Imatges de pÓgina

On the 26th January, 1847, the following resolutions were also adopted :

Rcsolved, That the secretary be requested now to nominate to the board an assistant, who shall be the librarian, and whose salary shall commence whenever the building is ready for the reception of the library.

Resolved, That for any services rendered from this time in collecting books, making catalogues, &c., he shall receive such compensation as the executive committee may deem reasonable.

Whereupon the secretary remarked that, understanding Professor Charles C. Jewett, of Brown University, to be the preference of a majority of the Board, he therefore nominated Charles C.Jewett for assistant secretary, acting as librarian of the Smithsonian Institution.

I had been requested to nominate Mr. Jewett in order to conciliate Mr. Choate.

Previous to his nomination, Mr. Jewett came on to Washington with a letter of introduction to me. I explained the plan which I advocated; he fully approved of il, said that he would have preferred a library, but previous to the plan I advocated no definite plan had been proposed.

Immediately after the nomination was confirmed, Mr. Dallas asked me if I had done right in thus nominating; if I had examined the law. He thought I ought not to have been called on to nominate in that way. I then examined the 7th section of the act attentively, and saw that certain powers were granted to the secretary, to be used for ibe best interests of the Institution, and not to be delegated, no mention being made of an assistant secretary to act as librarian He himself was to discharge the duties of librarian and keeper of the museum, and might, with the consent of the Board, employ assistants. The act evidently intended that the secretary should have control over his assistants, that he might have no excuse for not properly discharging his duty. They are his assistants, and not the assistants of the Board. He is responsible for their acts, and from the usages of the government and the necessities of the case, he has the power of removal.

“ The subordinate officers of the customs furnish a somewhat analogous case. They are appointed by the collector, with the approbation of the Secretary of the Treasury. Now, the secretary, as the officia! organ of the President, can remove both the collector and his subordinates, but this does not prevent the collector from removing them.”

Mr. Choate's plan was that of a library, the secretary was to be librarian, and Mr. Jewett was his candidate for that office.

He failed in carrying this point, and provision was made for Mr. Jewett in the way I have stated.

Mr. Jewett was not to enter fully upon his duties until two years after his appointment, 1849. He, however, was brought in at his own earnest request before the expiration of this time.

He entered fully upon his duties about a year after his appointment, but I soon found that he had no idea of rendering me any assistance in the general business of the Institution, unless such assistance should be rendered entirely in his own name and as the head of an independent department, or as a co-equal with myself.

Finding that nothing could be done with him in this way, I left him

in charge of the library exclusively. The books had previously been in the care of Mr. Russell, who remained to assist Mr. Jewett.

I employed another person to a sist me, Dr. Foreman, and with him I conducted alll the affairs of the Institution, except what related to the library, until July 1850.

The bearing of Professor Jewett was frequently very offensive to me, although I endeavored to render his situation as pleasant as possible, to control him as little as might be consistent with my duty.

I had many difficulties at that time to contend with, in the development of a new and untried plan, and the business at length became so extended that it was impossible for me properly to attend to it without more assistance, and I therefore called to my aid in July, 1850, Profes. sor Baird, who was appointed to take charge of the museum, and to do anything else the secretary might require. Professor Baird was very industrious, and rendered me important service. He took special charge of the printing and also of the exchanges. He, however, after a while. began to cornplain that he had no assistance, and his salary was less than that of Professor Jeweit, though he did three times the amount of work. In short he very naturally felt that he ought to have the same privileges as Professor Jewett.

When Professor Baird first came in I gave him a full account of all my views, plans and operations. He asked if I had any objection to his examining the records and papers of the Institution and my letters, to which I replied that I had not. He accordingly made such an esamination, and possessed himself of the history of all the previous operations of the Institution.

My official letters, indeed my private ones, were open to Dr. Foreman and to Professor Baird. 'They were not locked up, but were kept on an open

shelf. I had no secrets of my own, and from the first resolved to do nothing in regard to the business of the Institution which might not be freely given to the whole world, I knew the only course I could pursue with any hope of success was an honest, straight forward one, and that if I attempted in any case a devious course, I should certainly be involvee in inextricable difficulties.

