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THE SECRETARY OF THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
BOARD OF REGENTS;
A PROGRAMME OF ORGANIZATION, AND AN ACCOUNT OF THE OPERA-
PRESENTED DECEMBER 8, 1847.
RITCHIE & HEISS, PRINTERS.
GENTLEMEN: A statement of the financial condition of the Smithsonian Institution, and of the progress made in the erection of the building, having been presented to your board by the committees charged with the care of these objects, it becomes my duty, as Secretary of the institution, to give an account of what has been done relative to the development of the plan of organization, and of the steps which have been taken in the way of carrying it into operation.
In accordance with my instructions, I consulted with men of eminence, in the different branches of literature and science, relative to the details of the plan of organization, and arranged the various suggestions offered, in the form of the accompanying programme. This, after having been submitted to a number of persons in whose knowledge and judgment I have confidence, is now presented to the board, with the concurrence of the Committee on Organization, for consideration and provisional adoption. I regret that my engagements have been such as to render it impossible for me to call upon many persons whose counsel would have been valuable, but I hope hereafter to avail myself of their advice in behalf of the institution. I also regret that I could not give the names of those whose sug gestions have been adopted in the programme; the impossibility of rendering justice to all, has prevented my attempting this. Many of the suggestions have been offered by different persons, independently of each other; and, indeed, the general plan of the increase and diffusion of knowledge as adopted by the board, is such as would naturally arise in the mind of any person conversant with the history of physical science, and with the means usually employed for its extension and diffusion.
The introduction to the programme contains a series of propositions, suggested by a critical examination of the will of Smithson, to serve as a guide in judging of the fitness of any proposed plan for carrying out the design of the testator. The first section of the programme gives the details of the plan proposed for the increase and diffusion of knowledge by means of publication and original researches. The second section furnishes the details, so far as they can be made out at the present time, of the formation of a library, and a collection of objects of nature and art. These two plans combined, embrace the general propositions adopted by the Board of Regents at their last meeting, as the basis of future operations. It is intended in the proposed plan to harmonize the two modes of increasing