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35TH CONGRESS, SENATE. Mis. Doe. 1st Session. No. 272.










Resolved, That ten thousand additional copies of the Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1857 be printed ; five thousand for the use of the Senate, and five thousand for the use of the Smithsonian Institution : Provided, That the aggregate number of pages contained in said report shall not exceed four hundred and forty pages, without wood cuts or plates, except those furnished by the Institution : And provided further, That the entire amount of copy necessary to complete said Report be placed in the hands of the Superintendent of the Public Printing before the commencement of printing any portion of said Report.

Attest : ASBURY DICKINS, Secreary.





The Annual Report of the operations, expenditures, and condition of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1857.

May 27, 1858.—Read.

JuNE 12, 1858.—Ordered to be printed ; and that 10,000 additional copies be printed, 5,000 of which for the use of the Senate, and 5,000 for the use of the Smithsonian Institution,

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, Washington, May 26, 1858. Sir: In behalf of the Board of Regents, I have the honor to submit to the Senate of the United States the Annual Report of the opera- tions, expenditures, and condition of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1857. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, JOSEPH HENRY, Secretary Smithsonian Institution. Hon, Joun C. BRECKINRIDGE, President of the Senate.








To the Senate and House of Representatives :

In obedience to the act of Congress of August 10, 1846, establishing the Smithsonian Institution, the undersigned, in behalf of the Regents, submit to Congress, as a report of the operations, expenditures, and condition of the Institution, the following documents:

1. The Annual Report of the Secretary, giving an account of the operations of the Institution during the year 1857.

2. Report of the Executive Committee, giving a general statement of the proceeds and disposition of the Smithsonian fund, and also an account of the expenditures for the year 1857.

3. Report of the Building Committee.

4, Proceedings of the Board of Regents up to May 19, 1858.

5. Appendix.

Respectfully submitted. R. B. TANEY, Chancellor. JOSEPH HENRY, Secretary.


JAMES BUCHANAN, Ex officio Presiding Officer of the Institution. ROGER B. TANEY, Chancellor of the Institution.

JOSEPH HENRY, Secretary of the Institution. SPENCER F. BAIRD, Assistant Secretary. W. W. SEATON, Treasurer.

WILLIAM J. RHEES, Chief Clerk.


4 Executive Committee. JOSEPH G. TOTTEN, Jf




Building Committee.


JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Vice President of the United States. ROGER B. TANEY, Chief Justice of the United States.

JAMES G. BERRET, Mayor of the City of Washington.

JAMES A. PEARCE, member of the Senate of the United States. JAMES M. MASON, member of the Senate of the United States. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS, member of the Senate of the United States. WILLIAM H. ENGLISH, member of the House of Representatives. L. J. GARTRELL, member of the House of Representatives. BENJAMIN STANTON, member of the House of Representatives. GIDEON HAWLEY, citizen of New York.

RICHARD RUSH, citizen of Pennsylvania.

GEORGE E. BADGER, citizen of North Carolina.

CORNELIUS C. FELTON, citizen of Massachusetts. ALEXANDER D. BACHE, citizen of Washington.

JOSEPH G. TOTTEN, citizen of Washington.


JAMES BUCHANAN, President of the United States. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE, Vice President of the United States. LEWIS CASS, Secretary of State.

HOWELL COBB, Secretary of the Treasury.

JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.

ISAAC TOUCEY, Secretary of the Navy.

AARON V. BROWN, Postmaster General.

J. S. BLACK, Attorney General.

ROGER B. TANEY, Chief Justice of the United States, JOSEPH HOLT, Commissioner of Patents.

JAMES G, BERRET, Mayor of the City of Washington.




A. B. LONGSTREET, of Mississippi. ' JACOB THOMPSON, Secretary of the Interior






General considerations which should serve as a guide in adopting a Plan of Organization.

1, Witt or Smrruson. The property is bequeathed to the United States of America, ‘‘ to found at Washington, under the name of the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, an establishment for the increase and diffu- sion of knowledge among men.”’

