The location of Hanover College was, in a sense, an accident, but viewed in the larger aspects involved, a natural consequence of existing geographical and social factors. As we know, the location was determined by a vote of Presbytery. Tradition has it that Bethlehem in Clark County and Livonia in Washington County were also considered, and that the Bethlehem site was not only at one time chosen, but sketched into the map of an enterprising real estate dealer. The final action of the Presbytery was unanimous. The reasons for the selections are obvious: (1) John Finley Crowe had initiated the movement for a college, or "school," and without doubt had already chosen his own church neighborhood for its location: he was chairman of the committee which brought in the recommendation, and he was accustomed to accomplish his objectives. (2) "Dunn's Settlement" comprised the most enlightened and progressive people in the new state, and a school in their midst offered more promise of success. It will be agreed by all, however, that the first reason is the real explanation. Soon after Dr. Crowe had opened his pri- [Page 93] vate school in 1827, at the request of Presbytery, in the small log house on his own farm, the patronage outgrew the small quarters and he moved his boys over to the stone church on Judge Dunn's farm. When his school was adopted by Presbytery he projected the building for the Seminary, and quite naturally suggested to Mr. Dunn that he give the two acres lying between the church and the Crowe residence for a campus. But two buildings were erected on this campus, the small building, 25 by 40 feet, for the Seminary (1829) and the "College Edifice" (1832) which, reconstructed, has been known to the students since 1859 as the Presbyterian Church. The Seminary building was so placed as to form an "L" to the east off the front of the "College Edifice" when the latter was erected. The Academy, however, had a number of other houses before the college building was secured. The brick residence on the north side of the street, west of the present church, was the residence of the head professor in the Seminary. An old frame building a few doors farther west was occupied by the printing and bookbinding department of the Manual Labor Scheme. On the southwest corner of the intersection of Main and Cross Main Streets was a large brick dormitory with a refectory which accommodated a large number of students. On Cross Main Street south were a number of wooden buildings used by the various projected trade schools, and a row of small two-room dormitory houses. One hundred acres lying west of Cross Main Street and equally north and south of the Lexington Road constituted the College Farm.
In the liquidation of the debts accumulated during the Seminary-Manual Labor period, all of this property was sold except the campus and its improvements. The tornado of 1837 completely destroyed the Seminary wing of the building and the third floor of the [Page 94] main structure. The latter, with the aid of the Church, was repaired, and the building reduced to two stories. The walls, however, had been greatly disturbed, and the repairs were not the most substantial, so that the building was neither inviting nor adequate for the needs of the College. Meanwhile the village was closing in around the campus, which fact, together with the condition of the building, had led to a discussion within the Board of Trustees of the desirability of a new site. In 1843 a committee, of which President MacMaster was chairman, was appointed to report recommendations to this end at a special meeting set for a given day. The near-tragedy growing out of this action meant so much to John Finley Crowe, and the episode as he relates it is so unique in college history we shall reproduce the account as it appears in the Crowe manuscript. The reader will bear in mind of course that Dr. Crowe was not a disinterested reporter. Apparently he regarded Dr. MacMaster as "the greatest benefactor" of the College until he was advised of the plans laid a few hours before the trap was sprung. The reader may even suspect that the issue was between two Scotchmen, canny in the same degree, with the President taking the initiative. One's sympathies of course are with Dr. Crowe.
"The charter obtained by a committee of Presbytery in December of the same year, constituted the ministers of Madison Presbytery, together with five laymen, all members of the church,-'A Body Corporate and Politic,' to be known by the name, 'The Trustees of Hanover Academy,' and by that name to have perpetual succession, with the permission to increase the number of trustees whenever it might be deemed necessary.
"And when the Synod of Indiana, having adopted Hanover Academy as their Synodical School, applied [Page 95] for a College charter, the prayer of their petition was granted simply by so amending the charter of the Academy as to change the name to Hanover College, together with the privilege of conferring the usual literary degrees.
"The Board of Trustees remained consequently a close Corporation, with the privilege of increasing their number whenever they deemed it necessary. And the number had been increased principally through the influence of the President of the College, until, at the time of surrendering the charter, it had swelled to twenty-seven, only eight of whom were members of the Synod of Indiana.
"Hence it is obvious, that the Board of Trustees was an irresponsible body, the superintendence and control of the Synod was merely nominal. Consequently the President had nothing more to do, in order to accomplish his object, than to secure the cooperation of the majority of the members of the Board in his favor.
