The election of Dr. Barnard as chancellor was hailed with joy by every friend of the University. As the official head of the common schools of Connecticut and Rhode Island successively, he had won the highest commendation; he was the founder and editor of the American Journal of Education; and his writings and lectures on educational topics made his name a household word among the professional teachers of this country. With his twenty years of experience, and unbounded enthusiasm, it was reasonably supposed by the regents that he would work wonders in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, his election was followed by an illness from which he did not fully recover for several years. The school year of 1858-59 passed without his being able to reach the State; and it was July 27, 1859, before he was installed.
|Barnard too ill to be useful.||
It had been arranged that Dr. Barnard should, in addition to his duties as chancellor, be the general agent of the board of normal school regents in the reconstruction of the common school system of the State. Events so shaped themselves that most of the time and strength he was able to spare were spent upon this latter task; for he deemed it of most immediate importance that the common schools should be lifted to a higher level, that students might be better fitted for the University than they were. As chancellor, it is said that "he never gave a lecture or heard a recitation, and met the students but once in chapel" and he was, of course, unable to perfect the details of the reorganization, as had been expected of him by the regents.1 In 1860, he suffered severe nervous prostration, and in July tendered his resignation; but, still hoping that he would regain his health, the board deferred action until it was seen that he must necessarily abandon the undertaking. The Resignation was therefore reluctantly accepted, in January following.2
|A state of depression.||
By June (1860), it had been seen by the regents that a second reorganization was necessary. Professor Sterling, as dean,3 was holding the University together, and the regular work was going on; but the continued absence of the chancellor proved disheartening; the changes in the faculty, at the reorganization of two years before, had given rise to hostility and distrust in certain quarters--sentiments which might have been successfully combated by a strong administration; and the advantages which had been anticipated through the cooperative arrangement with the normal regents had now slipped out of reach, because the latter had felt obliged, in view of Barnard's illness, to proceed on independent lines. "It is not to be wondered at," wrote the University regents in their report for 1860, "that a University, still in its feeble and formative state, should feel severely the depressing influence." 4
|Deeply in debt.||
The board was now indebted to the school and University trust funds in the aggregate sum of $62,510, all of this debt, occasioned by the construction of the three buildings--north and south dormitories, and main hall; outstanding construction warrants, bearing ten percent interest, amounted to $17,509.54; there was also a loan of $5,000 advanced by a private person, with interest at eight per cent, and already past due; the aggregate annual interest on all this debt was $7,239.70. The regents report:
|The second reorganization.||
Such being the situation, the board, at its meeting of June 11, sought to retrench the current expenses; and naturally the first items to "cut" were the number and salaries of the instructional force. It was ordained that the faculty "shall hereafter consist of five professors and one tutor, and no more." The salary of the professor of modern languages (Fuchs) is to be $800; of the other four (Sterling, Read, Carr, and Butler), $1,000 each; and, in addition, "the five professors shall divide among themselves equally, the fees paid by students" the salary of the tutor (J. B. Parkinson) 5 is not to exceed $600. Mr. Tullis was continued as instructor in commercial calculations and bookkeeping, but his pay came from fees alone. No arrangement seems to have been made for the chancellor's salary, as he was still absent, and indeed never returned to his post.
Troublous times had now come upon the country. War clouds were gathering on the horizon; public expenditures for education and other arts of peace were being restricted; and many of the students in the University were uneasily matching the outcome, anxious to enlist in case the storm broke. All this tended, more or less, to disorganize work upon "the hill." Dr. Barnard's resignation had at last been accepted; and upon Dean Sterling were thrust, in addition to all his other duties, those of acting chancellor, in which capacity he acceptably served for six long and anxious years.
