Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/11

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vii


FOREWORD


I believe that the most instructive form of reading is biography. In the story of a man's life one can see in quick review the struggle that man went through to attain or to fail to attain his heart's desire.

For the professional man, life stories of his colleagues and predecessors focus down to the particular problems of the profession. This is essentially the case with the story of a man like Maury. As a naval officer, Maury's work will always remain outstanding. He was one of our pioneer investigators of the geography of the sea and the physics of the air. And at the same time he never lost sight of the intrinsic needs of his Service.

Since travel in the present age has become so common Maury may be looked upon as one of our great benefactors. His professional work turned out to be of happily wide application, not only for the seafaring man, but for the flier.

As an inspirational character Maury was also a noteworthy American. His life was marked by that persistent industry peculiar to the successful research worker. There is little indication that he ever saw ahead of him immediate reward of any great size. But his toil was ever directly applied for the adventure of discovering something riew or different in the maritime fields in which he worked.

Because I am soon to start on my own expedition towards the South Pole I am particularly interested in a letter Maury wrote under date of August 20, 1860,