The History Of University Education In Maryland
by Bernard Christian Steiner
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History is past Politics and Politics present History—Freeman



The History of University Education in Maryland


Fellow in History

The Johns Hopkins University (1876-1891)


President of the University

With Supplementary Notes on University Extension and the University of the Future, by R.G. Moulton, A.M., Cambridge, England





THE HISTORY OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN MARYLAND: Colonial Attempts to found a College The First University of Maryland The Second University of Maryland Cokesbury College Asbury College Other Extinct Colleges Mount Hope College The College of St. James Newton University Roman Catholic Colleges St. Mary's Seminary Mount St. Mary's College St. Charles's College Loyola College Rock Hill College Western Maryland College Female Education The Baltimore Female College Woman's College of Baltimore Conclusion

THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY (1876-1891): Foundation Preliminary Organization Inaugural Assembly Address of President Eliot Inaugural Address of the First President The Faculty Distinction between Collegiate and University Courses Students, Courses of Studies, and Degrees Publications, Seminaries, Societies Buildings, Libraries, and Collections Statistics Trustees





The State of Maryland has been almost extravagantly liberal in bestowing charters on colleges and professional schools. Over forty such charters have been given by the legislature and, in many cases, the result has proved that the gift of a charter was not warranted by the stability of the institution, to which was thus granted the power of conferring degrees. In many other cases, however, the institutions have grown and flourished, and have had an honorable history.

Collegiate education in Maryland did not begin until after the Revolution. In the colonial period there was no demand for it sufficient to warrant the establishment of a seat of higher learning. For this state of things there were several causes. The majority of the early settlers were planters and frontiersmen, having little need for an extended education and desiring it still less. Of the wealthier classes, some were like the fox-hunting English gentry, caring for little else than sport; and others, who did desire the advantages of a culture higher than that obtainable from a village schoolmaster or a private tutor, found it elsewhere. They went over to William and Mary's College in Virginia, across the ocean to England, or, in case of some Catholics like Charles Carroll, to the institutions on the continent of Europe.

But, though no college was established in colonial times, there was no lack of plans and attempts for one. In 1671, while as yet Harvard was the only American college, there was read and passed in the Upper House of the Assembly "An Act for the founding and Erecting of a School or College within this Province for the Education of Youth in Learning and Virtue." The Lower House amended and passed the bill; but the plan seems never to have progressed further. According to the bill the Lord Proprietor was "to Set out his Declaration of what Privileges and Immunities shall be Enjoyed by the Schollars;" and "the Tutors or School Masters" were to be of "the reformed Church of England" or, if two in number, to be "the one for the Catholick and other for the Protestants' Children."[1]

A second collegiate plan was brought before the legislature in 1732; but, having passed the Upper House, was seemingly not acted on by the Lower. This proposed college was intended to be placed at Annapolis and was to offer instruction in "theology, law, medicine, and the higher branches of a collegiate education." The governor of the colony was to be its chancellor and provision was made for a faculty of five, under whom students were to be instructed in everything from their alphabet upwards.[2]

A third unsuccessful attempt to secure the founding of a college was made in 1761,[3] and a fourth in 1763, when contrary to the earlier course of events, the rock, on which the project was shipwrecked, was found in the Upper House. The college was to be placed at Annapolis, to occupy Governor Bladen's mansion, and to have a faculty of seven masters, who were to be provided with five servants. The expense was to be defrayed from the colonial treasury, in case a tax to be levied on bachelors should prove insufficient for the purpose.[4]

The failure of these projects did not dampen the zeal of the advocates of higher education. In 1773 we find William Eddis, Surveyor of Customs at Annapolis, writing that the Legislature of the Province had determined to fit up Governor Bladen's mansion and "to endow and form a college for the education of youth in every liberal and useful branch of science," which college, "conducted under excellent regulations, will shortly preclude the necessity of crossing the Atlantic for the completion of a classical and polite education."[5] The gathering storm of war, however, drew men's attention away from this project.


The Rev. Dr. William Smith,[6] head of what is now the University of Pennsylvania, being out of employment on account of the revocation of that college's charter, was called as pastor in Chestertown on the Eastern Shore in 1780. To add to his income, he conceived the idea "of opening a school for instruction in higher branches of education." As a nucleus for his school, he took an old academy, the Kent County school, and, beginning the work of teaching, was so successful, that in 1782 the Legislature, on his application, granted the school a charter as Maryland's first college. To it the name of Washington was given, "in honorable and perpetual memory of His Excellency, General George Washington." Dr. Smith was so earnest and zealous in the presentation of the claims of the college, that in five years he had raised $14,000 from the people of the Eastern Shore. All seemed propitious for the college. In 1783 the first class graduated and the first degrees ever granted in Maryland were conferred, at the same time the corner-stone of the college building was laid, and in 1784 General Washington himself visited the college.

Dr. Smith prepared a three years' curriculum for the institution, equal to that of any college of the day and similar to the one used at the University of Pennsylvania. But the Western Shore could not endure that the educational success of its rival section of the State should so far outstrip its own. In the early days of the State, the sections were nearly equal in importance and the prevailing dualism of the political system invaded the field of education.

In 1784, two years after the founding of Washington College, St. John's College was chartered.[7] It was to be placed at Annapolis, and in it was merged the old county Academy, "King William's School," founded some eighty years before. By the same act, the two colleges were united in the University of Maryland. This University was modeled on the English type: the governor was to be its chancellor, and the governing body was to be the "Convocation of the University of Maryland." The convocation was to be composed of seven members of the Board of Visitors and Governors and two of the faculty of each college; it was to establish ordinances for the government of the colleges, to cause a uniformity in the "manners and literature," to receive appeals from the students, and to confer "the higher degrees and honors of the University." Its meetings were to be annual, and to be held alternately at each college on its commencement day.

The provisions of the act were never carried out; two fruitless attempts were made to hold sessions of Convocation in 1790 and 1791, and then nothing was even attempted. So thoroughly was the project forgotten, that the Legislature of 1805, in withdrawing the State appropriations from the two colleges, did not even mention the University, and in 1812, though the old charter had never been repealed, there was no hesitation in bestowing the name of University of Maryland on a second institution.[8]

The two colleges which constituted this first University are still existing and doing good work. The elder, Washington College, lost Dr. Smith in 1788 by his return to Philadelphia and re-accession to his old position there. He was succeeded by Rev. Colin Ferguson, a native of Kent county, and educated at Edinburgh University. Under him the college continued to flourish, until the withdrawal of the State's appropriation in 1805. The constitutionality of this withdrawal is questionable, as the original grant was to be paid annually "forever;" but the State refused to permit itself to be sued by the college and, some years later, on increasing its appropriation to the college, the legislature required a release of all claims on the State under the original act.

By the act of 1805, the activity of the college was paralyzed and its usefulness much impaired. It had not yet become strong enough to stand alone and, when the helping hand of the State was taken away, it was almost obliged to close its doors to students. Since that time the State has renewed its grants to the college and has greatly aided it in performing its functions; but from the disastrous effects of the act of 1805, the institution has never fully recovered.

Indeed, from 1805 to 1816, nothing but a grammar school seems to have been maintained in the college building. In the latter year, however, the college was re-opened, since the legislature had granted it a lottery of $30,000. A year later Rev. Dr. Francis Waters became "Principal," and under his able leadership the college bid fair to regain its old position; but in 1827 a second great misfortune overtook it. On January 11, 1827, the college building was discovered to be on fire, and, in spite of the most zealous efforts, was entirely consumed. After this misfortune the college proper seems to have been suspended a second time, and only a grammar school maintained with one instructor. The classes were conducted in a building intended originally for a rectory, until that was destroyed by fire in 1839, when the school was again moved.

Richard W. Ringgold, the principal of the school from 1832 to 1854, seems to have been a man of ability, and under him the number of students so much increased that in 1843 it was resolved to rebuild the college on the old site and to revive the college course. As a result, the present main building was erected, the corner-stone laid with imposing ceremonies on May 4, 1844, and the college was reopened in its own edifice on January 1, 1845. In 1849, a class of four was graduated, and in 1854, two additional buildings were erected; one for the Principal's residence and the other for dormitories and recitation rooms.

