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CHAPTER I THE FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY THE National Academy of Sciences owes its origin as an organization, in an indirect manner, to the need of the Government for technical scientific avarice in con- nection with the conduct of the Civil War. In February, ~863, the Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, appointed a " Per- manent Commission," consisting of Joseph Henry, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Alexander Dallas B ache, Superin- tendent of the Coast Survey, and Charles H. Davis, Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department, to report on various " matters of science and art," but chiefly of a practical import and relating to the physical sciences. These experts considered numerous subjects, and gave their opinion regarding them. The letter of appointment, which is preserved in the archives of the Navy Department, is as follows: NAVY DEPARTMENT, "February As, ~863. " SIR: The Department proposes to organize upon the following programme a permanent commission to which all subjects of a scientific character on which the Government may require information may be referred. " Propositions relative to a permanent scientific commission: " fist. There shall be constituted a permanent commission consisting of, for the present, Commodore Davis, Professor Henry, and Professor Bache, to which shall be referred questions of science and art upon which the Department may require ~ - ntormatlon. " ad. This commission shall have authority to call in associates to aid in their investigations and inquiries. " 3d. The members and associates of the Commission shall receive no compen- sation for their services. " You are directed to act as a member of the Commission in conjunction with Professor Henry and Professor Bache. I

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2 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES " Such matters as are presented to the Department will be referred to you for examination and report by the Commission. " I am respectfully, etc., GIDEON WEILES, " Sect of Nav.. COMMODORE CHARLES H. DAVIS, " Chief of B2`rea2' of Navigational.', 1 Captain C. H. Davis, who published a life of his father, Rear- Admiral Charles H. Davis, in Ii399' wrote as follows regarding the labors of this Commission: " This commission was no sinecure, and was constantly in session, for it was at this time that mechanical and scientific ingenuity was beginning to be felt in application to naval construction and equipment, and to this commission were referred the innumerable plans and proposals for new inventions and devices with which the government at Washington was flooded. This commission is inter- esting because it led to the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences." 2 From the designation " Permanent Commission," it might nat- urally be inferred that this body was preceded by an organiza- tion or board of a temporary character, but such appears not to have been the fact. There was, apparently, but one Commission, which owed its rather peculiar name to an endeavor on the part of Admiral Davis to find a designation corresponding to the term " Select Commission " sometimes employed by the British Government.3 Admiral Davis was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Naviga- tion in the Navy Department in July, ~862, and resided in Wash- ington from November of that year until April, ~865. During that time, according to Captain Davis, " he wrote home almost every day." Among the published letters of this period are four which throw a strong light on the steps which led to the organiza- tion of the Permanent Commission and the Academy. They 1 Letters to Heads of Bureaus (manuscript), vol. 4, July to, z86z, to December ~7, T868, P ~53. ~ Davis, C. H. Life of Charles Henry Davis, Rear-Admiral, ~807-~877, by his son, Captain Charles H. Davis. New York, z899, p. 286. Captain Davis later reached the rank of llear-Admiral, but to distinguish him from his father, he is referred to below as Captain Davis. See also G. Brown Goode, "The Smithsonian Institution, ~846-~896," p. ~52. 3 See Admiral Davis' letter of February 24, ~863, quoted on p. 3.

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FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY 3 reveal the fact that the two organizations were closely associated in the minds of their originators, and also that they came into existence almost at the same time. It seems best, on this account, to consider them in connection with each other rather than to attempt to trace the beginnings of each organization separately. The four letters referred to, as they appear in Captain Davis' book, are as follows: " February 2, ~863. How much have I told you, if anything, about a Per- manent Commission or Academy? Bache, Henry, and myself are very busy on this topic, and have made a move which will no doubt result in the Permanent Commission. The Academy is more doubtful " (p. 289) . " February 20. Inclosed is a copy of the order creating the Permanent Com- mission. But the Academy is to be introduced into Congress by Mr. Wilson Senator from Massachusetts]. The whole plan of it was arranged last night between Mr. Wilson, Agassiz, Bache and Ben [Professor Peirce]. It was my plan amplified and improved " (p. 289~. " February 24. I told you a word about the Academy in one of my notes, but only a word, being in a hurry. The appointment of a Permanent Commission was suggested to me by one of my letters, which quoted a passage from the British War Office which spoke of a Select Commission; and when I mentioned it to Bache and Henry they acquiesced, and the latter presented the plan to the department. You saw, by the copy of the Secretary's letter to me, that our plan was accepted without any change whatever. We had hardly got through this thing before the idea flashed upon my mind that the whole plan, so long entertained, of the Academy could be successfully carried out if an act of incorporation were boldly asked for in the name of some of the leading men of science from different parts of the country. This I submitted to Bache and Henry with details, but the view was not immediately adopted. The next step was Agassiz coming to Washington as one of the regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Then followed a visit to Agassiz by Senator Wilson, who had nominated him to the regency. At this meeting, which took place at Bache s, Ben, Bache, and Dr. Gould were present; and it was there that the mode of proceeding was devised. Mr. Wilson intro- duced the bill last Saturday " .... (p. 289~. " February 27. .... I am looking for Agassiz to come here and be intro- duced to Admiral Foote, and then to go with me to the Capitol to see Mr. Grimes about the Academy bill. I go to the President's once more, and I hope for the last time, this morning. " The dinner at Bache's was particularly pleasant, even for the chief's enter- tainments, which never fail to be agreeable. Judge Loring, Mr. Hosford, and Mr. Hilgard were there .... " (p. 291~. i,

