Morrison R. (Morrison Remick) Waite.

Addresses at the unveiling of the Joseph Henry statue at Washington, D.C., April 19, 1883 online

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Accessions No.*.

Shelf No. .







WASHINGTON, D. C. r APRIL 19, 1883,












1880: AND AI'ltlT 1Q 1B?l






WASHINGTON, D. 0., APEIL 19. 1883,













To the Board of Rn/entx of the Smithsonian Institution :

GENTLEMEN: An act of Congress (No. 71), approved by the Presi-
dent June 1, 1880, authorized u the Regents of the Smithsonian Insti-
tution to contract with W. W. Story, sculptor, for a statue in bronze of
JOSEPH HENRY, late Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to be
erected upon the grounds of said Institution; and for this purpose, and
for the entire expense of the foundation and pedestal of the monument,
the sum of $15,000" was appropriated.

In accordance with the authority conferred in the above act, the
Regents of the Institution executed a contract with Mr. Story on the
8th of December, 1880, for the statue. At Mr. Story's request a num-
ber of photographs of Professor Henry were sent to him to be used in
preparing the model of the statue, and also a cast of the face and bust
executed by Mr. Clark Mills, together with an academic gown similar
to the one used by the prolessqr when a member of the faculty of
Princeton College. A contract was made with the Maine Red Granite
Company and the Quincy Granite Polishing Works for a pedestal ac-
cording to a design furnished by Mr. Story the die of Red-Beach
granite finely polished, octagonal in shape, 4 feet in diameter, 4 feet
high, and the cap and bases of Quincy gray granite, fine-axed, the
whole pedestal being 7 feet 3 inches in height. The statue itself is nine
feet high.

Owing to certain imperfections found in the statue after it had been
cast, it became necessary to reproduce it, and it was not until Novem-
ber, 1882, that it was actually completed and shipped from Rome. The
statue was received in Washington in December, but, owing to the late-
ness of the season, it was decided to defer its erection until the follow-
ing spring, and the date selected was the 19th of April, 1883, that being
the time when the National Academy of Sciences (of which Professor
Henry had been president at the time of his death) would hold its semi-
annual meeting in Washington. For the site of the statue a triangular
plot on the Smithsonian grounds, about 150 feet to the northwest of the
building, was chosen by the Regents, and the selection met the full ap-
proval of Mr. Story, who visited Washington in the winter.

The Chancellor of the Institution was requested by the Regents to
perform the ceremony of unveiling it.

Hon. Hiester Clymer was selected to deliver an address appropriate



to the occasion, but on account of ill health declined the appointment,
and President Noah Porter, of Yale College, one of the Eegents, was
invited by the Executive Committee to perform the service.

Eev. Dr. John Maclean and liev. A. A. Hodge, of Princeton, N. J.,
were invited to offer prayer on the occasion. ' By reason of ill health,
however, Dr. Maclean was prevented from attending.

The direction of the executive details of the occasion were assigned
by Professor Baird to Mr. William J. Ehees, the chief clerk.

By direction of the Board of Eegents, the following letter was ad-
dressed by Professor Baird, Secretary of the Institution, to the Hon.
Speaker of the House of Eepreseutatives, January 17, 1883 :

"SiR: I have the honor to inform the House of Eepresentatives that
in accordance with the act of Congress of June 1, 1880, providing that
the Eegeuts of the institution be l authorized to contract with W. W.
Story, sculptor, for a bronze statue of Joseph Henry, late Secretary of
the Smithsonian Institution, to be erected in the grounds of said insti-
tution,' the statue has been executed and received in Washington, and
that Thursday the 19th of April has been selected as the day for the
public unveiling of the same.

u The Congress of the United States having ordered this statue and
made the appropriation necessary therefor, the Board of Eegents re-
spectfully invite the Senate and House of Eepresentatives to be present
on the occasion of its formal presentation to the public.

U I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant.' 7

A joint resolution was passed by Congress, February 24, 1883, accept-
ing the invitation to attend the inauguration of the statue.