The college continued prosperous during the second administration of Rev. Dr. Waters from 1854 to 1860; but in the presidency of his successor, Rev. Andrew J. Sutton, came the Civil War, depriving the college of its Southern constituency and distracting men's minds from learning. After the Rebellion, an unfortunate selection of teachers and laxness of discipline caused the college to lose still more ground, and Wm. J. Rivers, Principal from 1873 to 1887, had much to do to build it up again. He was a faithful and diligent teacher, and under him the moral tone of the college was improved and the course of instruction enlarged. The present head, C.W. Reid, Ph.D., is still further advancing the cause of the institution and a new career of prosperity seems opening before Maryland's oldest college and the only one on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

St. John's College, like its sister institution, founded on a non-denominational basis, started out under even fairer auspices.[9] It was granted, by the State, Governor Bladen's mansion and four acres of land surrounding it, was made heir to the funds of King William's School, and secured L9,000 from private beneficence in the first two years of its history. The Bladen mansion, now known as McDowell Hall, was repaired and enlarged and, on August 11, 1789, Bishop Carroll was elected president of the Board of Visitors and Governors and Dr. John McDowell accepted the Professorship of Mathematics. After unsuccessful attempts to obtain a principal from England, Dr. McDowell was chosen to that position in the following year and continued in office, until the State withdrew its aid to the college in 1805. He was a man of great learning and was very successful at St. John's and later at the University of Pennsylvania as provost. Under him, St. John's flourished greatly and many men of a national reputation were enrolled among its students, from the time the first class graduated in 1793.

The same disaster fell on St. John's, as on Washington College. The Legislature withdrew the annual grant given by the State. The same doubt as to the constitutionality of this withdrawal existed here, and the State confirmed its position in the same way, by increasing its appropriation in 1832,[10] on condition of the college's accepting it in full satisfaction of all claims against the State under the original charter. Of late years Maryland has been quite generous to St. John's, but it has never quite recovered the station and prestige it lost by the taking away of the State's grant in 1805.

In the first despair over the Act of the Legislature, the Visitors and Governors voted to discontinue the college, but their courage soon returned and the Rev. Bethel Judd, elected principal in 1807, was able to graduate a class in 1810. After his withdrawal in 1812, matters were in a disturbed state for some years and no classes were graduated until 1822, when Rev. Henry L. Davis, the father of Maryland's famous orator, Henry Winter Davis, was principal. After that year there were no graduates until 1827, when Rev. William Rafferty was head of the college. The struggle for existence was a hard one and the wonder is that the college succeeded as well as it did.

With 1831, however, began a third and more successful period in the history of St. John's. In that year the Rev. Hector Humphreys, then only thirty-four years of age, was chosen president. He was a native of Connecticut and a graduate of Yale College in 1818, and was called to St. John's from the professorship of Ancient Languages at Washington (Trinity) College in his native State. The effect of his energy and devotion was soon recognized, and, largely through his efforts, was passed the compromise of 1832. The curriculum was enlarged, the instruction made more thorough, and classes were yearly graduated, with but six exceptions, until his death in 1857. His energy was very great, his learning wide and accurate. In 1834, after travelling about the State in the interests of the college, he succeeded in raising about $11,000, which were used in the erection of a second building for the college, which most appropriately has since been called by his name. During his administration, the professors' houses were also built, as was Pinkney Hall, a third building for the use of the college. Dr. Humphreys also secured cabinets and philosophical apparatus for the college and gave instruction in Political Economy, Latin and Greek, Chemistry, Geology, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, Composition, Elocution, Evidences of Christianity, Moral and Intellectual Philosophy, Rhetoric, and Logic. Verily, an encyclopaedic man of vast industry! Only four years after Dr. Humphreys' death the War of the Rebellion broke out, and St. John's, unlike the temple of Janus, closed its doors at the rumors of war. The buildings were used as an hospital, and not until 1866 was the college again reopened with the well-known educator, Henry Barnard, at its head. In less than a year he resigned to become the first United States Commissioner of Education, and neither he nor his successor, Dr. James C. Welling, who was principal until 1870, was able to graduate a class. Since the beginning of the administration of the next principal, James M. Garnett, LL. D., the succession of classes has been unbroken and the college has steadily advanced in reputation and usefulness. Dr. Garnett made the English department especially excellent and, after ten years faithful service, resigned in 1880. The Rev. J.D. Leavitt, his successor, made a departure from the old classic curriculum and organized a department of Mechanical Engineering. After he resigned Prof. W.H. Hopkins acted as principal for a time and introduced military discipline, having secured the detail of an officer from the United States Army as instructor in Military Tactics.

St. John's celebrated its centennial in 1889, and has begun its second century with excellent prospects. The four years' administration of its present principal, Thomas Fell, LL. D., has been a most successful one, and St. John's is fulfilling the purpose of its founders "to train up and perpetuate a succession of able and honest men, for discharging the various offices and duties of life, both civil and religious, with usefulness and reputation."


Most universities have developed from a college; the University of Maryland differs from them, for it originated in a medical school.[11]

In 1802 Dr. John B. Davidge of Baltimore began a private class in Medicine and was so successful in it, that, in 1807, he associated with himself Drs. James Cocke and John Shaw and these three obtained from the Legislature a charter for the school, under the name of "the College of Medicine of Maryland."[12] There was made a close connection between the College of Medicine and the State "Medical and Chirurgical Faculty," and its board of medical examiners were made ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees of the College. The Legislature also granted the college a lottery of $40,000.[13]

Lectures, which had been carried on at the professors' houses, were begun in 1808, at a building on the corner of Fayette (Chatham) street and McClellan's alley, and the first class, consisting of five, received its degrees in 1810. As the school grew and nourished, the ideas of its founders become more extensive and, in 1812, a long act was passed,[14] authorizing "the college for the promotion of medical knowledge" "to constitute, appoint, and annex to itself the other three colleges or faculties, viz.: The Faculty of Divinity, the Faculty of Law, and the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences; and that the four faculties or colleges thus united, shall be and they are hereby constituted an university, by the name and under the title of the University of Maryland." The connection with the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty was severed and the members of the four faculties, under the name of the Regents of the University of Maryland, were to have full powers over the University and be permitted to hold property not exceeding $100,000 in yearly value.

Each faculty was allowed to appoint its own professors and lecturers, to choose a dean, and to exercise such powers as the regents shall delegate. The Faculty of Physic was to be composed of the professors in the Medical College; that of Theology, of the professor of Theology and any "six ordained ministers of any religious society or denomination;" that of Law, of the professor of Law, "together with six qualified members of the bar;" that of the Arts and Sciences, of the professors in that department, "together with three of the principals of any three academies or Colleges of the State." Such a strangely formed and loosely united body could not succeed, as a more homogeneous and closely compacted one would have done.

The university was founded "on the most liberal plan, for the benefit of students of every country and every religious denomination, who shall be freely admitted to equal privileges and advantages of education, and to all the honors of the university, according to their merit, without requiring or enforcing any religious or civil test, urging their attendance upon any particular plan of religious worship or service." With these broad powers and provisions,[15] "the Faculty of Phisick, late of the College of Medicine of Maryland, *** convened and, by the authority vested in it by said charter and with the advice and recommendations of learned men of the several professions of Divinity, Law, and the Arts and Sciences, proceeded to annex to itself the other three faculties." On April 22, 1813, the Hon. Robert Smith, formerly United States Secretary of State, was chosen the first provost, and the organization of the regents was completed.[16] A lottery of $30,000 was granted the University in 1814, and another of $100,000 in 1817.[17] From the proceeds of these lotteries and other sources was built the building of the medical department on the corner of Lombard and Greene streets. It was modelled on the Pantheon at Rome, and, when built, is said to have been without an equal in America. The medical school grew extremely fast; a loan of $30,000 from the State in 1822[18] enabled it to build a practice hall and purchase a fine collection for its museum, and the University hospital across the street was opened in 1823. In 1824 the number of students in attendance on lectures amounted to 320. The other faculties took no active steps for some time and, not until 1819, did the regents urge them to proceed to deliver lectures as soon as possible and to lay before the regents annually a report as to their progress and condition. In 1823, possibly on account of this vote. Prof. David Hoffman began the instruction in the Faculty of Law, his school being known as the "Maryland Law Institute." He published part of his lecture notes in a book called Legal Outlines and continued lecturing about ten years. After his withdrawal, the law school was given up; but the organization of the faculty was still maintained.

The Faculty of Theology reported in 1852 "no active organization of the faculty has ever been attempted and, in view of the character of the department contemplated by the charter, none seems desirable." Its only activity was a course or two of lectures on the Evidences of Christianity, delivered before the medical students about 1823 by the Rev. William E. Wyatt, Professor of Theology. A nominal organization of the faculty was kept up, however, until 1878.

