Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 18.djvu/370
Southern Historical Society Papers.
and Ports on the Great Lakes," followed (for which last a vote of thanks was offered by the Illinois Legislature). These papers were received and acted on with so much enthusiasm that he was placed at the head of the "Depot of Charts and Instruments" at Washington, which office he soon extended, in the course of five years, into the world-renowned National Observatory and Hydrographic Department (which since his death has been divided up into three separate offices). While in charge of those he published for several years his "Astronomical Observations Cataloguing the Stars," and his "Physical Geography of the Sea," by which, as Baron Humbolt said, he founded a new science. He also established "Water works and river guages for the Mississippi river and its tributaries," and directed Lieutenant Mann to make a series of daily observations for three hundred and sixty-five consecutive days on the temperature, velocity, evaporation and precipitation and amount of salt contained in its waters, which observations, reported to and digested by Maury, contribute the main data of the knowledge we now possess of the habits of this, our greatest river. Maury was the originator of the plan to "Redeem the drowned lands on the Mississippi river," of the "Warehousing System," of the "Great Circle Routes" between American and European or Asiatic ports. The "Steam Lanes " which are still used by all steamers crossing the ocean, were laid off by Maury, and the merchants and underwriters of New York were so pleased with their success that they presented him with a service of plate and five thousand dollars.
Maury planned the two Arctic expeditions of Dr. Kane and De Haven, and both those officers received their instructions from him. The same was the case with Captain Lynch' s exploration of the "Dead Sea" and Herndon's exploration of the Amazon and its tributaries as a resultant of which Maury hoped to see established intimate commercial relations with Brazil and the South American Republic. (See Maury's Inca Papers, &c.) And just as the war came on he was organizing an expedition to the South Pole. He made many efforts to arrest the war by appeals to the governors of the border States, by peace commissions, &c., and he died while filling the post of Professor of Physics at the Virginia Military Institute in 1873. His last work was a "Preliminary Report on the Physical Survey of Virginia" (setting forth in an attractive manner her great resources of the field, forest and mine, to induce immigrants to come and settle up her waste places)." In grateful recognition of the past services conferred by Maury upon navigation and science," gold medals were struck in his honor