Smithsonian Institution, Board of Regents, Minutes, 1850

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  • Present: Millard Fillmore, William W. Seaton, James A. Pearce, Graham N. Fitch, Henry W. Hilliard, and Joseph G. Totten. Also Present: Joseph Henry. The members not present were Roger B. Taney, Jefferson Davis, James M. Mason, William F. Colcock, Alexander Dallas Bache, Rufus Choate, Gideon Hawley, Richard Rush, and William C. Preston.
  • The proceedings of the last meeting were read. The Secretary presented the board with a communication from Francis Markoe "relative to the deposit, in the Smithsonian building, of his cabinet of minerals, with a view to their future purchase," after which the board resolved to decline Mr. Markoe's proposition. The Secretary stated that the portrait of James Smithson ordered to be purchased at a previous meeting had been arrived from England, and also that five "volumes of an Encyclopedia, formerly the property of James Smithson" had been purchased through the Hon. Abbott Lawrence. The board resolved that its thanks be sent to Mr. Lawrence "for the attention he has given to the interests of the institution abroad." The board also resolved that the chairmen of the Executive Committee be appointed a committee "whose duty it shall be to report on a system of keeping and disbursing the funds of the Institution."
  • The Secretary presented the board with a "proposition to ask Congress to receive from the institution $150,000, to be funded as an irredeemable 6 per cent. stock, to be added to the principal of the Smithsonian bequest." The board then resolved that chancellor and Secretary " be authorized to sell $200,000 of stock accrued interest, or any part thereof, not less than $150,000, the proceeds to be deposited to the credit of the Chancellor and Secretary, subject to be drawn at any time, with Corcoran & Riggs, at not less that 4 per cent., provided that they shall give security therefore, in United States stock"; and also that "whatever the premium on the above stock, when sold, shall amount to, it be deposited, subject to be drawn for the current expenses of the Institution, on requisition in the usual form."
  • The board also resolved that "it is expedient to enlarge the permanent fund of this institution by the investment of such sums, not exceeding $200,000, as may have been or shall be received for accrued interest, or otherwise, in addition to the principal sum of the Smithsonian bequest, augmenting the principal sum to that amount; and that application be made to Congress to receive such sums, not exceeding $200,000, as may have been or shall be received for accrued interest, or otherwise, into the United States Treasury, upon the same terms on which the original bequest has been received," and that the Secretary be requested to communicate a copy of these resolutions to Congress "and to request that provision be made by law, in accordance therewith."
  • The Secretary then brought up the subject of the contract for the building. He presented a letter from J.M. Carlisle, Esq., the attorney hired to give advice on it. The board then resolved that the committee on the building be authorized to come to a compromise with the contractor regarding the "defective work and materials" in the building, and also regarding a "modification of the contract" under the approval of the board at their next meeting.
  • The Secretary then presented the board with a "volume of magnetical and meteorological observations" made in Toronto, Canada and presented to the Smithsonian by the government of Britain. The board was informed that "the duration of the Toronto Observatory is limited by law" and then resolved that the chancellor and Secretary be requested to acknowledge the Institution's receipt of the volume, "with expression of the hope of this Board that Her Majesty's Government may find it expedient to continue an institution of such utility to science."


  • Fitch, Graham Newell
  • Seaton, William Winston 1785-1866
  • Totten, Joseph Gilbert 1788-1864
  • Fillmore, Millard 1800-1874
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Hilliard, Henry W (Henry Washington) 1808-1892
  • Pearce, James Alfred
  • Markoe, Francis 1801-1871
  • Lawrence, Abbott 1792-1855
  • Carlisle, J. M. Esq
  • Colcock, William Ferguson
  • Mason, James Murray
  • Hawley, Gideon 1785-1870
  • Bache, A. D (Alexander Dallas) 1806-1867
  • Davis, Jefferson 1808-1889
  • Rush, Richard 1780-1859
  • Taney, Roger Brooke 1777-1864
  • Preston, William C. 1794-1860
  • Choate, Rufus, 1799-1859
  • United States Congress
  • Board of Regents Executive Committee
  • Board of Regents
  • Corcoran & Riggs
  • Board of Regents Committee on Finance and Investment
  • United States Dept. of the Treasury
  • Regents Smithsonian Institution


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • 1850/06/01 Regents Minutes
  • Board of Regents - Minutes of Meetings, 1846-

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 1, Board of Regents Vol. 1 (Bound volume)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


  • 1879
  • June 1, 1850


  • Investments
  • Stocks
  • Financial policies
  • Portraits
  • Collection and preservation
  • Minerals
  • Board of Regents
  • Mineral collectors
  • Contracts
  • Meteorology
  • England
  • Canada
  • Board of Regents--Financial policies
  • Minerals--Collection and preservation


  • Canada
  • England


Board of Regents

Physical description

Number of pages:2; Page numbers: 62-63

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