Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/36

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Maury's early years in the navy afforded the lad from the backwoods of Tennessee wonderful experiences, and excellent opportunities for supplementing the desultory education that he had received. To a young man of his intellectual capacity, these voyages to foreign lands during the most plastic years of his life were invaluable in the development of a mind capable of grappling later with questions and problems which concerned the entire world.

Luckily for the young officer, the very first ship to which he was attached, the Brandywine, was the vessel which had been chosen to convey Lafayette home to France after his memorable visit to the United States. This ship, named from Brandywine Creek, the scene of the battle in which Lafayette was wounded on September 11, 1777, had been launched on June 16 of the year 1825. In equipping her for this special service, the officers had been selected so as to represent as many different states as possible and, where it was practicable, they were to be descendants of persons who had distinguished themselves in the Revolution. This accounted for the large number of midshipmen ordered aboard her, twenty-six instead of the usual eight or ten for a vessel of that size. Maury was thus brought in touch with young officers from various sections of the country; and among the senior officers were Captain Charles Morris, who had made a name for himself in the War of 1812, and Lieuten-