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4 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES " March 7. .... If the plan we first pitched upon had been followed, that of creating the Academy with a dozen or twenty members, and allowing them to organize and fill up the whole number by usual system of ballot, then the odium of exclusion would have been divided and distributed You will perceive at once that, on the plan I proposed, not only would the odium (if any) of exclusion be numerously shared, but a wider and broader opinion and control would have been brought to bear on selection, which would then have become election. And this was due to the interests of the government and to the claims of men of science " (p. age). In these letters the chronological order of the events narrated is largely inverted, and, on the first perusal of them, the actual sequence is not readily comprehended. They inform us that Admiral Davis, having come to Washington in November, ~862, heard and participated in various discussions among his scientific associates of the need of a national scientific organization. Hav- ing served as a member of various advisory boards, the idea occurred to him not long before :February a, ~863, that the organization might take the form of a Permanent Commission. He at once broached the subject to B ache and Henry who agreed that the plan was meritorious, while at the same time clinging to the idea of founding an academy. Henry was so favorably impressed with the commission plan that he immediately pre- sensed it to the Navy Department. This plan received the prompt attention of the Secretary of the Navy, who issued an order on February ~ I, creating the Permanent Commission. While awaiting the result of the Navy Department's con- s~uerat~on of the plan to establish a scientific commission, the idea occurred to Admiral Davis that an academy might be organized by the simple process of asking Congress for its incor- poration " in the name of some of the leading men of science from different parts of the country." This idea was also pre- sented to Bache and Henry, who, however, were not immediately convinced of its merits. About this time Louis Agassiz, having been nominated by Senator Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, a regent of the Smithsonian Institution, came to Washington and met him on February ~9, at the house of Professor B ache, where were also assembled Professor Peirce, Dr. B. A. Gould

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FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY s and we may presume, Admiral Davis. The plan of incorporat- ing an academy was discussed, and it was decided that Senator Wilson should introduce a bill of incorporation, which he did on Saturday, February at. Admiral Davis asserts that the plan of action adopted on this occasion was his own, " amplified and improved." While there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of the state- ments regarding the organization of the Academy contained in these letters, which were written while the events were taking place, it is interesting to find that many of them are corroborated by other documents. That Louis Agassiz was nominated by Senator Wilson as a regent of the Smithsonian Institution at the time mentioned by Davis is verified by the record of the proceedings of the 37th Congress contained in the Congressional Gio be. From this journal we learn that his name was proposed in the Senate by Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, on Februaly 6, ~863, and that the joint resolution providing for his appointment (Senate no. ~6) was passed on that date; that this resolution passed the House on February ~ 9, ~ 863 ; and that it was signed by President Lincoln on February 21.4 The date of the introduction by Senator Wilson of the bill incorporating the Academy is also found to be correctly given in Davis' letter. The Globe contains the following regarding it: IN THE SENATE. Friday, F`ebruary 20, ~863. " Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, gave notice of his intention to ask leave to introduce a bill to incorporate a national academy of sciellces." 5 Saturday, February 2I, 1863. " Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, in pursuance of previous notice, asked and obtained leave to introduce a bill (S. No. 555) to incorporate the National Academy of Sciences; which was read twice by its title, and ordered to lie on the table, and be printed." ~ The bill was passed by the Senate on March 3, ~863, without ~iscussion.7 4 Congressional Globe, 37th Congress, ad Session, pp. 762', ~~, ~8~. 5 Loc. cit., p. ~3~. 6 Loc. cit., p. Its. Bloc. cit., pp. Moo, arson. There was no report on this bill.

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6 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES IN THE HOUSE. March 3, ~863. " Mr. Thomas, of Massachusetts. I ask the unanimous consent of the House for leave to take up Senate bill No. 555, to incorporate a National Academy of Science. " There was no objection, and the bill was taken up, read three times, and passed. " Mr. Thomas, of Massachusetts, moved to reconsider the vote by which the bill was passed; and also moved that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. " The latter motion was agreed to." ~ The bill, having been passed by both Houses, was signed by the President on the same day, Tuesday, March 3' 1863. Upon examining the list of names of persons at the meeting held at the house of Professor B ache on February In, to arrange the plan of incorporation, it will be noted that Joseph Henry is not mentioned. One might suppose that his name was acciden- tally omitted by Admiral Davis, but from remarks made later by Henry it appears certain that he did not attend the meeting. In his report as President of the Academy, for the year ~867, he speaks as follows: " I feel myself more at liberty to urge the claims of the Academy, inasmuch as its members generally, including myself, took no step toward its establishment. Indeed, I must confess that I had no idea that the national legislature, amid the absorbing; and responsible duties connected with an intestine war, which threatened the very existence of the Union, would pause in its deliberations to consider such a proposition." 9 Whether other motives than the mere doubt of the feasibility of the plan for incorporating the Academy influenced Henry in refraining from attending the meeting of February I9, can, perhaps, not be discovered after the lapse of so many years. As soon as the Academy had been established, he took an active part in its proceedings, becoming chairman of the first com- mittee appointed in ~863, and a member of two others appointed in ~863 and ~864. He also read a paper at the first scientific session of the Academy, in January, ~864, " On Materials of Combustion for Lamps in Light-houses." His name does not, P. s. 8Loc. cit., p. USA. Rep. Nat. Acad. Sci. for ~867. Sen. Misc. Doc. no. for, 40th Congress, ad Session, z868.

