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Full text of "Three letters of Mr. George Peabody : who established the Peabody Education Fund A.D. 1867"

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16—47372-3 GPO 





A. D. 1867 





A. D. 1867 



l^K J 1311 





Hon. Robert C. Winthrop .... Massachusetts. 

Hon. Hamilton Fish Neiv York. 

Right Rev. Charles P. McIlvaine . . Ohio. 

General U. S. Grant United States Army, 

Admiral D. G. Farragut United States Navy. 

Hon. William C. Rives Virgi7iia. 

Hon. John H. Clifford Massachusetts, 

Hon. William Aiken South Carolina. 

Hon. William M. Evarts Nezv York. 

Hon. William A. Graham North Carolina. 

Charles Macalester, Esq Pennsylvania. 

George W. Riggs, Esq Washington. 

Samuel Wetmore, Esq New York. 

Edward A. Bradford, Esq. (resigned) . Louisiana. 

George N. Eaton, Esq Maryland. . 

George Peabody Russell, Esq. (resigned) Massachusetts. 




*Hon. Samuel Watson Tennessee, 

*Hon. A. H. H. Stuart (resigned) . . Virginia. 

* General Richard Taylor Louisiana. 

* Surgeon- General Joseph K. Barnes, U.S.A. Washington. 
♦Chief- Justice Morrison R. Waite . . . IVashingion. 

* Right Rev. Henry B. Whipple .... Minnesota. 
*Hon. Henry R. Jackson (resigned) . . Georgia. 

* Colonel Theodore Lyman (resigned) . . Massachusetts. 

* Ex- President Rutherford B. Hayes . . Ohio. 

*Hon. Thomas C. Manning Louisiana. 

♦Anthony J. Drexel, Esq Pennsylvania. 

Hon. Samuel A. Green Massachusetts. 

Hon. James D. Porter Teniiessee. 

J. PiERPONT Morgan, Esq New York. 

* Ex- President Grover Cleveland (resigned) New Jersey. 
♦Hon. Willum A. Courtenay .... South Carolina. 

♦Hon. Charles Devens Massachusetts. 

♦Hon. Randall L. Gibson Louisiana. 

♦Chief-Justice Melville W. Fuller . . Washington. 

*Hon. William Wirt Henry ..... Virginia. 

Hon. Henderson M. Somerville . . . Alabama. 

♦Hon. William C. Endicoit (resigned) . Massachusetts. 

Hon. Joseph H. Choate ...... New York 


*George VV. Childs, Esq Pennsylvania. 

Hon. Charles E. Fenner Louisiana. 

*Daniel C. Oilman, LL.D Mary/atid. 

Hon. George Peabody Wetmore . . . Rhode Island. 

*Hon. John Lowell Massachusetts. 

*Hon. George F. Hoar Massachusetts. 

Hon. Richard Olney Massachusetts, 

* President William McKinley .... Washington. 

Hon. Theodore Roosevelt Washington. 

Hon. Hoke Smith Georgia. 

Right Rev. William C. Doane .... New York. 

* Morris K. Jesup, Esq New York. 

Right Rev. William Lawrence .... Massachusetts. 

Grenville L. Winthrop, Esq Neiv York. 

Hon. Martin F. Ansel South Carolina. 

*Hon. John W. Daniel Virginia. 


Hon. Samuel A. Green Massachusetts. 

Hon. James D. Porter Tetmessee. 

J. PiERPONT Morgan, Esq New York. 

Hon. Henderson M. Somerville .... Alabama. 

Hon. Joseph H. Choate Ne7i> York. 

Hon. Charles E. Fenner Louisiana. 

Hon. George Peabody Wetmore .... Rhode Island. 

Hon. Richard Olney Massachusetts. 

Hon, Theodore Roosevelt Washington. 

Hon. Hoke Smith Georgia. 

Right Rev. William C. Doane New York. 

Right Rev. William Lawrence Massachusetts. 

Grenville L. Winthrop, Esq Neiv York. 

Hon. Mariin F. Ansel South Carolina 

Prof. WiCKLiFFK Rose, Gejteral Agent, Washington, D. C. 
to whom communications may be sent. 

