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yield the largest quantity and the best products; teaching mining, manufacturing, navigation and engineering.
In this country we have done comparatively little as yet in regard to this kind of education. There are a few technological schools, mostly in the Eastern States; and most of the States have an Agricultural College. Generally speaking, the Agricultural Colleges are not very well supplied with students, and eastern manufacturers have to import from Europe and Great Britain a large number of their skilled workmen.
It is to be hoped that we have seen the beginning of the end of this condition of things. With so many people out of employment in our country, we ought certainly to produce all the skilled labor required without importing it from other countries. The government can well afford to make a liberal expenditure for technical education, for it is on the progress of our industries that our national prosperity depends. These industries are pouring untold millions into the national treasury, and their demand for national aid will be heard and will meet with a liberal response. Every dollar that goes out from the treasury of the State or nation in the way of judicious expenditure for technical education will be returned to it again an hundred fold; for a nation's wealth must ever lie in the productive power of her citizens.
THE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE UNDER THE STATE BOARD OF
BY PRESIDENT T. C. ABBOT.
(Read at the Institutes held at Paw Paw and Monroe.)
When the Agricultural College was opened in May, 1857, it had its one line of work to lay out, with but little guidance from the schools and colleges of the past. The work to be done by the old colleges was plain enough. A young man was to beat over again the way our fathers trod, and be ranked with educated men, or not to go in those paths and be ranked with the ignorant ignoble mass. But what was this new college to do? This thing which affected the name of college and had its students work with their hands like common laborers on the farm, and which still more strangely taught its students neither Latin nor Greek. Down almost to our day it has been thought that the education that tried to get along without Greek was stalking around along side of a genuine education like a man with a wooden stump in place of a leg, a thing without organization, flexibility, sense or grace. And like the man walking with two such stumps was the education destitute of both Latin and Greek as compared with the grace and discipline nurtured by classical study.
Now this attempt to disannul the connection between the ideas of education and the idea of classical training is a good one. The process of breaking up an association which centuries have riveted is slow. In this State it has been hastened by the noble stand taken by the University, which gives its degrees with equal honors from the same platform, upon its students of science and of classics; but when we see in the graded schools undue consideration given to the small classes in Latin and Greek, with neglect of the English branches,
and undue honor given to the classical teacher of the few over the teacher of common branches to the many, it can but be seen that the old prejudice still works to the detriment of education and of the schools.
The circumstances that rendered the knowledge of Latin the imperative first step to an education no longer exist. Once, if you wanted to read on theology, geology, botany, carpentering bridges, on any science or any art, the book was in Latin. Milton's State Correspondence was in Latin. Newton's Astronomy was in Latin. Bacon's Philosophy was in Latin. Then, to know Latin was the key to all book knowledge. Why should Latin reduce all our schools to slavery now that it is no longer the key to knowledge? In holding to the truth that Latin is not an essential of education, the college has been in the right, a right carried over from the first years, into the new management under a new board in 1861.
How, then, came there to be a change in the management of the college, and why did the Legislature in 1861 transfer the college from the Board of Education to a Board of Agriculture?
The Agricultural College was an anomaly amongst educational institutions. It could not be classified. It had departed from the old methods, it was not of sufficient authority to inaugurate a new. It had no helpers. Be one thing or another was kind of demand. It was said to be a mere high school sustained by the State at great expense, giving students the opportunity of labor which might aid them in paying their way, but which was to the State an additional expense, rather than otherwise. The main idea of President Williams, that is, giving farmers' sons a farm on which their own labor would support them while getting an education, was soon discussed out of existence. The faculty of the college, other than President Williams, looked for another sort of a college. Governor Bingham, whose love for the college was great, and whose hopes were excessive, founded his love and built his hopes, not merely on the fact that labor was to be made honorable, but from an expected growth to agricultural science. I was once at a dinner party in which Governor Wm. H. Howard warmly controverted the views of President Williams. I thought at the time that it was more a war of words than of ideas. Governor Bingham certainly felt the value of getting farmers' sons to pursue a course of education, and President Williams drew as sanguine a picture of the advantages of the application of science to agriculture as ever the Governor had done. President Tappan, of the University, told me an anecdote that illustrated the fond way in which Governor Bingham regarded the college. Dr. Tappan said he was piloting Governor Bingham about the grounds and halls of the University, when the Governor rudely exclaimed, "I would give more for that little institution just started in the woods at Lansing, than for the whole of this." The president was much offended; and certainly the Governor must have discounted his great expectations more than a hundred per cent. But at any rate differences between President Williams and the faculty caused the president's resignation after two years, and with him ended the plan of having students earn their living upon the college farm.
