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serious need of broader views than those commonly taken by professional inventors. And thus Governments fell into the habit of consulting the members of their academies, either individually or collectively, on all questions in which their knowledge would be of benefit to the State.

One object of the present paper is to review what our Government has done in this direction. Its course has not been marked by any lack of appreciation either of the practical or æsthetic value of scientific research. Its policy in supporting scientific bureaus and promoting their work has perhaps been broader and more liberal than that of any other Government. It has never counted the mere dollars and cents of income and outgo in estimating the value of knowledge. It has clearly seen that possible permanent benefits to future generations, the value of which could not be estimated at the present time, must be taken into consideration.

What it has wanted is a knowledge of the best method of promoting the application of scientific principles to public works. It has relied too much upon its own officers and employees, and does not appreciate the advantages to be derived from associations like the Paris Academy and Royal Society of London. Abstractly every one knows that the question whether a ship shall be safely navigated to her port or be cast away on the rocks may turn upon the presence or absence of a very little knowledge on the part of her captain. But the public does not perceive that the same thing is true at every step which we take in the development of our resources. Cases are frequently arising in which the ordinary routine of Government work cannot be relied upon to secure the best results.

A single illustration from contemporary history will show what I mean better than generalities. In 1882 Congress made an appropriation for improving the water supply of Washington by extending an aqueduct under the city. It entrusted the entire work to its officers. The latter knew that under the soil on which the city was erected there existed a layer of solid rock, of sufficient hardness and consistency to serve for the walls of the proposed aqueduct. Accordingly the latter was hewn at a great depth through the rock and carried to a reservoir several miles away.

Nothing could be said against the professional capacity of the

engineers who conceived and executed this plan. They carried on the work with that economy and on those sound business principles which characterize the operations of our Government engineers. They knew everything that an engineer could reasonably be expected to know. Yet they did not know that the rock through which they were hewing their aqueduct, firm though it appeared on inspection, would ultimately disintegrate under the action of water. The inevitable result would be that, in a few months or a few years, the rock in which the aqueduct was cut would be reduced to a mass of sand.

Had the Government been in the habit of consulting scientific experts who were not professional engineers, on every question of science that might arise, this knowledge would have been gained before the aqueduct was projected. The liability of some hard and solid rocks to disintegrate is well known to geologists. The services of one of these men would have cost little, and a very little study would have brought out the fact that the rock in question was of this class. For want of this study a large sum, perhaps a million of dollars or more, has been wasted on the work, and now, after the lapse of seventeen years, it is uncertain whether the aqueduct will ever be made use of.

We cannot say that the doings of our Government have uniformly been of this unsatisfactory character. When the Civil War burst upon us, the need of supplementing the professional attainments of Government officers by those of scientific men whose services were at command led to the formation of a scientific commission, to which various questions were from time to time referred. The organization of this commission was, we believe, somewhat informal. Indeed, we do not know to what extent it has been recognized in the history of the war. Among its members were Professor A. D. Bache, Superintendent of the Coast Survey; Professor Joseph Henry, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and Rear-Admiral C. H. Davis, U. S. N., Chief of the Bureau of Navigation in the Navy Department. The usefulness of the commission suggested its being enlarged into a permanent organization similar to the academies of science of Europe. Thus arose our National Academy of Sciences, which was chartered by act of Congress in 1863. Its membership was at first limited to fifty; but the restriction of numbers was repealed by a supplementary act of Congress. The Academy was

required to hold an annual meeting at such place in the United States as might be designated, and, whenever called upon by any department of the Government, to "investigate, examine, experiment and report upon any subject of science or art." The actual expense of the work performed was to be paid by the Government, but the Academy was to receive no compensation whatever for any services thus rendered.

This body labors under the great disadvantage of having its membership scattered over the entire country instead of being concentrated at the Capital, as is the case with the national academies of Europe. It is true that in England the fellows of the Royal Society reside in every part of Great Britain; but the great bulk of the membership is found in London and its immediate neighborhood. Still, our Academy has done enough for the Government to demonstrate the great value of its services. Twice in its history it has been called into council on questions of capital importance. One of these questions concerned the surveys of the public domain; the other the proper measures to be taken for the preservation of our forests. It will take but a cursory glance at these two questions to show the weak points in our system which such a body is needed to strengthen.

