Peter Cooper's Letter to the Trustees, April 29, 1859 page 2   


To better their condition
  It is also my desire that females belonging to the school of design shall have the use of one of the rooms not otherwise appropriated, for the purpose of holding meetings for the consideration and application of the useful sciences and arts to any of the various purposes calculated to improve and better their condition.
My hope is, to place this institution in the hands and under the control of men that will both know and feel the importance of forever devoting it, in the most effectual manner, to the moral, mental and physical improvement of the rising generation.
Knowledge of science
  Desiring, as I do, to use every means to render this institution useful through all coming time, and believing that editors of the public press have it in their power to exert a greater influence on the community for good than any other class of men of equal number, it is therefore my sincere desire that editors be earnestly invited to become members of the society of arts to be connected with this institution. It is my desire that editors may at all times have correct information in relation to all matters in any way connected with this institution, believing that they, as a body, will gladly contribute their mighty influence to guard the avenues of scientific knowledge from all that could mar or prevent its influence from elevating the minds and bettering the hearts of the youth of our common country. I indulge the hope that the Trustees will use their utmost efforts to secure instructors for the institution of the highest moral worth, talents and capacity, fitting them to communicate a knowledge of science in its most lovely and inviting forms.
It is my design that the General Superintendent, under the direction of the Trustees, shall take all needful care of the building, and rent all unoccupied parts of the same.
The person to be appointed as a General Superintendent should be a man of known devotion to the improvement of the young. It will be his duty, not only to take charge of the building, but also to keep an office in the same, where persons may apply from all parts of the country for the services of young men and women of known character and qualifications to fill the various situations that may be open. It will be his duty to give, in the most kind and affectionate manner, such advice and counsel to all that may apply, as will most effectually promote their best interests through life.
Should any person ever be appointed a professor or superintendent who shall be found incompetent or unworthy of the trust, it is my earnest desire that such professor or superintendent shall be promptly removed.
It is my desire that students, on leaving the institution, shall receive a certificate setting forth their actual proficiency in any of the branches of science taught in the institution.
Encourage the young
  In order to encourage the young to improve and better their condition, I have provided for a continued course of lectures, discussions and recitations in the most useful and practical sciences, to be open and free to all that can bring a certificate of good moral character from parents, guardians or employers, and who will agree on their part to conform faithfully to all rules and regulations necessary to maintain the honor aud usefulness of the institution.
To elevate our race
  Believing that instruction in the science and philosophy of a true republican government, formed, as it should be, of the people and for the people, in all its operations, is suited to the common wants of our nature, and absolutely necessary to preserve and secure the rights and liberties of all; that such a government, rightly understood and wisely administered, will most effectually stimulate industry and afford the best means possible to improve and elevate our race, by giving security and value to all forms of human labor; that it is on the right understanding and application of this science, based as it is on the golden rule, that eternal principle of truth and justice that unites the individual, the community, the state and the nation in one common purpose and interest, binding all to do unto others as they would that others should do unto them: thus deeply impressed with the great importance of instruction in this branch of science, I have provided that it shall be continually taught, as of pre-eminent importance to all the great interests of mankind.    
To unite all in common effort
  My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world: and, if it were in my power, I would bring all mankind to see and feel that there is an Almighty power and beauty in goodness. I would gladly show to all, that goodness rises in every possible degree from the smallest act of kindness up to the Infinite of all good. My earnest desire is to make this building and institution contribute in every way possible to unite all in one common effort to improve each and every human being, seeing that we are bound up in one common destiny and by the laws of our being are made dependent for our happiness on the continued acts of kindness we receive from each other.
I desire that the students of this institution may have the privilege to occupy one of the large halls once in every month, for the purpose of a lecture to be delivered by one of their number to all students and such friends as they may think proper to invite.
The monthly lecturer shall be chosen from the body of the students by a majority vote, or a committee of the students selected for that purpose. The votes shall be counted and the name of the person chosen to deliver the lecture shall be announced, and a record made in a book to be provided for that purpose, to be the property of the institution. I desire that a record be kept of the names of the president, secretary and speaker — the subject treated, and the general course of remark. A president and secretary shall be chosen from the body of students by a majority vote, who shall preside at all meetings for lectures or other purposes, and whose term of service shall expire every three months, when another president and secretary shall be elected to take their places.
I require this frequent change, as I believe it to be a very important part of the education of an American citizen to know how to preside with propriety over a deliberative assembly.
The means to remove evils
  It is my desire, also, that the students shall have the use of one of the large rooms (to be assigned by the trustees) for the purpose of useful debate. I desire and deem it best to direct that all these lectures and debates shall be exclusive of theological and party questions, and shall have for their constant object the causes that operate around and within us, and the means necessary and most appropriate to remove the physical and moral evils that afflict our city, our country and humanity.
I desire that these lectures and debates shall always be delivered under a deep and abiding sense of the obligation that rests on all — first, to improve themselves, and then to impart to others a correct knowledge of that believed to be most important, and within man's power to communicate.
To aid the speakers, and those that hear, to profit by these lectures and debates, I hereby direct to have placed in the lecture-room, in a suitable position, full-length likenesses of Washington, Franklin, and Lafayette, with an expression of my sincere and anxious desire that all that behold them may remember that notwithstanding they are dead, they yet speak the language of truth and soberness.
Their lives and words of warning cannot be spurned and neglected without a terrible retribution on us and on our children — such a retribution as will cause their spirits to weep in sorrow over the crumbling ruins of all their brightest hopes for the improvement and renovation of the world.
The glorious yet fearful power
  Under a deep sense of the responsibility that rests on us, as a people, entrusted, as we are, with the greatest blessings that ever fell to the lot of man — the glorious yet fearful power of framing and carrying on the government of our choice — it becomes us to remember that this government will be good or evil in proportion as the people of our country become virtuous or vicious. We shall do well to cherish the precept that the righteous (or right doers) are recompensed in the earth, and much more the wicked and the sinner. It will be found that there is no possible escape from the correction of our Father who is in Heaven, who "afflicts us not willingly but of necessity, for our profit; by His immutable law that rewards every man according to his works, whether they be good or whether they be evil."
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