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much attention, and has been attended with a commensurate amount of beneficial results. Among the collections received during the past year liave been specimens of great interest, either the results of explorations, undertaken by the Institution, or of exchanges with individuals or local societies. The materials thus collected belong principally to two classes, namely, to specimens of new or rare forms intended to advance natural history and duplicates of such as are to be labelled and distributed for the purposes of education. Among the former are the collections of Mr. Kennicott, whose explorations have been mentioned in previous reports. They are of a very valuable character, illustrating the natural history and ethnology of the northwestern portions of the continent of North America. The specimens received in 1863, from this exploration, filled forty boxes and packages, weighing, in the aggregate, 3,000 pounds. They embrace in the line of natural history thousands of skins of mammals and birds, eggs, nests, skeletons, fishes, insects, fossils, plants, &c. In the line of ethnology are skulls, dresses, weapons, implements, utensils, instruments of the chase, in short, all the requisite material to illustrate the peculiarities of the Esquimaux and different tribes of Indians inhabiting the northwest regions.

In addition to the collections obtained from the British possessions in North America, by Mr. Kennicott, specimens have been received from otber points and other parties. Among these are a series of birds and eggs from Labrador, gathered by Mr. Henry Connolly, and a large amount of new material from Mexico, collected by John Xantus, under the auspices and at the expense of the Institution, consisting of birds, fishes, reptiles, shells, &c. Another series from the same country has been presented by Dr. Sartorius, who has, for a number of years, been one of the meteorological observers of the Institution. Interesting collections have been received, also, from Dr. A. Van Frantzius, of Costa Rica; from Mr. Osbert Salvin, of Guatemala; from Captain J. M. Dow, of Panama; specimens from Cuba have been presented by Mr. C. Wright and Prof. Poey; from Trinidad, by Mr. Galody, United States consul; from Jamaica, by Mr. W. T. March; from Ecua. dor, by the Hon. C. T. Buckalew, now of the United States Senate. A valuable contribution of birds and mammals has also been received from Prof. Sumichrast, of Orizaba. These collections are all intended to illustrate the natural history of the American continents, to the investigation of whose extended regions the Institution has especially directed its labors.

In order to facilitate the preparation of a work on the birds of America, by Prof. Baird, a circular from the Institution was dis. tributed through the State Department to the consular and diplomatic agents of the United States in Central and South America, asking aid in completing the collection of birds, and we doubt not that much new and valuable material will thus be obtained.

The following are the rules which have been adopted in regard to the disposition and use of the collections:

First. To advance original science, the duplicate type specimens are distributed as widely as possible to scientific institutions in this and other countries, to be used in identifying the species and genera which have been described.

Second. For the purposes of education, duplicate sets of specimens, properly labelled, are presented to colleges and other institutions of learning in this country.

Third. These donations are inade on condition that due credit is to be given the Institution in the labelling of the specimens, and in all accounts which may be published of them.

Fourth. Specimens are presented to foreign institutions, on condition that if type specimens are wanted for comparison or other use in this country they will be furnished when required.

Fifth. In return for specimens which may be presented to colleges and other institutions, collections from localities in their vicinity sball be furnished when wanted.

In the disposition of the undescribed specimens of the collection, the following considerations have been observed as governing principles:

First. The original specimens are not to be intrusted for description to inexperienced persons, but to those only who have given evidence of ability properly to perform the work.

Second. Preference is to be given to those who have been engaged in the laborious and difficult enterprise of making complete monographs.

Third. The investigator may be allowed, in certain cases, to take the specimens to his place of residence, and to retain them for study a reasonable time.

Fourth. The use of the specimens is only to be allowed on condition that a series of types for the Smithsonian museum will be selected and properly labelled, and the whole returned in good condition.

Fifth. In any publications which may be made of results derived from an investigation of the materials from the Smithsonian collection, full credit must be accorded to the Institution for the facilities which have been afforded.

During the past year the assorting and labelling of the specimens have been continued, as well as the distribution of duplicates.

The whole number of entries on the record book of the Smithsonian collection, at the end of the year 1861, was 66,075; at the end of 1862, 74, 764, and at the end of 1863, 86,847; but each entry indi. cates a lot consisting of a number of specimens. The whole number of duplicate specimens distributed to different institutions in this country and abroad, up to the end of the year 1863, has been 94,713. As these specimens are distributed on the express condition that full credit is to be given to the Institution on the labels, and in all pub. lications which may relate to them, the name of Smithson, even through this distribution alone, would become familiarly known in every part of the civilized world.