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POUNDING 0E InE AC-E~Y 7 botchers appear in the first hat of officers Of the Academy, nor of the members of the Council. ~bile, as teas been seen, many of the statements in Admlra1 Davl~ letters regardlog the lulda1 steps in 1be formation of the Academy are substantiated by other records, the most important one teas yet to be considered. Ibis ~ big claim that the practlca1 plan for brlnglug the organlzatlon into existence was bit own, though ~ ampllbed and improved/, as be remarks by the sug- gestions of others. It ~ not to be supposed that Davls intended to claim b~vlug orlglnated the idea of ~ natlona1 scientlOc assoclatlon or academy. Ibis though as Goode teas abort Was in the minds of ~ash- lngton, Jefferson, Barlow, and other early American statesmen and publicist and led to practlca1 results of large importance through the Chides of Franklin, John Adams and Poinse,. Bacbe dwelt on the need of ~ national scientific organization in his address as retiring President of 1be American Association for the Advancement of Science, at Albany, in I86I, on Ebb occasion be said: ~ But first ~ few otse^~dons on the ~dlnary Yes of pr~otlng sconce; in connexlon Nab filch, I would Troy out for your conslderatlon some reasons Lab induce me to bulge that ~~ ;~f~;o~ of ;~ &~ go c~;~, oafs ~ Bark ~~ ;~ oar co~, to ~~e ,~r JO ;~ rr~s fo ,~r Iffy..... ~ It b, I b~leve, ~ common mantle to a~ocl~te He lJea of ~dem~1 losd- tutlons Lab mon=^l~ lnstltutlons. Ye ~~ in Also ~ in may IBM things, the prdudlce of our resent. Ye bye Tong us the To extremes of exaggerated natlonaL~ and of ~ces~ve lmhatlon; let us modlly em ~ Be other, and be Else. ~ nations lnsd~te ~ not necessary to Great Brltaln, ~1~ her rlcb an] powerful unlvershles RepubIlcan France bag cberl~ed her Institute, se~lng rather to extend ~= to curtail its proportions. .... Nor does the leer of ~ necessary connexlon baleen centrallzatlon and an insthutlon strike me as ~ vend one. Suppose ~ lnsUtute of ably Be members belong in turn ~ em of our Bluely scattered stated ~rklog at Ear plum of r~ldence and r~ortlog their resow; Debug My at p~tl~lar d~ and for speck purples; engaged in ravage s~l-~ec~d, or decked by Be body' caged for by Confess or ~ the ~ Coode, G. Brown, The Orlgln of Me ~atlona1 6clentlAc sad Educatlon~1 InsHtutlons of the Unked States. Ann. Rep. Amer. Also Assoc. for x8Sg, pp. ~3-xGx. xSgo. l

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8 URINAL PIETY 0P SOENCES Ex~utlve, To furnish the Cons for the lnqulrles. The detaN of sum or~lz~tlon cold be mewed out so ~ to Care Vacancy Abut ~ntr~lzatloa, and constant labor ~~ 1~ ~pr~rlate results. The public tryout Could ~ sued many Ales He puppet of such ~ ~ncll, by the sound AL -1~ it would d~ in regard to the varl~s project ably a~ constantly forced upon their notice, Ed in regard to AL tab are now Dappled to decide Abut the kn~ed~ whl~ Ale can ensure ~ Else c-duslon. Be ma of sclen~ Lo are ~ the seat of Averment either custody or temporally, ~= too ~~ Coupled in Be special Ark -1~ belong to their ~~ odds to answer =^ ~ purple; besides, the ~J8ltl~d resp~slblllty Thy, if Hey were Led to~ber, they must n~essarDy bears would prove too Heat ~ burtben, conslJerlng the fe~ld zeal =d I moat Smut say fierceness Lab AL questers of intent are pursued and the very ~tr~rdlnary means resorted to to bring Bat su=~ful concIusl-..... #{ Our country is making =~ rely probes in masterly lmp~ements, tab it ~ lmpo~ble for tuber He led~atlve or executive Abutments of our Government to mold incidentally, if not dl~dy, being lnv~ved in the Talon of sum -~ #~ ~1- lUs em ~ ~ ~~ ~~ ~ few ~1~ of spend Which do not bear ~ the incrusts of c=~rce and n~lgatlon, n=~1 ~ mllltary concerns, He customs, He ll~t-h~ses. the public lams. o~t-~cs . . . .. . . , . . . and p~ds, elder daftly or remedy. If all examln~- is ~fused, He good is conf~ndeJ Dab the bad, and He Government ma lee ~ most lmport~t advents. If a declare ~ left to lnOuence' or to imperfect kno~leJ~' He Corm consequ==s Ludlow. " Sum ~ boUv ~~Id suDDlv ~ Dlace not ~cuDleJ by Lang lostltutl~s, and . ably our In 1~ from its temporary and voluntary ^xr=er' not He supply. 1: ^ . , . ^ , Ibis declaration, ~bicb foresbado~s so much of the program of the ~ationa1 Academy organized twelve years later, must brave been Ecu known to Admiral (tben Lieutenant) David Indeed, ~ ~ probable that be listened to Professor Bacbe~ ad- dress Ruben delivered in Albany' as be was present at the meeting , , , , ~ , . and read ~ paper nlmsel1 on the solar eclipse of July 28, I86I. Ibe claim of David tberefore1 was not that be Was the Arst to detect the need of ~ national academy of science, or to outline 1 proper character and scope, but that be first bit on ~ pracdca1 plan for bringing it into existence and for securing the inida1 mcmbersbip. "Proc. Amer. Assoc. AdvaDc. Scl.' 6~ ~eetln~ X85I (XS53), pp. ~lYll-ll.

