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Institution have been given in several of the preceding reports, and it. will be sufficient, at this time, to repeat that they are intended to exhibit the distribution and development of the plants and animals, as well as to illustrate the geological and mineralogical character of the North American continent. The number of specimens required for these purposes is great, since all the varieties from every locality require attention. During the past year specimens have been collected by ten government expeditions and six private exploration parties. Some of the returns from these are now on the way, and will greatly enhance the number and value of the materials before received. According to the statement of Professor Baird, hereto appended, the catalogued specimens of animals at the end of the year 1857, amounted to: mammals, 3,200 ; birds, 8,766; skeletons and skulls, 3,340; reptiles, 239 ; fishes, 613.
During the year several persons have availed themselves of the use of the collections and library in the prosecution of original researches, and, as usual, several government expeditions, which have been sentout for surveys, the construction of roads and for military purposes, have been provided with instructions as to the mode of collecting specimens and observing meteorological and other natural phenomena. No opportunity of adding to our store of information, in regard to the physical geography and natural history of the western portion of this continent, has been suffered to pass without being improved, and I may safely say, that since the establishment of the Institution more has been done to ascertain and make known the character of the less inhabited portion of our continent than all which had been previously accomplished in this line. The survey of routes from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific has served of late to add much to our knowledge of Central America, and during the past year the British government has sent out a party for the exploration of the country north of the limits of the United States and between the great lakes and the Pacific
This survey, in connexion with that along the 49th parallel of latitude, now in progress for determining the boundary line between the United States and the British possessions, will add to the natural history of the northern portion of our territory, and will furnish the data necessary to delineate more accurately the great mountain system which determines the climate and physical peculiarities of the western portion of this continent.
Smithson's personal effects. — The bequest of James Smithson included all his personal effects, and these were obtained by Hon. Richard Rush,
the agent of the American government, through whom the legacy was procured. They were delivered by hiin to the Secretary of State, and afterwards deposited in the museum of the Patent Office, where they remained until the last year, when they were transferred to the Regents’ room in the Smithsonian building. They have been arranged for exhibition in a large case of black walnut, and now form an interesting portion of the collections of the Institution. They consist of a very extensive series of rare though minute specimens of mineralogy, of the table service of plate of Smithson, and of the portable chemical and mineralogical apparatus with which he made his investigations. Besides the above mentioned articles, the Institution has had in its possession for several years the library of Smithson, containing 115 volumes, and a collection of manuscripts, principally consisting of what would appear to be the materials of a philosophical dictionary. The whole collection taken together serves to exhibit the character of the man, and clearly to indicate his intention as to the nature of the Institution to which he gave his name. It serves to strengthen the conviction, if anything of this kind were needed, that the proper interpretation of the will has been given by the Regents in adopting the plan which makes active operations, the discovery of new truths, and a diffusion of these among men, the prominent object of the establishment.
In this connexion, it may be interesting to repeat a statement made in a former report, that the Institution is in possession of two likenesses of Smithson ; one, a portrait of him while a youth, in the costume of a student at Oxford, the other a medallion, from which a steel engraving has been executed. The first was purchased from the widow of John Fitall, the servant of Smithson, and the other was among his effects, and identified by a paper, attached to it, on which the words smy likeness” were written in Smithson's own hand. A list of the papers published by Smithson, and a record of all the facts which could be gathered in relation to him, have been made, to serve hereafter for a more definite account of his life and labors than has yet appeared.
Gallery of Art.—During the past year this apartment of the Smithsonian building has been enriched by a faithful copy, in Carrara marble, of the “Dying Gladiator,” one of the most celebrated statues of antiquity. This copy, which is said to be the only one in marble in existence, has been deposited here by its owner, F. W. Risque, esq., of the District of Columbia, to whom the public of this country is indebted for his liberality in the purchase and free exhibition of so
costly and interesting a specimen of art. It is by Joseph Gott, an English sculptor of high reputation, and its faithfulness, as a representation of the original, is vouched for by a certificate, among others, from our lamented countryman, Thomas Crawford.
