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DETAILS OF THE SYSTEM OF EXCHANGES.
As the system of international exchange now carried on by the Smithsonian Institution has attained a very great development, a sketch of the mode of conducting it may not be amiss at the present time. The subject may be considered under two heads, one relating to the parcels received from parties in the United States for transmission to foreign countries, and the other having reference to receipts from abroad for institutions and individuals in America. In connexion with this subject, it may be stated that a large room in the Institution, measuring 70 feet by about 25, is devoted to the department of exchanges, and, besides containing the stock on hand of Smithsonian publications and of miscellaneous documents, is fitted up on one side with a series of large binns, each one devoted to a particular portion of the world, and appropriately labelled. The floor of the room is occupied by a series of long tables, five feet wide, on which parcels are ma te up or unpacked. Printed addresses are arranged in small pigeon holes, and include nearly all the correspondents of the Institution, domestic and foreign, amounting, at the present time, to nearly one thousand names.
Operations connected with transmissions from the United States. The transmissions of the Smithsonian Institution are regulated, in a measure, by the time when the annual volume of Smithsonian Contributions is completed. One or two months before this time, a circular letter of advice is transmitted to all the institutions and individuals in the United States and the Canadas known or supposed to have a desire to avail themselves of the facilities of the Smithsonian system of exchanges, and the conditions stated upon which parcels will be received. If any society or individual have published a work likely to be of interest to the scientific and literary world abroad, and no indication is given of an intention to distribute copies, a special application is made for them, and no effort left untried to secure to the foreign investigators the benefit of all original and useful American material. Such appeals are generally responded to very favorably, and very many publications of the different bureaus of the government, of States, and of State agricultural and historical institutions, of societies, and of individuals, have thus been obtained.
In nearly all cases, in the first instance, at least, the Smithsonian Institution is called on to furnish lists of suitable foreign recipients for the publications just referred to, or the volumes are sent in bulk, to be addressed here. After the first sending, the exchange is usually more directly between the parties corresponding, the Institution preferring to have the parcels properly addressed before forwarding to Washington. In all cases great care is taken to secure the credit of the donation to the proper party, and to prevent it being supposed to come directly from the Institution.
To facilitate the selection of suitable recipients for donations or exchanges, the Institution publishes once in two years a carefully prepared list of foreign institutions for general distribution. The last one issued contains over 570 names, but manuscript additions bring
the number up to about 700. The list of individuals is nearly as large as that of institutions.
To tacilitate the selection of recipients for particular works, of which a limited number of copies only may be available for distribution, classified lists of institutions are kept, as of academies of science generally, and of societies devoted to special subjects, as geography, geology, zoology, botany, ethnology, statistics, &c., and these are arranged from No. 1 upwards, in the order of relative importance, or of equable distribution among the centres of learning; thus six copies of any work on hand would be assigned to the first six names on the list of institutions most interested in it.
The parcels, as received from the different portions of North America, are placed, after being addressed, (if not so already,) in their appropriate receptacles, and the list entered specifically in a record book. To facilitate such entry, a detailed invoice of each transmission is required, and the failure to furnish it puts the institution to the great trouble of making it from the books themselves.
When the parcels have all been received, a list of the different donors is printed, together with the titles of the various works which the institution has for distribution at the time. On the day assigned for commencing the labor of making up the packages, the binns are emptied successively, the contents arranged carefully on the counters, so as to bring everything for one address together, the Smithsonian donations are added, and each particular piece is checked off in the printed blank just referred to. This rough invoice is numbered and handed to the packers, who make up the volumes into one or more bundles, and mark them with the number of the invoice, by which means they are easily identified and labelled. When parcels or books are addressed to individuals, these are usually inclosed in the bundles of the societies to which they belong, the number and addresses of such sub-packages being marked on the rough invoices. A correct copy is made of these lists, and forwarded by mail or otherwise to the parties, in wbich is also stated the nature and time of the transmission. These invoices are finally posted, to the debit of the party addressed, in a large ledger, which shows what each has had, and what return has been made to the Institution. The record of each package is, therefore, made four times.
