Justin Smith Morrill to Matthew H. Buckham, March 15, 1891
Washington, D.C Mar. 15, 1891.
My dear SIr:
Your favor of the 13th inst. has been received. What you pro-
pose to do in relation to a new farm and mechanical building is good
policy, as well as a present necessity. In 1892 you must win or be Waterlooed.
It is to be regretted that you cannot have a good farm at one half of $15,000,
as you will meet an annual comparison of the amount of product with the
large cost of the farm, which will always be against you--tempered only by the
it is merely an experimental farm. If the city of Burlington, however, should
donate the farm, even with a condition that it should be the property of
the Agricultural College only while it remained in Burlington, then all such
criticism would be averted, and you could say, while other and cheaper lands
might be equally productive, they would not be donated, nor would they
be in the immediate proximity to students. In 1892 Rutland, West Ran-
dolph, St Johnsbury, Montpelier and Brattleboro will be competitors for a
new College, and will be wildly supported by the Farmers Alliance and by
some new-fledged demagogues. Beyond question some of these towns will raise,
(by bonding the town or by subscription,) not less than one hundred thousand
dollars, perhaps more, to supplant Burlington, of whose growth and beauty
they are not proud, as they should be, but
some of them,
I fear, conspicuously envious.
As I look at it, your great peril hovers around the question as to
whether or not the people of our largest and very prosperous town appreciate
the high value of having in their midst a great educational institution,
and will now do as much for its welfare as towns with half or one fourth
of its wealth and population
will hereafter propose.
They should be alive to this vital
at once. To post-
pone an answer will be worse than a prompt negative.
Any of the Ag. College funds may of course be properly devoted to salaries
of such professors as you maintain, and University derived funds can be used in
a much broader way. Great prudence is required with both sources. It will
not do to support the Agricultural and Mechanical part of the institution
wholly upon the funds received from the latest act of Congress, as the funds
from the original act will also have to be accounted for in some proper
manner, so as to escape the argument that will be made hereafter
that, with the funds of the first and second act, a new College can be
supported in such manner as to fully comply with the terms of both acts,
or at all events in such manner as to comply with the wishes and all the
wants of farmers and mechanics.
Scrupulous care should be taken to devote all funds derived from
the United States to purposes obviously intended and lawful. No joint in
your armor should be left open to the malignant arrows of your
With the prompt help of Burlington (and they cannot make
a richer investment for the city than to bring you the thirty odd
thousand dollars which is now so greatly needed) you would be able
to make your honored institution one of the foremost in the United
States, combining literary and industrial education, and excelled
by none save that of Cornell.
Very truly yours,
Justin S. Morrill
Prest. M. H. Buckham,
Vt University & State Ag. College.