"This he effected by consulting privately with such members as he supposed would be likely to favor the plan: or to use his own words, 'I consulted those whom I deemed by their capacity, their information and their freedom from the bias of private interest and feeling, competent to give counsel, and omitted to consult those whom I deemed, on all, or any of these accounts incompetent.' (Note: Speech of Dr. MacMaster in the Synod of Indiana, page 26). Having in this way secured the approval of the object by a majority of the Board, in an adjourned meeting held December 8, the Doctor submitted the following resolution:
" 'Resolved, that a Committee of five be appointed on the state of the College, with instructions to report concerning the practicability and expediency of selecting a new location, and the erection of a new edifice thereon; and also concerning the ways and means of effecting the same.' The resolution was unanimously adopted and Dr. MacMaster made chairman of the [Page 96] Committee of five, two members from Madison, two from Hanover. (Note: The facility with which this resolution was obtained may be easily explained. From the time of the tornado, by which the College Edifice was well nigh ruined, the subject of a new building and of a new site had been agitated at Hanover. Some were in favor of the old location; others were in favor of a location half a mile distant in view of the river. As all felt desirous to have the question settled, the resolution was unanimously passed. But the understanding of every member of the Board, excepting Dr. MacMaster, Professor Anderson and the two Madison members, was that the Committee was to decide whether the new building was to be erected on the old campus, or half a mile distant in view of the river.)
"The Board then adjourned to meet at the College on Monday, December 18, 1843, at 10 o'clock A. M.
"The initiatory step in the destruction of the College had now been taken. The suicidal act had been unconsciously perpetrated by the Board; and ten days more were to close their corporate existence.
"The Committee of five, before separating, had agreed to meet in Hanover on the following Friday, only three days before the adjourned meeting at which their report was expected. Dr. MacMaster accompanied the Madison members home and did not return again to Hanover until late in the afternoon of Friday. On the Wednesday preceding, a rumor had reached Hanover that Dr. MacMaster was negotiating with the citizens of Madison for a transfer of the College to that place, and one of the citizens, much excited, brought the intelligence to the writer, but such was his confidence in the uprightness of Dr. MacMaster that he pledged himself to the gentleman that the rumor was without foundation. But on the evening of the same day a hand-bill printed over the names of thirty of the principal citizens of Madison reached Hanover in which the College was fairly and fully [Page 97] set up to the highest bidder, and the good citizens of Madison called upon to engage in the honorable competition with other places on the Ohio River.
"The document is here inserted:
" 'Hanover College . . . Madison University.
'To the Citizens of Madison:
" 'It is probably known to most of you that Hanover College, which has existed during the past ten years in our vicinity, after a period of pecuniary embarrassment, is at the present time in a much improved condition. A debt of more than fifteen thousand dollars has, we learn, been recently liquidated. The Trustees hold a subscription of more than twelve thousand dollars toward a permanent endowment.
" 'The number of students is much increased, about one hundred being in actual attendance during the present session. From a concurrence of causes this institution is looked to at the present time with a lively interest, not only by a large portion of the citizens of our own state, but from a very extensive region of the Ohio Valley, including large portions of the adjacent states as well as of the country farther south. We understand that the Trustees, encouraged by favorable prospects of the institution, have it in contemplation to take immediate measures to select a new location, erect new edifices and improve in other respects its condition.
"'The question has arisen in our minds, and we trust will elicit the interest of every citizen of Madison, whether such inducements may not be offered as to lead to the removal of the College at Hanover to this place, and its combination with a larger institution to be established here, under the conduct of the gentlemen now at Hanover, and such others as may be associated with them, and thus to secure to our city the advantages of a literary institution, established on such a scale, and possessing such a character as to become the leading institution for the whole central [Page 98] and lower part of the Ohio Valley. The object we think should be, at once to obtain the powers of a University, and to take measures for the establish of a Law School, a Medical Depart and a department for the education of professional teachers, in addition to the general Collegiate Department.
"'The advantages, pecuniary, literary, and moral, which such an institution would confer upon our young and rising city, are as obvious as they are numerous and great.
"'1. The erection of the requisite buildings would at once cause the expenditure here of from $20,000 to 40,000, benefiting Mechanics, Merchants, Laborers, and all classes of citizens, and the buildings tasteful and elegant as they would be, would be an ornament to the city.
