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An Act for Providing a Publick Reward for such Person or Persons as shall Discover the Longitude at Sea [In a volume combining parliamentary acts for the twelfth year of Queen Anne's reign, with brief section for first year of George I]
London: John Baskett, 1714. Folio, with 4 pp. table; bound with 22 other parliamentary acts for the session in contemporary plain calf, brown label, slightly rubbed, in very good condition. The longitude reward announced. The important first publication of the Longitude Act: 'nothing is so much wanted and desired at Sea, as the Discovery of the Longitude'. The act - more often seen in disbound form - is here in its appropriate context in the full printing of the twenty-three Acts of the first session of parliament in 1714. Other acts in the session are of some interest: for example one act removes the "ad valorem" tax on imported books and prints, another is for "Encouraging the Tobacco-Trade",The discovery of an accurate method of measuring longitude was recognised as fundamental to the naval expansion of Britain, especially after disasters such as the loss of Admiral Shovell's squadron on the Isles of Scilly in 1707. The Act was promulgated in July 1714 and is here published by the then Queen's printer John Baskett, as 'An act for providing a publick reward for such person or persons as shall discover the longitude at sea' (pp. [353]-357). This led to the formation of the Commissioners for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea, otherwise known as the Board of Longitude. One of the first known examples of a government-sponsored award to stimulate scientific research, the board was given the authority to award a first prize of £20,000 to any person who submitted a proposal capable of measuring longitude within half a degree of a great circle, as well as lesser awards and small grants.A committee was quickly formed, with experts such as Newton and Halley heavily involved. Although several proposals were made, for two decades none were even considered likely enough to require the board formally convening. It was not until the trial of Harrison's first chronometer, H-1, that the board first met.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-01-29           Check availability:      Biblio    

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