Second Bill to Establish Smithsonian (Adams)

[H. 386.]


SEC. 1. Be it enacted, etc., That the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States, the Chief Justice of the United States, the Secretaries of State, Treasury, War, and Navy, the Postmaster and Attorney Generals, the chief justice of the circuit court of the United States for the District of Columbia, and the mayor of the city of Washington shall be, and hereby are, constituted a body politic and corporate, by the style and title of the trustees of the Smithsonian Institution for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men, with perpetual succession, and the usual powers, duties and liabilities incident to ties incident to corporations.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the corporation so constituted shall have power to appoint, from citizens of the United States other than members of the board a secretary and a treasurer, to hold their offices during the pleasure of the board, and removable at their pleasure, and others to be appointed in their places, and to fix from time to time their compensation. And the secretary and treasurer only shall receive pecuniary compensation for their services, and those of the members of the board of trustees shall be gratuitous. And the offices of secretary and treasurer may, at the discretion of the board of trustees, be held by the same person. The secretary and treasurer shall be sworn to the faithful discharge of the duties of their respective offices; and the treasurer shall give bond, with the penalty of $50,000, with sureties to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury, for the safe custody and faithful application of all the funds of the institution which may come to his hands or be at his disposal.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That the sum of $508,318.46, placed in the Treasury of the United States on the first day of September, 1838, as the proceeds, in part, of the bequest, of James Smithson to the United States, together with all sums which have been or may hereafter be realized from the said bequest, shall be passed hereafter to the credit of a fund, to be denominated the Smithsonian fund, in the Treasury of the United States. And the faith of the United States is hereby pledged for the preservation of the said fund undiminished and unimpaired, to bear interest at the rate of six per cent a year, payable half-yearly, on the first days of January and July, to the treasurer of the board of trustees of the Smithsonian fund, to be applied to the purposes of the fund, comfortably to the laws, and subject to the revision and regulations of the board of trustees.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That no part of the said Smitsonian fund, principal or interest, shall be applied to any school, college, university other institute of education, or ecclesiastical establishment.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That the appropriations to be made from time to time by Congress, to the purposes of the Smithsonian Institution, as declared by the testator, shall be exclusively from the accruing interest, and not from the principal, of the said fund; but Congress shall retain the power of investing, at their discretion, the principal of said fund and its increase in any other manner, so as to secure not less than a yearly interest of six per cent, and may appropriate, from any other unappropriated moneys in the Treasury, sums to an amount not exceeding six years of the accruing interest on the Smithsonian fund, to be repaid from the said accruing interest into the Treasury.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That the sum of $30,000, part of the accruing interest on the same Smithsonian fund, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated towards the erection and establishment, at the city of Washington, of an astronomical observatory, adapted to the most effective and continual observations of the phenomena of the heavens; to be provided with the necessary, best, and most perfect instruments and books, for the periodical publication of the said observations, and for the annual composition and publication of a nautical almanac.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That the said observatory shall be erected under the direction of the board of trustees on a site in the city of Washington to be selected by them; and should the same be on land belonging to the United States so much thereof as in the opinion of the trustees shall be necessary for the purpose shall be conveyed to them in consideration of the sum of $10,000 taken from that fund by the general appropriation act of March 3, 1839: Provided, That if no such suitable site can be found on the public lands, that then a selection of a site on private property may be made at a price not exceeding one-half cent per square foot, to be paid out of the appropriation in the immediately preceding section of this act.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That all expenditures made by the said board of trustees shall be subject to the approval of the President of the United States; and all the accounts thereof shall be reported to the Secretary of the Treasury and audited under his direction by the proper officers of the Treasury Department, and the said board shall report to Congress at every session thereof the state of the Smithsonian fund and a full statement of their receipts arid expenditures during the preceding year.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the first meeting of the trustees of the Smithsonian fund shall be held at the city of Washington on the third Tuesday of ______ next, and that in the meantime the custody of the said fund and the expenditures under the appropriations herein made shall be held and authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury, subject to the approbation of the President of the United States.

SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That there shall be a board of visitors to be annually appointed, consisting of nine members, two of whom to he commissioned officers of the Army, to be appointed by the Secretary of War, two commissioned officers of the Navy, to be appointed by the Secretary of the Navy; the mayors, for the time being, of the cities of Alexandria and of Georgetown within the District of Columbia and one citizen of each of the cities of Washington, Alexandria, and Georgetown, to be appointed by the President of the United States, who shall meet on the first Monday of February, at eleven o'clock before noon, at the said astronomical observatory and visit and inspect the condition of the said observatory and of the Smithsonian Institution generally. They shall choose among themselves a chairman and shall make report to the President of the United States of the said condition of the institution, specifically indicating in what respect the institution has during the pre ceding year contributed to the purpose of the founder-the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. To this board the astronomical observator shall make a report to the same effect so far as regards the astronomical branch of the institution which report shall be annexed to that of the board to the President of the United States, who shall communicate the said reports of, Congress. The services of the members of said board shall be gratuitous.

SEC. 11. And be it further enacted, That there is reserved to Congress the right of altering, amending, adding to, or repealing any of the provisions of this act which shall be found inconvenient upon experience: Provided, That no contract or individual right made or acquired under such provisions shall thereby be impaired or divested.

SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the sum of $60,000 of the interest accrued and now invested in bonds of the State of Arkansas and ________, bearing an interest at the rate of six per cent a year, and $600 a year, be, and it is hereby, constituted a fund from the yearly interest of which the compensation shall be paid of an astronomical observator to be appointed by the board of overseers, removable at their discretion, and another to be appointed whenever the said office may be vacant. His compensation shall be at the rate of three thousand dollars a year, and $600 a year for the incidental and contingent expenses of repairs upon the buildings, as they may be required.

SEC. 13. And be it further enacted, That the sum of $120,000, from the interest already accrued or to accrue hereafter to that amount, and yielding yearly interest at the rate of six per cent a year, be, and its hereby, constituted a fund, from the interest of which four assistants to the astronomer and laborers necessary for attendance on him for the care and preservation of the buildings, shall be provided and supported. The compensation of the four assistants to be at the rate of $1,500 a year each, and the compensation of the laborers (with compensations not to exceed in amount for the whole of those found necessary) $1,200 a year; the assistants and laborers to be appointed and removable by the said board of trustees, at their discretion.

SEC. 14. And be it further enacted, That the sum of $20,000 of the interest hereafter to accrue from the said Smithsonian fund be, and is hereby, appropriated to furnish an assortment of the best and most perfect instruments for astronomical observation to be procured under the direction of the astronomical observator, to be appointed conformably to the twelfth section of this act.

SEC. 15. And be it further enacted, That the further sum of $10,000 of the interest to accrue on the said fund be, and hereby is, constituted a fund from the interest of which other instruments may be from time to time procured, as occasions for the use of them may arise, and for repairs of instruments, as needed.

SEC. 16. And be it further enacted, That the sum of $10,000, to accrue from the future interest on the said fund, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated for the purchase of a library of books of science and literature for the use of the observatory, to be selected by the observator; and the further sum of $20,000 of the said interest to accrue from the said fund is hereby constituted a fund from the yearly interest of which the sum of $1,200 shall be applied for the constant supply of new works, transactions of learned societies, and periodical publications upon science in other parts of the world or in America.

SEC 17. And be it further enacted, That the further sum of $30,000 of the interest hereafter to accrue from the said principal Smithsonian fund be, and hereby is, constituted a fund from the income of which, being $1,800 a year, shall be defrayed the expense of the yearly publication of the observations made at the observatory, and of a nautical almanac to be called the Smithsonian Almanac.

SEC. 18. And be it further enacted, That for any other moneys which have accrued, or may hereafter accrue, upon the said Smithsonian fund not herein appropriated the board of trustees are hereby authorized to make such disposal as they shall deem necessary for the promotion of the purpose of the testator-the increase and diffusion and diffusion of knowledge among men.

E-text by Courtney Danforth