THESE letters of Mr, Peabody are here 
reprinted for the use of the Trustees 
of the Peabody Education Fund. At 
the time when the Fund was estabHshed it was 
the largest sum of money that had been given 
by anyone in this country for benevolent or 
educational purposes. It is the unanimous tes- 
timony of persons familiar with the facts that 
the benefit arising from the gift has been great 
and beyond calculation; and not the least has 
been from the example then set, and since fol- 
lowed by other benefactors. 

S. A. G. 

Boston, December, 1910. 





To Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, of Massachusetts ; Hon. 
Hamilton Fish, of New York ; Right Rev. Charles P. 
Mcllvaine, of Ohio ; General U. S. Grant, of the United 
States Army; Hon. William C. Rives, of Virginia; Hon. 
John H. Clifford, of Massachusetts ; Hon. William Aiken, 
of South Carolina ; William M. Evarts, Esq., of New 
York ; Hon, William A. Graham, of North Carolina ; 
Charles Macalester, Esq., of Pennsylvania ; George W. 
Riggs, Esq., of Washington ; Samuel Wetmore, Esq., of 
New York ; Edward A. Bradford, Esq., of Louisiana ; 
George N. Eaton, Esq., of Maryland, and George Peabody 
Russell, Esq., of Massachusetts. 

Gentlemen: I beg to address you on a subject 
which occupied my mind long before I left England, 
and in regard to which one at least of you (the Hon. 
Mr. Winthrop, the distinguished and valued friend to 
whom I am so much indebted for cordial sympathy, 
careful consideration, and wise counsel in this matter) 
will remember that I consulted him immediately upon 
my arrival in May last. 

I refer to the educational needs of those portions 
of our beloved and common country which have 
suffered from the destructive ravages, and the not 
less disastrous consequences, of the Civil War. 


With my advancing years, my attachment to my 
native land has but become more devoted. My hope 
and faith in its successful and glorious future have 
grown brighter and stronger; and now, looking for- 
ward beyond my stay on earth, as may be permitted 
to one who has passed the limit of threescore and 
ten years, I see our country, united and prosperous, 
emerging from the clouds which still surround her, 
taking a higher rank among the nations, and becoming 
richer and more powerful than ever before. 

But to make her prosperity more than superficial, 
her moral and intellectual development should keep 
pace with her material growth, and, in those portions 
of our nation to which I have referred, the urgent and 
pressing physical needs of an almost impoverished 
people must for some years preclude them from 
making, by unaided effort, such advances in education, 
and such progress in the diffusion of knowledge, among 
all classes, as every lover of his country must earnestly 

I feel most deeply, therefore, that it is the duty and 
privilege of the more favored and wealthy portions 
of our nation to assist those who are less fortunate ; 
and, with the wish to discharge so far as I may be 
able my own responsibility in this matter, as well as 
to gratify my desire to aid those to whom I am bound 
by so many ties of attachment and regard, I give to 
you, gentlemen, most of whom have been my personal 
and especial friends, the sum of one million of dollars, 
to be by you and your successors held in trust, and 
the income thereof used and applied in your discretion 
for the promotion and encouragement of intellectual, 
moral, or industrial education among the young of 
the more destitute portions of the Southern and 


Southwestern States of our Union ; my purpose being 
that the benefits intended shall be distributed among 
the entire population, without other distinction than 
their needs, and the opportunities of usefulness to 

Besides the income thus derived, I give to you per- 
mission to use from the principal sum, within the next 
two years, an amount not exceeding forty per cent. 

In addition to this gift, I place in your hands bonds 
of the State of Mississippi, issued to the Planters' 
Bank, and commonly known as Planters' Bank bonds, 
amounting, with interest, to about eleven hundred 
thousand dollars, the amount realized by you from 
which is to be added to and used for the purpose of 
this Trust. 

These bonds were originally issued in payment for 
stock in that Bank held by the State, and amounting 
in all to only two millions of dollars. For many years, 
the State received large dividends from that Bank 
over and above the interest on these bonds. The 
State paid the interest without interruption till 1840, 
since which no interest has been paid, except a pay- 
ment of about one hundred thousand dollars, which 
was found in the treasury applicable to the payment 
of the coupons, and paid by a mandamun of the 
Supreme Court. The validity of these bonds has 
never been questioned, and they must not be con- 
founded with another issue of bonds made by the 
State to the Union Bank, the recognition of which 
has been a subject of controversy with a portion of 
the population of Mississippi. 

