Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/567

This page has been validated.
551
SKETCH OF COUNT POURTALES.

rians, and Crinoids. A number of his papers on the deep-sea corals of Florida, of the Caribbean Sea, and of the Gulf of Mexico, have appeared in the Museum publications. He had begun to work at the magnificent collection of Halcyonarians made by the Blake in the Caribbean Sea, and had already made good progress with his final report on the Holothurians. The Crinoid memoirs published by him relate to a few new species of Comatula and to the interesting genera Rhizocrinus and Holopus.

"The titles of his memoirs indicate the range of his learning and his untiring industry. His devotion to science was boundless. A model worker, so quiet that his enthusiasm was known only to those who watched his steadfast labor, he toiled on year after year without a thought of self, wholly engrossed in his search after truth. He never entered into a single scientific controversy, nor ever asserted or defended his claims to discoveries of his own which had escaped attention. But, while modest to a fault and absolutely careless of his own position, he could rebuke in a peculiarly effective, though always courteous, manner ignorant pretensions or an assumption of infallibility.

"Appointed keeper of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy after the death of Professor Agassiz, he devoted a large part of his time to the administration of the Museum affairs. Always at his post, he passed from his original investigations to practical details, carrying out plans which he had himself helped to initiate for the growth of the institution. As he had been the devoted friend of Professor Agassiz's father, he became to his son a wise and affectionate counselor, without whose help in the last ten years the Museum could not have taken the place it now occupies. If he did not live to see the realization of his scientific hopes, he lived at least long enough to feel that their fulfillment is only a matter of time. He has followed Wyman and Agassiz, and like them has left his fairest monument in the work he has accomplished and the example he leaves to his successors."

H. N. Mosely communicates to the same journal the following observations on Pourtales's scientific work: "Almost from the commencement of his connection with the United States Coast Survey he deeply interested himself in deep-sea questions, and some of the earliest observations on the nature of the deep-sea bottom and of Globigerina mud were made by him. He wrote on the structure of Globigerina and Orbulina, and described the occurrence of the small Globigerina-like shells bearing spines in the interior of certain Orbulinæ, which he concluded were the swollen terminal chambers of Globigerinse containing young in progress of development. The first step in deep-sea investigation in the United States was taken by the late Professor Bache on his assuming the duties of the United States Coast Survey in 1844, when he ordered the preservation of specimens brought up by the lead. Every specimen was carefully preserved and labeled,