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Lewis & Tiffany.
Light Co., pays $3,000
tax. Hayden & Fairbanks,
[ No. 6.] MEMORIAL of the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan,
relating to the debt of said University. To the Honorable, the Senate, and the House of Representatives :
The undersigned, in behalf of the Regents of the University of Michigan, begs to renew before your Honorable bodies the petition which has been presented to the two preceding legislatures, and which prays for relief from a debt of $100,000.
The interest has been remitted for the four years past, but as the principal is pow about falling due, and all the disposable income of the University fund is pledged for the redemption of the stock issued which represents the loan, the relief prayed for can no longer be delayed without causing serious embarrassment to the University.
His Excellency the Governor of this State, io recommending, in his late message, the remission of the debt, has so justly presented the case, that we beg to call your attention to his language:
" Soon after its organization, a stock of one hundred thousand dollars was issued by the State, to raise money to construct buildings for colleges and professors houses, to be redeemed out of the sale of the lands, granted by Congress, " for the support of a University, and for no other purpose whatsoever."
The act authorizing the issue of the stock, pledged all the disposable
income from the University fund for its redemption. This has been deemed such a perversion of the income of the fund from its orignal design, that the Legislature for several years past bas authorized the payment of the interest from the general fund. The principal is now about becoming due, and I respectfully recommend that it be paid from the treasury of the State, so that this noble institution, in the prosperity of which every citizen of Michigan fuels a deep interest and pride, shall be entirely relieved from embarrassment."
The grounds on which the debt thus created is deemed a perversion of the Univer-ity fund are as follows:
1. By the Constitution of the State (article 13, section 2,) the proceeds of all lands granted by the United States to the State for educational purposes are to remain a perpetual fund, the income of which is to be inviolably appropriated and annually applied to the specific object contemplated in the original grant.
But the original grant expressly enjoins that it shall be appropriated "for the support of a University, and for no other
whatsoever." Now this fund“ for the support of a University” can no more be appropriated for the erection of students' dormitories and professors' houses than district school houses can be erected out of the primary school fund. As school districts, by the erection of school houses and otherwise, must make the necessary preparations for availing themselves of the school fund; so it may be deemed that it was incumbent upon the State to make similar preparations, whereby it might avail itself of the fund provided by the General Government for the support of a State University.
2. If the debt in question be paid by the University, it must either be taken from the perpetual fund, contrary to the constitution ; or the University must close its doors, and dismiss its professors and students until the debt is paid from the annual income of the fund.
3. Of this debt, $35,935 dollars were expended on the so called branches. The institutions created under this name were calculated to be of great value, and their revival and proper development as Union Schools, or under whatever name, is a matter of great importance to our educational system. But they were not, and cannot be a part of the University proper. They were only institutions intermediate between the Primary School and the University, and were merely preparatory to the latter, and no more a part of the University than the Primary Schools, which as the first indispensable guide of education are preparatory to the University also. The money expended on the branches, together with the interest on the same, from May 1838 to May 1853, when the interest was first remitled, is as follows: Appropriated to the branches up to May, 1838,.... $35,935 00
$ Interest, (not compound,) at 7 per conto, for 15 years. 37,731 75
In addition to the above, the attention of your Honorable bodies is called to the fact that the University has been charged at the rate of 7 per cont. on the debt, while the State itself has paid but 6 per cent on the same. The difference shows as follows: Ioterest on $100,000 at 7 per cent, from May 1838 to May, 1853,
$105,000 00 Interest on the same at 6 per cent, for the same period,
ded on the branches,
Total loss to the University fund, from branches and
overpaid interest alone,
The University fund has also suffered loss from past Legislation, to which it will not be deemed impertinent to call the attention of your Honorable bodies.
By virtue of the appraisement or reduction act of 1842, 3,936 91 acres of University lands, which originally sold at $87,504 59, were reduced about 50 per cent of the price contracted to be paid, and $31,651 17 were credited to the purchasers; or where money had been paid, it was refunded according to this rate. (See Superintendent's Report for 1843). It apeors that up
to 1843, the aggregate amount contracted to be paid for the University lands, had been reduced by forfei ures and relief legislation, from $220,000 to $137,000—a reduction of $53,000. (See Public Instruction and School Law, p. 93).
In a statement made by Major Kearsley, in behalf of the Board of Regents, to the Senate of 1846, in reply to a resolution asking the views of the Rugents respecting the reduction of the price of th: Uuiversity lunde, the wisdom and justice of past reduction is strongly -called in question, a nd any further legislation of this character protested against. (Ibid, pp. 146-8. Also, Journal of Legislative proceedings).
The loss to the University fund from this source shows as follows: Reduction in the sale of lands, up to 1843,
$83,000 Interest, (not compound,) from May 1843 to May 1850,-
From the above statements, it appears unquestionably, that if the debt of $100,000 in question be remitted, the University will still have lost: By reduction of price of lands,
$159,530 00 Interest paid on $100,000,..
If the debt be not remitted, then we must add,.... $100,000 00
$363,530 00 From all the foregoing exhibitions, it must be evident to your Honorable bodies that the remission of the debt of $100,000 is a simple act of justice. The State University thus far, instead of having imposed upon the State any expense, has actually suffered loss in various ways.
As an institution which forms the bighest gradle of the noble system of popular education adopted in our State, and which now in successful operation is gaining a high reputation both at home and abroad, the Regents beg to commend its interests to your enlightened and just appreciation. In behalf of the Board of Regents,
HENRY P. TAPPAN,
President of the Board. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Jan. 9, 1857.