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North America (search for this): chapter 23
Alexander I receive one beautiful work after another. Give him my best thanks for these admirable gifts, which I enter with sincere pleasure in my catalogue of books. You are indeed happy to have such a co-worker at your side. At the next opportunity I shall write my thanks to him personally. How is Dr. Hermann Hagen pleased with his new position? I think the presence of this superior entomologist will exert a powerful and important influence upon the development of entomology in North America. . . . From Professor G. P. Deshayes. Museum of natural History, Paris, February 4, 1870. Your letter was truly an event, my dear friend, not only for me but for our Museum. . . . How happy you are, and how enviable has been your scientific career, since you have had your home in free America! The founder of a magnificent institution, to which your glorious name will forever remain attached, you have the means of carrying out whatever undertaking commends itself to you as useful.
Humboldt, Tenn. (Tennessee, United States) (search for this): chapter 23
ous. For weeks he shut himself up in a room of the Public Library in Boston and reviewed all the works of the great master, living, as it were, in his presence. The result was a very concise and yet full memoir, a strong and vigorous sketch of Humboldt's researches, and of their influence not only upon higher education at the present day, but on our most elementary instruction, until the very school-boy is familiar with his methods, yet does not know that Humboldt is his teacher. Agassiz's piore wise, more happy, or of more varied power. George William Curtis writes of it: Your discourse seems to me the very ideal of such an address,—so broad, so simple, so comprehensive, so glowing, so profoundly appreciative, telling the story of Humboldt's life and work as I am sure no other living man can tell it. In memory of this occasion the Humboldt Scholarship was founded at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. It is hardly worth while to consider now whether this effort, added to the p
Norwich (Connecticut, United States) (search for this): chapter 23
whatever you may send to the Museum will be received with sincere and ardent gratitude. And so, farewell, my dear friend, with a warm shake of the hand and the most cordial regard. Deshayes. The next is in answer to a letter from Agassiz to the veteran naturalist, Professor Sedgwick, concerning casts of well—known fossil specimens in Cambridge, England. Though the casts were unattainable, the affectionate reply gave Agassiz keen pleasure. From Professor Adam Sedgwick. The Close, Norwich, August 9, 1871. my very dear and honored friend,— . . .I of course showed your letter to my friend Seeley, and after some consultation with men of practical knowledge, it was considered almost impossible to obtain such casts of the reptilian bones as you mention. The specimens of the bones are generally so rugged and broken, that the artists would find it extremely difficult to make casts from them without the risk of damaging them, and the authorities of the university, who are the pr
United States (United States) (search for this): chapter 23
rounds east of the Alleghany range is another indication of the permanence of the ocean trough, on the margin of which these more recent beds have been formed. I am well aware that in a comparatively recent period, portions of Canada and the United States, which now stand six or seven hundred feet above the level of the sea, have been under water; but this has not changed the configuration of the continent, if we admit that the latter is in reality circumscribed by the two hundred fathom curve fill many of the letters. They give evidence of a fostering and far—reaching care, which provided for the growth and progress of the Museum, long after his own share in it should have ceased. In reviewing Agassiz's scientific life in the United States, its brilliant successes, and the genial generous support which it received in this country, it is natural to give prominence to the brighter side. And yet it must not be forgotten that like all men whose ideals outrun the means of execution
s would justify, and then move on to some other head-land. If this plan be adopted, it would be desirable to have one additional observer to make collections on shore, to connect with the result of the dredgings. This would be the more important as, with the exception of Brazil, hardly anything is known of the shore faunae upon the greater part of the South American coast. For shore observations, I should like a man of the calibre of Dr. Steindachner, who has spent a year on the coast of Senegal, and would thus bring a knowledge of the opposite side of the Atlantic as a starting basis of comparison. . . . After consultation with his physicians, it was decided that Agassiz might safely undertake the voyage in the Hassler, that it might indeed be of benefit to his health. His party of naturalists, as finally made up, consisted of Agassiz himself, Count de Pourtales, Dr. Franz Steindachner, and Mr. Blake, a young student from the Museum, who accompanied Agassiz as assistant and d
