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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 50

Mr. Stanford's Address

page 28

Mr. Stanford's Address.

Following is the text of the address of Leland Stanford to the Trustees, at their first meeting, November 14, 1885:

To the Trustees of the Leland Stanford, Junior, University:


In the trust deed providing for the endowment and organization of the University, the nature, objects and purposes of the endowment are very generally stated. We deem it appropriate, however, to enlarge somewhat upon what is therein set forth.

The reasons hat impelled us to select the Palo Alto estate as the location for the University, are its personal associations, which are most dear to us, the excellence of its climate, and its accessibility.

The deed of trust conveys, and at once irrevocably vests in you the title to all the real property described therein.

The endowment of lands is made because they are in themselves of great value, and their proper management will insure to the University an income much greater than would be realized were their value to be invested in any reliable, interest-bearing security; again, they can never be alienated, and will, therefore, be an page 29 unfailing support to the institution which they are designated to benefit.

As a further assurance that the endowment will be ample to establish and maintain a University of the highest grade, we have, by last will and testament, devised to you and your successors additional property. We have done this as a security against the uncertainties of life, and in the hope that during our lives the full endowment may go to you. With this in view, we have provided in this grant that you may take such other property as we may give to more fully carry out the objects of this trust.

The Palo Alto farm furnishes a sufficiently diversified soil, with a topography which admirably fits it as a place for agricultural education. In time, also, a handsome income will be derived from the rental of desirable residences to parents and others who will choose the place as a residence on account of its social, intellectual and climatic advantages. Of course, the Trustees will see to it that no objectionable people are allowed to reside upon the estate, and that no drinking saloons shall be opened upon any part of the premises.

Broad and General Ideas of Progress.

It should be the aim of the institution to entertain and inculcate broad and general ideas of progress and of the capacity of mankind for advancement in civilization. It is clear that to insure the steady advancement of civilization great care must be exercised in the matter of the general development of the great body of the people. They need education in the fundamental principles of government, and we know of no text so plain page 30 and so suggestive as that clause in our Declaration of Independence, which declares that 'among the inalienable rights of man are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.'

A government founded on such principles commands for the support and protection of individual rights the force of the whole people. With these principles fully recognized, agrarianism and communism can have only an ephemeral existence.

The merely physical wants of civilized man are not much greater than those of the savage, but his intellectual wants are bounded only by his capacity to conceive. His wants, therefore, will always depend upon his advancement in civilization, and the demand for labor will be measured accordingly. The rapidity of the communication of modern thought and the facilities for transportation make the civilized world one great neighborhood, in whose markets all producers meet in competition. The relative compensation to the producer must depend upon his powers of production.

Desires of Civilized Society.

When we consider the endless variety of the wants and the desires of civilized society, we must fully appreciate the value of labor-aiding machinery and the necessity for having this of the best character. Too much attention, therefore, cannot be given to technical and mechanical instruction, to the end that from our institution may go out educators in every field of production.

[unclear: out] of these suggestions grows the consideration of page 31 the great advantages, especially to the laboring man, of co-operation, by which each individual has the benefit of the intellectual and physical forces of his associates. It is by this intelligent application of these principles that there will be found the greatest lever to elevate the mass of humanity, and laws should be formed to protect and develop co-operative associations. Laws with this object in view will furnish to the poor man complete protection against the monopoly of the rich, and such laws properly administered and availed of, will insure to the workers of the country the full fruits of their industry and enterprise. They will accomplish all that is sought to be secured by the labor leagues, tr des-unions and other federations of workmen, and will be free from the objection of even impliedly attempting to take the unauthorized or wrongful control of the property, capital or time of others.

Hence it is that we have provided for thorough instruction in the principles of co-operation. We would have it early instilled into the student's mind that no greater blow can be struck at labor than that which makes its products insecure.

Articles of Endowment.

While the articles of endowment prohibit sectarianism, they direct that there shall be taught that there is an all-wise, benevolent God, and that the soul is immortal. It seems to us that the welfare of man on earth depends on the belief in immortality, and that the advantages of every good act and the disadvantages of every evil one follow man from this life into the next, there attaching to him as certainly as individuality is maintained.

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As to the manner in which this shall be taught and whence the confirmations shall be derived, we are not prepared to advance any thought other than that they may be sought from every available source that tends to throw light upon the subject.

While it is our desire that there shall be no sectarian teaching in this institution, it is very far from our thoughts to exclude divine service. We have provided that a suitable building be erected wherein the professors of the various religious denominations shall, from time to time, be invited to deliver discourses not sectarian in character.

We deem it of the first importance that the education of both sexes shall be equally full and complete, varied only as nature dictates. The rights of one sex, political and otherwise, are the same as those of the other sex, and this equality of rights ought to be fully recognized.

We have sought to place the free scholarships upon the basis of right to the student. We think this important, in order that his dignity and self-respect shall be maintained, and that he may understand that in his political relations he is entitled to nothing he does not earn.

With respect to the expenses of the students of the University, we desire that the Trustees shall fix them as low as possible.

The articles of endowment are intended to be in the nature of a constitution for the government and guidance of the Board of Trustees, in a general manner, not in detail. We hope that this institution will endure through long ages. Provisions regarding details of page 33 management, however wise they may be at present, might prove to be mischievous under conditions which may arise in the future.

In the deed of trust we have designated the purpases of this University. The object is not alone to give the student a technical education, fitting him for a successful business life, but it is also to instill into his mind an appreciation of the blessings of this government, a reverence for its institutions, and a love for God and humanity, to the end that he may go forth and by precept and example spread the great truths by the light of which his fellow-man will be elevated and taught how to attain happiness in this world and in the life eternal.

The Growth of Time.

We do not expect to establish a University and fill it with students at once. It must be the growth of time and experience. Our idea is that in the first instance we shall require the establishment of colleges for both sexes; then of primary schools, as they may be needed, and out of all these will grow the great central institution for more advanced study.

We have fixed the number of Trustees as twenty-four, that the institution may have the strength which comes from numbers. There is little danger of divided counsels, for the Educational Department will be under the control of the President of the University, who will have and exercise all the power necessary to make him responsible for his successful management. In order that he may have the assistance of a competent staff of professors we have provided that the best talent obtain- page 34 able shall be procured, and that liberal compensation shall always be offered.

We are impressed with the deep responsibilities of this undertaking, and invoke at all times your aid and the Divine help and blessing. During our lives we hope that we shall be compelled to make little draft upon the time of you, gentlemen, members of the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford, Junior, University, yet we trust that you will be ever ready to assist us with your counsel.