« AnteriorContinua »
before receiving any part of said legacy, give a bond or bonds, in the penal sum of five hundred thousand dollars, to the Treasurer of the United States, and his successors in office, with good and sufficient securities to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury for the faithful performance of the duties of the said agency, and for the faithful remittance to the Treasurer of the United States of all and every sum or sums of money or other funds which he or they may receive for payment in whole or in part of the said legacy. And the Treasurer of the United States is hereby authorized and required to keep safely all sums of money or other funds which may be received by him in virtue of the said bequest, and to account therefor separately from all other accounts of his office, and subject to such further disposal thereof as may be hereafter provided by Congress.
Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That any and all sums of money and other funds which shall be received for or on account of the said legacy shall be applied, in such manner as Congress may hereafter direct, to the purpose of founding and endowing at Washington, under the name of the Sinithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men, to which application of the said moneys and other funds the faith of the United States is hereby pledged.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That to the end that the claim to the said bequest may be prosecuted with effect, and the necessary expenses in prosecuting the same be defrayed, the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to apply to that purpose any sum not exceeding ten thousand dollars out of any inoneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.
Approved July 1, 1836.
It will be perceived that, in the foregoing act, the government of the United States pledged itself that “any and all sums of money and other funds which shall be received for or on account of the said legacy shall be applied in such manner AS CONGRESS may hereafter direct, &c. It is presumed that it is our duty to consider, not whether the funds have been applied to such objects, and in such a way as Congress ought to have directed, in the opinion of any individuals, but to such objects and in such a way as Congress, in fulfilment of the foregoing pledge, has directed. The next step, therefore, is to ascertain what was the determination of Congress on the subject.
Great caution and deliberation were exercised in determining the matter. The country fell that it was a solemn and momentous trust. The gratitude, pride, honor, and wisdom of the nation were involved; not only the then present generation, but future ages were interested. The field to be surveyed was the whole country, and the whole world beyond the limits of the country. It was obvious that the nature of our institutions presented some peculiar difficulties in the way of executing the trusi. If the testator bad understood, as indeed but few foreigners ever have done, those difficulties, he might, perhaps, have made some arrangement to avoid them. It is clearly not within the sphere allotted to this federal government to enter the fields of science and literature. In point of fact, the action of Congress in accepting the bequest, and agreeing to carry it into execution, was justified at
the time, on the ground of its peculiar and complete jurisdiction over the District of Columbia. More than ten years were consumed in discussions, debates, and conflicting views and schemes in and out of Congress.
A few of the prominent facts illustrating this stage of the case will be cited. On the 19th of July, 1838, the Secretary of State, by direction of the President of the United States, addressed letters to a number of the distinguished men of the country thought to be best qualified to advise on the subject. Answers were received from John Quincy Adams; Francis Wayland, D.D., president of Brown University; Dr. Thomas Cooper, of Columbia, South Carolina; Hon. Richard Rush; and President Chapin. The diversity of views which must ever be expected in reference to such a subject, was revealed, in all its extent, at the very outset. Mr. Adams recommended an observatory; President Wayland a higher university ; Dr. Cooper a university, and, to escape constitutional objections, to transfer the fund to the corporatior of Georgetown; Mr. Rush recommended a more complicated system, for the collection from all countries, through ministers, consuls, and naval and military officers, of seeds and plants, objects of natural history and antiquities; a standing Board of the chief officers of the government; the institution to have a printing press; the Board to determine what should be printed; the democratic principle, as developed in our institutions, to be particularly discussed; lecturers to be appointed by the President and Senate, with salaries large enough to command the highest talent; a certain number of young men from each State to attend the lectures, their expenses being paid by the institution, &c. President Chapin was in favor of professorships being established on a liberal scale; a library, apparatus, and an astronomical observatory.
On the 14th of December, 1838, a memorial was presented to Congress, recommending an agricultural institution, with a large farm, beet-sugar manufactory, mill, workshops, &c. As propositions multiplied, the difficulties in the way became, at each step, and in view of eve scheme, more and more apparent.
In January, 1839, Congress began to grapple with the subject. The university plan was defeated in the Senate on the 25th of February, 1839. Čongress provided for an observatory out of its own funds, and that matter was disposed of and taken out of the question. An institution like the Garden of Plants at Paris was strongly urged in the Senate, but the proposition did not prevail. In 1845, Mr. Choate proposed in the Senate the library plan, and it passed that body on the 23d of January. In the House, several members offered different propositions. One proposing a normal school was rejected—yeas 72, noes 42; one proposing lectures and professors was rejected—77 to 42. The plan of lectures, as a leading feature, was rejected by similar strong votes on several occasions.
Various bills were reported, and substitutes offered, in the lwo Houses. At length the question was settled. In April
, 1846, the following proceedings took place in the House, while in Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, the Smithsonian bill being under con
sideration. We quote from the Congressional Globe of that year, page 749:
“ The question again recurring on the original bill, as amended,
“ Mr. Hough offered the amendment of which he had given notice as a substitute for the entire bill, being a bill consisting of fourteen sections.
“ Mr. Marsh moved several amendments, all with a view, as he said, to direct the appropriation ENTIRELY to the purposes of a LIBRARY.
“ The first one was to section 7th, to strike out the words and such lecturers as may be employed by said Board,' and the words • and lecturers, and all other officers of the institution.'
“ The question being taken, was decided in the affirmative—ayes 72, noes 39.
“ So the amendment was agreed to.
“SECTION 8. And be it further enacted, That the said Board of Regents shall employ so many and such able men to lecture upon useful subjects, and at such times and places, as they may deem most beneficial for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men ;' and shall also, during each session of Congress, cause a course of such lectures to be delivered, weekly or semi-weekly, publicly, in the lecture-room of said institution, and shall make all suitable provisions for the accommodation of all members and honorary members of said institution and of both Houses of Congress.