California (California, United States) (search for this): chapter 23
o him by his friend, Professor Benjamin Peirce, then Superintendent of the Coast Survey. From Professor Peirce. Coast Survey office, Washington, February 18, 1871. . . . I met Sumner in the Senate the day before yesterday, and he expressed immense delight at a letter he had received from Brown-Sequard, telling him that you were altogether free from disease. . . . Now, my dear friend, I have a very serious proposition for you. I am going to send a new iron surveying steamer round to California in the course of the summer. She will probably start at the end of June. Would you go in her, and do deep-sea dredging all the way round? If so, what companions will you take? If not, who shall go? . . . From Agassiz to Professor Peirce. Cambridge, February 20, 1871. . . . I am everjoyed at the prospect your letter opens before me. Of course I will go, unless Brown-Sequard orders me positively to stay on terra firma. But even then, I should like to have a hand in arranging the
Vienna (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 23
to secure the assistance of the entomologist, Dr. Hermann Hagen, from Konigsberg, Prussia. He came at first only for a limited time, but he remained, and still remains, at the Museum, becoming more and more identified with the institution, beside filling a place as professor in Harvard University. His scientific sympathy and support were of the greatest value to Agassiz during the rest of his life. A later new-comer, and a very important one at the Museum, was Dr. Franz Steindachner, of Vienna, who arrived in the spring of 1870 to put in final order the collection of Brazilian fishes, and passed two years in this country. Thus Agassiz's hands were doubly strengthened. Beside having the service of the salaried assistants and professors, the Museum received much gratuitous aid. Among the scientific volunteers were numbered for years Francois de Pourtales, Theodore Lyman, James M. Barnard, and Alexander Agassiz, while the business affairs of the institution were undertaken by Thoma
Canada (Canada) (search for this): chapter 23
ubsequent subsidence, seems to me the most complete and direct demonstration of my proposition. Of the western part of the continent I am not prepared to speak with the same confidence. Moreover, the position of the cretaceous and tertiary formations along the low grounds east of the Alleghany range is another indication of the permanence of the ocean trough, on the margin of which these more recent beds have been formed. I am well aware that in a comparatively recent period, portions of Canada and the United States, which now stand six or seven hundred feet above the level of the sea, have been under water; but this has not changed the configuration of the continent, if we admit that the latter is in reality circumscribed by the two hundred fathom curve of depth. The summer was passed in his beloved laboratory at Nahant (as it proved, the last he ever spent there), where he was still continuing the preparation of his work on sharks and skates. At the close of the summer, he i
Patagonia (Argentina) (search for this): chapter 23
must be reversed. The trend of the glacial abrasions must be from the south northward, the lee-side of abraded rocks must be on the north side of the hills and mountain ranges, and the boulders must have traveled from the south to their present position. Whether this be so or not, has not yet been ascertained by direct observation. I expect to find it so throughout the temperate and cold zones of the southern hemisphere, with the exception of the present glaciers of Terra del Fuego and Patagonia, which may have transported boulders in every direction. Even in Europe, geologists have not yet sufficiently discriminated between local glaciers and the phenomena connected with their different degrees of successive retreat on the one hand; and, on the other, the facts indicating the action of an extensive sheet of ice moving over the whole continent from north to south. Among the facts already known from the southern hemisphere are the so-called rivers of stone in the Falkland Island
tution will always be the measure of the support extended to it. The two or three following letters, in answer to letters from Agassiz which cannot be found, show how earnestly, in spite of physical depression, he strove to keep the Museum in relation with foreign institutions, to strengthen the former, and cooperate as far as possible with the latter. From Professor Von Siebold. Munich, 1869. . . . Most gladly shall I meet your wishes both with regard to the fresh-water fishes of Central Europe and to your desire for the means of direct comparison between the fishes brought by Spix from Brazil and described by you, and those you have recently yourself collected in the Amazons. The former, with one exception, are still in existence and remain undisturbed, for since your day no one has cared to work at the fishes or reptiles. Schubert took no interest in the zoological cabinet intrusted to him; and Wagner, who later relieved him of its management, cared chiefly for the mammals
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