My intercourse with Professor Baird was of the most unreserved character, and it was with grief 1 began to think that he was not equally inclined to be as unreserved as myself

. During each year of his continuance in the Institution he has made excursions with the view of collecting specimens of natural history, and has been absent each time about three months.

I had allowed him, as I had done Professsor Jewett, to write letters on the business of the Institution without insisting upon such letters or their answers being shown to me. Difficulties, however, grew out of this practice, and particularly during the absence of these gentlemen from the city; for Mr. Jewett also took an annual vacation, and in 1852 was absent nearly four months. I considered it highly improper to send letters on official business, which arrived at the Institution during their absence, by mail in search of the persons to whom they were addressed, particularly as such letters might require immediate answer, and, therefore, ordered that they should be opened in the Institution.

They were, however, not opened in my office, but by irresponsible persons in the employment of the absent officers. So much was I annoyed by this matter, that in May, 1852, I brought it before the Regents, by whom, on motion of General Totten, it was

Resolned, That all correspondence relative to the business of the Institution be carefully preserved, in bound volumes, and that all such correspondence be open at the call of the Regents or the executive committee, through the secretary.”—(Page 93, Doc. 108, (349.))

It would have been better had I asked the adoption of the rule that all letters written in the Institution on official business should pass through the office of the secretary for his approval.

All the letters of the Patent Office are signed by the Commissioner, although the examiners are men of reputation and scientific attainment, several of them called from professorships in colleges to their present positions.

There is no parallel between the Smithsonian Institution and an ordinary literary establishment. A large portion of the duty of the assistants is clerical. Contracts or agreements are constantly to be entered into, and a large disbursement of money to be made, for which the secretary alone is responsible to the Board of Regents.

I need not say, to those who are acquainted with me, that I had no intention or desire on any account to examine the private correspondence of my assistants, but I deemed it my duty, in their absence, in certain cases, to publicly open, or to direct to be opened, letters addressed to them in their official capacity, and of which there was unmistakable evidence that they related to the business of the Institution.

The statement of Mr. Blodgett, that I proposed to him to assist me in changing the locks on the private desks of Professor Baird for the purpose of making examination of their contents, to indicate who were my enemies or opponents, is, at least, an absurd misstatement. In his next deposition he modifies his assertion by saying "that the propositions made by Professor Henry to me in regard to examination of papers, and the means of doing so, were not confidential, but were assertions of what he had power to do, and would do.”

The principal facts of this case have already been given by the testimony of Mr. Girard. They were briefly these :

After the departure of Professor Baird on his annual excursion, I had occasion to consult the correspondence relative to exchanges. I asked for the books in which it was contained, and was informed that they were locked up, not in a private desk, but in one belonging to the Institution. I was displeased with this information, and probably made the remark that I must have the books, and that I would break open the desks for this purpose, if necessary. I think it probable I also asked Mr. Blodgett for the use of a key for the same purpose. Mr. Girard, however, afterwards procured the books for me, one of which I kept in my room until Professor Baird's return, and delivered to him in person. In the course of the examination of this correspondence, I discovered that Professor Baird had written letters which I did not approve, and it was to these to which I referred in my subsequent conversation with Mr. Jewett, and not to Mr. Baird's private correspondence, as might be inferred from Mr. Jewett's statement.

To explain this a little further, however, on my return from the meeting of the American Association, at Cleveland, I stopped at Pittsburg, to attend a meeting of the American Educational Association, and while there I received a letter informing me that an article had appeared in Putnam's Magazine, in which I was lauded as a man of science, but my official character depreciated, and that this was to be followed by another article, from the same pen, in which my administration of the affairs of the Smithsonian Institution was to be very severely handled. These articles were written by an intimate friend of Professor Baird's, and I was even informed that a gentleman had been invited to his room to hear one of them read. I hastened, on receipt of this information, back to Washington, arrived there before Professor Baird had returned, and almost immediately afterwards had the interview mentioned by Mr. Jewett. After the return of Professor Baird, I had a long conversation with him o: the subject, in which he removed, in a very considerable degree, the unfavorable impressions I had received in regard to him.