2. The bequest is for the benefit of mankind. The government of the United States is merely a trustee to carry out the design of the testator.

3. The Institution is not a national establishment, as is frequently supposed, but the establishment of an individual, and is to bear and perpetuate h's name.

4. The « jects of the Institution are, lst, to increase, and 2d, to diffuse knowiedge among men.

5. These two objects should not be confounded with one another. The first is to enlarge the existing stock of knowledge by the addi- tion of new truths ; and the second, to disseminate knowledge, thus increased, among men.

6. The will makes no restriction in favor of any particular kind of mee ee hence all branches are entitled to a share of attention.

Knowledge can be increased by different methods of facilitating tea promoting the discovery of new truths; and can be most exten- sively diffused among men by means of the press,

8. To effect the greatest amount of good, the organization should be such as to enable the Institution to produce results, in the way of increasing and diffusing knowledge, which cannot be produced either at all or so efficiently by the existing institutions in our country.

9. The organization should also be such as can be adopted provi- sionally, can be easily reduced to practice, receive modifications, or be abandoned, in whole or in part, without a sacrifice of the funds.

10. In order to compensate, in some measure, for the loss of time occasioned by the delay of eight years in establishing the Institution,


a considerable portion of the interest which has accrued should be added to the principal.

11. In proportion to the wide field of knowledge to be cultivated, the funds are small. Economy should therefore be consulted in the construction of the building ; and not only the first cost of the edifice should be considered, but also the continual expense of keeping it in repair, and of the support of the establishment necessarily connected with it. There should also be but few individuals permanently sup- ported by the Institution.

12. The plan and dimensions of the building should be determined by the plan of organization, and not the converse.

13. It should be recollected that mankind in general are to be bene- fitted by the bequest, and that, therefore, all unnecessary expenditure on local objects would be a perversion of the trust.

14. Besides the foregoing considerations deduced immediately from the will of Smithson, regard must be had to certain requirements of the act of Congress establishing the Institution. These are, a library, a museum, and a gallery of art, with a building on a liberal scale to contain them.


Plan of Organization of the Institution in accordance with the foregoing deductions from the will of Smithson.

To Increase Knowieper. It is proposed—

1. To stimulate men of talent to make original researches, by offer- ing suitable rewards for memoirs containing new truths; and

2. To appropriate annually a portion of the income for particular researches, under the direction of suitable persons.

To Dirruse Know.eper, It is proposed—

1. To publish a series of periodical reports on the progress of the different branches of knowledge ; and

2. To publish occasionally separate treatises on subjects of general interest.


1, Facilities afforded for the production of original memoirs on all branches of knowledge.

2. The memoirs thus obtained to be published in a series of volumes, a quarto form, and entitled Smithsonian Contributions to Know- edge.

3. No memoir on subjects of physical science to be accepted for publication which does not furnish a positive addition to human knowledge, resting on original research ; and all unverified specula- tions to be rejected.

4, Each memoir presented to the Institution to be submitted for examination to a commission of persons of reputation for learning in


the branch to which the memoir pertains; and to be accepted for pub- lice tion only in case the report of this commission is favorable.

5. The commission to be chosen by the officers of the Institution, and the name of the author, as far as practicable, concealed, unless a favorable decision be made.

6. The volumes of the memoirs to be exchanged for the transactions of literary and scientific societies, and copies to be given to all the colleges and principal libraries in this country. One part of the remaining copies may be offered for sale; and the other carefully pre- served, to form complete sets of the work, to supply the demand from new institutions.

7. An abstract, or popular account, of the contents of these memoirs to be given to the public through the annual report of the Regents to Congress.

Il.—By appropriating a part of the income, annually, to special objects of research, under the direction of suitable persons.

1. The objects, and the amount appropriated, to be recommended by counsellors of the Institution.

2. Appropriations in different years to different objects, so that, in course of time, each branch of knowledge may receive a share.

3. The results obtained from these appropriations to be published, with the memoirs before mentioned, in the volumes of the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge.

4, Examples of objects for which appropriations may be made. (1.) System of extended meteorological observations for solving the problem of American storms.

