To the Rev.d D.r Blatchford Lansingburgh
I have established a school at the north end of Troy, in Rensselaer county,
in the building usually called the Old Bank Place, for the purpose of
instructing persons, who may choose to apply themselves, in the application
of science to the common purposes of life. My principal object is, to
qualify teachers for instructing the sons and daughters of farmers and
mechanics by lectures or otherwise, in the application of experimental
chemistry, philosophy, and natural history, to agriculture, domestic economy,
the arts, and manufactures. From the trials which have been made by persons
in my employment at Utica, Whitesborough, Rome, Auburn, & Geneva during
the last summer, I am inclined to believe that competent instructors may
be produced in the school at Troy who will be highly useful to the community
in the diffusion of a very useful kind of, knowledge, with its application
to the business of living. Apparatus for the necessary experiments has
been so much simplified, and specimens in natural history have become
subjects of such easy attainment, that but a small sum is now required
as an out fit for an instructor in the proposed branches of science. Consequently
any school district may have the benefit of such a course of instruction
about once in two or three years, as soon as we can furnish a sufficient
number of teachers. I prefer this plan to the endowment of a single public
institution for the resort of those only whose parents are able and willing
to send their children from home or to enter them for several years upon
the Fellenberg plan. It seems to comport better with the habits of our
citizens and the genius of our government to place the advantages of useful
improvement equally within the reach of all. Whether my expectations will
ever be realized or not, I am willing to hazard the necessary expense
of making the trial. Having procured a suitable building advantageously
located among farmers and mechanics, and having furnished funds which
are deemed sufficient by my agents in this undertaking for procuring the
necessary apparatus etc. it now remains to establish a system of organization
adapted to the object. You will excuse me if I attach too much consequence
to the undertaking. But it appears to me that a board of trustees to decide
upon the manner of granting certificates of qualfications, to regulate
the government of students etc. is essential. I therefore take the liberty
to appoint you a member and president of a board of trustees for this
I appoint the following gentlemen trustees of the same board. The Rev.d
D.r Blatchford, Mr. E. Parmalee, of Lansingburgh, Guert Van Schoonhoven,
John Cramer of Waterford Simeon DeWitt, T. R. Beck of Albany, John D.
Dickinson and Jedediah Tracy of Troy. And I appoint 0. L. Holley Esq.
of Troy, T. R. Beck, of Albany first and second vice-presidents of said
As a few regulations are immediately necessary, in order to present the
school to the public, it seems necessary that I should make the following
orders, subject to be altered by the trustees, after the end of the first
Order 1.st The board of trustees is to meet at times and places
to be notified by the president, or by one of the vice-presidents in the
absence or disability of the president. One half of the members of the
board are to form a quorum for doing business. A majority of the members
present may fill any vacancy which happens in the board; so that there
may be two members resident in Troy, two in Lansingburgh, two in Waterford,
and two in Albany. The powers and duties of the trustees to be such as
those exercised by all similar boards, the object of the school being
always kept in view.
Order 2.nd I appoint Dr. Moses Hale, of Troy sect. & H. N.
Order 3.rd I appoint Amos Eaton of Troy professor of chemistry
and experimental philosophy, and lecturer on geology, land surveying,
& the laws regulating town officers and jurors. This office to be
denominated the senior professorship.
Order 4.th I appoint Lewis C. Beck, of Albany, professor of mineralogy,
botany and zoology and lecturer on the social duties peculiar to farmers
and mechanics. This office to be denominated the junior professorship.
Order 5.th The first term is to commence on the first Monday in
and to continue fifteen weeks. For admission to the course, including
the use of the library and reading-room, each student must pay twenty-five
dollars to the treasurer, or give him satisfactory assurances that it
will be paid in one year. In addition to this, each section of students
must pay for the chemical substances they consume and the damage they
do to apparatus.
Order 6.th All the pay thus received by the treasurer, as for
parts of courses of instruction, is to be paid over to said professors
as the reward of their services.
Order 7.th In giving the course on chemistry, the students are
to be divided into sections
not exceeding five in each section. These are not to be taught by seeing
experiments and hearing lectures, according to the usual method. But they
are to lecture and experiment by turns, under the immediate direction
of a professor or a competent assistant. Thus by a term of labor, like
apprentices to a trade, they are to become operative chemists.
Order 8.th At the close of the term each student is to give sufficient
tests of his skill and science before examiners, to be appointed by myself, or by
the trustees, if I do not appoint. The examination is not to be conducted
by question and answer, but the qualifications of students are to be estimatedby
the facility with which they perform experiments and give the rationale;
and certificates or diplomas are to be awarded accordingly.
Order 9.th One librarian, or more, to be appointed by the professors,
will be keeper of the reading-room. All who attend at the reading room
are to respect and obey the orders of the librarian in regard to the library
and conduct while in the room.
Order 10.th Any student who shall be guilty of disorderly or ungentlemanly
conduct is to be tried and punished by the president or vice president
& two trustees. The punishment may extend to expulsion and forfeiture
of the school privileges, without a release from the payment of fees.
But a student may appeal from such decision to the board of trustees.
This instrument, or a copy of it, is to be read to each student before
he becomes a member of the school; and be is to be made to understand
that his matriculation is to be considered as an assent to these regulations.
S. VAN RENSSELAER
ALBANY, Nov. 5, 1824.