I made no memorandum of my interviews with Mr. Jewett, but the facts are strongly impressed upon my mind.

I had warmly encouraged his plan of stereotyping catalogues, and, as far as I considered myself authorized, had allowed liberal expenditures to be made upon it, the money so expended being charged to the library account. I supposed that Mr. Jewett, by his ready acquiescence in this, was now prepared cordially to co-operate with me. Experience had shown that the income of the Institution was very small in proportion to the demands made upon it; that a valuable library would be collected by exchange without expending immediately any large sum of money; that the building would cost at least $50,000 more than was contemplated when the compromise was adopted, and might cost much more; that the a:tempt to carry out the compromise was exceedingly inconvenient, and led to inharmonious action; and I had resolved to make a statement of these matters to the Board of Regents, and did so at the next session. I saw nothing improper in this; on the contrary, I considered it my duty to point out such changes as experience indicated were necessary.

There was nothing intended to be done, nor was anything done coverily.I never considered the bequest of Smithson as so much money given to the United States to be divided among different parties, but as a bequest for the benefit of mankind. I considered the compromise as one of opinion as to the best means of producing a desired result, viz: that of carrying out the will of Smithson under the act of Congress, adopted prior to all experience, and to be modified as experience might indicate.

Mr. Jeweit, in the first interview alluded to in bis deposition, which took place in 1851, probably in December, stated to me that his friends expected that he would continue to advocate and insist upon a large library. 1 informed him that the blame of any want of effort of that kind would fall upon me, and that I would stand between him and his friends.

In this interview I have no recollection of saying anything in regard to the exercise of my power to dismiss bim, and indeed the whole conversation produced no definite impression upon my mind of special hostility on the part of Mr. Jewett.

In accordance with my previous resolve, in my report for 1851, I made the following remarks, page 215 :

“ It will be recollected that the income of the Institution was, by a compromise alluded to in a former report, to be divided into two equal paris; one part to be devoted to the formation of a museum, a library, and a gallery of art; and the other to publications, researches, and other active operations. The terms of this compromise have been rigidly adhered to, as will be seen by a reference to the general statement of accounts given in the last report. Up to the date of the appointment of Professor Baird, in July, 1850, the part of the income devoted to the collections was expended on the library, or on objects pertaining to it. Since that time, a portion has been devoted to the museum.

" It is proper to remark that this compromise was founded upon another, namely, that the cost of the building and furniture should be limited to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. But in order to the better security of the collections, the Regents have since found it necessary to add, in round nurobers, fifty thousand dollars to this sum, which must, of course, diminish the income which would otherwise have been devoted to the active operations.

" It is evident that one spirit, it possible, should pervade the whole organization, and that the same policy should be adopted in reference to all parts of the plan. Among the maxims which have been acted upon, that of occupying ground untenanted by other institutions, and of doing nothing with the funds which can be equally well accomplished by other means, has commended itself to the intelligent and reflecting portion of the public; and it has always appeared to me that this is as applicable to the formation of collections of books and specimens as to the publications and other operations of the Institution.

"With reference to the library, the idea ought never to be entertained that the portion of the limited income of the Smithsonian fund which can be devoted to the purchase of books will ever be sufficient to meet the wants of the American scholar. On the contrary, it is the duty of this Institution to increase those wants by pointing out new fields for exploration, and by stimulating other researches than those which are now cultivated. It is a part of that duty to make the value of libraries more generally known, and their want in this country more generally felt; to show in what branches of knowledge our libraries are most deficient; to point out the means by which those deficiencies can be supplied; to instruct the public in the best methods of procuring, arranging, cataloguing, and preserving books ; to give information as to the best form and construction of library buildings; in short, to do all which was originally intended in the plan, of rendering the Institution a centre of bibliographical knowledge, to which the American scholar can refer for all information relative to books in general, and particularly to those in our own country. The libraries of the country must be supplied by the country itself; by the general government; by the State governments; by cities, towns, and villages; and by wealthy and liberal individuals. It is to be hoped, that in the restoration of the library of Congress, a foundation will be laid for a collection of books

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