(2.) Explorations in descriptive natural history, and geological, magnetical, and topographical surveys, to collect materials for the formation of a Physical Atlas of the United States.

(3.) Solution of experimental problems, such as a new determination of the weight of the earth, of the velocity of electricity, and of light; chemical analyses of soils and plants; collection and publication of scientific facts, accumulated in the offices of government.

(4.) Institution of statistical inquiries with reference to physical, moral, and political subjects.

(5.) Historical researches and accurate surveys of places celebrated in American history.

(6.) Ethnological researches, particularly with reference to the dif- ferent races of men in North America; also, explorations and accurate

surveys of the mounds and other remains of the ancient people of our country. .


I.— By the publication of a series of reports, giving an account of the new discoveries in science, and of the changes made from year to year in all branches of knowledge not strictly professional.

1. These reports will diffuse a kind of knowledge generally interest- ing, but which, at present, is inaccessible to the public. Some of the


reports may be published annually, others at longer intervals, as the income of the Institution or the changes in the branches of knowledge may indicate.

2. The reports are to be prepared by collaborators eminent in the different branches of knowledge.

3. Each collaborator to be furnished with the journals and publica- tions, domestic and foreign, necessary to the compilation of his report; to be paid a certain sum for his labors, and to be named on the title- page of the report.

4, The reports to be published in separate parts, so that persons interested in a particular branch can procure the parts relating to it without purchasing the whole.

5. These reports may be presented to Congress for partial distri- bution, the remaining copies to be given to literary and scientific institutions, and sold to individuals for a moderate price.

The following are some of the subjects which may be embraced in the reports:


1. Physics, including astronomy, natural philosophy, chemistry, and meteorology.

2. Natural history, including botany, zoology, geology, &c.

3. Agriculture.

4, Application of science to arts.


5. Ethnology, including particular history, comparative philology, antiquities, &c. 6, Statistics and political economy. 7. Mental and moral philosophy. 8. A survey of the political events of the world, penal reform, &c.


9. Modern literature. 10. The fine arts, and their application to the useful arts. 11. Bibliography. 12. Obituary notices of distinguished individuals.

Il. By the publication of separate treatises on subjects of general interest.

1. These treatises may occasionally consist of valuable memoirs translated from foreign languages, or of articles prepared under the direction of the Institution, or procured by offering premiums for the best exposition of a given subject.

2. The treatises should, in all cases, be submitted to a commission of competent judges previous to their publication.


3. As examples of these treatises, expositions may be obtained of the present state of the several branches of knowledge mentioned in the table of reports.


Plan of organization, in accordance with the terms of the resolutions of

the Board of Regents providing for the two modes of increasing and diffusing knowledge.

1. The act of Congress establishing the Institution contemplated the formation of a library and a museum ; and the Board of Regents, including these objects in the plan of organization, resolved to divide the income* into two equal parts.

2. One part to be appropriated to increase and diffuse knowledge by means of publications and researches, agreeably to the scheme before given. The other part to be appropriated to the formation of a library and a collection of objects of nature and of art.

3. These two plans are not incompatible one with another.

4, To carry out the plan before described, a library will be required, consisting, Ist, of a complete collection of the transactions and pro- ceedings of all the learned societies in the world; 2d, of the more important current periodical publications, and other works necessary in preparing the periodical reports.

5. The Institution should make special collections, particularly of objects to illustrate and verify its own publications.

6. Also, a collection of instruments of research in all branches of experimental science.

7. With reference to the collection of books, other than those men- tioned above, catalogues of all the different libraries in the United States should be procured, in order that the valuable books first pur- chased may be such as are not to be found in the United States.

8. Also, catalogues of memoirs, and of books and other materials, should be collected for rendering the Institution a centre of biblio- graphical knowledge, whence the student may be directed to any work which he may require.

9. It is believed that the collections in natural history will increase by donation as rapidly as the income of the Institution can make pro- vision for their reception, and, therefore, it will seldom be necessary to purchase articles of this kind.

