Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/28

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Greater New York, that is to say the Brooklyn of sixty years ago, was honored as the residence of Ebenezer Meriam, "the sage of Brooklyn Heights," a manufacturer, but also special correspondent and associate editor of the New York City Commercial, in whose columns, about 1850, he began to publish his weather forecasts compiled by using all the information at his disposal, especially the telegrams of weather conditions in distant places. His forecasts of "heated terms" and "cold terms" not only prepared the general public to believe that weather could be predicted, but had a special influence on one young student just entering your City College, whose scrap book of 1850 still contains the history of early events that stimulated his boyish imagination and aspiration. Meriam was but carrying out single-handed the ideas urged by Redfield and Loomis, Espy and Henry, looking to the formation of a government weather bureau. The rule that weather changes move eastwardly for several days in succession was utilized by New York business men even before Professor Joseph Henry announced from Washington the general result of the labors of James H. Coffin, of Ogdensburg, N. Y. It was Professor Coffin who during the years 1838-1840 published our first American meteorological magazine and eventually compiled a great work on the winds of the globe, demonstrating that in these latitudes (between 30 and 60 degrees north) there always is a strong west wind high above the ordinary layers of clouds, that apparently explains the eastward drift of our storms.

The complete mechanism of the atmosphere was clearly explained by William Ferrel in 1858, so that finally, in May, 1868, when our country was rapidly recovering from its terrible internal dissensions, a young astronomer from New York, a graduate of your City College, who had been revolving in his mind all these teachings of his elders, and had from boyhood been observing the clouds and winds and weather, submitted to the Chamber of Commerce of Cincinnati his project of weather forecasts for the benefit of that city. He was ably supported by the officers of the famous astronomical observatory, by the citizens of the "queen city of the west," by her newspapers and her telegraph authorities. You will agree with me that he was within bounds when he wrote from Cincinnati to his parents in New York: "I have started a work that the country will not willingly let die." This was the work that in the hands of General Albert J Myer, of Buffalo, has brought such fame to our country and city.

Although the study of science and the pursuit of research is most fascinating and elevating, yet no man should be satisfied therewith. It is right to be content from day to day, but never satisfied. The highest type of man is he who seeks to be most useful to his fellow men. It is the duty of every citizen of this republic to attain the highest usefulness