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The estimated expenditures for 1863 were as follows:
For building, furniture, and fixtures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . - $2,000 For general expenses ---------------------------------------- 10, 500 For publications, researches, and lectures....................... 10, 500 For library, museum, and gallery of art ........................ 9,000
Total ------------------------------------------- $32,000
The actual expenditure on the building is very nearly the same as the amount appropriated. For general expenses the amount is larger than the estimate, and this is due to the increased cost of materials. For publications, &c., the actual expenditure is nearly the same as the estimate. For library, museum, and gallery of art, the expenditure is nearly three thousand dollars less than the estimate, but this is on account of the expenditure on the collections of the remainder of an appropriation from Congress for the distribution of the specimens. For the year 1864 the same estimates are recommended as those made for 1863. The committee have examined the books and accounts of the Institution for the past year, and find them to be correct. Respectfully submitted. A. D. BACHE, RICHARD WALLACH, Committee.
WAshingtoN, January 20, 1864.
In accordance with a resolution of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, fixing the time of the beginning of their annual session on the third Wednesday of January of each year, the Board met this day in the Regents' room, at 104 o'clock a. m. Present: Hon. S. S. Cox, Hon. J. W. Patterson, Hon. R. Wallach, General J. G. Totten, and Professor Henry, the Secretary.
A quorum not being present, the Board adjourned to meet on Monday, January 25, at 74 p.m.
Monday, January 25, 1864. A meeting of the Board of Regents was held this day at 74 o'clock p.m. Present: Hon. H. Hamlin, Vice-President of the United States, Hon. W. P. Fessenden, Hon. L. Trumbull, Hon. J. W. Patterson, Hon. H. W. Davis, Hon. R. Wallach, Mr. William B. Astor, General Joseph G. Totten, Professor A. D. Bache, the treasurer Mr. Seaton, and Professor Henry, the Secretary. In the absence of the chancellor, Mr. Hamlin was called to the chair. The Secretary announced the election, by joint resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives, of Professor Agassiz, of Massachusetts, as a Regent in place of Mr. Badger, the reappointment by the Speaker of Hon. S. S. Cox, of Ohio, and the appointment of Hon. J. W. Patterson, of New Hampshire, and Hon. Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland, as Regents from the House of Representatives. The general statement of the funds of the Institution and of the receipts and expenditures during 1863 was presented by the treasurer. The Secretary submitted the annual report of the operations of the Institution during the past year, which was read in part. The Secretary made a statement as to the policy which had been adopted in regard to bequests and donations having special conditions attached to them,
and gave the reasons for declining to accept a herbarium which had recently been bequeathed to the Institution.
On motion it was
The Secretary called attention to the unexpected delays and embarrassments which had occurred in obtaining the remainder of the original bequest of Smithson left in England as the principal of an annuity to the mother of the nephew of Smithson, and read the correspondence on the subject with the attorneys, and also a letter from Hon. C. F. Adams, the American minister to England.
On motion it was
Resolved, That a committee be appointed, consisting of the Secretary, Mr. H. W. Davis, and Professor Bache, to confer with the Secretary of State and the British minister relative to the action of the English authorities in regard to the money due the Smithsonian Institution.
On motion, the Board adjourned to meet on Wednesday, January 27, at 74 o'clock p. m.
WEDNESDAY, January 27, 1864. A meeting of the Board of Regents was held at the Institution at 71 o'clock p. m. Present: Hon. H. Hamlin, Vice-President of the United States, Hon. G. Davis, Hon. R. Wallach, Mr. William B. Astor, Professor A. D. Bache, and the Secretary.
Mr. Hamlin was called to the chair.
Professor Bache presented the report of the executive committee, which was read and approved.
The Secretary presented the remainder of his annual report, which was read and adopted.
He also presented a series of letters illustrating the correspondence and operations of the Institution.*
On motion, the Board adjourned to meet at the call of the Secretary.
TUESDAY, March 15, 1864. A meeting of the Board of Regents was held this day at 101 o'clock a. m. Present: Hon. H. Hamlin, Vice-President of the United States, Hon. S. S. Cox, Hon. J. W. Patterson, Hon. R. Wallach, Professor L. Agassiz, Professor A. B. Bache, and the Secretary. Mr. Hamlin was called to the chair. The minutes of the last meeting were read and approved.
The Secretary presented a series of works on natural history, which had been prepared and printed at the expense of the Institution, and also the
* See end of the Proceedings, page 80.
manuscripts of several others which had been offered for publication. All of these, he stated, had been referred for critical examination to Professor Agassiz, who would favor the Board with some remarks in regard to them.
