March 30, 1825, William SPARROW was appointed professor of languages, but afterward declined entering upon the duties of his office, and his place was supplied by John T. WILLISTON. The trustees resolved that a grammar school should be attached to the college, and appointed Mr. WILLISTON principal, with a salary of $500.
March 28, 1827, the salaries of the officers were established as follows: president of the university, $1,200; professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, $800; professor of languages, $700.
March 28, 1828, it was resolved that a building, one hundred feet in length by forty feet wide, and three stories high, be erected for the university, according to a plan then exhibited, and that Messrs. MCBRIDE, REILY, and MACDILL be a committee to contract and superintend its erection.
On the twenty-third day of April they contracted with David RICHEY to execute the stone and brick-work and plastering of the building, and with William P. VANHOOK, of Hamilton, for the carpenter-work.
September 24, 1828, it was resolved that John E. ANNAN be dismissed as professor.
In September the building committee reported that they had erected a brick building, set on a good stone foundation, one hundred feet long by forty feet wide, and three stories high, each story or floor having two halls and eight rooms, situated directly east from the main building. The whole cost of erecting and completing the building, including cost of materials, was $7,147.46.
In September, 1826, an allowance of $150 per annum was made for teaching the French and Spanish languages.
In November, 1827, Robert C. SCHENCK, a graduate of the college, and since the general and statesman, commenced teaching French, and continued the regular teacher of that language until September, 1830, when he left the institution.
February 23, 1831, the salary of the principal of the grammar school was raised to $500.
September 26, 1832, the professorship held by Mr. SCOTT was denominated the professorship of natural philosophy and chemistry, and the professorship held by Mr. MCGUFFEY was called the professorship of philosophy and mental science, with a salary of $850 each. Samuel M. MCCRACKEN was appointed professor of mathematics, and Thomas ARMSTRONG professor of languages, with a salary of $500 each.
In 1833 it was thought necessary that an additional building should be erected for the accommodation of the students of the university, and Major James GALLOWAY, Dr. John C. DUNLEVY, and James MCBRIDE were appointed a committee to contract for the erection and completion of a building one hundred feet in length by forty feet wide, three stories high; having a passage or hall running north and south through the building, and the residue to be divided into rooms about ten feet wide. The tuition fees of the students in the college department were raised to twelve dollars per session, and in the grammar school to ten dollars per session.
The building committee, at the next meeting, reported that they had contracted with Thomas BROWN, of Dayton, for the stone and brick, and laying the same, and for plastering the building, and with Thomas MORRISON, of the same place, for the wood and carpenter work.
October 1, 1835, Samuel W, MCCRACKEN was appointed professor of languages, in the room of Thomas ARMSTRONG, deceased, with a salary of $600 per annum, and Albert T. BLEDSOE, of Kentucky, professor of languages. A lot of ground, about one acre, was directed to be laid off, in the north-east corner of the town square of Oxford, and appropriated exclusively for a cemetery or burying-ground for the students and other members of the Miami University.
March 30. 1836. Jonathan MAYHEW was appointed treasurer.
In September, 1836, the resignations of Professor Albert T. BLEDSOE and Professor W. H. MCGUFFEY were received. The salaries of professors were fixed as follows: The professor of rhetoric and mental science, at $1,000; the professor of natural philosophy and chemistry, $1,000; the professor of mathematics, $800; and the professor of ancient languages, $800. It was resolved that the college year should commence on the first Monday of October and end on the second Tuesday of August with a recess from the twenty-fourth of December to the second of January; the Spring vacation to be three weeks immediately following the second Tuesday in March.
December 21, 1836, the Rev. Mr. PRESSLEY having deceased previous to his acceptance of the professorship of rhetoric and mental science, and Mr. HARNEY having declined to accept his appointment, Silas TOTTEN was chosen professor of rhetoric and mental science.
March 8, 1837, Messrs. MCBRIDE and J. W. SCOTT were appointed a committee to erect a building for a laboratory.
August 10, 1837, the committee for building the laboratory reported that they had made a contract for a building forty-four feet long by twenty-four feet wide, one story high, to be completed by the first of October, 1837, for $1,250.
August 10, 1837, John MCARTHUR was appointed professor of Grecian literature, rhetoric, and the elements of moral science; Chauncey N. OLDS was appointed professor of the Latin language and Roman literature.
