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Following Hassler's death, there was a flurry of maneuvering by the
Senior Assistants in the Coast Survey who wished to see the principle of
seniority followed in appointing a new Superintendent of the Coast Survey.
Assistant James Ferguson was the candidate preferred by Secretary of the
Treasury. Other candidates included Simeon Borden who had conducted a trigonometrical
survey of the State of Massachusetts; Captain Andrew Talcott, a well-known
Army engineer and surveyor; William Strickland, a civilian architect and
engineer who had worked on the Delaware Breakwater since 1829; and Alexander
Dallas Bache, a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin and a well-known member
of the American science community. However, Bache, for whom Hassler seemed
to have an affinity, acted quickly to organize the principal scientists
of the nation and mounted a letter writing campaign nominating him as the
most qualified individual to head the Coast Survey. (This appears to have
been orchestrated even prior to Hassler's death.) President John Tyler
appointed Bache Superintendent of the Coast Survey on December 11, 1843,
overriding Spencer's initial objections.
In acquiring the superintendency of the Survey, Bache displayed many
of the political and organizational traits that would do him so well in
future battles with Congress and elements of the Navy. Bache had an amazing
ability to galvanize the American scientific community behind him, with
a few notable exceptions, and accomplish his ends. He used the synergism
of the American scientific/intellectual community to influence the political
process for the good of the Survey and the American scientific community.
In this instance, it might also be added for his own good. Besides this
backing of the scientific community, Bache also had "the backing of his
extensive family connection, at that period doubtless the most powerful
and influential in the country, commonly known in those days by the nickname
of 'the Coburgers', in allusion to the way in which, in the England of
that day, offices of trust and profit had been bestowed upon the family
connections of the Prince-Consort."(1)
Bache and his allies began to maneuver for his appointment as Superintendent
of the Coast Survey even before Hassler's death. On November 20, 1843,
John Kane, the Secretary of the American Philosophical Society wrote to
Joseph Henry who was destined to become the future head of the Smithsonian
"... Mr. Hassler is lying at the point of death in this city, and the
superintendency of the coast survey may perhaps be vacant before this letter
reaches you.... There is one man singularly fitted to hold the office,
your friend and mine, Dallas Bache, - and there is no other in the country,
his equal or his neighbour. Besides mind and acquirements a century beyond
Hassler, he has that which Hassler wanted so much, the administrative talent,
and with it every other recommendation. The descendant of Franklin, a democrat
always and of the best sort, allied to our Pennsylvania democrats Dallas
and Walker and Wilkins and Irwin(2), a graduate
of West Point and therefore in favour with the Army, professor of our University,
president of Girard College while it had the promise of vitality, the leading
mind of our Mechanic Institute and Philosophical Society, in a word, the
nucleus around which science gathers in Philadelphia, and one of the best
known of our Scientific men abroad, - he is withal so gallant a gentleman,
and so good a fellow, that every one here will think of him for the place
before all others.... Now, there is I apprehend no time to be lost. Probably
even now letters may be on their way to the Secretary for all sorts of
pseudo-scientifics, who may be willing to occupy Hassler's shoes...."
This letter ended with the postscript, "10 o'clock P.M. - I have just heard that Mr. Hassler died this evening. Every moment therefore is precious."(3) Henry, who had been a good friend of Bache's for several years (4), received this letter the following evening and immediately wrote to the Honorable John C. Spencer, Secretary of the Treasury.(5) Henry explicitly detailed all that he felt was wrong with Hassler's superintendency of the Coast Survey. Only from earlier discussions with Bache, who had associated with Hassler on many occasions, could Henry have gotten this information; and, from the depth of his attack on Hassler, it appears improbable that this letter was written on the spur of the moment. Henry then goes on to recommend Bache as the "one above all others I think best qualified for the situation" of rectifying all of the problems with the Survey. Hassler was hardly cold and not yet in the grave when this orchestrated nomination of Bache took place.(6)
Bache wrote Henry on November 21 that "some time ago" he had been suggested
for the position of head of the Coast Survey. He "of course wish[es] my
scientific friends to judge for me whether I am likely to do justice to
the place & if they think this is the case to go in for me...." Leaving
nothing to chance, he further expedited his "scientific friends" in going
"in for me" when he wrote five days later with a list of names for Henry
to contact and request that they lobby the President in Bache's behalf.
He need hardly have bothered because already 32 members of the American
Philosophical Society had sent an endorsement of Bache to President Tyler
as had members of the Princeton University faculty and many prominent scientists
and military men. In one of Bache's rare occurrences of misreading an individual's
disposition, he included James Ferguson, a senior assistant in the Coast
Survey, as an individual from whom to seek an endorsement. Ferguson was
his primary rival for the position of Superintendent and became a thorn
in Bache's side for many years.
Such tactics were questionable; but they certainly were effective. Bache
was appointed Superintendent of the Coast Survey on December 11, 1843,
virtually running over all opposition. However, rules for appointment to
such positions were not yet established, and Hassler had set the precedent
that such scientific positions were immune from the spoils system. As a
consequence, Bache fully understood that the next Superintendent was probably
appointed for life and that he might not get another opportunity to be
associated with the Coast Survey.
Who was Alexander Dallas Bache? Why did the American scientific community throw its prestige behind him for appointment to the office of Superintendent of the Coast Survey? Bache was born on July 19, 1806, into a family for which public service came naturally. He was a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin and the grandson of Alexander James Dallas, Secretary of the Treasury at the time Ferdinand Hassler was appointed to head the Survey of the Coast. When 15 years old, Bache entered West Point as the youngest cadet in his class and graduated in 1825 at the head of his class. During his time as a cadet, he did not receive a single demerit. Upon graduation, he was assigned to continue on at West Point and teach Mechanical Engineering, although most of the cadets were older than he. He spent a year as an instructor at West Point and then was assigned to the command of Colonel Joseph Totten as an engineer helping build Fort Adams at Newport, Rhode Island. This was fortunate, as Totten became head of the Corps of Engineers and worked closely with Bache on many projects in later years. After two years at Fort Adams, Bache resigned his commission after being appointed Professor of Natural Philosophy and Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Bache's career as an educator and scientist began at this time. He spent
the next seven years at the University of Pennsylvania, during which time
his reputation as one of the foremost American men of science was established.
He had a broad range of interests and wrote papers on chemistry and physics,
established the first permanent magnetic observatory in the United States
in the garden next to his house, studied the motion of winds in tornadoes,
investigated the measurement of rainfall as related to wind direction and
height of measuring instrument above the ground, and a plethora of other
subjects. Besides writing papers for publication, he was also the influential
editor of the Journal of the Franklin Institute, a position which
gave him access to all of the leading American scientists of his day.
