Pages 61 - 64

History of Butler County

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At a meeting of the board on the sixth day of July, 1824, the Rev. Robert H. BISHOP was appointed president of the Miami University, with a salary of one thousand dollars per year, and the occupancy of the mansion house free of rent. William SPARROW was appointed tutor of languages, with a salary of five hundred per year. The price of tuition in the grammar school was fixed at five dollars, and in the college at ten dollars, per session, to be paid in advance.

September 15, 1824, John ANNAN, of Baltimore, was appointed professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, with a salary of seven hundred dollars per annum. James M. DORSEY was appointed treasurer in the room of Merrikin BOND, resigned. September 15, 1824, James CRAWFORD was appointed collector.

In the year 1822 and effort was made to remove the university to Cincinnati College, and make it part of the Cincinnati College, and for that purpose a bill was introduced by Mr. WILLIAMS, of Cincinnati, having for its object the removal. When the news of the bill reached Oxford, Mr. Joel COLLINS, a warm friend of the university, and at that time a member of the Legislature, furnished a copy of the bill and other papers, in relation to its passage; and the lessees of the university lands held a meeting, of which James M. DORSEY was chairman and David MORRIS secretary. This meeting appointed a committee, consisting of Rev. Moses CRUME, William LUDLOW, Rev. Spencer CLACK, James M. DORSEY, Dr. James R. HUGHS, David MORRIS, Charles NEWHALL, Edward NEWTON, and Abraham I. CHITTENDEN, to prepare and forward to the Legislature a protest against, and to exhibit the injustice as well as the impolicy of, removing or attempting to remove the university from its present site. This committee also prepared and published "An Address to the Inhabitants of Symmes's Purchase."

In this address the committee goes over the whole ground of the dispute, which had then lasted thirteen years. There was no restriction upon the powers of the Legislature; They were ample and conclusive. The only questions were as to the good faith to be shown to the inhabitants of Symmes's Purchase, and as to the conduct and well-being of the college. The purchase of Judge SYMMES, as originally intended, was seventy miles long by twenty miles wide. It was impossible at that day, and would now be, for many persons to live so near the university that they could board their children at home. It was estimated that not more than one in fifty could possible be near enough for that purpose. The other forty-nine fiftieths wished the school where it might be the strongest and its expenses the least. Oxford offered them advantages more striking that any other place.

In the first place, SYMMES had not fulfilled his agreement. He had promised the people who had settled on his lands a full township for university purposes, but instead of living up to his promises, he went on selling till he could not have given in any township four sections of good land, much less thirty-six. He made no donation for this purpose; but, on the contrary, the land which is now the property of the Miami University is the gift of the United States Government. There consequently existed no contract between the dwellers on Symmes's grant and the trustees of the college.

The township of Oxford, by a happy chance, was nearly entirely unoccupied when the gift was made to the State of Ohio. It was favorably situated for leasing. Its grounds were high and salubrious; its natural productiveness was great. It was no farther from the Miami River, the great natural highway of the pioneers of this region, than Lebanon. Nearly all of the members of the Legislature from the purchase, in 1809, were in favor of the location at Oxford. Those from Hamilton County were unanimous.

By placing the university on this spot the lessees would be much better enabled to pay their rents. There would be the natural sale of commodities to the students and professors; There would be the families of the shop keepers and artisans, and in the end there would be the families who would be drawn thither so as not to be far away from their children while the latter were attending the terms. Had the university been placed elsewhere these anticipations could not have been realized. The lands were in the center of a wilderness; there was no near market, and it would have taken many years for it all to reach the highest point in rent.

It was also believed by the Legislature that there would be moral advantages from the selection which could not be had in a large town, such as Cincinnati then bid fair to be. The celebrity of the place and the interest of the inhabitants of the town would depend in very large degree upon the suppression of immorality. No such interest would be strong enough in Cincinnati.

