« AnteriorContinua »
opinion that the Institution was not suable. The question had been decided.
Mr. Blodgett.—It is necessary for me to show that these obligations were incurred, and that this decision was a recent one. The contrary opinion was held previously.
The Chairman.-It sufficiently appears then that you have no redress in law. Is there anything more to be said in regard to this point on either side ?
There was no objection, and it was determined that the Institution was not suable.
Mr. Blodgett.—Is it pertinent to submit any communications in reference to the claims and relations which I held to the Board of Regents ?
The Chairman.-If you have any communications to present you will do so, and the committee will then judge of them.
Mr. Blodgett.—The exceptions taken to the decision of the Board of Regents are given in a communication in answer to theirs, which I submit. I beg to read portions of it. “I was not permitted to go and answer the statements upon which the action of the Board was based, but saw them first in this publication, and after the action of the Board had been taken.” The correctness of the statements here reported are absolutely denied. Here is a detailed denial of statements made as matters in decision.
At the suggestion of Mr. Pearce, the report of the Board of Regents, to which the above was a reply, was read to the committee.
Mr. Blodgett.—I present communications which were sent to the Board of Regents previous to the date of this report. They are evidence in regard to the mode in which this report was reached.
I would now ask for communications previously made by me to the Board of Regents. I consider them necessary to show the relation which I held towards the Smithsonian Institution.
The Chairman.-State their nature.
Mr. Blodgett.— I presented communications to the Board of Regents asking for decision as of a matter pending from the time of my first connexion with the Institution at the sessions in 1853, and subsequently in 1851.
The Chairman.Do they relate to your compensation ?
Mr. Blodgett.—Yes, sir ; they ask the Board to define the relations which the department itself would hold to the Institution, and also my own relations. It is necessary for me to show that papers were submitted asking for a definition of my relations to the Institution.
Mr. Pearce.—Those papers were submitted to the executive committee. They examined ihem, and the report which they made has been read.
Mr. Blodgett.—I submit a paper in regard to my personal relations, which was given to the secretary before the first meeting of the Board of Regents in 1854, but which was subsequently withdrawn. I wish to show that there was no arrangement then, but a solicitation for an arrangement.
Mr. Witte.-State the nature of the paper.
the claim of mine, both in regard to personal loss previously and the future position of the department which I had in charge.
I now submit another paper asking for a similar adjudication and definition of my relations to the Institution, which was also subsequently withdrawn.
I wish now to submit evidence in regard to the mode in which this paper was submitted to the Board. All these papers were prepared at the request of the secretary. That of July 8, 1854, was prepared at his request. The papers were placed in his hands, and were there during the sessions of the Board. Each of them was prior in date to the action of the Board.
I will now submit some references in the form of a statement which may be taken down as explanatory of my position previous to the presentation of these papers. Near December 10, 1851, I had a conversation with the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, in which I proposed to associate myself with its scientific operations. He said that there was no place in the Institution. I answered that I did not think to have a place and associate myself with the researches in progress, but to remain during the winter in such way as I thought might support a portion of my expenses. No terms were named. He named on his own motion an allowance to pay my board bill, to which I gave no attention. He remarked that the records then accumulated amounted to thirty-four folio volumes, of which, I have asked that one might be brought here to-night. These had given him a good deal of trouble. He had brought them to Professor Loomis and to Professor Guyot, but they would not take them as he wanted. He used the expression that he wanted to get the Institution out of it. He remarked to me, “ do what you please with them. See what you can do with them.” In February, 1852, Professor Guyot conversed with me on the subject. He expressly declined to undertake any discussion of them. He did not think that they had any value. I experimented on them, was disappointed in some of them, and expressed my disappointment, to which Professor Foreman replied that that was what Guyot had said. I proposed a general plan for reducing them. I examined the records in the observatory in view of that proposition. I wish to show that the Institution and other departments were in the act of abandoning this subject, and that under my propositions they were consolidated; and all the records were referred to the Institution for that specific purpose.
The Chairman.—State it, if you have not already done it.
Mr. Blodgett.—If the committee think that enough, very well. This was a new attempt altogether, which was not concurred in by those who were concerned in the scientific direction of the same matter. It was not concurred in, particularly by Professor Guyot. For that reason I proceeded during so long a period without any decisive arrangement, and took upon myself the risks of the enterprise. In July, 1852, a portion of the results, so deduced, were sent to the British Association for the Advancement of Science. I was desired to present another portion, as the representative of the Institution, at the meeting of the American Association.
Mr. Pearce.-By whom?
me upon what terms I would continue the research until it was decided what support it should have. I named to him that the least I would take was the pay of a clerk. That was $1,100 or $1,200 per annum, which was assented to by him.
Mr. Pearce.—Let the witness state the time.
Mr. Blodgett.-It was assented to by Professor Henry, at the Astor House, New York, in July, 1852. He then decided to assume all this work of research as an integral part of the operations of the Institution. He wrote me in Western New York to incur expense in behalf of the Institution; and I visited a large number of stations for the Institution in New York, Ohio, and Virginia. I was absent until near the close of September. I called on a number of scientific men in the west and in Virginia, and asked for records.