Bache was not merely an academic concerned with interesting, although
marginally useful, phenomena; he was also concerned with the establishment
of a uniform system of weights and measures; and, like Hassler, he was
an advocate of the metric system. He wrote the Report upon Water Power,
which was published under the auspices of the Franklin Institute (7);
in 1836 he produced the very important Report on the Explosion of Steam
By 1836, his influence extended into all branches of the physical sciences; and, although Rosalie Hassler in her Recollections only mentions Bache as having visited her father at the triangulation stations outside of Philadelphia, it is almost certain that Bache and Hassler met as early as 1834 when Bache wrote the Report of the managers of the Franklin Institute, in relation to weights and measures.(9) Bache had two brothers, George Mifflin Bache and Richard Meade Bache, who were naval officers attached to the Survey during Hassler's tenure as Superintendent. His brother George was brother-in-law to the naval officers David Dixon Porter and Carlile Pollock Patterson. Both men served on the Coast Survey under Hassler. Porter went on to head the Navy after the Civil War while Patterson became the fourth Superintendent of the Coast Survey. One of his brothers-in-law was Major John James Abert, head of the Army Topographical Engineers and Hassler's first assistant in the field. Another brother-in-law was Major W. H. Emory who became head of the Mexican Boundary Survey and achieved distinction in the Civil War. He also had a cousin in the Army, Major Hartman Bache, who was associated with coastal surveys and engineering and lighthouse work for many years. Bache's interest in the Survey must have been stimulated by such contacts, and it was only natural that a scientist of his stature would apply (indirectly through the nomination of his friends and colleagues) for its Superintendency upon Hassler's death.
On July 19, 1836, Bache accepted the position of President of Girard
College in Philadelphia. This college was in the process of being built
from the endowment of Stephen Girard, a philanthropist, whose dying wish
was to build a college for orphans. Bache was initially directed to proceed
to Europe and study European educational establishments and determine the
curriculum and teaching methods at Girard College according to the best
practice of the many institutions which he was to visit. On this trip of
twenty-six months, Bache visited 278 institutions; upon return to the United
States, he produced a monumental work of 666 pages describing his findings.(10)
However, he, like Hassler when sent to procure instruments, was not exempt
from criticism of overspending during this trip; he spent over $7,000 on
personal expenses and over $5,000 on various books, scientific instruments,
Although Bache's mission was to determine a best method of operating
Girard College, he did not put forth an explicit plan in his report. Instead,
he believed that there would have to be a period of experiment before determining
a best structure and methodology for the college. His view paralleled that
of Hassler in the tactic of nurturing a small institution and managing
its growth when he cautioned that "The wish to begin an institution on
a scale commensurate with its future entire organization, is a natural
one, but it should yield to the lessons of experience, which have everywhere
shown that a small beginning is preferable."(11)
When Bache returned to the United States in late 1838, the main building
for the college was not completed. Bache languished for a year with little
progress made in the completion of the college. He then accepted a position
with the Central High School of Philadelphia where he remained until mid-1842.
This school was the first public high school outside of New England and
was equipped with an astronomical observatory through the generosity of
a prominent citizen of Philadelphia. While at the Central High School,
Bache exerted a major influence on the course of American secondary education
by instituting a pragmatic principal course of four years. This course
did not require classical languages and was designed to prepare one for
life in the professions. He also recommended a classical course of study
for those so inclined, and an elementary course for those who were either
going into the trades or could not spend a full four years in high school.
The children of America owe a vote of thanks to Bache for making the radical
proposal that a school have a playground to assure that they have both
physical education and a means for amusement during the school day.(12)(13)
Bache also made good use of the pupils at Central High School, as he recruited
George Davidson, James Lawson, Alexander Harrison, Stephen and Joseph Harris,
Frank Hudson, and Joseph Ruth for duty on the Survey a few years later.
In mid-1842 he resigned from Central High School and resumed teaching
at the University of Pennsylvania. This was short-lived as Hassler's death
in 1843 changed the course of Bache's life and American science.
Hassler laid the foundation of the Coast Survey, and Bache built the
structure. Bache inherited from Hassler a scientific organization that
had instruments, trained surveyors and craftsmen, established methods,
and moral precepts to follow. A major political battle had recently been
fought resulting in a blueprint for continuing operations of the Survey;
and, not incidentally, this freed Bache from the worry of an immediate
political attack. Bache also had the advantage of being native-born and
associated with a great American family; politically, the United States
needed assurance that American talent was capable of directing a great
scientific enterprise. American science had grown up since Hassler had
first stepped on our shores in 1805. Hassler had remained relatively isolated
from American scientists during his tenure as Superintendent of the Coast
Survey. Bache's modus operandi was quite different; he understood, better
than anyone, the strength of the growing scientific infrastructure of the
nation and used that strength as a political and moral tool. As a consequence,
it would seem that Bache's assumption of the duties of the Superintendent
of the Coast Survey would have been quite an easy task. Just the opposite
Bache came into the Coast Survey as an unwelcome interloper, in the
words of the Secretary of the Treasury, "a mere college professor." A few
of the senior assistants confronted him with animosity and insubordination.
The dashed hopes of James Ferguson certainly contributed to this rancor,
but the primary cause seemed to have been that he was an outsider who had
shouldered his way into the Survey. Bache countered this by hiring individuals
who would be loyal to him. He first hired Charles O. Boutelle on January
8, 1844. Boutelle had previously worked with Simeon Borden on the Trigonometrical
Survey of the State of Massachusetts.(14)
Boutelle remained a trusted confidant until Bache's death.
There are few indications of strife in the annual reports. Buried in
an obscure Congressional document was a tragedy that showed a cold side
of Bache not apparent in many descriptions of his life and mannerisms.
On January 4, 1844, Edward Troughton Hassler, who had worked as his father's
principal assistant in the Office of Weights and Measures for the past
ten years, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury detailing the
state of progress of the manufacture of the various standards. He ended
"An association of twenty years, of which I have a distinct recollection; a taste for similar pursuits; access to any of my father's well known and varied scientific information, though unattainable from other sources; a free communication of views; detailed imitation in every branch; several years' study and practice in the details of this work -- warrant my assuring the department it need entertain no fears of those changes in the manner of completing this delicate, important, and arduous task, that would be inevitable and injurious under other circumstances, on account of the superintendence having changed, in consequence of the death of my father, to myself....
