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William Jones Rhees.

An account of the Smithsonian Institution, its founder, building, operations, etc. prepared from the reports of Prof. Henry to the regents, and other authentic sources online

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Online LibraryWilliam Jones RheesAn account of the Smithsonian Institution, its founder, building, operations, etc. prepared from the reports of Prof. Henry to the regents, and other authentic sources → online text (page 1 of 10)
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University of California Berkeley




THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA



PRESENTED BY

PROF. CHARLES A. KOFOID AND
MRS. PRUDENCE W. KOFOID



FOR LIBRARIANS, AUTHORS, BOOKSELLERS, PUBLISHERS, ETC.

JTJST ZPTJBL, ISH E3D ,




L OF LIBRARIES,

Institutions,



IN THE



THE I'XITED STATES AND BRITISH PROVIDES OF NORTH AMERICA,

BY

WILLIAM J. RHEES, CHEF CLERK OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.



IT CONTAINS AN HISTORICAL AND STATISTICAL ACCOUNT, WITH A FULL LIST, OF
LIBRARIES,

COLLEGES AND COLLEGE SOCIETIES,

ACADEMIES, SEMINARIES, AND HIGH SCHOOLS,

INSTITUTIONS FOR THE DEAF, DUMB, BLIND, INSANE,

AGRICULTURAL, HISTORICAL, SCIENTIFIC, MERCANTILE,

YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN, AND OTHER ASSOCIATIONS.

Indicating those Libraries .which have received sets of the United States Government pub-
lic documents, &c.

This List is invaluable to all who have circulars, pamphlets,
reports, &c., to distribute.

This volume contains articles on the construction, lighting, heating, and ventilating of
Library Buildings ; the arrangement, classification, and catalogues of books : salaries of
librarians ; number of volumes in different languages in public libraries ; number and kind
of books most read ; statistical tables, and in fact every species of information which could
be collected relative to public libraries and institutions.

It is the result of several years' labor, and the examination of all the material collected
by the

Smithsonian Institution anfr datanment gfprtenis at Masjpjjt0n.

IT ALSO CONTAINS ACCOUNTS OF



WITH THE LATEST STATISTICS ;

SUNDAY SCHOOL, MILITARY, AND OTHER LIBRARIES.

E3F~ The whole forms a large octavo volume of 700 pages, printed and bound in the best
style.

Price Three Dollars per Copy.

PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR BY J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO., PHILADELPHIA.

For copies address the Publishers, or

W. J. RHEES, WASHINGTON, D. C.



:F:RO:M: isro. 432



IMPORTER AND MANUFACTURER OF









173 & 175 GRAND ST., bet. BROADWAY and BOWERY,



MAKER OF METEOROLOGICAL INSTRUMENTS

TO THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.



EVERY VARIETY OF

Ic^l, ft^ffyehftlic^, ^ ^fyiiogopfylc^l

ON HAND, AS

MECHANICAL POWERS, ASTRONOMICAL AND OTHER DIAGRAMS, in greal

HYDROSTATIC APPARATUS, variety.

AIR PUMPS OF ALL SIZES, MAGIC' LANTERNS,

ELECTRICAL MACHINES AND APPARATUS, ACHROMATIC AND OTHER MICROSCOPES,

GALVANIC BATTERIES, SURVEYING COMPASSES,

ELECTRO-MAGNETIC APPARATUS, DRAWING INSTRUMENTS.



A PARTICULAR DESCRIPTION OF

SftlfBill

WITH

Thermometers, and other Meteorological Instruments,

Adopted by and made under the direction of the Smithsonian Institution, is given in the
Annual Report of the Institution for 1855, by Prof. Henry, and will be famished gratuitously,
together with meteorological blanks, &c., on application to the Smithsonian Institution.



PRICE LISTS FURNISHED ON APPLICATION,

DESCRIPTIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE ARE SENT WITH THE INSTRU-
MENTS.





*:;*,






rmtmt






:::***



AlTACCOUNT



OF








t ^mitjjs0ttiatt f notation,



FOUNDER, BUILDING, OPERATIONS, ETC,



PREPARED FROM THE



REPORTS OF PROF. HENRY TO THE REGENTS, AND OTHER AUTHENTIC SOURCES-



BY WILLIAM J. RHEES.



WASHINGTON:

THOMAS McGILL, PRINTER.



