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Agassiz at San Francisco

    Naturevolume 6pages509510 (1872) | Download Citation



    THE completion of its labours by the United States Hassler Expedition presents many points of almost dramatic interest. We have the veteran naturalist, a native of the little republic of the old world—having transferred his home to the great republic across the Atlantic, and settled himself to his scientific work at the University in Massachusetts which derives its name from the old seat of learning on the banks of the Cam,—there gathering about him a band of earnest students, the master and his disciples together building up at Cambridge, in the course of a few years, one of the best appointed schools for practical instruction in Natural Science, and one of the finest Museums of Comparative Zoology in the world. The citizens of the Great Republic are constantly discovering within their own vast territories some extraordinary natural production which in old times would have ranked among the great wonders of the world;. now a grove of gigantic trees in California; now the marvellous canons of Colorado; now a wonderful assemblage of hot springs and geysers in Nebraska. But not content with the Government exploration of their own domain, the munificence of a private citizen of Massachusetts fitted out this Hassler coasting survey expedition with the necessary appliances, and placed the veteran Agassiz at its head, for the purpose of investigating the natural features of the extremity of the Southern Continent, and the inhabitants of its seas, the latter department being specially placed under the management of the accomplished naturalists Pourtales and Steindachner. Our readers already know how the experienced eye of Agassiz detected in Patagonia the same evidences of extensive glacial action with which he was already so familiar in the northern hemisphere; and the contents of the dredging nets will furnish employment to the staff of American naturalists for many a month to come. After cruising up the Pacific Coast of South America, the voyage of the Hassler finally ended in United States territory at San Francisco, where the expedition met with such a reception as has probably never before been accorded to any body of scientific amateurs. The Alta California thus welcomes the great naturalist on his return to his adopted country:—

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