August 9, 1838, the salary of the professor of the Latin language and Roman literature was fixed at $700, and the master of the grammar school at $700. Peter SUTTON was elected treasurer.
August 8, 1839, the price of tuition in the college proper was fixed at fifteen dollars per session, and in the grammar school at twelve dollars per annum.
August 12, 1840, the resignation of Chauncey N. OLDS, professor of the Latin language and Roman literature, and the resignation of Samuel W. MCCRACKEN, professor of mathematics and civil engineering, were accepted. The Rev. Robert H. BISHOP, president of the Miami University, having signified his intention of retiring from the presidency as soon as a successor to supply his place could be found, the board elected the Rev. John C. YOUNG, then president of Center College, Kentucky, at Danville, president of the Miami University. The board created the professorship of history and political economy, and appointed the Rev. Robert H. BISHOP to fill that chair, for which he was to receive a salary of $650 per year, and a house and garden free of rent. The following resolution complimentary to Dr. BISHOP, was passed:
"Resolved, That as the unanimous sense if this board, the able, faithful, and unremitting labors of President BISHOP in the discharge of his official duties as presiding officer of the Miami University for the last sixteen years, and the untiring exertions upon his part during that time to maintain for the institution the high reputation which has been so laboriously acquired for it throughout that period entitle him to the grateful memory of every friend of learning and moral virtue, as well as the warmest thanks upon the part of the patrons and supporters of this institution."
August 13, 1840, John ARMSTRONG was appointed professor of mathematics and civil engineering, and John MCARTHUR, professor of Grecian literature and rhetoric. The salary of John C. YOUNG, president-elect, should he accept, was fixed at $1,500 per annum.
November 8, 1840, it was resolved that the professorships of Roman and Grecian literature be united into one professorship, to be called the professorship of ancient languages, and that John MCARTHUR, the present professor of Grecian literature, be appointed to the professorship of that department, with his present salary of $800 per year. Robert H. BISHOP, Jr., was appointed principal of the grammar school. It having been ascertained that the Rev. J. C. YOUNG declined accepting the office to which he was elected at the last meeting, the Rev. George JUNKIN, of Lafayette College, Easton Pennsylvania, was elected president.
March 9, 1841, J. C. MOFFAT, of Lafayette College, at Easton Pennsylvania, was appointed professor of the Latin language and Roman literature, with a salary of $700.
August 11, 1841, the Rev. George JUNKIN was inaugurated president of the Miami University. The salary of the professor of history and political science was fixed at $750.
We have not thought it expedient to continue our extracts from the records, as the period draws closer to our times. The earlier decades were those of poverty and adversity, and their record is full of interest and encouragement.
We have received from Dr. SCOTT, for seventeen years a professor in this institution, the following account of the Miami University while he was connected with it, and of the causes that led to his withdrawal. Dr. SCOTT wields a caustic pen, and sets forth his own side of the question with a freedom and fullness that leave nothing to be desired on that score. Elsewhere will be found his biography:
"I went to Oxford, by invitation of the board of trustees of Miami University, to the professorship of mathematics and natural science, made vacant by the retirement, on account of broken-down health, of Professor ANNAN, in the Fall of 1828. Every thing there presented, at that time, a rather primitive and rude appearance. The buildings of the town were limited, with but two or three exceptions, to the space bounded on the east by the street that forms the west boundary of the college campus; on the west, by the street running north and south in front of the building erected for a female institute; on the north, by the street running past the Presbyterian and the United Presbyterian churches; and on the south, by the street forming the south boundary of the college campus and grove. The campus, which was mainly a naked and open common, in which many of the stumps were still standing, was unprotected by any kind of inclosure, and the grove was still in the primitive state of nature. The plat of land south of the town was principally, except during the Summer and early Fall months, a rich, fat morass, through the eastern end of which, when at all passable, the citizens used to shorten distance by winding their way, among the stumps and fallen timber, to the Hamilton road, at the south-east corner of the corporation line.
