« PreviousContinue »
Second, the treaty would call for a large surrender of revenue, which we are in no condition at the present time, and shall not be for years to come, to abandon. At least five to ten times as much would be surrendered by us as by the Canadian Government.
Third, there are no reciprocity advantages of a market. Our Atlantic markets are worth from 25 per cent to 3373 per cent more than the markets of the St. Lawrence at Montreal and Quebec. Beef, cattle, horses, wool, grain, and lumber do not go from the United States to the Canadian Government, but do come from the Canadian to our markets because they are so much more valuable. Here we labor under the greatest amount of inequality and should put into the pockets of Canadians twice the amount that we should lose in duties in the superior advantages we give them for selling their products here instead of confining them to their own (markets). The same thing may be said of fish; they furnish no market while we furnish the only good one in the world. The new items introduced into the proposals, of iron and steel and wood, might operate well for a year or two, but within two years it would transfer the manufacture of our agricultural implements and all such manufactures to the Canadian Dominion where raw material is produced cheaper, where taxation is less onerous, and where labor is much cheaper.
I forbear to go through with the whole list of items, but not because I think it would be difficult to show that the whole arrangement would be, if you will pardon me, a treaty of abominations.
Very truly yours
JUSTIN S. MORRILL Throughout the period Morrill bore a heavy burden of the routine work of the legislator, with long hours in committee as well as his labors on the floor, where he was the most regular of attendants. And this he did without tension or sign of strain, his own serenity of spirit, his domestic contentment, his freedom from vaulting ambition, his love of books, his fondness for horses, and the sense of good services performed buoying him up and refreshing his spirit. The constant encouragement of friends and the approval of men like George William Curtis, Daniel C. Gilman, Andrew D.
White, and scores of others who wrote to express their admiration and support was an inestimable help. Even the dissentients contributed to his health by adding the note of humor: for not all his correspondents were encomiastic. A citizen of Attica, Indiana, disliked the Senator's view of specie payments and expressed himself strongly. Senator Morrill kept his letter with the comment on the back of the envelope, “says I am an ass." The Western critic did not stop at that, but concluded, “You know that the country needs more money and I believe that the Member of Congress who opposes an issue of more is as false as Satan himself. I pray that a just God may paralyze their tongues.”
Even office-seekers, which were the heaviest of his burdens, occasionally yielded a note of relief or gayety. When there was a proposal to elevate George H. Williams, then Attorney-General, to the post of Chief Justice, there came a letter from Burlington, Vermont, that brought a refreshing note of earnestness:
DEAR MR. MORRILL,
Don't vote to confirm Williams, pray don't. This is the universal voice. It is Marshall's seat that is to be filled, and Jay's, and Taney's, and Chase's. O, don't do it. Truly yours
From his old friend, Walton of Montpelier, he got a line about a candidate for a consulship that gave a touch of humor to the subject:
I have had a letter from Earle for some weeks. I suppose he is with you by this time, or will be soon. He wants to go to Berne. It is clear a case of instinct. Earle is a devil — printer's devil, you know - and he ought to go to Berne.
With this we may close the chapter, already unconscion
ably long, leaving many threads to be woven into the narrative in their proper places, and pause to recount the most notable of Morrill's legislative achievements - the enactment of the measures under which the land-grant colleges were established.
THE LAND-GRANT COLLEGE ACTS
THE Land-Grant College Acts not only demand a separate chapter in any account of Morrill's life; they form a chapter in the educational history of the country. Among those to whom their author is more than a name, many, if not the greater part, know him as the father of the land-grant colleges and count them as his greatest monument. They have called forth many eulogies and are still the subject of reports, discussions, speeches, and periodical encomiums upon their author. As early as 1888 a report of the United States Bureau of Education contained the statement that, "next to the Ordinance of 1787 the Congressional grant of 1862 is the most important educational enactment in America.” 1 Andrew D. White, for many years President of Cornell University and later Minister to Germany, rated Morrill's work in this field very high.
It is she said), in my opinion, a service which deserves to be ranked, and which future historians will rank, with those of Hamilton in advocating the Constitution, of Jefferson in acquiring Louisiana, and of Clay in giving us a truly American policy.
Mr. Morrill's service in this respect is all the more noteworthy when we consider the time when it was rendered. It was the darkest period of the Civil War, and yet, full of confidence in the future of the Republic, and largely, indeed, to better that future, he introduced and carried this great measure. Since the Romans quietly bought and sold the lands on which the Carthaginians were encamped in the neighborhood of the Eternal City, there has been no more noble exhibition of faith in the destiny of a republic.
1 The History of Federal State Aid to Higher Education. U.S. Bureau of Education, 1888.
Various features of the measure showed exceeding breadth and depth of statesmanlike feeling, and one of the strongest of them is the fact that these institutions were not put into the hands of a bureaucracy at Washington or elsewhere, but left to be developed by the good sense of each State in accordance with its necessities. The result has been that we have nearly fifty noble institutions, each suited to its environment, and to many of them individuals have given enormous sums in order to supplement the work originally contemplated."
It has often been said, as if to minimize the achievement, that Morrill “builded better than he knew"; experts in the field have declared that he “knew very little of education. His wish was 'to do something for the farmer'”; ? the implication being that the act amounted to little more than a casual bit of legislation framed to meet a political contingency. Such a view is very far astray. It mistakes the nature of the act and the nature of the man who framed it. Morrill was no specialist in education, but the experts of
1917 too easily forget how recent is the knowledge and theory from which their authority is derived and might well compare with modesty the “expert” theory of 1855 with Morrill's sound and reasonable views.
His bill was not the work of a mere amateur or of a mind untouched by culture. From his early manhood Morrill was known as a well-read man; his friends were men of cultivation; for these he had a natural affinity; his library, and still more his modest volume, “Self-Consciousness of Noted Persons,” reveals a love of books, a sensitive taste, and a range of reading that would do credit to a professed man of letters. Along with this general basis of cultivation he pursued a special interest in education. A reference in one of his letters shows that in 1865 he had drawn up a Course of Study which he seems to have shown to some of his friends, but
1 New York Daily Tribune, Saturday, March 25, 1899.