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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 50

Historic Memorandum

Historic Memorandum.

The Missouri University was founded by a grant of two townships (46,080 acres of land to the State for that purpose, when it was organized and admitted into the Union. The policy of the General Government to aid the States in the work of education, by land grants, was established by the ordinance of 1787, in the following language, to wit:

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"And for extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected, etc., etc.

"It is hereby enacted and declared, by the authority aforesaid, (i. e., of the United States in Congress assembled,) that the following articles shall be considered as articles of compact between the original States and the people in the said Territory (northwest of the river Ohio,) and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent, to-wit:

* * * * * * * * *

Article 3. Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

In the act of Congress of 1812, organizing the Territory of Missouri, this article of the ordinance of 1787 was carried across the Mississippi, and somewhat amplified, as the following extract from that act shows:

"Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be encouraged and provided for from the public lands of the United States in said Territory, in such manner as Congress may deem expedient."

When the State of Missouri was organized out of this Territory, Congress deemed it expedient, as above stated, to devote two townships of land to "a University," and one thirty-sixth of the entire public domain, together with saline and swamp lands to "township (now district) schools."

The higher education was thus identified with the lower, as co-ordinate and constituent parts of the public school work of Missouri upon the original organization of the State. Let us look at this matter a moment, for we often hear the most erroneous and pernicious views advanced on this subject—views steeped in ignorance and fraught with untold evil to the State.

The University is an integral part of the public school organization established by law, and imbedded in the successive Constitutions of this State; and it is the traditional and established policy of this State, however imperfectly realized hitherto, to support the University as the crown and glory of the public school system. This is an indisputable state of fact; this fact is conspicuous, not by inference, but by the following explicit utterances in the first and second sections of the sixth article of the first Constitution of the State, adopted in St. Louis, July 19, 1820, viz.: "Schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged in this State * * * One school or more shall be established in each township."

"The General Assembly shall take measures for the improvement of such lands, etc., to support "A University for the promotion of literature and the arts and sciences; and it shall be the duty of the General Assembly, as soon as may be, to provide effectual means * * * for the improvement and permanent security of the funds and endowments of such institution." Nothing could be more explicit and unequivocal than this incorporation of the policy and duty of maintaining "a University," as an integral part of the school organization of the State, into the organic law by which the State was originally constituted. It needs no argument to prove that there clings to the State, as an organized commonwealth, an inalienable obligation to "improve," as well as to secure the funds and endowments of its University for the promotion of science, art and literature. The higher education, even its promotion or advancement by the University, is indissolubly coupled with the lower education; and he who undertakes to sever them is false to his constitutional obligation as a citizen. In order to promote or move forward the sciences, art and literature, as stipulated and covenanted by Missouri in her original organization, her University must page 8 not be allowed to lag behind, but must be kept in the front rank of the [unclear: educational] institutions of the age. In this, as in all cases, duty coincides fully with interest [unclear: and] honor.

The maintenance of the University, as well as of the public school was, therefore a covenant obligation, deliberately and solemnly assumed by Missouri, as one of the organic conditions on which she was constituted a State, and united with her [unclear: sister] States in the Federal compact. Those who go hunting among the clauses of the [unclear: new] Constitution for their sole guidance in this matter, present a sorry spectacle to the eyes of an intelligent observer.

The munificent land grant, by act of Congress in 1862, for the establishment [unclear: of] aid of agricultural, industrial and military schools throughout the country, was [unclear: only] an instance in the line of the established policy of the General Government, not as [unclear: an] organizer, but as a patron of education. The several States are both patrons [unclear: and] organizers of the work of education, but the General Government is only a patron, not an organizer.

It should be said, therefore, to the honor of those who founded the State of [unclear: Missouri], that the work of education, both in its lower and higher phases, embracing [unclear: the] district school system also, and "A University for the promotion of literature and [unclear: the] arts and sciences, "was no after-thought. It is incorporated in the Enabling Act Congress, and in the subsequent ordinance acquiescing therein, prior to the [unclear: constitutional] organization of the State; and the sixth article of the original Constitution is devoted to its elaboration as a part of the organic law of Missouri. (Poore's [unclear: Federal] and State Constitutions, pp. 1103, 1104. 1117-8, 1112.) This policy of the State, therefore, is not open to question, having been settled from its foundation, nor [unclear: can] the educational policy of the State be questioned, free from the fallacy of [unclear: mistaking] the nature of a free State, nor the joining of the higher with the lower education [unclear: as] a necessity, free from the fallacy of mistaking the nature of education itself.

A sound logic and a sound educational and political philosophy, therefore, [unclear: fully] indicate our historic and constitutional position, and suggest that, as a [unclear: people,] we devise the most liberal measures for the future of this commonwealth, which has come to be viewed as "the great Central Empire State of the Union." The [unclear: idea] of the district schools and of the University is incorporated into the very life of [unclear: our] State, and vitalizes its best hopes of the future.