"No. 16. Joint resolution accepting the invitation of the Regents of the Smithsonian
Institution to attend the inauguration of the statue of Joseph Henry.

" Whereas, in a communication from Spencer F. Baird, Secretary of
the Smithsonian Institution, Congress was informed that in accordance
with an act of June first, eighteen hundred and eighty, the bronze
statue of Joseph Henry, late Secretary of the Smithsonion Institution,
had been completed; and whereas, in the same communication, Con-
gress was respectfully invited to be present on the occasion of its formal
presentation to the public, upon Thursday the nineteenth of April next;
Therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled. That the said invitation be, and the
same is hereby, accepted by the Senate and House of Eepresentatives j
and that the President of the Senate select seven members of that body,
and the Speaker of the House of Eepresentatives fifteen members of
that body, to be present and represent the Congress of the United


States upon the occasion of the presentation and inauguration of said

Approved February 24, 1883. (Statutes, volume xxn, page 050.)

The following gentlemen were selected as the joint committee to rep-
resent Congress:

Senators: Hon. George F. Hoar, of Massachusetts; Eli Saulsbury,
of Delaware; Samuel J. E. McMillan, of Minnesota; Joseph K. Haw-
ley, of Connecticut ; William Mahone, of Virginia ; Omar D. Conger,
of Michigan ; James B. Groome, of Maryland.

Members of the House of Representatives: Hon. John T. Wait, of Con-
necticut; William Aldrich, of Illinois; Thomas M. Browne, of Indiana;
John A. Kasson, of Iowa; George M. Eobeson, of New Jersey; John
W. Candler, of Massachusetts; E. J. Walker, of Pennsylvania; A. H.
Pettiboue, of Tennessee; J. Proctor Knotl, of Kentucky; J. Eaudolph
Tucker, of Virginia; Andrew G. Curtin, of Pennsylvania; Eandall L.
Gibson, of Louisiana.

In accordance with the previous arrangements, the statue was un-
veiled on Thursday afternoon, April 19, 1883, at 4 o'clock. The day
was clear, mild, and propitious, and about ten thousand people assem-
bled to witness the ceremonies.

The invited guests met in the lecture hall of the National Museum,
and proceeded to the platform which had been erected around the statue.
General O. M. Poe acted as chief marshal, and Messrs. Daniel Leech,
John D. McChesney, and George S. Hobbs as assistant marshals.

The following order of arrangement was adopted :

The President of the United States ; * the Chief Justice of the United
States, Chancellor of the Institution ; the orator of the day, President
Noah Porter, LL.D., of Yale College; the chaplain of the day, Eev.
A. A. Hodge, D. D. ; the family of Professor Henry.

The establishment of the Smithsonian Institution, viz, the Vice-
President, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of
War, Secretary of the N"avy, Secretary of the Interior, Postmaster-Gen-
eral, Attorney-General, Commissioner of Patents.

The Eegents and Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and Ex-
Eegents ; the Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Eepresenta-
tives, appointed to represent Congress ; the Diplomatic Corps ; the As-
sociate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States ; Judges of
United States Courts ; Claims Commissions ; Judges of the Supreme
Court of the District of Columbia ; Senators and Members of the House
of Eepresentatlves; Commissioners of the District of Columbia; the
General and Officers of the Army ; the Admiral and Officers of the Navy;
Ex-Members of the Cabinet and Ex-Ministers of the United States ; Na-
tional Academy of Sciences ; Founders of the Henry trust fund for
Science ; the Commissioner of Agriculture ; the Assistant Secretaries of

* The President was absent from the citv at the time.


Departments; Solicitor-General and Assistant Attorneys General; the
United States Marshal aud Officers of courts ; the Light-House Board ;
the Heads of Bureaus ; the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, the
Superintendent of the Naval Observatory, the Superintendent of the
Nautical Almanac, the Director of the Geological Survey, the Li-
brarian of Congress; the Commissioner of Public Buildings, the Archi-
tect of the Capitol, the Superintendent of the Government Printing
Office, the Superintendent of the Botanical Gardens, the Visitors of
the Government Hospital for the Insane; officers of the Senate and
House of Representatives ; Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art; the
Washington Monument Society ; officers and employes of the Smithso-
nian Institution, Bureau of Ethnology, National Museum, and United
States Fish Commission ; Alumni of the College of New Jersey ; mem-
bers of scientific organizations, &c.