"With the exception of the college buildings, which consisted of the great, tall, uncouth old center building and its disproportioned little western wing (which has since been enlarged and improved), and the north-east building, which had just been erected, I have a recollection of but five or six brick houses in the town. Such was something of the physical appearance and condition of things at that day. In regard to the social condition, the mass of the population was correspondingly primitive. Apart form the college faculty, the cultivation and refinement of Oxford was confined to a very small number of families, not exceeding six or eight at most, and the proportion in the surrounding township was, perhaps, very much the same. The manner in which the farming lands of the township were disposed of was not favorable to its settling up with a first-class farming population; namely, on mere leasehold title, for which no purchase money was paid, but which was held on the condition of payment, annually, of the interest of the nominal price, at six percent forever, as a permanent revenue for the support of the university. There was, at the early day of the first settlement, a strong prejudice in the minds of emigrants of means, who were able to purchase their lands in fee simple, against holding them on the tenure of a mere lease, liable at the end of any year to forfeiture and sale without redemption, in case the rent or tax was not paid within three months after due. The consequence was, they would turn aside and purchase elsewhere, while any poor penniless wight, who could not pay for land outright, found it rather a temptation to take a lease and settle upon it for a few years, and if he could only make out to keep his six per cent of the college rent paid up, and was worthless and unprincipled enough to do so, turn in to cutting and slashing away at the timber, and making all he could off the land, without regard to its residual or ultimate value, as was said, in certain cases, to have been done; and then if he had an eye to accumulation of means, all he had to do was to forfeit, and leave land in its denude and depreciated condition, and go father West to make the best of his ill-gotten gains. If he did not care to accumulate, but spent as fast as he made, he would continue to remain the same poor, shiftless, penniless creature as before.
"The result was that the township, at the first sales, became largely filled up with a poor, and in too many cases, not very honest, population; indeed, at an early day of the settlement it almost passed into a common saying that if any property was lost in any of the adjoining townships it was but necessary for the loser to obtain a search-warrant and go over into Oxford Township, and he would find it. This was, of course, an exaggerated report, and yet there is reason to apprehend that the character and conduct of too many of the early settlers afforded too much ground for its currency. This state of public feeling and opinion may be illustrated by an amusing anecdote.
"At the inauguration of Dr. BISHOP as president of the university, the duty of making the inauguration prayer was assigned to the venerable Rev. Mr. PORTER, a member of the board. In the course of his prayer - as I was told years after by a very respectable old Scotch-Irish Presbyterian elder, a citizen of the township, who was present on the occasion - the old father made allusion, in some manner or form, to the reputed state of society in the township - praying for a change, by which the college might be surrounded by more favorable influences. My informant told me that the next day he met another old Scotch-Irish friend and neighbor, just over the line in an adjoining township, a rather quizzical genius, who had also been present at the inauguration, who asked him, ‘Did you iver hear sich a foolish prayer as Father PORTER made yisterday at Oxford?’ ‘Why do you call it foolish?’ he answered. ‘Faith,’ said he, ‘and I think it was the foolishest prayer I iver hard in me life. Why, he prayed the Lard that he wad move aff all that riff-raff population from Oxford Township, and fill it up wi’ a good population. He might better have prayed the Lard to convart them on the ground, and save the movin’.’
"In process of time, however, by industry, thrift, and intellectual, moral, and religious culture, Oxford Township nobly redeemed her character; although, even at as late a day as when I arrived there, an element of the old rude, disorderly, intemperate, and vicious pioneer population, so characteristic of an earlier day, still remained, who would occasionally, of a Saturday afternoon and evening, collect together at a low groggery or two in the village, called (by grace) hotels, to drink and carouse, and to disturb the quiet and orderly citizens by ‘making night hideous’ with their noisy and drunken orgies, brawls, and fights. All this state of things, however, at length passed away. But I have, by this episode on the social and physical state of Oxford and Oxford Township, and their inhabitants, been diverted from the main subject; namely the early history of the college.
"I went to Oxford, as I have already stated, in the Fall of 1828. The college had then been in existence just four years. True, there had been an academy or classical and high school commenced, as a foundation or incipient step towards the establishment of a college several years previous, in the little old west wing of the main, or, as it as called, the center building. That great tall uncouth edifice was erected, I believe, in 1820-21, but the university was not organized in regular college form until the Fall of 1824, when the Rev. Dr. BISHOP was inaugurated as its first president. It commenced operations with a faculty of three, the doctor as president and professor of all the branches of intellectual, moral and political science; John E.ANNAN, professor of mathematics and natural science, and William SPARROW, professor of languages.