OFFICERS OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

JAMES BUCHANAN, Ex-Officio Presiding Officer of the Institution.

ttOGER B. TANEY, Chancellor of the Institution.

JOSEPH HENRY, Secretary of the Institution.

SPENCER F. BAIRD, Assistant Secretary.

W. W. SEATON, Treasurer.

WILLIAM J. RHEES, Chief Clerk.

ALEXANDER D. BACHE, }

JAMES A. PEARCE, I Executive Committee.

JOSEPH G. TOTTJEN, I



REGENTS OF THE INSTITUTION.

JOHN C. BEECKENRIDGE ~~ Vice President of the United States.

ROGER B. TANEY Chief Justice of the United States.

JAMES G. BERRET ,.Mayor of the City of Washington.

JAMES A. PEARCE, . Member of the United States Senate.

JAMES M. MASON . . _.Member of the United States Senate.

STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS, . ~-~ Member of the United States Senate.

WM. II. ENGLISH,.^-,.,............ _......... ....., Member of the House of Representatives.

L. J. GARTRELL ~.,~ ~*~ ,Member of the House of Representatives.

BENJAMIN STANTON , Member of the House of Representatives!.

GIDEON HAWLEY _, Citizen of New York.

RICHARD RUSH ~~..... ~- -~ Citizen of Pennsylvania.

GEORGE E. BADGER ~~r .~.~~ Citizen of North Carolina.

COP.NELIUS C. FELTON ,.-, Citizen of Massachusetts.

ALEXANDER D. BACHE.~..~ ~_~ Citizen of Washington.

JOSEPH G. TOTTEN - Citizen of Washington .



MEMBERS EX-OFFICIO OF THE INSTITUTION.

JAMES BUCHANAN President of the United States.

JOHN C. BRECKENRIDGE. Vice President of the United State?.

LEWIS CASS ~ - Secretary of State.

HOWELL COBB-..., . Secretary of the Treasury.

JOHN B. FLOYD...~~- ... Secretary of War.

ISAAC TOUCEY..~.....~ ~ .. Secretary of the Navy.

JOSEPH HOLT.. ,. Postmaster General.

JEREMIAH S. BLACK ~ Attorney General.

ROGER B. TANEY .Chief Justice of the United States.

W. D. BISHOP- Commissioner of Patents.

JAMES G. BERRET ,.,. Mayor of the City of Washington.



HONORARY MEMBERS.

ROBERT HARE* Pennsylvania*

WASHINGTON IRVING ^ New York.

BENJAMIN SILLIMAN .....Connecticrri

PARKER CLEAVELAND* Maine.

A. B. LONGSTREET Mississippi.

JACOB THOMPSON Secretary of ttie Interior.

* Deceased.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by WHUAM J. RHEES, in the Clerk's Office of th
District Court for the District of Columbia.



Q/l



INTRODUCTION.



The Smithsonian Institution has attained a world-wide reputation, and its
influence and importance are constantly extending. Its publications are found
not only in the public libraries of our own land, but also in those of every other
civilized country. Its correspondents include some of the most distinguished
cultivators of science of the present day, and it is referred to as a center of infor-
mation by those who are interested in the pursuit of knowledge.

Many persons, however, who visit Washington, are but imperfectly acquainted
with the history of Smithson, the great object he had in view, the plans adopted
to carry out his intentions, and the results already obtained. It is for the pur-
pose of furnishing more definite information on these points that this work has
been compiled, from the annual reports of the Secretary, Professor HENRY, to the
3oard of Regents, and other authentic sources.



M367992



THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION,




JAMES SMITHSON, the fouudei
of the Institution which bears his
name and will perpetuate his mem-
ory, was a native of London, Eng-
land. In his will he states that
he was the son of Hugh, first Duke
of Northumberland, and Eliza-
beth, heiress of the Hungerfords,
of Audley, and niece of Charles
the Proud, Duke of Somerset. He
was educated at Oxford, where he
took an honorary degree in 17^6.
He went under the name of James
Lewis Macie until a few years after
he had left the university, when
be took that of Smithson, the
family name of the Northumberlands. He does not appear to have had any
fixed home in England, but travelled much on the continent, occasionally staying
a year or two in Paris, Berlin, Florence, etc. He died at Genoa, in 1828, at an
advanced age. He is said by Sir Da vies Gilbert, President of the Royal Society,
to have rivalled the most expert chemists in minute analysis ; and, as an instance
of his skill, it is mentioned that, happening to observe a tear gliding down a
lady's cheek, he endeavored to catch it on a crystal vessel ; that half of the drop
escaped, but having preserved the other half, he submitted it to close analysis,
and discovered in it several salts. He contributed a number of valuable papers
to the Royal Society, and also to the Annals of Philosophy, on chemistry,
mineralogy, and geology. His scientific reputation was founded on these
branches, though from his writings he appears to have studied and reflected upon
almost every department of knowledge. He was of a sensitive, retiring disposi-
tion; was never married appeared ambitious of making a name for himself.