While this procession was moving from the hall in the Museum build-
ing to the platform at the statue, the Marine Baud, furnished through
the courtesy of Hon. William E. Chandler, Secretary of the Navy, and
of Colonel McCawley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, played a grand
march, "Transit of Venus," composed by J. P. Sousa, the leader of the

The following was the order of exercises :

I. Music Marine Baud (J. P. Sousa, conductor), "The Hallelujah Chorus"

(Messiah), Handel.

II. PRAYER Rev. A. A. HODGE, D. D., of Princeton, N. J.
HI. ADDRESS Chief Justice WAITE, Chancellor of the Institution.


V. Music (Philharmonic Society and full Marine Band, R. C. Bernays, con-
ductor) Grand chorus, "The Heavens are Telling" (Creation), Haydn.
VI. ORATION Rev. DR. NOAH PORTER, President of Yale College.
VII. Music (J. P. Sousa, conductor) Grand March Triumphale, "Schiller,"

The Philharmonic Society was assisted by members of the Washing-
ton Operatic Association, the Rossini and Church Choir Choral Socie-
ties, the Washington Sangerbund and Germania Manuerchor. The
arrangements for the music were inad by a Committee of the Philhar-
monic Society, of which Prof. F. Widdows was chairman. The Chief
of Police furnished a detail for the grounds; Mr. Edward Clark, Archi-
tect of the Capitol, supplied music stands and stools for the Marine
Baud; the Quartermaster's Department lent flags, and the Department
of Agriculture living plants for decorating the platform. Mr. W. E.
Smith, Superintendent of the Botanic Gardens, also furnished floral

The platform was constructed under the superintendence of Mr. C.
W. Schuerman aud Mr. G. W. Field, and the mechanical arrangements
for unveiling the statue were devised by Mr. Joseph Palmer. At the


moment of unveiling the statue (he news was telegraphed from an in-
slnuneiit on the platform, which had been placed there by Mr. L. Whit-
ney, the Superintendent of the Western Union Telegraph Company.
The ushers on the platform were Messrs. W. 0. Lewis, Harry C. Sinis-
ter, Henry D. Finckel, William T. AVyman, Edward 0. Bryan, Frank
Bryan, William B. Stimpson, and Ellis Larnmond; Mr. Henry Horan,
Superintendent of the National Museum, having general charge of the
accommodations of the public.

Respectfully submitted.

Executive Committee.

WASHINGTON, December 15, 1883


11 V


Eternal and almighty God, Creator, Preserver, and Governor of the
world, we have gathered here to adore Thy holy name, to implore Thy
divine protection, and to invoke Thy blessing.

We bless Thee that, having brought the physical universe to its pres-
ent perfection and made it the vehicle of reflecting and expressing Thy
transcendent perfections, Thou hast made man in Thine own likeness
and endowed him with intelligence, capable of discerning and of inter-
preting the intellectual basis of all phenomena, the personal elemeat in
all law. We bless Thee that Thou hast never left Thyself without a
witness even in the darkest period of human history; that wherever
men have sought the Lord, however feebly, if haply they might feel
after Him and find Him, He has been found always to be not far from
any one of us, seeing that He is imminent in all existence and in all
life, and that in Him we live and move and have our being.

We bless Thee that Thou hast sent through the ages a long line of
inspired prophets and teachers, crowned by the incarnation in human
flesh of Thy co-equal Sou, to reveal in ever-increasing fullness the nature
of Thy moral government, the method of Thy redemption, and the glory
of Thy kingdom ; so Thou hast in these later days sent into the physical
universe many intelligent and earnest students, who, in various depart-
ments, are investigating the secrets of nature, and interpreting the
methods of Thy sublime working throughout the vast areas of time
and space. We bless Thee that Thou art gathering to Thyself so vast
and rich and constant a revenue of glory through fhe loving ministry of
science in all her various provinces. We thank Thee that so many of
her princes have been loyal to Thy service and have rejoiced to make
all men to realize the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the
knowledge of God.

