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THE OPERATIONS, EXPENDITURES, AND CONDITION OF THE INSTITUTION UP TO JANUARY
1, 1858, AND THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE BOARD UP TO MAY 19, 1858.
To the Senate and House of Representatives :
In obedience to the act of Congress of August 10, 1846, establishing the Smithsonian Institution, the undersigned, in behalf of the Regents, submit to Congress, as a report of the operations, expenditures, and condition of the Institution, the following documents :
1. The Annual Report of the Secretary, giving an account of the operations of the Institution during the year 1857.
2. Report of the Executive Committee, giving a general statement of the proceeds and disposition of the Smithsonian fund, and also an account of the expenditures for the year 1857.
3. Report of the Building Committee.
R. B. TANEY, Chancellor.
OFFICERS OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.
JAMES BUCHANAN, Ex officio Presiding Officer of the Institution.
JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Vice President of the United States.
MEMBERS EX OFFICIO OF THE INSTITUTION.
JAMES BUCHANAN, President of the United States.
ROBERT HARE, of Pennsylvania.
PROGRAMME OF ORGANIZATION
(PRESENTED IN THE FIRST ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SECRETARY, AND
ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS, DECEMBER 13, 1847.]
General considerations which should serve as a guide in adopting a
Plan of Organization. 1. WILL OF SMITHSON. The property is bequeathed to the United States of America, “ to found at Washington, under the name of the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.”
2. The bequest is for the benefit of mankind. The government of the United States is merely a trustee to carry out the design of the testator.
3. The Institution is not a national establishment, as is frequently supposed, but the establishment of an individual, and is to bear and perpetuate his name.
4. The objects of the Institution are, 1st, to increase, and 2d, to diffuse knowledge among men.
5. These two objects should not be confounded with one another. The first is to enlarge the existing stock of knowledge by the addition of new truths ; and the second, to disseminate knowledge, thus increased, among men.
6. The will makes no restriction in favor of any particular kind of knowledge; hence all branches are entitled to a share of attention.
7. Knowledge can be increased by different methods of facilitating and promoting the discovery of new truths; and can be most extensively diffused among men by means of the press.
8. To effect the greatest amount of good, the organization should be such as to enable the Institution to produce results, in the way of increasing and diffusing knowledge, which cannot be produced either at all or so efficiently by the existing institutions in our country.
9. The organization should also be such as can be adopted provisionally, can be easily reduced to practice, receive modifications, or be abandoned, in whole or in part, without a sacrifice of the funds.
10. In order to compensate, in some measure, for the loss of time oocasioned by the delay of eight years in establishing the Institution,
a considerable portion of the interest which has accrued should be added to the principal.
11. In proportion to the wide field of knowledge to be cultivated, the funds are small. Economy should therefore be consulted in the construction of the building; and not only the first cost of the edifice should be considered, but also the continual expense of keeping it in repair, and of the support of the establishment necessarily connected with it. There should also be but few individuals permanently supported by the Institution.
12. The plan and dimensions of the building should be determined by the plan of organization, and not the converse.
13. It should be recollected that mankind in general are to be benefitted by the bequest, and that, therefore, all unnecessary expenditure on local objects would be a perversion of the trust.
14. Besides the foregoing considerations deduced immediately from the will of Smithson, regard must be had to certain requirements of the act of Congress establishing the Institution. These are, a library, a museum, and a gallery of art, with a building on a liberal scale to contain them.
Plan of Organization of the Institution in accordance with the foregoing
deductions from the will of Smithson.
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.
To DIFFUSE KNOWLEDGE. It is proposed
1. To publish a series of periodical reports on the progress of the different branches of knowledge; and
2. To publish occasionally separate treatises on subjects of general interest.
DETAILS OF THE PLAN TO INCREASE KNOWLEDGE.
I.-By stimulating researches. 1. Facilities afforded for the production of original memoirs on all branches of knowledge.
2. The memoirs thus obtained to be published in a series of volumes, in a quarto form, and entitled Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge.
3. No memoir on subjects of physical science to be accepted for publication which does not furnish a positive addition to human knowledge, resting on original research ; and all unverified speculations to be rejected.
4. Each memoir presented to the Institution to be submitted for examination to a commission of persons of reputation for learning in