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    Re: Hearne & Worsley's Navigation
    From: Ken Muldrew
    Date: 2005 Jan 31, 10:13 -0700

    On 29 Jan 2005 at 17:14, Kieran Kelly wrote:
    > 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.
    Ironic since Thompson is justifiably famous for defending the native's
    religion and customs as equally valid for their culture as Christianity
    was for Europeans. Thompson's "Narrative" reads like that of a
    professional ethologist. I get the sense that McGoogan's Thompson is
    similar to Dava Sobel's Maskelyne--deliberately cast as villains to foil
    their respective heroes.
    >>  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 ofWales 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.
    In the above I should have said he had an opportunity to learn lunars,
    rather than navigation, from Wales and Dymond.
    > 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.
    But could he have been trained in lunar distances for longitude at that
    time (1762), without an almanac, tables, or methods reduced to practice?
    Surely only an astronomer who could calculate everything (including the
    position of the moon) would have been able to do it. I think Maskelyne's
    British Mariner's Guide came out in 1763 and the Nautical Almanac was
    started a few years later.Since Wales was the principal computer for the
    newly begun nautical almanac, it seems likely that he would have carried
    one with him in 1768, along with Maskelyne's British Mariner's Guide.
    Hearne could have copied some of the necessary data, I suppose, but any
    lunars he did take with his old quadrant couldn't possibly have given him
    a decent longitude (given that his latitude was out by 450 km).
    Perhaps there are other listmembers who could weigh in with more knowledge
    of the state of longitude measurements in the early 1760s.
    > 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.
    Indeed; an accomplishment that establishes his navigational skill as top
    notch. At any rate, I shouldn't be so quick to judge McGoogan's book
    without having read it. I'll pick it up this week and see what he has to
    Ken Muldrew.

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