صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

their satisfaction that his method will be of common and ge(neral utility in finding the longitude at sea, within the nearest

limits required by the act of the 12th of queen Anne.' : Application was accordingly made to parliament and a bill in consequence of it was pasled during the last feslion, for granting Mr. Harrison 10,000l. for discovering the longitude by his time-piece, and 10,000 l. more if it should equally answer in a voyage to be made by way of trial to Hudson's Bay. But dirputes have hitherto prevented Mr. Harrison from receiving the above reward.

It has indeed been said, that the instrument does not keep equal time, being considerably affected by heat and cold, and that Mr. Harrison, in order to determine the variations of his machine, has constantly had recourse to a thermometer. But we cannot help doubting the validity of this objection, because it appeared, that the instrument had lost only one minute fiftyfour seconds and a half during the whole passage to and from Jamaica, as we have already observed. And it must therefore surely be very absurd to suppose that the errors arising from heat and cold could so accurately correct each other, especially when it is remembered that the voyage to Jamaica was in December, and consequently the ship must pass from extream cold to extreanı heat; whereas the voyage home was four months after, and therefore at a time when the weather was very different with regard to heat and cold. To which if we add the finding tbe Madeiras, and other islands during the passage to Jamaica, it seems hardly poffible to doubt that the machine kept equal time during the whole voyage.

It must after all be admitted, however, that even supposing Mr. Harrison's machine sufficiently exact, it is posible that it may not entitle him to the reward of 20,000 l. above-mentioned. For, if its conítruction be of so nice and complicated a nature, as not to admit of its being of common and general utility at sea, his method certainly does not come within the intent and meaning of the act by which that reward is granted. The instrument can be of little use, if it requires the constant atiendance of an artist of equal experience and ingenuity with the inventor. On the other-hand, it is presumed the Commissioners of the Longitude do not expect that Mr. Harrison's machine should come as, cheap, or be as little liable to accidents, as the common forestaves, and compass-boxes that are sold at the Ship-chandlers. Hence we conceive that the difference between Mr. Harrison and the Commisioners might be easily adjusted, if they could agree about the conftruction of the words. cominon and general utility.

Minutes

TH

Minutes of the Proceedings of the Commissimers appointed by Act of

Parliament for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea, at their Meetings on the 25th, 28th, and 30th of May, and 13th of June, 1765, with respect to carrying into Execution so much of on Aet passed in the last Seffions of Parliament, as relates to the giving Mr. John Harrison a Reward, upon his making a Discovery of the Principles of his Watch or Time-keeper. 4to. 6 d. Billingsley. THESE minutes relate to the difference between the

Commissioners of Longitude, and Mr. Harrison, and the following are the principal circumstances.

At a meeting at the Admiralty on Tuesday the 28th of May, 1765, the act passed in the last session of parliament for explaining and amending those of the 12th of Queen Anne, and 26th of George II. was read: after which the board went into the consideration of proper means for carrying the said act into execution; and having discoursed some time upon that part of it which relates to giving a reward to Mr. John Harrison, upon his discovering the principles of his watch or time-keeper, his fon, who was attending, was defired to inform the board, in what manner his father proposes to discover the said principles. He answered, that he was commissioned by him to deliver to the board the identical drawings from which his said watch or timekeeper was made, with explanations thereof in writing; and that his father expects that the Commissioners will, upon receipt of the said drawings and explanations, give him a cetin ficate to enable him to receive the first reward directed to be paid him by the above-mentioned act; and that he is not authorized by his father to offer any other mode of discovery. He then withdrew.

The board then took into consideration the method of dircovery proposed by Mr. Harrison, and being unanimously of opinion, that drawings and written explanations alone, will not be a sufficient and satisfactory discovery of the principles of the faid watch or time-keeper, agreeable to the before-mentioned act; Resolved, That Mr. Harrison be acquainted, that the Commissioners do expect his compliance with what is undermentioned, before they can give him the certiñcate he requires, viz.

1. That he tali discover fully, by drawings and a written explanation, the principles upon which his laid watch is constructed, and deliver the same to this board, uron cath.

2. That he shall give a farther explanation by word of mouth, and experimental exhibitions where judged necessary, of the said principles, and of every thing relaiive to the conftruction of the laid watch ; producing the fame; taking is to pieces; and F 3

answer

answering, upon oath, to every question proposed by the board, and such persons as may be appointed by them for the examination thereof.

3. That he is to make over the property of the three severa! timekeepers, and the watch, when he thall receive his certificate,

Mr. Harrison's son was then called in, and these resolutions having been read to him, and a copy given him to thew to his father, he withdrew.

At a meeting at the Admiralty on Thursday the 30th of May, 1765, Mr. John Harrison was called in, (together with his son) and discoursed with concerning the method proposed for the discovery of the principles of his watch or time-keeper ; and consented to do it agreeable to the resolutions of the last board.

The board then took into consideration the nomination of proper persons to be present when the discovery shall be made : And, after some time spent therein, Mr. Harrison and his son were again called in; and some persons, who were named by the Commissioners, having been objected to by them, the board came to the following resolutions, which were agreed to by Mr. Harrison, viz.

That, in addition to such of the Commisioners who shall chuse to be present, three gentlemen skilled in mechanicks, and three watchmakers, be appointed to attend when the abovementioned discovery shall be made.