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FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY 9 The more interesting question as to what scientific men were the chief promoters of the Academy movement is not easy of solution. Not only has the little coterie which is mentioned by Davis as having arranged the plan of incorporation passed array, but all the group of fifty incorporators. Of some of these men no published biographies exist, and for others we have only brief sketches and fragments of correspondence. Piecing together the scraps and shreds of information scattered through many volumes leads to no very satisfactory result. We may confidently believe that, as Davis informs us, Bache, Peirce, Henry, Davis and B. A. Gould were strongly imbued with the idea that some form of national scientific organization, created by and bearing at least a quasi-official relation to the Federal Government would be of importance both to American science and to the Government. It is more difficult to be assured as to others. The name of Louis Agassiz should probably be added to the list, although the idea seems tenable that his activities in behalf of the Academy were prompted chiefly by a desire to aid his scientific associates and friends. Marcou states that Agassiz " may be called one of the founders, but not the ' prime mover "' and intimates that he took part in the plans for incorporation mainly to satisfy Bach. However this may be, he was sufficiently interested in the Academy to accept the position of foreign secretary, to which he was elected at the first meeting in ~863, and also to take an active part in shaping the constitution and by-laws.23 Among those who have been mentioned as early promoters of the Academy is J. Peter Lesley. In a biographical sketch of his life read before the American Institute of Mining Engineers in ~903, Benjamin S. Lyman remarks: "About ~862 he Wesley and several of his scientific friends earnestly dis- cussed the desirableness of forming a National Academy of Science, that should 12Marcou, Jules. Life, letters and works of Louis Agassiz, voL 2, 1895, p. zs7. Many of Marcou's statements are erroneous, as, for example, that Henry Wilson was Vice- President of the United States at the time of the incorporation of the Academy. They can hardly be accepted unless corroborated by other testimony. 13 See Ames, Mary Lesley, Life and letters of Peter and Susan Lesley, vol. I, 1909, p. 4~9, where there is an amusing account of the meeting for organization.

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IO NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES be limited in number and more select than the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and should have its meetings less encumbered with unsatisfactory communications. He was decidedly in favor of the enterprise, thinking that the exclusive character, and what might possibly be considered the aristocratic appearance or desires of such an organization, would not be distasteful to Americans, nor really inconsistent with their democratic principles. The Academy was incorporated by the United States Congress in ~863, and he was one of the original members, and continued to be a member throughout his life." ~4 The foregoing assertion of Lesley's early interest in the forma- tion of an academy bears the impress of accuracy, but is some- what at variance with a published letter of Mrs. Lesley, dated Starch 8, ~863, as follows: " Yesterday came an official letter from the Honorable Henry Wilson, naming him [Lesley] as one of the corporators of the new National Academy of Sciences, and asking his attendance at the first meeting in New York. This was a very great surprise to Peter Wesley, a thing entirely unsought and unsolicited, and gives him pleasure." 25 It is quite in harmony with LesIey's unselfish and unassuming character that his interest in the Academy should be entirely impersonal. There are some indications besides that contained in Lyman's address, just quoted, that the question of forming an academy was more or less widely discussed in ~862. In a biographical sketch of Professor Benjamin A. Gould, written by A. McF. Davis and published in ~ 897, the following remark is made: " In ~862, he was appointed to reduce and compute the astronomical observa- tions made at the Washington Observatory, and he was active both that year and the next in promoting the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences, of which he was an original member." \6 Doctor George W. Hill, in a letter addressed to Doctor Arnold Hague, remarks of Admiral Davis and Professor Peirce: 14 Ames, Mary Lesley. Life and letters of Peter and Susan Lesley, vol. a, ~909, p. 469. (Appendix D. Biographical sketch of J. Peter Lesley, by Benjamin Smith Lyman, Phila- delphia, Pa. (New York Meeting, American Institute of Mining Engineers, October, z903.~.) (Published originally in Trans. Amer. Inst. Mining Engineers.) 35 Op. cit., vol. I, p. 4~9 ~ Davis, A. McF. Benjamin Apthorp Gould. Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc., April, z897, p. 7. (Also separate.)