“ Also, an amendment to the 9th section, to increase the annual appropriation for the library from $20,000 to $25,000. Agreed to.
«Mr. Tibbatts moved to strike out the first section.
“ The chairman decided the amendment to be out of order, that portion of the substitute bill having been passed.
“ Mr. Marsh moved an amendment to strike out the 10th and 11th sections of the substitute, in the words following:
“ SECTION 10. And be it further enacted, That the said Board of Regents shall make all needful rules, regulations, and by-laws for the government of the institution and the persons employed therein ; and, in prescribing the duties of the professors and lecturers, they shall have reference to the introduction and illustration of subjects connected with the application of science to the productive and liberal arts of life, improvements in agriculture, in manufactures, in trades, and in domestic economy; and they shall also have special reference to the increase and extension of scientific knowledge generally, by experiment and research. And the said regents shall cause to be printed, from time to time, any lecture or course of lectures which they may deem useful. And it shall be the duty of each lecturer, while in the service of the institution, to submit a copy of any lecture or lectures delivered by him to the regents if required.
“ Section 11. And be it further enacted, That it shall be competent for the Board of Managers to cause to be printed and published, periodically or occasionally, essays, pamphlets, magazines, or other brief works or productions for the dissemination of information among the people, especially works in popular form on agriculture and its latest improvements, or the sciences and the aid they bring to labor, manuals
explanatory of the best systems of common-school instruction, and, generally, íracts illustrative of objects of elementary science, and treatises on history, natural and civil, chemistry, astronomy, or any other department of useful knowledge, and may, at their discretion, offer and pay to any citizen or foreigner such sum or prize as they may deem discreet for the best written production of any such prize essay or work; and shall, whenever required by resolution of either House of Congress, cause to be printed and delivered to such House, for distribution among the people at large, as public documents of Congress are distributed, so many copies of such lectures, essays, pamphlets, magazines, tracts, or other brief works, as they may procure to be written or delivered, under the provisions of this act, as shall be required by such resolution, the expenses of which to be paid out of the funds of said institution.
" The amendment was agreed to.
“Mr. Thurman moved an amendment, to strike out the 12th section. Rejected.
“Mr. Douglas moved an amendment, as an additional section, (the 13th,) in the words following:
“ Section 13. And be it further enacted, That the author or proprietor of any book, map, chart, musical composition, print, cut, or engraving, for which a copyright shall be secured, under the existing acts of Congress, or those which shall hereafter be enacted, respecting copyrights, shall, within three months from the publication of said book, map, chart, musical composition, print, cut, engraving, deliver, or cause to be delivered, one copy of the same to the librarian of the Smithsonian Institution, and one copy to the librarian of the Congress library, for the use of said libraries.
“ The question being taken, the amendment was agreed to.
“ The question now being on adopting the substitute of Mr. Hough, as amended, was taken by tellers, and decided in the affirmativeayes 83, noes 40.
“ So the substitute was adopted.
“ The committee then rose and reported the bill and amendments to the House.
“ The question being first on agreeing to the substitute amendment of the committee
“Mr. Boyd demanded the previous question, which was seconded. " The main question was ordered.
“ The yeas and nays were asked and ordered, and, being taken, resulted—yeas 81, nays 76.
“ So the amendment of the committee was adopted. * The bill was then ordered to be engrossed.
“ Mr. Gordon demanded the yeas and nays on the passage of the bill; which were ordered, and, being taken, resulted-yeas 85, nays 76.
“ So the bill was passed.
“Mr. Owen moved to reconsider the vote on the passage, and moved the previous question.
“The previous question was seconded, and the main question was ordered, and, being taken, was decided in the negative.
“So the House refused to reconsider the vote, and the bill is finally passed."
The bill passed the Senate precisely as it went from the House, and became the Law on which the institution has existed to this day. It is as follows:
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.
AN ACT to establish the “Smithsonian Institution,” for the Increase and Diffusion of
Knowledge among Men.
James Smithson, esquire, of London, in the kingdom of Great Britain, having by his last will and testament given the whole of his property 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; and the United States having, by an act of Congress, received said property, and accepted said trust; therefore, for the faithful execution of said trust according to the will of the liberal and enlightened donor
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 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 Aitorney 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 honorary members, be, and they are hereby, constituted an * Establishment,” by the name of the “Smithsonian Institution,” for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge among Men; and by that name shall be known, and have perpetual succession, with the powers, limitations, and restrictions hereinafter contained, and no other.
Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That so much of the property of the said James Smithson as has been received in money and paid into the Treasury of the United States, being the sum of five hundred and fifteen thousand one hundred and sixty-nine dollars, be lent to the United States Treasury, at six per cent. per annum interest from the first day of September, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight, when the same was received into the said treasury; and that so much of the interest as may have accrued on said sum on the first day of July next, which will amount to the sum of two hundred and forty-two thousand one hundred and twenty-nine dollars, or so inuch thereof as shall, by the Board of Regents of the Institution established by this act, be deemed necessary, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated for the erection of suitable buildings, and for other current incidental expenses of said Institution; and that six per cent. interest on the said trust fund—it being the said amount of five hundred and fifteen thousand one hundred and sixty-nine dollars received into the United States Treasury on the first of September, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight, payable in half-yearly payments, on the first of January and July in each year—be, and the same is hereby, appropriated for the perpetual maintenance and support of said Institution; and all expenditures and appropriations to be made, from time to time, to the purposes of the Institution aforesaid, shall be exclusively from the accruing interest, and not from the principal of the said fund. And be it further enacted, That all the moneys and stocks which have been, or may hereafter be, received into the treasury of the United States on