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The number of nnder-gradnafe students in 1855 was two hundred and eighty-eight, including fourteen in the partial course, and one hundred and thirty-three in the medical department. Of these one hundred and forty-two were from Michigan; sixteen other states of the Union were represented; there were five students from Canada West, one from England, and one from the Sandwich Islands.
THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE.
TnK National Institute, at the seat of government at Washington, was organized in May, 1840, for the promotion of science and the useful arts, and to establish a National Museum of Natural History. The first directors were the late Joel R. Poinsett, then Secretary of War, the Hon. James K. Paulding, Secretary of the Navy, with whom were associated, as " Councillors," the Hon. John Q. Adams, Col. J. J. Abert, Col. Joseph G. Totten, Dr. Alexander McWilliams, and A. 0. Dayton. Francis Markoe, Jr., was the early and ellicient Corresponding Secretary. Sections were planned of geology and mineralogy, of chemistry, of the application of science to the arts, of literature and the fine arts, of natural history, of agriculture, of astronomy, of American history and antiquities, of geography and natural philosophy, of natural and political sciences.
Ex-President John Quincy Adams and Peter S. Duponccau, among others, took an active interest in its proceedings. An address was delivered by Mr. Poinsett in 1841, on its object and importance. The Association was incorporated in 1842 by the name of "The National Institute for the Promotion of Science."
Mr. Levi Woodbury, then a member of the Senate, was chosen to succeed Mr. Poinsett as President in 1845.
The first Vice-President of the Society was Mr. Peter Force, whose valuable services to the country, in the preparation of the Documentary History of the Origin and Progress of the United States, will secure him the gratitude of future ages. He now holds the office of President. The present Corresponding Secretary is Mr. Joseph C. G. Kennedy. Mr. William W. Turner, formerly instructor in Hebrew in the Union Theological Seminary, New York, the associate of Dr. E. A. Andrews in the American adaptation of Freund's Latin German Lexicon, and at present Librarian of the Patent Office at Washington, is the Recording Secretary of the Institute.
One of the objects of the Society, as the nucleus of a National Museum, was soon attained. The Secretary of War deposited a valuable collection of Indian portraits and curiosities. The Society fell heir to the effects, books, and papers, of a local "Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences," the charter of which had run out. The collections were placed in the Patent Office, together with the objects of science sent home by the United States Exploring Expedition under Capt. Wilkes. The Institute also
Instruction and Primary School Law of Michigan, with Explanatory Notes, Forms, Regulations, and Instructions; a Digest of Decisions; a Detailed History of Public Instruction, etc. Prepared by Francis W. Shearman. Published by tho state in 1^52. VOL. IL 47
received many valuable additions to its library and Museum from France, through the agency of M. Vattemare; and numerous choice contributions from various distant parts of the world. Donations from all sides were numerous.
A special meeting or congress was held in April, 1844, to which scientific men were generally invited. An address was delivered by the Hon. R. J. Walker of Mississippi. Ten daily meetings were held, at which papers were read by men distinguished in science.
In 1845, an annual address was delivered before the Institute by the Hon. Levi Woodbury.
The publications of the Institute have been limited, for the want of pecuniary endowment. It has depended on the precarious subscriptions of members, and has languished with funds inadequate for its ordinary business purposes. Four Bulletins have been issued in 1841, 1842, 1845, and 1840. These contain many interesting notices of the growing activity of the country in the departments of science. The meetings of the Society, however, called forth many elaborate papers, which were read in public from time to time, and printed in the National Intelligencer.
The activity of the Institute has lately revived, chiefly through the exertions of a few of its members. The publication of a new series of Proceedings was commenced in 1855, and valuable papers have been recently read at the meetings, which are held once a fortnight, from October to May, in the Agricultural Room of the Patent Office. The Library, which contains between three and four thousand volumes, with a considerable collection of maps, charts, and engravings, occupies a room in the same building. To these have been added a large and valuable collection of the crude and manufactured products of British Guiana, embracing all the woods of that country, in specimens of longitudinal and cross sections, numbering several hundred; all the fruits, seeds, medicinal roots, barks, models of houses, boats, furniture, manufactures of every kind, Indian curiosities, and implements, fibrous and textile fabrics, the birds (beautifully preserved), and a few of the quadrupeds. This collection was prepared, at very great expense, by a large number of the British residents of the colony, chiefly, it is believed, through the exertions of the late Consul of the United States, Mr. W. E. Dennison, and were designed first for exhibition at the New York Crystal Palace and afterwards to be deposited in the Federal Capitol.
