Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/57

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29
HE RESORTS TO THE PEN

where he made some important improvements in its administration. Meanwhile, he had been promoted on June 10, 1836 to the rank of lieutenant, and though he had been offered a salary of $1200 as a mining engineer he decided to remain in the navy. Maury's interests were next directed to the Exploring Expedition to the South Seas. The little squadron selected to make the cruise, composed of the frigate Macedonian and the brigs Pioneer and Consort, rendezvoused at Norfolk in the autumn of the year 1836, under the command of Captain Thomas Ap Catesby Jones.

Maury made an attempt to secure the command of one of the smaller vessels; but he failed in this, and had to be content with being attached to the Macedonian, March 18, 1837. Secretary of the Navy Dickerson had not, from its inception, been in favor of the expedition, which he looked upon as a scheme by President Jackson for self-glorification. He therefore did all that he could to block the sailing of the squadron by causing unnecessary delays, not caring for the waste of money involved in this procrastination. In this way the ships were kept at Norfolk until October when they finally sailed for New York.

In September, Maury had had the good fortune to be appointed "Astronomer" for the expedition with $1000 additional pay, and also as assistant to the "Hydrographer", Lieutenant James Glynn. To prepare himself for these duties he went to Philadelphia, where in a little observatory in Rittenhouse Square he soon familiarized himself with the use of astronomical instruments. The expedition, however, still delayed to set sail, and the vexatious interference with his command so affected Captain Jones's health as to give the Secretary of the