Especially we thank Thee for the spotless example of Thy servant,
whose illustrious career is to be commemorated throughout all time by



the monument we are now unveiling. We bless Thee that he was as
humble aud simple in his Christian faith as he was great in his intel-
lectual achievements or pre-eminent in his world -wide fame. We pray
Thee that his memory as a Christian philosopher may be preserved in
imperishable freshness and force through succeeding generations, that
his influence for good may be ever extended, and that his example may
be followed as his serene fame excites the emulation of multitudes of
the interpreters of nature and of the teachers and benefactors of man-

And now, in anticipation of the general judgment, when in the res-
urrection the perfected Church shall enter the new heavens and the new
earth of the perfected physical universe, we ascribe unto Thee, at once
the Lord of nature and of grace, blessing and glory, and wisdom, and
thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, unto our God that sit-
teth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. Amen.




On the 1st of Jane, 1880, at the instance of Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, in
the Senate, and of Mr. Clymer, of Pennsylvania, in the House of Repre-
sentatives, Congress authorized the Regents of the Smithsonian Institu-
tion to contract with Mr. W. W. Story "for a statue, in bronze, of Joseph
Henry, late Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to be erected on
the grounds of the Institution"; and the Regents, availing themselves of
the presence in Washington of the members of the National Academy
of Sciences, with which Professor Henry was so prominently and so hon-
orably connected for many years, have asked you here to-day to witness
the presentation to the public of the result of what has been done under
this authority.

On the 10th of August, 1846, Congress established the Smithsonian
Institution, to take the property which had been given to the United
States by the will of James Smithsou, of England, to found an estab-
lishment of that name "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge
among men."

The business of the Institution was to be managed by a Board of Re-
gents, and they were required to elect some suitable person as Secretary
of the Institution. On the 3d of December, 1846, the Board met to per-
form that duty, and before entering on the election adopted the follow-
ing resolution :

" Resolved, That it is essential for the advancement of the proper in-
terests of the trust that the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
be a man possessing weight of character and a high grade of talent;
and that it is further desirable that he possess eminent scientific and
general acquirements; that he be a man capable of advancing science
and promoting letters by original research and effort, well qualified to
act as a respected channel of communication between the Institution
and scientific and literary individuals and societies in this and foreign



countries; and, in a word, a man worthy to represent before the world
of science and letters the Institution over which this Board presides."

Immediately after the adoption of this resolution the Board proceeded
to the election, and the first ballot resulted in the choice of Professor
Henry, then occupying the chair of natural philosophy in Princeton
College. Experience has shown that the world possessed no better man
for such a place. He was all the resolution required, and more; and
from the day of his election until now, the wish has never been ex-
pressed that another had been chosen in his stead.

He accepted the appointment on the 7th of December, and on the
next day, the 8th, finished and sent to the Eegents an elaborate paper
giving his views of the will of Sinithson, and presenting a plan for the
organization of the Institution. He entered on the performance of his
duties on the 21st of December, and from that day until his death, on
the 13th of May, 1878, almost one-third of a century, he was engaged
in making the Smithsonian Institution what its munificent founder de-
sired it to be an active and efficient instrument for the increase and
diffusion of knowledge.

The statue which will now be unveiled has been erected by the
United States as a token of gratitude for the labors of his useful life,
and for his faithful administration of the important public trust so long
in his keeping.




We are assembled to complete the long series of public honors to the
late Joseph Henry by unveiling the statue which has been erected to his
memory. These honors have been manifold, but each one of them has
been well deserved and most cordially bestowed.

His funeral obsequies were attended by the President of the United
States and other officials of the Government which he had so faithfully
served, by representatives from the many learned and scientific socie-
ties of which he had been a conspicuous member and ornament, and by
a large following of those who honored and mourned him as a friend.