Mr. SHIELDS, in support of his motion to reject the bill introduced by Micajah T. WILLIAMS, read this remonstrance, and said that "a remonstrance from the citizens of Oxford against the removal of the university, had been forwarded to the Legislature at the session of 1814-1815, at the time the subject was discussed." The committee to whom the subject was referred at that time was selected by ballot, and in their report declared that it was not in the power of the legislature to do away with the acts of a former legislature, where under those acts rights had become vested. The committee made a report, through its chairman, John Wilson CAMPBELL, being an unanswerable argument in favor of sustaining the establishment at Oxford. This address seemed to tranquilize the minds of the lessees, nor did the dissatisfied portion of the inhabitants within the bounds of Symmes's purchase make any further attempt to remove the site of Miami University until 1822. The bill was killed in Committee of the whole, and although public notice was given that the attempt at a removal would be renewed the next year, the Legislature has not since then interfered in any way. The minds of many of the wealthy and influential citizens of Symmes's purchase continued to be dissatisfied, and occasionally they manifested a disposition rather to pull down than to raise up the institution of Oxford.

Notwithstanding the able report from the pen of the Hon. Jacob BURNET, strongly recommending the removal of the Miami University from Oxford to Cincinnati, that gentlemen in after life, in his Notes, makes use of these words: "The Legislature, however, thought differently, and passed an act establishing the university on the land without the limits of the John C. SYMMES's purchase. The institution is now in a very flourishing state, and although the original beneficiaries of the grant have been wrongly deprived of their rights, yet it is now too late to relieve them without great temporary injury to the cause of science, and on that account it is desirable that no effort be made to disturb the institution or check its advance."

The university began operations in November, 1824, and Robert H. BISHOP, D. D., was inaugurated on the thirtieth day of march, 1825. A procession was formed in the Methodist Church at 11 o'clock of that day. First were citizens, then students of the university, the secretary, treasurer, and collector, trustees of the university, the president of the board, and professors. The body then moved to the college chapel, where the inaugural ceremony took place. The following were the exercises:

  1. Music.
  2. Introductory prayer, by the Rev. David PURVIANCE.
  3. Address, by the Rev. William GRAY.
  4. Music.
  5. Delivery of the charter, keys, etc., and a charge to the president, by Rev. John THOMPSON
  6. Inaugural prayer, by the Rev. Alexander PORTER.
  7. Address, by President BISHOP.
  8. Music.
  9. Concluding prayer, by the Rev. Stephen GARD.

David HIGGINS, David MacDILL, and James McBRIDE were the Committee of Arrangements. Abram I. CHITTENDEN acted as the marshal of the day.

The address of Dr. BISHOP, a learned and scholarly production, was shortly after published by James B. CAMRON, of Hamilton.

To give an idea of the course of study, the regulations, and the names of students, we give the first yearly catalogue almost entire:

Board of Trustees.-- Rev. John THOMPSON, Luke FOSTER, Esq., Stephen WOODS, Esq., Hamilton County; Hon. Joshua COLLETT, Stephen FALES, Esq., Montgomery County; Rev. William GRAHAM, Chillicothe; Sampson MASON, Esq., Clark County; Col. John JOHNSTON, Miami County; James COOLEY, Esq., Champaign County; Rev. David PURVIANCE, Rev. Alexander PORTER, Preble County; Rev. Stephen GARD, Rev. David MacDILL, John REILY, Esq., David HIGGINS, Esq., James McBRIDE, Esq., Butler County. Joel COLLINS, secretary of Board of Trustees. James M. DORSEY, treasurer.

Faculty and Instructors.-- Rev. R. H. BISHOP, D. D., President, Professor of Logic, Moral Philosophy and History, and ex-officio chairman of Board of Trustees; John E. ANNAN (of Dickinson College), Professor of Mathematics, Geography, natural Philosophy, and Astronomy, and Teacher of Political Economy; William H. McGUFFEY (of Washington College), Professor of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and ex-officio Librarian; John P. WILLISTON (of Yale College), Principal of the Grammar School; Samuel W. PARKER, Thomas ARMSTRONG, James REYNOLDS, John S. WEAVER, Tutors; John W. CALDWELL, secretary of the Faculty.

