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EVERY MAN IS A VALUABLE MEMBER OF SOCIETY, WHO, BY HIS OBSERVATIONS, RESEARCHES, AND EXPERIMENTS, PROCURIS
CITY OF WASHINGTON:
PUBLISHED BY THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.
This volume forms the twentieth of a series, composed of original memoirs on different branches of knowledge, published at the expense, and under the direction, of the Smithsonian Institution. The publication of this series forms part of a general plan adopted for carrying into effect the benevolent intentions of JAMES SMITHSON, Esq., of England. This gentleman left his property in trust to the United States of America, to found, at Washington, an institution which should bear his own name, and have for its objects the “increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.
This trust was accepted by the Government of the United States, and an Act of Congress was passed August 10, 1846, constituting the President and the other principal executive officers of the general government, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Mayor of Washington, and such other persons as they might elect honorary members, an establishment under the name of the “SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION FOR THE INCREASE AND DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE AMONG MEN.” The members and honorary members of this establishment are to hold stated and special meetings for the supervision of the affairs of the Institution, and for the advice and instruction of a Board of Regents, to whom the financial and other affairs are intrusted.
The Board of Regents consists of two members ex officio of the establishment, namely, the Vice-President of the United States and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, together with twelve other members, three of whom are appointed by the Senate from its own body, three by the House of Representatives from its members, and six persons appointed by a joint resolution of both houses. To this Board is given the power of clecting a Secretary and other officers, for conducting the active operations of the Institution. To
carry into effect the purposes of the testator, the plan of organization should evidently embrace two objects: one, the increase of knowledge by the addition of new truths to the existing stock; the other, the diffusion of knowledge, thus increased, among men.
No restriction is made in favor of any kind of knowledge; and, hence, each branch is entitled to, and should receive, a share of attention.
1 This office has been abolished.