Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/123

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113
SKETCH OF HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

The glass houses at Kew are extensive structures. The Winter Garden covers more than an acre and a half of ground. The Palm House is three hundred and sixty-two feet long and one hundred feet wide. The new Orchid House is one hundred and forty feet in length, adding the two wings together. This last is not wholly satisfactory—to the orchid enthusiast an orchid house never is, nor can be. Supplemented, however, by a low, neat range, from which the public is excluded, nearly all the 1,400 species which form the national collection thrive admirably. British orchidists are proud of Kew—nowadays—for it was not so satisfactory in this department a few years since.

 

SKETCH OF HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT.

MR. SCHOOLCRAFT was a conspicuous figure in the scientific life of the early part of the century. A pioneer in some fields, the immediate follower of the pioneers in others, he was, in all the branches of research to which, he gave attention, earnest, ready, diligent, sagacious, original, and modest. As among his titles to be remembered, the biographer who prefaces his Personal Memoirs names the early period at which he entered the field of observation in the United States as a naturalist; the enterprise he manifested in exploring the geography and geology of the Great West; and his subsequent researches as an ethnologist in investigating the Indian languages and history. "To him we are indebted for our first accounts of the geological constitution and the mineral wealth and resources of the great valley beyond the Alleghanies, and he is the discoverer of the actual source of the Mississippi River in Itasca Lake. For many years, beginning with 1817, he stirred up a zeal for natural history from one end of the land to the other, and, after his settlement in the West, he was a point of approach for correspondents"—on these topics and for all the Indian tribes.

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was born in Albany County, N.Y., March 28, 1793, and died in Washington, D. C, December 10, 1864. He was the descendant, in the third generation, of an Englishman, James Calcraft, who, having served with credit in the armies of the Duke of Marlborough, came to America in the reign of George II, in the military service, and was present at operations connected with the building of Forts Anne, Edward, and William Henry. After these campaigns he settled in Albany County as a land-surveyor, married, and in his old age conducted a large school—the first English school that was taught in that frontier region. In connection with this incident his name became