Professor Agassiz stated that, so far as he had had an opportunity of examining the original papers, he considered them worthy of publication; that he would give the whole series of works on natural history, which constitute portions of what is called the Miscellaneous Collections, a critical examination, and present a report upon them at a future time. At present he would beg leave to make a few remarks on the importance of adopting measures for increasing the efficiency of the active operations of the Institution by relieving them of the expense of the support of the museum, library, and gallery of art. Unless this could be done, many valuable contributions to science offered for publication would have to be postponed or refused. He thought that the resources of the Institution were inadequate to carry on at the same time its active operations, and maintain a museum, a library, and a gallery of art upon the only footing upon which they can truly be creditably supported. Without, therefore, making a definite motion, he would submit for future consideration the propriety of asking the government to take charge of the museum, the library, and the building now occupied by the Institution, with a view of maintaining them on a more extensive scale, and relieving the Smithsonian Institution of a large expenditure which, for the advancement and diffusion of science, had better hereafter be devoted to the active operations of the Institution. He hoped that if such a plan would be carried out, the resources reverting to the Institution from the transfer of the museum and library to the government, either to form an independent organization or to be carried on hereafter as before by the Smithsonian Institution, the active operations of the latter would be greatly extended.
The Secretary stated that the suggestions of Professor Agassiz were in accordance with the views which had been entertained by the majority of the Board of Regents from the first discussion of the organization of the Institution; that the present disposition of the funds was a necessity which was imposed upon the directors by the requirements of the law of Congress establishing the Institution, and that he had always entertained the hope that the support of the building and collections would in due time be provided for by the general government, and a national museum be founded which would be commensurate with the intelligence, extent, and resources of the country.
Professor Bache fully concurred in these remarks, and moved the following resolutions, which were adopted:
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to report to the Board of Regents any suggestions for extending the active operations of the Smithsonian Institution, and for the separate maintenance of the collections.
Resolved, That this committee consist of Professor Agassiz, the Secretary of the Institution, Mr. Fessenden, Mr. Patterson, and Mr. Cox.
The Board then adjourned sine die.
LETTERS PRESENTED TO THE BOARD OF REGENTS TO ILLUSTRATE THE CORRESPONDENCE AND OPERATIONS OF THE INSTITUTION.
Communication from Dr. B. A. Gould, on a new discussion and reduction of the observations of Piazzi of Palermo.
CAMBRIDGE, May 16, 1863.
MY DEAR SIR : For many years I have been strongly convinced that an extremely valuable contribution to astronomical science might be made by a new discussion and reduction of the observations of Piazzi at Palermo. This eminent astronomer, with his assistants, was engaged, during the twentytwo years from 1792 to 1813, in observing the positions of the principal fixed stars. He was provided with the best instruments which could be obtained at that time, and his observations have been, and must continue to be, our principal and most trustworthy source of information as to the places of between seven and eight thousand fixed stars at the beginning of the present century. As nearly as I can estimate without an actual count, he must have made about ninety thousand determinations of right ascension, and from sixty to seventy thousand of declination, the original records of which observations still exist. From these he constructed his two well-known catalogues—the first in 1803, the second in 1814—containing the mean places for 1800.0 of 7,646 stars. His methods of observation, while, of course, far inferior in many respects to those of the present day, were the best in use at that period; and the care and fidelity with which they were used seem to have been unsurpassed; and, although the reductions upon which the catalogue was based seem to have been incommensurate in precision with the observations themselves, still this catalogue has, for the past fifty years, been a standard authority with astronomers, and, for a great part of that time, their chief dependence for both the right ascensions and declinations of stars. The original observations of Piazzi were sent by him for safe keeping to his friend Oriani, in Milan, and have been carefully preserved at the Observatory of the Brera in that city. In 1845, Professor Littrou, the director of the Imperial Observatory of Vienna, incited specially, as he says, by Argelander, and encouraged by Bessel, Gauss, Schumacher, Struve, &c., commenced the printing of these original observations as part of the series of Annals of the Vienna Observatory, and they have thus been for several years accessible to astronomers. When organizing the Dudley Observatory in 1856–58, it formed an integral o of my plan, not merely to institute new observations of the heavenly bodies, ut to carry on such computations, reductions, &c., as might render available past observations of this and the last century, which would otherwise be either useless or of inferior value to astronomy. Various undertakings of this kind were planned, but the first of all to be begun was the re-reduction of the whole series of Piazzi's observations, using the best values of the constants of precession, aberration, and mutation, and investigating all the instrumental errors with care; and I made considerable progress in arranging the details of the computation. After communication with Professor Littrou, and an extended correspondence with Professor Argelander on the subject, in which this distinguished astronomer gave me many very useful suggestions, the whole plan was completed, and, but for the misfortunes which interfered with the usefulness of the Dudley Observatory before its activity had fairly begun, the new catalogue would doubtless now have been in the hands of astronomers. My health and opportunities of labor being now greatly improved, I am anxious to resume this work, and write to ask for your influence and aid, as far as possible, in furtherance of the plan. Knowing, as you do, the nature of the