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very language of the bill”; }(2) that“Morrill was selected by Turner and other friends of the measure to introduce the bill”; 2 (3) that “Turner and his co-workers had already forwarded to him (Morrill) all their documents and papers and continued to give him all the aid and encouragement that they could. He managed the cause most admirably";8 (4) that Morrill's letter of December 30, 1861, to Professor Turner "proves beyond a doubt the more or less intimate acquaintance of Mr. Morrill with Turner's work." 4
These claims have a formidable sound. Let us examine them. The first rests upon the close resemblance of one sentence in the Morrill Act to a sentence in a petition to Congress supplied as a model for agricultural societies in various States. Copies of this petition may well have been among the many which Morrill said he had received. Such petitions, containing the words which are ascribed to Professor Turner, may have reached him from his own State of Vermont. The full measure of Morrill's offending on this count lies in the resemblance of the words used in the bill, “to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life,” to Professor Turner's phrase, “an industrial university for the liberal education of the industrial classes, in their several pursuits and professions in life.” What is omitted is, however, quite as important as what is adopted. Morrill said nothing of the Industrial University which was the very core and center of Professor Turner's programme, the thing for which he labored, and to which, as the principal director of the Industrial League, he devoted his efforts in vain for ten years. Had Morrill been the mouthpiece of the Professor, would he have omitted this?
The second claim, that Morrill was selected by Turner to
1 University of Illinois Bulletin, p. 27., • Ibid., p. 36.
; Ibid., p. 32.
introduce the bill, has even less support. It rests solely on the recollection, in 1907, of Professor Turner's daughter of conversations with her father, who died in 1898, at the age of ninety-three, about the occurrences of 1857. “I have often heard father say that the reason he (Senator Morrill] was selected to present the bill was because he was much interested in agriculture," etc. But little experience of the value of memory over a period of forty years will be necessary to make one chary of such recollections, and when they become recollections of recollections, the thread of proof wears very thin.
The theory that Morrill was the agent of Turner and his co-workers, selected by them to introduce the bill, is difficult to reconcile with the fact that as late as 1856 he evidently had no knowledge of the Professor's plan, but offered a resolution providing that “the Committee on Agriculture be requested to inquire into the expediency of establishing one or more national agricultural schools upon the basis of the naval and military schools." Still less can it be reconciled with the omission from Morrill's bill of any mention of the Industrial University to which Professor Turner had devoted himself and for which he had organized the Industrial League which absorbed the last ten years of his life.
There remains the third claim for Professor Turner's authorship: the statement that “Turner and his co-workers had ... forwarded to him (Morrill) all their documents and papers, etc.” This would be very important if it were capable of support, but it occurs on the closing page of President James's text, without a reference or suggestion as to its source or the evidence for it. Nor have I been able, after long search through the voluminous documents and correspondence left by Senator Morrill, to find a shred of evidence for the statement. There is no sign of any communi
cation direct or indirect with Professor Turner other than the letter of 1861. In the many fragmentary memoranda, notes of recollection, or reminiscence among Morrill's papers I have not found any mention of Professor Turner. This, in the case of so careful a man, leaves little reason to believe that he ever received any such “documents and papers.'
The letter on which Dean Davenport of the University of Illinois I was inclined to rest so heavily — the only letter so far as appears that Morrill ever wrote Turner — is a very brief communication which neither in its tone nor its contents warrants any inference of intimacy. On the contrary, if one subtracts the formal courtesy which was so marked a quality in Morrill's daily walk and conversation, there is nothing to show that he and the Professor ever had any other relations before or after. Here it is:
I am delighted to find your fire, by the letter of the 15th inst., had not all burned out. I presume I recognize Professor Turner, an old pioneer in the cause of agricultural education.
I have only to say that amid the fire and smoke and embers I ave faith that I shall get my bill into a law at this session. I thank you for your continued interest, and am
Very sincerely yours.
If, as I am inclined to believe, this was the only letter Morrill ever wrote Turner, we may dismiss the attempt to diminish Morrill's reputation by depriving him of any part of the credit due him for the Land-College Act. Whether inspired by personal regard for Professor Turner or by pride in an institution, it was ill-advised and based on the most flimsy supports. This conclusion is confirmed by the results of other studies: Professor William H. Brewer, of the Sheffield Scientific School, in speaking of the origin of the land grant of 1862, said, “I have no doubt whatever that it orig
1 University of Illinois Bulletin, p. 28.
inated with Mr. Morrill in 1857.” President Atherton, of the Pennsylvania State College, came to the same conclusion. But perhaps more important than either of these, because more recent and very much more detailed, is Mr. I. L. Kandel's Report to the Carnegie Foundation on “Federal Aid for Vocational Education." This elaborate, minute, and exhaustive study of the Morrill Act and its effects, though written in a spirit decidedly critical and not wholly friendly to the land colleges, leaves no room for doubt as to their origin. The claims of Professor Turner he disposes of in a sentence referring to Morrill's resolution of 1856. “This resolution,” he remarks, "does not seem to substantiate the claim of those who insist not merely that Senator Morrill was directly inspired by Professor Turner, but that he was even selected by him,... to lead the movement in Congress.” 1 The quotation shows that he had the University of Illinois Bulletin before him, yet in a study of the most thorough type, nearly sixty thousand words in length, written in 1917, seven years after that Bulletin appeared, he thus dismisses the Professor Turner claim. There we may let it lie: it is not likely to be revived.
· Carnegie Foundation Bulletin, no. 10, p. 79.
ADMINISTRATIONS As the Grant régime drew near its close, Morrill, in common with all careful observers, saw the signs of increasing weakness within and the growing power of its enemies without. The Crédit Mobilier, the Whiskey Ring, and Indian Post scandals had sapped the public confidence in the party at the very time when grave industrial and financial problems were making unusual demands upon its wisdom and character. Gravest of all these demands in Morrill's view was that for financial relief. The after effects of the panic of 1873 were still weighing heavily upon tradesmen and farmers who responded readily to the demagogues' cry for cheap money. Under the banners of Greenbackism and Clean Government, with the battle-cries of “The People's Money," and, “Drive the Rascals out,” the opposition made deep inroads upon the Republican ranks. In 1875, for the first time in his long term of service, Morrill saw the House of Representatives in the hands of a Democratic majority. For the first time since the Republican Party came into national existence, he saw the chamber swarming with Democrats, many of them. Southern “Colonels”; he saw his friends ousted from control of the committees and reduced to the ineffectual rôle of minority members. It was a blow to him; but he was to see worse. Never but twice again in the remaining twenty years of his senatorship was he to see the party of his youth in control of both houses of Congress. Its long rule was broken; it had slighted the counsels of the wise and had lost its opportunity.