"Permit me to conclude by expressing the hope that I will receive from
the department those facilities and protections that are indispensable
to the proper accomplishment of this valuable national work."(15)
It is apparent from this letter that Edward Hassler anticipated being made head of the construction of standards of weights and measures. Given his previous experience, that was a reasonable expectation. He used the term "superintendence", but that could hardly have referred to becoming the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, as his work through the years had been only related to weights and measures. Regardless, he and Bache did not see eye-to-eye on this matter as Bache wished to consolidate the Office of Weights and Measures with the Coast Survey as it had been under Hassler. Bache wrote to Joseph Henry on December 26, 1843, concerning his success at manipulating Secretary Spencer, "So far he has shown a disposition to take my views & except that he holds back the Weights & Measures which absolutely require my control & that speedily...." Secretary Spencer promised Bache control over Weights and Measures on December 28, one week before Edward Hassler's letter to him. It is probable that Bache had confronted Hassler with the fact that he had been given the authority to manage the
construction and distribution of Weights and Measures and that Hassler was writing to the
Secretary in response to a confrontation.
There is no record of any discussion between the two following Hassler's
letter to the Secretary of the Treasury. Edward Troughton Hassler did not
receive the protection of the department as he had sought and resigned
January 20, 1844. Bache took full charge of the Office of Weights and Measures
two days later. Bache's only comments on Edward Hassler's resignation were
that "the papers, of which a detailed list is appended to this report,
were handed to me, as the archives of the department of weights and measures."
He went on, "These are the only papers received by me as such."(16)
On February 28, 1844, Joseph Saxton, from the United States mint in Philadelphia
and a good friend of Bache, was appointed assistant and foreman for the
construction of weights and measures. Bache wrote to Joseph Henry that
"the appointment of Saxton ... will give me a friend in camp." He also
commented in this letter that Spencer's appointment of him "to the Superintendence
of the Wts. & Measures was at last done in a gracious manner
...."(17) Edward Hassler committed suicide
in New York City on June 14, 1844.(18)
No mention of his death appeared in Bache's Annual Report of the Coast
Survey or in his annual report on Weights and Measures for the year 1844.
In Bache's defense, the younger Hassler's expectations were high; and,
in a democratic society, public office is not an hereditary right. His
brother, John James Scipio (J.J.S.) Hassler, was employed as an assistant
in the Coast Survey and remained so until his death in 1858; so, it appears
that Edward's resignation was not related to personal prejudice against
the Hassler family. If there had been more than dispassionate action on
the part of Bache, it is almost certain that Rosalie Hassler, in her Recollections,
would have so noted; and, in many future attacks on the Coast Survey and
Bache personally, there never was a mention of the suicide of Edward Hassler.
During this early period in Bache's administration, he found time to
revise the regulations (those that existed) and formalize them in Arrangements
and directions for executing the survey of the coast, according to the
plan approved by the President on the 29th of April, 1843.(19)
This document set the chain of command within the Survey, gave directions
for channels of communication within the Survey and also between the Survey
and the Treasury Department, and formalized procedures for disbursements
as well as set compensation rates for all classes of personnel employed
by the Survey. Not incidentally, these regulations strengthened Bache's
hand in running the Survey.(20) They were
signed by Secretary of the Treasury John C. Spencer on April 15, 1844.
The formalization of administrative procedures must have warmed the heart
of Secretary Spencer as he wrote to Bache on May 1, 1844:
"I am unwilling to leave this Department without communicating to you
the great pleasure I have derived from the intercourse which has subsisted
between us since your appointment as Superintendent of the Coast Survey;
and my conviction of the great service you have already rendered the country
in the arrangements made for carrying on that work. The system, order and
regularity to which you have brought the complicated and difficult operations
of that great work, afford the strongest assurance that it will now proceed
with vigor and despatch...."(21)
A lasting problem to Bache was his relationship with James Ferguson
who had anticipated becoming Superintendent of the Coast Survey by virtue
of seniority. Ferguson had originally been the first considered by Secretary
Spencer to head the Survey. After Bache was selected, he came to Washington
"full of mortification and wrath, but after talking with his friends &
seeing the Secretary, he came to see me [Bache]; if I had seen him then
I might further have soothed him ...."(22)
Perhaps as part of his campaign to "soothe him," Bache designated Ferguson
as the assistant to carry the existing triangulation south to a base of
verification, thus closing out Ferdinand Hassler's work. Prior to his death,
Hassler had sent Ferguson and Assistant J.C. Neilson to Bodie Island, North
Carolina, to select a site for the next baseline. However, upon Hassler's
death, "It was rendered imperative .... that a base of verification should
be measured as near as practicable to the southern termination of Mr. Hassler's
work, near the Delaware, and this measurement it was deemed most proper
to assign to his senior assistant, James Ferguson, Esq."(23)
A violent disagreement ensued between Bache and Ferguson over the proper
location for the verification base. Bache favored Kent Island, opposite
Annapolis, while Ferguson favored Smith Island, another 100 miles further
down Chesapeake Bay. Bache wrote, "It is not necessary to detail the circumstances
which ultimately put the reconnoissance for this base under my immediate
direction. "I examined Kent Island, accompanied by assistant F. H. Gerdes...."(24)
This did not end the issue. Bache assigned Ferguson the responsibility
of measuring the base line on Kent Island and connecting Hassler's triangulation
to this base line. Ferguson was issued the old 30-inch Troughton theodolite
for this work which Hassler had found defective many years before. Why
Ferguson acquiesced in using this instrument or did not complain of its
defects remain a mystery. However, he completed the triangulation in 1845
with apparently good results. His work was inspected by Assistant Theodore
Werner and Lieutenant Andrew Humphreys, U.S. Army Topographical Engineers,
who had entered onto Coast Survey duty as Assistant-in-Charge of the Coast
Survey Office, a position begun by Bache to assure smooth operation of
the office force during his absence. Werner and Humphreys found many irregularities
in the computations and in the selection of observations for inclusion
in the final results.
This was brought to the attention of Bache who confronted Ferguson.
A board of investigation was convened and comprised of Benjamin Peirce
of Harvard University as Bache's representative; Captain Andrew Talcott,
U.S. Army, a surveyor of renown, as Ferguson's representative; and Charles
Davies, a professor at West Point, who was mutually agreeable to Peirce
and Talcott. This board reported its findings to Secretary of the Treasury,
R. J. Walker, on March 1, 1847.
The findings of the board were decidedly against Ferguson. Under Section
II, "The real character of the work...." the board found:
"First. At several of the stations the observations were not sufficiently numerous, especially as the observer appears to have distrusted his instrument.