The prosperity of the medical department was destroyed by the effort of some of its professors, discontented with being prohibited from having private classes, to have the Legislature do away with the regents and replace them with a board of trustees, in whom should vest the property. As early as November 12, 1824, the Regents feared trouble and obtained from William Wirt, John Purviance and Daniel Webster, a legal opinion that their position was inexpugnable. With this conclusion the Legislature did not agree, and on March 6, 1862, an act was passed abolishing the Regents and appointing a Board of twenty-one Trustees in their place.[19]

The Trustees, by decree of the courts, obtained control of the property and forced the professors to accept them as the legal authority. So matters went on for twelve years, until in 1837, the trustees appointed a professor personally objectionable to some of the others, who resigned their positions under the Trustees and opened a separate medical school in the Indian Queen Hotel at the corner of Baltimore and Hanover Streets. Few out-of-town students attended either school, for the quarrel frightened them away, and the Baltimore students largely attended the Regents' school. Feeling ran high at one time, the Regents took possession of the University buildings by force, and bloodshed was feared.

The Board of Regents reorganized with Ashton Alexander, M.D., as Provost, and employed distinguished counsel to plead the case for them in the courts. The Legislature authorized the Court of Appeals to try the suit, and Maryland's Dartmouth College Case was decided in June, 1838, entirely in favor of the Regents. The court held that the act of 1825 was void, since it was "a judicial act, a sentence that condemned without a hearing. The Legislature has no right, without the assent of a Corporation, to alter its charter, or take from it any of its franchises or property." The Trustees would not yield at once and, in March, 1839, presented a petition to the Legislature, praying it not to pass an act requiring them to give up the property to the Regents. The memorial was referred to a joint committee, which reported a bill restoring the property to the Regents. The bill was enacted and the Regents have since ruled. During the supremacy of the Trustees, the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences was organized. They contemplated activity in 1821, and issued a circular, which drew down on them the wrath of Professor Hoffman, inasmuch as they "contemplated 'academic' instruction" not intended by the charter. The founders, he said, intended that instruction should be conveyed by lectures and that no other form of instruction should be allowed. The discussion which followed seems to show that he had the idea of having work carried on, like that done by graduate students to-day.

But nothing was done, apparently, until Baltimore College was annexed in 1830. That institution was chartered on January 7, 1804,[20] and was the development of an academy kept by James Priestley, the first president, on Paul's Lane (St. Paul Street). "It was hoped that it would, together with the other valuable seminaries of education in the same city and in the State, become adequate to the wants and wishes of our citizens," and from the proceeds of a lottery, the grant of which was an easy way for a State to be benevolent, a plain but convenient building was erected on Mulberry street.[21]

It is very doubtful if it ever graduated any students, and we learn in 1830 that "the celebrity and, in some cases, the superior existing advantages of other institutions have prevented the accomplishment of this object." Still a school had been kept up continuously, and from time to time, we catch glimpses of its lectures, &c. In January, 1830, a joint petition of the Trustees of the University of Maryland and of Baltimore College to the Legislature "proposed the charter of Baltimore College shall be surrendered to the State, on the condition that the property belonging to the college shall be invested in the trustees of the University of Maryland." The petition was granted,[22] and in 1832, we learn that "the Baltimore College *** has now been merged in the University of Maryland and constitutes the chair of Ancient Languages."[23]

On October 1, 1830, the Trustees issued a prospectus, from which we learn that it was intended "to maintain an institution on the most enlarged scale of usefulness and responsibility," and that there was a "necessity for the proposed organization of a department in the University of Maryland, exclusively collegiate in its system, requiring an advanced state of classical and scientific attainments for admission to its lectures, calculated to conduct its pupils through the highest branches of a liberal education and to afford them advantages similar to what may be obtained in the distant Universities of this country and Europe." A course of study equal to that of any college of the country was announced, and a brilliant Faculty appointed; but the time was not yet come for a great college in Baltimore and the institution languished away. In 1843, the Commissioners of Public Schools petitioned to have it transferred to the city as a High School, and in 1852, it had only one teacher and 36 scholars, a mere boys' school.

In 1854 it was reorganized as the "School of Letters under the Faculty of Arts and Sciences," with Rev. E.A. Dalrymple, formerly of the Episcopal Theological Seminary at Alexandria, as its head. On paper the course was fairly complete, and the Faculty an able one, and there were graduates in 1859, '60, '61, and '63. The course was to be a three years' one; for "the studies of Freshman year will be pursued in the preparatory department, where experience has shown they may be attended with greater advantage." Gradually students fell off, it became a mere boys' school, and finally Dr. Dalrymple was all that was left of the "School of Letters" and the "Faculty of the Arts and Sciences," and at his death, both formally became extinct.

With the restoration of the property to the Regents, the classes in the medical school increased to a size somewhat like that attained in years previous to 1825, although, owing to the opening of new schools, they never quite equalled it. During the war of the Rebellion, the school suffered from the loss of southern patronage; but at its close, students came back and the school took on fresh life. It has always been in the front rank; first of all American medical schools it recognized Gynecology as a separate branch of instruction, and it was second in making practical Anatomy a compulsory study. With the session of 1891 it will require a three years' graded course of all candidates for degrees.

In 1850 the Hon. John P. Kennedy, statesman and author, was chosen provost, and on his death in 1870, the Hon. S. Teackle Wallis was made his successor and he now fills the office with honor.

The Faculty of Law revived the Law School in the beginning of 1870, with a class of 25. An efficient faculty has caused a steady increase, until, in 1890, there were 101 students in the three years' course. The instruction is given by lectures, examinations, and moot-courts. In 1884, the Law Department moved from its former quarters in the old Baltimore College building on Mulberry Street, to a new building erected for it on the University property on Lombard Street, next to the building of the Medical Department.

In 1882, the University of Maryland obtained from the Legislature authority to open a Dental Department.[24] In 1837, the first Dental Lectures in America had been delivered before the Medical Students of the University, and it was quite fitting that there should be a dental school connected with it. The first class numbered 60, the last 132, and in eight years there have been 250 graduates. This fact and the further one that twice has it been found necessary to make large additions to the buildings of the department on Green Street, adjoining those of the Medical School, will show how rapid has been its growth.

The University has, at present, flourishing departments of Medicine, Law, and Dentistry, and worthily maintains the reputation of thorough and careful training, which it has gained in its history of eighty years.


In Maryland was the first Methodist Church in America, and it was natural that here too should be the first Methodist College in the world. There was no permanent organization of this denomination in the United States, until John Wesley, on the petition of the American churches, consecrated Rev. Thomas Coke, Superintendent for the United States, in 1784. Dr. Coke sailed directly from England, and arrived in New York on November 3, 1784. He thence traveled southward and, on the 15th of the same month, met Francis Asbury at Dover, Delaware. At this first meeting, Coke suggested the founding of an institution for higher education, to be under the patronage of the Methodist Church.[25] This was not a new idea to Asbury; for, four years previous to this meeting, John Dickins had made the same suggestion to him. The earlier idea had contemplated only a school, on the plan of Wesley's at Knightwood, England, and for that purpose, a subscription had been opened in North Carolina in 1781.[26]

Coke's suggestion, to have a college, was favorably received and, at the famous Christmas Conference at Baltimore in 1784, the Church was formally organized, with Coke and Asbury as Bishops, and the first Methodist College was founded. Thus the denomination which has increased to be the largest in the United States, recognized the paramount importance of education at its very foundation.[27] To the new institution, the name of Cokesbury was given, in honor of the two Bishops, from whose names the title was compounded. For this College, collections were yearly taken, amounting in 1786 to L800 and implying great self-denial by the struggling churches ill-supplied with wealth.[28]

As early as January 3, 1785, only two weeks after the College was decided on, its managers were able to report that L1,057 had been subscribed, a sum that put the enterprise on a firm footing. The site was next to be chosen, and Abingdon in Harford County was pitched upon. Of the 15,000 Methodists in the Union in 1784, over one-third were in Maryland, and hence, it had the best claim for the College, and the beauty of the situation of Abingdon charmed Coke so much that he determined upon placing the College there. It was also a place easy of access, being on the direct stage line from Baltimore to Philadelphia and near the Chesapeake Bay. Bishop Coke, the most zealous advocate of the College, contracted for the building materials; but was prevented from being present at the laying of the corner-stone. Bishop Asbury, however, was present and preached a sermon on Psalms 78, verses 4 to 8.[29] In this sermon, "he dwelt on the importance of a thoroughly religious education, and looked forward to the effects, which would result to the generality, to come from the streams which should spring from this opening fountain of sanctified learning." The building was built of brick, one hundred feet in length and forty in width, faced east and west, and stood on "the summit and centre of six acres of land, with an equal proportion of ground on each side." It was said to be in architecture "fully equal, if not superior, to anything of the kind in the country." Dormitory accommodations were provided in the building; but it was intended that "as many of the students as possible, shall be lodged and boarded in the town of Abingdon among our pious friends,"[30] Gardening, working in wood in a building called the "Taberna Lignaria," bathing under supervision of a master, walking, and riding were the only outdoor exercises permitted. The students were prohibited "from indulging in anything which the world calls play. Let this rule be observed with the strictest nicety; for those who play when they are young, will play when they are old."