Resolved, That it be an instruction to such of the above-mentioned * gentlemen and watchmakers, as may be inclined to attend, to meet Mr. Harrison as soon as possible, and to tinue their meetings with him without interruption : And that they be enjoined not to make any discovery of the principles of the watch to any but the board, without leave of the Commis; sioners.

AT a mecting at the Admiralty on Thursday the 13th of June, 17652

P R E S E NT,
Right Honourable Earl of Egmont, First Lord Commissioner of

the Admiralıy.
Şir John Cuft, Speaker of the House of Commons,
Henry Osborn, Erq; Admiral of the White.
Honourable John Forbes,
Sir George Pocock,

Admirals of the Blue.
They are named in the minutes; but we have omitted them in this
I

Right

con

[ocr errors]

Right Honourable Earl of Morton, President of the Royal

Society. Reverend Mr. Maskelyne, Astronomer Royal. Reverend Mr. Horniby, Savilian Professor of Astronomy at

Oxford. Reverend Mr. Betts, Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford. Reverend Mr. Shepherd, Plumian Professor of Astronomy and

Experimental Philosophy at Cambridge. Sir Thomas Salusbury, Judge of the High Court of Admiralty. Philip Stephens, Esq; Secretary of the Admiralty. George Cokburne, Efq; Comptroller of the Navy. Reverend Dr. Long, Lowndes's Professor of Astronomy at

Cambridge. Mr. Harrison, who was attending, was then called in, (together with his son) and being informed that the board was now ready to fix upon a time for his making the above mentioned discovery, agreeable to the resolutions of the two laft boards, which had been communicated to him, and to which he had befare given his affent ; he denied ever having given such assent, and absolutely refused to do it agreeable to those resolutions ; and, at the same time, referred the board to a letter, which he said he had delivered at their last meeting, containing his objections thereto. The board, not recollecting any thing of that letter, were naturally led into an enquiry concerning it ; and thereupon found, that such a one had been discovered, lying upon the table, by some of the Commiffioners who remained after the last board broke up, and had been given by them to the Secretary ; but it did not appear to whom the said letter had been delivered, or how it came upon the table. It was then called for, and read in the words following, viz.

My Lords and Gentlemen, “ ON Tuesday I received, by the hand of my son, your “ resolutions on that day; the first of which is what I thought

you would demand, therefore my son was commissioned to “ comply with it.

“ The first part of the second resolution, viz. “ That I "" shall give a farther explanation by word of mouth,” may “ also be complied with ; but it must be mentioned who I am

to give this farther explanation to, for I will never attempt

to explain it to the fatisfaction of the Commissioners, and “ who they may appoint; nor will I ever come under the “ directions of men of theory. As to the other part of this

your second resolution, viz. $ Experimental exhibitions, " " where judged neceffary, relative to the said watch, pro" " ducing the same, taking it in pieces, and answering "" upon oath to every question proposed by the board, and

66 66 such

F4

« « such perfons as may be appointed by them for the exa" " mination thereof;" these are terms wnich I cannot comply 66 with.

“ As to your third resolution, that I certainly will comply " with, when I have got my just reward.

“ I cannot help thinking but I am extremely ill used by gen« tlemen who I might have expected a different treatment « from ; for if the Aa of the 12th of Queen Anne be deficient, “ why have I so long been encouraged under it, in order to “ bring my invention to perfection ? and, after the completion, “ why was my son sent twice to the West-Indies ? Had it “ been said to my son, when he received the last instru&ions, " there will, in case you succeed, be a new Act at your return, 65 in order to lay you'under new restrictions, which were not " thought of in the Act of the 12th of Queen Anne; I say, « had this been the case, I might have expected some fuch treat« ment as I now meet with.

" It must be owned that my case is very hard, but I hope I " am the first, and, for my country's fake, shall be the last ihat “ suffers by pinning my faith on an Englith A&t of Parliament. “ Had I received my just reward, for certainly it may be so 46 called after 40 years close application in the improvement of " that talent which it had pleased God to give me, then my « invention would have taken the course which all improve "ments in this world do, that is, I must have instructed work“ men in its principles and execution, which I should have been " glad to have had an opportunity of doing : but how widely this so is different to what is now proposed, viz. for me to instruct ", people that I know nothing of, and such as may know no“ thing of mechanicks; and if I do not make them under« ftand to their satisfaction, I may then have nothing ! hard " fate indeed to me, but still harder to the world, which may « be deprived of this my 'invention, which must be the case, “ except by my open and free manner of describing all the prin"ciples of it to gentlemen and workmen, who almost, at all "times, have had free recourse to see my instruments; and if “ any of these workmen fall have been fo ingenious as to have «. got my invention, how far you will plealc to reward them “ for their piracy, must be left for you to determine ; and I “ must fit myself down in old age, and thank God I can be “ more easy' in that I have made the conquest, and though I < have no reward, than if I had come fort of the matter, and " by some delusion had the reward. I am, Lords and Gen* tlemen, your bumble Servant, · May 30, 1765.

JOHN HARRISON," Mr. Harrison was then told, by a majority of the Commil

s present, that with regard to experimental exhibitions,

to

« السابقةمتابعة »