Subsequently a more formal commemoration of his scientific and pub-
lic services was held at the Capitol, at which were present the Execu-
tive of the nation, the Judiciary, the Senate, and the House of Repre-
sentatives. On this occasion a discriminating and sympathizing sketch
of his personal and public life was given by one who had known him
long and was singularly qualified to do him justice in every particular.
This was followed by other warm and eloquent tributes to his genius
as a philosopher and his excellence as a man. Memorable among
these were the ringing words of the noble Rogers, whose own sudden
euthanasia was like the translation of a prophet; and the warm-
hearted eulogy of the generous and glowing Garfield, whose noble life
was slowly wasted that it might measure the intensity of the nation's

Many, if not all, of the institutions of the country with which Pro-
fessor Henry had a more or less intimate connection have also honored
him by records and estimates of his services to science, education, and
philosophy. The tributes to his honor from other countries have also
been cordial and numerous.

Last of all, the two Houses of Congress, with the approval of the
President, have ordered that a statue in bronze should be erected within



the grounds of the Institution, which was the creation of his genius
and industry, as a permanent memorial of his services and his wortb.
This statue is now completed, and has this moment been unveiled to
public view. We are here to receive the first impressions of this endur-
ing monument, which we trust will stand for many generations, to declare
the fame and attest the manifold excellences of this eminent servant of
science and benefactor of the American people.

The proprieties of the occasion forbid that I should recite the events
of Professor Henry's life or attempt a critical judgment of his services
or his merits as a philosopher. To do either were superfluous, in view
of the accuracy and fullness with which both have been done by others.
All that I shall aim to do is to give a summary expression to that esti-
mate of the man and his work which I am confident other generations
will accept, and which this statue is designed to suggest and perpetuate.

It is pleasant for us to notice that Professor Henry was born on the
eve of this century, so memorable for the development of the sciences
of nature and their splendid applications to art; that just as this new
era was opening, the wonders of the physical universe were begin-
ning to be explored by the wondering eyes of our infant philosopher.
They were wondering eyes indeed, wakeful, sensitive, and responsive
from the first. It is a mistake to suppose, because Professor Henry's
external circumstances were unfavorable to the early discipline of
books and the school, that his mind was ever crass and inactive. His
own testimony and that of his friends is positive that from the first he
was a sensitive and dreamy boy, who found enough in the common
earth and air, and the play of common scenes to stimulate his creative
powers and to furnish material for his long day dreams, as he lay on
the sunny hillside and looked up into the glowing sky. Against the
animalism and sensuality which are incident to an aimless youth he
was defended by the stern moralities and the wholesome religion of his
domestic training, enforced as these were by the economies of a
straitened but not ignoble household. Indeed, the household was far
removed from either. Were we curious in these matters we should
find that he was born of gentle blood, being of Celtic stock on the
mother's side, running back through many generations to a noble house,
and preserving its coat of arms and motto, " I fear no one, I despise no
one," which this noble descendant never dishonored. .His mother was
beautiful and refined and full of spirit, who had a home in Albany, and
but little else, when her husband died, the son being then seven years
of age. Before this event he had been removed to the country, the


mother's original homo, the family retaining their house, in Albany as
their principal reliance. In this village young Henry was the pet for
several years, handsome, frolicsome, and venturesome on the one hand,
and dreamy, wondering, and self-reliant on the other, rejoicing in
adventure rather than in books, till a romance suddenly falling in his
way kindled his imagination, and unveiled human life as pictured by
the fancy with prismatic hues awakening thus a brief passion for
fiction and the drama. The transition to the acted drama was natural
to his inventive and energetic nature, and for a time he delighted to
attend dramatic representations when at Albany for longer or shorter
periods, and to reproduce them at home, as his changing life led him
from one occupation to another. If we connect these well-known facts
with what he himself has written of the elements and order of educa-
tion, we conclude that his early musings and questionings, his boyish

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Online LibraryMorrison R. (Morrison Remick) WaiteAddresses at the unveiling of the Joseph Henry statue at Washington, D.C., April 19, 1883 → online text (page 1 of 3)