Imatges de pÓgina

worthy of a government whose perpetuity principally depends on the intelligence of the people.

“ The proper management of books, and general instruction as to their use, are matters perhaps of more importance than their accumulation in any one place. It is estimated that about twenty thousand volumes, including pamphlets, purporting to be additions to the sum of human knowledge, are published annually; and unless this mass be properly arranged, and the means furnished by which its contents may be ascerlained, literature and science will be overwhelmed by their own unwieldy bulk. The pile will begin to totter under its own weight, and all the additions we may heap upon it will tend to add to the extension of the base, without increasing the elevation and dignity of the edifice."

I do not recollect having any further conversation with Mr. Jewett on this subject until he presented his report to me relative to the operations for 1852, nearly a year after, in which, to my surprise, I found he had inserted an elaborate criticism on the several remarks I had made in my report for 1851.

I told him I thought this was not proper, and after consulting with members of the executive committee, I came to the conclusion that I would not publish it, and requested him to strike it out, because bis report was in fact a part of my own, and such a discrepancy in opinion should not appear; and had I published it, I would have been obliged lo answer it in the same report. Mr. Jewett had a right to present a separate memorial to the Board, and he was, in effect, finally requested to do so by the committee to which the subject of the distribution of the income was referred.

In the conclusion of my own report for 1852, (page 243,) I made again the following general remarks in reference to the library and museum:

“ In the last report to the regents, some general remarks were made relative to the library and museum, and nothing has since occurred to change the opinions then expressed. On the contrary, the experience of another year has tended to confirm these opinions, and to clearly exhibit the fact that it will be impossible to continue, with the present income, some of the most important operations, and rigidly adhere to the resolution of the regents of 1847, to devote one-half of the whole income to the library and museum, besides all the expenditures still required on the building for the accommodation of these objects. By a reference to the annual reports of the executive committee, it will be seen that the general incidental expenses have continually increased from year to year; and it is evident that they must continue to increase in a geometrical ratio, on account of the greater repairs which, in time, will be required on the building. After deducting from the income the cost of repairs, lighting, and heating; of messenger, attendants, and watchmen; of stationery, transportation and postage; after dividing the remainder by two, and deducting from the quotient the expense of the public lectures, the final sum to be devoted to the most important. and, indeed, the only legitimate object of the bequest, is exceedingly small.

"The attempt has, however, been made in good faith to carry out the resolution of February, 1847; and if items which may properly be charged to the library and collections were added to this side of the account, the balance up to the present date would be in favor of the active operations. But the plan has not been found to work well in practice. The income is too small properly to support more than one system of operations, and therefore the attempt to establish and sustain three departments, with separate ends and separate interests, must lead to inharmonious action, and consequently to diminished usefulness.

“However proper such a division of the income might have been in the beginning, in order to harmonize conflicting opinions, and to submit with proper caution the several proposed schemes to a judicious trial, the same considerations do not now exist for its continuance; changes have since occurred which materially alter the conditions on which the resolution was founded. The plan of active operations was not at first fully understood even by the literary men of the country. It was considered chimerical, and incapable of being continued for any length of time; and hence it was thought important to provide for the means of falling back upon a library and collections. The experience of six years has, however

, established its practicability and importance, and it is now considered, by the great majority of intelligent persons who have studied the subject, the only direct means of realizing the intention of the donor. Again: the building was to have been finished in five years, and the income after this was to be increased by the interest on the remaining surplus fund; but the Regents have found it necessary, for the better security of the library and museum, to add fifiy thousand dollars to the cost of the edifice; and ten years will have elapsed from the beginning instead of five, before any income from the surplus fund will be available. This additional expense is not incurred for the active operations, and the question may be asked whether they ought to bear any part of this additional burden. Furthermore, at the time the division was made, it was thought rbligatory on the part of the Institution to support the great museum of the exploring expedition; but the regents have since concluded that it is not advisable to take charge of this collection; and Congress, by its appropriation for the enlargement of the Patent Office, concurred in the opinion expressed in the Senate by the Hon. Jefferson Davis, that it was a gift which ought not to be pressed upon the Institution. The inquiry may also, in this case, be made, whether it is advisable in the present state of the funds, and the wants of the active operations, to expend any considerable portion of the income in the production of a collection of objects of nature and art. Again: the active operations are procuring annually, for the library, by exchange, a large number of valuable books. which, in time, of themselves will form a rare and valuable collection; and even if the division of the income is to be continued, a sum equal in amount to the price of these books ought to be charged to the library, and an equal amount credited to the active operations.