In 1785 the Bishops issued a "Plan for Erecting a College intended to advance Religion in America." It is quite long and many of its provisions are very quaint. From it we learn that Cokesbury is intended "to receive for education and board the sons of the elders and preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, poor orphans, and the sons of the subscribers and other friends. It will be expected that all our friends, who send their children to the college, will, if they be able, pay a moderate sum for their education and board; the others will be taught and boarded and, if our finances allow it, clothed gratis. The institution is also intended for the benefit of our young men, who are called to preach, that they may receive a measure of that improvement, which is highly expedient as a preparation for public service." Teachers of ancient languages and of English will be provided, and no necessary branch of literature shall be omitted. "Above all, especial care shall be taken that due attention be paid to the religion and morals of the children, and to the exclusion of all such as continue of an ungovernable temper." "The expense of such an undertaking will be very large, and the best means we could think of, at our late conference, to accomplish our design, was to desire the assistance of all those in every place who wish well to the cause of God. The students will be instructed in English, Latin, Greek, logic, rhetoric, history, geography, natural philosophy, and astronomy. To these languages and sciences shall be added, when the finances of our college will admit of it, the Hebrew, French, and German languages. But our first object shall be, to answer the designs of Christian education, by forming the minds of the youth, through divine aid, to wisdom and holiness by instilling into their minds the principles of true religion—speculative, experimental, and practical—and training them in the ancient way, that they may be rational, spiritual Christians. We have consented to receive children of seven years of age, as we wish to have the opportunity of teaching 'the young idea how to shoot' and gradually forming their minds, through the divine blessing, almost from their infancy, to holiness and heavenly wisdom, as well as human learning. We shall rigidly insist on their rising early in the morning (five a.m.), and we are convinced by constant observation and experience, that it is of vast importance, both to body and mind.

"We prohibit play in the strongest terms, and in this we have the two greatest writers on the subject that, perhaps, any age has produced (Mr. Locke and Mr. Rousseau) of our sentiments; for, though the latter was essentially mistaken in his religious system, yet his wisdom in other respects and extensive genius are indisputably acknowledged. The employments, therefore, which we have chosen for the recreation of the students are such as are of greatest public utility:—agriculture and architecture.

"In conformity to this sentiment, one of the completest poetic pieces of antiquity (the Georgics of Virgil) is written on the subject of husbandry; by the perusal of which and submission to the above regulations, the students may delightfully unite the theory and practice together."

There is something extremely ludicrous in the idea of making the average student delight in spending his leisure hours in farming, by means of a study of the Georgics in the original. But we can hardly laugh at these men, they were too much in earnest. To return to the circular, "The four guineas a year for tuition, we are persuaded cannot be lowered, if we give the students that finished education, which we are determined they shall have. And, though our principal object is to instruct them in the doctrines, spirit, and practice of Christianity, yet we trust that our college will, in due time, send forth men that will be a blessing to their country in every laudable office and employment of life, thereby uniting the two greatest ornaments of human beings which are too often separated: deep learning and genuine piety."

As soon as the building was under roof, a preparatory school was opened and the Trustees applied to John Wesley for a President. He suggested a Rev. Mr. Heath, and this suggestion was accepted on December 23, 1786.[31] His inauguration occurred a year later and was a grand affair. Asbury presided on each of the three days of the ceremony, and his text on the second day, "O man of God, there is death in the pot,"[32] was looked on by the superstitious, in time to come, as a presage of disaster. The faculty was filled up and all seemed to bid fair for prosperity; but Mr. Heath remained in charge of the College less than a year, resigning because of certain charges of insufficiency, which seem rather trival. Another professor left to go into business and Asbury's soul was tried by these "heavy tidings."

The good Bishop was indefatigable in his care of Cokesbury. His visits were frequent, and while there, he was very active, examining the pupils, preaching, and arranging the affairs, both temporal and spiritual. Abingdon became a centre of Methodism, families moved there to enjoy the educational advantages, and the Conference regularly visited the College, coming over from Baltimore for that purpose.

Dr. Jacob Hall, of Abingdon, was the second President, and had under him a faculty of three professors and a chaplain. The school prospered and had public exhibitions of its students' proficiency from time to time. It is doubtful if sufficient care was exercised in the expenditure of money and, in December, 1790, the Trustees felt obliged to contract a loan of L1000. The charitable contributions fell off, and Asbury was forced to go from house to house in Baltimore, "through the snow and cold, begging money for the support of the poor orphans at Cokesbury."[33] The instruction was good, and Asbury could write to Coke, then in England, that "one promising young man has gone forth into the ministry, another is ready, and several have been under awakenings. None so healthy and orderly as our children, and some promise great talents for learning."[34] Still, "all was not well there," and on October 2, 1793, he "found matters in a poor state at college; L500 in debt, and our employes L700 in arrears." A year later, matters were desperate and the good Bishop wrote that "we now make a sudden and dead pause—we mean to incorporate and breathe and take some better plan. If we can not have a Christian school (i.e. a school under Christian discipline and pious teachers), we will have none."[35] The project of incorporation was not favored by some, who feared that the College would not be thereby so directly under the control of the Conference, but was carried through, and the charter bears date, December 26, 1794.[36] By it, the institution was allowed to have an income not exceeding L3,000.

How a charter was to avoid increased indebtedness does not appear and the College's debt had so increased, that the Conference in 1795 decided to suspend the Collegiate Department and have only an English Free School kept in the buildings.[37]

Misfortunes never come singly: an unsuccessful attempt to burn the buildings had been made in the fall of 1788, and now, on December 4, 1795, a completely successful one was made, and the building and its contents were consumed. Rewards to discover the incendiary were offered in vain, and Asbury writes:[38] "We have a second and confirmed report that Cokesbury College is consumed to ashes—a sacrifice of L10,000 in about ten years. If any man should give me L10,000 to do and suffer again what I have done for that house, I would not do it. The Lord called not Mr. Whitefield, nor the Methodists to build colleges. I wished only for schools; Dr. Coke wanted a college. I feel distressed at the loss of the library."

Asbury despaired, but Coke did not and, going to work, he raised L1,020 from his friends. After the determination was made to move the College to Baltimore, the Church there gave L700, and a house to house solicitation brought in L600 more. A building originally erected for balls and assemblies was purchased and fitted up. It stood next the old Light Street Methodist Church and a co-educational school was opened therein on May 2, 1796. The high course planned for girls is especially noticeable at this early period. The school opened with promises of success, and within a month there were nearly 200 scholars.

Fatality pursued the enterprise, however, and a year to a day from the burning of the first building, this second one was reduced to ashes, with the adjoining church and several houses.

Asbury writes rather philosophically:[39] "I conclude God loveth the people of Baltimore, and he will keep them poor to make them pure;" but even Coke gave up hope at this new disaster, and it was twenty years before a second Methodist College was attempted.


This was the second Methodist College in the world, and was organized in 1816, the year of Bishop Asbury's death. After a year or two of successful work, a charter was applied for and it was granted to the College February 10, 1818.[40] The President, Samuel K. Jennings, M.D., a Methodist local preacher, was a rather remarkable man. Coming from New Jersey, graduating at Rutgers, and settling in the practice of the medical profession in Virginia, he was converted by the preaching of Asbury, and was persuaded by him some years later, to move to Baltimore and take the leadership of the new enterprise.[41] He was said to be, at one time, the only Methodist preacher with a collegiate education and was well adapted to the task, from his administrative ability and wide learning. Around him, he gathered an undenominational faculty of four professors and began the life of the institution in a large brick building on the corner of Park Avenue and Franklin Street. In March, 1818, the Methodist Magazine tells us that there were one hundred and seventy students, and that "The Asbury College has probably exceeded in its progress, considering the short time it has been established, any literary institution in the country."[42] In that spring, a class was graduated, and yet only a few months later Dr. Bangs wrote that the College "continued for a short time and then, greatly to the disappointment and mortification of its friends, went down as suddenly as it had come up, and Asbury College lives only in the recollection of those who rejoiced over its rise and mourned over its fall."