"Secondly. The sum of the three angles of several of the triangles, as deduced from all the observations, differs from its correct value, which is 180 degrees, increased by the spherical excess by more than three seconds, which is now and has justly been regarded as the maximum limit of error admissible upon the primary triangulation.
"Thirdly. There are frequent uncertainties of reading, which
amount, in some cases, to a minute of arc."
Because of these discrepancies, the board recommended that Ferguson's
work be rejected and not received as a portion of the primary triangulation
or used to verify Hassler's work. The board went on to state that to its
knowledge, there were no "reports of uncertainties in the work finally
presented to the Superintendent prior to those of Mr. Werner and Lieutenant
The above problems only reflected possible incompetence on the part
of Ferguson; although, it appears that he was aware of problems with the
instrument. More seriously, Section III of the board's report takes exception
to Ferguson's "modes of obtaining from the observations the reported results
.... and that the apparent satisfactory closing of the triangles was due
in part to the use of such methods." Specifically, the board charges:
"The most important error in the mode of obtaining the reported results
consisted in neglecting to use all the observations made under circumstances
equally favorable, and allow them equal weights; and in rejecting some
and retaining others, because they differed from or approximated to a desired
or mean result. This objectionable method of arbitrary selection was in
some cases carried to such an extent, that the same observations were used
to correct in making up one set of results, which were rejected as erroneous
in making up another set."(25)
In short, Ferguson was found guilty of "cooking" his data to
arrive at preconceived "correct" answers. (26)
As a result of these findings, Ferguson was dismissed from the Survey.
It would appear that if Ferguson had been interested in presenting dishonest
results, he never would have presented his original field notes; but, instead,
he would have generated "clean" field notes with values falsified to arrive
at the desired results. Apparently, at worst, he was guilty of very poor
judgement and that he was fired for having that judgement superceded. Bache
had gotten rid of an internal rival at the price of developing an external
enemy. Ferguson went to work in 1848 at the Naval Observatory under Lieutenant
Matthew Fontaine Maury, who became a source of many political problems
for Bache until the Civil War.
Of this early period in Bache's administration of the Survey, the astronomer
Benjamin Apthorp Gould recounts:
"Six months thus passed in establishing authority, and in learning the precise condition of the work which he had undertaken to prosecute, and regarding which the continued ill will of the three senior assistants and the chaotic condition of its affairs, had at first thwarted his endeavors.
"But at last, freed from the influences of internal disorder and dissension
... having established discipline with the three insubordinate assistants,
without any manifestation of unkindness on his own part, and having secured
the respect and cordial regard of the other officers of the Survey -- Professor
Bache was able to apply his energies with effect to the development and
prosecution of the great undertaking before him."(27)
Gould must be excused for peering at this period through rose-tinted
glasses. The senior assistants in the Coast Survey at the beginning of
1842, the last year of Hassler's administration for which a list was available,
were Ferguson, Edmund Blunt, Charles Renard, and C. M. Eakin. Edward Troughton
Hassler was the principal assistant in the Office of Weights and Measures.
Which three Gould was speaking of in his eulogy are not identified. As
mentioned, Edward Hassler committed suicide and Ferguson was fired. Renard
was never mentioned in an annual report of Bache, indicating that he left
the Survey soon after Bache's appointment. Eakin, a former Army officer,
was forced to resign in 1850 for using what Bache considered improper methods
for acquiring data such as "information from intelligent inhabitants and
the published maps of the country under view." This was the culmination
of 6 years of Eakin resenting Bache's leadership.(28)
If not Bache's original goal, he did in fact realign the Survey. He
instituted strong ties with the Army(29)
to appoint Army officers to survey parties and office administrative positions,
hired individuals whom he could trust such as Charles O. Boutelle and Joseph
Saxton, established an alliance with Assistant Edmund Blunt and his brother
George Blunt of the New York chart-selling firm, and rewarded the older
employees, such as Ferdinand Gerdes, who showed allegiance to his Superintendency.
These tactics would be recognized by any chief executive today.
Gould did not exaggerate, though, when he stated that Bache was then
able to "apply his energies with effect" to "the great undertaking before
him." Bache's energies and abilities were quite considerable; and, after
this difficult start of his tenure, he guided the Coast Survey as the scope
of its responsibilities expanded and it grew into one of the great scientific
organizations of the world.
Although Bache was distracted by initial personnel problems, he did
not allow this to materially interfere with the job at hand. By 1845, he
had reorganized the work of the Survey such that there were parties commencing
work on every part of the coastline of the United States. The tactic that
Bache instituted to accelerate the accomplishment of the work was to divide
the coastline into discrete sections, perform reconnaissance on each section
for later triangulation, determine a local geodetic datum by astronomical
means, measure a base line, and work outwards with the triangulation from
each baseline. By strategically locating the base lines and the beginnings
of each section's triangulation, he was also in position to begin topography
and hydrography of the largest port areas. As the triangulation from each
section advanced and junctioned with adjacent triangulation schemes, all
work would be adjusted to a common geodetic datum.
This tactic, besides having the obvious benefit of accelerating the work, won many constituents and gained Bache great political favor with Congress. Aiding Bache politically were his uncle, George Mifflin Dallas, Vice-President of the United States under President Polk who served from 1845 until 1849; his brother-in-law, Robert J. Walker, former Mississippi Senator and the Secretary of the Treasury from 1845 until 1849; a second brother-in-law, William Wilkins, who was appointed Secretary of War at the beginning of Polk's administration; and his good friend, Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. With this political capital, Bache was able to make the argument that, "More than once, however, I have had occasion to regret the unavoidable decrease in the efficiency of a party, by the necessary decrease in its expenditures; and I am satisfied that true economy, the yielding of results proportionate to means expended, would be consulted by a more liberal scale of appropriations."(30) In 1844, he requested only $80,000, perhaps in an effort to appear that he was more economical than Hassler. But by the mid-1850's, his budget had swollen to well over $400,000 showing the potency of his ability to acquire "a more liberal scale of appropriation."
The office work was re-organized to reflect the influx of data from
more survey crews operating in widely dispersed areas. Bache, like Hassler,
spent a significant amount of time in the field surveying, both because
he enjoyed the work and to allay any potential criticism that he was a
mere bureau head with no real ties to the work. Spending much time in the
field required that he establish the position of Assistant-in-Charge of
the Office. (This position had been recommended under the Plan of Reorganization
of 1843, but apparently Hassler never acted to establish such a position.)
Assistant C. M. Eakin filled this position for a short time in 1844 but
was soon replaced by Lieutenant Andrew Atkins Humphreys, United States
Army Topographical Engineers. In effect, he was Bache's executive officer
and responsible for all office functions in Bache's absence. The specific
organization of the office was as follows:
" ... The drawing is directed by Lieutenant Humphreys personally; the
engraving is under the immediate superintendence of Assistant W. M. C.