Mr. Witte.--It is evident, from what we have heard, that it will be some time before the witness gets through with his testimony, and, if it be thought proper at this stage of the proceedings, I should like to ask the witness a few questions in reference to the evidence just given, while it is fresh upon our minds. The Chairman. Just as you please.
Mr. Witte, (to the witness.) You stated in the paper which you read that many sums had been proposed at various times ?
Mr. Blodgett.— Yes, sir.
Question. Very well; I will pass that over. I have here the words, " for that and other services given gratuitously.”
Answer. Given to the public gratuitously.
Question. You stated that adequate and specific guaranties were given'at various times.
Answer. I could scarcely use stronger words. Full payment, full recognition, and the assurance of the consideration of the Board of Regents made the
paramount guaranty. Question. Full payment of what ? Answer. The proper support of services of that description was promised me.
Question. You also stated that “payments as allowances were made to me from time to time.” State the nature of these payments.
Answer. They were payments as allowances in the discretion of the secretary, to which I was not a party. Question. Did
you never assent to them? Answer. I received them. Question. How did you receive them? Answer. As allowances. Question. For the services rendered as in full or in part ? Answer. In part. Question. Was it so understood at the time ? Answer. It was understood that they were allowances. Question. Was it understood that they were only payments in part? Answer. It was. Question. Did you give receipts at the time ? Answer. I did.
Question. The receipts expressed it? Answer. They expressed a portion, a limited portion, of the services which I rendered. They are receipts in full for those services.
Question. The receipts will speak for themselves. You stated that several departments to which you alluded were consolidated. You say that you proceeded with your labors and took upon yourself all the risks of the enterprise. What did you mean to convey by that language?
Answer. I don't remember having used that language.
Answer. If the experiments and researches were unsuccessful, the Institution was to do no more than it did then do; but, if they were successful, it was then in the discretion of the Institution to assume the enterprise or not. Assuming it, then its support was to fall upon the Institution.
Question. After these departments were consolidated, you proceeded with your labors, and took upon yourself the risks of the enterprise ?
Answer. It was not a consolidation of departments; it was a reference of all the records for the discussion of them as a whole.
Question. You took upon yourself the risks of the enterprise, with the understanding, if the experiments you were about to make should prove unsuccessful, that you were to receive no additional compensation. If they were successful, what then?
Answer. There was no explicit understanding. There was only a general understanding that, if successful, the whole matter should be put in a proper shape, and be properly supported.
Question. There was no precise understanding as to compensation ?
Answer. There were several conversations between the secretary and myself. He suggested the same compensation as that given to Professor Espy. He proposed to substitute me for Professor Espy in the matter.
Question. Did he promise to give you that compensation ?
Answer. He made no direct promise. He proposed that as the probable arrangement.
Question. There was no arrangement as to any additional salary?
Answer. No precise arrangement. There was a general understanding that the operations were to be supported in case they were successful.
Question. What do you mean by the term supported ?
Question. Did you not state that Professor Henry asked you upon what terms you would continue the researches, and that you named the sum of $1,100 or $1,200 the year ?
Answer. I said that was the least at which I would continue them until adequate arrangements were made.
Question. Did Professor Henry assent to that?
Answer. I understood him to assent to it. He gave orders necessarily connected with it.
Question. Had that any reference to the labors which you expected to perform when you took upon yourself the risks of the enterprise ?
Answer. I did not in that connexion take upon myself the risks of the enterprise. I proposed that I should receive that sum from the time I commenced the new operations. I think I have not used the words “risks of the enterprise." I meant a portion of the risk of scientific accuracy.
Question. That language is here?
Question. Was the proposition for $1,100 or $1,200 the year in the nature of an understanding ?
Answer. It was.
Adswer. It was so far in the nature of a contract until decided. It was with the Board of Regents to decide.
Question. Was there any understanding with Professor Henry when that arrangement was made?
Answer. There was no understanding when that arrangement was made.
Question. You proposed that sum, and Professor Henry assented to it?
Answer. I understood him to assent to that allowance until it was decided what further arrangement should be made. He did not assume to decide.
The Chairman.—Mr. Blodgett, if you have any further statement to make, proceed.
Mr. Blodgett.—On my return to the Institution, Professor Henry indicated the sum of $800 as the furthest extent to which he could go, in consequence of the funds of the Institution being so low. He was also unwilling to take any action of an important character before the meeting of the Board of Regents. A more extended research was then entered on, with the expectation of obtaining assistance for it from Congress. A circular was issued.
Mr. Witte.-What did you say when the $800 was granted to you, did you assent?
Mr. Blodgett.—I did not assent to it. I was willing to receive it.
Question. When that was given to you did you consent to receive it, with the understanding that it was all that could be given ?
Answer. I received it not as payment, but as an allowance. Mr. Puryear.—Do you recollect what reply you made to Professor Henry at the time?
Answer. I was unwilling to accept it as payment, but would take it, as I had previous allowances, until the decision of the Board of Regents could be had.
Mr. Witte.—You say that another research was entered on with the expectation of support from Congress ? Answer. Yes, sir. Question. With whom was that understanding?
Answer. It was a subject of general understanding that Congress would, as it had previously been many times asked, be again asked to