The Stanley collection of Indian portraits, which is still in the Gallery, has, during the past year, been increased by a number of new pictures, and continues to be an object of interest to the visitors of the national capital. This collection, now the most extensive in existence, of Indian portraits, ought, as we have stated in previous reports, to be purchased by government. It is a sacred duty which this country owes to the civilized world to collect everything relative to the history, the manners and customs, the physical peculiarities, and, in short, all that may tend to illustrate the character and history of the original inhabitants of North America. The duty which Mr. Stanley owes to his family will not permit him to retain the collection unbroken, and unless Congress make an appropriation for its purchase, he will be obliged to dispose of it in portions. Such an event would be a lasting source of regret; and, from the interest which a number of distinguished members of the Senate and House of Representatives have expressed in regard to the purchase, we doubt not that the proposition will in due time be favorably entertained.
Lectures. During the past season the usual number of lectures has been given, without any diminution in the size of the audience and the apparent interest of the public.
In connexion with this subject, we may mention, complaints have frequently been made against the Institution, on account of the bad condition of the walks leading to the building ; but it should be recollected that the grounds belong to the government and are not under the control of the Regents. A plank walk has, however, been laid down along the principal thoroughfare and lighted, on nights of lectures, at the expense of the Institution.
The Smithsonian lecture-room is found to be the most commodious apartment in the District for public meetings, and almost constant applications are made for its use. This is granted in all cases, provided the actual expense of lighting, heating and attendance be paid, and the object for which it is required be consistent with the character of the Institution, and not merely intended to advance individual interests. The rule which excludes from the lectures any subject connected with sectarianism, discussions in Congress and the political questions of the day, has been strictly observed.
The following is a list of the lectures which were delivered during the winter of 1857-'58:
Seven lectures by Professor John LeConte, of the South Carolina College, on “The Physics of Meteorology.”
One lecture by Hon. H. W. Hilliard, of Alabama, on tlie “ Life and Genius of Milton."
Two lectures by Dr. I. I. Hayes, of Philadelphia, on “Arctic Explorations."
One lecture by Rev. T. J. Bowen, of Yoruba, Africa, on “ Central Africa—the Country and People."
One lecture by D. K. Whitaker, esq., of Charleston, S. C., on the Genius and Writings of Sir Walter Scott.”
Two lectures by Professor C. C. Felton, of Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass., on “ Modern Greece."
Four lectures by Dr. James Wynne, of New York, on the “ Duration of Life in Various Occupations."
Three lectures by Professor J. P. Espy, on “ The Law of Storms.' Five lectures by Rev. J. H. McIlvaine, of Rochester, N. Y., on
Comparative Philology in some of its bearings upon Ethnology, and embracing an account of the Sanscrit and Persian Arrowhead Languages.”
Three lectures by G. Gajani, on “ The Catacombs, the Coliseum, and the Vatican of Rome.”
One lecture by Professor Schele de Vere, of the University of Virginia, on “John Law and the Celebrated Mississippi Speculation.”
From the foregoing statements we think it will be generally acknowledged that the Institution is steadily pursuing a course of usefulness well calculated to make the name of its founder favorably known and the results of his bequest highly appreciated in every part of the civilized world, that its funds are in a good condition, and that the prospect of its future influence in the promotion of know. ledge is even more cheering than at any period of its past history. Respectfully submitted.
Secretary S. I. WASHINGTON, January, 1858.
APPENDIX TO THE REPORT OF THE SECRETARY.
Washington, December 31, 1857. Sir: I have the honor, herewith, to present a report, for 1857, of the operations you have entrusted to my charge, namely, those which relate to the printing, to the exchanges, and to the collections of natural history. Respectfully submitted.
SPENCER F. BAIRD,
Assistant Secretary Smithsonian Institution. JOSEPH HENRY, LL.D.,
Secretary Smithsonian Institution.
PUBLICATIONS. The publications of the Institution for the year consist of the ninth volume of Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, embracing 484 pages of quarto text and 22 plates, and of the annual report to Congress, an octavo volume of 468 pages. Considerable progress has also been made with the printing of the tenth volume of Smithsonian Contributions, 136 pages and five plates being finished.
The catalogue of North American Diptera, by Baron Ostensacken, is nearly through the press and will include 112 octavo pages.
EXCHANGES. The system of international exchanges so successfully prosecuted by the Institution since its establishment has been carried on during the year with the happiest results. A large amount of scientific material has passed through its hands and has been promptly transmitted to its destination. The general details of the system will be presented hereafter.
The returns made to the Smithsonian Institution for its own donations will be found in the following table:
A.- Receipt of books, &c., by echange in 1857.
Parts of volumes and pamphlets
Charts and maps