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PARIS UNIVERSAL EXPOSITION,
REPORT OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
New York, December 15, 1866. Sir: At a meeting of the Advisory Committee for the United States, of the Paris Universal Exposition of 1867, held in the city of New York on the 4th day of December, 1866, the secretary, Professor Charles A. Joy, was directed to perpare an abstract of the minutes of previous meetings, and to state what further measures would, in the opinion of the committee, be required, in order to carry on the work to a successful completion.
The attention of our government was first called to the Exposition in a letter of M. de Geofroy to Mr. Seward, dated March 27, 1865.
In reply to this letter, Mr. Bigelow was instructed to say, that the President was favorably disposed towards the project, and promised concurrence as far as possible, subject to the approval of Congress.
It is well known that President Lincoln was fully impressed with the importance of having our country well represented in Paris, and that he gave all the attention to the subject that the important cares of state at that time permitted. Mr. N. M. Beckwith, an eminent American merchant, residing in Paris, was appointed commissioner general, and yourself United States agent; but there was no authority to incur expense, and all active movements were delayed until the meeting of Congress.
In the mean time, some of the citizens of New York, who felt a deep interest in the proper representation of our country at the “Universal Exposition," at your request, and with the approbation of the State Department at Washington, organized an “advisory committee,” to assist you, at least in some of your arduous labors, particularly in the selection of applications for admission of products. This committee consisted of ten members--one for each of the ten (10) groups, as set forth in the imperial programme—and on them has hitherto largely devolved the management of the affairs of the Exposition on this side of the ocean, under your direction, and with the aid of efficient assistants.
The committee have called in the aid of experts under each class, and have constantly labored, both in the city of New York and iu journeys through portions of the United States, to secure a full representation of the multiform and various products of the country.
They have had the benefit of the active co-operation of several State commissioners, of many societies, and of private individuals, and have occasionally had the
opportunity of consulting with some of the commissioners appointed by the government.
The services of the Advisory Committee throughout the year, as you are aware, have been wholly gratuitous, no appropriation having been made to defray such expenses.
The present condition of the work in this country can best be learned from the record of their proceedings.
By that record it will appear that early in January of the present year the following communication was addressed to you by the Advisory Committee :
"Your communication of the 19th instant, informing us that, “ upon consultation with prominent citizens interested in the growth and development of the resources of our country,' we had been designated as a committee to aid you in the selection of proper articles for exhibition in Paris in 1867, has been duly received; and after a brief consideration of the subject, and in compliance with your request. we beg leave to submit the following suggestions:
"This is the first time that the government has proposed to take part in a foreign exhibition. Hitherto the representation has been by individual effort and without system, and has been in no sense national.
“It is now incumbent upon those having the matter in charge to take prompt. efficient, and comprehensive action, to insure a creditable display of the products and productive capacity of the United States; and if, in consequence of the shortness of time and of inadequate appropriations, it is found that the work cannot be properly done, it would be better for the nation to be excluded from the Exposition than for us to send forward a defective and partial exhibition, which will be neither useful nor respectable, nor in any way representative of the products of the country.
“The representation of the United States at the Exposition of 1867 that would be satisfactory to its government and its people, and worthy of effort and espenditures, would be one that furnishes its representative products in each of the several classes as set forth by the imperial commissioners, so far as they are known to exist in this country.
“In our judgment, even if the time were not short, there would be great difficulty in undertaking to obtain these products by an appeal for voluntary offers; but under present circumstances, and expressly in reference to that of time, it is not to be expected that such measures will effect the desired representation, and that therefore recourse must be had to very different means in order to insure the end in view.
“First. As it appears to us, it is necessary that it be made known to the people of the United States that it is the intention of the government, in view of great and important national considerations, to take the necessary measures, with the co-operation of its citizens, to have the products and productive capacity of the country fairly represented at the Exposition of 1867.
“Second. That the government will furnish all the transportation necessary from the seaports of the United States to Paris and back; that it will provide agents to receive, take care of, and return the products furnished; and that it will empower a suitable commission to apply for and receive applications in such detail as may be necessary for selection, and finally to determine what articles are to be asked for, obtained, and forwarded, and that, in defining the duties of such commission, it shall be specially provided that the best products of the several kinds shall be selected, and where there are numerous producers of the same class of products of the same degree of excellence, care shall be taken to apportion the articles among as large a number of producers as possible.
