A Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury/Appendix A

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Correspondence relating to the Honours conferred upon
M. F. Maury.

The Emperor of Russia made Maury "Knight of the Order of St. Ann"; the King of Denmark made him "Knight of the Dannebrog"; the King of Portugal, "Knight of the Tower and Sword"; the King of Belgium, "Knight of the Order of St. Leopold"; the Emperor of France, "Commander of the Legion of Honour"; while Prussia, Austria, Sweden, Holland, Sardinia, Bremen, and France struck gold medals in his honour. The Pope also forwarded a complete set of all the medals which had been struck during his pontificate as a mark of his appreciation of Maury's services in the cause of science. To all these was afterwards added the decoration of "Our Lady of Guadeloupe," presented by the unfortunate Emperor of Mexico. His services were also recognised by numerous learned Societies, both at home and abroad.

He became Corresponding Member of the "Natuurkundige Vereeniging in Nederlandsch Indie." Batavia, 17th Feb. 1853.

Member of "Die Naturforschende Gesellschaft in Emden." Emden, March 22nd, 1854.

Member of the "Société des Sciences, des Arts et des Lettres de Hainault." Mons, Dec. 7th, 1854.

Member of the "Académie Imperiale des Sciences de Russie." St. Petersburg, Dec. 29th, 1855.

Member of the "Académie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique." Brussels, Dec. 17th, 1854.

Corresponding Member of the "New York Lyceum of Natural History." New York, June 18th, 1865.

Correspondent of the "Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences." Philadelphia, Feb. 22nd, 1858. Member of "Die Gesellschaft zur Beförderung der Gesammten Naturwiasenschaften in Marburg." Marburg, Feb. 13th, 1856.

Member of the "Historical Society of New Jersey." Trenton, May 17th, 1856.

Member of the "Historical Society of Tennessee." Nashville, Sept. 3rd, 1857.

Member of "Die Gesellschaft für Erdkunde in Berlin." Berlin, April 18th, 1858.

Member of the Bohemian Royal "Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften." Prague, January 13th, 1858.

Director "del Observatorio Nacional." Mexico, 1865.

"Consejero Honorario de Estado." Mexico, 1865.

"Miembro honorario de la Sociedad Mexicana de Geografia y Estadistica." Mexico, 1865.

"Miembro de la Imperial Academia Mexicana de Ciencias." Mexico, 1865.

LL.D. of the University of Cambridge. England, 1867.

He was also a member of many other learned bodies, of which the records have been lost during the war.

All the letters are inserted here that accompanied these honours from the different sovereigns of Europe, except those which were lost or destroyed during the late war. They begin with the letter from Baron Humboldt, presenting the great gold medal of science from the King of Prussia, and also the Cosmos medal.

My dear and illustrious Friend, Berlin, Feb. 8rd, 1855.

It is now a great many years since you have been so kind as to enrich with your generous contributions the most important institutions—the Admiralty, the Academy, the School of Navigation, and Libraries—of my country. Your immense labours on currents and soundings, and the direction of winds at different seasons and latitudes, have exercised the most beneficial influence on the commerce of nations, by shortening in a surprising manner the passages by sea, and augmenting the security of navigation in all seas. The result has been the opening of new paths to navigators who have been penetrated by the correctness of your views, and an increase of the facilities previously derived from the application of steam. My Sovereign, the King of Prussia, sensible of the eminent merit of your laborious undertaking, and interested by the noble efforts now making by the Government of the U. S. for the advancement of the sciences which are so closely allied with the development of the common prosperity, desires to give to Lieutenant Maury, Superintendent of the National Observatory at Washington, a mark of his gratitude, by presenting him, through the hands of our Minister, M. de Gerolt, with the modal designed as a reward for distinguished works of science. Sensible also of the affection with which you have honoured me for so long a period, the King has deemed that he would be doing you a further pleasure by adding another medal—that which his Majesty had struck for mo upon the publication of my 'Cosmos.'

I pray you to accept, my dear friend, the renewed assurance of my highest and most affectionate consideration.

Your very humble and most devoted servant.
The Baron Al. von Humboldt.


Accompanying the medal struck in his honour, came the following letter from the Republic of Bremen:—

Sir, Washington, D.C., December 28th, 1855.

It affords me great pleasure to hand you, in the name of my Government, the accompanying gold medal; its German inscription may be thus rendered in English: "To the Promoter of Science, to the Guide of Navigators, Lieutenant M. F. Maury, an honorary acknowledgment of the Senate of the Republic of Bremen." This inscription, better than could any of mine, shows the sense of high appreciation in which your eminent merits, in regard to all maritime interests, are held in my country—the citizens of which are perhaps more generally engaged in navigation, and therefore more benefited by your valuable discoveries and directions than those of any other country. Your name, which has so long been an ornament of the U. S. Navy, is, and will ever be, gratefully remembered in Bremen. I beg leave to avail myself of this agreeable occasion to offer you at the same time a renewed assurance of the great personal respect and regard with which I have the honour to be

Your obedient servant,
Minister-Resident of the Republic of Bremen.
Sir, Legation of Denmark, Nov. 11th, 1856.