10. Attempts should be made to procure for the gallery of art casts of the most celebrated articles of ancient and modern sculpture.

11. The arts may be encouraged by providing a room, free of ex-

pense, for the exhibition of the objects of the Art-Union and other similar societies.

*The amount of the Smithsonian bequest received into the Treasury of the WIM COIS TaLOSS Iwate wo elslavele oieuielalelaber|vralevawelela\clevcs ke sieeve e's.c cee clalcce see $015,169 00 Interest on the same to July 1, 1846, (devoted to the erection of the

Ext CHT 94) fata atetetnie nt ein ini n/elel/etaluisVa(o\es/aintalait a sYe/ele/nleloleleleinsis'« Slater siafalsiofe\e veceee 242,129 00 Annual income from the bequest. eeeetsocoesreesseen Core eesereseeneseoes 30,910 14


12. A small appropriation should annually be made for models of antiquities, such as those of the remains of ancient temples, &c.

13. For the present, or until the building is fully completed, be- sides the Secretary, no permanent assistant will be required, except one, to act as librarian.

14. The Secretary, by the law of Congress, is alone responsible to the Regents. He shall take charge of the building and property, keep a record of proceedings, discharge the duties of librarian and keeper of the museum, and may, with the consent of the Regents, employ assistants.

15. The Secretary and his assistants, during the session of Congress, will be required to illustrate new discoveries in science, and to exhibit new objects of art ; distinguished individuals should also be invited to give lectures on subjects of general interest.

This programme, which was at first adopted provisionally, has be- come the settled policy of the Institution. The only material change is that expressed by the following resolutions, adopted January 15, 1855, viz:

Resolved, That the 7th resolution passed by the Board of Regents, on the 26th of January, 1847, requiring an equal division of the in- come between the active operations and the museum and library, when the buildings are completed, be and it is hereby repealed.

Resolved, That hereafter the annual appropriations shall be appor- tioned specifically among the different objects and operations of the Institution, in such manner as may, in the judgment of the Regents, be necessary and proper for each, according to its intrinsic import- ance, and a compliance in good faith with the law.


To the Board of Regents:

GENTLEMEN: It again becomes my duty to present to you the history of the operations of another year of the Institution which the government of the United States has entrusted to your care. In an establishment of this kind, of which the policy has been settled and is strictly adhered to, there must of necessity be much sameness in the general form and character of the successive reports; but since the field of science is boundless, and new portions of it are continually presented for investigation, there will always be found in the details, facts of sufficient interest to relieve the routine of the statements relative to the condition of the funds and the scrutiny of the receipts and expenditures.

It might at first sight appear surprising that so constant a supply of materials for the Smithsonian Contributions and so many objects of interest, demanding the assistance of the Smithsonian fund, should be presented, but it will be evident, on reflection, that this results from the influence of the Institution itself in increasing the number of laborers in the field of science, as well as in accumulating the materials on which they are to be engaged. The tendency is con- stantly to expand the operations, and much caution and self-control are necessary to repress the desire to be more liberal in the assistance rendered to worthy objects, than the income will permit. Indeed, a charge is frequently made of illiberality for what is the result of re- stricted means. It must be evident that nothing is more important to the permanency and proper conduct of the Institution than the cautious and judicious management of its funds. Any embarrassment in this quarter would involve a loss of confidence in the directors, which would be fatal to the usefulness and efficiency of the establishment.

I have from the first expressed the regret that the original law of Congress directed the expenditure of so large a portion of the income on objects of alocal character, and this feeling has,been increased by the experience which time has afforded in regard to the good which could be effected by a more critical observance of the terms of the


bequest, as well as by the increasing expense of sustaining a large building, a library, and museum. It is to be hoped, however, that at least a partial relief will hereafter be afforded by an annual appro- priation, which it is reasonable to expect government will make for the keeping and exhibition of the collections of the various exploring expeditions which have been entrusted to the care of the Regents.