(j THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

either by his own researches or by founding an institution for the promotion of
science. He declared, in writing, that though the best blood of England flowed
in his veins, this availed him not, for his name would live in the memory of man
when the titles of the Northumberlands and Percies were extinct or forgotten.
He was cosmopolitan in his views, and affirmed that the man of science is of no
country the world is his country, and all men his countrymen. He proposed
at one time to leave his money to the Royal Society of London, for the promotion
of science, but on account of a misunderstanding with the council of the Society
he changed his mind, and left it to his nephew, and in case o'f the death of this
relative, to the United States of America, to found the Institution which now bears
his name.



Ji]e



The whole amount of money received from the bequest was $515,169 ; and,
besides this, 825,000 was left in England as the principal of an annuity to the
mother of the nephew of Smithson. This sum will also come to the Institution.
The Government of the United States accepted the bequest, or in other words,
accepted the office of trustee, and the Hon. Richard Rush, of Pennsylvania, was
charged with the duty of prosecuting the claim. He remained in attendance on
the English courts until the money was awarded to him. He brought it over in
sovereigns, deposited it in the Mint of the United States, where it was recoined
into American eagles,' thus becoming a part of the currency of the country.

At the time of the passing of the act establishing the Institution, in 1846,
the sum of $'242,000 had accrued in interest, and this the Regents were authorized
.to expend on a building. But, instead of appropriating this sum immediately to
this purpose, they put it at interest, and deferred the completion of the building
for several years, until over $100,000 should be accumulated, the income of
which might defray the expenses of keeping the building, and the greater portion
of the income of the original bequest be devoted to the objects for which it was
desigued. This policy lias been rigidly adhered to, and the result is, that, besides
the original sum, and after all that has been devoted to the building, the grounds,
and other operations, there is now on hand, of accumulated interest, $125,000,
which has been invested in State stocks.



The bequest, in the language of the testator, was " to found at Washington an
establishment, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, for the increase and
diffusion of knowledge among men." According to this, the Government of the
United States is merely a trustee. The bequest is for the benefit of mankind, and
any plan which does not recognize this provision of the will would be illiberal and
unjust. The Institution must bear and perpetuate the name of its founder, and
hence its operations are kept distinct from those of the General Government, and



THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION. 7

all the good which results from the expenditure of the funds is accredited to the
name of Smithson.

It will be observed that the object of the bequest is twofold first, to increase,
and, second, to diffuse, knowledge among men. These two objects are entirely
separate and distinct, and to view the case understandingly the one must not bo
confounded with the other. The first is to enlarge the existing stock of knowledge
by the addition of new truths, and the second, to disseminate knowledge thus
enlarged among men. This distinction is readily acknowledged by men of science,
and in Europe different classes of scientific and other societies are founded upon
it. The will makes no restriction in favor of any particular kind of knowledge,
and hence all branches are entitled to a share of attention. Smithson was well
aware that knowledge should not be viewed as existing in isolated parts, but as a
whole, each portion of which throws light on all the others, and that the ten-
dency of all is to improve the human mind, and to give it new sources of power
and enjoyment. A prevalent idea, however, in relation to the will is, that the
money was intended exclusively for the diffusion of useful or immediately practi-
cal knowledge among the inhabitants of this country, but it contains nothing
from which such an inference can be drawn. All knowledge is useful, and the
higher the more important. From the enunciation of a single scientific truth
may flow a hundred inventions, and the more abstract the truth the more im-
portant the deductions. To effect the greatest good, the organization of the In-
stitution should be such as to produce results which could not be attained by
other means, and inasmuch as the bequest is for men in general, all merely local
expenditures are inconsistent with the will. These were the views expressed by the
Secretary, Professor Henry, and constantly advocated by him. They were not en-
tertained, however, by many, and consequently difficulties have been encountered
in carrying them out. A number of literary men thought that a great library should
be founded at Washington, and all the money expended on it; others considered a
museum the proper object; and another class thought the income should be de-
voted to the delivery of lectures throughout the country ; while still another was
of opinion that popular tracts should be published and distributed amongst the
million. But all these views were advanced without a proper examination of the
will, or a due consideration of the smallness of the income. The act of Congress
directed the formation of a library, a museum, a gallery of art, lectures, and a
building on a liberal scale to accommodate these objects. One clause, however,
gave the Regents the power, after the foregoing objects were provided for, to
expend the remainder of the income in any way they might think fit for carrying
out the design of the testator. The plan they have adopted is to stimulate all
persons in this country capable of advancing knowledge by original research to
labor in this line ; to induce them to send their results to the Institution for
examination and publication; and to assist all persons engaged in original
investigations, as far as its means will allow; also to institute, at the ex-
pense and under the direction of the Institution, particular researches. This
plan has been found eminently practicable, and by means of it the Institution has



