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STATE LAW LIBRARIES OTHER THAN THAT LOCATED IN ALBANY. Under the former Constitution a "Chancellor's Library" was formed for the use of the Court of Chancery. For many years this Library was kept at Saratoga Springs, the place of residence of Chancellor Walworth.
Upon the discontinuance of that court, under the Constitution of 1846, it become the "Library of the Court of Appeals," and was divided, one brauch being located at Syracuse, and the other at Rochester, under authority granted to the Judges of the Court of Appeals. They were placed in some measure under the charge of the Board of Regents, by whom their Librarians were appointed, and their salaries were fixed. Reports are also required to be made to the Regents, but these are not published. Provision was made for placing in the Law Library in Albany, any books that it might want, and for placing in the branch libraries any duplicates the State Law Library might possess.
Three Law Libraries had been formed for Judges of the former Supreme Court, and one for the Vice-Chancellor of the Second Cir cuit. These four libraries were by the act of 1849, declared to be for the Judges of the Court of Appeals, and their successors in office. Provision has been made for a Law Library in each of the eight judicial districts of the State, as follows:
1865... 722.... New York city.. "New York Law Library," under the manage
ment of the Justices of the Supreme Court
The State Library at Albany is in the Third
1874... 323.... Kingston.....
1859... 230.... Binghamton
Act of April 9, 1849.
"Law Library of Fourth District," Justices of Supreme Court, Fourth District, its Trustees. The Court of Appeals Library at Syracuse is also in this District.
Under the care of Justices of Supreme Court, Sixth District, and the supervisors of Broome county, to whom reports are made.
For use of Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeals Library is in the Seventh District. Under the care of the Trustees of the Grosvenor Library, but subject to orders of the Justices of Supreme Court of Eighth District.
Chap. 300, Laws of 1849.
Reports are required to be made to the Regents, from the Libraries of the Second, Fourth and Eighth Districts.
The Regents were required to frame rules for the use of books in the Libraries mentioned in the act of 1849, and might add to and amend the same as might be necessary.1
STATE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY.
By JAMES HALL, LL. D., Director.
The New York State Museum of Natural History is the legitimate result of the Geological Survey of the State, which comprehended in its scope and purpose every department of Natural History. This survey and its influence upon the progress of natural science in the country, and especially upon geology and geological nomenclature over the civilized world, deserves a special chapter 2 devoted to its history. The advocates and promoters of the survey long before its inauguration, in all their memorials and petitions, gave clear expression to their expectation that a museum of the natural productions of the State would be the outcome of the survey. It may be said that the Geological Survey was the result of a desire on the part of the people to have some definite and positive knowledge of the mineral resources and the vegetable and animal products of the State.
A memorial from the Albany Institute to the Legislature of the State in 1834,3 in regard to a proposed geological survey, expressed
'See Regents' Manual, 1882, p. 98.
See the history of the New York State Geological Survey, and a sketch with portrait of the State Geologist, Professor James Hall, in the first volume of the Public Service of the State of New York "
2 Senate document No. 15, 1834.
This memorial had reference to the formation of a great public museum at Albany, and asked from the Legislature an appropriation for the continuation of what had been already well begun by the Albany Institute, through the active co-operation of its members.
The first act or the Legislature of New York tending to promote a general knowledge of its resources, through the agency of a society, was passed March 12, 1793 (Chap. 59, Laws of 1793), and incorporated "The Society for the PromoIt was a tion of Agriculture, Arts and Manufactures," and was limited to 1804. State Society, and included in its long list of members and corporators, the most
the public sentiment or desire "to form a grand and comprehensive collection of the natural productions of the State of New York; to exhibit at one view and under one roof, its animal, vegetable and mineral wealth." This memorial further remarked on the subject: "In every civilized country of the Old World, such collections are an object of national pride. For their increase the naturalists of every kingdom have explored unknown regions. The British Museum, the Garden of Plants, at Paris, the collections of every
eminent and influential class of men throughout the State. Members of the Legislature were deemed honorary members of the society, and were entitled to attend its meetings, but not to vote at its elections. Its transactions were printed at the State expense, and bear evidence of great activity and zeal in the develop. ment of the agricultural and industrial interests of the State.
Upon the expiration of its charter another society named "The Society for the Promotion of Useful Arts," was incorporated April 2, 1804 (Chap. 41, Laws of 1804), without limitation as to time, and the property of the former society became vested in the new corporation. Its general objects were in the main similar; but as circumstances brought various interests into importance, especially as the war of 1812 was approaching, in the encouragement of domestic manufactures, this society was charged with the duty of distributing premiums, and the like. It also encouraged researches, and published transactions that have permanent value in our literature. It made collections of various kinds, and until the forma tion of a "Board of Agriculture" in 1819 (Chap. 107, Laws of 1819), it was the only State society that existed for the development of the resources of New York.
A scientific society named "The Albany Lyceum of Natural History," was formed some years later, and both continued separately until 1829 (Chap. 43, Laws of 1829), when they were merged in The Albany Institute," which became the owner of the library and collections that had been accumulated by its predecessors. Under the comprehensive charter received at that time, the Albany Institute was to consist of three departments.
First. The Department of Physical Sciences and the Arts, including the
Society for the Promotion of Useful Arts," as then constituted.
