Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/91

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
59
HIS WIND AND CURRENT CHARTS

the free city of Hamburg, the republic of Bremen, Chile, Austria, and Brazil, all joined the enterprise; and the Pope established honorary flags of distinction for the ships of the papal states, which could be awarded only to those vessels which kept the abstract logs of the Brussels Conference.

Maury took with him on this mission to Europe his two eldest daughters and their cousins Ellen Herndon and Ellen Maury, who were dubbed by acclamation on the steamer the "Magpie Club". In England the party was invited to Wrottesley Hall near Wolverhampton, by Lord Wrottesley, then President of the Royal and Astronomical Societies, with whom Maury had corresponded for several years. Before returning to America, he and his "Magpie Club" traveled in France, Holland, and Germany, and visited the great scientist Humboldt, whose "Cosmos" had greatly influenced Maury's scientific ideas.

Back at home again, Maury took up his work with renewed energy, and with the data which came in, through the greatly increased cooperation, from all quarters and in many different languages, he revised his charts of the North and South Atlantic, and of the North and South Pacific, and then charted the Indian Ocean as well. Not only was the route to Rio definitely decreased by one fourth, but also other passages began to be shortened with the accompanying saving for all the men and commerce that used Maury's suggested routes. The gold rush to California, which began in 1849, vastly increased the shipping from the Atlantic ports of the United States to San Francisco. Time then became a more important element in that passage than ever before, and in 1850 clipper ships were launched for this particu-