The University of Laval was founded in 1852 by the Seminary of Quebec; the royal charter granted to it by Queen Victoria was signed at Westminster, 8 December, 1852. By the Bull "Inter varias sollicitudines", 15 April, 1876, Pius IX completed the university by according it canonical erection together with the most extensive privileges. In virtue of this Bull the university has as its protector at Rome the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda. The control of doctrine and discipline devolves upon a superior council composed of the archbishop and bishops of the Province of Quebec, under the presidency of the Archbishop of Quebec, who is himself chancellor of the university. By the terms of the royal charter the Visitor of the Laval University is always the Catholic Archbishop of Quebec, who has the right of veto in regard to all regulations and appointments. This shows in what a broad spirit the English Government permits the Catholic French Canadians, without other supervision than that of an archbishop of their Church and nationality, to organize their university education. The royal charter indeed guarantees liberty of higher education. By this charter the office of rector, the most important in the university belongs of right to the superior of Seminary of Quebec. This position is temporary, since the superior of the seminary, who is elected for three years and is eligible for re-election after this term, cannot hold office for more than six consecutive years, except with special authorization from the ecclesiastical authorities . The charter also provides for the establishment of a council which, conjointly with the rector, shall conduct the administration of the university. This council is composed of all the directors of the seminary and of the three oldest professors of each faculty. It is empowered to make whatever statutes and rules it judges suitable, on the sole condition that these enactments contain nothing contrary to the laws of the United Kingdom or to those of Canada.
The university comprises the four faculties of theology, Iaw, medicine, and arts. Each faculty is provided with a special council which discusses and submits to the university council all questions which most directly interest one or the other of these faculties. The professors of the faculty of theology are named by the visitor; all the others are appointed by the council. The degrees which may be obtained by students in each of these faculties are those of bachelor, master, licentiate, and doctor. Good conduct is an essential condition for securing degrees. In order that the right number of classical colleges may profit by its right of conferring diplomas granted by the royal charter, and may also take a more direct interest in its work, the university received, in virtue of a provision of this charter, the power to affiliate with itself such public educational establishments of the province as it may desire on the conditions laid down by the council. At present all the houses of secondary education in the Province of Quebec, except the Jesuit College at Montreal, have sought ard obtained this affiliation. The College of St. Dunstan, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, has also secured for its students the advantages and privileges attached to the examinations for the university baccalaureate. To Laval University are also affiliated the Polytechnic School of Montreal, the School of Dental Surgery, the School of Pharmacy, the French Veterinary School, and the Central School of Surveving of Quebec.
Conformably to a decision of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda, dated 1 February, 1876, an extension of the faculties of the university was made in favour of Montreal, the archbishop of which was named vice-chancellor of the university. The decree "Jamdudum" of 2 February 1889, modified in some respects the constitution of the Montreal branch of the university. The direction of this branch is now confided to a vice-rector proposed to the university council of Quebec by the bishops of the ecclesiastical Province of Montreal. The branch has thus become nearly independent of the mother university.
The academic year comprises nine months, and is divided into three terms. Instruction is given by titular professors, associate professors, and instructors. Only the titular professors are professors in the required sense of the charter and as such may be members of the university council. The Physical museum for the use of faculty of arts at Quebec is very complete. It includes nearly fifteen hundred instruments in all the branches of physics, among them most of the apparatus for the demonstration of recent discoveries. The mineralogical museum is rich in specimens. Especially remarkable is a valuable general collection of Canadian minerals and rocks. The geological museum contains more than two thousand specimens. In the botanical museum there are a complete collection of Canadian woods used in industry, and having a commercial value, several collections of exotic woods, among others a very remarkable collection of woods sold in the English markets, and a fine collection of artificial fruits and mushrooms. The herbarium of the University of Quebec contains more twelve thousand plants. The zoological museum contains the most important Canadian mammals. The ornithological collection comprises nearly eight hundred species, represented by more than fiteen thousand individuals. The collection of rapacious birds or birds of prey is nearly complete as regards Canadian species, not including several rare exotic specimens. The entomological collection now numbers more than fifteen thousand species of insects from all parts of the world; the numismatic museum, over eleven thousand coins and medals; the library nearly one hundred and fifty thousand volumes. Students and strangers have access to it for purposes of study every day except Sunday. The Art Gallery contains nearly four hundred pictures, many of them of great value. Among them are canvases signed by renowned artists such as Salvator Rosa, Lesueur, Lanfranc, Poussin, Van Dyck , Puget, Vernet, Romanelli, Albano, Parrocel, Lebrun, etc.
The principal building of the University at Quebec, generally called Laval university, is that in which the courses in law and arts are held and in which the museums and the library are located. It is five stories high and more than three hundred feet long. The theological faculty resides in a more recent edifice two hundred and sixty feet long and five stories high. It accommodates over one hundred students, besides forty professors attached to the establishment. The names of the rectors of the university since its foundation are as follows: Abbé L. J. Casault, Mgr. E.A. Taschereau, Mgr. M. E. Méthot, Mgr. T. E. Hamel, Mgr. J. C. K. Laflamme, Mgr. O. E. Mathieu, and Abbé A. Gosselin. During 1908-09 four hundred and twenty-one students attended the various faculties, while the number who followed the courses at Montreal was much larger.
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