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think it no more than just to express their satisfaction, that the control of the infant establishment has been placed in the hands of a Board of Regents of the highest intelligence, respectability, and weight of character; and in the wise selection made of the officers, on whom the active executive duties of the institution will devolve, the com. mittee perceive a satisfactory pledge, as far as they are concerned.
“ Professor Henry's Programme commences with general considerations, which should serve as a guide in adopting the plan of organization. He points out the nature of the bequest, as made to the United States for the purpose of founding at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. The bequest is, accordingly, for the benefit of mankind. The government of the United States is but a trustee to carry out this noble design. Even the people of the United States are interested only so far as they constitute one of the great families of the human race.
“ The objects of the Institution are twofold ; 1st, the increase, and 2d, the diffusion, of knowledge, - objects which, although frequently in a vague way confounded with each other (inasmuch as it often happens that knowledge is diffused by the same acts which increase it), are nevertheless logically distinct, and require to be separately regarded. No particular kind of knowledge is specified by the founder as entitled to the preference; all branches are entitled to a share of attention ; and the order and degree in which they are cultivated must be decided by a wise regard to means and circumstances. Knowledge may be increased by various modes of encouraging and facilitating the discovery of new truths; it is diffused chiefly, though not exclusive. ly, through the instrumentality of the press. The organization should be such as to produce results not within the province of the existing institutions of the country. It was, for instance, evidently not the design of the liberal founder to establish a collegiate institution, or a place of education ; nor would it be wise to appropriate his bequest for such an object, already sufficiently attained by the ordinary resources of public and private liberality. Considering the novelty of the undertaking, it would be manifestly unwise to stake too much on the success of the first efforts. The organization should be such as to admit of changes and modifications under the light of experience. As several years have elapsed since the fund came into the possession of the United States, it seems no more than equitable that a considerable
portion of the accruing interest should be added to the principal, to make up for the loss of time. The committee consider this suggestion as perfectly reasonable, and trust it will receive the favorable consider. ation of Congress. Liberal as is the original bequest, the sum is but small compared with the great objects to be accomplished. This consideration suggests the absolute necessity of economy in any outlay on buildings and fixtures ; in reference to which a prudent regard must be had, not merely to the first cost, but to the future expense of repairs, and the support of the establishment. Great care must be taken not to multiply the number of persons to be permanently supported by the Institution. A clear and settled idea of its organization and mode of operation must precede the adoption of a plan of building, lest, after the completion of a costly edifice, it should be found nearly or quite useless; or worse even than useless, by forcing a character upon the Institution which would not otherwise have been given it. All view to mere local arrangement or advantage should be discarded at the outset, in the management of a trust created for the benefit of mankind.
“Such, very slightly expanded in a few of the propositions, are the general considerations proposed by Professor Henry as guides in adopting a plan of organization. They command the entire assent of the committee ; and none of them more so than those which refer to the necessity of strict economy in the expenditure of the fund on a building, and exclusion of undue regard to local ornament. It would not be difficult to point to a memorable instance, in a sister city of the Union, in which the most munificent bequest ever made for the purpose of education has been rendered comparatively unavailing, by the total disregard of these wise principles. It is an additional reason for observing them, that the attempt to erect a highly imposing building for local ornament will not only crush in the bud all hope of fulfilling the ulterior objects of the bequest, but will be almost sure to fail of a satisfactory result as far as the edifice itself is concerned.
“ The Secretary's plan of organization in reference to the increase of knowledge is so accurately digested and so thoroughly condensed, that the committee think it would be best to quote his own words :
“ TO INCREASE KNOWLEDGE, it is proposed,
“1. To stimulate men of talent to make original researches, by offering suitable rewards for memoirs containing new truths ; and,
“2. To appropriate annually a portion of the income for particular researches under the direction of suitable persons.'
“ These methods of increasing knowledge are farther unfolded in the following · Detail of the Plan' for that purpose.
“I. By stimulating researches.
6.1. Rewards consisting of money, medals, &c., offered for original memoirs on all branches of knowledge.
6652. The memoirs thus obtained to be published in a series of volumes in a quarto form, and entitled Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge.
663. No memoir, on subjects of physical science, to be accepted for publication which does not furnish a positive addition to human knowl. edge; and all unverified speculations to be rejected..
"64. Each memoir presented to the Institution to be submitted for examination to a commission of persons of reputation for learning in the branch to which the memoir pertains, and to be accepted for publication only in case the report of this commission is favorable.
665. The commission to be chosen by the officers of the Institution, and the name of the author, as far as practicable, concealed until a favorable decision shall have been made.
