Trustees for Vincennes University v. Indiana - 55 U.S. 268 (1852)
U.S. Supreme Court
Trustees for Vincennes University v. Indiana, 55 U.S. 14 How. 268 268 (1852)
Trustees for Vincennes University v. Indiana
55 U.S. (14 How.) 268
In 1804, Congress passed an act, 2 Stat. 277, "making provision for the disposal of the public lands in the Indiana territory, and for other purposes," in
which it reserved from sale a township in each one of three districts, to be located by the Secretary of the Treasury, for the use of a seminary of learning.
In 1806, the Secretary of the Treasury located a particular township in the Vincennes district for the use of that district, and when in 1806 the territorial government incorporated a "Board of Trustees of the Vincennes University," the grant made in 1804 attached to this Board although for the two preceding years there had been no grantee in existence.
Under the ordinance of 1787, made applicable to Indiana by an act of Congress, the territorial government of Indiana had power to pass this act of incorporation. The language of the act of Congress by which Indiana was admitted into the Union did not vest the above township in the legislature of the state.
The board of trustees of the University was not a public corporation, and had no political powers. The donation of land for its support was like a donation by a private individual, and the legislature of the state could not rightfully exercise any power by which the trust was defeated.
The manner in which the case arose, and the laws relating to it, are stated in the opinion of the Court.