Various acts of the Legislature, — viz., of February 
28, 1842; February 23, 1844; February 16, 1846; 
February 28, 1 846 ; March 4, 1 848, — and the highest 


judicial tribunal of the State, have confirmed their 
validity; and I have no doubt that at an early day 
such legislation will be had as to make these bonds 
available in increasing the usefulness of the present 

Mississippi, though now depressed, is rich in agri- 
cultural resources, and cannot long disregard the 
moral obligation resting upon her to make provision 
for their payment. In confirmation of what I have 
said, in regard to the legislative and judicial action 
concerning the State bonds issued to the Planters' 
Bank, I herewith place in your hands the documents 
marked A. 

The details and organization of the Trust I leave 
with you, only requesting that Mr. Winthrop may be 
Chairman, and Governor Fish and Bishop Mcllvaine, 
Vice-Chairmen, of your body : and I give to you power 
to make all necessary by-laws and regulations ; to 
obtain an Act of Incorporation, if any shall be found 
expedient ; to provide for the expenses of the Trustees 
and of any agents appointed by them ; and, generally, 
to do all such acts as may be necessary for carrying 
out the provisions of this Trust. 

All vacancies occurring in your number by death, 
resignation, or otherwise, shall be filled by your 
election as soon as conveniently may be, and having 
in view an equality of representation so far as regards 
the Northern and Southern States. 

I furthermore give to you the power, in case two- 
thirds the Trustees shall at any time, after the lapse 
of thirty years, deem it expedient, to close this Trust, 
and, of the funds which at that time shall be in the 
hands of yourselves and your successors, to distribute 
not less than two-thirds among such educational or 


literary institutions, or for such educational purposes, 
as they may determine, in the States for whose benefit 
the income is now appointed to be used. The re- 
mainder may be distributed by the Trustees for 
educational or literary purposes, wherever they may 
deem it expedient. 

In making this gift, I am aware that the fund de- 
rived from it can but aid the States which I wish to 
benefit in their own exertions to diffuse the blessings 
of education and morality. But if this endowment 
shall encourage those now anxious for the light 
of knowledge, and stimulate to new efforts the 
many good and noble men who cherish the high 
purpose of placing our great country foremost, 
not only in power, but in the intelligence and 
virtue of her citizens, it will have accomplished 
all that I can hope. 

With reverent recognition of the need of the blessing 
of Almighty God upon this gift, and with the fervent 
prayer that under His guidance your counsels may 
be directed for the highest good of present and 
future generations in our beloved country, I am, 
gentlemen, with great respect. 

Your humble servant, 

Washington, February 7, 1867. 


To Hon. Robert C Winthrop ; Hon. Hamilton Fish ; Rt. 
Rev. Charles P. Mcllvaine ; General U. S. Grant ; 
Admiral D. G. Farragut ; Hon. Wm. C. Rives ; Hon. 
John H. Clifford; Hon. Wm. Aiken; Hon. W. M. 
Evarts ; Hon. Wm, A. Graham; Charles Macalester, 
Esq. ; Geo. W. Riggs, Esq. ; Samuel Wetmore, Esq. ; 
Edward A. Bradford, Esq. ; George N. Eaton, Esq. ; 
and George Peabody Russell, Esq. 

Gentlemen : Understanding that a doubt has been 
expressed in regard to my intentions and instructions 
on the subject of the distribution of the fund entrusted 
to your care for the purpose of education in the 
Southern and Southwestern States, I desire distinctly 
to say to you, that my design was to leave an absolute 
discretion to the Board of Trustees, as to the localities 
in which the funds should from time to time be 

I hope that all the States included in that part 
of our country which is suffering from the results of 
the recent war may, sooner or later, according to 
their needs, receive more or less of the benefit of 
the fund. 

But it was not my design to bind my Trustees 
to distribute the benefits of the fund upon any 
measure or proportion among the States, or to create 
any claim on the part of any State to any distributive 

Still less did I design to submit the Trustees, 
collectively or individually, to any responsibility to 
those intended to be benefited, or to any individual 


responsibility of any sort, for the management of 
the fund committed to them. 

I have entire confidence that they will discharge 
the Trust with wisdom, equity, and fidelity; and I 
leave all the details of management to their own 

With great respect, your humble servant, 

New York, March 20, 1867. 


