Imatges de pàgina

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.


Committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present: Messrs. Upham, Witte, Wells, and Puryear.

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,


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 ar. 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 1st Report, page 12.)

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 to 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 library:

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 to 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.

Rep. 141- 4

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 directly 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 held 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.

Additional legislation. 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 divizion 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

it is not in keeping with the character of such an institution or of the spirit of the age.

2. I submit, that the Institution should be placed in such a position that legal redress may be gained by those who are improperly deprived of their rights. I understand that a decision of the circuit court declares that it cannot sue or be sued; it cannot secure its own rights, and may unjustly deprive others of the same. This is a position such an institution should not occupy.


The regents have made the secretary the organ of communication between them and the other officers, culling off other officers from direct official intercourse with the Board; have neglected to provide or make by-laws for defining the position and powers of persons employed in the Institution, and have expressed the opinion that all the assistants are removable by the secretary at his pleasure.

I submit that they have thus given to the secretary the opportunity to make the subordinate officers his mere creatures and dependents; deprived the public and the regents of the checks and safeguards which honest differences of opinion, among educated men, expressed in a frank and manly way, are likely to furnish, and have contravened what seems to me the plain intention of the legislature in the seventh section of the charter.

I submit that the resolution of the Board, passed on the 8th of July, 1854, conferred upon the secretary no power to remove an assistant, and that the exercise of this assumed power, with reference to Mr. Jewett, was illegal. The resolution of the majority of the Board, passed on the 15th January, 1855, confirming ihe removal, showed that the resolution of the 8th of July was nugatory, and that the removal, when made, was an unauthorized act of arbitrary power.

I submit that the removal of Mr. Jewett was not only illegal and arbitrary, but unjust and oppressive. The only reason assigned is the character of a paper presented by Mr. Jewett to a committee of the Board of Regents, at their invitation, and approved before presentation, as respectful and proper, by two members of the Board of Regents. Mr. Jewett was allowed no opportunity for explaining and vindicating this paper before the committee, nor of seeing ihe answer of the secretary, which was sent to the committee at the same time as Mr. Jewett's communication.

The dismissal was sudden, peremptory, without allegation of neglect of duty or of wrong doing; and was suited to cast upon him a deep and abiding stigma.

I submit that Mr. Jewett's paper, the answer of the secretary, and such remarks as Mr. Jewett may wish to make upon the answer, are worthy of the examination of the committee.

I submit that the complaints of the subordinate officers are proper subjects of inquiry, inasmuch as, if true, they show that the Institution has been conducted by the secretary in a manner unworthy of such an Institution as Congress designed to establish ; and particularly:

1. In claiming and exercising the right to open and read letters directed to his subordinates. (Mr. Jewett, Mr. Baird, Mr. Blodgetl.)

2. In threatening officers with dismissal without any just cause, and even when the only ground of objection to the officer was his refusal to aid bim in contravening resolutions of the regents. (Mr. Jewett, Mr. Baird.)

3. In denying what was claimed as scientific rights, and refusing to take fair measures for adjusting the claim. (Mr. Blodgeti.)

Mr. Wille objected to the receipt of Mr. Meacham's paper, unless he was prepared to prove his allegations.

Mr. Meacham presumed ihey could be proved. They are not personal charges made by himself, but by subordinates. After consultation by the committee as to the mode of procedure,

On motion of Mr. Wells, il was
Resolved, That hereafter all testimony be made under nath.

On motion of Mr. Witte, it was Resolved, That the committee would take up the specifications in order.

On motion of Mr. Cphain, it was Resolred, That in the examination of witnesses, they first be examined by the committec, then by the author of the specifications, and then by the managers on behalf of the Institution.

Ordered, To have subpænaed to appear before the committee Professor Jewelt, Professor Baird, Mr. Lorin Blodgett, Professor Joseph Henry, and Hon. James Meacham.

Adjourned to Friday evening, February 9, at the same time and place.


Committee met pursuant to adjournment. Present : Messrs. Upham, Witte, Wells, and Puryear.

Witnesses : Mr. Meacham, Professors Henry, Jewett, and Blodgett.

Mr. Senator Pearce made a statement as to the action of the Board, in explanation of Mr. Meacham's specifications.

On motion of Mr. Wirte, Resolved, That the consideration of the first part of the specifications be postponed, at the request of the majority of the Board of Regents; and that the committee await the written answer of the committee of the majority of the Smithsonian Institution.

On motion of Mr. Witte, Resolved, That the committee proceed in the consideration of such allegations, contained in paper No. 3, as Mr. Meacham may desire to prove by witnesses now present.

Messrs. Lorin Blodgeit, Joseph Henry, Charles C. Jewelt, sworn as witnesses.

C. C. Jewelt testified as follows:

C. C. Jewell.-I am a graduate of Brown University; graduated in 1835; was two years preceptor of an acad my; studied three years at Andover Theological Seminary; afterwards appointed librarian and

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