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A Short Biographical History Of Nearly 70 Years Of The Life Of N. B. Beers, Written By Himself, January 1st, 1886

A Short Biographical History Of Nearly 70 Years Of The Life Of N. B. Beers, Written By Himself, January 1st, 1886 image
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Thoujrli more than 60 years. ago I well remember the presidential contest in the year 1H24, when John Quincy Adnms was eleeted President. There were two other candidates, Jackson and Crawford. When election was over it wa3 found there was no choice by the people and it was submitted to the House, Adams and Jaekson having the greater number ot' votes. Itwas worked down toa nlcepolnt, depending upon the vote of Henry Clay who cast bil vote for Adams, and he became President of the United States. Politiciuns then, as nou, irere looking for positions that niight be made available and vrorking íor personal advanceinent, and it was said that Henry Clay at that time was prornised the office of Secietary of State. Years after I beeame acquainted with him, and we were fust friends as long as he lived. He once made the remark to me, that he üeverdid but one thing in Iris life that he was sorry for, and that was, casting his vote for Adams, the remembranre of which would last while he lived. Having changed his politics, neitlier party had confldaoee in him, and althougli twice norainated for President, hu was defeated and in conversation with him he said to me : " My Dcar Prlend, did you ever know anyone having so m.iny friends and yet having so many eneuiies as I have?' If the reader will pardon this digression, I will return to the consideraron of what, at that time, was very important to me concerning my future prospects. About the (irst of December 1824, I recelved a letter trom my friend Perry Smith, saying he was quite sure theic would be an act passed by Congiess to revise and extend the coast and harbor survey, and if it should beconie a law, would I Ike the appointment of Special Superintendent, of such su i vej ? My answerto him was that I would like such an appointment, were I competent to lili so important an office. I was still pursuing uy siuuies wnen a seconu letter trom my Tiend in the Seríate ioformcd me tliat the Dill spoken of in other letter in regard thecoastaud harborsurvey had become i law and that I would be uppoiuted spe :ial engineer to superinteud the survey, provided at the required time I could pus-. ixamination as to my quulificatlons tor the position. He added, you will have to be vei-y euerjretic in preparing yourself, isyou will only have 30 days fiom the Qrst day of April, 1825, to report at Washington for examinatioii. This was a ureat surprise to me and in view of the brief time aUowed me to prepare, I feared that I might f.iil to pass, that I might not meet the requirements, and to attempt it and fail would be very humiliating. After a niglit of anxiety I concluded to go to Troy to see Prof. Hooker, pet hls council in the matter, and if favorable I would write to my friend Smith for isai-tance in finaocial ailairs. The Prof. tliought if I woukl stay with him and devote my time exclusively to study I could be prepared for the required examinatioii. I soon received a letter fruía my friend Smith containing u draft foi the substantial aid I needed far all piesent purposes. 1 then obtained leave ot absence f rom my place ot' business with Mills & Ryder, and doscly ipplied myselt io study uutil the appointed time to go to Washington to meet the examlnlog board. My examinatioii was satisfactory and the president of the board addressed me in a few complimentary words, saying : ' We present tlii coinmission to vou, beleving thnt you will prove worthy of it and liraettag me to cali at the office of the Secretary of the Navy the next day for ordere f rom the departnient, a I lanked as special ofBcer of the navy." As directed, I called on the Secretury of the Navy and got my Instructions together wilh a book of regulations, and was to report to the departinent in 30 daysand re ceive further instructions. Beiii{f au offlcer of special rank I hul Ui dress as an offloer of the navy, tliere were no otlicers above me, I was eoinmiinder in chief in the business for which I was appointed. I had oue mouth to get inyeelf ready to couimeiH'e business In au oillcial capaeity. No questions were Mked liy the board in re[rd to my nge. An ai ticlein anewspapei printed in Washington in regard to su important an office beiug filled by a young man scarcely 28 years of age, when in about four mouths I would be 18, showed conclusively that in looks and appearance I muet be in advance of my years. I returned to bid adieu to my t'riends, and to settle my account with the profesëor and axpfWI my lieartfelt Hum lito hlm forall his kiniliicss and extra labor for my especial benellt. I Ie him and my other fricnds good-bye and went to New York to make preparatlons_for what would be required of me when the time should come for me to assume command of tlie vessel and meu aud under offlcers. I must of course study the book of rules aud regulations so as to understiiua them perfectly. Tile time carne for me to go to Washington to receive orders from the navy depaitment. They were chíetly in regard to :i suitable vessel and my stnff of officers. I was allowed two assistant engineers, to rank tirst and second, one chief clerk and two assistants, and two to attend to sketching and drawing. The yessel wa to be of suftlcient capacity to accommodate 50 men and offlcers and sufflcient berths and staterooms to accommodate as many more. It was to carry two guns and six marines to watcU aud guard tbe vessel day and night against any damage from design or otherwise. Some ot the offlcers would receive half pay ihrough the winter when they were not la actual service. My next business was to select a suitable building in the city oí New York fur an office where the clerks were to have rooms forspecitic work and where all uur labor ot live months, that constituted tlie surveying season, would be deposited in the large saté and vault. This work is conected and prepared for map ping, with all the drawings, etc. The month of July was set apart for training the offlcers and men on board the vessel alter which the caipenters were to put th; vessel in order for use in the following apriiiíí. About the lOth of August I received orders to select a suitable nuniber of men qualllied tor the business, to go with me to ussist in sl.irling a surveying party ol six men in the norchwest part of Indiana. These men had a contract to survey government iands, and this portion of Indiana being coiuposed largely of marsheo and swamps, some of it could only be surveyed In winter, the reason for starting so late in the season. After we had started this party at their work, we were to proceed with our men to where Chicago now stands on mporlant business.


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