Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/89

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57
HIS WIND AND CURRENT CHARTS

greatly indebted for very generous support in furthering his ambitious project, he set to work through diplomatic representatives of foreign countries at Washington to interest as many meteorologists as possible in the convening of an international meteorological conference. The United States also was asked to cooperate, through letters which Maury sent to the various Cabinet Members, heads of the Coast Survey, the Bureau of Engineers, and the Smithsonian Institute, and other scientists. Paris was at first considered to be a suitable place for the meeting; but eventually Brussels was chosen, and the following nations accepted the invitation to send representatives: Belgium, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

Maury, as the representative of the United States, sailed from New York on July 23, 1853, by way of England. Upon landing at Liverpool, he was invited to address the merchants in the City Hall on the subject of the uniform plan of observation at sea, and the following month he spoke to the underwriters and shipowners of London at Lloyd's on the same subject. These speeches produced a more cordial cooperation on the part of the British government which had previously been rather lukewarm in its attitude toward the undertaking.

The conference was convened at the residence of the Minister of the Interior in Brussels on August 23, 1853, and Jacques Adolphe Lambert Quetelet, Director of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, was made its president. Maury was requested to direct the proceedings of the conference, but he declined the honor. He was then asked by the president to state the purposes of the meeting.