This idea dead and buried, the surviving and contrasted idea seemed to be that of a strictly professional school of agriculture. To this idea, therefore, the Board of Education addressed themselves. They discussed it among themselves; they debated it with the faculty; they conferred with men engaged in education, Dr. Tappan and others, noted for educational skill and wisdom; they sent visitors who might observe what was being done, and afterwards counsel.
The result was that the Board of Education made an entire change in the management of the college. They put into a preparatory year Chemistry, Geometry, Natural Philosophy, Rhetoric. These studies they said could ordinarily be found in the union schools, but might be lacking in schools from the rural districts, and so were to be taught in a class at the college, without being a part of the college course. The course of study was to be but two years in length and to be strictly professional.
The new faculty was to consist of five members, each member to be at the head of some prominent division of professional agricultural study.
A President was to be professor of Theoretical and Practical Agriculture. This officer was never appointed. There was a professor of Agricultural Chemistry; one of Civil and Rural Engineering; one of Botany and Vegetable Physiology, and one of Zoology and Animal Physiology. These were all.
Now in this course of study stress is laid on the directly and immediately practical. The useful is chosen above the true. But is the stress properly so laid? At first glance it seems so. The attempts of parents to pick out practical studies for their boys at college are often amusing enough. Discarding botany as a girl's study and one thing for one cause and another thing for another their notions dwindle down to book-keeping and the multiplication. table.
These days would seem to require but little faith for belief in pure science. The whole history of inventions is but the continued lesson of faith in science, -a profusion of her gifts to men where least expected. The men who watched the stars never thought, probably, that a whole practical science, Navigation was to perfect itself out of these heavenly musings; nor the men who played with swing swangs, to the laughter of all serious persons, that they were laying the basis of clocks for the benefit of the race. Even since these College Farmers' Institutes began to be held, the telephone has proclaimed mysteries not only wonderful to contemplate-a veritable miracle of wonder-but a mystery of every day's service which a child may use for his sport, or a man for the commonest interchange of business. Who would have thought fifty years ago that twenty miles' length of string, if excited by a galvanic battery, could talk. There has not been since Bacon a more striking example of his own. famous aphorisms regarding the relations of man's power to his knowledge. The child, as I have said, can use a hired telephone, while he cares nothing about its construction. A surveyor will run a north and south line if some one will make for him a compass, adjust it to the variation of the needle, and find out for him that there is no disturbing ore in the soil. A man who knows nothing of the principles on which his business is founded is a poor reliance on the first and least variation from routine, and a college which displaces science for mere routine inverts the true method of the knowledge of busiThe course of study laid down by the Board of Education in their remodeling of the college is not in so many words subject to this objection. But in reality it is for two years, and affords at most only a smattering of the sciences that underlie the great science and manifold processes of agriculture. The shortening up of the course to two years was generally disapproved by the friends of the college.
Still greater dissatisfaction was felt at the rejection from the college of all studies that go to constitute a good English general education. Political Economy, Civil Government, History, English Literature, were to find no place in its course of study. It was felt that this was making more of the
workman than of the man. It was departing too far from John Milton's famous and admirable definition of a liberal education. He says, "I call a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform justly, skillfully and magnanimously all the offices, both public and private, of peace and war." The man is more than the farmer, the citizen than the workman.
But why, said the Board of Education, and some say now, why not make of this college a purely professional school, like one of Law or of Medicine, or Theology, expecting that the general education will be secured elsewhere. Ideally, this appears well on paper, but practically, the expectation is futile. How few students of Law or of Medicine have taken a course of liberal study in preparation for their professional course! Neither is Law and Agriculture on the same footing. The proper study of the Law is almost a liberal education in itself. Whatever the delight we may experience in the beauties of nature, whatever the enlargement of power, or discipline of our faculties, or exaltation of thought which the study of science, the reign of law, may yield us, it is true nevertheless that culture requires us to come into the presence of men acting under the influence of prudence, affection and religion. Law, theology, literature, take us to where face answere th to face, revealing spiritual life. Agriculture does not. For the sake of the man then as distinguished from the farmer, the scope of his studies should be enlarged. A college which should only make its graduates better farmers would be doing but the half of its needful work. Farmers form a class of men having political relations to the other classes of society. Shall he not be educated to understand these relations and to represent his class in legislative halls and in the newspapers of the day? Socially farmers have held a position which was against any commanding influence on their part.
