Page:The Pathfinder of the Seas.djvu/95

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
63
HIS WIND AND CURRENT CHARTS

sailings was decreased by one third and that for the British by about one fifth.

This shortening of ships' passages amounted to a vast saving to the commerce of the world. It was estimated that the annual saving to British commerce in the Indian Ocean alone, from Maury's charts and sailing directions, amounted to $1,000,000 at least, and the amount saved to British commerce in all seas reached the stupendous sum of $10,000,000 annually. As to the United States, it has been conservatively estimated that the saving for the outward voyage alone from her Atlantic and California ports to those of South America, Australia, China, and the East Indies amounted to $2,250,000 per annum.

For many years the scientific world rang with Maury's praise, though there were, of course, some detractors. In referring to these "closet men of science" who claimed that he pushed his speculations oftentimes beyond the limits which the facts before him would authorize a prudent and cautious investigator to go, he wrote that the true problem with which he had to deal was to use his opportunities so as to produce the greatest good to the greatest numbers, and that he was willing to be judged by the fruits of his labor. Furthermore, he announced again and again in his "Sailing Directions" the following rule by which his investigations had always been guided:

"To keep the mind unbiassed by theories and speculations; never to have any wish that an investigation would result in favor of this view in preference to that, and never to attempt by premature speculation to anticipate the results of investigation, but always to trust to the observations".

In spite of his great achievements, Maury's own countrymen were rather backward about rewarding him.