Fairfax; the records, including books, maps, charts, and the instruments,
are under the charge of Samuel Hein, esquire, the general disbursing agent
of the coast survey; reports of the regular computations are made to Lieutenant
Humphreys, and every month a general report is made by him to the superintendent,
including the collected results of the office work under his direction,
with a report of the instrument-maker's shop, and of the printing office,
and proof sheets of the plates in the course of engraving."(31)
All of these elements existed under Hassler, but Bache improved the
lines of communication between the various groups and assured that he was
kept fully informed of developments in the office while he was in the field.
A computing division was established with office computers (a functional
job title for those engaged in computations) checking the results of the
field computers. Although Hassler philosophically espoused common symbology
and a standard appearance to all map and chart products, the engraving
had not proceeded far enough to develop this policy. Bache enacted this
philosopy. Hassler also advocated verifying computations and the locations
of soundings and prominent terrestrial objects plotted upon the charts,
as well as monitoring all written communications passing from the Survey
as official information; but it was Bache who systematized the verification
process. In his words, "There is nothing so difficult to introduce, and
yet nothing more important, than a complete and thorough system of verification,
and this remark applies to field as well as office work. Impatience in
obtaining results frequently induces this to be overlooked, but time is
lost by the omission in the end."(32)
When Bache took over the Survey, it was conducting operations in nine
states. Within four years, the Survey was operating in seventeen states
and by 1849 had also sent survey crews to the West Coast. Besides expanding
the geographic base of operations of the Survey, Bache also expanded its
intellectual base. Several prominent scientists were either hired as Assistants
in the Survey or worked under contract to the Survey on specific tasks
requiring their expertise while retaining their positions at their respective
organizations. Among this group were Benjamin Peirce of Harvard, the foremost
American mathematician of the mid-Nineteenth Century; the great naturalist
and paleontologist, Louis Agassiz of Harvard; Elias Loomis of the forerunner
to New York University with whom Bache had studied the effects of a tornado
in the 1830's; the microscopist Jacob Bailey of West Point, who was the
first to examine the bottom specimens acquired by the Coast Survey; the
astronomers Maria Mitchell of Nantucket (possibly the first professional
woman ever hired by the Federal government), Ormsby M. Mitchel of the Cincinatti
Observatory, William Cranch Bond of the Cambridge Observatory, and E. Otis
Kendall of the Central High School of Philadelphia; and the mathematician
and astronomer Stephen Alexander of Princeton.(33)
This policy of putting the top academic scientists of the Nation on a small
retainer to work on projects related to the Coast Survey led to suspicions
in some circles that Bache was corruptly subsidizing "the scientific part
of the community into an actively partisan support of Bache and his policies,
or, in the phraseology of more recent years, to build up a strong personal
'machine.'"(34) This was undoubtedly a
motive of Bache; but the more far-reaching effect of his policy in this
matter was to use the Coast Survey as a vehicle for giving direction and
coherence to American physical science.
Bache further enhanced his support in the scientific community by ties with such men as his good friend Joseph Henry, whose arm he figuratively twisted to accept the Superintendency of the Smithsonian Institution; Charles H. Davis of the Navy, who served under Bache on the Survey, then headed the American Nautical Almanac and Ephemeris for the Navy; and James Melville Gilliss, the Navy astronomer. He continued building the intellectual strength of his organization by hiring directly the astronomers Sears Cook Walker and Benjamin Apthorpe Gould; the mechanical genius Joseph Saxton; the naturalist Louis F. de Pourtales; and the mathematician Charles Schott.
Because of these many intertwining ties, Professor Fairman Rogers wrote
that Bache "enlisted the best scientific power of the country, either as
officers of the Survey, as temporary assistants for some special work,
or as friends, who, for pure love of the man and interest in a work to
which he devoted his energies, were always ready to contribute their advice
or co-operation in those matters which belonged especially to their line
of study. It was in this way that he won the title of 'Chief,' applied
to him by a large and ever increasing circle of scientific men, who appreciated
him as the leader of organized science in America."(35)
Reflecting this "pure love of the man", Benjamin Peirce addressed letters
to Bache as "Most Darling Chief", while Louis Agassiz bestowed "kindest
love" to "the Chief and Chiefess." "Chiefess," of course, referred to Bache's
wife, Nancy.(36) That men such as Agassiz
and Peirce would refer to Bache as "Chief" is a manifestation of Bache's
standing in the American scientific community. Peirce died during the year
of the centennial celebration of the Phi Beta Kappa and the orator at this
event spoke of him as "the largest natural genius ... God has given to
Harvard in our day, whose presence made you the loftiest peak and farthest
outpost of more than mere scientific thought; the magnet, with his twin,
Agassiz, which made Harvard for forty years, the intellectual Mecca of
The circle of friends and colleagues with which Bache associated came
to refer to themselves informally in the 1850's as the "Florentine Academy"
and then the "Lazzaroni,"(38) the term
for the beggars of Naples. The stated purpose of the Lazzaroni was to "eat
an outrageously good dinner together."(39)
Bache's home served as the headquarters for this informal group, and whenever
a member came to Washington, he usually stayed at the Baches' or Henrys'.
The Baches' hospitality was well known and fine wines flowed as freely
as the ideas of the Lazzaroni.
Bache won the allegiance of the field assistants of the Survey, as he
spent many months of each year in the field sharing their hardships and
proved himself an able geodesist. In spite of initial difficulties, there
are few indications that internal dissension prevailed within the Coast
Survey past the first few years of his superintendency. As noted, Bache
established good relationships with the Army and acquired a number of Army
officers to help with the field triangulation, topographic mapping, and
in the office. Relations with the Navy remained good; although, there remained
an element within the Navy that continued to covet the Coast Survey in
its entirety as a Naval function.
Bache was quite astute politically; besides gaining the constituency
of the states in which he had crews conducting operations, he attempted
to address all of the concerns voiced in the Congressional investigation
of the Survey under Hassler early in his tenure. More in-house engravers
were hired and outside contracts were let for engraving and printing of
maps to help eliminate the backlog of charts that were ready for publication.
The letting of outside contracts muted the complaints of the commercial
engraving and printing firms and their Congressional advocates. However,
by the end of 1844, Bache was already beginning to sound like Hassler when
he was "... now almost prepared to find the execution of the maps in the
office an economical arrangement ...."(40)
Again in 1847, Bache noted: "It was found impracticable, even by enhanced
prices, to induce those engravers who, in previous years, had contracted
to execute charts out of the office, to undertake further work..."(41)
As Hassler had stated, they were either unwilling or unable to meet Coast
Survey standards at competitive prices.