"A publication of this intention of the government, accompanied by an appeal in the proper spirit and language, and setting forth clearly what is asked for of the producers, and, impressively, the principle of fairness and impartiality that will be required of the commission, would, it appears to us, meet with a response which would enable the commission to perform its part.
"To some extent the commission might find it necessary to make special application to obtain creditable products. It would be of great service to such commission to have copies of the catalogues of the Expositions of 1851, 1855, and 1862, in Europe, and of 1853 in the United States.
“The government of the United States ought to be a contributor, as is the case with foreign governments. It could order the whole of the larger parts of an engine for a war steamer to be set up in Paris, as a fair indication of our capacity in that class of production.
“Should the action of the government and of the producers of the United States be of the character briefly set forth, it is evident that no small space at the exhibition will be required; and we deem it necessary to remark that, in view of such action, the spaces occupied in the Expositions of 1851, 1855, and 1862, under entirely different influences, afford no proper basis of conclusion as to the allotment required in 1867. "Not having before us any estimate of the expenditures required for the participation of the United States in the manner proposed, we can hardly with propriety name any sum; but in our view of the urgent need of very prompt action, we deem it proper to say that it appears to us that not less than $300,000 should be placed at the command of the appropriate department, from which the commission would receive its powers and instructions, and to which it would make application for such funds as may be necessary to perform the work intrusted to them.
"In this communication we have aimed to present, in a summary manner, the views which we have formed. Of course, very much remains to be considered and decided.
" If in the future proceedings it is thought that we can be of service, we shall
· HORATIO ALLEN,
“ Sub Committee."
An estimate of expenses was prepared in conformity with the above letter.
Mr. Ruggles and Mr. McElrath, of our committee, repeatedly visited Washington to urge upon Congress the necessity for immediate action.
They, with others, addressed public meetings and published articles in the papers of the day.
It was not until the 5th of July last, more than a year after the attention of the government had been first called to the subject, that any appropriations were made, and those then made were quite inadequate in amount.
The United States agency has therefore labored under disadvantages not experienced in other countries.
The uncertainty which prevailed to some extent in Congress, in the peculiar condition, at a certain period, of our public relations with France, whether the United States would participate at all in the Exposition, and the consequent delay in the passage of the appropriation, rendered it impossible, at an early day, to arouse the national spirit to the extent that a different state of facts would, undoubtedly, have witnessed.
Notwithstanding these untoward circumstances, a very considerable work has been done, and much more can be accomplished if immediate additional aid be rendered by Congress.
The highest interests of the nation evidently demanded the utmost efforts of your committee to stimulate the country without delay, to a full exhibition of its products, notwithstanding any temporary inadequacy of the appropriations.
They have proceeded under the conviction that Congress, when fully acquainted with the magnitude of the subject, and its consequent necessities, would make any necessary increase in the appropriations.
At the meeting of the Advisory Committee, December 4, 1866, the respective chairmen of the ten (10) groups submitted full reports of what they had been able to accomplish up to that date.
Mr. William J. HOPPin, Chairman of Group 1, embracing works of art, &c.,
reports as follows: A general invitation to participate in the exposition was extensively circulated through the newspapers, addressed to artists and others, and published suficiently early to enable them, if they desired to do so, to complete elaborate works for the purpose.
The following gentlemen, residents of New York and Philadelphia, owners of extensive private galleries, and familiar with the condition of art in this country, constituted the committee to select works to be sent to Paris :
Mr. Jonathan Sturges, New York ; Mr. Sheppard Gandy, New York; Mr. Abraham M. Cozzens, New York; Mr. Henry T. Tuckerman, New York: Mr. Robert L. Stuart, New York ; Mr. Charles L. Tiffany, New York; Mr. William T. Blodgett, New York; Mr. Michael Knoedler, New York; Mr. J. Taylor Johnston, New York ; Mr. Samuel P. Avery, New York: Mr. Robert M. Olyphant, New York; Mr. Joseph Harrison, jr., Philadelphia; Mr. William P. Wright, New York; Mr. George Whitney, Philadelphia.