Second. The Department of Natural History, or the Lyceum of Natural History, and
Third. The Department of History and General Literature.
In the early years of the Albany Institute much attention was paid to Natural History in its various branches, and in its Petition of 1834, above referred to, it is stated that their catalogues comprised at least 10,000 articles upon that subject.
At a somewhat later period, the physical sciences, and especially meteorology, electricity and magnetism, became subjects of investigation, and some of the most brilliant of the early discoveries in electro-magnetism by Prof. Joseph Henry, were first announced to the world at the meetings of the Albany Institute.
This society has continued in active existence to the present day Its library cabinet and room for meeting are in the Albany Academy, and its Transactions now extending to volumes, are recognized as valuable contributions to knowledge.
F. B. H.
kingdom, are illustrations of the value attached to such institutions and the liberality with which they are supported."
The Albany Institute had already at that time accumulated considerable collections in the departments of Natural History. Governor Clinton had shown his interest in these subjects by making a private collection of the fossils of the State, and had in his last annual message advised legislative encouragement to mineralogical researches within the State; and virtually recommended a geological
The geological survey was organized, and the collections which were gathered in its progress far exceeded the most sanguine expectations of its promoters. The Albany Institute, which had been proposed as the custodian of these collections, had no sufficient room for their accommodation. Various plans were suggested to provide room
In 1828 a committee appointed upon this subject, in pursuance of the Gover nor's advice, reported favorably and at some length upon the subject, and brought in a bill entitled An act directing Geological Researches," but it did not become a law. (Assem. Journal, 1828, pp. 1113, 1180.)
On the 28th of March, 1829, a memorial from the Lyceum of Natural History in the city of New York, was presented in Assembly, praying for the passage of a law "to provide for a practical and efficient examination of the mineral formations of this State for bituminous coal," with a resolution of the Common Council of the city of New York, approving of the object of the application.
The subject was referred to a select committee, consisting of Thomas L. Smith, of New York, Benj. P. Johnson, of Oneida, and Thomas Armstrong, of Wayne, who two days afterward made a highly favorable report, accompanied by a bill entitled "An act directing Geological Researches," but this failed to become a law. Assem. Journal, 1829, pp. 873, 887.)
Perhaps a more direct and immediate notice was presented in a memorial of the American Institute of the city of New York, praying for a geological survey of the State, received in Assembly April 1, 1835 and referred to a select committee, consisting of Charles P. Clinch, of New York, David Wager, of Oneida, and Mark H. Sibley, of Ontario. This committee on the 18th of April made a very favorable report. (Assem. Journal, 481, 650, Assem. Doc. 374, 1835.)
In this memorial the society alluded to the acknowledged obligations of the government to advance the cause of science and of learning, and strenuously urged that efficient measures ought to be taken to promote the progress of this important branch of knowledge, inseparably connected as it was with a thorough disclosure of the internal resources of the State, and with the industry and enterprise of its citizens. The States of Maryland, Tennessee, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia, had already instituted surveys of this kind, with beneficial results, and reports of the survey in Massachusetts had been published upon a liberal scale.
This led to a resolution passed in Assembly the same day, directing the Secretary of State, [Hon. John A. Dix,] to report to the Legislature at its next session a plan for a complete Geological Survey of the State. (Assem. Journal 1835, p. 650).
F. B. H.
for their arrangement. One was to unite in a continuous room several of the committee-rooms in the upper story of the Capitol; another to set off a portion of the State Library; but all were abandoned as insufficient. In February, 1839, Ebenezer Emmons, and James IIall, in a communication to William H. Seward, Governor of New York, offered some suggestions in regard to the disposition of the collections, and gave an estimate of their number and importance. On the 27th of February 1839, Governor Seward made a communication to the Legislature, accompanying it with the memorial above mentioned. In concluding the Governor said, "It ought to be known to the Legislature that the collections of specimens will far exceed in number and value the expectations indulged at the time of the passage of the act, and cannot be profitably or conveniently deposited in the State Library, or in any apartments of the Capitol which can be appropriated for that purpose. The whole collection will form a museum of the highest scientific interest. Unless suitable arrangements are made for its preservation and exhibition, the benefits of the survey, will be, in a great measure, lost."
"On November 1, 1839, as the time for the field work of the survey was drawing to a close, the Board of Geologists addressed a inemorial to Governor Seward, in which, among other things, they recommended the use of rooms in the second story of the old State Hall, and we are unanimously of the opinion that this is the most eligible place for the State Museum.' This memorial was signed by James E. De Kay, Lardner Vanuzem, Ebenezer Emmons, William W. Mather, Timothy A. Conrad, James Hall and Lewis C. Beck. It was communicated to the Legislature on the 24th of January, 1840. On the 28th of April, 1840, Mr. Robert Deniston of Orange County, 'of the select committee on so much of the Governor's message as relates to the geological survey,' made a report upon some of the results of the survey, and recommended the use of the old State Hall for the collections of the geological survey.
The ground occupied by the old State Hall having been ceded to the State for the specific purpose for which it was then occupied, it became necessary for the Common Council of the city of Albany to modify the original grant in order that the building might be occupied for a State Museum of Natural History. This was accordingly done, and by act of the Legislature,1 November 7, 1840, the building was appropriated for that purpose and the collections were
Chap. 245, Laws of New York 1840, p. 192.