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SMITHSON, James, an English physicist, founder of the Smithsonian institution, born about 1765, died in Genoa, June 27, 1829. He was a natural son of Hugh, third duke of Northumberland, and Mrs. Elizabeth Macie, heiress of the Hungerfords of Audley, and niece of Charles, duke of Somerset. In 1786 he took the honorary degree of A. M. at Oxford, under the name of James Lewis Macie, but between 1791 and 1803 adopted the name of Smithson, the family name of his father. At the university he distinguished himself as a chemist, and was one of the first to adopt the method of minute analysis. He became the friend and associate of Wollaston, Banks, and Davy, and in 1787 was elected a fellow of the royal society and contributed eight papers to its “Transactions.” His papers subsequent to 1818 were published in the “Annals of Philosophy” and other scientific periodicals. At his death he left about 200 manuscripts, probably intended to form portions of a philosophical dictionary. He bequeathed to his nephew £120,000, the whole of his property, which in case of the death of the latter without heirs was to go to the government of the United States to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge. (See Smithsonian Institution.)