At the last session of Congress an appropriation was made for the construction and erection of cases to receive the collections of the United States Exploring Expedition and others in Washington, and also for the transfer and arrangement of the specimens. This appro- priation was granted in accordance with the recommendation of the late Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of Patents, in order that the large room in the Patent Office occupied by the museum might be used for the more legitimate purposes of that establishment. We presume that the other part of the recommendation will also be carried out, namely, that the annual appropriation be continued which has heretofore been made for the care of this portion of the govern- ment property. While, on the one hand, no appropriation should be made which would serve to lessen the distinctive character of Smith- son’s bequest, on the other it is evident that the government should not impose any burdens upon the Institution which would impair its usefulness or divert its funds from their legitimate purpose.

It was stated in the last report that the extra fund of the Insti- tution, which had been saved from the accrued interest, was invested in State Stocks. This investment was made because the fund was at the time drawing no interest, and because, until action could be pro- cured by Congress in relation to receiving said fund into the United States Treasury, it was deemed the safest disposition of the money. Though a temporary depreciation of these stocks took place during the last year, there is no reason to regret the investment. Their marketable value is at present about the same as it was at the time they were purchased.

By reference to the report of the Executive Committee it will be seen that the expenditures during the year, though less than the amount of receipts, have somewhat exceeded the estimates. This has been occasioned, first, by unexpected repairs which were found neces sary to the building, in consequence of an unprecedented hail storm, which destroyed several thousand panes of glass and did considerable injury to the roof and other parts of the edifice; secondly, by an expansion of the system of foreign exchanges, rendered necessary by the large amount of material entrusted to the Institution by the


different agricultural and other societies of the country ; and thirdly, the necessity we were under, on account of the financial pressure, of paying bills for publications which will appear during the present and the next year. The funds of the Institution are, however, still in a prosperous condition, but great care is required to prevent the accumulation of small expenses, which, individually, by reason of their insignificance, are allowed to occur, but which in the aggregate, at the end of the year, are found to have swelled into amounts of considerable magnitude.

Publications.—Thé ninth annual quarto volume of Contributions to Knowledge was completed and distributed during the first half of the year. It is equal in size and importance to the preceding volumes, and contains the following memoirs :

1. On the relative intensity of the heat and light of the sun upon different latitudes of the earth. By L. W. Meech.

2. Illustrations of surface geology, by Edward Hitchcock, LL.D., of Amherst College.

Part 1. On surface geology, especially that of the Connecticut valley, in New England.

Part 2. On the erosions of the earth’s surface, especially by rivers.

Part 3. Traces of ancient glaciers in Massachusetts and Ver- mont.

3. Observations on Mexican history and archxology, with a special notice of Zapotec remains, as delineated in Mr. J. G. Sawkins’ draw- ings of Mitla, &c. By Brantz Mayer.

4, Researches on the Ammonia Cobalt bases. By Professor Wol- cott Gibbs and Professor F. A. Genth.

5. New tables for determining the values of the co-efficients in the perturbative functions of planetary motion, which depend upon the ratio of the mean distances. By J. D. Runkle.

6. Asteroid supplement to new tables for determining the values of

and its derivatives. By J. D. Runkle. -

It was stated in the last report that Mr. L. W. Meech proposed to continue his interesting investigations relative to the heat and light of the sun, provided the Smithsonian Institution would pay the ex- pense of the arithmetical computations. Though most of his time is necessarily occupied in other duties, he would cheerfully devote his leisure hours to the investigation with a view of extending the bounds