** Though a large library connected with the Institution would be valuable in itself, and convenient to those who are in the immediate vicinity of the Smithsonian building, yet, as has been said before, it is not essential to the active operations. It would be of comparatively little importance to the greater number of the co-laborers of the Insti

tution, who are found in every part of the United States, and are not confined even within these limits. The author of the great work on the American Algæ, now publishing in the Smithsonian Contributions, is a resident member of Trinity College, Dublin ; and very few of the authors of the Smithsonian memoirs reside in Washington. The libraries, therefore, of the whole country, and in some cases of other countries, are at the service of the Institution and employed for its purposes.

" Similar remarks apply to the museum. It is not the intention of the Institution to attempt to examine and describe within the walls of its own building all the objects which may be referred to it. To accomplish this, a corps of naturalists, each learned in his own branch, would be required, at an expense which the whole income would be inadequate to meet. In the present state of knowledge, that profound attainment necessary to advance science can be made by an individual, however gifted, only in one or two narrow lines; and hence several members are required to complete a single class in any of the learned academies of Europe ; therefore the plan which was once proposed, of establishing on the Smithsonian fund an academy of associated members, was entirely incompatible with the limited income of the Institution. The more feasible and far less expensive organization was adopted, of referring, for investigation, all scientific questions of importance, as well as objects of natural history, to persons of reputation and learning in different parts of the United States, and perhaps, in some cases, in foreign countries. By the operation of this plan, which has been found eminently practicable, the collections, as well as the libraries of the whole country, are rendered subservient to the use of the Institution.

"There can be but little doubt that, in due time, ample provision will be made for a library and museum at the capital of this Union worthy of a government whose perpetuity depends upon the virtue and intelligence of the people. It is, therefore, unwise to hamper the more important objects of this Institution, by attempting to anticipate results which will be eventually produced wiihout the expenditure of its means.

“ The prominent idea embraced in the Smithsonian organization is that of co-operation and concerted action with all institutions and individuals engaged in the promotion of knowledge. Its design is not to monopolize any part of the wide fields of nature or of art, but to invite all to partake in the pleasure and honor of their cultivation. It seeks not to encroach upon ground occupied by other institutions, but to expend the funds in doing that which cannot be as well done by other

It gives to the words of Smithson their most liberal interpretation, and increases and diffuscs knowledge among men' by promoting the discovery of new truths, and by disseminating these in every part of the civilized world.”

To these remarks Mr. Jewett gave an answer before the Board, whereupon the Hon. Mr. Fitch moved that the whole subject be referred to a committee.

The report for 1852 was not published till after the middle of 1853, and when I came to examine the manuscript, in order to see it through


the press, I found the offensive matter which I had refused to publish still retained in Mr. Jewett's part of the report.

I then sent for Mr. Jewett officially. He came, and in a very angry manner asked why I sent for him by a servant. He said he was a gentleman, and would not be treated as a subordinate, or words to that effect. I replied that I had sent for him on official business. I must either go to him, or he come to me. I was his superior in age and position, and that no gentleman put himself in a subordinate position the amenities of which he did not intend to observe, or the duties of which he did not intend to discharge.

On this occasion he avowed to me that he came into the Institution to carry out certain plans, he was put here for that purpose; that if any attempt was made to annul the compromise, the Institution would be shaken to its centre. The impression made upon me was that he would shake the Institution to its centre.

