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    Re: Nevil Maskelyne, by Howse, was:Re: Books about Bowditch
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2010 Mar 15, 21:38 -0000

    Patrick Goold wrote-
    
    "I just ordered several other books by Howse that I found while searching for 
    the other.   Interesting author.  The book on Cook's 
    timepieces is of particular interest to me.  I would like to know the 
    practical details of navigation for Cook.  Not just the theory 
    and how to get similar results with modern instruments but how Cook actually did it."
    
    The work by Howse on Cook's timepieces is a collection of journal articles 
    that have been bound into a booklet. There's much 
    interesting stuff in it, particularly Howse's analysis of the way the 
    chronometrs drifted over the years of the voyages. Without 
    having lunars or other astronomical methods to correct the timepiece, the 
    chronometers would have been much less useful. That 
    information counters romantic views, which are often to be found, about the 
    infallibility of Cook's timekeeper. Nevertheless, having 
    such an instrument transformed the operation of surveying, as Cook acknowledged.
    
    If Patrick is taking a serious interest in this matter, I can recommend "The 
    Marine Chronometer", by Rupert Gould,(1923). Gould was 
    the man who put the Harrison chronometers back into working order again. I see 
    that there's a hardback copy from 1976 via Amazon UK 
    for only �13, which looks like a bargain for someone. The seller states that 
    one of the plates has come adrift, the same defect I've 
    found on my own copy of about the same date. It's a defect I would put up 
    with. There's a recent edition available in what looks 
    like a print-on-demand version, which I would steer clear of unless you know it's good.
    
    For a good view of the longitude problem in general, there's a superb volume, 
    "The Quest for Longitude", edited by William J H 
    Andrewes, (1996), the proceedings of a 1993 symposium at Harvard. Symposium 
    proceedings are usually dreary things, but this one is 
    quite the opposite. A used copy might be found in the US for $50 or so.
    
    If it's specifically Cook's three circumnavigations that interest Patrick, 
    these are superbly covered in "The Journals of Captain 
    James Cook", the life's work of J C Beaglehole, in four hefty volumes (the 
    third voyages is covered in two volumes). There's a 
    one-volume abridgment which is no more than a pale shadow of the main work. 
    This is a journal, not a log, so there are snips about 
    the navigation, but that wasn't Cook's main purpose in writing, nor Beaglehole's.
    
    The real lowdown on the navigational details in Cook's first voyage, with 
    those of several other circumnavigators, are collected at-
    
    Wales, William,  1788  Astronomical observations : made in the voyages which 
    were undertaken by order of His present Majesty, for 
    making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by 
    Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Cartaret, and 
    Captain Cook ... / by William Wales  Printed by C. Buckton; and sold by P. Elmsly, London :
    
    Wales didn't travel on the first voyage, on which the astronomer was Green. 
    Green died on the return journey, leaving his 
    obsrvations in a mess, which was only sorted out years later by Wales.
    
    Wales and Bayley were astronomers on voyages 2 and 3, and wrote them up in1777, in -
    
    The Original astronomical observations made in the course of a voyage towards 
    the South Pole and round the world, in his Majesty's 
    ships the "Resolution" and "Adventure", in the years 1772, 1773, 1774 and 
    1775, by William Wales,... and Mr. William Bayly,...
    
    I havent found either of these works in Googled form, so they will have to be 
    consulted in a good academic library.  If Patrick 
    really wants to get to grips with the astronomical detail, it is all there.
    
    Bayley, by the way, is commemorated in "Bayley's beads", to be observed at every full solar eclipse.
    
    George.
    
    
    contact George Huxtable, at  george@hux.me.uk
    or at +44 1865 820222 (from UK, 01865 820222)
    or at 1 Sandy Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK. 
    
    
    
    

       
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