of knowledge. During the past year an appropriation has been made of one hundred dollars for the purpose here mentioned, and we are assured, from what Mr. Meech has already accomplished, that this sum will be instrumental in producing valuable results. He proposes to determine, from several elementary formulas, the laws of terres- trial temperature for different latitudes. The first formula has been pretty thoroughly applied, and the annual temperature computed by it compared with the result of actual observation. The diurnal temperatures have also been deduced and seem to agree with actual observation within the presumed errors of the latter. The temper- ature, however, of the surrounding medium, defived from the annual temperature, differs widely from the results obtained by the diurnal temperatures. The author is inclined to attribute this difference to a defect in the law of radiation as generally received, which, deduced from experiments in the laboratory, he thinks inapplicable to the phenomena of terrestrial temperature. The second formula takes into account another cause of the variation of temperature, namely, the cooling due to the contact of the air; and the third formula includes also the effect of the absorption of solar heat in its passage through the atmosphere. The investigation will include the consideration of— Ist, terrestrial radiation ; 2d, contact of air; 3d, the sun’s intensity ; Ath, atmospheric absorption ; 5th, the difference in radiating power of luminous heat by day and non-luminous heat by night. Among other inferences to be deduced is the relative heating or radiating powers of sea and continent, when the land is covered with foliage and vegetation, and when it is covered with ice and snow. These researches are intimately connected with the extended series of obser- vations on the climate of the United States, now carried on at the expense and under the direction of the Institution.

The paper of Professor Gibbs and Dr. Genth, which forms a part of the 9th volume, has been republished in the American Journal of Science and in the London Chemical Gazette, due credit being given to the Smithsonian Contributions, from which it was copied. We regret to be informed by the authors of this interesting paper that the sum appropriated by the Institution for assisting in defraying the expense of the materials and apparatus employed in their researches was scarcely sufficient to compensate for more than one-fourth of their outlay. Limited means, and not a want of proper appreciation of the labors of these gentlemen, prevented their entire reimbursement for the pecuniary loss in the prosecution of their valuable researches. They intend, notwithstanding this, to continue their investigations,


and to devote as much time to them as their other engagements and the means at their disposal will allow. Since this memoir has met the approval of the scientific world, it will be proper to make as liberal an appropriation as the demands on the limited income of the Institution will permit for the continuance of researches in the same line. The publication of the paper was of comparatively little expense, since it required no costly illustrations, and this may be an additional reason for granting a larger appropriation for further in- vestigations in the same line.

The ninth volume also contains the supplement to the tables by J. D. Runkle, mentioned in the last report. The tables in this supple- ment are intended to facilitate calculations with reference to the asteroids. The search for these bodies has been prosecuted with so much vigor of late that their list now extends to more than fifty, and the mechanical labor required to calculate their places is so great that this can scarcely be expected to be accomplished, except by the use of general tables. The work of Gauss on the theory of the motion of the heavenly bodies leaves little to be desired, so far as the deter-- mination of their orbits is concerned; but this is by no means the case with regard to their perturbations by the larger planets. The tables therefore will afford an important means of facilitating the ad_ vance of our knowledge, particularly of this class of the members of our solar system.

The third part of the Nereis Boreali-Americana, by Dr. William H. Harvey, has been completed and will be included in the tenth volume of the Contributions. Two hundred extra copies of the text of the preceding parts having been struck off before the distribution of the types, and the drawings on the lithographic stones having been pre- served, an equal number of plates from the latter have been printed and colored, so that we shall be enabled to make up two hundred copies of the complete work to be offered for sale, which will serve, it is hoped, to reimburse, in some degree, the heavy expense incurred in the publication of this interesting addition to the science of botany. It may be proper to mention that the work was published in numbers, in order that the whole expense should be defrayed by the appro-- priation of different years, as well as to furnish the author the oppor- tunity of rendering the work more complete by more extended re- search.

For the purpose of classification, the sea plants have been grouped



under three principal heads which are readily distinguished by their general color. They are as follows:

1. Melanospermeee—plants of an olive-green or olive-brown color.

2. Rhodospermee, or plants of a rosy-red or purple color.

3. Chlorospermez, or plants of a grass, rarely of a livid purple color.

The numbers of the work already published relate to the first two divisions, and the third, now about to be issued, will contain the last, with an appendix describing new species discovered since the date of the former parts.

