November 17, 2020 Early Arms & Militaria: Age of Exploration, Empire & Revolution
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/17/2020
Mackay, Andrew. “THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF FINDING THE LONGITUDE AT SEA OR LAND: TO WHICH ARE ADDED, VARIOUS METHODS OF DETERMINING THE LATITUDE OF A PLACE, AND THE VARIATION OF THE COMPASS; WITH NEW TABLES. THE SECOND EDITION, IMPROVED AND ENLARGED.” Vol.1 (of 2) only. Aberdeen: Printed for the Author by J. Chalmers, 1801. Quarto ((8 ½ x 5 ½ in.); half title, title page, 8 folding plates, pp. (6) ix, 336. Full calf leather binding, covered in turn by hemp sailcloth and inscribed on the spine in iron-gall ink “Mackay’s / Longitude.” This seminal work was written by the Scottish teacher of navigation, Andrew Mackay (1758-1809), who "corrected the latitude of Aberdeen, estimated the longitude by comparing timings of Jovian satellite phenomena with Greenwich, and rated chronometers. Meantime he earned his living teaching mathematics, geography, navigation with lunars, surveying, and fortification" (ODNB) and the current work gained him the "thanks of the boards of longitude of England and France" (ibid.). An historically-important copy of the exceedingly rare 2nd and improved edition (no copies listed in Worldcat), this book originally belonged to Captain William Flemming of Phladelphia, who inscribed in ink on its half-title page “Ship Sally & Hetty / Atlantic Ocean / 1807 / Wm. Flemming” above the title and below, a later inscription: “Ship Mary / Pacific Ocean / October 1827 / Deo Optimo Maximo (To the Greatest and Best God)”, the earlier date likely relating to his original year of acquisition and use. Flemming was the son of John Flemming, a Philadelphia sea captain and followed his father’s career, beginning in as a Midshipman in the US Navy during the Quasi-War, serving 1799-1801. Flemming was Master of the ship Sally & Hetty on 26 February 1808 when she was captured by two Royal Navy Sloops the Blossom and Eclipse - reported in the London Gazette. Inscribed in ink by Flemming on the page opposite the title page is the following: “This work in 2 Volumes with Sextant Charts &c. was taken from me by Capt. Lumley of the British Frigate Pomone when captured by her during the late War of 1812. It was afterwards returned to me by the Sailing Master Mr. [Thomas] Wetherall as a private mark of his friendship. I now give it to my Son John hoping it may guide him as it has me through many dark & stormy nights. W. Flemming. Ship Mary August 24th 1828.” It is currently unclear what ship Flemming was aboard when taken by the Pomone and is worthy of additional research, although it can be pinned to the period in which Lumley held command, January to June 1815. It is very likely that Flemming may have returned to naval service and was serving aboard Captain Stephen Decatur’s US Frigate President in the capacity of a warrant officer when she was taken by Endymion and Pomone on 15 January 1815. However, British and American vessels were still being taken as prizes until news of the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent reached America in April 1815, which is when Pomone began her return voyage to England. There are two leaves of laid paper tipped in between pp. 94-95, upon which Flemming has penned additional commentary on the challenges of navigation at sea. The book passed from his son John to Lewis Price Cassan in 1842, as annotated on the book’s title page. Cassan was apparently well-acquainted with both Flemmings, as William signed an 1832 affidavit attesting to the then-15-year-old sailor’s birth in Philadelphia. Lewis P. Cassan (1816-1870) had a distinguished career as a mariner, including service as an officer in the US Navy during the Civil War. Upon the death of Cassan, the book passed to his nephew, Captain Samuel Cassan Colesbury of the U.S. Revenue Service. CONDITION: the front board separated from the leather spine proper, but still connected via the sailcloth cover; the sailcloth well-worn and soiled, attesting to its long usage at sea; front endpapers and half-title signature loose; light toning, soiling and waterstaining to scattered pages. JLK

Item Dimensions: 8 - 1/2" x 5 - 1/2" - 1 - 1/2"
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $750.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $960.00
Estimate: $1,500 - $3,000
Number Bids: 2
Auction closed on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
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