It has been, from the first, one of the prominent objects of the Institution to collect the most ample materials for illustrating the entire natural history of North America ; to determine the different species of plants and of animals; to ascertain the distribution of the former, and the migrations of the latter. This object it has endea. vored to accomplish throngh the agency of the different surveying expeditions of government; through explorations instituted at its own expense, and by enlisting the co-operation of individuals interested in science, and of local scientific societies. In all its efforts in this line it has been heartily supported, and it is believed that its labors have been productive of valuable results. The collections thus made have been intrusted to competent investigators for examination and description, and the results published in the different Smithsonian series, in transactions of societies, and in various government reports. For a list of what has already been prepared and published, either by the Institution or under its direction, I would refer to a report on this subject in preparatiou by Professor Baird.

Juseum. - The additions to the museum, in the line of natural history, are principally confined to the type specimens which have been collected and described at the expense of the general government, or under the immediate auspices of the Institution. Even thus restricted, the specimens increase in number more rapidly than the portion of the Smithsonian fund which can be devoted to their support will authorize. Few persons have an idea of the labor, constant care, and expenso which attends the proper preservation of a series of objects of natural history ; but those who have had the necessary experience know that large miscellaneous collections can only be properly supported by governments, and, in the establishment of provincial socie. ties, the rule has been strongly recommended of attempting to pre. serve nothing except what is strictly local. “It is the experience of societies," says Dr. Jardine, * the celebrated Scotch naturalist, "that general collections are encumbrances, and in most instances get destroyed for want of care, or they are dispersed. Within these few years the really fine and valuable collection of the Zoological Society of London, chiefly presented by the late N. A. Vigors, a first-rate scholar and naturalist, and containing many unique things from our scientific exploratory voyages, has been sold. That of the Entomological Society has also been sold, and the greater part of that belonging to the Linnean Society was sold during the last month, because there was not sufficient space to keep what had been presented to them. The collection of the Royal Society of Edinburgh is now undergoing the same process.”

During the past year the work of labelling the specimens in the museum, so that the common, as well as the scientific name of each article may be distinctly exhibited, has been continued.

Explorations.—The only explorations during the past year, under the auspices and at the expense of the Institution, are, 1st, the continuation of that of Mr. Xantus on the western coast of Mexico ; and, 2d, that by Mr. Meek in New Jersey and the lower part of Virginia. The explorations of Mr. Xantus extended several hundred miles along the western coast of Mexico in a region little known, and very abundant in interesting objects.

The exploration of Mr. Meek related to the collection of complete series of shells to illustrate the tertiary formation of the seaboard of New Jersey and Virginia. Several series of shells were obtained, which are in the process of being accurately labelled, and are intended for distribution to some of the principal colleges of the country.

Exchanges. The important aid rendered to science and literature by the system of international exchange which has for many years been actively carried on by the Institution, is still everywhere highly appreciated. Our operations in this line are becoming more and more extensive, requiring an additional amount of time, labor, and attention, as well as largely increasing in expense. The great liberality of many of the transportation companies alone enables us to carry on the system in its present extent, and we again tender our acknowledgments, especially to the following parties, who have

* Address of Sir W. Jardine, president of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, December, 1863.

assisted us in this respect: The North German Lloyd, between Bremen and New York; the Hamburg and New York steamship line; the Cunard line ; tho Panama Railroad Company; the Pacific Mail Steamship Company; Adams's Express Company, and the Hudson's Bay Company.

During the past year it was deemed advisable to establish a new agency of exchanges for Holland and Belgium, and Mr. Fred. Muller, bookseller, at Amsterdam, who was appointed the agent, has entered upon the discharge of his duties with zeal and efficiency. The numbers of the transactions of the societies in the countries referred to necessary to complete the sets in the Smithsonian library, as well as much other valuable scientific and literary material, have been procured by him. The other foreign agents of the Institution are still Dr. Felix Flugel, Leipsic, Mr. Wesley, London, and Gustave Bossange, Paris.

From the tabular statement given by Professor Baird, it appears that during the year 1863 there have been sent to foreign countries 1,426 packages, each containing a number of articles, enclosed in 61 boxes, measuring 447 cubic feet, and weighing 10,286 pounds. The number of packages received in return for societies and individuals in this country was 1,522, included in which, for the Smithsonian Insti. tution, were 4,589 books and pamphlets, besides specimens of natural history.

Library.The policy in regard to the library as has frequently been previously stated, is to form a collection as perfect as possible of all the tranactions and proceedings of the learned societies of the world. The success of the Institution in this enterprise has been fully commensurate with the expectations entertained, and the collection of works of this class, if the accumulation continues under the same favor. able conditions, will soon rival any other of a like kind in the world. The liberal distribution which the Institution has made of its own pub. lications and those of government has produced a rich return in series of transactions which, although existing as duplicates in some of the older libraries of Europe, can scarcely be obtained by purchase.

It was mentioned in the last report that the number of transactions and proceedings of learned societies contained in the library of the Institution had increased so much that a new edition of the catalogue previously published had become necessary. This work has since been put to press, and will be printed as rapidly as the care necessary to insure acccuracy will permit. Copies of this catalogue

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