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The explanations and illustrations of the preceding programme by Doctor Henry are very full and ably drawn. Our limits will only allow us to insert the following general remarks:
"The programme embraces the general propositions adopted by the Board of Regents at their last meeting, as the basis of future operations. It is intended to harmonize the two modes of increasing and diffusing knowledge, and to give to the institution the widest influence compatible with its limited income. That all the propositions will meet with general approval cannot be expected; and that this organization is the best that could be devised, is neither asserted nor believed. To produce a priori a plan of organization which shall be found to succeed perfectly in practice, and require no amendment, would be difficult under the most favourable circumstances, and becomes almost impossible where conflicting opinions are to be harmonized, and the definite requirements of the act establishing the institution are to be observed. It is not intended that the details of the organization, as given in the programme, should be permanently adopted without careful trial; they are rather presented as suggestions to be adopted provisionally, and to be carried into operation gradually and cautiously, with such changes, from time to time, as experience may dictate.
That the institution is not a national establishment, in the sense in which institutions dependent on the government for support are so, must be evident when it is recollected that the money was not absolutely given to the United States, but intrusted to it for a special object, namely: the establishment of an institution for the benefit of men, to bear the name of the donor, and, consequently, to reflect upon his memory the honour of all the good which may be accomplished by means of the bequest. The operations of the Smithsonian Institution ought, therefore, to be mingled as little as possible with those of the government, and its funds should be applied exclusively and faithfully to the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.
"That the bequest is intended for the benefit of men in general, and that its influence ought not to be restricted to a single district, or even nation, may be inferred not only from the words of the will, but also from the character of Smithson himself; and I beg leave to quote from a scrap of paper in his own hand, the following sentiment bearing on this point: The man of science has no country; the world is his country-all men, his countrymen.' The origin of the funds, the bequest of a foreigner, should also preclude the adoption of a plan which does not, in the words of Mr. Adams, spread the benefits to be derived from the institution not only over the whole surface of this Union, but throughout the civilized world.' Mr. Smithson's reason for fixing the seat of his institution at Washington obviously was, that there is the seat of government of the United States, and there the Congress by whose legislation, and the Executive through whose agency, the trust committed to the honour, intelligence, and good faith of the nation, is to be fulfilled.' The centre of operations being permanently fixed at Washington, the character of this city for literature and science will be the more highly exalted in proportion as the influence of the institution is more widely diffused.
"That the terms increase and diffusion of knowledge are logically distinct, and should be literally interpreted with reference to the will, must be evident when we reflect that they are used in a definite sense, and not as mere synonymes, by all who are engaged in the pursuits to which Smithson devoted his life. In England there are two classes of institutions, founded on the two ideas conveyed by these terms. The Royal Society, the Astronomical, the Geological, the Statistical, the Antiquarian Societies, all have for their object the increase of knowledge; while the London Institution, the Mechanics' Institution, the Surry Institution, the Society for the Diffusion of Religious
Knowledge, the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, are all intended to diffuse or disseminate knowledge among men. In our own country, also, the same distinction is observed in the use of the terms by men of science. Our colleges, academies, and common schools, are recognised as institutions partially intended for the diffusion of knowledge, while the express object of some of our scientific societies is the promotion of the discovery of new truths."
Connected with the last annual report to which we have before referred, is the report of Professor Jewett, the assistant secretary, on the subject of a library. It is one of the most able and interesting papers of the kind that we have seen. We condense his comparative statistics of the public libraries in Europe and the United States:
"Of Great Britain, France, Italy, the United States, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and the Scandinavian kingdoms, it appears that the smallest of the last, Denmark, is, in the proportion of its population, the richest in books, while Spain and Russia are beyond all the rest of Europe.
"The following table exhibits the number of books in each country, as ascertained by recent examinations:
The average size of libraries possessing more than 10,000 volumes is represented in the following table, which also contains the number of volumes in the largest library of each country, and the number of volumes to each million of inhabitants:
To this statement may be added some facts in relation to particular libraries in Europe and the United States.
The Royal Library of Copenhagen contains 463,000 volumes, and 22,000 manuscripts, while that at Stockholm, founded by Gustaf Vasa, contains 70,000
volumes. There are also in other parts of Denmark, and Norway, and Sweden immense collections, of which no computation has been made. The Bibliotheque du Roi, at Paris, contains 800,000 printed books, and 100,000 manuscripts, not counting duplicates, and receives an increase of 15,000 volumes annually. This library is open to the public, male and female, without any limitation other than a strict surveillance of a special police.
In the United States the improvement of libraries during the last twenty years has been immense. When Washington Irving wrote his History of the Life and Voyages of Columbus, the material could not be had in America. There are now several libraries containing all he would desire. There is yet much imperfectness in our collections, so much so that it is probable that even now the citations of Gibbon's great history could not be verified on this continent. The library of Harvard now contains 70,000 volumes, and is well selected, and the foundations for immense collections have been laid by more than one of the Universities of the United States, and especially by those under the control of the Roman Catholic church.
In relation to the inadequacy of our collections, notwithstanding the vast additions that have been made within a few years, Professor Jewett remarks: "In Mr. Wheaton's History of International Law-a production which reflects great credit upon American talent and scholarship, and which procured for its lamented author the honour of election to the French Institute-139 works are referred to in the notes. A much larger number were, of course, consulted, many of which are mentioned in the body of the work. Thirtynine among the most important and expensive of those which are formally cited, are not to be found in the largest law libraries in the United States. More than one-half of the remainder are common books, to be found in any well selected general library of 5,000 volumes. This work was written in Europe. It could not have been written in this country from the materials contained in our public libraries.