"In 1826 Professor SPARROW, who seems to have been a very popular and successful professor, resigned, and devoted himself to the Episcopal ministry. He afterwards, if I mistake not, was connected as a professor with a theological seminary at Alexandria, Virginia. His place was supplied by the election of William H. MCGUFFEY, a graduate of Washington College, Pennsylvania, who afterward acquired a considerable celebrity as the compiler of a series of English readers for the ‘Eclectic System of Books for Common Schools’. He was a man of considerable talent, though not of very general scholarship, especially in the departments of mathematics and natural sciences; of active mind and fond of abstract and metaphysical investigation and discussion; an ingenious and plausible, but not always a fair and safe reasoner; a very popular lecturer and public speaker, from his fluency and command of language, though never rising to the higher and bolder flights of oratory; a man withal of a good deal of personal vanity and ambition.
"In the summer of 1828 the health of professor ANNAN failed to such a degree that he was obliged to retire, and I succeeded to his place. He afterwards recovered his health so far as to enter the Presbyterian ministry, and preach for a year or two to a Church in Petersburg, Virginia, but died while yet a very young man. He was reputed a man of a high grade of natural talent, and of large and general attainments in scholarship for one of his age, and had he lived would have doubtless made his mark in the literary and scientific world; but on account of real or apparent rigidity and stiffness of manner, he does not seem to have been very popular as a professor.
"During the first four years of its existence the institution seems to have flourished very much in public popularity and patronage, the number of students having risen from a comparatively very small number to very well up towards one hundred. It might be observed that the grade of scholarship for a diploma was set high (the full curriculum was patterned very much after that of Yale); and its palmiest days, which were from 1830 till near 1840, when its number of students rose some years to near two hundred and fifty, it obtained from its alumni, patrons, and friends, the soubriquet of ‘the Yale of the West’.
"In 1832 the board were encouraged to increase the number of faculty, by the addition of two new members. My professorship was relieved of the pure mathematics, and a new department of those branches was established, and Samuel W. MCCRACKEN, a graduate of the institution of a previous year, was appointed to it. The department of languages was divided into that of Greek, with an appendage of philosophy and general literature, which Professor MCGUFFEY still retained; and a professorship of Latin and Latin literature, with the addition of Hebrew, to which Rev. Thomas ARMSTRONG, another graduate of the institution, was appointed. Both the young professors had been among our best scholars, and were men of talent, particularly the latter, who gave much early promise, but died, much lamented, in the Summer of 1835, after less than three years’ service, in which he had already made his mark.
"On the decease of Professor ARMSTRONG a change was made by which Professor MCCRACKEN was transferred from the mathematical department to that of Latin; and Albert T. BLEDSOE, a graduate of West Point Military Academy, was appointed professor of mathematics in his place. Professor BLEDSOE was a man of vigorous and, except in the department of ancient languages, well trained and well stored mind. He had an especial talent and penchant for metaphysical study and discussion, and was unusually well read and well posted on such topics, as was manifested in a work which he published in more advanced life, entitled, ‘The Theodicy,’ in which he undertook to answer President Edwards’s celebrated ‘Treatise on the Will,’ and in which, if he does not refute the great and world-renowned metaphysician, he shows great skill and resources in matters of abstract investigation and reasoning. He is said to have published also another book to defend, or at least palliate, slavery (as I have been told, for I have never seen the book) from the Bible; although before he went back to his native South, he was very decidedly antislavery in his expressed opinions. Such is sometimes the vacillation and inconsistency of men of great minds. But with all his learning and ability he did not succeed in making himself popular as a professor. His difficulty was in the matter of discipline. Having been educated under the arbitrary rigidity of a military school, he did not seem to realize and appreciate the difference between military discipline and that appropriate to a civil institution.
"I must not forget, nor neglect to mention in this historical sketch, that in this successful period of the institution, somewhere about 1833 or 1834, the board took a first step toward making the institution in reality what it was in name, a university, by establishing a medical department in Cincinnati, under the title of the Miami Medical College. Dr. Daniel DRAKE, of Cincinnati, a gentleman of considerable celebrity in his day, both in medical science and general literature, having fallen out with his co-professors in the Ohio Medical College, applied to the board to establish in Cincinnati, under their university charter, a medical department, which was granted. Accordingly, with a faculty of his selection, consisting, with himself, of Dr. MUSSEY (the elder), Drs. RIVES, EBERLE, STOUGHTON, and HARRISON, some of them very eminent in their profession, such a school was commenced, and carried on for some years with considerable spirit and success. What was its final fate I am not apprised of. My impression is that the doctor, in the course of a few years, disagreed with the faculty of his own selection and left it. Whether the organization finally disbanded, or still continues its existence in some one of the medical schools which Cincinnati contains, I am unable to say.