8 THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

been enabled to produce results which have made it favorably known in every
part of the civilized world.



As an evidence of the above assertion, the following facts are given in a late
report of the Eegents to Congress :

" The Institution has promoted astronomy, by the aid furnished the researches
which led to the discovery of the true orbit of the new planet Neptune, and the
determination of the perturbations of this planet, and the other bodies of the
solar system, on account of their mutual attraction. It has also aided the same
branch of science by furnishing instruments and other facilities to the Chilian
Expedition, under Lieutenant Gilliss, and by preparing and publishing an ephe-
meris of Neptune, which has been adopted by all the astronomers of the world.
It has also published maps, and instructions for the observation of eclipses. It
has advanced geography, by providing the scientific traveler with the annual
lists of occultations of the principal stars by the moon, for the determination of
longitude ; by the preparation of tables for ascertaining heights with the barome-
ter; and by the collection and publication of important facts relative to the topo-
graphy of different parts of the country, particularly of the Valley of the Missis-
sippi. It has established an extended system of meteorology, consisting of a
corps of several hundred intelligent observers, who are daily noting the phases of
tt e weather in every part of the continent of North America. It has imported
standard instruments, constructed hundreds of compared thermometers, barometers,
and psychrometers, and has furnished improved tables and directions for observ-
ing, with their instruments, the various changes of the atmosphere, as to tempera-
ture, pressure, moisture, etc. It has collected, and is collecting, from its observers,
an extended series of facts, which are yielding deductions of great interest in regard
to the climate of this country, and the meteorology of the globe.

" The Institution has advanced the science of geology, by its researches and
original publications. It has made a preliminary exploration of the remarkable
region of the Upper Missouri River called the " Bad Lands," and has published
a descriptive memoir on the extraordinary remains which abound in that locality.
It has assisted in explorations relative to the distribution in this country of the
remains of microscopic animals found in immense quantities in different parts of
the United States. It has made important contributions to Lotany, by means of
the published results of explorations in Texas, New Mexico, and California, and
by the preparation and publication of an extended memoir, illustrated with col-
ored engravings, on the sea-plants of the coast of North America. It has pub-
lished several important original papers on physiology, comparative anatomy,
zoology, and different branches of descriptive natural history ; and has prepared
and printed, for distribution to travelers and others, a series of directions for col-
lecting and preserving specimens. It has advanced terrestrial magnetism, by fur-
nishing instruments for determining the elements of the magnetic force, to



THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION. 9

various exploring expeditions, and by publishing the results of observations made
under its direction at the expense of the Government.

" The Institution has also been instrumental in directing attention to American
antiquities, and has awakened such an interest in the subject as will tend to the
collection of all the facts which can be gathered relative to the ancient inhabi-
tants of this continent. It has also rendered available, for the purposes of the
ethnologist and philanthropist, the labors of our missionaries among the Dacotahs,
by publishing a volume on the language of this tribe of Indians ; and has done
good service to comparative philology, by the distribution of directions for col-
lecting Indian vocabularies.

" It has established an extended system of literary and scientific exchanges,
both foreign and domestic, and annually transmits between the most distant
societies and individuals thousands of packages of valuable works. It has pre-
sented its own publications, free of expense, to all the first class libraries in the
world, thus rendering them accessible, as far as possible, to all persons who
are interested in their study. No restriction of copyright has been placed on
their republication, and the truths which they contain are daily finding their way
to the general public through the labor of popular writers and teachers. The
distribution of its publications, and its system of exchanges, has served not only to
advance and diffuse knowledge, but also to increase the reputation, and conse-
quently the influence, of our country to promote a kindly and sympathetic feel-
ing between the New World and the Old, alike grateful to the philosopher and
the philanthropist.

