Imágenes de páginas

7. An abstract, or popular account, of the contents of these memoirs to be given to the public through the annual report of the Regents to Congress.

II. By appropriating a part 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 Ivstitution.

2. Appropriations 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.) Explorations in descriptive natural history, and 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 a new determination of the weight of the earth, of the velocity of electricity, and of light; chemical analyses of soils and plants; collection and publicatiou of scientific facts 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 American history.

(6.) Ethnological researches, particularly with reference to the different races of men in North America; also, explorations and accurate surveys of the mounds and other remains of the ancient people of our country.

DETAILS OF THE PLAN FOR DIFFUSING KNOWLEDGE. I. By the publication of a sertes of reports, giving an account of the new dis

coveries in science, and of the changes made from year to year in all branches of knowledge not strictly professional."

1. These reports will diffuse a kind of knowledge generally interesting, but which, at present, is inaccessible to the public. Some of the reports may be published annually, others at longer intervals, as the income of the Institution or the changes in the branches of knowledge may indicate.

2. The reports are to be prepared by collaborators eminent in the dif. ferent branches of knowledge.

3. Each collaborator to be furnished with the journals and publications, domestic and foreign, necessary to the compilation of his report; to be paid a certain sum for his labors, and to be named on the titlepage of the report.

4. The reports to be published in separate parts, so that persons intersted in a particular branch can procure the parts relating to it without purchasing the whole.

5. These reports may be presented to Congress, for partial distribution, the remaining copies to be given to literary and scientific insticutions, and sold to individuals for a moderate price.

The following are some of the subjects which may be embraced in the reports:


1. Physics, including astronomy, natural philosophy, chemistry, and meteorology.

2. Natural history, including botany, zoology, geology, &c.
3. Agriculture.
4. Application of science to arts.


5. Ethnology, including particular history, comparative philology, antiquities, &c. 6. Statistics and political economy. 7. Mental and moral philosophy. 8. A survey of the political events of the world; penal reform, &c.

III. LITERATURE AND THE FINE ARTS. 9. Modern literature. 10. The fine arts, and their application to the useful arts. 11. Bibliography. 12. Obituary notices of distinguished individuals. II. By the publication of separate treatises on subjects of general interest.

1. These treatises may occasionally consist of valuable memoirs translated from foreign languages, or of articles prepared under the direction of the Institution, or procured by offering premiums for the best exposition of a given subject.

2. The treatises should, in all cases, be submitted to a commission of competent judges previous to their publication.

3. As examples of these treatises, expositions may be obtained of the present state of the several branches of knowledge mentioned in the table of reports.

SECTION II. Plan of organization, in accordance with the terms of the resolutions of the

Board of Regents providing for the two modes of increasing and diffusing knowledge.

1. The act of Congress establishing the Institution contemplated the formation of a library and a museum; and the Board of Regents, including these objects in the plan of organization, resolved to divide the income into two equal parts.

2. One part to be appropriated to increase and diffuse knowledge by means of publications and researches, agreeably to the scheme before given. The other part to be appropriated to the formation of a library and a collection of objects of nature and of art.

3. These two plans are not incompatible with one another.

4. To carry out the plan before described, a library will be required, consisting, 1st, of a complete collection of the transactions and proceed ings of all the learned societies in the world; 2d, of the more important current periodical publications, and other works necessary in preparing the periodical reports.

5. The Institution should make special collections, particularly of objects to illustrate and verify its own publications.

6. Also, a collection of instruments of research in all branches of experimental science.

7. With reference to the collection of books, other than those mentioned above, catalogues of all the different libraries in the United States should be procured, in order that the valuable books first purchased may pe such as are not to be found in the United States.

8. Also, catalogues of memoirs, and of books and other materials, should be collected for rendering the Institution a centre of bibliographical knowledge, whence the student may be directed to any work which he may require.

9. It is believed that the collections in natural history will increase by donation as rapidly as the income of the Institution can make provision for their reception, and, therefore, it will seldom be necessary to purchase articles of this kind.

10. Attempts should be made to procure for the gallery of art casts of the most celebrated articles of ancient and modern sculpture.

11. The arts may be encouraged by providing a room, free of expense, for the exhibition of the objects of the Art-Union and other similar societies.

12. A small appropriation should annually be made for models of antiquities, such as those of the remains of ancient temples, &c.

13. For the present, or until the building is fully completed, besides the Secretary, no permanent assistant will be required, except one, to act as librarian.

14. The Secretary, by the law of Congress, is alone responsible to the Regents. He shall take charge of the building and property, keep a record of proceedings, chischarge the duties of librarian and keeper of the museum, and may, with the consent of the Regents, employ assistants.