This statement is not absolutely correct; it is probable that there was some catastrophe, and possibly Dr. Jennings then began to break away from the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he left entirely, when the Methodist Protestant Church was formed in 1828. Still some sort of an organization was kept up under the old name; for does not good Hezekiah Niles, of Register fame, tell us of examinations and exhibitions he witnessed in the early spring of 1819,[43] at which time prodigies of learning and cramming were exhibited, and do we not find in 1824, a pamphlet published by Dr. Jennings, entitled "Remarks on the Subject of Education, to which are added the general rules of the school under the appellation of Asbury College." Apparently the College had passed entirely out of the control of the church, and having lowered its grade, was now little more than Dr. Jennings' private school. The school was then situated on the corner of Charles and Baltimore Streets and, in 1833, when we catch the last glimpse of it, another removal had taken it to the corner of South and Fayette Streets. It was then merely a boys' day school and doubtless soon perished. So the second Methodist College failed as the first had done and another was added to the many abortive attempts to found a college in Maryland.


Three other attempts to found colleges demand a passing notice.

Mount Hope College stood at the corner of Eutaw Place and North Avenue, and was charted as a college in 1833.[44] The building was constructed by the Baltimore branch of the United States Bank in 1800, during an epidemic of yellow fever in the city. People feared to come into town to transact business and so a suburban banking house was built. This building was bought by the Rev. Frederick Hall in 1828 and in it a school was begun, which was later expanded into the College. The institution lasted some ten years and is worthy of note from the fact that among the teachers were two young Yale graduates, who afterwards obtained considerable renown: Professor Elias Loomis and Rev. S.W.S. Dutton.

The College of St. James was situated in Washington County and was originally intended by its founder, Bishop Whittingham, as a preparatory school. It was opened in October, 1842, with Rev. J.B. Kerfoot,[45] afterwards Bishop of Pittsburg, as Principal, and had such speedy and encouraging success, that it was chartered as a college in 1843, under the control of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

The College prospered greatly under Bishop Kerfoot's able management, and was kept up during the War of the Rebellion in spite of the loss of Southern students, a large portion of the entire number. In 1864, however, General Early, of the Confederate Army, invaded Maryland and took Dr. Kerfoot and Professor Coit prisoners, and the College thus forcibly discontinued, was never again reorganized.

Newton University was chartered by the Legislature[46] on March 8, 1845 and was situated on Lexington Street, between North and Calvert. It was originally intended to combine the Baltimore preparatory schools and to furnish boys, graduating from them, the means of completing their education without leaving the city. There was an enormous list of Trustees and the unwieldy character of the board, coupled with the irregular habits of the President, made the failure of the enterprise inevitable. Still it offered in its catalogues a good course of study and gave exhibitions, at which polyglot orations were delivered. The late Prof. Perley R. Lovejoy was the life of the institution and, after several classes had graduated, the University finally ceased to be, when Mr. Lovejoy accepted a position as Professor in the Baltimore City College.


Maryland has been the cradle of the Roman Catholic Church in America, as well as of the Methodist and the Presbyterian. The centenary of the consecration of John Carroll, as the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States, occurred little more than a year ago. A few months after Bishop Carroll's consecration, he received from the Superior of the Order of St. Sulpice an offer to found a seminary in Baltimore for the education of priests. This offer was accepted and, on July 10, 1791, four Sulpician priests arrived in Baltimore. They soon bought a house known as "One Mile Tavern" with four acres of land and there they opened St. Mary's Seminary, on the first Sunday in October, 1791. The Seminary still occupies the same site, at the corner of Paca and St. Mary's Streets. The number of the candidates for the priesthood, who entered the Seminary, was disappointing from its smallness and, in order to procure clerics, an Academy was opened in the rooms of the Seminary, on August 20, 1799. This was presided over by Rev. Wm. Du Bourg, and proved so successful, as to demand a separate building. Accordingly, the corner-stone of St. Mary's College was laid on April 10, 1800. At Bishop Carroll's request, no American boys were admitted for a time and only Spaniards and French were received. In 1803, however, the College was opened to all day scholars or boarders, without reference to birth or religion. This step roused some opposition and many communications upon the subject appeared in the newspapers, which were afterwards collected in pamphlet form.

The students soon became numerous and the institution grew to such an extent that, in January, 1805, it was chartered as St. Mary's University. On August 13, 1806, the first class was graduated; in that year there were 106 students. New buildings were erected and a superb botanical garden was laid out. The chapel, built soon after the incorporation, was said to be the most beautiful in the United States.

The Rev. William Du Bourg, the President, was a man of great ability and the reputation of the College rapidly spread. Many prominent men, Roman Catholics and Protestants, were graduated from St. Mary's; but the Sulpicians felt that their vocation was to educate young men exclusively for the priesthood, and not for secular life, and they finally closed St. Mary's College in 1852, in order to devote all their energies to the Theological Seminary, which has continued its prosperous career to this present day.[47]

A second Roman Catholic College was formed by the Sulpicians in 1807 at Emmittsburg, Frederick County. It was begun by Rev. John Dubois and was soon chartered as Mount Saint Mary's College. The exercises were first held in a log house with a handful of pupils, who increased to 80 within five years. With the growth of the institution came the demand for larger accommodations. Better buildings were erected and a large stone edifice was undertaken in 1823. When nearly ready for occupancy, it was destroyed by fire; but Father Dubois did not despair and, aided by the people of the vicinity, at once began a new building. In 1826 he was appointed Bishop of New York, and in the same year, the connection of the College with the Sulpician order was terminated. Although originally intended chiefly as a place for the education of clerics, Mt. St. Mary's has ever kept in view the preparation of students for a secular life, and many of its graduates have been distinguished in State, as well as in Church. In 1838, Rev. John McCaffrey, D.D., became president, and under his able control, the College prospered until 1871. During this period, the jubilee of the institution was celebrated with great ceremony in 1858. The Civil War injured the College greatly and the declaration of peace found it burdened with a heavy load of debt. For twenty years the struggle went on and it was doubtful all the time, whether the College could survive. Finally Dr. William Bryne, at his leaving the presidency in 1884, was able to report that the institution was placed on a firm financial basis as to the future, and that the debt had been reduced to $65,000. The present President, Rev. Edward P. Allen, has still further diminished the debt by more than half and the attendance has been largely increased through his efficient administration.

A third Roman Catholic College is St. Charles's, situated in Howard County, near Ellicott City. It is situated on land given by Charles Carroll of Carroll ton, and was chartered on February 3, 1830,[48] its name being taken from that of its founder and of the great Archbishop of Milan.[49] The institution was placed under the control of the Society of St. Sulpice and was established "exclusively for the education of pious young men of the Catholic persuasion for the ministry of the Gospel." The corner-stone was laid by the venerable Charles Carroll, on July 11, 1831; but, for want of funds to carry on the work successfully, the institution was not opened until the fall of 1848. The first President, Rev. O.L. Jenkins, began the institution with four pupils, and at his death in 1869, the number had grown to 140. Since the closing of St. Mary's College in 1852, St. Charles's has been used by the Sulpicians as preparatory to St. Mary's Seminary.

To supply the want of a college, to which Baltimore boys of Roman Catholic families could go without leaving home, Loyola College was opened in September, 1852. It is under the control of the Jesuits and has confined itself to receiving day scholars.

The fifth and last Roman Catholic College, Rock Hill, was chartered in 1865.[50] It is situated near Ellicott City, as is St. Charles's, and is under the supervision of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. It prepares youth for the various duties and occupations of life with great thoroughness, and has ever been noted especially for the attention paid to the development of the body as well as the mind of its pupils.


In 1865, Mr. Fayette R. Buell began an academy for boys and girls at Westminster, Carroll County,[51] and, in the spring of 1866, he proposed to the Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, of which he was a member, that the school should be chartered as a college and taken under the Church's patronage. This proposition was not acceded to, but Mr. Buell went on with his plan. Confidence in the Rev. J.T. Ward, one of the teachers in Mr. Buell's school, induced two of his friends to lend the enterprise $10,000, and the corner-stone of the College building was laid on September 6, 1886. The College opened a year later with seventy-three pupils. In February, 1868, Mr. Buell found himself so much in debt, that he appealed to the Conference to take the property off his hands. This was done, and a Board of Trustees appointed by the Conference was incorporated by the legislature on March 30, 1868.

The next fall, the institution reopened with Rev. J.T. Ward as President, in which office he continued for seventeen years. These were years of trouble and severe work to make the College a success. There was no endowment, and only by the most strenuous efforts was the College saved on several occasions from being overwhelmed with debt. Still, in spite of all disadvantages, good work was done and valuable experience was gained. The College has been a co-educational one from the first, and connected with it was a department of Biblical Literature, for such as intended to become clergymen, until a separate Theological School was opened in 1882. During Dr. Ward's administration, new buildings were erected and, at his resignation in 1886, he left the institution ready to be made still more efficient by his successor. Rev. Thomas H. Lewis succeeded as President and, while he has caused the work and equipment of the College to be further enlarged, he has also been successful in paying off the last dollar of the debt that had hung over it so long as an incubus.