They adopted the rule to accept, if possible, only the best things we have done since 1855, and this rule necessarily excluded some interesting and creditable works, which, if the competition were among ourselves, and not between the United States and foreign nations, would probably have been admitted. Want of space also compelled the exclusion of some valuable productions.
It was determined to give great predominance to landscapes in our selection, because this was the department in which the American school of art has gained most distinction.
In obedience to these rules, the art committee endeavored to decide which were the best pictures that had been painted by the leading men within the last ten years, and then to obtain these works by direct applications to their owners.
In sculpture the same general rules of sclection prevailed, and some of our best productions will be sent to Paris.
The owners of these works of art expect no private advantages from this enterprise, and are willing, for no other motive than to increase the fame of the artists and the credit of the nation, to submit to the absence of their treasures for nearly a year, and to the risk of their possible loss. It therefore seems no more than reasonable that Congress should make an additional appropriation for return freight, premiums of insurance, and the necessary expense of an agent or custodian.
The value of the works of art thus contributed and loaned by these individuals for the public benefit is at least $150,000, and it would be exceedingly unjust and ungenerous if, in addition to the sacrifices made by them, they should be called upon to pay the charges indicated above.
Professor Charles A. Joy, Chairman of GROUP 2, embracing books, proofs and
apparatus of photography, musical instruments, medical and surgical instruments, mathematical and philosophical instruments, &c., reports :
That there were 147 applications for space ; of these 50 liave been withdrawn voluntarily or rejected, leaving 97 producers to whom space has been assigned
The following distinguished gentlemen were consulted as experts under the various classes of this group : Class 6.-Printing and publishing --Mr. George P. Putnam, publisher: Mr
Joel Munsell, publisher; Mr. James T. Fields publisher; Mr.
Class 7.- Bookbinding.-Mr. James Somerville, bookbinder.
College; Mr. M. Carey Lea, editor of Philadelphia Journal of
of photographic material ; Dr. John Dean, amateur photographer. Class 10.-- Musical instruments:-Mr. Theodore Thomas, composer and music
director; Mr. William Mason, pianist and composer; Mr. Joseph Poznanski, pianist ; Mr. S. B. Mills, pianist; Mr. Henry C. Timm, pianist; Mr. William A. Pond, publisher of music; Mr. William Scharfenberg, pianist and publisher of music; Mr. Charles K. Jarvis, pianist; Mr. Charles Wolfsohn, pianist; Mr. Otto Dresel, pianist; Mr. John S. Dwight, editor of Dwight's Journal of
United States; Dr. Frank H. Hamilton, professor of surgery;
fessor of surgery; Dr. Thomas B. Gunning, surgeon. Class 12.-Philosophical instruments.-Dr. F. A. P. Barnard, president of
Columbia College; Dr. Wolcott Gibbs, professor of chemistry in Ilarvard College; Dr. William M. Gillespie, professor of engineering in Union College; Mr. John L. Gavit, engraver and micro
scopist. CLASS 13.—Maps and charts.—Mr. Charles P. Daly, president of the Ameri
can Geographical Society; Mr. Archibald Russell, vice president American Geographical Society; Mr. George C. Anthon, pro
fessor and founder of Anthon's Classical School. A majority of these gentlemen served upon the committees and passed upon the merits of the articles offered for exhibition. It is believed that entire impartiality prevailed in their decisions. The means at the disposal of the agency were inadequate to meet the demands in the great American specialty of pianos. Thirty-four pianos and seventeen organs were offered for exhibition.
The committee were greatly embarrassed in the selection of the few it was found possible to send. There ought to have been a larger appropriation to meet the wants of this important class of manufacturers. A similar embarrassment was felt in selecting proper ambulances, surgical instruments, and various contrivances which proved so effective in the hospital and in the field during our
An appropriation of a few thousand dollars will enable us to remedly many
defects in this group.
Mr. Richard M. Hunt, Chairman of Group 3, embracing furniture and other
objects used in dwellings, reports : That the space allotted to this group was eighty-five square metres of floor room, and but for the delay of Congress in making the appropriation applied for by this committee, the room would have been altogether inadequate, as many exhibitors were prevented from sending their works, not having sufficient notice to prepare for a competition with those of their craft or profession abroad. Want of time has also precluded the execution of the project entertained by this committee, of having a temporary exhibition of the articles in this country previous to sending them to Europe, the most satisfactory way of deciding upon their merits.