In sending the invoice of the package for each address, a circular is added explaining the objects of the transmission, and the conditions on which the exchange will be continued.
The time occupied in invoicing and making up the packages varies with the occasion, although a month is usually required to finish the work. After the bundles are all made up, those for each agent are brought into one heap, and they are then packed into boxes, a check list being kept of the numbers placed in each box.
There are three principal agents in Europe who have charge of the Smithsonian exchanges in their respective regions : Dr. Felix Flügel, resident in Leipsic, has charge of continental Europe, with the exception of France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, (which are supplied by Hector Bossange, of Paris,) and of Greece and Turkey. Henry Stevens, of London, is agent for Great Britain and Ireland. Greece
and Turkey are usually reached through the American minister at Constantinople and the consul at Alexandria. Most of the points in Asia and Africa are supplied through the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions in New York, and the American Board in Boston, Australia through Mr. I. W. Raymond, of New York, and South America through a variety of channels.
The boxes for the agents above mentioned, containing the different parcels, are then sent from the Institution; those for Dr. Flügel being shipped from Baltimore, through Oelrichs & Lürman, direct to Bremen, thence by railroad to Leipsic. The boxes for Messrs. Bossange and Stevens are shipped by packet froin New York.
The governments of Europe to whose ports shipments are made by the Institution have all authorized their admission free of duty, on filing an invoice with the customs authorities some time in advance of the arrival of the boxes. After being received by the agents, these boxes are unpacked, and the different parcels distributed to their destination through the channels selected by the intended recipients, accompanied by circular advices from the agents. In Germany the parcels are usually transmitted through the booksellers of Leipsic, as they may have occasion to send to correspondents in the various towns.
Exchanges from foreign countries for America.—The system of operations in this case is similar in principle to that just described, although the steps take place in inverse order. The packages are sent to the agents of the Institution, who inclose them in boxes, which are forwarded monthly, or oftener. On being received in Washington they are unpacked, an entry made of their contents, and the parcels placed temporarily in the binns assigned to their respective addresses, They are then assorted, those for each party made up into one bundle, and thus forwarded, by express or otherwise, accompanied by a blank receipt, which is to be signed and returned.
A.-Increase of the Museum.
The collections in natural history received during the year 1857 have been of great extent, and embrace many important additions to the material on hand for extending the knowledge of the animal, vegetable, and mineral productions of America. The specimens received have been from the usual variety of sources; the most important being, as heretofore, those brought in by the different government expeditions, as follows:
1. Survey of the northwestern boundary line, Archibald Campbell, esq., commissioner.-The expedition left in April, 1857, for Puget Sound, and during the year had its main camp for the most part at Simeahmoo bay, near the mouth of Frazer's river. Large collections of the animals and plants of the Sound have been made by Dr. Kennerly, surgeon and naturalist of the expedition, and of minerals and fossils by Mr. George Gibbs, the geologist.
2. Exploration of the Black Hills and Loup Fork, under Lieutenant G. K. Warren, U. S. A.—Lieutenant Warren made his third visit to the Upper Missouri and Yellowstone region, accompanied, as on previous expeditions, by Dr. Hayden as geologist and naturalist. Very large collections in all branches of natural history were made and brought home, tending, in great measure, to complete our knowledge of the distribution of species over the high plains of the west.
3. Wagon road to Bridger's Pass, under Lieutenant F. T. Bryan, U. S. A.-During his second year's work on this road to Utah Territory, Lieutenant Bryan, as before, was accompanied by Mr. Wm. S. Wood, who continued and completed the collections of the preceding year, in securing many species not previously obtained. Dr. Wm. A. Hammond, U. S. A., who accompanied the party as surgeon, also made a separate and independent collection of inuch interest, not only on the route, but while stationed at Fort Riley.
