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The Establishment Of The United States Coast Survey

The Establishment Of The United States Coast Survey image
Parent Issue
Day
21
Month
February
Year
1879
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

It was in 1807 that the first effort was made to establisli a national coast survey. Jefierson, in bis message to Congi-ess, recommended it, and Congress cautiously appropriated 50,000. Secretary Albert Gallatin then addressed circular to the principal scientific men of the period, soliciting opinions as to the best methods of conductingthe proposed work. Numerous plans were submitted. That of Ferdinand B. Hasslar, a native of Switzerland, was finally adopted. The magnitude of the task compellod special preparations. In 1810 Hasslar was sent to Europe to procure instrumente, standards of measures, and other necessaries. Tho war followed, and he was detaincd in England until 1815. Other delays, naturally attending new enterpnses, p" fsVenteil opeKtttDua until 1817, when a lieginning was effected near the harbor of New York. Hasslar was authorized to employ astronomers and other scientists, in addition to the officers in the military and naval service. 'Hasslar was hampered and embarrassed continually by limited appropriations. His operations were not of that cliaracter easily seen; Congress : dered eontinually what he was about. While he was systematizing methods and training assistants, Congress was shrugging its shoulders and ciamoring because results were inadequate to the expenditure. Hasslar was an eccentric man of irascible disposition and great independence of cliaracter. On one occasion a committee from Congress waited upon bim in his office to inspect 1: is work. "You come to 'speet my vork, eli? Vat you know 'bout my vork ? Vat you going to 'speet ! " . The gentlemen, conscious of their I ignoran se. tried to smooth his ruffled temper by an explanation, which only made matters worse. " You knows notting at all 'bout my vork. How can you 'speet my vork, ven you knows notting? Get out of here ; you in my vay. Congress be von big vool to send you to 'speet my vork. I 'ave no time to vaste vith such as knows notting vat I ain 'bout. Go back j to Congress and teil dem vat I say." The committee did " go back to Congress" and report,amid uproarious laughter, the result of their inspecting view. When Hon. Levi Woodbury was Secretary of the Treasury, under Jack son, lie and Hasslar could not agree as to the compensation to be allowed to the Superintendent, and Hasslar was referred to the President, at whose discretion tlic law placed the settlement of the dispute. " So. Mr. Hasslar, it appears the Secretary and you cannot agree about this matter," rernarked Jaokson, when lar had stated his cuse in his usual ■ phatic style. " No, sir, Te can't." " Well, how much do you really think you ought to have ? " " Six tousand dollars, sir." " AVhy, Mr. Hasslar, that is as nmch as Mr. Woodbury, my Secretary of the Treasury, himseif receives." " Mr. Voodbury ! " screamed Hasslar, j rising from his chair and vibrating his j long forefinger toward his own heart. " Pl-e-en-ty Mr. Voodbnrys, pl-e-e-n-ty Mr. Everybodys, for Seeretary of de Treasury; v-o-ne, v-o-ne Mr. Hasslar for de head of de Coast Survey ! " and, erecting himseif in a haughty attitude, j he looked down upon Jackson in Í premc soorn at his daring eomparison. j President Jaekson,sympathizingwith i a character having some traits in common with his own, granted Hasslav's dernand, and, at the close of the ; inet meeüng, told the joke. to the great finterbiinmeut of the gentlemen Mr. Campbell uneartüecl the remaras of a human arm on his claim, last Friday, while digging a stable. The claim lies in the vicinity of the, oíd Skuuk - Johnson dug-out, two miles north of Avery's ranch, on the Ninnescah. Skunk Johnson was aii aged trapper who hunted buffalo and game in this vicinity years ago, and made his calling an employment that proved quite lucrative. His home consifited of a dug-out 8x10 feet in size, ehiseled in a perpendicular embankment of solid gypsum I twenty feet high. The entrance was just large enough to admit the body of a man, ind afforded the only light or ventilation, save that that carne down the chimney. Here the oíd man lived and whiled away several years of his lonely and uneventful lifc. During the time the Indiana made a raid and carne across the oíd man and liispoorand un pretentious little lióme. They first I deavored to gain admittauco by j sion, thcn resorbed to forcé, but without ! vail, Johnson persistently " holding the fort," and repulsing bis assailaiits with gome loss. The Indians remaiuod in the vicinity nine days, during whick i time hnnger drove the prisoner to ing a sknnk to sustain life, f rom which he derivod hi peculiar nick-name. They j finally abandoncd t.heir object, bcr.v. v v, and t'ii old men lived to relate the circomstanee. Three or four years ago, as cmigralion set in, he gave iip the old lmniïng ground and mored on furthei west. The bones found iast Friday are supposed to be a portion of the remains of one of the Indians slain in the memorable battle of Skunk Johnson's dngout-Fratt County (Kan.) Press.

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Subjects
Old News
Michigan Argus