The contracting issue also extended into the realm of the instrument-makers,
who repaired damaged instruments and designed and produced new ones. He
reported, "The two mechanicians have been engaged chiefly in the repairs
of instruments, which, if done elsewhere, would probably have cost more
than the amount of their compensation. On this head I am collecting data
to form a just conclusion."(42)
The outward flow of information under Bache concerning the work and
its value increased markedly in response to criticisms that Hassler was
keeping data too long without publishing. His annual reports were expanded
greatly over those submitted by Hassler and were designed to report on
the progress of the work and, not incidentally, as a budget request for
the following year. All discoveries of dangers to navigation were promptly
publicized by the printing of Notices to Mariners. Although they did not
take the place of the printed charts, the Notices reduced marine casualties
sufficiently that insurance underwriters were able to reduce their rates
In addition to Bache's role in publicizing the work and accomplishments
of the Survey, his inner circle of friends were active advocates of the
Coast Survey and his superintendency. An example of this was Joseph Henry's
"THE COAST SURVEY", an article printed in the Princeton Review in
April, 1845. Henry wrote Bache in March requesting that he provide him
with information as he intended "to give a popular sketch of the coast
survey in the next number of the Princeton Review ...." Henry, as
were many of the other men of science who ultimately supported the survey
during the Bache Superintendency, was motivated by a feeling of responsibility
for the welfare of the Survey as he had thrown his support and prestige
behind the success of a Coast Survey managed by Alexander Dallas Bache.
Bache, of course, obliged Henry with suggestions and verbiage for the article,
some of which were taken verbatim from his reply.(43)
Henry wrote a good history of the Survey under Hassler; but, in order
to build up Bache, he resorted to bringing down Hassler and, in some instances,
implying credit for Bache that rightfully belonged to Hassler. This publication
recalls the tone of his earlier letter advocating the appointment of Bache
as Superintendent with such passages as: "Although the coast survey had
been apparently recommenced in 1832 under the most flattering circumstances,
yet it must be confessed that during the ten years which followed, its
progress was not such as the friends of the work and the public generally
had reason to expect. Recalled to important duties requiring great personal
exertions, and the adjustment of perplexing difficulties, at a period when
most men begin to withdraw from the ordinary duties of active life, Mr.
Hassler no longer possessed the practical ability to carry out fully the
plans devised by himself a quarter of a century before. But we desire not
to dwell on this part of the history of the survey ...." Henry then continued:
"The appointment of Alexander D. Bache, LL.D., to the office of superintendent
of the coast survey, took place in December, 1843, and the acceptance of
this gentleman, well known for his scientific labors in every part of the
civilized world, and highly esteemed for his moral qualities by all who
enjoy the pleasure of his acquaintance, was received by the friends of
the survey as a guarantee that it would now be prosecuted with energy and
skill to a successful termination."
In a series of paragraphs dealing with discoveries of the past year,
Henry slid into a discussion of the naming of Gedney Channel without mentioning
that it was not discovered under Bache. He "must, in this place, express
our [my] decided disapprobation of the name given the new channel into
the harbour of New York. Thousands who have heard of Gedney channel, are
unacquainted with the fact, that it is one of the legitimate offsprings
of the coast survey, and that all engaged in the work, were concerned in
the discovery. The name of Coast Survey Channel, would be, in our [perhaps
use of the pronoun our was an inadvertent slip, as the suggestion
to rename Gedney Channel and other like discoveries for the Coast Survey
originated with Bache] opinion, a more appropriate title."
Henry launched one last slam at Hassler while building up Bache: "...
it must be evident that more work has been performed during the past year,
than in any previous year of the history of the survey, and this will appear
more worthy of notice, when the difficulties are considered, with which
Dr. Bache had to contend, in entering on the duties of his office. The
records of the labours of his predecessor, were to be deciphered, accounts
were to be adjusted with the treasury department, which had been a perpetual
source of perplexity to almost every secretary; prejudices in favour of
old plans, and against the introduction of new ones, were to be overcome;
and in short, almost an entirely new and more efficient organization was
required, with a set of instructions for carrying it into operation during
the coming year."
This theme of detracting from Hassler, to further glorify Bache, continued
throughout Bache's administration. There were also many comparisons of
the relative costs and efficiency of Bache's work as opposed to Hassler's.
If one supported Bache, they were invariably favorable to Bache. Detractors
of Bache and the Survey invariably found in favor of Hassler. This round
of cost comparisons began with an attack by James Ferguson and Matthew
Fontaine Maury on Bache in 1849 and an equally spirited response by Lieutenant
Charles Henry Davis.(44) Ferguson, of course,
found that Bache did not accomplish as much per dollar spent as Hassler,
while Davis showed just the opposite to be true. The whole discussion of
relative costs and accomplishments seems to have been nonsense, as Hassler
and Bache worked under markedly different conditions.
A speech by Senator Jefferson Davis, an old friend of Bache's from West
Point, defended the Coast Survey and Bache by giving a clear view of this
new American scientific chauvinism:
"... It is to me a matter of pride, sir, that the reflection once made
that no American could be found to take charge of the work, has proved
so untrue. An American has been found, who has not only been able to discharge
the duties of his office, who has not only been able to keep pace with
science, but who has been foremost in some of the most difficult investigations,
and has attained results for highly useful application to the necessity
of commerce and the perfection of the work with which he is charged; often
passing before, never falling behind, the improvements of the age, he has
elevated our scientific reputation abroad, and is at home justly the object
of American pride."(45)
Even in a eulogy, presented at the 1868 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, commemorating Bache's life and accomplishments, Benjamin Apthorp Gould was unable to refrain from such rhetori.(46) He quoted an anonymous "distinguished officer" who was employed by the Survey at the time of Hassler's death: "... the condition of the Coast Survey was anomalous and Ishmaelitish. Every man's hand was against his neighbor. Hon. John C. Spencer, the Secretary of the Treasury, was the head of the Survey; and the principal assistants reported directly to him, and not to Mr. Hassler, who was thus reduced to the position of nominal superintendent, but the real Chief only of the primary triangulation party." (47) (48)
Gould related the trials faced by Bache after being appointed Superintendent
and the lack of cooperation from the principal assistants. But, "Never
was magnanimity more grandly exhibited than in Mr. Bache's course, while
making himself Superintendent in fact as well as in name; but on this there
is no need to dwell. Illustrations of his greatness of spirit are wanting
at no period of his career."
