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JOURNAL OF THE COMMITTEE. . In pursuance of the foregoing resolution, a meeting of the committee named was notified in the room of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads of the House of Representatives, on Saturday, the 20th day of January, 1855, when the following members appeared : Hon. C. W. Upham, Hon. D. Wells, jr., and Hon. R. C. Puryear. Without transacting any business the committee adjourned to meet at the same place on Monday morning, the 22d instant, at 104 o'clock, a. m.
MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 1855. Committee met pursuant to adjournment. Present: Messrs. Upham, Wells, Puryear, and Taylor. After transacting some further preliminary business the meeting adjourned to the room of Hon. C. 'W. Upham at 7} o'clock, p. m.
Committee met pursuant to adjournment. Present: Messrs. Upham, Wells, Puryear, and Witte. The will of Smithson and the act of Congress establishing the Smithsonian Institution were read by the chairman. After various discussions as to the powers and duties of the committee, the clerk was directed to enclose copies of the resolution of the House of Representatives ordering a committee to investigate the affairs of the Smithsonian Institution, adopted in the House of Representatives on the 17th January, 1855, to Professor Joseph Henry, secretary of the Institution, and to the Hon. James Meacham, and request their attendance before the committee at the room of the Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads of the House of Representatives, on Thursday evening, the 25th instant, at balf past seven o'clock. The committee then adjourned to meet at the place and time above designated.
TUESDAY MORNING, JANUARY 23, 1855. Notified Hon. James Meacham and Professor Henry to attend meeting.
THURSDAY EVENING, JANUARY 25, 1855. Committee met pursuant to adjournment. Present: Messrs. Upham, Puryear, Wells, and Witte. Professor Henry and Mr. Meacham appeared before the committee.
Professor Henry.-Has the official journal from the establishment of the institution. Came in charge, as secretary, end of 1846. The “establishment” met once during the administration of General Taylor, and not again until President Pierce came into office. No action by the establishment in reference to Institution during Taylor's administration. There have been several meetings since General Pierce's term commenced. Doings are published in the report of the Institution.
Mr. Choate's letter read. Also, resolution appointing the committee.
Mr. Meacham stated that he had no new matter to communicate. Has made a report, which is published in the report of the Institution.
Professor Henry stated that the regents would meet Saturday, (27th,) and would probably appoint a committee to wait on this committee. The clerk was directed to notify the regents of the next meeting of the committee, and that they would be pleased to have the Board represented before them. Adjourned to meet at the room of the Hon. W. H. Wiite at the National hotel, on Monday evening, January 29, at 7} o'clock.
THURSDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 1, 1855.
On motion of Mr. Wells, the committee resolved to meet on Saturday, Monday, and Thursday next, at 74 o'clock, at the National Hotel.
On motion, the memorial of Lorin Blodgett was referred to Mr. Wells and Mr. Puryear.
On motion of Mr. Witte, in pursuance of a suggestion of Senator Mason, it was voted that Hon. James Meacham, the offerer of the resolution under which this committee was appointed, be requested to furnish this committee with specifications of the particulars in which he thinks the Smithsonian Institution has been managed and its funds expended not in accordance with the law establishing it, and that the clerk furnish the Board of Regents with a copy of the same.
Adjourned to Saturday evening, February 3, at 73, p. m.
SATURDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 3, 1855.
In answer to questions by chairman, Professor Henry stated as follows: Keeps the records of the “establishment." There have been four or five meetings. First meeting was during the administration of General Taylor. There was no meeting during Mr. Fillmore's administration. The Board of Regents was appointed in August, 1846. There has been a decision that the Institution cannot be sued. There have been four meetings of the establishment since General Pierce's administration. They have never taken any distinct action in reference to the Institution. Have a code of by-laws. Chief Justice of the United States and the Vice President are members of the establishment. Have stated meetings of the establishment. By-laws provide for stated meetings. Money of the Institution is still in the hands of the government. [Witness exhibited first record of the meeting of the regents of the Institution.] Have a treasurer of the Board who disburses without pay. All the proceedings of the Board of Regents have been published. Board of Regents usually meet about every fortnight during the sessions of Congress. Vice President Dallas remained chancellor during his administration. Since then Chief Justice Taney. The Executive Committee has the chief management of the Institution. The building was erected under the direction of Building Committee. The provision requiring every author of copy-right to
deposit one copy with Institution has not fully been complied with. Section sixth of the act has not been complied with. Congress has not yet imposed it on the Institution. The Commissioner of Patents has at present control of the matter.
After some remarks from Messrs. 'Taylor, Witte, and the chairman, adjourned, on motion of Mr. Taylor, to Monday evening, at the same time and place.
MONDAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 5, 1855.
Committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Witnesses : Henry and Meacham, and Senators Pierce and Mason appeared in behalf of the Institution.
Hon. James Meacham submitted specifications, as requested by resolution of the committee:
WASHINGTON, February 4, 1855. DEAR SIR: As chairman of a Select Committee of the House of Representatives to inquire into the administration of the Smithsonian Institution, you ask of me specifications of departure from the existing law, and of the necessity of additional legislation. In compliance with your request, I give you the following, and am your obedient servant,
J. MEACHAM. Hon. CHARLES W. UPHAM.
Departure from existing law.
