EMMETT, W. Navigation 1811.. Great Britain, 1811.
Folio sized manuscript titled and dated to the front cover with the name W. Emmett (?). 160pp. Stitching mostly gone, page block still firmly held within its case but detached. Wear to extremities of covers with some loss to corners. Internally clean, and in fact internally very striking, the penmanship and degree of decorative detail are quite delightful. Later gift inscription to first page of MS. Page edges untrimmed. Possibly a hand written reference workbook, possibly a series of navigational studies and solutions, possibly a text book; the manuscript is extraordinarily detailed and decorative with meticulous tables, diagrams and illustrations including a detailed manuscript globe of the Earth and a full page mariner's compass rose. The text deals with, amongst a wealth of navigational subjects, log boards, Middle latitude Sailing, Navigational Trigonometry, Geographical Zones, general axioms of navigation and a particularly in depth 20 page account of a voyage taken by the Frances out of London in 1805 to Funchal in Madeira.
There was indeed a ship called the Frances sailing in 1805, a privately owned small ship on loan to the Royal Navy, possibly the same HMS Frances that took part in the American Revolutionary War, which appears to have been rented (apparently a common event in times of conflict) from the Earl of Huntingdon and to have been named after his wife, Frances Hastings. The other possibility is that the account of the voyage is being used as an exemplary problem and solution and thus might be composed of elements chosen at random. A fascinating survival of a period during which British domination of the seas was
without question and when knowledge of this sort was the passport to a potentially valuable career.