"'2. Such an institution with 200, 300 or 400 students in its various departments, would cause an annual expenditure of not less than from $30,000 to $50,000 among us.
"'3. Every parent who has a son, that must otherwise be sent abroad to be educated, will save from $500 to $1,000 by having an institution at his own door, besides all the advantages of having his son under his own eye, and enjoying all the salutary influences of the home.
"'4. The location of such an institution here will enable many to avail themselves of its advantages who could not otherwise hope to enjoy them. Many parents will be able to educate their sons liberally at home who cannot afford to send them abroad. Our young men in Mechanical, Mercantile and other employments, who do not contemplate the prosecution of a classical education, would have an opportunity of pursuing such branches of study as they might desire, without any material interference with their occupation.
"'5. The establishment of such an institution among us would to the commercial character of our [Page 99] city, add that literary character, which to every enlightened and liberal mind is so desirable, and would confer on it an enviable reputation throughout our own state and the whole country.
"'6. It would induce an immigration of families of the best description for intellectual and moral worth, who would be attracted to the place on account of the education of their sons, and who would form a most important accession to our population.
"'Such, fellow citizens, are some of the advantages which at first sight suggest themselves as about to arise to us from the establishment of a literary institution among us. What say you? Shall we make the effort necessary to secure these advantages to ourselves? The question is, we understand, in agitation already at New Albany, Jeffersonville, and perhaps other towns on the river. These towns will not be slow to perceive the advantages which its location will confer on the place where it may be established. Can not Madison in this liberal and honorable competition offer as strong inducements as any of its neighbors? It is true, we yet feel to some extent the pecuniary embarrassments of the times that have gone over us. But should a liberal and spirited movement be made, we trust that such arrangements as to time and terms of payment may be effected, as shall meet the convenience of the citizens. The citizens will be called on in reference to this subject.
"'Madison, Ind., Dec. 13th, 1843.'
"The astounding intelligence contained in this hand-bill flew like an electric shock through the little community of Hanover. There could be no doubt of the character of the document, nor of the design of the author, who was understood to be none other than the President of the College, Dr. MaeMaster. But what could be done in the three days that remained? It was resolved to send a messenger to New Albany to implore Dr. Matthews to attend the [Page 100] meeting of the Board and prevent, if possible, the catastrophe. The Doctor was then, and had been for several years, President of the Board and had in it great influence. But he did not receive the message in time to take the boat on Saturday, and as the Board was to meet at ten o'clock on Monday morning, it would be impossible for him to reach here in time.
"Late in the afternoon on Friday the writer learned that Dr. MacMaster had returned home, and immediately wrote him a note, inquiring whether he had given to the citizens of Madison any encouragement to expect the removal of the College to that city? His answer was as follows:
"' I have conversed with several of the Trustees of Hanover College, residing at Madison and elsewhere, in number constituting more than a majority of the whole Board, concerning the impracticability of sustaining it here, and the propriety of removing it to that town. I had desired a conference with you on the subject, but am in doubt since receiving your note whether it will be acceptable to you.
"' E. D. MacMaster.
"December 18th, 1843, a memorable day for Hanover, dawned under an unclouded sky, with a bracing, frosty atmosphere, yet the members of the Board from Madison, and others who were apprised of the momentous interests involved in the decision of that meeting were punctual to the time of adjournment, although it was, at that season, inconveniently early. I will give the record of the meeting in the language of the Secretary, Dr. MacMaster:
"'Dec. l8th, 1843, 10 o'clock A. M.
"'The Board of Trustees of Hanover College met at the College. Present, Rev. Messrs. J. F. Crowe, D. D., P. D. Gurley, W. C. Anderson, E. D. MacMaster, [Page 101] Hon. James Blake, Hon. W. Dunn, J. G. W. Simmall, R. Marshall, Rev. J. A. McKee, Rev. T. W. Brown, G. Logan, W. Lyle, V. King, and D. McIntyre.
"'The President of the Board being absent, Hon. James Blake was called to the chair as President pro tempore, and the meeting was opened with prayer. The records of the last meeting were read.
"Mr. MacMaster from the committee on the state of the College presented the following report, viz:
" 'To the Board of Trustees of Hanover College, the Committee on the state of the College, respectfully present the following report.' " (Note: The report was prepared by Dr. MacMaster at Madison, without the cooperation or knowledge of either of the members of the committee residing at Hanover.)
