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Sect. 1st. Knowledge and learning generally diffused, through a community, being essential to the preservation of a free Government, and spreading the opportunities, and advantages of education through the various parts of the Country, being highly conductive to this end, it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to provide, by law, for the improvement of such lands as are, or hereafter may be granted, by the united States to this state, for the use of schools, and to apply any funds which may be raised from such lands, or from any other quarters to the accomplishment of the grand object for which they are or may be intended. But no lands granted for the use of schools or seminaries of learning shall be sold by authority of this state, prior to the year eighteen hundred and twenty; and the monies which may be raised out of the sale of any such lands, or otherwise obtained for the purposes aforesaid, shall be and remain a fund for the exclusive purpose of promoting the interest of Literature, and the sciences, and for the support of seminaries and public schools. The General Assembly shall from, time to time, pass such laws as shall be calculated to encourage intellectual, Scientifical, and agricultural improvement, by allowing rewards and immunities for the promotion and improvement of arts, sciences, commence, manufactures, and natural history; and to countenance and encourage the principles of humanity, honesty, industry, and morality.
Sect. 2. It shall be the duty of the General assembly, as soon as circumstances will permit, to provide, by law, for a general system of education, ascending in a regular gradation, from township schools to a state university, wherein tuition shall be gratis, and equally open to all.
Sect. 3. And for the promotion of such salutary end, the money which shall be paid, as an equivalent, by persons exempt from militia duty except, in times of war, shall be exclusively, and in equal proportion, applied to the support of County seminaries; also all fines assessed for any breach of the penal laws, shall be applied to said seminaries, in the Counties wherein they shall be assessed.
Sect. 4. It shall be the duty of the General assembly, as soon as circumstances will permit, to form a penal Code, founded on the principles of reformation, and not of vindictive Justice: and also to provide one or more farms to be an asylum for those persons, who by reason of age, infirmity, or other misfortunes, may have a claim upon the aid and beneficience of society; on such principles, that such persons may therein, find employment, and every reasonable comfort and lose, by their usefulness, the degrading sense of dependence.
Sect. 5. The General Assembly, at the time they lay off a new County, shall cause, at least, ten per cent to be reserved out of the proceeds of the sale of town lots, in the seat of Justice of such county, for the use of a public library for such County, and at the same session, they shall incorporate a library company, under such rules and regulations as will best secure its permanence, and extend its benefits.