I've stumbled across some wonderful quotes from our first President regarding the importance of science.
From his first State of the Union Address in 1790:
From his last State of the Union Address in 1796:
Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with me in opinion that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.
The assembly to which I address myself is too enlightened not to be fully sensible how much a flourishing state of the arts and sciences contributes to national prosperity and reputation.