Explorations of our territories, carried on by parties which may be designated as semi-official, have been undertaken through the whole period of our national history. Such enterprises were formerly directed to some particular regions, or toward the attainment of some special end, and had no permanence in their organization. The explorer completed his journey and returned home to report what he had seen and learned.

About thirty years ago surveys and explorations having a greater or less permanence of character began to be undertaken. Among these enterprises the survey of Professor F. V. Hayden soon became the best known. The head of the survey combined a respectable position in the scientific world with tireless energy and great enthusiasm. He spent his summers in work in the field and his winters in rousing Congress to a sense of the importance of what he was doing and of the desirableness of larger appropriations for his work. He was so successful in these efforts that his organization grew apace and soon developed into the Geological Survey of the Territories.

Contemporaneously with this survey grew up another, under

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the War Department. The latter needed a survey specially prosecuted for military purposes. In some features it was necessarily different from a purely geological survey. At the same time it was very evident that a party executing a survey for military purposes could very easily include in its scope all the requirements for a complete geographical and geological exploration. Congress responded to an appeal on this basis, as it did to the appeals of Hayden, and thus arose the Geographical Survey of the Territories, which was carried on by the Chief of Engineers of the Army, under the personal direction of Lieutenant Wheeler.

Besides these two permanent surveys, others somewhat temporary in character were executed. One was that of Clarence King, which was confined to the region near the fortieth parallel. Another was that of Major J. W. Powell, which was specially devoted to the great Cañon of the Colorado. The field work of this survey was speedily completed, but the preparation and publication of the results extended through several years.

Leaving out of consideration these more or less temporary enterprises, we had the curious spectacle of the Government supporting two independent surveys of the same region for almost the same purpose, neither of which had any official knowledge of the work of the other. Both were vigorously engaged in making a map of Colorado; both mapped down the lines of communication, the one for military purposes, the other for civil purposes. We can hardly suppose that there was any great and essential difference between the two. Both had the requirements of agriculture and the investigation of the mineral resources in view. The two parties sometimes mounted their theodolites on the same mountains, triangulated the same regions, came to Washington in the winter, prepared maps showing the progress of their work in the same region, and submitted them to Congress in support of increased grants of money. The Hayden Survey finally had the pleasure of publishing a complete atlas of Colorado, and the Wheeler Survey of issuing a number of maps of the same territory about the same time. Both were proceeding with undiminished vigor to extend their work over other territories.

It would not be just to say that this state of things illustrated the incapacity of Congress to deal with a disputed administrative question. We cannot suppose that Congress failed to see the difficulty and was not fully capable of grappling with it. What it

really illustrates is the repugnance of Congress to the adoption of decisive measures of any sort for the settlement of a disputed administrative question. Infant bureaus are its infant children. They may quarrel with each other and eat up the paternal substance; but the parent cannot make up his mind to starve them outright. They must be fed and nurtured with the hope that, at some time in the distant future, they will grow so wise as to live together in harmony.

But in the present case, as the years passed away, there was no prospect of such a happy consummation, even in the remote future. Both surveys were determined to carry through their entire work. The one unofficially reviled the political methods of the other; the latter retorted with equally unofficial reflections on the scientific incapacity of its rival. If one showed finer maps, the other showed how economical it was to get up a less artistic map.

Various attempts were made to devise some plan of reconciliation or some system by which the two surveys should not duplicate each other's work. But it does not seem that anything came of these efforts. Then it was that Mr. A. S. Hewitt, of New York, a member of the Committee on Appropriations, bethought himself that the Government had at its command a body which could deal with the question in an intelligent way, without being affected by parental sympathy for either infant. This was the National Academy of Sciences. The committee accepted his view, and, in accordance therewith, a clause was inserted in the Sundry Civil Bill of June 30, 1878, requiring the Academy at its next meeting to take the matter into consideration, and "report to Congress as soon thereafter as may be practicable, a plan for surveying and mapping the territory of the United States on such general system as will, in their judgment, secure the best results at the least possible cost."

Several of the older and more conservative members of the Academy held that the proposed report did not come within the proper sphere of that body. The question of a plan for surveying the territories of the United States, it was claimed, was not one of either literature, science or art, but of public administration, which it was the duty of Congress to deal with. Referring such a question to the Academy was drawing the latter into the arena of political discussion to an extent that would be detri

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