applying the remarks which I have made.

Now suppose we unanimously adopt the resolution that we will
establish but one University, and that one in the East (for the
sake of argument,) and bestow upon that instruction the most,
ificent. donations that we have any record of in the annals
of history — yes, build up an institution which shall far excel the
delusive pictures which have been drawn by the infatuated hrain
of some members on this floor — and when you have accomplished
all this, then the State should dissever, would it be just or right that
one section should alone possess this mammoth enterprise, reared
up and sustained by the common blood and treasury of the whole
State? Perhaps gentlemen may think this picture too highly
drawn, but is it unreasonable or improbable? I think not. It is
certainly not a chimerical hallucination of the brain, but a conclu-
sion adduced from a fair and thoughtful investigation of the sub-

A few more suggestions and I have done. Let us, at this ses-
sion of the Legislature, make extensive donations for the purpose
of establishing in the future two State institutions of learning, one
in the East and one in the West. We now have the land, and if we
wait a few years more the Legislature will squander the entire
public domain, and the State can never carry out that grand idea
of Education which seems now to be her purpose. Let us, further-
more, make liberal donations to other institutions which are rear-
ing themselves amongst us as temples of light and knowledge; for
from these and the common schools of our country will inevitably
come forth more useful citizens, more soldiers to bear the brunt
of battle, and more Divines to spread the light of the Gospel, than
from all the Universities that have ever been erected and endowed
by all the States of this glorious confederacy.

On a motion to postpone the consideration of the University

Mr. Kittrell said: Mr. Speaker, if it is the pleasure cf the
House to postpone this question for further consideration, I feel
disposed to interpose no objection. — But I fear the arguments
of some gentlemen who have spoken against this measure, may
have an undue and injurious influence upon the question under
consideration; and it seems proper to me that they should be met at
this time.

In the various phases which this subject has been made to
assume by the latitude of debate, which members have allowed
themselves on the preliminary points suggested by the Commit-
tee, it has been my duty, as chairman of that Committee, to address
the House so often that I feel an extreme delicacy and reluctance

A Sourci Book of !/>< University of Texas


in doing so again. When the gentleman from Jasper bad concluded
his remarks in opposition to this, measure, I looked around rather
imploringly to my friend from Cherokee, (Mr. Jennings,) and other
friends of the enterprise, whose business it is to speak, as they
belong to a profession that accustoms them to much speaking,
while mine requires but little, but looked in vain. I had hoped
that some gentleman on the floor, thoroughly impressed with the
profound importance of the subject, much more competent to the
task than myself, would rise from his seat in vindication of the
great enterprise now under consideration. I would not, sir, again
trespass on the time of the House if I were not so sensibly im-
pressed with the vast importance of this enterprise to the future
well being of Texas.

And I must confess my surprise at the opposition' it has met
here, coming, too, from the' quarter it did. From an educated
gentleman, one who has taken an elevated position in this House,
and has given evidence here of no ordinary capacity, and who
himself has reaped all the advantages of learning, and whose mind
has been enlightened by the beams of science.

That gentleman, in making up his opposition, based his argu-
ments entirely on false ground. Although he seemed to anticipate
the charge of demagogueism from some quarter, yet I hope no one
in this debate will be so forgetful of what is due to courtesy and
himself, as to bring a charge of this kind against any gentleman,
especially the member from Jasper, (Mr. Hicks). But when an
attempt is made to array the prejudices of the masses against a
great enterprise like this, by the use of such language and argu-
ments as those which fell from the lips of the member from Jas-
per; it does justify a suspicion at least, if not of demagogueism, at
least it was intended a little for the purpose of "buncombe." Xo
endowment is proposed here. No robbery of the common school
fund, as the gentleman must know from the manner in which that
fund is set apart under the Constitution of the State; no one,
however ardent his feelings in favor of this cause, could be so
reckless of his obligation as to attempt to divert that fund from
its legitimate object prescribed by the Constitution, for this or
any other object. Then why seek to array prejudices against the
University project, by attempting to create falsely the impression
that it is intended to absorb the means provided for every other
educational scheme? I will show the fallacy of this presently. I
will show that the common school system has a munificent endow-
ment under the Constitution, and by constant accessions from leg-
islative liberality, that places it beyond the reach of this or any
other similar enterprise.

128 University of Texas Bulletin

If the gentleman will take pains to examine the report of the
committee, he will see that it says, "before going into the trouble
of digesting and maturing a plan for a University in all of its
details, it is deemed best to decide the main question, as to whether
we will decide to have a University or not? and if so decided,
whether we will establish more than one?" But it seems that

Online LibraryHarry Yandell BenedictA source book relating to the history of the University of Texas: legislative, legal, bibliographical, and statistical → online text (page 15 of 89)