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pendence, and in it a power of initiative good which ought to be deemed its most privileged possession; so that any action which is taken by one having its interests at heart ought to be with this consideration of its independence always in mind.” Mich earlier Professor Henry advanced a similar idea when he said : “ That the Institution is not a pational establishment, in the sense in which institutions dependent on the Government for support are so, must be evident when it is recollected that the money was not absolutely given to the United States, but intrusted to it for a special object."2 However, since the establishment of the National Museum in connection with the Smithsonian Institution, which is supported by an increasing annual appropriation, the Government has been drawn continually closer to the Institution, though the constitution and powers of the regents will doubtless lift it above any possible baneful influence of partisanship.

After the acceptance of the bequest, the question of deciding in what manner the terms of the will could best be complied with and what direction the proposed new institution should tak:, arose and produced a long discussion. Martin Van Buren, then President of the United States, through the Secretary of State, Mr. Rush, addressed a communication to prominent men, soliciting their opinions in regard to the best method of disposing of the funds.3 The replies were various, and in some instances plans were exceedingly diverse.

Thomas Cooper, of South Carolina, thought that a national university should be located at Washington, with studies of a practical tendency, and open only to the graduates of colleges in the United States. He would exclude ethics and politics, and lay great stress upon mathematics, chemistry, botany, etc. Had he advocated the former, he would doubtless have followed the opinions of the illustrious father of our country. Francis Wayland, of Brown University, also recommended a uni. versity. “Its object would be to carry forward a classical and philosophical education beyond the point at which a college now leaves it, and to give instruction in the broad and philosophical principles of a professional education." 5

Richard Rush, of Philadelphia, submitted a plan for the collection and diffusion of seeds and plants throughout the world, with buildings, and lecture and publication bureaus in connection. He did not approve of an educational institution, as it appeared too narrow in his conception of the spirit of the bequest.

John Quincy Adams was also opposed to plans for education. said: “I think that no part of the money should be applied to the endowment of any school, college, university, or ecclesiastical establishment.” He did not wish to depend on foreign patronage for the education of American youth, but proposed the erection of an astronomical

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observatory, a favorite theme with him.', “But the great object of my solicitude,” he continues, " would be to guard against the cancer of almost all charitable foundations-jobbing for parasites, and sops for hungry incapacity.”

Many other opinions were given, more or less remarkable, but want of space will not permit their repetition here. It is sufficient to say that none of the plans were accepted, although they had influence in determining the disposal of the bequest. The idea of a university was defeated by the arguments of Rufus Choate and others, on the ground of its “narrow utilitarianism." The subject of organization was brought up again and again before any conclusion as to the disposal of the bequest could be made. The present plan was finally wrought out of many, through a compromise, Mr. Choate breaking down all opposition in favor of universities by his masterly oratory.


An organization was finally effected, and the funds made subject to the control of a board of regents. The institution is placed under the control of a board consisting of the President of the United States and his cabinet, the Commissioner of Patents, and a board of regents, comprising the Vice-President of the United States, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, three members appointed from the Senate, three from the House, and six other persons not members of Congress, two of whom must be residents of Washington. This represents the present organization, slight changes having been made from the original plan.

Professor Henry, in the Secretary's first annual report, submitted a programme of organization of the Smithsonian Institution, which was adopted by the board of regents December 13, 1847, and has since become the settled policy of the institution, with the exception of slight changes by resolutions adopted in 1855. The programme provided for a museum, a library, and a gallery of art, with a building to contain them.

From the will of Smithson the following outline was deduced as a plan of organization: To increase knowledge : It is proposed (1) to stimulate men of talent to make original researches by offering suitable re. wards 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.

In bis first inaugural message John Quincy Adams recommended an appropriation by Congress for the establishment of an astronomical observatory. The proposition was received with ridicule.

2 Report for 1885, 4.


These main propositions were further analyzed and specified. The secretary is now made responsible to Congress, and reports directly to that body rather than to the board of regents.


It is through this institution that the Government has performed its chief service to the cause of universal knowledge. The National Museum is at present under the direction of the regents of the Smithsonian. The nucleus was formed in 1846, under the title of the National Cabinet of Curiosities,” the specimens being stored at that time in the Patent Office building. Eleven years after the specimens were placed under the charge of the Smithsonian Institution ; their custody was accepted by the regents on the condition that sufficient yearly appropriations should be made by Congress for their proper care. Since then materials have increased rapidly from year to year, and have been collected chiefly from the following sources.'

(1) “ Natural history and, anthropological collections accumulated since 1850 by the efforts of the officers and correspondents of the Smithsonian Institution.

(2) “ The collection of the Wilkes exploring expedition, the Perry expedition to Japan, and other naval expeditions.

(3) - Collections of the scientific officers of the Pacific Railroad Survey, the Mexican Boundary Survey, and the surveys carried on by the Engineer Corps of the Army.

(4) “ The collections of the United States Geological Surveys, under the directions of the United States geologists, Hayden, King, and Powell.

