The Papers of Joseph Henry



I am this evening very home sick or at least have been so but feel relieved by commencing this letter to you. I hoped to get off this morning so as to be with you this evening but was disappointed. The week which is just about comming to a close has been a very anxious one though all things appear now to be as I could wish or rather as well as I had any reason to expect. You know that I made a resolution with your concurrence to attempt to arrest proceedings as to the building or to put the affair in such a state that the Board of Regents at a future meeting might have the power of controoling the building and of reversing if they thought fit their action.
After much difficulty and many efforts I succeeded in getting a clause inserted into the contract which gives the Board the power of stopping the building after the wings are finished and of modifying the plan in any way they may deem proper.[1] But I will give you an account of the whole when I return. Suffice[B] it to say that I have had much trouble and have been obliged to use some coerrsive measures.
I hope to be with you on monday eveng and until then my Dearest farewell
Family Correspondence, Henry Papers, Smithsonian Archives.
    [1] The construction contract between the Smithsonian and the contractors, James Dixon and Gilbert Cameron, was supposed to be signed at the building committee's evening meeting on March 19. Henry attended that meeting and persuaded the committee to refrain from signing the contract until Bache—who was ill—had had an opportunity to examine it. At the first of two meetings on March 20, Robert Dale Owen, the chairman of the committee, at the suggestion of Henry and Bache, submitted an addendum to the contract giving the Board of Regents the right "to make important alterations in the plan of the building, or in the time of its execution," in exchange for proper compensation for the contractors. The contract, with the addendum, was signed on the evening of March 20. Rhees, Journals, p. 627.
    [A] Day altered from 19
    [B] Altered from to