15. The Secretary and his assistants, during the session of Congress, will be required to illustrate new discoveries in science, and to exhibit new objects of art. Distinguished individuals should also be invited to give lectures on subjects of general interest.

This programme, which was at first adopted provisionally, has become the settled policy of the Institution. The only material change is that expressed by the following resolutions, adopted January 15, 1855, viz:

Resolved, That the 7th resolution passed by the Board of Regents, on the 26th of January, 1847, requiring an equal division of the income between the active operations and the museum and library, when the buildings are completed, be, and it is hereby, repealed.

Resolved, That hereafter the annual appropriations shall be apportioned specifically among the different objects and operations of the Institution, in such manner as may, in the judgment of the Regents, be necessary and proper for each, according to its intrinsic importance and a compliance in good faith with the law.






To the Board of Regents :

GENTLEMEN: Nothing has occurred during the past year of a character demanding the special action of the Board. Indeed, the policy of the Institution originally adopted has become so firmly settled and so widely known, as well as properly appreciated, that few difficulties are now likely to present themselves in the administration of the trust which do not find a solution in some precedent in the experience of the past. The funds appropriated at the last session have been devoted to the different objects for which they were designated, and the several classes of operations which were inaugurated at the commencement of the Institution have been prosecuted with as much efficiency as the means at disposal would permit. From the first there has been no want of unoccupied fields inviting attention, and well adapted with judicious cultivation to yield a plentiful harvest of additions to science. Indeed, the only subject of regret suggested by a review of the past, or a survey of the present, is the application of so large a portion of the income to objects which, though in most cases important in themselves, are not, as is now generally conceded, strictly reconcilable either with the scope or the terms of the endowment. The guardians of the Institution are not, however, responsible for these expenditures, which had their origin in a general misconception of the import of the bequest at the time when Congress enacted the law organizing the Institution. On the contrary, the administration has been such as to correct, as far as possible, the errors above mentioned, and to present to the world an example worthy of imitation in the management of other establishments founded on trust funds. The directors have ever been deeply impressed with a sense of the importance of the trust committed to their charge, not only in consideration of the good which might directly result from it, but also on account of the influence which so conspicuous, and in many respects so original an enterprise, could not fail to have upon the world. Man is an imitative being, and among the many individuals in this country who have accumulated princely fortunes

by the energetic exercise of native talents, there are probably not a few who only need the assurance of a successful precedent to iuduce them to emulate the liberality of Sunithson in the endowment of other institutions for the advancement of knowledge.

At the last session of the board it was resolved that a memorial should • be presented to Congress, setting forth the large expenditure to which

the Institution had been subjected by reason of the accommodation and maintenance of the National Museum, and asking that the usual appropriation of $4,000 which had been made on account of these objects might be increased to $10,000; also that $25,000 might be appropriated towards fitting up the large room in the second story of the main building for the better exhibition of the government collections. In accordance with this resolution the petition was prepared, signed by the Chancellor and Secretary of the Institution, and presented to the House of Representatives by General Garfield, one of the regents. It was referred to the Committee on Appropriations, and although forcibly and eloquently advocated by the members of the Board of Regents belonging to the House, it was not granted, and only the usual appropriation of $4,000 was made. The reasonableness of this petition, which I doubt not under a better condition of the national finances will meet with a more favorable reception, must be manifest when it is considered that $1,000 is the sum which the maintenance of the museum cost the government when it was under the charge of the Patent Office, and that since its removal to the Institution it has been enlarged to threefold its previous size, while the money has been depreciated to one-half its former value; and furthermore, that the amount expended since the fire in 1865, for the reconstruction of the building and supply of furniture, is over $140,000, the greater part of which was for the accommodation of the National Museum. This large sum was rendered necessary by the peculiar character of the architecture, the cost of fire-proof materials, and the high price of labor. Of the above amount, more than $20,000 was defrayed from the annual income of last year, and after this reduction of the resources it was scarcely to be expected that the operations of the Institution could be carried on with as much efficiency as had been the case in years previous to the disaster which entailed on it this heavy incidental expenditure. Yet we venture to hope that the exposition given in the following parts of this report will show the results attained to have been little inferior in value or extent to those of any preceding year.

It will appear from the report of the Executive Committee, that notwithstanding the large draughts which have been made upon the funds on account of the building, they are still in a highly prosperous condition. Thus, while at the beginning of the year 1868 there was a balance in the treasury of about $11,000, with outstanding liabilities contracted prin. cipally for repairs and reconstruction to the amount of $22,000; on the other hand, at the beginning of 1869, there is a disposable balance of

« AnteriorContinuar »