"Then followed a labored argument to prove the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of sustaining the College at Hanover, and the grounds to believe that it might be sustained at Madison, inasmuch as the citizens of that place proposed, on condition that it be removed to Madison and changed into a University, to contribute in subscription and property, a sum estimated at $20,000, together with the verbal assurances from prominent and influential persons, that the whole expense of the requisite buildings would be contributed by the citizens of that place.
"To the report were appended the following resolutions:
" 'Resolved 1. That with a view to the prosecution, more advantageously and successfully of the great and important objects for which the College has been founded, and maintained, it is expedient that a larger institution, possessing the powers of a University be established at Madison, or its vicinity, or at such other place on the Ohio River, as may appear to be most eligible; and that the interests which have hitherto concurred in maintaining this College should be united with the larger institution to be established.
[Page 102] "'Resolved 2. That with a view to the accomplishment of this end in the most expedient and best manner, the charter of this College be, and the same is hereby surrendered to the General Assembly of the State of Indiana. And the said Assembly is requested to take the necessary measures for dissolving the present Corporation of this College and for making a full and final settlement of all its pecuniary business, in conformity with the statute, in such cases made and provided. And that after such settlements shall have been made, and all the debts of the corporation paid, and all legal and equitable claims fully satisfied, the remaining property of said corporation be granted and given, by the General Assembly, to the Board of Trustees of the New University hereafter to be incorporated.
"'But the surrender of the charter of the College is on the express condition that the General Assembly of the State of Indiana shall, at its present session, establish by law, a University or College, to be located at Madison, or some other place, on or near the Ohio River within this State, whereof James Blake, John Finley Crowe, Williamson Dunn, Samuel Bigger, David Monfort, John Matthews, Victor King, Phineas D. Gurley and others, shall be appointed Trustees by the said Assembly. And that the said Assembly shall grant to the said University or College, a charter which shall be approved and accepted in behalf of the Trustees of said Institution by a committee hereinafter to be appointed; And furthermore, that after all the debts and claims against the present Corporation shall have been fully satisfied, the said General Assembly shall grant and give to the Trustees of the University or College above mentioned, as hereafter to be created, the balance which may remain of the property of the present Corporation. And this surrender shall take effect and be in force on these conditions from and after the 15th day of February next. Otherwise it shall be null and void.
[Page 103] "'Resolved 3. That James Blake, Samuel Bigger, Phineas D. Gurley, James M. Ray, and Jeremiah Sullivan be, and they are hereby appointed the Conunittee, provided to be appointed by the last preceding resolution, and they are hereby authorized to do all things in relation to the subject therein stated.
" 'Resolved 4. That the legal and proper evidence of the approval and acceptance of the Charter of the University or College to be incorporated, shall be the filing by the said committee, of the certificate of such approval and acceptance in the office of the Secretary of State.
"'Resolved 5. That E. D. MacMaster and James Blake be, and they are hereby appointed to communicate a copy of these resolutions to the General Assembly of the State of Indiana at its present session.' "
"The report of the Committee, including the preceding resolutions, was adopted by the vote of eight of the fourteen members of the Board who were present, the President pro tem also approving the vote of the majority. We deem it, however, due to the truth and impartiality of history to state that of the eight affirmative votes, five were given by the Madison members, two by Dr. MacMaster and Professor Anderson of Hanover, and the other one by a member from Indianapolis who was then on the Board for the first time, having been appointed a trustee only a month or two before.
"In this summary way, and almost without debate, was the long cherished institution of the Church disposed of, only two months after the Synods of Indiana had, with entire unanimity, and with great cordiality, passed Professor Anderson's resolution pledging themselves to sustain their College with all their influence, and exhorting their churches to furnish such material aid as might be needed. In vain was a motion made to postpone the decision of the important interests involved until a full meeting of the Board could be had and a thorough discussion of the whole subject.
[Page 104] In vain was an appeal made to the magnanimity of the Madison members. In vain were they reminded of the ruin they were about to bring on a number of widow ladies whose earthly all was invested in Hanover property. 'The advantages, pecuniary, literary, and moral, which such an institution would confer on their city,' had been represented by one in whom they had unbounded confidence as being so great and numerous that they outweighed all other considerations. The Board adjourned to meet again on the 31st Jan. 1844.
