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?"
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."
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