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FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY I I " My impression is that these two men originated the idea of having a general scientific society for the whole country which, as far as our democratic institutions would allow, in imitation of those of Europe, should be under the patronage of the government. This idea was probably broached as early as ~862. Of course two men by themselves could not originate an academy and soon others were drawn into the project. Bache, Henry, B. A. Gould and Agassiz were invited to take part. It was decided that 50 should be the number of the members of the new scientific body." Others besides those already mentioned should be perhaps included among the founders of the Academy, but it is certain that not all who were named as incorporators participated in the movement. We know that in several Instances persons so named were unaware that they had been designated until they had re- ceived a letter from Senator Wilson advising them that they were included in the list. One of the incorporators declined membership in the Academy. It appears from the letters of Davis that the list was made up at the preliminary meeting held at the house of Professor B ache on February ~9, ~863, or soon afterwards. and caused some dissatisfaction when published in ~ ~ ~ ,. 1 the bill of incorporation. It is perhaps an unnecessary task to endeavor to determine who should be considered the head and front of the Academy movement, but judging from contemporary evidence, this dis- tinction probably belongs to Professor Bache. Arnold Guyot sneaks of him as " the enlightened and far-seeinz head of the -rip O ~ ~ ~ At ~ [~ .~ ~ ~ ~ ,1 a_ ~ _ _ ~ ~ ~~ 17 (boast purvey and the touncter or tnls ~caaemy.- E. S. Morse remarks: " Agassiz, Bache and Henry were the leading spirits in originating the National Academy of Sciences." is The address delivered by Professor Bache at Albany in T851' a portion of which is quoted above (p. 7), con- tains the first definite plan for the particular kind of academy which was organized twelve years later. Doubtless many of its features had been suggested by Cache s associates and friends, and we know, indeed, that it was a frequent subject of discussion among the scientific men of America for many years. B ache himself remarked in ~863 that the need of such a body as the 37Biogr. Mem. Nat. Acad. Sci., vol. 2, ~886, p. 7o. 28 pop. Sci. Monthly, voL 7~, ~907, p. 548.

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I4 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES responsible. It is, however, responsible for those who have since been and are still to be elected; and I am happy to say that in filling the large number of vacancies which have been occasioned by death and resignation since the original organi- zation, the principle before mentioned has been strictly observed, and no one has been admitted except after a full discussion of his claims and a satisfactory answer to the question, ' What has he done to advance science in the line of research which he has especially prosecuted ? ' " The organization of this academy may be hailed as marking an epoch in the history of philosophical opinions in our country. It is the first recognition by our government of the importance of abstract science as an essential element of mental and material progress." 2\ It is obvious from the foregoing statements of B ache and Henry, that two principal objects were uppermost in the minds of the founders to afford recognition to those men of science who had done original work of real importance and thereby to stimulate them and others to further endeavors; and to aid the Government in the solution of technical scientific problems having a practical bearing on the conduct of public business. The idea that election to membership in a scientific associa- tion incorporated by the Congress of the United States might be regarded as a badge of distinction conferred by our Government, similar to the honors bestowed by the monarchical govern- ments of Europe, seems to have provoked more or less discus- sion. By some, the bestowal of any such recognition was thought to be inconsistent with democratic principles. Professor Henry, however, was of the contrary opinion. In his report for ~867, already quoted, he remarks: " It is not enough for our government to offer encouragement to the direct promotion of the useful arts through the more or less fortunate efforts of inventors; it is absolutely necessary, if we would advance or even preserve our reputation for true intelligence, that encouragement and facilities should be afforded for devotion to original research in the various branches of human knowl- edge. In the other countries scientific discovery is stimulated by pensions, by titles of honor, and by various social and official distinctions. The French academicians receive an annual salary and are decorated with the insignia of the legion of honor. Similar marks of distinction are conferred on the members of the 2lRep. Nat. Acad. Sci. for z867 (~868), pp. I, a. Sen. Misc. Doc. no. cob, 40th Congress, ad Session.

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FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY IN academy of Berlin and that of St. Petersburg. These modes of stimulation or encouragement may be considered inconsistent with our social ideas and perhaps with our forms of government. There are honors, nevertheless, which in an intelligent democracy have been and may be justly awarded to those who enlarge the field of human thought and human power. Heretofore, but two principal means of distinction have been recognized in this country, viz: the acquisition of wealth and the possession of political power. The war seems to have offered a third, in bestowing position and renown for successful military achievement. The establishment of this Academy may be perhaps regarded as having opened a fourth avenue for the aspirations of a laudable ambition, which interferes neither with our national prejudices nor our political principles, and which only requires the fostering care of government to become of essential benefit and importance not only to this, but all the civilized countries of the world." 22 Whatever the merit of the views enunciated by Professor Henry, no tangible evidence of distinction has been attached to membership in the Academy, such as is connected with high military, political or judicial station. The members of the early American Geological Society were accustomed to append the letters ''M. A. G. S." to their names, corresponding to the familiar " F`. R. S." " F. L. S.," etc., of the Royal Society and the Linnean Society of :London, and other English associations, but the practice has not obtained in connection with the National Academy of Sciences.23 To be the scientific adviser of the Government was second among the principal objects of the Academy, as laid down in the act~of incorporation in ~863. The country was- then in the throes of the Civil War, and the Government needed as never before, sound advice on technical scientific subjects, especially such as had a bearing on naval and military affairs. Numerous commissions were appointed, including the Permanent Com- mission, already mentioned, arid it was quite in harmony with the purpose of these organizations that one of the chief duties of the new academy should be to aid the Government wherever scientific truths could be serviceable. It has been intimated 22 Rep. Nat. Acad. Sci. for z867 (~868), pp. 3, 4. Sen. Misc. Doc. no. cob, 40th Congress, ad Session. 23 Goode, G. B. The origin of the National Scientific and Educational Institutions of the United States. Ann. Rep. Amer. Hist. Assoc. for z889 (~890), p. 68. l

