The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris, for the Year 1818. BOARD OF LONGITUDE.
The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris, for the Year 1818.
The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris, for the Year 1818.
The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris, for the Year 1818.
The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris, for the Year 1818.

The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris, for the Year 1818.

London: John Murray, 1815.

Octavo, in original polished calf.

Rare Phillip Parker King-era almanac

Rare copy of the Nautical Almanac for 1818, a fundamental inclusion in the shipboard library of any Admiralty-sponsored voyage. The Almanac was used for reckoning the longitude at sea by the lunar method, and was closely studied by officers of the Royal Navy. The continued publication of such almanacs is further proof that the invention of the chronometer, whilst revolutionary, did not completely supersede the necessity for other fail-safes, and indeed the rarity with which any copies survive is ample testament to the hard use to which the almanacs were put.

Rare copy of the Nautical Almanac for 1818, a fundamental inclusion in the shipboard library of any Admiralty-sponsored voyage. The Almanac was used for reckoning the longitude at sea by the lunar method, and was closely studied by officers of the Royal Navy. The continued publication of such almanacs is further proof that the invention of the chronometer, whilst revolutionary, did not completely supersede the necessity for other fail-safes, and indeed the rarity with which any copies survive is ample testament to the hard use to which the almanacs were put.
The Nautical Almanac was the brainchild of Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne, who in the 1760s started publishing the volumes for the use of mariners: Cook famously had any number with him on his voyages (that for 1769 printing detailed instructions on observing the Transit of Venus, the impetus for his Endeavour voyage). It quickly became Board of Longitude practice to publish them as far in advance as practicable, precisely because of the rigours of long voyages of exploration. The present copy, for example, gives the data for the year 1818 but was actually published as early as 1815 (these are intriguing dates: it was of course at the end of the Napoleonic Wars that Britain began to look again to distant seas, and the 1818 edition would have been a fundamental inclusion in King's library on board the Mermaid, for example).
Of special interest to the publishing history of the Board of Longitude is a short catalogue of twenty books relating to navigation published by their authority and sold by John Murray from his Albemarle street bookshop. The list makes mouth-watering reading now, proving that extreme rarities such as the Principles of John Harrison's Watch (1767), and the three astronomical works relating to Cook's voyages published chiefly under the authorship of William Wales in 1777, 1782 and 1788. Harrison was being sold as a straight remaindered book for 5 shillings (!), the others all being sold in sheets, the first two for a guinea, the third for half that.

Price (AUD): $885.00  other currencies     Ref: #4306501

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