II. February 25, 1862
GENTLEMEN: Having been spared by a kind Providence to witness another anniversary of the organization of our College Board, I am happy to see so many members present at this inclement season, which is a proof of the deep interest you feel in the institution; and the desire of aiding your humble servant, the Founder, in accomplishing and carrying out his wishes. I beg, gentlemen, to extend to each and all of you, my most cordial welcome to the duties and responsibilities, as well as to the honors and pleasures, of this occasion.
The annual meeting for the election of officers, etc., having been fixed by the Board at their last meeting for June in each year, the Trustees would not have been called together at this time if there had not been several subjects of importance which they thought desirable to submit to the action of the whole Board. These will be presented in their proper order.
The Treasurer (M. Vassar, Jr.) will lay before you a synopsis of operations in his official department, showing, in gross, the disbursements and sales of College funds for the construction account of the building, balance in Treasury, etc.; and he will also apply to you for advice in some special matter in relation to payment of money to Mr. Harloe on building account.
The Agent of the Building Committee (Mr. Dubois) will also present you with his report; and the same gentleman, who is also Superintendent of the College Building and Farm, will give you an account of his stewardship in those departments.
Reports from the Committee on Cabinet, Library, and Art-Gallery, and that which relates to the portrait of the Founder, will also be laid before you. The Committee on By-Laws will likewise make their report, to which I beg to refer you.
Your Secretary (C. Swan) will lay before you an account of all his proceedings, especially the more recent portion, in connection with the Executive Committee, in taking measures for obtaining an amendment to the College charter, so as to exempt all its property from taxation, although it may perhaps be here remarked, that it was considered by some of our legal advisers that it is already exempt under the Revised Statutes; yet, as it was possible that some question on that subject might arise, your Executive Committee deemed it the best policy to obtain a special provision against it; and it has, as I before observed, been thus applied for, and we may reasonably hope it will soon be granted, and the College property freed from all public burdens.
I am also happy to inform you; very briefly, in this connection, that, notwithstanding the terribly depressing financial times, our country's history which we have passed through since our last meeting, we have progressed further and faster with our College edifice, and at a less sacrifice of our funds, than we anticipated at the beginning of the building season; and if nothing prevents, we shall be enabled to complete it by the first of August, 1864.
Notwithstanding, as before remarked, that the year past has been one of great depression and prostration, affecting all kinds of business, properties, and securities, yet we have reason to be thankful to God that it has been a season of abundance of the fruits of the earth and also of general health. In lookii1g forward to the future, we are encouraged to believe, even under the unfavorable aspects in general, that our College funds will be equal to all the anticipated purposes of the Board, so far as the building and its internal equipments are concerned. But be that as it may, it is my purpose, if God spares my life, to stand by this cherished object of my latter days to the extent of my power until all is completed.
The last, gentlemen, of those matters to which your attention is respectfully called at this time, is with reference to filling of one of the professorships in the College, to which the Committee on Faculty will ask your attention.
I will also avail myself of this opportunity to say, that during the past year we have had the pleasure and satisfaction to receive very many letters from the most distinguished popular educators and others, of both sexes, in this country, bearing testimony to the noble enterprise of our undertaking, with their best wishes for its successful issue and patronage. These have been not only highly gratifying to the Founder, but reflect great credit on his associates, the Board of Trustees, whose names have given such high character and popularity to this infant institution. At our next meeting we may take occasion to speak more at large on this matter.
With these brief outlines and remarks, I would now call the respectful attention of the Board to the reports of the respective committees.