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I6 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES by one writer that this provision was included in the bill of incorporation mainly to secure the passage of the bill, by convinc- ing Congress of the practical utility of the Academy. This may be in part true, but it does not explain the fact that the executive branch of the Government immediately took course! of the Academy on a variety of subjects and has continued to do so up to the present time. In this connection, it is interesting to note the attitude of President Lincoin and his Secretary of State, Seward, toward the Academy, as shown by the following letter which was ad- dressed to Professor B ache a few months after its organization: DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, January 8, ~ 864. " SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 7th instant, tendering to this department the aid of the Academy of Sciences in any investigations that it may be thought proper to institute with a view to the great reform of producing an uniformity of weights and measures among com- mercial nations. Be pleased to express to the academy my sincere thanks for this enlightened and patriotic proceeding, and assure them that, with the authority of the President, I shall be happy to avail myself of the assistance thus tendered to me, and to that end I shall at all times be happy to receive the suggestions of the academy, or of any committee that may be named by it, in conformity with the spirit of the note you have addressed to me. " I am, Sir, your obedient servant, WILLTAM H. SEWARD. PROFESSOR A. D. BACHE, " President of the National Academy of Sciences." 24 That the founders of the Academy felt that it owed a duty to the Government is shown by the rather singular provision which was incorporated in the constitution, that each member should upon his admission " take the oath of allegiance prescribed by the Senate of the United States for its own members." This matter of an oath of allegiance was by no means regarded as one of slight importance, as is indicated by the animated discussion to which it gave rise when the report of the committee on the consti- tution was brought before the Academy at the first meetings Rep. Nat Acad. Sci. for T863, p. IT. 25 See Ames, Mary L. Life of Peter and Susan Lesley, vol. T. p. 4T9.

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I' . FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY I7 In a letter dated April 23' 1863, Lesley writes: " Some one argued that we would lose government patronage, unless we bid for it with the oath; I suspect it was only an unfortunate way of stating a higher truth, that we are the children of the government, and the Academy is the creation of the government, and owes it the oath of allegiance as its first duty." 26 In view of this evidence and the fact that several of the original members of the Academy were conspicuous for their services to the Government in connection with the War, it can hardly be maintained that the offer of aid was merely a form of words inserted in the bill of incorporation for the purpose of inducing Congress to pass the measure. This governmental relationship is one of the chief peculiar ities of the National Academy. Other scientific organizations were founded whose membership was drawn from all parts of the country, whose scope covered all branches of scientific re- search, and whose transactions reflected credit on their member- ship and on American science, but none could claim recognition as the scientific adviser to the Government. ~~. . ~ . ~ w bile to-uay many scientific bureaus under the national Government are in existence, the conditions were quite different in ~863, when the Academy was organized. At that time the only governmental organizations of this class were the Coast Survey, the agricultural divisions of the Patent Office, and the Naval Observatory. To-day technical information on a wide range of subjects is available within the limits of the civil service. Nevertheless, the legislative and executive branches of the Government stir! continue to refer scientific matters of impor- tance to the Academy year by year for information and advice. On March 5, ~863, two days after the passage of the bill incorporating the Academy, Senator Wilson addressed letters to the fifty men of science whose names were mentioned therein, advising them of their designation as incorporators, and re- questing them to fix on a day when it would be most convenient to meet in New York City for the purpose of organization. This letter is printed in the first Annual of the Academy.27 26 (Or. Cit., p. 420. 2T Ann. Nat Acad. Sci. for ~863-4 (~865), p. To. i

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I 8 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES More than three-fifths of the incorporators replied to this re- quest, and on March ~8, ~863, Senator Wilson, having given consideration to the various dates suggested, selected April zz as the day, and the chapel of the University of the City of New York (now New York University) as the place for the meet- ing.28 This meeting was called to order at ~ ~ o'clock by Senator Wilson who delivered the following address: 29 ADDRESS OF THE HON. HENRY WILSON Delivered at He opening of the first session of the Academy, April 22, i863. " GENTLEMEN: I hold in my hand the Act, passed in the closing hours of the Thirty-seventh Congress, ' To incorporate the National Academy of Sciences,' In compliance with many kind requests I am here to call the corporators to order. In rising to perform this agreeable task, I crave for a moment your indulgence. " This Act, under which you have met to organize, incorporates in America, and for America, a National Institution, whose objects, ranging over the illimitable fields of science, are limited only by the wondrous capacities of the human intellect. Such an institution has been for years ire the thought and on the tongue of the devotees of science, but its attainment seemed far in the future. Now it is an achieved fact. Our country has spoken it into being, in this ' dark and troubled night ' of its history, and commissioned you, gentlemen, to mould and fashion its organization, to infuse into, it that vital and animating spirit that shall win in the boundless domains of science the glittering prizes of achievement that will gleam forever on the brow of the nation. " When, a few months ago, a gentleman whose name is known and honored in both hemispheres, expressed to me the desire that an Academy of Physical Sciences should be founded in America, and that I would at least make the effort to obtain such an act of incorporation for the scientific men of the United States, I replied, that it seemed more fitting that some statesman of ripe scholarship should take the lead in securing such a measure, but that I felt confident I could prepare, introduce, and carry through Congress a measure so eminently calculated to advance the cause of science, and to reflect honor upon our country. I promptly assumed the responsibility, and with such aid and suggestions as I could obtain, I prepared, introduced, and by personal effort with members of both Houses of Congress, carried through this act of incorporation without even a division in either House. 28 Op. cit., p. As. New York University at that time occupied a large building of light- colored stone on the east side of Washington Square. The chapel was in this building. flop. Cit., pp. 12-15.