Extract from the By-Laws.-- 1st. There shall be a stated meeting of the faculty on the last Saturday of every month, at ten o'clock, A. M.

2d. At this meeting a return shall be made by every instructor of all the absences and deficiencies which may have occurred in his department during the month, and these returns shall be put upon file and preserved until the end of the session.

3d. The faculty shall also at each of these meetings enter into a full and free conversation on the conduct and progress of the students generally, and if any student, all circumstances being taken into view, shall be found not making that progress which he might do, or not conducting himself with that order and sobriety which are becoming, information of his situation shall be immediately communicated to his parents, that he may be removed.

4th. No student shall be allowed to recite with any class who does not, within ten days after he may have made application to be admitted into that class, lodge with the president a certificate from the instructor, stating that his previous acquirements are such as to entitle him to a regular standing in said class.

5th. No individual shall be allowed, on any account whatever, to continue connected with any department who is not, in the opinion of the faculty, fully employed.

Nor shall any individual be permitted to omit reciting with any class to which he may be attached, but by a vote of the faculty at their stated monthly meeting.

Resident Graduate.-- Thomas E. HUGHES, of Jefferson College, Pennsylvania.

Seniors. Samuel S. BALDRIDGE, William M. CORRY, Daniel L. GRAY, James P. PRESSLY, Ebenezer PRESSLY, James REYNOLDS, James THOMPSON, John THOMPSON, John P. VANDYKE, John L. WEAVER, James WORTH, Ebenezer WOODRUFF.

Juniors.-- James H. BACON, John W. CALDWELL, G. R, GASSAWAY, Thomas A. JONES, John McMEHAN, Robert C. SHENCK, Joseph S. WALLACE.

Sophomores,-- Thomas ARMSTRONG, George BISHOP, Bernard BREWSTER, Godwin V. DORSEY, Henry P. GALLOWAY, John M. GARRIGUS, Samuel W. PARKER, Joseph H. REILY, James SIMPSON, Hugh B. WILSON, Taylor WEBSTER, William BURCH. Freshmen.-- William BOYCE, Courtland CUSHING, Ebenezer ELLIOT, William F. FERGUSON, James N. GAMBLE, John HUNT, George W. JONES, Ralph P. LOWE, William C. LYLE, John McDILL, James REILY, William B. RUSSELL, John VANAUSDALL, Nathaniel WEED, Elias WILLIAMS, Ira ROOT.


Third Class.-- William BISHOP, Samuel FLEMING, Robert G. LINN, William PORTER, Ezekiel WALKER.

Second Class. Freeman ALGER, Charles BARNES, John H. BOYCE, Robert C. CALDWELL, Edward F. CHITTENDEN, John HARRISON, William HUESTON, Algernon S. FOSTER, Thomas I. FOSTER, Cyrus FALCONER, Caleb B. SMITH, Abner LONLY, Hugh WEBSTER.

First Class.-- Robert BLAIR, Joseph BLAIR, Clement BROWN, Jonathan HARSHMAN, Samuel McCLEANE, Thomas PURCELL, Alvah WHITE.

SUMMARY.-- College proper, 48; English Scientific Department, 25; Grammar School, 38; total, 111.

(We omit the names in the preparatory department.)

Those whose names are in the above catalogue are natives of fourteen different States. The youngest is in his seventh and the oldest in his thirty-third year. The great body are, however, natives of Ohio, and betwixt the ages of fourteen and twenty-one.

At the close of last session six had their names returned to their parents as not having made that improvement which would justify any further trouble or expense in endeavoring to give them liberal education, and fourteen of the good and promising students of that session have been prevented by the circumstances of their lot from prosecuting their studies this session. One of the present session has been sent home as not promising.

Add these twenty-one to the one hundred and eleven given above, and you have one hundred and thirty-two as the sum total of the present year. The college year is divided into two sessions of five of five months each. The Winter session commences on the first Monday of November and ends on the last Wednesday of September.

The Board of Trustees meets statedly at the end of each session.