“66. The volumes of the memoirs to be exchanged for the transactions of all literary and scientific societies, and copies to be given to all the colleges and principal libraries in this country. One part of the remaining copies may be offered for sale ; and the other carefully preserved, to form complete sets of the work, to supply the demand from new institutions.
6.7. An abstract or popular account of the contents of these memoirs should be given to the public through the annual report of the Regents to Congress.
“ II. By appropriating a portion of the income annually to special objects of research, under the direction of suitable persons. • "•1. The objects and the amount appropriated to be recommended by Counsellors of the Institution.
“62. Appropriation in different years to different objects ; so that in course of time each branch of knowledge may receive a share.
“«3. The results obtained from these appropriations to be published with the memoirs before mentioned in the volumes of the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge.
* *4. Examples of objects for which appropriations may be made :
“ (1.) System of extended Meteorological Observations for solving the problem of American Storms.
“(2.) Geological, Magnetical, and Topographical surveys to collect materials for the formation of a Physical Atlas of the United States.
“(3.) Solution of experimental problems; such as weighing the earth ; new determination of the velocity of electricity and of light; chemical analysis of soils and plants ; collection and publication of articles of science, accumulated in the Offices of Government.
"* (4.) Institution of statistical inquiries with reference to physical, moral, and political subjects.
“ (5.) Historical researches and accurate surveys of places celebrated in history.
“(6.) Ethnological researches, particularly with reference to the present races of men in North America ; also explorations and accurate surveys of the mounds and other remains of the ancient people of our country.'
“ The committee have made this long extract from Professor Henry's Programme, in order to give to the Academy an adequate idea of the proposed plan, as far as it refers to the first branch, or the Increase of Knowledge. It has, in some of its features, been already adopted. It is already announced that one voluminous memoir, copiously illustrated by engravings, is already on its passage through the press, under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution. The committee refer to an elaborate memoir by Messrs. Squiers and Davis, on the aboriginal mounds discovered in large numbers in various parts of the United States, and especially in the region northwest of the Ohio. This memoir was accepted on the favorable report of the Ethnological Society of New York, to which it had been referred by the Secretary of the Institution, and in whose Transactions an abridgment of it has appeared. It is also understood that a memoir on one of the most interesting subjects which engages the attention of geometers and mathematicians at the present moment, viz. the planet Neptune, has been invited by the Secretary from one of our members.
“ While the committee would deprecate all attempts unduly to stimulate the increase of knowledge, as sure to prove abortive, and to result at best in the publication of crude investigations, they believe it quite possible to remove some of the obstructions to its progress. Narrow circumstances are too apt to be the lot of genius when devoted to scientific pursuits ; and the necessity of providing for personal and domestic wants too often absorbs the time and faculties of those who might, if relieved from cares of this kind, have adorned their age and benefited mankind. To such men a moderate pecuniary advantage, derived from a successful investigation, might be of vast importance. The efficacy of market upon production is not limited to the creations of physical labor. It is seen in the history of science and literature of every age and country. Invention in the mechanical arts, and skill in practical science, are well paid in this country, and how great is the harvest! The extraordinary effect even of an honorary inducement is seen in the case of the medal offered by the king of Denmark for the discovery of telescopic comets. On these principles it may be hoped, that, by offering a moderate pecuniary compensation for researches of real merit, valuable contributions to knowledge will be produced ; while their publication will tend directly to the diffusion of knowledge. An encouragement somewhat similar, toward the promotion of the increase of knowledge, would be afforded by another part of the proposed operations, that of providing the requisite apparatus and implements, and especially books, to be placed in the hands of those engaged in particular lines of investigation. In this way it is not unlikely that a considerable amount of talent may be rendered effective, which at present is condemned to inactivity from local position unfavorable to scientific research.
“ It is not the purpose of the committee to engage in minute criticism of the details of the Programme ; but it may not be out of place to suggest a doubt of the practicability or expediency of carrying into rigid execution the rejection of all unverified speculations, as proposed in the third paragraph of the first section above cited. While it is obviously advisable to discountenance all theoretical speculations not directly built upon observation, it might be too much to exact, in all cases, that these speculations should have been actually verified. No small portion of modern geology is an ingenious structure of speculative generalizations. The undulatory theory of light can hardly claim any other character. The nebular theory, though proposed and il. lustrated by the highest astronomical talent of the past and present generations, is rapidly sinking from the domain of accredited speculations. It may be doubted even whether M. Leverrier's brilliant memoirs on the perturbations of Uranus would not, as published before the discovery of Neptune, have fallen within this principle of rejection rigorously applied.