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FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY I9 " The suggestion was sometimes made that the nation is engaged in a fearful struggle for existence, and the moment was not well chosen to press such a measure. But I thought otherwise. I thought it just the fitting time to act. I wanted the salads of the old world, as they turn their eyes hitherward, to see that amid the Ere and blood of the most gigantic civil war in the annals of nations, the statesmen and people of the United States, in the calm confidence of assured power, are fostering the elevating, purifying, and consolidating institutions of religion and benevolence, literature, art and science. I wanted the men of Europe, who profess to see in America the failure of republican institutions, to realize that the people of the United States, while eliminating from their system that ever-disturbing element of discord, bequeathed to them by the colonial and commercial policy of England, are cherishing the institutions that elevate man and ennoble nations. The land resounds with the tread of armies, its bright waters are crimsoned, and its herds reddened with fraternal blood. Patriotism surely demands that we strive to make this now discordant, torn, and bleeding nation one and indivisible. The National Academy of Sciences will, I feel sure, be now and hereafter another element of power to keep in their orbits, around the great central sun of the Union, this constellation of sovereign commonwealths. " This act of incorporation may not be, is not, perfect. The task has been one of difficulty and delicacy. The number of members must be limited, while the most eminent men of science must be recognized, and sectional claims harmonized. If unintentional injustice has been done to any one, if msitakes have been made, time will, I trust, correct the injustice and the mistakes. Changes will surely come. ' Death is in the world,' and this original list of honored names will not remain long unbroken. If men of merit have been forgotten in this act of incor- poration, the Academy should seize the first and every occasion to right the seeming wrong. " This Academy is destined, I trust, to live as long as the republic shall endure, and to bear upon its rolls the names of the savants of coming generations. Let it then advance high its standard. Let it be as inflexible as justice, and as uncom- promising as truth. Let it speak with the authority of knowledge, that pretension may shrink abashed before it, and merit everywhere turn to it confident of . . recognition. " In the Providence of God, the Thirty-seventh Congress was summoned to the consideration of measures of transcendent magnitude. It enacted measures, empow- ering the government to raise hundreds of millions of dollars and millions of men, to protect the menaced life of the nation and preserve the vital spirit of freedom. It dealt with great questions of revenue and of finance. It obliterated an abhor- rent system from the national capital, and engraved freedom upon every rood of the national territory. It consecrated the public domain to homesteads for the homeless and landless, and authorized the construction of a railway to unite the Atlantic and the Pacific seas. The enactment of this act to incorporate the

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20 NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Academy of Sciences, was not the least in the long list of acts the Thirty-seventh Congress gave to the country, which will leave their impress upon the nation for ages yet to come. It was my fortune to take a humble part in these great measures of legislation. It is a source of profound gratification to me, that, amid the pres- sure of public affairs, I have been enabled to contribute something to found this Academy for the advancement of the physical sciences in America It will ever be among my most cherished recollections, that I have been permitted through your courtesy to unite with you in organizing this National Academy, which, we fondly hope, will gather around it, in the centuries yet to come, the illustrious sons of genius and of learning, whose researches will enrich the sciences, and reflect unfading lustre upon the republic." The official records of the Academy do not contain an account of this first meeting or a list of the members who attended it. The New York Commercial Advertiser of April 23, ~863, how- ever, contains a list of the names and states that Professor Henry was elected President pro fem., and Professor Caswell, temporary secretary. The notice is as follows: THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE. " The last Congress incorporated a National Academy of Science, in pursuance of which the following thirty-one corporators of the institution assembled in the chapel of the New York University for the purpose of organizing: Prof. Agassiz, Stephen Alexander, A. D. Bache, F. ~A.] P. Barnard, J. T. KG.] Barnard, U. S. A.; W. H. C. Bartlett, U. S. M. C.; Profs. Caswell, Cohn, Dana, C. H. Davis, U. S. N.; Profs. Wazer EFrazer], Wolcott Gibbs, J. W. [M.] Gilless rGilliss], U. S. A. tU. S. N.~; B. A. Gould, Prof. Guyot, James Hall, Joseph Henry, Hilyard EJ. E. Hilgard], Hubbard, U. S. N. 0.; Profs. Leidy, Lesley, Newberry, Newton, Peirce, Vauman Rogers rFairmcm Rogers], R. E. Rogers, At. B. Rogers, L. M. Rutherford rRz`therfurd], Joseph Saxton, B. Silliman, Jr., Joseph Winlock, U. S. Nautical Almanac Once. The number of corporators is restricted to fifty. The meeting was called to order by Senator Wilson. Pro- fessor Henry of the Smithsonian Institute Esic] was chosen president pro fem., and Professor Caswell, temporary secretary. with closed doors." The proceedings were conducted This account is probably correct, except for slight errors in the spelling of names, etc. We know that the number of incorporators was 50. Senator Wilson stated that more than three-fifths responded to his letter regarding the meeting, and the number ~~ in the newspaper article is therefore, quite prob-