"The charter of Hanover College was surrendered just at the commencement of two weeks' recess at Christmas, and arrangements were made for opening the following term at Madison. Consequently at the close of the recess, a suitable building in the meantime having been secured, and a charter for a University at Madison having been obtained the President and professors, (Note: Professors Hynes, Sturgus, and Eckstein were ignorant of the plan to remove the College, until it was sprung upon the unsuspecting and confiding community of Hanover. They then, though far from approving the measure, felt constrained by the circumstances with which they were surrounded to accompany the students,) and about three-fourths of the one hundred students who had been in attendance at Hanover convened at the city of Madison, and commenced operations under the imposing style of:
"A destructive fire sweeping over the little village, and reducing to ashes the dwellings of the citizens, would have been a trifling calamity compared with the loss they had sustained. Losses by fire call into exercise sympathies of friends and neighbors, and are generally soon repaired, leaving the prospects of the sufferers as fair as ever. Not so the loss of the College. Here there was less sympathy, and absolute inability to give relief.
"The day after the surrender of the charter was a gloomy day at Hanover. The feelings of the writer had been the day before wrought up almost to an agony, when he saw the fruits of his toil and solicitude ruthlessly, as it then appeared to him, destroyed, and his fondest hopes blasted. But still more painful was it now to witness the tears, and listen to the importunities of women and even strong men that he would make an effort to save them from ruin by building up their college again.
"But what could he promise them? The Church at Hanover, of which he was the pastor, was feeble, barely able with all the aid of the College, as the President and professors were among the most liberal contributors, to give a slender support to the pastor. And now as the College was destroyed and the President and the Professors removed, the Pastor was left without the means of living, unless he should turn his attention to some other employment in connection with his pastoral labors. And in the Providence of God he seemed to be tied down to Hanover. He had donated one-half his little farm to the College, and now its removal had so far destroyed the value of the balance together with its improvements that it could not be sold at any price.
"Under these circumstances he was urged by the Session of the Church and by other friends to open a school in the deserted college edifice, and as it seemed [Page 106] to be the only way now open, he resolved in connection with his eldest son, a graduate of the College, to make the experiment. Consequently on the same day that the Madison University was opened in the city of Madison, the 'Hanover Classical and Mathematical school' was opened in the deserted edifice of Hanover College, and in a few weeks the number of students increased to forty, including a number who had been regular students in the College.
"In the meantime President MacMaster and the professors of Madison University found the atmosphere of the city anything but classic. Those young gentlemen who were disposed to improve their time and opportunities to the best advantage, found that the bustle and dissipation of a commercial city compared very unfavorably with the quiet and secluded village. While those who were more solicitous to gratify their appetites than to improve their minds, found in the numerous restaurants, coffee houses and other kindred establishments, every facility they could desire for accomplishing their object. And so formidable were these drawbacks on their present position that the professors became alarmed at the fearful responsibility which they had assumed in taking charge, in such a place, of the inexperienced youth committed to their care. Professor Anderson soon left, and before the close of the first short session of three months, the other professors, Hynes, Sturgus and Thomson, (Note: Samuel Harrison Thomson graduated at Hanover College in 1837, distinguished as a mathematician. He was principal of a High School at New Castle, Ky., when called by Dr. MacMaster to a chair in the Madison University,) gave notice of their determination to do so at the close of the term.
"But a variety of circumstances, seeming to indicate the will of divine Providence, led the writer to suppose that it might be his duty to make an effort to resuscitate Hanover College. The first indication [Page 107] of this kind was the revival of the Charter of Hanover Academy. When the act of the Legislature for the dissolution of Hanover College, and for the founding of Madison University was about to be passed, a clause reviving Hanover Academy was proposed as an amendment to the bill by the Hon. Stephen Lee, a member from Jefferson County, seconded by the Hon. John S. Simonson of Clark. The motion prevailed, and the original charter of 1829 incorporating Hanover Academy, was revived, granting corporate powers to John Finley Crowe and others. And as it was not only unsolicited but an unthought of favor, it seemed providential. Further expressions of deep regret at the destruction of the College, and encouragements to make an effort to revive it, were received from brethren in the ministry residing in various parts of the state. And still further, the unexpected return of one of the literary societies, the Philalathean, to Hanover, two weeks before the close of the University session.
"The subject of the return to Hanover had been mooted in the society at a regular meeting, and so general was the feeling of dissatisfaction with their circumstances and prospects that a resolution was unanimously carried to return forthwith to Hanover. Accordingly the next day the society came in a body, bringing with them in wagons, their library of sixteen hundred volumes, together with the furniture of their hall.