I. GRAMMAR SCHOOL.-- The studies of the Grammar School, preparatory to admission into the Freshman Class, are English, Latin, and Greek Grammar, Mair's Introduction to the making of Latin, Caesar's Commentaries, Cicero's select orations, Virgil's Aeneid, Greek Testament, Collectanea Minora, and Arithmetic, including vulgar and decimal fractions, and the extraction of roots.

II. THE FRESHMAN'S CLASS.-- First Session.-- Algebra, Sallust, six books of Homer's Iliad, Graeca Majora begun, Adam's Roman Antiquities begun, Modern Geography, Prosody revised, English Grammar revised, translations from Greek and Latin into English, Declamation and Bible recitations.

Second Session.-- Euclid's Elements, Horace's Odes and Satires, Graeca majora continued, Roman Antiquities finished, Ancient Geography, Morrell's Rome, Neilson's Greek exercises, Double translations, Declamation and Bible recitations.

III. THE SOPHOMORE CLASS STUDY.-- First Session.-- (Cambridge Mathematics) Plane Trigonometry, Logarithms, Mensuration, Surveying, Horace's Epistles, Graeca Majora continued, Double translations, Morrell's Greece, Declamation and Bible recitations.

IV. THE JUNIOR CLASS STUDY.-- First Session.-- Conic Sections, Fluxions, Physical and Political Geography with the use of the globes, Excerpta Latina finished, Second volume of Majora begun, Tytler's Elements of History begun, Composition, Declamation and Bible recitations.

Second Session.-- Natural and Experimantal Philosophy, Virgil's Georgics, Horace de Arte Poetica, Graeca majora continued, Translation from Greek into Latin and from Latin into Greek, Tytle's Elements finished, Hebrew Grammar, Jamison's Grammar of Rhetoric, Composition, Declamation and Bible recitations.

V. THE SENIOR CLASS STUDY.-- First Session.-- Moral Philosophy including the Philosophy of the mind, Astronomy, Chemistry, Graeca majora finished, Cicero de Oratore, Latin and Greek compositions, Hebrew Bible begun, Declamation and Bible recitations.

Second Session.-- Logic, Say's Political Economy, Cicero de Officiis et de Natura Deorum, Select portions of Graeca Majora revised, Hebrew Bible continues, Evidences of Divine Revelation, Declamation and Bible recitations.

VI. ENGLISH SCIENTIFIC DEPARTMENT.-- The studies of the English Scientific Department are substantially the same with the studies of the College Classes, with the exception of the latin and Greek languages. No person can be admitted into this department who is under sixteen years of age; and to profit by admission, arrangements ought to be made so that each student may continue for two years at least. It is intended to have some of the modern languages taught in this department, and to give regular diplomas to those who may study the whole course.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTICES.-- A small but well-selected philosophical and chemical apparatus has been imported from London. Additional articles will be procured as the state of the institution may demand; a small sum is also permanently appropriated to procure regularly, for the use of the faculty, a few of the most important literary journals and any new work which may be of more than ordinary interest in any of the departments of science.

The first commencement will be on the last Wednesday of September next, when the degree of A. B. will be conferred on the members of the present Senior Class.

With the commencement of the third year, on the first Monday of November next, it is proposed to form a regular class of resident graduates. The studies of this class will embrace a course of general reading, adapted to the profession to which the members may be individually devoted, and to a review of any of their former studies to which they may be peculiarly attached.

No degree of A. M., or of any kind, in any case, be conferred as a mere matter of course. Particular attainments and a character corresponding to these attainments will, in every case, be required.

EXPENSES.-- Tuition in Grammar School and in First Class E. S. Department, $5 per session; College proper and Second and Third Classes E. S. Department, $10 per session; boarding, one dollar per week. To those parents and guardians who have thus far encouraged an infant institution, those who have more immediate direction of its concerns tender their sincere and grateful acknowledgements; and trusting in continued protection of a wise and good Providence, assurance is hereby given that every possible exertion will be made to make the Miami University, in all its departments, a public and common good.