|Students in the army.||
In the spring of 1861, the War of Secession opened. In common with college students the country over, our University men were quick to respond to President Lincoln's call. During the year, the following enlisted in volunteer regiments: George W. Ashmore, of Arena; James H. Bull and John A. Bull, of Middleton; Cary M. Campbell, of Madison; Edwin D. Coe, of Watertown; Joseph W. Curtis, of Madison; Brasier R. Ellis, of Westport; Robert H. Henry, of Verona; E. C. Hungerford, of Watertown; Michael Leahey, of Portland; Edward G. Miller, of Sweet Home; Pliny Norcross,6 of La Grange; Otis Remick, of Cornish, Me.; S. S. Rockwood, of Milton; Henry Smith, of Middleton; Henry Vilas, of Madison; and William A. Wyse, of Sauk City.7
In addition to the above, the catalogue for 1862 reports the following graduates as serving at the front: Alexander C. Botkin, A. M., '59; Sinclair W. Botkin, A. M., '57; William W. Church, A. B., '61; Leander M. Comins, A. B., '60, and Charles Fairchild, A. M., '57, all of Madison; Samuel Fallows, A. M., '59, of Oshkosh; Almerin Gillett, P. B., '61, of Geneva; Richard W. Hubbell, A. M., '58, of Milwaukee; Edwin March, A. M., '59, of Beaver Dam; William P. Powers, A. B., '60, of Madison; Burgess C. Slaughter, A. M., '56, of Middleton; Fred T. Starkweather, A. B., '60, of Milwaukee; and John E. Sutton, A. B., '60, and William F. Vilas, A. M., '58, of Madison.
Undergraduates, in addition to those reported for 1861, were listed as being in the army, as follows: Thomas Bennett, of Beloit; Moses L. Bradley, of Madison; William W. Chadwick, of Monroe; Phineas J. Clawson, of Waukesha; Henry L. Gray, of Madison; Hudson H. Helms, of Fitchburg; Robert H. Henry, of Verona; Gilbert T. Hodges, of Monroe; William H. Keepers, of Madison; C. P. Larkin, of Milwaukee; Aaron H. McCracken, of Sweet Home; Jefferson C. McKenney, of North Leeds; J. E. Mathewson, of Neosho; Ceylon H. Olney and John C. Pradt, of Madison; M. H. Puffer, of Monroe; Albert J. Rockwell, of Oconomowoc; Jotham Scudder, of Juda; E. F. Stone, of Sun Prairie; and J. Dwight Tredway, of Madison.
The regents' report for 1863 does not contain a list of undergraduates in the army, but adds to the list of graduates thus engaged, the names of Farlin Q. Ball, P. B., '61, of Monroe, and Isaac, N. Stewart, P. B., '62, of Waukesha. John E. Sutton, '60 is reported as dead.
A matter-of-fact paragraph in the report for 1864 eloquently tells the story of that year, in the relations between the University and the federal army:
MOCK BATTLE, BY UNIVERSITY MILITARY STUDENTS
|Embarrassments of the war period.||
By the following year, the University had very nearly recovered its normal strength in the matter of attendance, the whole number of students for 1864-65 being 306, of whom 169 were men and 137 women--but only forty-one of these were entered in the regular college courses (nineteen classical and twenty-two scientific), the others being in the preparatory, commercial, and normal departments. The faculty thus reported to the regents upon the "difficulties and embarrassments of the war period:"9
Sorely hampered though the University had been, through lack of students and a chancellor, and naturally suffering from neglect in a time of great popular excitement in other fields of interest, the institution had nevertheless made some progress during the war period.10
|Normal department inaugurated.||
It will be remembered that the charter of the University provided for four departments: Science, literature, and the arts; law; medicine; and "the theory and practice of elementary instruction." As early as 1850, Chancellor Lathrop had urged that this fourth department be inaugurated as soon as practicable, for the new State sorely needed trained teachers for the common schools. Owing to lack of funds, however, nothing was done until the spring and summer of 1856 (the fourth Wednesday of April to the fourth Wednesday of July), when Professor Read delivered a few lectures on pedagogy to a class of eighteen--the first summer school at the University. The normal department in 1857 was held during the same period, with an attendance of twenty-eight; the attendance upon the teachers' classes in 1858 is not recorded.