To Hon. Robert C. Winthrop ; Hon. Hamilton Fish ; Rt. 
Rev. Charles P. Mcllvaine ; His Excellency U. S. Grant, 
President of the United States ; Admiral D. G. Farragut ; 
Hon. John H. Chfford; Hon. Wm. Aiken; Hon. W. M. 
Evarts; Hon. Wm. A. Graham; Charles Macalester, 
Esq. ; Geo. VV. Riggs, Esq. ; Samuel Wetmore, Esq. ; 
Hon. E. A. Bradford ; George N. Eaton, Esq. ; George 
Peabody Russell, Esq. ; and Hon. Samuel Watson, 
Trustees of the Peabody Education Fund. 

Gentlejnen : When I established the Trust of which 
you have charge, it was my intention, if its results 
and progress should prove satisfactory, to return in 
three years to my native land, and to make further 
provision for carrying out the plans which experience 
should have shown to be productive of encourage- 
ment and benefit to the people of the South. 

My precarious state of health has rendered it 
imprudent for me to wait for the full period of my 
intended absence ; and I have now come among you 
in order to proceed at once to the fulfilment of my 

I have constantly watched with great interest and 
careful attention the proceedings of your Board, and it 
is most gratifying to me now to be able to express 
my warmest thanks for the interest and zeal you 
have manifested in maturing and carrying out the 
designs of my letter of trust, and to assure you of 
my cordial concurrence in all the steps you have 


At the same time I must not omit to congratulate 
you, and all who have at heart the best interests of 
this educational enterprise, upon your obtaining the 
highly valuable services of Dr. Sears as your General 
Agent, — services valuable not merely in the organiza- 
tion of schools and of a system of public education, 
but in the good effect which his conciliatory and 
sympathizing course has had wherever he has met 
or become associated with the communities of the 
South, in social or business relations. 

And I beg to take this opportunity of thanking, 
with all my heart, the people of the South themselves 
for the cordial spirit with which they have received 
the Trust, and for the energetic efforts which they 
have made in co-operation with yourselves and Dr. 
Sears, for carrying out the plans which have been 
proposed and matured for the diffusion of the bless- 
ings of education in their respective States. 

Hitherto, under the system adopted by your General 
Agent and sanctioned by you, four of the Southern 
States have not been assisted from the Fund placed 
in your charge, and I concur with you in the policy 
thus pursued ; as I am sure will the citizens 6f 
those four States, and all who have at heart th^ 
highest permanent good of our beloved country.^ 
For it was most necessary that, at the outset, those' 
States and portions of States which had suffered 
most from the ravages of war, and were most desti- 
tute of educational means and privileges, should be 
first and specially aided. 

I believe the good sense and kind feeling of the 
people of these States will continue to acquiesce, for 
the present, in your course of devoting, under the 
care of Dr. Sears, the greater part of the Fund to 


the same States which have received its benefits for 
the past two years, with perhaps the addition of 
Texas, which State I am advised the General Agent 
will visit during the coming autumn or winter, to 
ascertain its educational requirements, and to give 
such aid as shall be requisite and can be afforded, 
where it shall be most needed. 

I have the same sympathy with every one of the 
States; and, were all alike needing assistance, I 
should wish each alike to share in the benefits of 
the Trust. 

As the portions aided shall respectively grow in 
posterity and become self-sustaining in their systems 
of education, their respective allotments of the Fund 
will be applied to other destitute communities; and 
thus its benefits will, I earnestly hope and trust, 
ultimately reach every section of the vast field com- 
mitted to your care. 

It is my hope and belief, and this opinion is fully 
confirmed by my interviews with Dr. Sears, that, with 
the additional amount which I now place in your 
hands, the annual income of the Fund alone may be 
found sufficient to sustain and extend the work you 
have so well begun ; and it is my desire that when 
the Trust is closed, and the final distribution made 
by yourselves or your successors, all the fourteen 
Southern States, including Maryland, Kentucky, 
Missouri, and Texas, shall share in that distribution 
according to their needs. ^ 

In accordance with what I have already said of my 
intention, at the time I established this Trust, to add 
thereto, if its success were such as I am now well 
assured has attended it, I now give to you and your 
successors the following securities, viz, : — 


$190,000 Belvidere and Delaware Railroad Com- 
pany's 6 per cent bonds, first mortgage; dividends 
15th June and 15th December, due 1877; principal 
and interest guaranteed by the Camden and Amboy 
Railroad Company and New Jersey Transportation 

$301,025 Syracuse and Binghampton Railroad Com- 
pany 7 per cent bonds ($198,500 due in 1876, 
dividends October ist and April ist; $4,525 payable 
October ist, 1870; $98,000 dividends from ist June, 
due in 1887). This is an excellent road, and the 
stock at par, but the security is rendered perfect 
by the guarantee of both principal and interest by 
the Lackawanna Coal Company of Pennsylvania. 

