By J.W. POWELL.
A Scientific institution or bureau operating under government authority can be controlled by statute and by superior administrative authority but to a limited extent. These operations are practically carried on by specialists, and they can be controlled only in their financial operations and in the general purposes for which investigations are made. Their methods of investigation are their own - originate with themselves, and are carried out by themselves. But in relation to the scientific operations of such a government institution, there is an unofficial authority which, though not immediately felt, ultimately steps in to approve or condemn, viz., the body of scientific men of the country; and though their authority is not exercised antecedently and at every stage of the work, yet it is so potent that no national scientific institution can grow and prosper without their approval, but must sooner or later fall and perish unless sustained by their strong influence.
As director of the Geological Survey, I deeply realize that I owe allegiance to the scientific men of the country, and for this reason I desire to present to the National Academy of Sciences the organization and plan of operations of the Survey.