The text of the first part of the work on Oology, mentioned in pre- ceding reports, has been printed ; but the publication of the plates to accompany it will be so expensive that we were obliged to defer it until the present year. In the meantime the author will proceed with the preparation of the other parts of the memoir, and the whole will be completed as soon as the funds of the Institution will permit. From an accidental oversight in the preparation of the last Report, I neglected to mention the fact that the author of this interesting work is Dr. Thomas M. Brewer, of Boston. The omission of his name in the reports would not only be unjust to himself, but might also pre- vent him from receiving in some cases additional information relative to his labors from correspondents who are engaged in the same line of research. The announcement of the fact of the intended publication of this memoir has induced a number of persons to enter into corre- spondence with the Institution on the subject, and we doubt not that these remarks will tend to call forth other additious to our knowledge _of this branch of natural history.

Since the date of the last Report a grammar and dictionary of the Yoruba language of Africa have been accepted for publication. Thi

work is another contribution from the missionary enterprise of the present day, and has been prepared by the Rev. Thos. J. Bowen, of the Southern Baptist Missionary Board, from materials collected . during a residence of six years in Africa, and revised and rewritten with the aid of W. W. Turner, esq., of Washington. The grammar and dictionary are prefaced by a brief account of the country and its inhab- itants. The long residence of the author in this part of the interior of Africa has enabled him to gather more minute knowledge of its topography, climate, and productions, and of the political, social, and moral.relations of its inhabitants than has before been obtained. He


has collected interesting information as to the habits of thought and action of the people, and their capacity for moral and intellectual culture, which would have escaped the casual notice of the mere traveller.

Yoruba is a country of Western Africa, situated to the east of Dahomey, and extending from the Bight of Benin, in a northerly direction, nearly to the Niger. It is between the countries explored by the distinguished travellers, Barth, on the north, and Livingstone, on thesouth. The author describes it as a beautiful and fertile region, densely inhabited by a population devoted to agricultural pursuits, who do not dwell on the lands they cultivate, but live clustered together in villages and towns, some of which contain from 20,000 to 70,000 inhabitants. The people are generally of a primitive, simple and harmless character, and governed by institutions patriarchal rather than despotic. In their appearance they resemble the Cau- casian race, while their mental powers and general moral impulses are considerably advanced in the scale of intelligence. They have, indeed, already attained no inconsiderable degree of social organiza- tion, while they have escaped some of the more depraved incidents of an advanced civilization.

The language, which is said to be spoken by about two millions of people, is represented by Professor Turner to be very homogeneous in its structure, almost all of it being derived from some five hundrel primitive words. ‘Its articulations are sufficiently easy to imitate, and there is a system of vocalic concords recurring through the whole, which, together with the multiplicity of vowels, renders it decidedly euphonious. The great difficulty is found in the tones and accents, which can be discriminated only by a good ear, and must be uttered correctly to make the speaker intelligible. The Yoruba has neither article nor adjective, properly so called, and it is almost wholly des- titute of inflection. The verbal root remains unchanged through all the accidents of person, mood, and tense, which are indicated by separate pronouns and particles. The plurality of nouns is also indi- * cated by the aid of a plural pronoun. The numerals are based on the decimal system, yet many of them are formed by subtraction instead of addition or multiplication, as with us. Thus 15 is literally 10 + 5; but 16 = 20 —4,17=— 20—3,&c. Although this language is spoken by a rude people, it abounds in abstract terms, and the missionary finds no difficulty in expressing in it the ideas he desires to com- municate,”’



It is believed that this work will be received by the student of ethnology as an interesting addition to this science, and that its pub- lication will not only facilitate the labors of the missionary, but be productive of valuable commercial results. The country in which the language is spoken is rich in natural and artificial productions, and as the inhabitants are anxious to establish relations of trade with other parts of the world, it would seem to offer a new and tempting field to mercantile enterprise.

Under the head of publications, we may allude to the Appendix to the Annual Report of the Regents. Previous to 1853 this report was in a pamphlet form, and only in one or two cases were a few extra copies ordered. Since that date an annual volume has been presented to Congress, of which twenty thousand extra copies have been printed. The liberal distribution of this work has met with general approbation, the applications to the Institution for copies have been constantly in- creasing, and, in connexion with the Report of the Patent Office, no document has become more popular or is better calculated to advance the cause of knowledge among the people. The object is, as far as pos- sible, to distribute this volume among teachers, and through them to diffuse precise scientific knowledge to the rising generation. It is made also the vehicle of instruction, iz the line of observations, to all who are desirous of co-operating in the investigation of the natural history and physical geography of this country. The wide distribution of this report has tended, more than any other means, to make known the character of the Institution, and to awaken an interest throughout the whole country in its prosperity.