$79,200 Alabama State 5 per cent bonds ($16,200 
due 1886; $21,000 due 1872; $42,000 due in 1883; 
dividends from November ist). 

$35,300 Mobile City 5 per cent bonds; dividends 
from July ist. Principal to be gradually paid off. 

$79,000 City of Louisville 6 per cent bonds; 
dividends April and October. Due 1883. 

$69,600 Louisiana Consolidated Bank 5's, fully 
guaranteed by State of Louisiana, and payable in 
1870, 1872, 1874, and 1876. 

$88,000 Ohio and Mississippi Railroad first mort- 
gage 7 per cent bonds; dividends ist July and ist 
January, all payable July i, 1872. 

$90,000 Columbus, Chicago, and Indiana Central 
Railroad first mortgage bonds, 7 per cent; dividends 
1st April and 1st October. Due in 1908. Guaranteed 
by Pennsylvania Central Railroad Company. 

$30,000 Pittsburg City 4 per cent bonds ; dividends 
January and July. Due in 1913. 


$8,000 Pittsburg City 5 per cent bonds; dividends 
January and July. Due in 1913. 

$19,000 Louisiana State 6's; dividends January 
and July. 

$10,000 New Orleans City 6's; dividends January 
and July. 

$875 cash. 

Amounting in all to one million of dollars. These 
stocks are all of the very highest character for 
security, and the dividends are certain to be promptly 

The principal sum of one million of dollars, given 
by my first letter of trust, is still intact ; the interest on 
which being added to that of my present gift makes 
the annual revenue of the Trust upwards of one 
hundred and thirty thousand dollars ; a sum which, 
in the opinion of your honorable Chairman and your 
General Agent, is amply sufficient to meet all the 
requirements of the Trust, without infringing upon 
the capital, until the time arrives for the final 
distribution as before stated. 

In addition to the foregoing, I give to you, Florida 
six per cent bonds, which, with overdue coupons, 
amount to about $384,000. 

These bonds, like the Mississippi bonds in my first 
gift, must before many years be paid. 

The territory of Florida obtained the money on 
these bonds in Europe at about par, and loaned it to 
the Union Bank as capital. 

The territory received for some time a high rate of 
interest, but, after the bank suspended, paid the bond- 
holders nothing, but referred them to the Union Bank, 
saying, "Obtain what you can from the Union Bank, 
and it will then be time enough to come to us." 


Large amounts of these bonds were purchased by 
planters at about fifty per cent, and used to pay 
mortgages held by the Union Bank, until there was 
nothing more left to be paid ; and the small amount 
of these bonds now outstanding (not exceeding, I 
believe, two millions of the original bonds) must, I 
think, before long induce Florida, as an act of justice 
long delayed, to make provision for their payment. 

All the stocks I have given as above are to be held 
in trust by yourselves and your successors, for the 
same purposes and under the same conditions as the 
funds given you by my original letter creating your 

I do this with the earnest hope and in the sincere 
trust, that, with God's blessing upon the gift and upon 
the deliberations and future action of yourselves and 
your General Agent, it may enlarge the sphere of 
usefulness already entered upon and prove a per- 
manent and lasting boon, not only to the Southern 
States, but to the whole of our dear country, which I 
have ever loved so well, but never so much as now in 
my declining years, and at this time (probably the 
last occasion I shall ever have to address you) as 
I look back over the changes 'and the progress 
of nearly three quarters of a century. And I pray 
that Almighty God will grant to it a future as 
happy and noble in the intelligence and virtues of its 
citizens, as will be glorious in unexampled power 
and prosperity. 

I am, with great respect. 

Your humble servant, 

Salem, June 29, 1869. 


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