Twenty-five years after Hassler's death, Gould felt little "magnanimity"
or "greatness of spirit" as he was compelled to continue bashing Hassler
by resorting to another anonymous quote, "he [sic] died in the belief that
the nation as a whole, was, in 1843, where he had found it in 1801 
so far as its science was concerned." Gould went on in his own words: "Comparatively
few native Americans obtained employment on the Survey under him, and one
of his surveying party has informed me that he himself was the only man
of that party who spoke English habitually. (49)
His scientific affiliations were exclusively trans-Atlantic, and while
he seems to have entertained a sort of general affection for his adopted
country, he apparently looked upon Americans as necessarily tyros in scientific
matters, and deemed the refinements and elegancies of the higher Geodesy
matters entirely beyond their comprehension."
There was more at stake in the glorification of Bache at the expense
of Hassler in these statements and expressions of adulation. American science
was just beginning to flex its muscle; and there was a need for this young
scientific community to assert itself as worthy of the world's note. Bache
was the spearhead of this effort; and Hassler, even in his death, bore
the brunt of attack by a chauvinistic American science community. If there
is to be any criticism of Bache, it stems from the unstinting efforts of
his colleagues to shower unbridled adulation upon him as the leader of
American science and heap sometimes unfounded criticism upon his competitors
or those whose reputations might approach or equal his.
Bache must have encouraged such statements and views while still alive
and capable of functioning as a scientist and administrator.(50)
Although such statements could be interpreted as a symptom of megalomania,
Bache's motivations were to raise American science to a high plane and
to continue the process of making science and scientists respected entities
within American society. To accomplish this required a strong spokesman
who was capable of dealing with the scientific community and the political
community. Bache also wanted to establish his credibility as the Superintendent
of the Coast Survey and to use this to political advantage. He was a master
at this and, as noted above, was able to raise the annual appropriation
substantially over the years, while at the same time fighting off attempts
by the Navy and others to either take over the Survey or abolish it.
Thus Bache built his structure around the capabilities of the civilians, Army officers, and Navy officers who served in the Survey; the majority of the American scientific community; scientific chauvinism; his political acumen; and the power of his personality. The foundation that Hassler laid and the structure that Bache built endured and served the Nation for the remainder of the Nineteenth Century and still continues in the late Twentieth Century.
CHANGING THE GUARD
1. Hodgkins, W.C. 1920. A History of the Coast and Geodetic Survey of the United States. p. 134. Unpublished manuscript. Located in Cahier 2468 of the Rare Book Room of the NOAA Library. W. C. Hodgkins was an officer in the Coast and Geodetic Survey, who apparently began the work of compiling an official history of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Unfortunately, this work was discontinued after the completion of two sections, dealing with Hassler's administration and Bache's administration. Official reviews indicated displeasure with Hodgkins' writing style. However, there is much information present in this work which makes it worthwhile to review in spite of minimal detailing of sources of information.
2. George Mifflin Dallas, uncle of Alexander Dallas Bache, was a former U.S. Senator and soon to be Vice-President of the United States under President Polk. Robert J. Walker, married to Bache's sister Mary, was a U.S. Senator from Mississippi and would be appointed Secretary of the Treasury in 1845. U.S. Representative William Wilkins was married to Bache's aunt Matilda Dallas and would be appointed Secretary of War under President Polk in early 1844. Another sister, Sophia, was married to former U.S. Representative William Wallace Irwin of Pittsburgh. Irwin was elected as a Whig as opposed to being a Democrat as stated by Kane.
3. Letter from John K. Kane to Joseph Henry, November 20, 1843. In: Reingold, N., Rothenberg, M., Dorman, K., and Theerman, P. : Editors. 1985. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 5. p. 450-451. Smithsonian Institution Press, City of Washington.
4. Joseph Henry had been a friend of Alexander Dallas Bache since the mid-1830's. In 1835, Henry was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society of which Bache was a member as was also Ferdinand Hassler. On January 16, 1835, Henry addressed the American Philosophical Society with the first of a series of lectures entitled "Contributions to Electricity." These lectures were to be printed in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society ; but knowing the leisurely pace of publication of the Transactions (recall the five year gap between Hassler writing his "Papers" and their publication), Bache, who was a member of the editorial staff of the Journal of the Franklin Institute, expedited the early publication of an abstract of Henry's lecture in the Journal. This helped establish Henry's claim to be the first to discover self-induction and ensured priority for Henry in the discovery of non-inductive windings. Serendipitously, Henry also took a sabbatical to Europe at the same time that Bache conducted a study of European educational institutions in 1837. They traveled together during much of this trip and visited many of the leading scientists of Europe. For a discussion of Bache's roll in the publication of Henry's work, see: Coulson, T. 1950. Joseph Henry His Life and Work. p. 109-110. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
6. Rosalie Hassler Norris, in a letter to Charles Hassler, complained that "Bache jumps in speedily [?], sent Mr. Mans [perhaps an abbreviation] of Phila. to apply for the place before Papa was dead." In: Anita Newcomb McGee Papers, Box 11, Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.
8. Bache, A. D. January, 1836. Report of Experiments made by the committee of the Franklin Institute of Pennsylvania, on the explosions of steam-boilers, at the request of the Treasury Department of the United States. In: Journal of the Franklin Institute, xvii, 1,173,145,217,289.
13. As quoted in the annual report of the School Controllers of the Philadelphia Central High School (1840?): "Under the recommendation of Professor Bache, a valuable addition has been made to the comfort and health, as well as to the amusement of the pupils, in the establishment of an extensive play-ground for gymnastic exercises. For this purpose, a spacious lot, adjacent to the High School, has been leased for a term of years."
14. Simeon Borden was hired to construct instruments for and conduct a trigonometric survey of the State of Massachusetts in 1830. Robert Treat Paine was appointed the chief engineer of this project. Borden manufactured a bi-metallic base line measuring instrument that was designed to compensate for changes in temperature and retain a constant length. He also borrowed instruments from those procured by Hassler for conducting the Survey of the Coast. Borden was a highly competent engineer and measured a base line between Deerfield and Hatfield with a nominal accuracy of better than one part in 5 million. Although Borden was never appointed chief engineer of the project, his genius was recognized by all those associated with the survey of Massachusetts and this project became known as the Borden Survey. For a complete discussion of Simeon Borden's role in the survey of Massachusetts, see: Butterfield, A.D. 1898. History and Development of Triangulation in Massachusetts. In: The Journal of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Volume I, Nos. 3 and 4. p. 285-299 and 335-355.
