Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/101

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Atmosphere", "Of Clouds and Equatorial Cloud Rings", "On the Geological Agency of the Winds", and "Deep Sea Soundings".

The last-mentioned paper was made possible by the cooperation afforded by the government in authorizing in 1849 the Secretary of the Navy to detail three suitable vessels to assist in Maury's wind and current investigations and to order all ships of the navy to coöperate in so far as it was compatible with the public interest. Maury had long had a desire to explore the bottom of the ocean, and he now saw to it that these ships especially detailed to help him were equipped and thoroughly instructed for making soundings. The first attempts were made by the schooner Taney, under the command of Lieutenant J. C. Walsh, in the autumn of 1849. But her work was of negligible value, as she succeeded only in losing some 5700 fathoms of line as well as her deepsea sounding apparatus, and then proved so unseaworthy that she had to be condemned and sent back home under escort. Later, however, the results secured particularly by Captain Charles T. Piatt in the sloop of war Albany and by Lieutenants S. P. Lee and O. H. Berryman in the brig Dolphin were of great importance. So extensive was the data regarding soundings at Maury's command by the close of the year 1853 that he was able to publish in the sixth edition of his "Sailing Directions" (1854) ninety pages of matter under the heading of "Physical Geography of the Sea".

This edition of the "Sailing Directions" was brought out by E. C. and J. Biddle of Philadelphia, and when Maury's nephew, Dabney Maury, went to see the publishers about some question connected with its publication, one of the firm called his attention to the fact