Imatges de pàgina

preciate any clear ground for his claims, but due also to justice to say that he is unfortunate in not having a facility in rendering easily intelligible the ideas which he very earnestly, and no doubt very honestly, entertains on the subject. Indeed, a personal, laborious, and patient examination, by direct inspection, of the records, tables, maps, and other papers or documents, in which he avers that he has rights that are withheld, and claims for compensation beyond what he acknowledges to bave received, will be found absolutely indispensable to enable any one to understand precisely what he means, or to determine whether there is any foundation for his claims, either of authorship or for compensation. The committee would have been willing to encounter the task; but the want of time absolutely forbids the attempt; and, after all, it would, perhaps, have been useful scarcely for any other purpose than to satisfy their own minds. They could not advise, in any event, the action of Congress upon the subject, as the whole transaction, according to Mr. Blodgett's own account, was, from first to last, placed and kept by him in the discretion and decision of the Board of Regents.

In discharging the main part of their duty, relating to the management of the institution, whether it has been in accordance with the law, and to the question, whether any furt jer legislation is necessary, the committee will, in the first place, pr sent such a history of the whole matter, as will, in conjunction with the evidence presented in the appendix to this report, enable every mmber of the House to form a judg. ment on the subject.

The following is the will of SMITHSON:

I, James Smithson, son of Hugh, first Duke of Northumberland, and Elizabeth, heiress of the Hungertords of Audley, and neice of Charles the Proud, Duke of Somerset, now residing in Bentinck street, Cavendish square, do this 23d day of October, 1826, make this my last will and testament :

I bequeath the whole of my property, ofevery nature and kind soever, to my bankers, Messrs. Drummonds, of Charing Cross, in trust, to be disposed of in the following manner, and desire of my said executors to put my property under the management of the court of chancery.

To John Fitall, formerly my servant, but now employed in the London docks, and residing at No. 27 Jubilee Place, North Mile End, Old Town, in consideration of his attachment and fidelity to me, and the long and great care he has taken of my effects, and my having done but very little for him, I give and bequeath the annuity or annual sum of £100 sterling for his life, to be paid to him quarterly, free from legacy duty and all other deductions; the first payment to be made to him at the expiration of three months after my death. I have at divers times lent sums of money to Henry Honori Juilly, formerly my servant, but now keeping the Hungerford Hotel, in the Rue Caumartin, at Paris, and for which sums of money I have undated bills or bonds signed by him. Now I will and direct that, if he desires it, these sums of money be let remain in his hands at an interest of five per cent. for five years after the date of the present will.

To Henry James Hungerford, my nephew, beretofore called Henry James Dickinson, son of my late brother, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Louis Dickinson, now residing with Mr. Auboin, at Bourg la Reine, near

Paris, I give and bequeath for his life the whole of the income arising from my property, of every nature and kind whatever, after the payment of the above annuity, and, after the death of John Fitall, that annuity likewise, the payments to be at the time the interest or dividends become due on the stocks or other property from which the income arises.

Should the said Henry James Hungerford have a child or children, legitimate or illegitimate, I leave to such child or children, his or their heirs, executors, and assigns, after the death of his, her, or their father, the whole of my property of every kind, absolutely and forever, to be divided between them, if there is more than one, in the manner their father shall judge proper, and in case of his omitting to decide this, as the Lord Chancellor shall judge proper.

Should my nephew, Henry James Hungerford, marry, I empower him to make a jointure.

In case of the death of my said nephew without leaving a child or children, or of the death of the child or children he may have had, under the age of 21 years, or intestate, I then bequeath the whole of my property, subject to the annuity of £100 to John Fitall, and for the security and payment of which I mean stock to remain in this country, 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.

I think it proper here lo state, that all the money which will be standing in the French five per cents. at my death in the name of the father of my above-mentioned nephew, Henry James Hungerford, and all that in my name, is the property of my said nephew, being what he inherited from his father, or what I have laid up for him from the savings upon his income.

JAMES SMITHSON, (L. s.] His death occurred about two years after the date of the will. Congress accepted the bequest in the following act : AN ACT to authorize and enable the President to assert and prosecute, with effect, the claim of the United States to the legacy bequeathed to them by James Smithson, late of London, deceased, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to constitute and appoint an agent or agents to assert and prosecute for and in behalf of the United States, and in their name or otherwise, as may be advisable, in the court of chancery, or other proper tribunal of England, the right of the United States to the legacy bequeathed to them by the last will and testament of James Smithson, late of London, deceased, for the purpose of founding at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men; and to empower such agent or agents so appointed to receive and grant acquittances for all such sum or sums of money, or other funds, as may or shall be decreed or adjudged to the United States for or on account of said legacy.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the said agent or agents shall,

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 bis 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, 10 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 moneys 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 felt 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 had 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
" Mr. M. next moved to strike out section 8, as follows:

“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

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