Fort Riley. In this he was for a time assisted by Mr. J. Xantus de Vesey.
4. Wagon road to California via South Pass, under Wm. M. Magraw.— This party, accompanied by Dr. James G. Cooper, as surgeon and naturalist, aided by C. Drexler, reached Fort Laramie during the autumn. The collections in all departments were large and important, and were accompanied by copious notes on the species observed.
5. Survey of the southern boundary of Kansas, under Lieutenant Colonel Johnston, U. S. A.-A valuable collection of specimens in alcohol was made during the survey by J. H. Clark, esq., astronomer of the expedition.
6. Survey of the Isthmus of Darien, under Lieutenant N. Michler, U. S. A.—This expedition, accompanied by Mr. A. Schott and Messrs. Wm. S. and Charles Wood, sailed for Carthagena in October, proceeding thence to the isthmus. While at Carthagena a collection of birds and shells was made and sent to Washington, and others are on
Among government expeditions fitted out in 1857, but from which no collections have yet been received, are the following:
7. Wagon road route to California via El Paso and Fort Yuma, under Colonel Leech.—This expedition was accompanied by Dr. McCay and Mr. Hays, both of whom were prepared to make collections in natural history.
8. Exploration of the La Plata and its tributaries, under Captain Page, U. S. N.-Christopher Wood doing duty as zoological collector.
9. Artesian well expedition, on the Llano Estacado, under Captain Pope, U. S. A.-This is the third expedition to the sterile regions of western Texas, conducted by Captain Pope.
10. Exploration of the Colorado river, under Lieutenant J. C. Ives.This expedition started in September, accompanied by Dr. J. S.Newberry, surgeon and geologist, and H. B. Möllhausen, artist and zoologist. Several collections made by these gentlemen about San Diego are on their way, but have not yet been received.
The more important private explorations from which specimens have been received are as follows:
11. Region around Fort Tejon, California, by J. Xantus de Vesey.The collections made by Mr. Vesey will compare tavorably with any obtained under government auspices, and embrace complete series of the animals and plants of the vicinity of Fort Tejon, as far as met with ; they also include quite a number of new species.
12. Southern Illinois and Northern Red river, by R. Kennicott.—Mr. Kennicott, under a commission from the Northwestern University, at Evanston, Illinois, to procure for its museum a collection of specimens of the natural history of the northwest, visited southern Illinois in the spring, and after exploring the vicinity of Cairo and New Madrid for several months, proceeded to the Red river of the North, within the British possessions, and nearly to Lake Winipeg. The collections made cover all branches of zoology.
13. Coast of Florida, by G. Wurdemann, United States Coast Survey.--Mr. Wurdemann's collections were in continuation of those of previous years, and included a great variety of species, among them several birds new to the fauna of the United States.
14. Red river of the North and of Nelson's river, I. B. Territory, by Donald Gunn, esq.-A large collection of birds and mammals made in these regions by Mr. Gunn, assisted by Mr. John Isbister, have added much to our knowledge of the distribution of species.
A collection of about 150 species of birds of Arctic America, Mexico, and Guatemala, presented by John Gould, esq., of London, has furnished very important data for comparison and determination of species of the United States.
Of the numerous other collections made it is impossible to give an account here. The detailed list of contributions and donations will, however, furnish additional information on the subject.
In conclusion it may be proper to state, that of the government expeditions mentioned above, that under Mr. Campbell was organized by the State Department; those under Lieutenant Warren, Lieutenant Bryan, Colonel Johnston, Captain Pope, and Lieutenant Ives, by the War Department; those under Mr. Magraw and Mr. Leech, by the Department of the Interior; and those under Captain Page and Lieutenant Michler, by the Navy Department.
In the reception of collections from the California coast, the Institution is under great obligations to the California Mail Steamship Line, composed of the United States Mail Steamship Company, the