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ably correct FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY J 2I Lesley informs us that Professor Henry was in the chair, and mentions as being present also, Agassiz, ATex- ander, B ache, Barnard, Caswell " the secretary," Frazer, Gould, L`eidy, L`esTey, R. E. Rogers and W. B. Rogers, all of whom are included in the A!dverfiser list. The New York Daily Tribune of April z3, ~863, informs us that Senator Wilson's address was followed by a brief statement by Professor Agassiz of " the fundamental principles upon which a permanent edifice of science should be based," also, that a committee of nine was appointed to draft a form of organiza- tion. The members of this committee, according to the New York AVorId of the same date were as follows: Caswell, B ache, Rodgers, Gibbs, Frazer, Silliman, Jr., Gould, Peirce and Agassiz. The Herald of that date states that the committee met at the Brevoort House in secret session, and substitutes the names of Henry and Winiock for Caswell and Gibbs. It also includes Rogers, instead of Rodgers, which, as will be shown presently, was correct. Corroborating these newspaper items regarding the committee on the constitution is a remark in Lesley's letter of April by, T863. "Yesterday ~ went down to the eight o'clock evening session tof the Academy], at which we heard and began to vote upon the constitution and by-laws, as reported by the committee of nine appointed in the morning." 30 Further corroboration, together with other interesting details, is found in a letter of William B. Rogers, dated April 28, ~863, from which the follow- sang Is an extract: " Of the fifty corporators named in the bill, thirty-two were present the first day, and twenty-seven during the rest of the session. A committee of organization was first appointed, consisting of nine, Bache being chairman, supported by Ben- jamin Gould, Agassiz, Peirce, Benjamin Silliman, Frazer, etc., and to which I also was admitted. The Constitution and Rules, most elaborately prepared, were read from the MS. by Bache. There was no dissent on any important point, unless when I made objection. One of the provisions made the tenure of the offices of president, vice-president and secretary, for life. To this no one objected, and I let it pass without voting until, the morning's task being closed, Bache was 30 Life of Lesley, vol. I, p. 4~9. ) \ 1

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NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES about shutting up his book. Then I rose, and calmly called their attention to this clause, told them that to exact that would be to blast every hope of success, and so impressed them with the responsibility of such a course that they voted the term of six years instead of for life." 3t The article of the constitution which seems to have provoked the most animated discussion was, as already mentioned, that which provided that the members of the Academy should take an oath of allegiance to the Government. This is riot surprising, when one recalls the condition of the country at the time. The article was adopted, however, and the whole business of the meeting was completed, including the adoption of the constitu- tion and by-laws, and the election of officers in a session of three days, ending on the afternoon of April 24.32 Wesley, in his cautious spirit, remarks on " the splendid success of the organization as it appears," and continues " Time will show how much reality underlies this show. We have laid down the base of a pyramid for the ages." Hubbard was more enthusiastic. " A better three days for science were never spent," he writes to his brother, " The inauguration of this Academy marks the most important epoch ever witnessed by science in America." 33 The account of this first meeting, as given by Professor B ache in his report as President of the Academy, is as follows: " In pursuance of the provisions of that Act tof incorporation], the members of the National Academy met in New York on the mad of April, ~863, and com- pleted their organization, renewing by their loyal oath their obligations to serve their country and its constituted authorities to the best of their abilities and knowledge, on such subjects as were embraced in their charter, and upon which they might be consulted, and adopting a Constitution and Laws which they sup- posed would enable them to carry on successfully the plans of Congress as sketched in the charter. " Providing for the full and deliberate consideration and arrangement of their laws by a Committee selected for their capability in such a task, the Academy 31 Life and Letters of William Barton Rogers, edited by his wife, vol. 2, p. ~6~, ~896. 32 Although President Bache in his first report states that the constitution and by-laws were adopted at this meeting, it seems probable that the action was informal, as they are mentioned later in the same report, as having been " finally passed" on January 6, z864. (See p. 8.) 33B. A. Gould, Eulogy on Joseph S. Hubbard. Ann. Nat. Acad. Sci. for ~863-4 (~86s), p. 72. . . . ~ . .. _

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FOUNDING OF THE ACADEMY 23 adopted the laws presented to their discussion, divided into Classes and Sections for the consideration of matters of science, elected officers, and adjourned to a stated day, the 4th of January, and to Washington, the National Capital, with which they were henceforth to be connected in their membership of the National Academy of Sciences." 34 The organization for the year ~863 was as follows: President, ALEXANDER DALLAS BACHE. Vice-Preside~zt, NAMES DWIGHT DANA. Foreign Secretary, Louts AGASSIZ. Home Secretary, WOLCOrr GIBBS. Treasurer, FAIRMAN ROGERS. CLASS OF MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS Chairman, BENJAMIN PEIRCE. Secretary, BENJAMIN A. GOULD. CLASS OF NATURAL HISTORY Chairman, BENJAMIN SILLIMAN, SR. Secretary, 3. S. NEWBERRY. Council: CHARLES HENRY DAVIS, lOHN TORREY, LEWIS M. RUTHER- FURD, T. PETER LESLEY, and the officers and chairmen of classes ex o,fficio. In addition to considering the constitution and by-laws and electing officers, the Academy at this first meeting appointed a committee on the form of a diploma, on a corporate seal, and on a stamp for books and other property, and also a committee on the mode of electing foreign associates. The latter committee did not report until January, ~864, and the former appears nor to have presented any formal report. 84 Ann. Nat. Acad. Sci. for z863-4 (~865), pp. 48, 49.

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