House of Representatives Rep. No. 587

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The Select Committee on the Smithsonian submitted a report which summarized the events and actions taken in relation to the Smithsonian Bequest since Andrew Jackson's initial message to Congress informing them of the bequest. Since then, an agent had been sent to England to retrieve the fund. The funds were invested in state stocks. Along with the Report the Committee submitted a bill (H.R. 386). The report also includes a summary of three issues related to the management of the fund in the manner the bill proposed, mainly that the fund be preserved with an interest of 6 % per year, that the portions of the income already accrued from the investment of state stocks be used to fund an astronomical observatory and that no part of the fund should be applied to an educational or religious institution. The rest of the report includes letters, copies of the state stock certificates and answers from the Astronomer Royal to John Quincy Adams' questions regarding practical matters of founding an observatory.


  • Adams, John Quincy 1767-1848
  • Jackson, Andrew 1767-1845
  • Forsyth, John 1780-1841
  • Vail, A
  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • United States Congress
  • United States President
  • Royal Greenwich Observatory
  • Great Britain Court of Chancery


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • H.R. Rep. No. 27-587
  • Title 20, Education
  • Report - Congressional

Contained within

United States Congressional Serial Set (Book)

Contact information

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


  • 1977
  • 04/12/1842


  • Smithson Bequest
  • Trusts and trustees
  • Observatories
  • Stocks
  • Letters
  • Actions and defenses
  • Strategic planning
  • Astronomy
  • Interest rates


Report - Congressional

Physical description

Number of pages: 103; Page Numbers: 1-103

Full Record

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