The hopes centering around Chancellor Barnard had especial reference to normal instruction, of which he was to have direct charge; but we have seen how illness wrecked his plans. The summer of 1859 appears to have passed without any pupils in this department; but when the course reopened in April, 1860, the chancellor's name had attracted fifty-nine students, whose names make a brave show in the catalogue--heretofore, the names of the summer-term normal students were not given in the catalogue. The continued absence of Dr. Barnard, however, caused the abandonment of the class at the close of the summer term. Finally, Prof. Charles H. Allen,11 formerly the agent of the normal school regents, was engaged to give normal instruction at the University, and for two years, "with signal energy and success," said Dean Sterling, revived the enterprise; in June, 1865, the normal department graduated six young women. Professor Allen then resigned, and there was some question whether it would not be well to combine the normal and preparatory departments, for evidently there was no money for both. Prof. Joseph C. Pickard continued normal instruction through the year 1865-66; and then the work was definitely abandoned until 1885, when, as we shall see in a subsequent chapter, there was at last established a chair of pedagogy, which in due time developed into the present well-organized School of Education.
|Prejudice against "female students".||
We learn from the report of the faculty to the regents, made in 1865 and quoted above, that there was another reason than that of financial stringency, for the early non-success of the normal department: "It is not to be disguised," writes Dean Sterling, the author of the report, "that among former students of the University, and among leading ones now in the institution, there has been a strong feeling of opposition to the Department, mainly on the ground of its bringing females into the University. There has been an apprehension that the standard of culture would be lowered in consequence. No reason whatever has as yet existed for this apprehension. There has been no such mingling of classes in the higher and more recondite subjects as to render this effect possible, even if it would be the result; and, in point of fact, there has not been a period in the history of the University when some few students have carried their studies to a higher or wider range than in recent classes."
In 1851, the regents had reported that their "plan contemplates the admission of female as well as male teachers to all the advantages of the Normal Department of the University, and offers to the members of the teachers' class access to the instruction of the other departments." Six years later, the regents declare that:
This was an advanced position for those days, and fitly illustrates the quality and temper of the majority of the men who have from the earliest years served upon the board of University regents. In the summer of 1860, we have seen that there was a large normal class--thirty of the fifty-nine expectant students being "females". Young women did not again appear until Professor Allen's revival of normal instruction in 1863, when 119 of them were registered, and they have ever since been much in evidence in the University catalogue--at first, largely in the normal department, but gradually reaching out into every course in the institution. The reorganization act of 1866 declared explicitly, "The University in all its departments shall be open to male and female students." But it will be shown in the succeeding chapter what trials still awaited the cause of coeducation at the University of Wisconsin.
|A rustic "chrysilis."||
The creation of an agricultural department at the University was early urged upon the legislature. In March, 1854, the assembly committee on agriculture and manufactures made a report to that body, strongly arguing that the State swamp lands be "turned over, in trust" to the University fund, for the creation of such a department. "Let it be known," poetically writes the chairman (Abner Mitchell, of Green county), "that there is one spot upon the broad bosom of our State, where the farm boy can burst from his chrysilis gloom, and walk forth in the clear blaze of rural light, with all its laws and conditions in view, and the result will show in favor of what profession aspiring talent will manifest itself. * * * Let this be done, and your Committee will guarantee that there will be much less discrimination against rural pursuits, by youth of talent and energy."
|Early agricultural instruction.||
Nothing came of this report in the legislature; but, in May, the regents engaged S. P. Lathrop, M. D., 12 of Beloit, to be professor of chemistry and natural history, and he continued to discharge his duties as such until his death in the following December. Lathrop's chair was intended to be the nucleus of an agricultural department, and in their report for 1854 the regents promise to elect a successor in July. "It will be a part of the plan of this department," they say, "to offer yearly instruction to agricultural classes in chemistry and its applications." Dr. Lathrop's successor was Dr. E. S. Carr; and in the regents' report for 1855 it is stated that he will lecture on "agricultural chemistry and the applications of science to the useful arts. This course of instruction is expressly designed for the young farmers and artisans of the State; and it is to be hoped that many will avail themselves of the opportunity thus presented, of carrying the instructions of the laboratory into the industrial operations of the community at large. Each pupil of this department may become the instructor of his vicinage--and especially would it be desirable, that the teachers of the district schools should be well versed in natural science and its applications. The University proposes to open the way to this very valuable result, by arranging the agricultural and the teachers' classes in the same term." We have here the germ of the idea from which sprang the farmers' institutes of the succeeding generation.
