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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/620

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

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United States, the British Ambassador, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, Dr. W. W. Keen, president of the American Philosophical Society, and Senator Burton.

 

THE HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY

The National Academy of Sciences was founded under the shadow of the civil war in order that the government might have the benefit of expert scientific advice and—as has usually been the reward of scientific research—obtain it free of cost. In February, 1863, the secretary of the navy appointed a "permanent commission," consisting of Joseph Henry, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; Alexander Dallas Bache, superintendent of the Coast Survey, and Charles H. Davis, chief of the Bureau of Navigation, to report on "matters of science and art." This commission led to the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences through a bill introduced in the senate by Henry Wilson, of Massachusetts, on February 20, 1863, and signed by President Lincoln on March 3.

The idea of a national academy was