Besides this, there has been added a large and valuable collection of British crude and manufactured products made by order of Her Majesty's Government, being a full duplicate of that exhibited at the London Crystal Palace in 1851, and subsequently at the New York Crystal Palace.
THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION. The liberal founder of this institution was James Smithson, whose will making the bequest for its support, dated October 23,1826, commences with the following paragraph:—" I, James Smithson, son of Hugh, first Duke of Northumberland, and Elizabeth, heiress of the Ilungerfords of Audley, and niece of Charles the Proud, Duko of Somerset, now residing in Bcntlnck street, Cavendish square, do, &c." Mr. Smithson was the illegitimate son of a Duke of Northumberland. His mother was a Mrs. Macie, of an old family in Wiltshire, of the name of Hungerford. He was educated at Oxford, where he bore his mother's name. He distinguished himself by his proficiency in chemistry, and received an honorary degree at the university in 1786. He subsequently contributed a number of papers to the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, of which he was a member, and to the Annals of Philosophy.* Provided with a liberal fortune by his father, he passed life as a bachelor, living in lodgings in London, and in the chief cities of the Continent. He was of feeble health and reserved manners.t At the time of his death in 1829 he resided at Genoa. His will provided that the bulk of his estate, in case of a failure of heirs to a nephew, should be given " 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."
By the death of the nephew without heirs in 1835, the property devolved upon the United States. The testator's executors communicated the fact to the United States Charge d'Affaires at London, by whom it was brought to the knowledge of the State Department at Washington. A message on the subject was sent to Congress by President Jackson, December 17,1835. A Committee of the House of Representatives, of which John Quincy Adams was chairman, was appointed to examine the subject. In accordance with their report, Congress passed an act, July 1, 1836, authorizing the President to assert and prosecute with effect the right of the United States to the legacy, making provision for the reception of the fund by the Treasury, and pledging the national credit for its faithful application, " in such manner as Congress may hereafter direct." Mr. Richard Rush, the American Minister to Great Britain from 1817 to 1825, of which service he published a narrative," A Residence at the Court of London," often referred to for its faithful and animated contemporary picture of the Court and Parliament, was appointed the agent to procure the fund, lie discharged his duties with such ability that by the close of the year 1838, the American Secretary of the Treasury was in possession of a sum resulting from the bequest, of five hundred and fifteen thousand, one hundred and sixty-nine dollars.
For seven years the fund was suffered to accumulate without the object of the bequest having been fairly undertaken. In August, 1846, after considerable agitation of the subject in various forms, an act was passed by Congress constituting the President, Vice-President, the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, War, and the Navy; the
* An anoodote of Smlihson's chemical pursuits has been preserved by Mr. I>avies Gilbert, President of the Royal Society, in an address to that body in 1S80.—- Mr. Smithson declared, that happening to observe a tear gliding down a lady's cheek ho endeavored to catch It on a crystal vessel, that ono-half of the drop escaped, but having preserved the other half, ho submitted it to re-agents, and detected what was then called tnicrocosmlc salt, with muriate of soda, and, I think, three or four more saline substances, held in solution."
t Lcttcrfrotn the Hon. Kichard Hush to tho Hon. John Forsyth, London, May 12,1888. Eighth Annual Report, Smithsonian Institution, p. 1C&
Postmaster-General; the Attorney-General; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Commissioner of the Patent Office, and Mayor of Washington, and such persons as they might elect honorary members, an "establishment" under the name of "the Smithsonian Institution for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." The members and honorary members hold stated and special meetings for the su■pervision of the affairs of the Institution, and for advice and instruction of the actual managers, a Board of Regents, to whom the financial and other affairs are intrusted. The Board of Regents consists of three members ex officio of the establishment, namely, the Vice-President of the United States, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Mayor of Washington, together with twelve other members, three of whom are appointed by the Senate from its own body, three by the House of Representatives from its members, and six citizens appointed by a joint resolution of both houses, of whom two are to be members of the National Institute, and resident in Washington; the remainder from the states, but not more than one from a single state. The terms of service of the members vary with the periods of office which give them the position. The citizens are chosen for six years. The Regents elect one of their number as Chancellor, and an Executive Committee of three.* This board elects a Secretary and other officers for conducting the active operations of the Institution.
