London, South Kensington
1 June 2009
LONGITUDE - 12 Anne cap. 14. "An Act for Providing a Publick Reward for Such Persons as Shall Discover the Longitude at Sea". London: John Baskett, and the assigns of Thomas Newcomb and Henry Hills, 1714. 2° (312 x 203mm). 3 leaves. Title with woodcut royal arms, factotum initial opening text. Disbound.
THE ACT SPONSORING THE SEARCH FOR LONGITUDE. "Nothing is so much wanted and desired at Sea, as the Discovery of the Longitude" (opening sentence). The accurate measurement of longitude became a pressing concern for expanding trade and empire and by this act the government established a £20,000 reward, the first for scientific research. John Harrison devised first a marine clock and then a large watch which met the criteria. Owing to its precision, the Board of Longitude was sceptical of Harrison's results and delayed granting him the reward. Only after an appeal to George III was Harrison recognised as the rightful claimant and eventually received the full amount. A tall, clean copy. Horblit 42a; Norman 2.
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