The farmer has the mortification of being told by an able professor of political economy in a New England college, that while farmers outnumber lawyers more than a hundred to one, he could point out one hundred lawyers who had exerted more political influence than the whole 6,000,000 farmers together. In my lecture, printed in our Report for 1880, I endeavored to show this state of things up, and what should be done about it. Farmers were dissatisfied with a change in the College course which regarded them only as farmers, and not as men. The State Agricultural Society appointed a committee to consider and report on the condition of the College. They reported in October, 1859, that " our sons should not be content with anything less than a full course in science and literature," and recommended the transfer of the College to a State Board of Agriculture. The same recommendation was made by the Board of Education unanimously in December, and the next Legislature, that of 1861, made the change. The College was put in charge of a State Board of Agriculture created for the purpose.
I have thus gone over at some length the account of this attempt to reduce the college to a mere technical school, because some things were settled in the course of it. Studies essential to the development of the citizen and the man were to hold a prominent place in the course, and the course of study was to be lengthened to four years, in order to give them room.
The most that has been done under the State Board of Agriculture, has been a simple development of the principles on which the college was re-started under their control. Early in my presidency, Agriculture was raised from a dependent and subordinate place to the position of a full professorship. The practice of agriculture is based upon many sciences-upon chemistry, upon
botany, upon animal physiology, upon entomology, upon the laws of health, upon mechanics, upon transportation, statute law, and political economy. With us, the sciences are taught, purely, and also with reference to agriculture. The professor of agriculture is then allowed to select almost at will whatever he can anywhere find of practical use to the producing of plants and animals for the use of man. Doubtless there is much repetition of scientific statement in a course of study made up on this plan, but the waste is more than compensated by the unity of purpose that connects the various elements which together constitute the science of agriculture, by the different lights and relations under which the same elements of knowledge is contemplated and by the better position of its official head as regards the plans which rule the inner workings of the college. There are besides, rules learned by experience merely, which science has not yet explained, and these have to be incorporated into any systematic course of instruction in practical agriculture. A view of the annual catalogue will show to what extent divisions and subdivisions have taken place. Horticulture has been divided from botany; and veterinary science from zoology. Further divisions will take place as the growth of the college shall demand or warrant. By and by we shall have chemistry, agricultural chemistry, physics, and meteorology distinct departments, each with its own professor. So we shall physiology, zoology, entomology, bee-keeping. These are named merely as examples of divisions that will occur.
A large departure from the old course is now contemplated by the new president of the college. He means, without lessening the attention given to agriculture, to add mechanical engineering; not to the present course, as I had contemplated, but to the college as a separate and independent course. This is approved by the Board, and I shall render him all the assistance towards it that I can. Mr. Willits will probably speak for himself when he enters on duty July 1, and will probably present his own plans to the public then. Until that time my duty is obviously cordial help and not talk.
The history of our labor system is an honorable one, but not altogether satisfactory. After the abandonment of the notion that students could wholly pay their way by their labor, the most of thie labor was placed into one three hours of the afternoon. This plan improved the chances for good oversight and for instruction. It has been generally approved, although it brought me personally, some bitter opposition. Each student spends three hours a day in manual labor. Saturdays and Sundays are excepted when the nature of the work admits of it. Afterwards it was arranged to have the Sophomores work on the farm and the Juniors on the horticultural department. The instruction in these departments was then adjusted to match the times of their labor. Other students receive assignments to labor so that farm and gardens receive equal forces. And now shall this labor show the bungling of the novice, learning to work, or shall it, under careful iteration and selection, show the model farm? The best I have been able to accomplish is to tolerate and uphold a system of perpetual compromise, and I shall soon turn over the important and unsolved problem to the management of a more skillful hand.
The law of Congress under which we receive the college fund is generally interpreted as requiring military instruction. The detail of a military officer is now made, but any further history of this department belongs to the future. No college history would be complete without a retrospective view of its financial history. The college has seen many gloomy, but no really dark days. Can any other State show a succession of appropriations prudent to be sure,