A LESSON ON THE GERMINATION OF SEED
|The Agricultural College Act.||
It would seem, from the annual reports of the regents, that the plan of combining the teaching of agricultural chemistry and the summer school for teachers was continued until 1862, in which year Congress passed the Agricultural College (or "Morrill") act. This law granted to the several states "an amount of public lands * * * equal to thirty thousand acres for each senator and representative in Congress to which the States are respectively entitled" by the apportionment under the Federal census of 1860. Wisconsin's congressional delegation then being eight in number, this State's share was 240,000 acres. Each State receiving this land was to use the proceeds as a perpetual fund, the interest only of which should be used for "the endowment, support and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life." And further, warned by the example of Wisconsin in the misuse of its original University fund, this act expressly ordained that "No portion of said fund, nor the interest thereon, shall be applied directly or indirectly, under any pretense whatever, to the purchase, erection, preservation, or repair of any building or buildings." Several of the States used this fund to endow separate agricultural colleges, and there was some attempt made in Wisconsin to adopt this policy; but fortunately better counsels prevailed, and the College of Agriculture was by the reorganization act of 1866 made an integral part of the University, both being strengthened by the union.13
SENATOR JUSTIN S. MORRILL
|Locating the new land-grant.||
By an act approved April 2, 1863, the legislature accepted from the federal government the Agricultural College grant of 240,000 acres, "upon the terms, conditions and restrictions" of the law, and the governor was directed to appoint two commissioners to select the lands. The entire amount was, in 1863-64, located in Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Marathon, Oconto, Polk, and Shawano counties. We have seen that the first federal land-grant made to Wisconsin (in 1838) was for the benefit of the University, and consisted of two townships (46,080 acres). From their sale the State realized but $150,000; on the other hand Michigan obtained from a like grant over $500,000. In 1854, Congress doubled the grant to Wisconsin, and again, in order to attract immigrants, the lands were sold at prices much below the market rate, so that there was realized from this source but $138,240. Popular indifference to the University, together with the desire to entice settlers by cheap lands, combined to repeat the old story --the Agricultural College lands were purposely selected in agricultural districts at once available for settlement, and by the legislature ordered sold at a fiscal price of $3.25 per acre. At the same time the New York Agricultural College, incorporated with Cornell University, received the grant for that State. There being no federal lands in New York, the New York commissioners chose their acres, for the most part, in Wisconsin, carefully selecting good pine lands, which they foresaw would in time have a high market value. Thus Cornell University, as the result of a policy of waiting, secured from the Wisconsin pineries an endowment of over $7,000,000, to-day bringing her an annual income of over $350,000. Wisconsin herself sold the Agricultural College grant for prices which now yield an annuity of about $12,000. We of this generation, who are being taxed to support our University, should clearly understand that it is a case where the penalty for the sins of the fathers is laid upon the sons.14
Throughout the war period, a strong note of discontent is sounded in the annual reports of the regents, with respect to the financial condition of the University. It will be remembered that in 1860 they reported a debt of about $85,000, nearly all of it incurred for building purposes, on which there was an interest charge of over $7,000 per year. In 1861, they call attention to the fact that this leaves them but $10,000 net income; deduct from this the sinking fund provided by law, and they have left "only $7,701.16 applicable to the current expenses of the present year, and but $6,201.16 from and after 1864. * * * The expenses of conducting the University, as at present, without a chancellor, with an inadequate instructional force, and transacting everything on a scale of the most rigid economy, are not less than $10,500 per annum; of which, perhaps $1,500 may be anticipated from fees of students. * * * The facts submitted show in ugly contrast to the roseate anticipations elaborate liberally in former reports by this board to the legislature." They strongly urge the legislature "to extricate the University from its present embarrassments" by directing "that the cost of buildings and grounds be paid from the capital of the fund, and thus leave the annual income of its net resources unencumbered."
