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Michigan State Agricultural College

BY PRESIDENT ABBOT

The Hon. Joseph R. Williams, of Constantine, president of the college, then delivered his inaugural address, a discourse wise, forcible, and elegant. He spoke of the lack of institutions which, taking students directly from the common schools, and omitting studies purely literary and classical, carried them farther than the university in the application of modern science to the practical business of life, especially agricultural life. He says:
"That the agricultural masses have felt keenly this great want is evidenced by the simultaneous creation of agricultural societies and periodicals, and the craving for more abundant knowledge. Colleges are springing from the same necessity. New York and Pennsylvania are maturing, and two or three other States are taking the initiatory steps towards establishing agricultural colleges. Here, on the very margin of the cultivated portions of our country, where the 'forests primeval' are just vanishing before the encroachments of civilization, the youthful and vigorous State of Michigan, first among her sister States, dedicates this institution to the instruction of men who are devoted exclusively to the cultivation of the earth. Established on no precedent, it is alike a pioneer in the march of men and march of mind. It is peculiarly fit that such an enterprise should be founded on the confines of the country, which a native poet, Whittier, so gushingly describes:
" 'The rudiments of empire here,
Are plastic yet and warm,
The chaos of a mighty world
Is rounding into form.
"The elements of the institution around us are rough and crude, but even in the embryo, we recognize an enlightened forecast that would do honor to those venerable commonwealths which have stamped their indelible impress on the history of mankind. "

Michigan State


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