Accepting Smithson's Gift - 3 of 5
Graphical timeline from Smithson to Smithsonian
From Smithson to Smithsonian - The Birth of an InstitutionAccepting Smithson's Gift

Who Was James Smithson?
Sccepting Smithson's Gift
All-American Compromise
The Smithsonian Building
An Institution Emerges
A National Collection
Smithson's Legacy

"The Bequest Faithfully Carried into Effect"
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams


As the chairman of the Congressional select committee to determine what to do about the bequest, Congressman John Quincy Adams (formerly, U.S. President) maintained that the endowment could have far-reaching consequences for the young country. He advocated applying the money toward scientific research.

"If, then, the Smithsonian Institution, under the smile of an approving Providence, and by the faithful and permanent application of the means furnished by its founder, should contribute essentially to the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men, to what higher or nobler object could this generous and splendid donation have been devoted?"
-Representative John Quincy Adams
(Massachusetts) January 19, 1839

Interest in the Smithson bequest was so strong that newspapers printed the full text of House Report 181 urging that the bequest be "faithfully carried into effect."

Transcript National Intelligencer
Feb. 17, 1836

National Intelligencer
National Intelligencer


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