The Act of Congress directs the formation of a library, a museum (for which it grants the collections belonging to the United States), and a gallery of art, together with provisions for physical research and popular lectures, while it leaves to the Regents the power of adopting such other parts of an organization as they may deem best suited to promote the objects of the bequest. The Regents, at a meeting in December, 1847, resolved to divide the annual income, which had become thirty thousand nine hundred and fifty dollars, into two equal parts, to be apportioned one part to the increase and diffusion of knowledge, by means of original research and publications; the other to be applied in accordance with the requirements of the Act of Congress, to the gradual formation of a Library, a Museum, and a Gallery of Art. In the details of the first, it was proposed "to stimulate research, by offering rewards, consisting of money, medals, &c, for original memoirs on all subjects of investigation;" the memoirs to be published in quarto, under the title of "Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge," after having been approved of by a commission of persons of reputation in the particular branch of knowledge. No memoir on a subject of physical science is to be published, "wliich does not furnish a positive addition to human knowledge resting on original research;" and all unverified speculations to be rejected. It was also proposed " to appropriate a portion of the income annually to special objects of research, under the direction of suitable persons." Observations and experiments in the natural sciences, investigations in statistics, history, and ethnology, were to come under this head. The results
* The body is thus arranged in 1856.
were to be published in quarto. For the diffusion of knowledge, it was proposed " to publish a series of reports, giving an account of the new discoveries in science, and of the changes made from year to year in all branches of knowledge not strictly professional," and also to publish occasionally separate treatises on subjects of general interest.
For the library it was proposed first, to form a completecollection of the transactions and proceedings of all the learned societies of the world, the more important current periodical publications, and a stock of all important works in bibliography.
The first of the series of original memoirs was the quarto volume of Messrs. Squier and Davis, on "The Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley," published in 1848. This has since been followed by six others, composed of papers from various eminent scholars of the country, on special topics of astronomy, paleontology, physical geography, botany, philology, and other branches of science. Among the contributors are Mr. Sears C. Walker, astronomical assistant of the United States Coast Survey, of Researches relative to the Planet Neptune; Dr. Robert W. Gibbes, of South Carolina, of a paper on the Mososaurus; Dr. Robert Hare, on the Explosiveness of Nitre; several papers on Paleontology, by Dr. Joseph Leidy, Professor of Anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania; botanical articles, by Drs. Torrey and Gray; a Grammar and Dictionary of the Dakota language, collected by the members of the Dakota Mission, and edited by the Rev. S. R. Riggs of the American Board; and a paper by Mr. S. F. Haven, Librarian of the Antiquarian Society, Worcester, reviewing, for bibliographical and historical purposes, the literature and deductions respecting the subject of American antiquities. It should be mentioned, that though from their form the books are in the first in
stance expensive, yet as no copyright is taken, they may be freely reprinted, and disseminated in various ways.
Fifteen hundred copies of each of the "Memoirs" forming the Contributions are printed, which are distributed to learned societies and public libraries abroad and at home; states and territories, colleges, and other institutions of the United States. The publications of these several bodies are received in return. A system of the distribution of scientific works published by the government has become an important part of the useful agency of the institution in "diffusing knowledge among men" throughout the world.
An extensive system of meteorological observations, embracing the whole country, has been carried out by the institution. Several reports of the results have been published in a series of Temperature Tables, Tables of Precipitation, and Charts of Temperature, and a manual of directions and observations prepared by Mr. Arnold Guyot, author of a volume of lectures on comparative physical geography, entitled "Earth and Man," and Professor of Geology and Physical Geography in the College of New Jersey. The reduction of the observations collected by the Smithsonian system was performed from 1851 to 1854, by Mr. Lorin Blodget. Since his retirement from the duty, the materials have been sent for reduction to Professor James H. Coffin, of Lafayette College, Easton, Pa. Public lectures, of a popular character, are delivered in a room for the purpose in the Smithsonian building, during the winter. A small sum is paid to the lecturers, who have been among the chief professional and literary men of the country.
An extensive system of scientific correspondence is carried on by the officers of the society, who receive and communicate much valuable information in this way. The annual reports of tlio Regents, in their interest and variety, exhibit fully this development of the Institution.*
The building occupied by the Institution was completed in the spring of 1855. It is four hundred and twenty-six feet in length, and of irregular width and height. It was erected from the designs of Mr. James Renwick, of New York, and is in the Lombard style of architecture. Its cost, including furniture, is estimated at about three hundred thousand dollars.