"In the midst of this prosperity a train of untoward influences began to set in. In the Fall of 1836 Professor MCGUFFEY, who had previously shown signs of restiveness and dissatisfaction, resigned, leaving a month or so before commencement, for the professed purpose of visiting Clinton, Mississippi, with the view of the presidency of a new college (which he said had been tendered him), about to be established there. But the whole project of such a college proving a failure, he engaged with Professor O. M. MITCHEL, of astronomical celebrity, for a time, in an institution in Cincinnati, under an old charter for a Cincinnati college. Afterwards he was elected to the presidency of the ‘Ohio University’ at Athens; but after serving there for three or four years, the institution not flourishing, nor likely to flourish to satisfaction, and his social surroundings not being entirely happy, he resigned in1845, and accepted a professorship of mental and moral philosophy in the Virginia University, at Charlottesville, where he spent the rest of his life, dying within the last three or four years.
"At the close of the session Professor BLEDSOE, who had never seemed entirely satisfied in the institution, ‘followed suit,’ as it is said in a rather slang phrase, by handing in his resignation. Having taken orders in the Episcopal Church he went South, having originally come from Kentucky. Whether he devoted himself to the work of the Gospel ministry exclusively or immediately, or not, I am unable to say; but my impression is that he still continued in the educational department in some academy or school in one of the Southern Gulf States. He was afterwards elected to a chair (I believe of mathematics) in the University of Virginia, not very far from the same time with the accession of Professor MCGUFFEY. During the rebellion he is said to have been connected with the military department of the confederacy in the capacity of chief of ordnance, I think. I have understood, too, that towards the close of the war, he was sent over to England by the Confederate Government, as one of the commissioners to solicit ‘comfort and aid’ in the straits and penury of its latter day. I think also I have heard of his death since the close of the war. The vacancies produced by the resignations of Professors MCGUFFEY and BLEDSOE were supplied by the appointment of Samuel S. GALLOWAY and Chauncey N. OLDS, both of them graduates of the institution. The institution still continued to move on prosperously till between 1838 and 1840, as the catalogues of the period, of which I left a pretty complete list with Professor BISHOP, I think will show.
" In 1838, perhaps in 1837, for my memory is not very distinct in regard to minutia during that period of numerous and frequent changes, Professors GALLOWAY and OLDS resigned. A Rev. John MCARTHUR, of Cadiz, Ohio, was elected to the professorship of Greek, and I believe, at the same time, a Professor John Armstrong was elected professor of mathematics. Professor MCARTHUR was a man of some eminence as a preacher and as a man of literature. Professor ARMSTRONG was an excellent mathematician of the old style, and a very good and worthy man, but hardly modern enough in manners and mode of instruction to exert a commanding influence among our ‘Young America’ students. After three or four years he resigned, and was succeeded in the Fall of 1843 (I think) by George A. WESTERMAN, a young gentleman who was highly recommended by Professor O. M. MITCHEL. In the mean time other malign influences had begun to operate, to add to the force and effect of the former in disturbing the quiet and prosperity of the institution—entirely extraneous in their character, and which ought not to have been lugged into the college. These were the antislavery agitation, or, as it was called, the abolition excitement; and the troubles in the Presbyterian Church, between old and new school parties, which finally, in 1837-8, split the great Presbyterian Church in the United States into two distinct branches, which remained separate for thirty years, both of which causes were rife, and in some cases very intense about that time. Each had its faction in the board. The one was determined to exterminate all abolitionism, by which was meant all decided antislavery sentiment from the institution, or as I once heard one of the members of the board, at one of their meetings, with a good deal of bitterness, express it, that ‘no abolitionist or sympathizer with abolition should ever, with his consent, be a professor in the university.’ These were the politicians of the board. The other, or as it might be denominated, the ecclesiastical, faction was composed of a very few members, clerical and laical, of one or two of the older branches of the Presbyterian Church, of strong theological prejudices, who were as decided in their ‘opposition to all new schoolism; and these two factions, as is related of Herod and Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and the people of Israel,’ on a certain memorable occasion, conspired together ‘to effect their particular object.’ The other members of the board having no special prejudices or partialities to gratify, in other words ‘no axes to grind,’ simply yielded unsuspectingly to their plans and management. This I know from one of these same members himself, who in the result had his eyes opened.