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THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.

original capital, once relatively considerable, has now, in spite of these additions, grown relatively inconsiderable where there are now numerous universities having twenty times its private fund. It threatens now to be insufficient for the varied activities it has undertaken and is pursuing in every direction, among these the support of the higher knowledge by aiding investigators everywhere, which it does by providing apparatus for able investigators for their experiments, etc. Investigations in various countries have been stimulated by grants from the fund. It has been the past, as it is the present, policy of the institution to aid as freely as its means allowed, either by the grant of funds or the manufacture of special apparatus, novel investigations which have not always at the moment seemed of practical value to ethers, but which subsequently have in many instances justified its discrimination in their favor and have proved of great importance.

The growth of the institution has been great, but it has been more in activity than in mere bigness. The corner-stone was laid fifty years ago. In 1852 the entire staff, including even laborers, was twelve. In 1901 the institution and the bureaus under it employed sixty-four men of science and 277 other persons. These men of science in the institution represent very nearly all the general branches, and even the specialties to some extent of the natural and physical sciences, besides history and the learning of the ancients; and it may perhaps be said that the income of the institution (which, relatively to others, is not one tenth in 1901 what is was in 1851) has been forced to make good, by harder effort on the part of the few, what is done elsewhere in the government service by many.

The private income of the Smithsonian Institution is not quite $60,000, but it controls the disbursement of about $500,000 per annum appropriated by the government for the bureaus under its charge.

Certain other functions difficult to describe are still of prime importance. The Smithsonian is called on by the government to advise in many matters of science, more especially when these have an international aspect. Its help and advice are sought by many thousands of persons every year, learned societies, college professors, journalists, and magazine editors, and thousands of private individuals, seeking information, which is furnished whenever it can be done without too serious a drain, though naturally a percentage of the requests is unreasonable. It has cooperated with scientific societies of national scope, like the American Historical Association, and has stimulated the growth of a number of the Washington scientific societies, and it may be said to teem with other activities.

The regents control the policy of the institution, and the secretary is their executive officer. Since the beginning the regents have been selected from among the most distinguished men in public life and