The chief acting officer of the Institution is the Secretary, who has the general superintendence of its literary and scientific operations. lie is aided by "an Assistant Secretary, acting as Librarian." The former office has been held from the commencement by Joseph Henry, late Professor of Natural Philosophy at the College of New Jersey, and author of a valuable series of Contributions to Electricity and Magnetism, published in the American Philosophical Transactions, SUliman'a Journal, the Journal of the Franklin Institute, and other similar publications. He was the first to apply the principle of magnetism as a motor, and has made many other valuable contributions to science.
The first Assistant Secretary was Mr. Charles C. Jewett, former Professor of Modern Languages and Literature at Brown University. In his capacity of librarian, he prepared a valuable report on the Public Libraries of the United States of America, which was printed by order of Congress in 1850, as an appendix to tho fourth annual report of the Board of Regents of the Institution. He also perfected a system of cataloguing public or other important libraries, by stereotyping separately the title of each work, so that in printing or reprinting, these plates may be used as type, securing both accuracy and economy.
Professor Spencer F. Baird, editor of the Iconographic Encyclopaedia, is now Assistant Secretary, and has been actively engaged in the adjustment of the museum. The exchange of publications and specimens with foreign and domestic institutions, awork involving an immense amount of correspondence and other labor, are also under his care; besides which, he has aided in fitting out the natural history department of nearly all the government exploring expeditions for several years. A report from his pen, "On the Fishes observed on the coasts of New Jersey and Long Island during the summer of 1854," is appended to the Ninth Annual Report of the Institution.
Considerable agitation has arisen in the councils of the Institution and before the public, with respect to the disposition of the funds in the matter of the formation of a large public library. Congress, by the act of 1840, led by the eloquent speech of Rufus Choate the previous year on the subject in the Senate, and the advocacy of George P. Marsh in the House of Representatives, allowed an annual sum for this purpose of twenty-live thousand dollars.t The arrangement of the fund, how
* We would particularly refer to the Ninth Annual Report for the year 1664, for a highly Interesting exhibition of the pnictkul working of the Institution.
t When the Institution was set in motion in 1S4*>, an additional sum of two hundred and forty-two thousand dollars had accrued from interest, which was allowed in the act of
ever, and the views of the managers which have leaned rather to scientific than literary purposes, and promoted expensive schemes of publication, have thus far defeated this object. A struggle in the body of the Regents on the library question, and the exercise of discretion in theinteqiretalion of the original act of Congress, has ended in the resignation of the Hon. Rufus Choate, member as citizen of Massachusetts, and the withdrawal of Mr. Charles C. Jewett, tho assistant secretary, acting as librarian.*
The whole question is one of much intricacy of detail, involving the method of appropriation of the fund for building and the practical available resources on hand, as well as the theoretical adjustment of the respective claims of literature and science; and the relative advantages of a grand national library, and a system of learned publications.!
TIIE ASTOR LIBRARY, NEW YORK.
j This institution was founded by the late John Jacob Astor of the city of New York, by a bc
jquest which is thus introduced in a portion of his will, dated August 22,1839: "Desiring to render a public benefit to the city of New York, and to contribute to the advancement of useful
j knowledge, and the general good of society, I do, by this codicil, appropriate four hundred thousand dollars out of my residuary estate, to the establishment of a public library in the city of New York." To carry out his intention-, he named as trustees
, the Mayor of the City and Chancellor of the State ex officio; Washington Irving, William B. Astor, Daniel Lord, jr., James G. King, Joseph G. Cogswell, Fitz Greene Halleck, Henry Brevoort, jr., Samuel B. Ruggles, Samuel Ward, jr., and Charles A. Bristed.
The trustees were incorporated by the state legislature in January, 1849. Mr. Washington Irving was immediately after elected President, and Mr. Joseph G. Cogswell, who had been long engaged in the work, having entered upon it previously to the death of Mr. Astor, was confirmed as superintendent. In the words of the Annual Report to the Legislature for 1853, signed by Mr. Washington Irving: "Mr Astor himself, during his life, had virtually selected Mr. Cogswell for that important post; and it is but due alike to both to add, that tho success of the library must be mainly attributed to the wisdom of that selection."
Congress for tMiiidinir purpose*, leaving the Income of the original sum, about thirty thousand dollars a year, for the support of the csuiblibhmout. To increase this fund, a portion of the accumulated interest has been added to the principal, ftrd gradual appropriations made for the building. Under tiiis plan the objects of the Institution are somewhat delayed. l'Ut Its income will hereafter be increased, it is calculated, by some ten thousand dollars per annum. * Since the retirement of Mr. Jewett, the library ha* to.ii placed temporarily under "he charge of Mr. Charles Glraid, a former pupil of Professor Agassiz, who is engaged on a catalogue of the publications of learned societies and periodicals in Ike library, the first part of which is published iu Vol. vii. of the Contributions.
t We may refer for the arguments on this subject to the majority and minority report* in 1S54, of the Hon. James A. Poarce and the Hou. James Mc-acham of the Special Committee of the Board of Reffeurs on the Distribution of the Income. An article in the North American Review for October, 1654, by Mr. diaries Ilule, gives the views of the "library" party."