|Ineffective legislative relief.||
The legislature of 1862,15 in an unaccustomed fit of good intention, came to the supposed aid of the institution by cancelling the debt for main hall ($45,810), allowing the rest of the accumulated building debt ($47,416.27) to be paid from the principal, instead of the income, and exempting the regents from the necessity of maintaining a sinking fund for the payment of indebtedness caused by building. This act was doubtless intended to afford a partial relief to the University; but its effect was quite the reverse. By cancelling the debt for main hall, that amount was actually taken bodily by the State from the trust fund given by Congress, being thenceforth lost to the University, and its income correspondingly decreased. In their report for the year, the regents point out that the net income available for conducting the institution is now but $6,000, whereas the expenses, "without a much-needed chancellor, are not less than $7,000 per annum." They vigorously question, on broad grounds, the right of the State to devote any of the fund to land or buildings, and ask that it be entirely freed from responsibility for either, and be restored to the University, to be thereafter used only for support. Undaunted by non-success in this plea, they return to the charge in 1863 and 1864, again without effect. In 1865, they report an expenditure of $12,800 more than the receipts, of which $1,200 is for the item of fuel alone, but are happy in having just executed a stroke of economy, by which furnaces in the dormitories have been discontinued, "supplying the rooms with stoves and requiring students to furnish their own fuel."
|The third reorganization.||
But such economies as these could not save the situation. The University was sick well-nigh unto death, and required a more drastic remedy. This came in chapter 114 of the laws of 1866 (approved April 12), which reorganized the institution upon a more extended plan, and gave an implied promise of more substantial aid from the State treasury. The modern prosperity of the University dates from the passage of this law. It will be our pleasure in subsequent chapters to follow the story of its development.
1 Carpenter's History of the University of Wisconsin (Madison, 1876), p. 33.
In a letter to the University regents, dated June 22, 1859, soon after his arrival in Madison, Chancellor Barnard reminds them that, in accepting the office, he expressly stipulated that he "was to be relieved from all instructional duties in the classes of the University; and was to be at liberty to cooperate with the Board of Regents of Normal Schools, as their agent, and with the teachers and friends of common schools, in their efforts to develop all the means and institutions of education, intended for the great masses of the people."
In this letter, the chancellor deprecates the maintenance of "buildings for lodging and boarding students," and urges that they be allowed to board in private families in the neighborhood, thereby securing "the nearest approach to a true domestic life for them. The drain on the income of the institution, for this purpose, should be stopped at once, thoroughly and forever. * * * Halls, Liberty, Cabinets, Class and Lecture Rooms, constitute the real material requirements of a University." This recommendation was without effect upon the regents.
2 Resolutions of regret were adopted by the regents, in which they said: "We deeply sympathize with Chancellor Barnard in the disappointment consequent upon his inability from impaired health to carry out those plans of usefulness to our State, which he so wisely laid, and which he labored so unselfishly to realize, and that we cherish a deep sense of the obligations under which he has placed us, by his devotion to the work in which he met with such distinguished success, during the time he was able to be among us."
Dr. Barnard's efforts in Wisconsin were chiefly directed to the improvement of the system of popular education by establishing graded schools, with a public high school where young men and women could be prepared for the University or for business; he also sought the elevation of the teaching profession. He inaugurated the teachers' institute in this State, and, largely from his private funds, published four volumes of a series entitled Papers for Teachers, designed to help teachers in their work. In the course of his two years here, he reached by his addresses a majority of the teachers of the State.
In a note to the present writer, under date of March 16, 1899, President Adams thus refers to the work of Chancellor Barnard: "When I visited Dr. Barnard, two years ago, he talked somewhat at length of what he attempted in this State. He said he found the common schools in so wretched a condition that it seemed absolutely necessary, in order to accomplish anything, to improve the methods of teaching. He deliberately set himself about elevating that grade of schools, and to that end purposely limited his work to the outlying districts of the State, trusting to the future to do the needed work at the University. He said there was no use trying to have a University here until we could have students with a more thorough preparation than that which was then given. I am inclined to think that if his health had permitted him to continue his work, and if he had been able to put the preparatory schools on a really good foundation, the University might have had a much more rapid and healthful growth in the years immediately succeeding."