The Baltimore Female College, so long presided over by Dr. N.C. Brooks, was the pioneer institution in Maryland for the higher education of women. Founded in 1849, it long had a prosperous existence; but finally was obliged to close its doors in June, 1890, on account of the withdrawal of the grant formerly given by the State.

Besides this institution there was no successful attempt in Maryland to found a college for female education, until the Woman's College of Baltimore was chartered in 1884.[52] It was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church, in honor of the centenary of its organized existence in this country, and is "denominational but not sectarian." For it beautiful buildings, adjoining the First Methodist Church, have been erected on St. Paul Street. Much of the money for its endowment was given by the present President, the Rev. J.F. Goucher, D.D., and, largely through his influence, was it able to open its doors to students on September 13, 1888. It has determined, very sensibly, to grant no degrees, save to those thoroughly fitted to receive them, and so has had no graduates up to the present. Its growth under the care of W.H. Hopkins, Ph.D., its first President, was great in numbers and endowment and the prospects are now fair for this Baltimore Woman's College taking high rank among similar institutions.


To a superficial observer from a distance, it sometimes seems as if University education in Maryland began with the foundation of the Johns Hopkins University, a sketch of which follows from the pen of its honored President. Our study into the history of education in the State, however, has shown us that Maryland, instead of being one of the latest of the United States to conceive the University idea, was, in fact, one of the very earliest, and that her institutions have a history of which they need not be ashamed; though their work has not been so widely known as some others and though the bright promise of morning, in many cases, has not been followed by the full development of noontide.

The patient labors of William Smith, of Hector Humphreys, of Francis Asbury, of John Dubois, and of many others, have been far from lost. Wherein they failed, they gained valuable experience for their successors, and wherein they succeeded, they helped to instil "into the minds and hearts of the citizens, the principles of science and good morals."


[Footnote 1: Md. Archives; Assembly Proceedings, 1666-1676, pp. 262-264.]

[Footnote 2: Scharf, Hist. of Md., II, p. 510.]

[Footnote 3: Sharpe, Correspondence, Vol. II, pp. 523-5 and 545.]

[Footnote 4: Scharf, Hist, of Md., II, p.511.]

[Footnote 5: Eddis, Letters from Maryland, 1769-1776.]

[Footnote 6: MS. sketch of Prof. Rowland Watts.]

[Footnote 7: Act of 1784, ch. 37.]

[Footnote 8: Act of 1805, ch. 85. The appropriation had already been diminished by Act of 1798, ch. 107.]

[Footnote 9: Centennial of St. John's. Address of P.R. Voorhees, Esq.]

[Footnote 10: Resolutions of 1832, No. 41.]

[Footnote 11: MS. Sketch of Dr. E.F. Cordell.]

[Footnote 12: Act of 1807, ch. 53.]

[Footnote 13: Act of 1807, ch. 111.]

[Footnote 14: Act of 1812, ch. 159.]

[Footnote 15: Records of Univ. of Md., Vol. A.]

[Footnote 16: In 1815 he was succeeded by the Rt. Rev. James Kemp, D.D.]

[Footnote 17: Acts of 1813, ch. 125; 1814, ch. 78.]

[Footnote 18: Act of 1821, ch. 88.]

[Footnote 19: Act of 1825, ch. 190.]

[Footnote 20: Act of 1803, ch. 74.]

[Footnote 21: Scharf, Chron. of Baltimore, p. 294.]

[Footnote 22: Act of 1830, ch. 50.]

[Footnote 23: Lucas, Picture of Baltimore, p. 170.]

[Footnote 24: Act of 1882, ch. 88.]

[Footnote 25: Stevens' History of Methodism, II, 253.]

[Footnote 26: Some account of Cokesbury. MSS. of Rev. Wm. Hamilton.]

[Footnote 27: Early Schools of Methodism, p. 21.]

[Footnote 28: MSS. of Rev. I.P. Cook.]

[Footnote 29: Strickland's Asbury, p. 163.]

[Footnote 30: Methodist Discipline, 1789, p. 40.]

[Footnote 31: Asbury's Journal, Vol. I, p. 523.]

[Footnote 32: II Kings, 4: 40.]

[Footnote 33: Journal, December 5, 1791.]

[Footnote 34: Early Schools of Methodism, p. 31.]

[Footnote 35: Journal, November 21, 1794.]

[Footnote 36: Act of 1794, ch. 21.]

[Footnote 37: Rev. Mr. Hamilton's MSS.]

[Footnote 38: Journal, January 5, 1796.]

[Footnote 39: Journal, 1796.]

[Footnote 40: Act of 1817, ch. 144.]

[Footnote 41: Sprague, Annals of American Pulpit, VII, 279.]

[Footnote 42: History of the M.E. Church, Vol. III.]

[Footnote 43: Niles' Register, February 20, 1819.]

[Footnote 44: Act of 1832, ch. 199.]

[Footnote 45: Life of Bishop Kerfoot, by Rev. Hall Harrison.]

[Footnote 46: Act of 1844, ch. 272.]

[Footnote 47: MSS. of Fr. G.E. Viger.]

[Footnote 48: Act of 1830, ch. 50.]

[Footnote 49: MSS. of Rev. G.E. Viger.]

[Footnote 50: Act of 1865, ch. 10.]

[Footnote 51: Lewis, Outline of Western Maryland College.]

[Footnote 52: MSS. of Pres. W.H. Hopkins.]





The year 1876 is commonly taken as the date of the foundation of the Johns Hopkins University, as in that year its doors were opened for the reception of students. On the twenty-second of February the plans of the University were publicly made known, and consequently "Washington's Birthday" has since been observed as an anniversary or commemoration day. But in reality the Trustees were organized nine years before. The founder, Johns Hopkins, as he saw the end of life approaching (although he continued in active business for several years afterwards), determined to bestow a large part of his fortune upon two institutions which he proposed to establish, a University and a Hospital. These establishments were to be managed by separate Boards of Trustees, citizens of Baltimore, whom he selected for their integrity, wisdom, and public spirit. In order that the two Boards might be closely allied, the founder was careful that a majority of the Trustees of one corporation should also be a majority of the Trustees of the other corporation, and in a letter which he left as the final expression of his wishes, he declared it to be his "constant wish and purpose that the Hospital should ultimately form a part of the Medical School of the University." The Hospital was opened for the reception of patients in May, 1889; and a volume which was prepared in the following year by Dr. J.S. Billings, gives a full description of the buildings, with other papers illustrative of the history and purposes of that great charity. But as the Medical School, which is to form the bond of union between the two establishments has not yet been organized, the following statements will only refer to those opportunities which are here provided for the study of science and literature, in the faculty commonly known as the faculty of philosophy and the liberal arts.

Before speaking of his gifts, a few words should be devoted to the memory of Johns Hopkins. This large-minded man, whose name is now renowned in the annals of American philanthropy, acquired his fortune by slow and sagacious methods. He was born in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, not far from the city of Annapolis, of a family which for several generations had adhered to the views of the Society of Friends. His ancestors were among the earliest settlers of the colony. While still a boy, Johns Hopkins came to Baltimore without any capital but good health, the good habits in which he had been brought up, and unusual capacity for a life of industrious enterprise. He began on the lowest round of the ladder of fortune, and by his economy, fidelity, sagacity, and perseverance he rose to independence and influence. He was called to many positions of financial responsibility, among the most important being that of President of the Merchants' National Bank, and that of a Director in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. He was a man of positive opinions in political affairs, yet he never entered political life; and although he contributed to the support of educational and benevolent societies he was not active in their management. In the latter part of his life, he dwelt during the winter in a large mansion, still standing on the north side of Saratoga street, west of North Charles street, and during the summer on an estate called Clifton, in Baltimore County. In both these places he exercised hospitality without ostentation. He bought a large library and many oil paintings which are now preserved in a memorial room at the Hospital. Nevertheless, his pursuits were wholly mercantile, and his time and strength were chiefly devoted to the business in which he was engaged,—first as a wholesale grocer, and afterwards as a capitalist interested in many and diverse financial undertakings. More than once, in time of commercial panic, he lent his credit to the support of individuals and firms with a liberality which entitled him to general gratitude. He died in Baltimore, December 24, 1873, at the age of seventy-nine years. He had never married. After providing for his near relations, he gave the principal part of his estate to the two institutions which bear his name, the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Each of them received property estimated in round numbers at three and a half million dollars. The gift to the University included his estate of Clifton (three hundred and thirty acres of land), fifteen thousand shares of the common stock of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and other securities which were valued at seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

Many persons have expressed surprise that Mr. Hopkins should have made so large an investment in one corporation. But the stock of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was free from taxation, for many years it paid a dividend of ten per cent. per annum, and the managers, of whom he was one, confidently anticipated that a large stock dividend would be declared at an early day. Mr. Hopkins not only gave to the University all the common stock that he held in this corporation; he also advised that the Trustees should not dispose of it, nor of the stock accruing thereon by way of increment or dividend. In view of the vibrations to which this stock was subjected during the fifteen years subsequent to the death of Mr. Hopkins, it should not be forgotten that it was his will that linked the fortune of the great educational institution, which he founded, to the fortune of another corporation, in which he had the highest confidence. Fortunately, the crisis into which this union led, has been successfully passed. The friends of the University generously subscribed for its support an "emergency fund" of more than $100,000. Other large gifts were made and others still are known to be in the future. The Trustees, moreover, have changed four-fifths of their holdings of the common stock of the railroad company above mentioned, into its preferred stock, from which a permanent income of six per centum will be derived. The finances of the University are now on a solid basis, although additional gifts will be required for the construction of buildings and for the enlargement of the course of study, and still more before a medical department can be instituted.