"Having had no intimation of any such design on the part of the students, their appearance was hailed as an indication that the Lord had not forgotten to be gracious to Hanover, especially as the society expressed a determination to have nothing more to do with the Madison University, and requested permission again to take possession of their old hall, and to hold their approaching exhibition in the College Chapel. Permission was of course granted, and the young gentlemen received with great cordiality by [Page 108] their Hanover friends. (Note: The College Campus and Edifice had became the property of Hanover Academy. In conformity with the Act of the Legislature, the public property of Hanover College, consisting of the College Campus, Edifice, Library and apparatus, chemical and philosophical, had been sold for the benefit of the Madison University at public auction by the commissioner appointed by the Legislature, and the Campus and College Edifice had been knocked off to the writer at $10, no one being disposed to bid against him.)
"The mind of the writer was now satisfied that it was his duty to make an effort to recover what had been lost, the 'Church College,' and he commenced operations by securing on subscription a fund sufficient to support three professors for two years. The subscription was headed by two gentlemen in the immediate vicinity of Hanover with $400 appended to each of their names. And in a few weeks a sum sufficient for the object was subscribed in Hanover and its vicinity."
The contest between Crowe and MacMaster was carried into Presbytery and Synod, in both of which Dr. Crowe was unanimously supported, and Hanover endorsed as the location of the College. This action, however, did not settle the issue, for we find President Wood in his annual report to the Trustees asking for a deliverance which would effectually put an end to the discussion. Again in 1869, on the occasion of the rapprochement of the Old School and New School wings of the Presbyterian Church, there arose serious discussion of the combination of Hanover and Wabash Colleges, the matter proceeding far enough that an overture was made to Hanover to which the Trustees responded in the following resolution:
"Whereas, in consequence of the late reunion of the two branches of the Presbyterian Church, the ex- [Page 109] pediency of uniting the Colleges of Hanover and Wabash has been suggested, and to some extent made the subject of conversation, tending to impair confidence and to cause dissension;
"And whereas, Hanover College had its origin in peculiar circumstances, and was founded in its present location for a special and noble purpose, and has been sustained by the persistent prayers and labors of its friends, until it has reached a degree of strength material and moral, guaranteeing its certain success, and is now growing in usefulness, and taking stronger hold upon the affections of the people;
"And whereas, it has its distinctive history, its precious memories, its peculiar field of usefulness, its accumulation of funds, the result of long years of labor and pains, its large and well-appointed building with libraries and other needful appliances, and its numerous alumni scattered over this country and some of them in other countries;
"And whereas, its permanent location at Hanover has been settled again and again by vote of the Synods, and the attempt to change this decision would most certainly lead to strife and to painful and hurtful alienations, to the reproach and injury of Christ's cause;
"Therefore, Resolved lst. That it is the purpose of this Board to sustain and perpetuate this institution in its present location forever.
"Resolved 2nd. That the agitation of the question of a change of location would, in the circumstances, be injurious to the College and hurtful to the interests of the Church and ought not to be encouraged."
Again in 1873 a very attractive proposition was received from citizens of Indianapolis looking to the removal of the College to a site in the environs of that city, and containing guarantees which assured the perpetuity of the name, charter rights and privileges with an endowment and equipment far beyond the [Page 110] dreams Of the Trustees. Professor Garritt records this episode as follows:
"A proposition was received from Messrs. Johnson and Holmes of Carter's Station, near Indianapolis, to remove the College to that place, these gentlemen making the following proposals:
Mr. Johnson offers three quarter sections of land, located near the corporate city of Indianapolis, to found a university at Carter's Station to be called Johnson University. The estimated value of the land is $600,000. One-half he proposes to give to Hanover College, on condition of removal to this station, and, taking with it there as much of its present property as the law will allow. He further offers a campus of 100 acres near the station on we to be erected. In addition Mr. Holmes and others offer $40,000 in cash toward the building fund. All the chartered rights of the College are to remain intact.
The Board held a meeting at Indianapolis, August 27, 1873, the Faculty being invited to be present, to hear the proposition and to look over the ground. Carriages were provided to carry the guests to said Carter's Station, and they had an enjoyable ride, and found the new site for the college very suitable and beautiful. The Board decided to consider the proposition very carefully, and appointed committees to examine all the questions that could arise in such a transfer, especialiy in its legal aspects, and as to the amount of funds that could be removed to indianapolis, and adjourned to meet at Madison September 24.