" These are the fruits of what is called the system of active operations of the
Institution ; and its power to produce other and continuous results is only limited
by the amount of the income which can be appropriated to it, since each succeed-
ing year has presented new and important fields for its cultivation. All the an-
ticipations with regard to it have been more than realized/'

The following extract from a speech delivered in the House of Representatives,
February 27, 1855, by one of the Regents, Hon. William H. English, of Indiana,
gives an excellent and comprehensive view of the condition of the Institution :

* * * " Look at the financial department, where corruption would most
likely exist, if it existed at all, and you will find the gratifying fact that it has
been so judiciously managed, that, after paying all the current expenses, the funds
and property are this day worth double the amount of the original bequest. Where,
sir, in this age of extravagant expenditures of public money and deficiency bills
will you find a parallel to this ? The Regents are authorized to expend all the
accruing interest ; but so far from doing so, they have, by husbanding their re-
sources, and by constant watchfulness over the disbursements, actually saved the
sum of 8125,000, which they have now on hand to apply as a permanent addition
to the principal. What, then, is the result ? A magnificent building, of ample
dimensions, has been erected, at a cost of 8300,000. Books, apparatus, and other
articles have been provided for the library, museum, laboratory, and gallery of
art, worth 885,000. Lecturers have been employed, original researches have



10 THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

been made, many valuable and scientific works published and distributed, the
current expenses entirely paid, and yet the principal is increased $125,000^
And of the interest expended, I have yet to hear where one dollar was devoted
to an improper purpose. Does this look as if the Institution was badly managed?
If I am asked what the Institution has done to carry out the object for which it
was designed, I reply (hat it has already done much although yet in its infancy.
The building is just completed, and it is not to be expected that a great establish-
ment, which is to exist as long as this Government itself, is to be built up in a
day. The foundation is being laid deep and wide, and the noble work is grad-
ually but surely advancing."



An act of Congress, dated August 10, 1846, provides " that the President and
Vice-President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the
Treasury, the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, the Postmaster
General, the Attorney General, the Chief Justice, and the Commissioner of the
Patent Office of the United States, and the Mayor of the City of Washington,
during the time for which they shall hold their respective offices, and such other
persons as they may elect as honorary members, be and they are hereby constituted
an l establishment/ by the name of the ' Smithsonian Institution/' for the in-
crease and diffusion of knowledge among men.' 7

The law also provides for a " Board of Regents," to be composed of the Vice-
President of the United States and the Mayor of the City of Washington, during
the time for which they shall hold their respective offices, three members of the
Senate and three members of the House of Representatives, together with six
other persons, other than members of Congress, two of whom shall be members of
the National Institute, in the City of Washington, and resident in the said city ;
and the other four shall be inhabitants of other States, and no two of them from
the same State.

The Establishment exercises general supervision over the affairs of the Institu-
tion.

The Board of Regents conducts tho business of the Institution, and makes
annual reports to Congress.

The Secretary of the Institution is elected by the Board. 'His duty is to take
charge of the building and property, discharge the duty of librarian, keeper of
the museum, etc., and has power, by consent of the Regents, to employ assist-
ants.

All laws for the protection of public property in Washington apply to the lands,
buildings, and other property of the Institution.



THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.



11



The Smithsonian building stands on a part of a tract of public land denom.
inated "the J/c/-7," and the grounds extend from Seventh to Twelfth streets, east and
west, and from the canal to B street, north and south, comprising about fifty-two
acres. The center of the building is directly opposite Tenth street, and the site
is about twenty feet above the average level of Pennsylvania avenue.

The style of architecture is that of the last half of the twelfth century, the latest
variety of the rounded style, as it is found immediately anterior to its merging into
the early Gothic, and is known as the Norman, the Lombard, or Romanesque. The
semi-circular arch, stilted, is employed throughout in doors, windows, and other
openings.

It is the first edifice in the style of the twelfth century, and of a character not


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Online LibraryWilliam Jones RheesAn account of the Smithsonian Institution, its founder, building, operations, etc. prepared from the reports of Prof. Henry to the regents, and other authentic sources → online text (page 1 of 10)