By the ter ns of the bequest, seventy-five thousand dollars were allowed for the erection of the library building; one hundred and twenty thousand for purchasing books and furniture; while the remaining two hundred and five thousand dollars were to be invested "as a fund for paying the value of the site of the building, and for maintaining and gradually increasing the said library, and to defray the necessary expenses of taking care of the same, and of the accommodation of persons consulting the library." A site for the building was to be chosen from property of the testator on Astor or Lafayette Place. The selection was made from the latter, a plot of ground, sixty-five feet in front and rear, and one hundred and twenty feet in depth. Twenty-five thousand dollars were paid for this ground. The corner-stone of the building was laid in March, 1850; the whole was completed for the prescribed sum in the summer of 1853. The following extract from the Report for that year exhibits some interesting details of the excellent financial management which has attended this undertaking.
An additional expenditure of $1590, for groined arches, which became desirable to render the building more secure from fire, was liberally borne by Mr. William B. Astor. It was not practicable to include in this $75,000, sundry items of expense for equipping the building, including apparatus for warming, ventilating, and lighting, and the shelves needed for the books. The running length of the shelves is between twelve and thirteen thousand feet, and they have cost $11,000. The aggregate of these various items of equipment is $17,141.99. It has been paid mainly by surplus interest accruing from the funds while the building was in progress, amounting to 16,000.53, and the residue by a premium of $3672.87, which was realized from the advance in value of U. S. stocks, in which a part of
the funds was temporarily invested; so that, after paying in full for the building and its equipments, the fund of $180,000 not only remains undiminished, but has been increased $2530.88. It is wholly invested in mortgages, except $3600 in U. S. stock, charged at par, but with 122 per cent, in market. : There is no interest in arrear on any of the mortgages.
The statement with regard to the library fund is equally satisfactory.
Of the fund of $120,000, especially devoted to the purchase of books, the trustees cannot state with entire precision the amount expended up to Deceiuiber 81, 1853, for the reason given in the treasurer's report, that several of the bills and accounts yet remain unliquidated. He states, however, the amount actually advanced by him to be $91,513.83, and he estimates the unsettled bills at $4500, making $96,113.83 in all. This will leave an unexpended balance of $23,886.17 applicable to the further purchases of books, in addition to that part of the income of the $180,000 to be annually devoted to the gradual increase of the library. The number of volumes now purchased and on the shelves is about 80,000. The superintendent states that the expenditure of the remaining $23,886.17 will probably increase the number to one hundred thousand.
It is seldom that the collection of books of a
; public library is made with equal opportunities, and with equal ability and fidelity. From the outset the work has been systematically undertaken. The superintendent began his labors with
i the collection of an extensive series of bibliographical works provided at his own cost, and which he has generously presented to tlio library. While the building was in progress, Mr. Cogswell
i was employed in making the best purchases at home and abroad, visiting the chief book marts
j of Europe personally for this object. When the building, admirably adapted for its purpose, by its light, convenience, elegance, and stability, was ready, a symmetrical collection of books hail been
! prepared for its shelves. The arrangement
I follows the classification of Brunet, in his " Manuel du Libraire." Theology, Jurisprudence, the Sciences and Arts (including Medicine, the Natural Sciences, Chemistry and Physics, Metaphysics and Ethics, the Mathematics, and the Fine Arts, separately arranged); Literature, embracing a valuable linguistic collection, and a distinct grouping of the books of the ancient and modern tongues; History, with its various accessories of Biography, Memoirs, its Civil and Ecclesiastical divisions and relations to various countries—follow each other in sequence.
To these divisions is to be added "a special technological department, to embrace every branch of practical industry and the mechanio arts," generously provided for at an expense of more than twelve thousand dollars, by a gift from Mr. William B. Astor.
With respect to the extent of the use of the library, we find the following interesting statement in the Annual Report of the Superintendent, dated Jan. 1855.
One hundred volumes a day is a low average of the daily use, making the whole number which have been in the hands of readers since it was opened about 30,000, and as these were often single volumes of a set of from two to fifty volumes, it may