In order to render the series complete, the first volume—that for 1853—contained a reprint of the previous reports of the Secretary, from which a connected history of all the operations of the Institution from the beginning may be obtained. These volumes are illustrated by a large number of wood cuts, which have been provided at the expense of the Smithsonian fund. We have, however, to regret that, from the rapidity with which Congressional documents are hurried through the press, we have not been allowed in all cases revised copies of the proof. We cannot, therefore, be held entirely responsible for inaccuracies of the press any more than for the style of printing or the quality of the paper.

It is a part of the settled policy of the Institution to appropriate its funds, as far as the original law of organization will allow, to such objects only as cannot as well be accomplished by other means ; and accordingly, in several instances, the printing of papers previously


accepted for publication has been relinquished because it was subse- quently found that the works could be given to the public, under certain conditions, through other agencies. In such cases the favor- able opinion expressed by the Institution as to the character of the work, or the assistance rendered by the subscription on the part of the Regents, for a number of copies to be distributed in exchange for other books among our foreign correspondents, has been suflicient to induce some liberal minded parties to undertake the publication, rather as an enterprise connected with the meek of their estab- lishments, than as a matter of profit. I Heavenly Bodies,’’ by the celebrated Gauss, translated Captain C,. -H. Davis, U. 8. N., late superintendent of the Nautical Almanac, which was originally accepted by us for publication, but was after- wards relinquished to Messrs. Little & Brown, of Boston, who have shown in this instance, as well as in others of a similar character, a liberality which cannot be otherwise than highly appreciated by a discerning public. This book, which is essential to the advance of practical astronomy, was published in Latin, in Hamburg, in 1809, and is now of difficult access, as well as of restricted use, on account of the language in which it appeared. It gives a complete system of formulas and processes for computing the movement of a body revolv- ing in an ellipse, or in any other curve belonging to the class of conic sections, and explains a general method of determining the orbit of a planet or a comet from three observations of the position of the body as seen from the earth. The essay was called for at the time it was produced by the wants of science. The planet Ceres, discovered on the first. day of the present century by Piazzi, of Italy, had been lost to astronomers in its passage through the portion of the heavens illuminated by the beams of the sun, and could not be found by the means then known, when Gauss, from a few observations of its former place, calculated its orbit, and furnished an ephemeris by which it was readily rediscovered. The methods employed in this determina- tion were afterwards given in a systematic form in the work now transJated. The copies subscribed for by the Institution, on account of exchanges, and those paid for by the Navy Department, for the use of the computers of the Nautical Almanac, were sufficient to secure the publication of the work, which could not have been under- taken without these aids.

In accordance with the same policy the Institution has subscribed for a few copies of a work on ‘The Pleiocene Fossils of South Caro-


lina,’’ by M. Tuomey and F.8. Holmes. This work received the com- mendation of some of the distinguished members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at its meeting in Charles- ton, in 1850, and its publication was undertaken at the risk and cost of the authors. ‘The actual expense, however, far exceeded their esti- mate, and without the liberal aid of the legislature of South Carolina they could not have escaped heavy loss, or been enabled to complete the work in a proper style of art. To aid the same enterprise the Institution was induced to make the subscription above mentioned for copies to be distributed to foreign societies. We regret to state that before the work was fully completed the science of the country was called to mourn the loss of Professor Tuomey, of the University of Alabama, who, during the past year, was prematurely snatched away from his family and friends in the flower of his age. His works, however, will remain as an inheritance to the cause of knowledge and the best monument to his memory. We have been gratified to learn that, at the late session of the legislature of South Carolina, a resolu- tion was passed authorizing a continuance