"If we take a book of a different kind, demanding for its composition a thorough knowledge of the history of one of the physical sciences, and, consequently, requiring the assistance of authorities less accessible and of less general importance, the result will be all the more striking.
"In the first volume of Hoefer's History of Chemistry, 251 works are referred to. Of these, about fifty are common books, to be found in almost any library of 5,000 volumes. Of the remaining 191, I cannot find 75 in all our public libraries.
"Mr. J. R. Bartlett informs me that of 204 works which he refers to in his report on the progress of ethnology, 129 are not to be found in the public libraries of New York, nor in any others probably in the United States. The cost of the books which, in order to prepare his work, he had to procure at his own expense, was $1,000. And yet this report is only a pamphlet of 151 pages.
"From these facts it is manifest that there is no exaggeration in the language of one of the members of our Board of Regents, from South Carolina, who, in a report to the Senate, in 1836, stated that "our whole body of literature, if collected in one place, would not afford the means of investigating one point of science or literature through all, or even a considerable portion of what has been written on it." Here, he adds, "where the foundations of government repose on the aggregate intelligence of the citizens, the assistance afforded by public institutions to the exertions of intellect is but onetenth of that within the reach of the mind of civilized Európe."
Upon the subject of the accumulation and use of enormous libraries, the Professor further remarks:
It has been supposed by some not acquainted with researches requiring many books, that very large libraries are superfluous. They calculate, perhaps, how many books a man can read in a long life, and ask what can be the use of more. Indeed, many men fond of reading feel like an English writer of some note, who describes his pain as amounting to "midsummer madness" when he entered a large library and reflected how small a number of all the books it contained he could read through.
"In my youthful days," says De Quincy, "I never entered a great library, say of 100,000 volumes, but my predominant feeling was one of pain and disturbance of mind, not much unlike that which drew tears from Xerxes, on reviewing his immense army, and reflecting that in one hundred years no one soul would remain alive. To me, with respect to the books, the same effect would be brought about by my death. Here, said I, are 100,000 books, the worst of them capable of giving me some pleasure and instruction, and before I can have had time to extract the honey from one-twentieth of this hive, in all likelihood I shall be summoned away.
"Now I have been told by an eminent English author, that with respect to one single work, namely: the History of Thuanus, a calculation has been made by a Portuguese monk, which showed that barely to read over the words, and allowing no time for reflection, would require three years' labour at the rate of, I think, three hours a day. Further, I had myself ascertained that to read a duodecimo volume in prose of four hundred pages, all skipping being barred, and the rapid reading which belongs to the vulgar interest of a novel, was a very sufficient work for one day. Consequently, three hundred and sixty-five per annum, that is with a very small allowance for the claims of life on one's own account and on that of one's friends, one thousand for every triennium, that is ten thousand in thirty years, will be as much as a man who lives for that only can hope to accomplish. From the age of twenty to eighty, the utmost he could hope to travel through would be twenty thousand volumes, a number not, perhaps, above five per cent. of what the mere current literature of Europe would accumulate in that period of years."
Now, supposing for a moment that there were no other use to be made of books but the reading of them through at so many pages the hour, one would think it might have occurred to this writer that there are among the frequenters of a large library a great variety of men, with a wide diversity of interests, tastes and pursuits; that though each might not be able to read through more than two thousand books-one-tenth part of the supposed number-still fifty men, whose reading was in different directions, might call for a hundred thousand.
Of the financial condition of the Smithsonian Institution, the following report was made by the executive committee, Messrs. W. W. Seaton, J. A. Pearce, and A. D. Bache, up to the 1st of January, 1849.
The whole amount of Smithson's property received into the treasury of the United States on the 1st September, 1838, was $515,169. The interest which had accrued on the same up to 1st July, 1846, when, by the act of Congress, the funds were placed under the direction of the Board of Regents, was $242,129. This sum, together with the accruing interest, the Board of Regents were authorized to expend in the erection of a building and in defraying the current expenses of the Institution.
During the last two years and four months, in which the Institution has been under the charge of the Regents, there has been expended towards attendance of the Regents, and incidental and miscellaneous expenses, the erection of the building, improvement of grounds, salaries of officers, the sum of
If to this we add the premium of 8 per cent., which treasury notes now bear, say
The funds of the Institution will be
Thus showing, that after an expenditure of $106,520 19, the cash on hand and the value of the cash investments, exceed the amount on hand, on the organization of the Institution, in September, 1846, by about $12,000, subject, however, to a few outstanding accounts not yet presented, estimated at $7,500.
STATISTICS OF IMMIGRATION.
FROM THE NEW YORK COMMERCIAL ADVERTISER.
THE number of immigrants who arrived at New York by sea, during the month of June, 1849, was 29,078; being an increase of 6,031 over the number arriving in June, 1848. The number who arrived in July was 30,698; being an increase over July, 1848, of 5,476.
Thus the number who arrived in June and July of the present year was 59,176, against 47,669 last year; an increase of 11,507 in two months.
The increase in the present year is 32,818 over the number arriving in the same time of last year. And the number arriving in seven months of the present year is more than fourfold the number who arrived in an equal time of 1844.
The following table will show the places of birth of immigrants who arrived in the year 1849, and the reader will be enabled to ascertain therefrom whence the vast increase in the number of immigrants arriving in this country is principally derived.
Table showing the countries in which the immigrants were born, who arrived at New York in the first seven months of 1849.