I informed him that he came into the Institution as an assistant, and that he had no right to attempt to carry out any plans of his own; that if he attempted to control the Regents, or to act in accordance with the sentiments he had avowed, he would be removed from the Institution; that such men as Mason, Pearce, and others of the Board would not allow of such insubordination, and that I would remove him myself. He replied that I had not the power, and if I had, I would not dare to use it. To ibis I answered that I had the power, that I had consulted legal authority, and that I had sufficient moral courage to perform my duty.

After this I do not recollect having any further conversation with Mr. Jewelt on this subject, and indeed from that time until his removal most of our business transactions were conducted in writing.

About the time of the meeting of the Board in January, 1854, and of the committee before alluded to, a series of attacks were commenced in the newspapers, evidently intended to intimidate the Regents, and to affect the official character of the secretary.

These attacks were in perfect accordance with the avowed declarations of Mr. Jewett. They were written in most, if not all, cases by his most intimate friends, and there is no doubt in my mind that they were all instigated by himself. Some of them were reprinted in pamphlet form, and widely circulated by himself or his friends.

While the question was pending in the Board of Regents, the late Mr. Maury, as I was informed by himself, was called upon by an intimate friend of Mr. Jewett, and given to understand that unless he voted against the resolutions recommended by the committee he would lose his office as mayor in the approaching election.

Just before the election, two very offensive articles appeared, as paid communications, in the Star against Mr. Maury. (Read them :) To the Editors of the Washington Star :

Messrs. EDITORS: The city elections are close at hand, and if any discussion of the qualifications of the several candidates for office be desirable, it is quite time to begin the task. I am not aware of any peculiar cause, just at this time, for a very strict scrutiny of the claims and pretensions of the friends of the various persons who have been put in

nomination for our city offices, with a single exception. The office of mayor of Washington is in itself a very important one, requiring qualifications of a high character in its incumbent. Into these, as possessed by the several individuals who have been proposed as candidates, I do not propose at present to inquire.

That office has, however, annexed to it another of a very different, although perhaps equally important trust. The mayor of Washington is, by law, ex officio, a regent of the Smithsonian Institution.

Now, everybody knows that Smithson's will required the Institution he proposed to found to be established in Washington.” And everybody knows that upon this expression of his will was founded the only argument which sustains a power in Congress to accept the bequest

. Everybody, who has cared to know anything about the matter, knows, too, that the objects prescribed by Congress, in the charter of the Institution, have been, if not set aside, treated with comparative neglect; and a plan of operations adopted, consisting mainly of schemes proposed, maturely considered, and deliberately rejected by Congress; a plan, of which the operation has been to bring the Institution into coniempt here, and general indifference elsewhere; a plan which renders the establishment of the Institution in Washington of as little useful importance to Washington as to Utah or Nebraska.

Now, sir, I wish to know on what side is Mr. Maury in this business; and I ask the question, not for myself alone, but in behalf of not a few who think we have a right to know whether the candidate we vote for or against is on the side of the law, and a consulter of the rightful interests of the city of Washington, or a dupe and follower of the clique which has gotten possession of, and perverted the government of, an establishment intended for, and capable of serving for, better purposes than their profit and aggrandizement, or the extension and confirmation of their power and influence.

If he be as I have heard charged against him, that he is a friend and abettor of the system of illegal mismanagement under which the Institution has been brought, I intend to give my vote for some other candidate for the mayoralty, whatever may be his claims and qualifications in other respects. I have entertained loo high hopes of the great general benefits to proceed from the Institution, and of the advantage and improvement its establishment among us gave every one right to expect, to look on contentedly to see it, what it is in fact becoming, an inscrutable abstraction, without giving the aid of even my feeble effort 10 hinder, if I cannot arrest, so miserable a disappointment.



“ To FOUND AT WASHINGTON.”—Smithson gave his money to the United States to found at Washington an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."

If these words, "at Washington," had not been used in the bequest, the gift could not have been accepted. Congress has no power, under the Constitution, to accept a trust for the benefit of all mankind. It

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