The Johns Hopkins University was incorporated under the laws of the State of Maryland, August 24, 1867. Three years later, June 13, 1870, the Trustees met and elected a President and a Secretary of the Board. They did not meet again until after the death of Mr. Hopkins, when they entered with a definite purpose on the work for which they were associated. They collected a small but excellent library of books, illustrating the history of the universities of this and of other lands; they visited in a body Cambridge, New Haven, Ithaca, Ann Arbor, Philadelphia, Charlottesville, and other seats of learning; they were favored with innumerable suggestions and recommendations from those who knew much about education, and from those who knew little; and they invited several scholars of distinction to give them their counsel. Three presidents of colleges gave them great assistance, answering in the frankest manner all the searching questions which were put to them by a sagacious committee. Grateful acknowledgments will always be due to these three gentlemen: Charles W. Eliot, LL. D., President of Harvard University, Andrew D. White, LL. D., President of Cornell University, and James B. Angell, LL. D., President of the University of Michigan.


The election of a President of the University took place in December, 1874. He entered upon the duties of his station in the following spring, and in the summer of 1875, at the request of the Trustees, he went to Europe and conferred with many leaders of university education in Great Britain and on the continent. At the same time he visited many of the most important seats of learning. During the following winter the plans of the University were formulated and were made public in the Inaugural Address of the President, which was delivered on the 22nd of February, 1876, before a large audience assembled in the Academy of Music.

On this occasion, the Governor of the State, Hon. John Lee Carroll; the Mayor of the City, Hon. Ferdinand C. Latrobe; the Presidents and representative Professors of a large number of Universities and Colleges; the Trustees and other officers of the scientific, literary and educational institutions of Baltimore; the State and City officers of public instruction and other invited guests, together with the Trustees of Johns Hopkins, occupied the platform. The house was filled with an attentive audience.

At eleven o'clock, the chair was taken by the President of the Trustees, Mr. Galloway Cheston. The orchestra of the Peabody Institute, directed by Professor Asger Hamerik, performed several pieces of classical music.

A prayer was then offered up by Rev. Alfred M. Randolph, D D., of Emmanuel Church, now Assistant Bishop of Virginia, after which the Chairman of the Executive Committee, Mr. Reverdy Johnson, Jr., said:

"Our gathering to-day is one of no ordinary interest. From all sections of our State, from varied sections of our land, we have met at the opening of another avenue to social progress and national renown. After two years of pressing responsibility and anxious care the Trustees of the Johns Hopkins University present the first detailed account of their trust. Of the difficulties attending the discharge of their duty; of the nice balancing of judgment; of the careful investigation and continued labor called for in the organization of the University, this is not the place to speak; but for the Board of Trustees, I may be allowed to claim the credit of entire devotion to the work, and a sincere desire to make of the University all that the public could expect from the generous foundation. Happily, our action is unfettered, and where mistakes occur, as occur they must, the will and power are at hand to correct them. We may say that the University's birth takes place today, and I do not think it mere sentiment, should we dwell with interest upon its concurrence with the centennial year of our national birth, and the birthday of him who led the nation from the throes of battle to maturity and peace. But it is not my province to detain you from the exercises which are to follow. I am happy to state that we have among us to-day one who represents the highest type of American education, and one who, from the beginning, has sympathized with, counselled and aided us. I know you anticipate me, as I announce the distinguished name, from the most distinguished seat of learning in our land—President Eliot, of Harvard University."


President Eliot next delivered a Congratulatory Address in which he said:

"The oldest University of the country cordially greets the youngest, and welcomes a worthy ally—an ally strong in material resources and in high purpose.

"I congratulate you, gentlemen, Trustees of the Johns Hopkins University, upon the noble work which is before you. A great property, an important part of the fruit of a long life devoted with energy and sagacity to the accumulation of riches, has been placed in your hands, upon conditions as magnanimous as they are wise, to be used for the public benefit in providing for coming generations the precious means of liberal culture. Your Board has great powers. It must hold and manage the property of the University, make all appointments, fix all salaries, and, while leaving both legislative and administrative details to the several faculties which it will create, it must also prescribe the general laws of the University. Your cares and labor will grow heavy as time goes on; but in accordance with an admirable usage, fortunately established in this country, you will serve without other compensation than the public consideration which will justly attach to your office, and the happy sense of being useful. The actuating spirit of your Board will be a spirit of scrupulous fidelity to every trust reposed in you, and of untiring zeal in promoting the welfare of the University and the advancement of learning. Judged by its disinterestedness, its beneficence and its permanence, your function is as pure and high as any that the world knows, or in all time has known. May the work which you do in the discharge of your sacred trust be regarded with sympathetic and expectant forbearance by the present generation, and with admiration and gratitude by posterity.

"The University which is to take its rise in the splendid benefaction of Johns Hopkins must be unsectarian. None other could as appropriately be established in the city named for the Catholic founder of a colony to which all Christian sects were welcomed, or in the State in which religious toleration was expressly declared in the name of the Government for the first time in the history of the Christian world. There is a too common opinion that a college or university which is not denominational must therefore be irreligious; but the absence of sectarian control should not be confounded with lack of piety. A university whose officers and students are divided among many sects need no more be irreverent and irreligious than the community which in respect to diversity of creeds it resembles. It would be a fearful portent if thorough study of nature and of man in all his attributes and works, such as befits a university, led scholars to impiety. But it does not; on the contrary, such study fills men with humility and awe, by bringing them on every hand face to face with inscrutable mystery and infinite power. The whole work of a university is uplifting, refining and spiritualizing: it embraces

whatsoever touches life With upward impulse; be He nowhere else, God is in all that liberates and lifts; In all that humbles, sweetens and consoles.

"A university cannot be built upon a sect, unless, indeed, it be a sect which includes the whole of the educated portion of the nation. This University will not demand of its officers and students the creed, or press upon them the doctrine of any particular religious organization; but none the less—I should better say, all the more—it can exert through high-minded teachers a strong moral and religious influence. It can implant in the young breasts of its students exalted sentiments and a worthy ambition; it can infuse into their hearts the sense of honor, of duty, and of responsibility.

"I congratulate the city of Baltimore, Mr. Mayor, that in a few generations she will be the seat of a rich and powerful university. To her citizens its grounds and buildings will in time become objects of interest and pride. The libraries and other collections of a university are storehouses of the knowledge already acquired by mankind, from which further invention and improvement proceed. They are great possessions for any intelligent community. The tone of society will be sensibly affected by the presence of a considerable number of highly educated men, whose quiet and simple lives are devoted to philosophy and teaching, to the exclusion of the common objects of human pursuit. The University will hold high the standards of public duty and public spirit, and will enlarge that cultivated class which is distinguished, not by wealth merely, but by refinement and spirituality.

"I felicitate the State of Maryland, whose Chief Magistrate honors this assembly with his presence, upon the establishment within her borders of an independent institution of the highest education. The elementary school is not more necessary to the existence of a free State than the University. The public school system depends upon the institutions of higher education, and could not be maintained in real efficiency without them. The function of colleges, universities, and professional schools is largely a public function; their work is done primarily, indeed, upon individuals, but ultimately for the public good. They help powerfully to form and mould aright the public character; and that public character is the foundation of everything which is precious in the State, including even its material prosperity. In training men thoroughly for the learned professions of law and medicine, this University will be of great service to Maryland and the neighboring States. During the past forty years the rules which governed admission to these honorable and confidential professions have been carelessly relaxed in most of the States of the Union, and we are now suffering great losses and injuries, both material and moral, in consequence of thus thoughtlessly abandoning the safer ways of our fathers. It is for the strong universities of the country to provide adequate means of training young men well for the learned professions, and to set a high standard for professional degrees.