15. Bache, A. D. 1845. A report from Professor A. D. Bache, relative to standard weights, measures, and balances. In: Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury .... House of Representatives. Treasury Department. Document No. 159, 28th Congress, 2d Session. February 28, 1845. Appendix A, p. 28-29. Referred to hereafter as: Bache, A. D. 1845. Document No. 159.
20. Bache's comments in a letter to Joseph Henry written two days after his appointment indicate that he had no use for the regulations existing as a result of the Coast Survey hearings of 1842-1843. He wrote: "The regulations adopted by the Coast S. Board last winter which I saw for the first time last evening trammel me to an annoying extent, but then they are mere regulations & if I can get Mr. Spencer's confidence may be accommodated to circumstances." In: Reingold, et. al. 1985. The Papers of Joseph Henry. Volume 5, p. 469. Smithsonian Institution Press, City of Washington.
23. Bache, A. D. 1844. A report of the Superintendent of the Survey of the Coast, showing the progress of the work during the year ending November, 1844." In: Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, Senate Report No. 16, 28th Congress, 2d Session, December 23, 1844. p. 11. Hereafter referred to as: Bache, A. D. Report of the Superintendent ... 1844.
25. Letter from Benjamin Peirce, Andrew Talcott, and Charles Davies to the Honorable R. J. Walker, Secretary of the Treasury, dated March 1, 1847. A reprint of this letter is found in: Miscellaneous Papers on the Survey. p. 152-153. This publication is in the Rare Book Room of the NOAA Library. A copy of the letter is found in the appendix to a reprint of "REMARKS By an Assistant in the Coast Survey on an article in the February number of Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, 'On the Survey of the Coast of the United States'". Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, April, 1849, p. 14-15.
28. For further discussion of this issue see: Slotten, H. R. 1994. Patronage, Practice, and the Culture of American Science Alexander Dallas Bache and the U.S. Coast Survey. p. 87-88. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
31. Bache, A. D. 1847. The report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, showing the progress of that work. In: Letter from the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, Senate Executive Document No. 6, 30th Congress, 1st Session, December 15, 1847. P. 47. Referred to hereafter as: Bache, A. D. 1847. Report of the Superintendent ... 1847.
33. Illustrating the interlocking nature of family ties in American science during this period, Stephen Alexander was a brother-in-law of Joseph Henry, while E. Otis Kendall was a half-brother of the astronomer Sears Cook Walker who worked for the Naval Observatory and then the Coast Survey until his death in 1853. The Naval officer and scientist Charles Henry Davis was a strong Bache ally as well as being both student and brother-in-law of the mathematician Benjamin Peirce.
38. The scientific and literary professionals of the mid-Nineteenth Century were given to forming various formal and informal organizations. As early as 1836, religious and cultural leaders of the Boston area met for "Symposia" in private homes to discuss religion, science, philosophy, history, literature, etc. This evolved into the Saturday Club in Boston with many illustrious members such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Benjamin Peirce, and Louis Agassiz. A Saturday Club also was organized in Washington, D.C., which evolved into the Washington Philosophical Society in 1871 with Joseph Henry as the chairman. Benjamin Peirce referred to the "Florentines" which was apparently the forerunner of the Lazzaroni in his "Song of Ben Yamen", his final address as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1854. The Cambridge Metaphysical Club saw its beginnings in the late 1850's with Charles S. Peirce, Chauncey Wright, and Henry James as prominent members. These clubs were loose-knit social organizations of friends meeting for camaraderie and pleasure as much as for business.
Various authors have interpreted the role of the Lazzaroni from anywhere to being a benign social organization to a sinister group dedicated to forcing their will upon American science. A few references discussing the "Lazzaroni," or "Bache and Company" or "The Mutual Admiration Society" as their enemies termed them, are: Robert v. Bruce's The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846-1876; Hugh Slotten's Patronage, Practice, and the Culture of American Science Alexander Dallas Bache and the U.S. Coast Survey; Sally Gregory Kohlstedt's The Formation of the American Scientific Community The American Association for the Advancement of Science 1848-60; and Francis Leigh Williams's Matthew Fontaine Maury Scientist of the Sea.
43. Letter from Henry to Bache, March 15, 1845, and Bache to Henry, March 19, 1845. In: Rothenberg, M., et. al. 1992. The Papers of Joseph Henry. p. 250-255 and 259-264. Smithsonian Institution Press, City of Washington.
45. Davis, J. 1849. Speech of Mr. Jefferson Davis, of Miss., on the subject of the Coast Survey of the United States; delivered in the United States Senate, February 19, 1849. A copy of this speech is in: Miscellaneous Papers on the Survey, p. 69-108, which is in the Rare Books Room of the NOAA Library. The quoted passage is on p. 86 of the Miscellaneous Papers.
46. Benjamin Apthorp Gould was an unlikely candidate to be a spokesman for American science. He was a United States citizen but received a doctorate from a German university. Upon return to the United States, he became a junior member of Bache's inner circle of confidants. Following the death of Sears Cook Walker, he became director of longitude operations for the Coast Survey. Gould delivered a eulogy on Walker at the 1854 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science which he used as a vehicle for discussing his (and Bache's) chauvinistic view of American Science. He expounded, "Our geology, botany, physical constants, even our topography and geodesy, had been examined and studied chiefly by men of foreign birth and education. The learning of the other hemisphere was wrapped in a kind of sacred mystery, deemed inpenetrable by a native of these Occidental wilds." (Gould, B.A. 1854. Address in Commemoration of Sears Cook Walker. In: Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Volume 8, p. 24-25.) A few years before the Civil War, Gould was involved in a well-publicized controversy as director of the Dudley Observatory in New York. During the Civil War, he was retained by the United States Sanitary Commission to conduct anatomical studies of soldiers. The results of that study remain controversial today. Gould left the Coast Survey in 1867 and then embarked on his greatest work. Paradoxically, this was a catalogue of over 70,000 southern hemisphere stars observed by Gould between 1870 and 1885 at the Cordoba Observatory, Argentina. Thus, Benjamin Apthorp Gould, perhaps the most caustic and vociferous supporter of United States science, was educated in a European university and conducted his most notable work in South America.
49. This was true of Hassler's main triangulation party as described by Benjamin F. Sands and also of the first plane-table party under Charles Renard, although the secondary triangulation parties and many of the later plane-table parties were manned by native Americans.
50. Bache suffered from a debilitating disease that resulted in partial paralysis and reduced mental capacity in his last years. He suffered for most of his life with what was referred to as "sick headache." Whether the incapacity of his last years was the result of a progressive disease or whether it resulted from a stroke is unknown.