"At the adjoured meeting eighteen members were present, together with a committee to represent the views of the citizens of Indianapolis. The proposition was discussed till midnight. It was found that the charter established the College at Hanover, that new legislation would be needed to make the transfer, and that a large part of the endowment could not be transferred to the new University. However, the following resolution was offered:
[Page 111] "'Resolved, that the proposition of Mr. Johnson be accepted, on condition that the citizens of Indianapolis furnish by subscription a sum equal to the cost of erecting buildings on the new site equal in value to the buildings on the present one, provided the necessary legislation can be had, and that there are no legal difficulties in the way.'
"Every member was asked to express his views, and Rev. Dr. Edson presented the views expressed at a meeting of the citizens of Indianapolis, and made an earnest plea in favor of acceptance of Mr. Johnson's proposition. Another paper was read expressing the judgment of well known gentlemen of the Capital city, stating that in their judgment the value of the property proposed to be donated was not overestimated. The vote was then taken, and five votes were cast in favor of the resolution, while thirteen were opposed.
"The Board of Trustees was not insensible to the advantages that the vicinity to a large and growing city would afford to the College, but yet they felt that the loss which would be sustained in the forfeiture of funds, and prestige in the accumulated college traditions and spirit of forty years' life at Hanover, also the beautiful and inspiring scenery, and in the greater distance from other colleges in the state, was too great to justify the change.
"When the vote was taken, the Board of Trustees appointed a committee to convey to Mr. Johnson their appreciation of his munificent offer, and entered the following minutes on its records:
" 'The Board of Trustees of Hanover College, while feeling compelled to decline the proposition of Mr. James Johnson, because of the claims of Christian education in southern Indiana, and for other reasons, yet desire to express:
"'1. Their high appreciation of the generous offer of Mr. Johnson, of the liberal spirit he has manifested, [Page 112] and the gentlemanly courtesy with which he has treated the Board.
"'2. Their hope that God may direct him in the final disposition of the noble estate which he proposes to bestow upon some benevolent foundation.
"'3. Their prayer that the divine blessing may ever attend him and those who are dear to him.
"'4 . The thanks of the Board to W. C. Holmes and other citizens of Indianapolis for the liberal support they have given to the proposition of Mr. Johnson, and the high estimate they have given of Hanover College as an institution of learning.'
Four other overtures have been received, one proposing an alliance of Hanover and Wabash, in which the former would become a school for women, the two institutions pooling their influence and dividing the patronage between them. This suggestion got no further than a visit of an official of Wabash to Hanover, who laid the matter before the President. During the present administration the President has been approached three times with as many proposals to move the College from Hanover, one to Indianapolis, one to a smaller city west of Indianapolis, and one to a more prominent city in southern Indiana. The answer in each case was that Hanover is a thing of tradition and spirit, not of plant and endowments; that it is so vitally rooted in the associations of this place that it can not be moved; that it might be destroyed to make place for another new institution at some other place in the state, but not moved. These proposals were not permitted to reach the Board officially. One interesting feature of these recent proposals was the intimation that the Roman Catholic Church was ready to take over the plant in case of removal of the College elsewhere.
[Page 113] Four reasons have been advanced in all of the discussions of the relocation of the College. First, Presbyterianism is much stronger in the central and northern sections of the state; second, these sections are far wealthier than the southeastern part of the state; third, the greater density of population of the central and northern counties would produce a large attendance; fourth, the inaccessibility of Hanover. The first three reasons must be admitted. The fourth no longer holds since the automobile has come into vogue. And all four arguments are of minor significance. The factor of primary importance in determining the success of a college is the quality of service it renders. The institution which satisfies a conscious need of society in an acceptable manner will assure both endowment and students.
The location of Hanover on the edge of the state has not at all meant the isolation of the institution from the practical affairs of Indiana. Prior to the Civil War the state drew the better part of its leadership from the "river counties," particularly those in the southeastern section. Directly and indirectly the College has made a large contribution through these leaders to the development of the political, religious, intellectual and social life of Indiana. During these one hundred years, thousands of students, the vast majority from this state and representing all parts of it, have studied in Hanover College, and carried back into the life stream of the state the academic, spiritual and civic ideals which the institution has through these long years sedulously inculcated in all who have passed through its halls.