(5) “The collections of the United States Fish Commission.

(6) “Gifts by foreign governments to the Museum, or to the President and other public officers of the United States, who are forbidden by law to retain such gifts in their private possession.

(7) “ The collections made by the United States to illustrate the animal and mineral resources, the fisheries, and the ethnology of the native races of the country, on the occasion of the International Exhibi. tion in 1876, and the fishery collections displayed by the United States in the International Exposition, at Berlin in 1880, and at London in 1883.

(8) “ The collections given by foreign governments of the several foreign nations, thirty in number, which participated in the exhibition at Philadelphia.

(9) “The industrial collections given by numerous manufacturing and commercial houses of Europe and America, at the time of the Philadelphia exposition and subsequently.

(10) “The material received in exchanges for duplicate specimens from the museums of Europe and America at the time of the Philadelphia exhibition and subsequently."

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These are the principal sources, and are given here to show the vast amount of material that may be used to illustrate science and promote education. The increase of the number of collections made it necessary for Congress to make a large appropriation in 1877 for the purpose of constructing the present museum building. Congress appropriated two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which was subse. quently increased to $315,400 by special appropriations for furnishings, etc. A study of the building and its appointments would convince the most skeptical person that here is an instance of the economical use of public funds for the aid of knowledge unparalleled in history. Prior to the erection of this building (1880), the total number of groups of specimens received was 8,475; since its erection more than twelve thousand groups have been added.

It appears from a recent report of the Secretary' that there were on hand at the close of the year 1888 specimens or lots of specimens numbering two million eight hundred thousand.

Congress has gradually increased the appropriations for the care of the museum from four thousand dollars in 1857 to ten thousand dollars in 1870, and the last appropriation in 1888 amounted to $220,000, and the Secretary's estimate for 1889 reached the sum of $279,500 for all expenses.



Dr. Goode, in his address before the American Historical Association in Washington, in December, 1888, emphasized the importance of the educational advantages offered by the Museum. “He thinks that the Museum is largely educational. By using books, pictures, casts, maps, and personal relics for illustrative purposes, the friends of history in America can greatly stimulate popular interest in the development of human culture and modern civilization.” 2 “The National Museum is already beginning to illustrate the origin and growth of music, the highest of all arts. The history of the ways and means of transportation, simple as the idea now seems, covers the entire range of man's economic development, from the rude devices of the savage to the modern applications of steam and electricity by civilized man. practical means of quickening popular interest in the historical side of the National Museum, it was suggested that a national portrait gallery be developed in Washington, with pictures of early discoverers, colo. nial founders, pioneers, governors, statesmen, and public men, grouped, when possible, by States.”

Free access to the collections has been given to students in the various branches of natural history, and instruction has been given to

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"Report for 1888, 54, Dr. G. Brown Goode.

2 Abstract by Prof. H. B. Adams. See Papers of American Historical Association, vol. iii, for text of Dr. Goode's paper.

3 Abstract by Prof. H. B. Adams.

a few persons in taxidermy and photography. The latter has been done at the request of the executive department, as the students have rendered service in return for the instruction given.

Gifts and loans of photographs and working drawings of the Museum cases, specimens and copies of Museum labels have been made to other public institutions.

This represents the true national idea in education—to aid by its superior methods all other institutions of similar character throughout the wide realm of States. To this end the National Museum should be a model institution in every respect. Material aid has also been given by the distribution of two hundred and sixty-four lots of specimens to museums, colleges, and individuals. Professor Langley, in his last report, says: “The importance of museum collections for the purposes of education in schools is becoming of late years much more fully appreciated, and it seems desirable to make some changes in the manner of distributing specimens, especially to make the collections sent out so complete—within such limits as it may be possible to develop them by methods of arrangement and labels—that they may be ready for imme. diate use in instruction.” 1


The National Museum endeavors to co-operate with all learned societies which place themselves in an attitude to render co-operation pos. sible.

The annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences was held in the Museum building; a course of Saturday lectures, twelve in number, was given in the lecture-room; and four lectures were given by the Amateur Botanical Club of Washington in the same room. The Biolog ical Society of Washington and the Botanical Branch of the same held some of their meetings in the building. There is a growing tendency toward co-operation of the different scientific institutions in the United States with the work at the Museum.

During the past year the American Historical Association was chartered by Congress, and an intimate connection was established between the Association and the Institution. As the passage of this bill of incorporation marks a new development, and presages a new use of the historical resources of the Museum, it is quoted here:

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Andrew D. White, of Ithaca, in the State of New York: George Bancroft, of Washing. ton, in the District of Columbia ; Justin Winsor, of Cambridge, in the State of Massachusetts; William F. Poole, of Chicago, in the State of Illinois; Herbert B. Adams, of Baltimore, in the State of Maryland; Clarence W. Bowen, of Brooklyn, in the State of New York, their as

"Report of Secretary for 1888, 55.

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