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    Ted Gerrard's book
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2007 Nov 14, 21:58 -0500

    Ted sent me a copy of his book, in trade for a copy of my historical atlas
    software. I've been reading through it for a few days now. It's fascinating.
    I find something intriguing on almost every page. I would not say that I
    agree with ALL of his conclusions, but that does not detract from the book's
    value in any way. The prose is breezy and clear, and there are plenty of
    useful diagrams, including one that is intriguingly labeled "A drawing of
    the author's working model of Newton's brass marine octant." Got a photo for
    us, Ted?? :-) The only real flaw I have found so far is that the references
    are a little sparse. For one example, he mentions that one Mary Mumford,
    resident of the Scillies, confessed on her deathbed to possessing Sir
    Cloudesley Shovell's large emerald ring. How do we know it was "Mary
    Mumford" and what was the source for that? I also noticed a certain parallel
    to Sobel's story when approaching the "bad guy" problem. Dava Sobel, in her
    book, wrote, "A story that hails a hero must also hiss at a villain --in
    this case, the Reverend Nevil Maskelyne." While Ted Gerrard, in his book,
    writes, "If this story must have a villain to balance the heroic qualities
    of Halley, Cloudesley Shovell is the man who best fits the part." Just so
    we're clear here, I'm not suggesting any sort of direct influence, just a
    parallel approach to history, an approach that may get one into trouble.
    Heroes and villains? All of us mortals are flawed, imperfect beings.
    As a teaser, I'll quote a paragraph from the back cover of the book:
    "Sir Isaac Newton never mentioned his only invention again and Captain
    Edmond Halley, RN, never published any details of how he determined either
    latitude or longitude on any of his voyages of discovery aboard Paramore. He
    did however publish a warning to mariners over the incorrect location of the
    Scilly Isles - a warning his commander-in-chief Admiral Sir Cloudesley
    Shovell foolishly ignored."
    For general inerest, I'm attaching a copy of the actual pages which include
    the warning about the latitude of the Scillies as published in the
    Transactions of the Royal Society in 1701/02.
    Ted's theory, that Shovell "foolishly ignored" this refined latitude, makes
    sense only if Shovell did NOT believe his vessels were in a different
    longitude. That is, if he had NO firm idea of his vessels' longitude, or if
    he believed his longitude might be rather close to the longitude of the
    Scillies, then of course he would have avoided ANY reported latitude for the
    Scillies. But if he believed his longitude placed him a day's sail or more
    to the west of the Scillies, then it's a different matter altogether. A
    commander orders his ships to sail into stormy darkness only if he believes
    he's nowhere near land --unless he's an idiot, which, I admit, is always a
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