1. Congress established the Smithsonian Institution for the faithful execution of Smithson's trust, “ according to the will of the donor," by a certain act approved August 10, 1846.
In this act, Congress directed a manner (as in the act of July 1, 1836, it had promised to do) in which the funds should be applied.
By this act, a majority of the funds were to be appropriated to the library. This is proved
1. By the evident design of the Congress that passed the law. They refused to limit the maximum sum to be devoted to that object at a less sum than $25,000, though repeated efforts were made for a less sum.
2. By the terms of the law itself, that fixes the sum at ari average of $25,000, and shows the intent that such, or near that sum, should be expended on the library. They certainly were not sporting with .an imaginary sum.
3. By the decision of the Board of Regents, who, on December 4. 1846, voted that $20,000 be appropriated for the library “ for the present.” This showed their understanding of the act.—(See lst Report
, 4. By the compromise which divided the income equally between the library and the museum on the one hand, and publications and re
searches on the other, the friends of the library felt as if they had lost, and the friends of the publications as if they had gained, by the compromise. The opinions of both go to show the general understanding that the sum to be given to a library was more than half of the whole at the time of the compromise.—(For compromise, see lst Report, page 27, resolutions)
2. I submit that “purposes,” after the expenditure of the income of the fund, are provided for in the act; that those purposes are: A museum of natural history, works of art, &c., a laboratory, a library, and lecture rooms; and that these are the only purposes provided in the act.
3. I submit that so long as money is required, on the scale and in the spirit of the act, for these “provided purposes," there is no authority for appropriating money for other purposes.
4. I submit that the act indicates the scale and spirit in which these “provided purposes,” particularly the library and museum, are lo receive appropriations.
5. I submit that these purposes are all to be consulted for on a “ liberal scale."
6. 1 submit that while money was required on the scale indicated in the act, and by the spirit of the act for the “purposes provided,” new plans were introduced, and have become the paramount purposes of the Institution; thus, in my opinion, contravening the intentions of Congress.
7. And particularly in reference to the librury:
1. The library is the only one of the “purposes provided" for which Congress directs the regents “shall make an appropriation.”
2. The library is required to be on a liberal scale for the accommodation of this and the other purposes provided.
3. The act authorizes an annual expenditure of nearly five sixths of the whole income upon it-guarding all other purposes only to the extent of about one-sixth of the income.
4. The appropriations which the regents are commanded to make for the library are for a particular kind or class of library-one “composed of valuable works pertaining to all departments of human knowledge.” It is not a scientific library; it is not a library as an auxiliary to some other purpose, but a universal library of valuable books in all departments. A library answering this description must necessarily be large. Its formation would be “gradual” under the whole suin indicated; for libraries answering, in the judgment of those who most use them, this description, must contain, in the present age, from 200,000 to 500,000 volumes.
Now the library actually purchased has cost but a small sum, less, I believe than $13,000. This library is not on a liberal scale-does not pertain to all departments of knowledge, and therefore more money is required for this purpose.”
8. With reference io the museum of natural history, works of art, &c.:
1. The act gives all such collections belonging or to belong to the United States to the Institution.
2. It requires that they “ shall be arranged" properly in the Smithsonian building:
3. It authorizes the exchanges of specimens and reception of donations, &c.
4. The act does not directly require any appropriations for the museum.
I submit that the spirit and letter of the act require that so long as money is needed for this purpose, it cannot be expended upon purposes not provided. This purpose has not been suitably provided for—the gift has been declined—the articles have not been arranged as required—the liberal accommodations made in the plan of the building have been diminished, and therefore money is required for this purpose.
9. I submit that the money thus withheld from those purposes provided, has not been so withheld in order to execute other provisions of the act; but in order to admit purposes not provided, not alluded to, not connected with the purposes provided; but which, as the history of the act shows, were proposed in the House of Representatives and rejected.
10. I submit that these unauthorized purposes thus admitted, have received dire cily a considerable proportion of the income, and have necessitated large indirect expenditures in salaries and incidental expenses.
11. I submit that the interpretation of the law, by which the 9th section has been beld to confer “ plenary power” upon the Board to diminish to mere nominal importance the purposes provided, and admit at discretion any other purposes, renders quite unnecessary a great portion of the rest of the law.
12. 1 submit that this interpretation of the act renders inappropriate the 7th section of the act, which defines the duties of the secretary, and invests him with other and more extended functions, in effect
acing him in the position of the head of a learned society without the constituted associates necessary for his counsel and control.
1. I submit that additional legislation is needed to secure impartiality towards authors who apply for the publication of their researches. Now, the power of division is virtually in the hands of one man, haying the entire control of a scientific institution. Nowhere else in the world, as I believe, is such power committed to a single individual. In the Royal Society a paper must pass the ordeal of the whole body, be examined by a council consisting of twenty-one members before it can be accepted. Here the whole authority is in the power of the secretary. True, a commission may be appointed, but the secretary has the appointment, so that the power is still in him. If the commission report favorably, their names are known; if unfavorably, their names are kept secret. It may be made a mere star chamber in science, and the secretary the sole autocrat. This, I think, shows that the Institution has swung out from the control of the law of Congress, where there are no powers to regulate its transactions. And I submit, that