"President Gilman, this distinguished assembly has come together to give you God-speed. I welcome you to arduous duties and grave responsibilities. In the natural course of life you will not see any large part of the real fruits of your labors; for to build a university needs not years only, but generations; but though 'deeds unfinished will weigh on the doer,' and anxieties will sometimes oppress you, great privileges are nevertheless attached to your office. It is a precious privilege that in your ordinary work you will have to do only with men of refinement and honor; it is a glad and animating sight to see successive ranks of young men pressing year by year into the battle of life, full of hope and courage, and each year better armed and equipped for the strife; it is a privilege to serve society and the country by increasing the means of culture; but, above all, you will have the great happiness of devoting yourself for life to a noble public work without reserve, or stint, or thought of self, looking for no advancement, 'hoping for nothing again,' Knowing well by experience the nature of the charge which you this day publicly assume, familiar with its cares and labors, its hopes and fears, its trials and its triumphs, I give you joy of the work to which you are called, and welcome you to a service which will task your every power.

"The true greatness of States lies not in territory, revenue, population, commerce, crops or manufactures, but in immaterial or spiritual tilings; in the purity, fortitude and uprightness of their people, in the poetry, literature, science and art which they give birth to, in the moral worth of their history and life. With nations, as with individuals, none but moral supremacy is immutable and forever beneficent. Universities, wisely directed, store up the intellectual capital of the race, and become fountains of spiritual and moral power. Therefore our whole country may well rejoice with you, that you are auspiciously founding here a worthy seat of learning and piety. Here may young feet, shunning the sordid paths of low desire and worldly ambition, walk humbly in the steps of the illustrious dead—the poets, artists, philosophers and statesmen of the past; here may fresh minds explore new fields and increase the sum of knowledge; here from time to time may great men be trained up to be leaders of the people; here may the irradiating light of genius sometimes flash out to rejoice mankind; above all, here may many generations of manly youth learn righteousness."


In his inaugural address, the President of the Johns Hopkins University, after a grateful reference to the founder and his generosity, and a reminder that the endowment, large as it appears, is not large when compared with the acquisitions of many other institutions, called attention to some of the special distinctions of this gift. Among them were named: the freedom from conditions; the absence of political or ecclesiastical control; the connection with an endowed hospital; the geographical advantages of Baltimore; and the timeliness of the foundation. Five agencies for the promotion of superior instruction were next briefly discussed, universities, learned academies, colleges, technical schools, and museums. The object of these paragraphs was to suggest the distinctive Idea of the University, and to show that while forms and methods vary in different countries, the freedom for investigation, the obligation to teach, and the careful bestowal of academic honors are always understood to be among the university functions. Wherever a strong university is established, learned societies, colleges, technical schools, and museums are clustered. It is the sun and they are the planets.

Twelve points were then enumerated on which there is a consensus so general that further discussion seemed needless.

1. All sciences are worthy of promotion; or in other words, it is useless to dispute whether literature or science should receive most attention, or whether there is any essential difference between the old and the new education.

2. Religion has nothing to fear from science, and science need not be afraid of religion. Religion claims to interpret the word of God, and science to reveal the laws of God. The interpreters may blunder, but truths are immutable, eternal, and never in conflict.

3. Remote utility is quite as worthy to be thought of as immediate advantage. Those ventures are not always most sagacious that expect a return on the morrow. It sometimes pays to send our argosies across the seas,—to make investments with an eye to slow but sure returns. So it is always in the promotion of science.

4. As it is impossible for any university to encourage with equal freedom all branches of learning, a selection must be made by enlightened governors, and that selection must depend on the requirements and deficiencies of a given people, in a given period. There is no absolute standard of preference. What is more important at one time or in one place may be less needed elsewhere and otherwise.

5. Individual students cannot pursue all branches of learning, and must be allowed to select, under the guidance of those who are appointed to counsel them. Nor can able professors be governed by routine. Teachers and pupils must be allowed great freedom in their method of work. Recitations, lectures, examinations, laboratories, libraries, field exercises, travel, are all legitimate means of culture.

6. The best scholars will almost invariably be those who make special attainments on the foundation of a broad and liberal culture.

7. The best teachers are usually those who are free, competent, and willing to make original researches in the library and the laboratory.

8. The best investigators are usually those who have also the responsibilities of instruction, gaining thus the incitement of colleagues, the encouragement of pupils, the observation of the public.

9. Universities should bestow their honors with a sparing hand; their benefits most freely.

10. A university cannot be created in a day; it is a slow growth. The University of Berlin has been quoted as a proof of the contrary. That was indeed a quick success, but in an old, compact country, crowded with learned men eager to assemble at the Prussian court. It was a change of base rather than a sudden development.

11. The object of the university is to develop character—to make men. It misses its aim if it produces learned pedants, or simple artisans, or cunning sophists, or pretentious practitioners. Its purport is not so much to impart knowledge to the pupils, as to whet the appetite, exhibit methods, develop powers, strengthen judgment, and invigorate the intellectual and moral forces. It should prepare for the service of society a class of students who will be wise, thoughtful, progressive guides in whatever department of work or thought they may be engaged.

12. Universities easily fall into ruts. Almost every epoch requires a fresh start.

If these twelve points are conceded, our task is simplified, though it is still difficult. It is to apply these principles to Baltimore in 1876. We are trying to do this with no controversy as to the relative importance of letters and science, the conflicts of religion and science, or the relation of abstractions and utilities; our simple aim is to make scholars, strong, bright, useful and true.

Proceeding to speak of the Johns Hopkins University, the speaker then announced that at first the Faculty of Philosophy would alone be organized, where instruction would be given in language, mathematics, ethics, history and science. The Medical Faculty would not long be delayed. That of Jurisprudence would come in time. That of Theology is not now proposed.

The next paragraphs of the address will be given without abbreviation.

Who shall our teachers be?

This question the public has answered for us; for I believe there is scarcely a preeminent man of science or letters, at home or abroad, who has not received a popular nomination for the vacant professorships. Some of these candidates we shall certainly secure, and their names will be one by one made known. But I must tell you, in domestic confidence, that it is not an easy task to transplant a tree which is deeply rooted. It is especially hard to do so in our soil and climate. Though a migratory people, our college professors are fixtures. Such local college attachments are not known in Germany; and the promotions which are frequent in Germany are less thought of here. When we think of calling foreign teachers, we encounter other difficulties. Many are reluctant to cross the sea; and others are, by reason of their lack of acquaintance with our language and ways, unavailable. Besides we may as well admit that London, Paris, Leipsic, Berlin, and Vienna afford facilities for literary and scientific growth and influence, far beyond what our country affords. Hence, it is probable that among our own countrymen, our faculty will be chiefly found.

I wrote, not long ago, to an eminent physicist, presenting this problem in social mechanics, for which I asked his solution, "We cannot have a great university without great professors; we cannot get great professors till we have a great university: help us from the dilemma." Let me tell his answer: "Your difficulty," he says, "applies only to old men who are great; these you can rarely move; but the young men of genius, talent, learning and promise, you can draw. They should be your strength."

The young Americans of talent and promise—there is our strength, and a noble company they are! We do not ask from what college, or what state, or what church they come; but what do they know, and what can they do, and what do they want to find out.

In the biographies of eminent scholars, it is curious to observe how many indicated in youth preeminent ability. Isaac Casaubon, whose name in the sixteenth century shed lustre on the learned circles of Geneva, Montpellier, Paris, London and Oxford, began as professor of Greek, at the age of twenty-two; and Heinsius, his Leyden contemporary, at eighteen. It was at the age of twenty-eight, that Linnaeus first published his Systema Naturae. Cuvier was appointed a professor in Paris at twenty-six, and, a few months later, a member of the Institute. James Kent, the great commentator on American law, began his lectures in Columbia College at the age of thirty-one. Henry was not far from thirty years of age when he made his world-renowned researches in electro-magnetism; and Dana's great work on mineralogy was first published before he was twenty-five years old, and about four years after he graduated at New Haven. Look at the Harvard lists:—Everett was appointed Professor of Greek at twenty-one; Benjamin Peirce, of Mathematics at twenty-four; and Agassiz was not yet forty when he came to this country. For fifty years Yale College rested on three men selected in their youth by Dr. Dwight, and almost simultaneously set at work; Day was twenty-eight, Silliman, twenty-three, and Kingsley, twenty-seven, when they began their professorial lives. The University of Virginia, early in its history, attracted foreign teachers, who were all young men.

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