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THE Elements of Surveying, published by the author in 1830, was designed especially as a text-book for the Military Academy, and in its preparation little regard was had to the supposed wants of other Institutions.
It was not the aim of the author to make it so elementary as to admit of its introduction into academies and schools, and he did not, therefore, anticipate for it an extensive circulation.
It has been received, however, with more favor than was anticipated, and this circumstance has induced the author to re-write the entire work. In doing so, he has endeavored to make it both plain and practical.
It has been the intention to begin with the very elements of the subject, and to combine those elements in the simplest manner, so as to render the higher branches of plane-surveying comparatively easy,
All the instruments needed for plotting have been carefully described; and the uses of those required for the measurement of angles are fully explained.
The conventional signs adopted by the Topographical Beaureau, and which are now used by the United States Engineers in all their charts and maps, are given in plates 5 and 6.
Should these signs be generally adopted in the country, it would give entire uniformity to all maps and delineations of ground, and would establish a kind of language by which all the peculiarities of soil and surface could be accurately represented.
An account is also given of the manner of surveying the public lands; and although the method is simple, it has, nevertheless, been productive of great results, by defining, with mathematical precision, the boundaries of lands in the new States, and thus settling their titles on an indisputable basis.
The method was originated by Col. Jared Mansfield, whose great acquirements in science introduced him to the notice of President Jefferson, by whom he was appointed surveyorgeneral of the North-Western Territory.
May it be permitted to one of his pupils, and a graduate of the Military Academy, further to add, that at the organization of the institution in 1812, he was appointed Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy. This situation he filled for sixteen years, when he withdrew from the academy to spend the evening of his life in retirement and study. His pupils, who had listened to his instructions with delight, who honored his learning and wisdom, and had been brought near to him by his kind and simple manners, have placed his portrait in the public library, that the institution might possess an enduring memorial of one of its brightest ornaments and distinguished benefactors.
West Point, 1835.