The Papers of Joseph Henry


My dear Sir

I hope you will pardon me for so long delaying to acknowledge the receipt of your letters[2] and the ↑interesting↓ volumes on agriculture you were so good as to send me. The truth is I have been so overwhelmed ↑much pressed↓ with busness since my appointment that I have not been able ↑found it impossible↓ to keep up with my correspondence particularly as I have ↑had↓ no assistance.[A]
I consider the Farmers Library a valuable publication[3] and on my own responsibility I take the liberty of ↑have concluded to↓ subscribe[B] for it on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution[4] you will therefore please to send the numbers to me directed for the present to Princeton.
Agriculture is one of the branches of knowledge which in my opinion should ↑especially↓ receive the special encouragement of the Smithsonian establishment and I think the plan of organization which I presented to the Board of Regents would as effectually ensure this end as the limited income of the bequest and the number of objects claming ↑its↓ assistance will permit. The pamphlet which I send you with this letter will give you the several propositions of this plan ↑as expressed↓ in the form of the Resolutions marked in ink with the numerals 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.[5] ↑The two first ↑two↓ are intended to promote the increase of knowleged and the remainder to effect the its diffusion.↓ No. 1 offers inducements for undertaking new researches and the discovery of new phenomena ↑production of original memoirs↓. No 2 provides for special experiments the ↑at the↓ expenses of which are to be defrayed by the funds of the Institution. For example the Board of Regents may direct that a series of experiments be made on the analysises of particular plants to determine what substances should be found in ↑added to↓ the soil inorder to their better production. No 3[6] provides for the publication of a series of periodical Reports on ↑the progress of↓ all branches of the three great divisions of human knowledge namely Physical science moral and political science critisim and the fine arts—these Reports[C] to be prepared by Collaborators eminent in there respective lines who are to be furnished with all the journals of the world[D] necssary for selecting the ↑proper↓ material. Under the head of ↑the head of Reports on↓ Physical science a small volume on agriculture would be annually published containing in a condensed form an account of all the positive additions which may have been made during[E] the year to this branch of knowledge.
This plan was adopted provisionally by the Board but unfortunately the law of Congress establishing the Institution requires so large an expenditure of the funds in providing for a Library and a collection of specimens ↑a museum & a gallery of art↓ that the scheme I have mentioned for increasing and diffusing knowledge among men cannot be carried out as effectually as I could wish.
The income of the smithsonian Institution is so small that little of general interest can be effected by collections Lectures and agricultural normal schools these plans can only produce local and partial results. The only means by which kn the Smithsonian bequest can be made available in increasing and diffusing knowledge ↑generally↓ among men generally is ↑princpally↓ by stimulating original ↑the labours of all in our country who are capable of enlarging the bounds of truth by↓ research in all parts of the country and the world and diffusing ↑valuable↓ information of a valuable kind as widely ↑and as cheaply↓ as possible through the press.
Plese accept my thanks for your kind offer of the use of the pages of your ↑valuable↓ journal journal. I shall perhaps avail myself of the privilege privelege at some futur time. I am very

I am Very Respect fully Truly Yours

Joseph Henry
Draft, Henry Papers, Smithsonian Archives. Drafts: Two partial drafts in same location.
    [1] Skinner (1788–1851) was editor of the Farmer's Library and Monthly Journal of Agriculture from 1845 to 1848. From 1819 to 1830, he had published the American Farmer, the "first continuous, successful agricultural periodical in the United States." DAB.
    [2] Not found.
    [3] Skinner was hired to edit the journal by Horace Greeley and Thomas McElrath of the New York Tribune. Each issue included a reprint of a major work on agriculture as well as practical information on farming and notices of experiments, machinery, and inventions. DAB, s.v. "Skinner, John Stuart."
    [4] At an August 10, 1848, executive committee meeting, Henry presented Skinner's request that the Smithsonian buy three volumes of the Farmer's Library. The committee approved the purchase. The first three volumes (1846–1847) are listed in Catalogue of Publications and of Periodical Works Belonging to the Smithsonian Institution, January 1, 1866 (Washington, 1866), p. 540. Rhees, Journals, p. 464.
    [5] Report of the Organization Committee of the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, 1847), specifically the resolutions at the bottom of page 19 and the top of page 20.
    [6] Henry meant number 4.
    [A] Altered from assistant
    [B] Altered from subscribing
    [C] Altered from reports
    [D] Altered from g
    [E] Altered from t