3 Title changed by the regents to that of vice chancellor, in 1865.
4 "The general scarcity of money, and depression of the educational as well as other interests," besides "the protracted absence from the State of the chancellor," are designated by the regents as the cause of the decreased attendance in 1859-60--which was but 137, compared with 159 in 1858-59, 163 in 1857-58, 164 in 1858-57, 169 in 1855-56, and 92 in 1854-55.
5 See biographies of the faculty, post, for a sketch of Professor Parkinson.
6 In his article in the Badger (1889), Dr. Butler says: "Directly after the firing on Sumter, Pliny Norcross was the first student to enlist. The lead of Norcross was followed by so many sons of Mars that the largest and best Greek class I ever had was sadly thinned out. When this stampede took place, we were engaged in Xenophon's Memorabilia. My own pocket copy, Trubner's edition, I gave to James M. Bull, one of my most zealous pupils. It was his vade mecum throughout the war, and kept alive in him classical instincts. He retains that keepsake still. * * * The American soldier found the notes of the Greek soldier a congenial manual."
7 Carpenter's History of University of Wisconsin, p. 37, adds---Noble and---Zack but their names do not appear in the catalogues of the time.
8 The bachelor's degree was afterward conferred upon a number of those students who enlisted in the war but failed to complete their academic courses.
9 See also in Wisconsin State Journal, June 20, 1877), address on "The University in the War," delivered before the Alumni Association, June 19, 1877, by James L. High, of Chicago.
10 One of the most hopeful signs was the organization of the Alumni Association, June 26, 1861. Charles T. Wakeley, '54, was the first president; John Francis Smith, '57, vice president; James M. Flower, '56, corresponding secretary; William Freeman Vilas, '58, recording secretary; Thomas D. Coryell, '57, treasurer; and Sidney Foote, '56, Sinclair W. Botkin, '57, and Henry Vilas, '61, executive committee. C. T. Wakeley was the first orator before the association, at the commencement exercises of 1862, and Richard Walter Hubbell, '58, the first poet.
11 Born in Mansfield, Tioga county, Pa., February 11, 1828. After much experience in Massachusetts in normal schools and holding teachers' institutes, he came to Wisconsin to assist Dr. Barnard in teachers' institute work here. Upon the latter's resignation, Professor Allen succeeded him as agent of the board of normal regents. For a time he taught a private normal and high school in Madison, coming to the University faculty in 1863, and serving two years as normal instructor. From here he went to take charge of the State normal school at Platteville (October 9, 1866); but in 1870 he resigned, because of ill health, and went to Oregon, there becoming institute agent of the normal schools. In 1873 he was chosen to the faculty of the State normal school of San Jose, Cal., and later became its principal.
12 Born in Sherburn, Vt., September 20, 1816, graduating from Middlebury College in 1839, and there obtaining his degree of M. D. in 1843. Soon abandoning his practice, he taught for several years in Middlebury, for a time in the college, and then in charge of a female seminary, and was for a year in the Vermont State geological survey. In 1849, he was called to the chair of chemistry and natural science at Beloit College; and, in 1854, to a similar position in the State University, dying on Christmas day of that year.
13 "One of the most difficult questions involved in the reorganization was the proper disposition of this grant. Inducements were offered to secure the connection of the school of agriculture and mechanics with some private denominational college, as was done in other States. Two successive legislatures refused to apply the fund to the establishment of an independent school. Action was postponed until near the end of the period of five years within which the school must be in existence in order to avoid a forfeiture of the grant. Finally it was deemed best to incorporate the school with the University, especially in view of its character as a State institution."-- Allen and Spencer's "Higher Education in Wisconsin," p. 30.
14 "Whatever the State gained by the policy adopted, the University lost, and lost permanently, from its Township Fund, not less than $59,000 a year, and from its Morrill fund not less than $128,000 a year, an aggregate loss for all time to the University income of not less than $187,000 a year."--President C. K. Adams, in Baccalaureate Address, 1896, p. 11.
See full discussion of the matter, in Knight's "History and Management of Land Grants for Education, in the Northwest Territory," Papers of Amer. Histor. Assoc., vol. i, No. 3 (New York, 1855), passim.
15 By chap. 268,
approved April 5, 1862, "An act to appropriate
from the capital of the University fund, a sufficient sum to pay
the debts against the State University."