First Edition. London: W. and A. Strahan, 1777, 4to (288 x 223mm.), engraved map and 3 plates, all folding or double-page, contemporary russia gilt, restored.
William Wales and William Bayly were appointed by the Board of Longitude to accompany James Cook on his second voyage of 1772–75, with Wales accompanying Cook aboard the Resolution. Wales’ brother-in-law Charles Green, had been the astronomer appointed by the Royal Society to observe the 1769 transit of Venus and had died during the return leg of Cook’s first voyage.
The primary objective of Wales and Bayly was to test Larcum Kendall’s K1 chronometer, based on the H4 of John Harrison. Wales compiled a log book of the voyage, recording locations and conditions, the use and testing of the instruments entrusted to him, as well as making many observations of the people and places encountered on the voyage. The Original Astronomical Observations was published at the expense of the Board of Longitude.
Following his return, Wales was commissioned to write the official astronomical account of Cook’s first voyage in 1778.Wales sailed with Cook on all three of his voyages
He became Master of the Royal Mathematical School at Christ’s Hospital and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1776. Amongst Wales’ pupils at Christ’s Hospital were Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Charles Lamb.
He was nominated by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Earl Spencer, and his appointment confirmed 5 December 1795. He was appointed as Secretary of the Board of Longitude in 1795, serving in that position until his death in 1798.
Cox I, 61