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    Re: Hearne & Worsley's Navigation
    From: Kieran Kelly
    Date: 2005 Jan 29, 17:14 +1100

    On January 25 Ken Muldrew wrote:
    In fact, in 1784 Thompson arrived at Churchill as an apprentice, where
    Hearne was the master, and spent a year there. He copied out some of
    Hearne's journal but otherwise seems not to have held any great affection
    for the man.
    Ken McGoogan's book Ancient Mariner goes into quite some length about why
    Hearne and Thompson did not get along. Hearne was a humanist and
    existentialist, a widely read, life long admirer of Voltaire. As a youth,
    Hearne was in the fleet for the execution of Admiral John Byng by firing
    squad, an event that haunted Hearne for the rest of his days and was
    described in Voltaire's Candide.
    By contrast, Thompson, an orphan had arrived in Hudson Bay as a 14 year old
    from London after excelling in Bible Study at a Christian School. Thompson
    seems to have sought refuge in evangelical Christianity and to have regarded
    Hearne as an atheist and eccentric who filled his rooms at Churchill Fort
    with a menagerie of wild animals. Thompson seemed to hold in contempt
    Hearne's exhaustive recordings of the natural history of the native
    Canadians and the flora and fauna of Western Canada.
    Does McGoogan actually claim Hearne observed for longitude? There is no
    mention of even a pocket watch being taken on his journey and his
    quadrants were not even suitable for latitudes. When Hearne quotes a
    longitude in his journal, it seems pretty obvious that it comes from ded
    McGoogan writes of Hearne having a pocket watch, which was broken on the
    return journey from the Coppermine River. He also has him recording both the
    latitude and longitude of positions. He notes that after the pocket watch
    was broken Hearne was no longer able to determine his position accurately. I
    put two and two together and presumed he was doing lunars. You may be right
    though he may have just been dead reckoning. It would be good to know. No
    mention of a Nautical Almanac in the book.
    Hearne was guided by the Indians to the mouth of the Coppermine river and
    back by way of Lake Athabasca. As an explorer he was first rate, but I'm
    not aware of any navigational expertise. He could have learned navigation
    the year before his journey as William Wales and Joseph Dymond arrived at
    Prince of Wales fort in 1768 to observe the transit of Venus the following
    year. But with neither a watch nor a nautical almanac, longitudes would
    have been impossible even if he had a quadrant that was in working order.
    This is not quite correct. As a midshipman in the Royal Navy under Samuel
    Hood, Hearne received tutoring in navigation as all midshipmen did and
    seemed to show aptitude for it. He rose quickly to masters mate by age 17.
    Navigation was one area the master's mates specialised in, I believe.
    McGoogan acknowledges the close friendship between Wales and Hearne which no
    doubt benefited Hearne. In 1782 after La Perouse sacked Prince of Wales
    Fort, Hearne safely navigated himself and thirty-two other men in a small,
    single masted sloop right across the North Atlantic. He aimed for Stromness
    and that's where he arrived - all well. This could not be done in a small
    open boat other than by a very accomplished navigator.
    Many thanks for your comments.
    Kieran Kelly

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