I have great pleasure in informing you, by order of my Government, that His Majesty the King of Denmark, being desirous of testifying his high sense of the eminent services you have rendered to science by your important and comprehensive researches with reference to the physical geography of the sea, its winds and currents, recorded in the valuable publications of the National Observatory under your superintendence. His Majesty has been pleased to confer on you the Cross of a Knight of the Dannebrog. I shall have the honour to transmit to you the insignia of the Order as soon as received by the Legation here. I shall have the honour to be, with high consideration, sir,

Your most obedient servant,
Torbin Bille.

Sir, U. S. National Observatory, Nov. 14th, 1856.

Your letter of the 11th inst. has been received and read with a high degree of satisfaction. In it you have the kindness to inform me that His Majesty the King of Denmark, to testify his high appreciation of the services rendered by myself in the cause of science, has signified his wish to confer upon me the Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog. I consider myself fortunate, so to have wrought in my humble office that my labours in the service of my own country should have commended themselves to the favourable consideration of His Majesty; and I feel myself highly honoured that he should deem them worthy of such a signal mark of royal favour.

The organic laws of my country, however, will not allow one of its officers to accept a title from any foreign potentate. Permit me, therefore, to plead this in excuse of the request that you will proceed no further in carrying out the honourable and friendly intentions expressed in your letter.

I have the honour to be your obedient servant,
M. F. Maury.
To Mr. Tobin Bille.
Count, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Paris, Nov. 6th, 1858.

The Government of the Emperor has been struck with the great services every day rendered to navigators of all countries by the remarkable works of which Lieut. Maury, of the navy, is the author. I have accordingly agreed with the Minister of the Marine to solicit from His Majesty, as an evidence of the high esteem placed upon these works, the nomination of Mr. Maury to the Order of the Legion of Honour. I should not be willing at any time to carry out this intention before having informed Mr. Mason, and obtained the assurance that the Government of the U. S. would see no objection thereto. The Minister of the United States replied that the Constitution of the Union prohibits every American citizen occupying any position in the employ of the Government from accepting any emolument, present, charge, or other titles conferred by any foreign government, and that it is only from Congress that authority can emanate for Mr. Maury to accept the distinction proposed. He added, moreover, that he would write to Washington upon the subject.

Receive, Count, the assurance of my high consideration.



The following letter accompanied a valuable present of books and charts from Admiral Hammelin, Minister of Marine at Paris, Imperial Marine Director-General of the Department of Charts and Plants:—

Dear Sir, Paris, Feb. 24th, 1860.

I hasten to transmit to you by the present courier a letter of Admiral Mathieu's relative to the present which we are preparing for you of our hydrographical collections. I make to you also on this occasion my very sincere compliments. You should be convinced, dear sir, that we shall always be disposed to be useful or agreeable to you. I only regret that we are not able to send you something of importance on the subject of winds and currents; but we are scarcely yet organized. I hope, however, that we shall yet in time bring one stone at least to that edifice which you have so carefully reared, and that we should follow in the fruitful path which you have opened for us.

Receive, dear sir, the assurance of my entire devotedness, and of my respects.

A. de la Marche.
To M. Maury, Director of the Observatory,
Paris, Feb. 24th 1860.
Sir, and highly honoured Colleague,

Independently of the great gold medal which the Government of the Emperor has decreed you, as a mark of esteem for the eminent services which you have rendered to navigation. Admiral Hammelin, Minister of Marine, had determined to give you an especial mark of his gratitude for the communications so important and so numerous which you have addressed to the department. Admiral Hammelin has instructed me to send two complete collections, bound, of our Charts and Nautical Instructions, the one intended for the Observatory, and the other for yourself personally.

The copy which is destined for you bears on the inside of the binding the following words: "His Excellency, Admiral Hammelin, Minister of Marine, to Lieutenant Maury"; and they have just been sent through the Legation of the United States at Paris.

I pray you accept my sincere congratulations, and to be assured of the devoted affectionate sentiments and of the high consideration with which you will ever be regarded by your

Very obedient servant,
A. Mathieu,
Rear-Admiral and Director-General.
To Lt. Maury, Director of the Observatory,

P.S. Our Meteorological Service, under the active and experienced Director of Engineers, De la Marche, is now organized. As soon as we shall have collected sufficient data, we will communicate them to you.

Sir, Milan, December 10th, 1857.

I avail myself, with real pleasure, of the opportunity given me by your kind offer of the Sailing Directions, to express to you my warm and sincere thanks for it; to fell you how since years I observed, with intense interest and admiration, your noble and unequaled efforts, in order to forward the improvement of the scientific part of our profession.

I trust you will accept this little present as a token of my gratitude towards a man whom all seafaring nations are bound to look upon with respect and thankfulness.

Believe me, sir.
Yours truly,
Ferdinand Maximilian.