. ..Or, A Treatise containing the Description and life of three several Quadrans; Each rendred many ways both General and Particular.
Accomodated for Dyalling, for the resolving of all Proportions Instrumentally, and for the ready finding the Hour and Azimuth universally, in the equal Limb.
Of great use to Seamen, and the Practitioners of Mathematiques.
London, Printed by J. Macock, 1658. 4to, First Edition, First Issue, 6 engraved plates, one folding, woodcut diagrams, 4to, 4 parts in 1, Contemporary polished calf.
Rarely found complete, in the first issue (with title dated 1658),
John Collins (1625–1683), mathematician, was the son of a nonconformist divine, and was born at Wood Eaton in Oxfordshire, 5 March 1625. Apprenticed at the age of sixteen to Thomas Allam, a bookseller, living outside the Turl Gate of Oxford, he was driven to quit the trade by the troubles of the time, and accepted a clerkship in the employment of John Marr, clerk of the kitchen to the Prince of Wales. From Marr he derived some instruction in mathematics, but the outbreak of civil war drove him to sea for seven years, 1642-9, most of which time he spent on board an English merchantman, engaged by the Venetians as a ship of war in their defence of Candia against the Turks. He devoted his leisure to the study of mathematics and merchants’ accounts, and on leaving the service set up in London as a teacher. In 1652 he published ‘An Introduction to Merchants’ Accounts,’ originally drawn up for the use of his scholars. He next wrote ‘The Sector on a Quadrant, or a Treatise containing the Description and Use of three several Quadrants.’ Also, an appendix touching ‘Reflected Dyalling, from a Glass however posited’ (London, 1658); and ‘The Description and Uses of a general Quadrant, with the Horizontal Projection upon it Inverted ‘ (1658).
Collins built up an extensive network of correspondents spanning the British Isles and continental Europe, through which he disseminated and exchanged mathematical news and procured the latest publications. Among the members of his epistolary circle were to be found John Pell, James Gregory, Wallis, Isaac Newton, G. W. Leibniz, and R. F. de Sluse. Such was the pivotal role he came to play in the scientific life of Restoration England, that contemporaries called him ‘Mersennus Anglus’. His extensive collection of letters was seen by the Royal Society as an important source of evidence for establishing Newton’s claim in the priority dispute with Leibniz over discovery of the calculus
Wing C5381; Tomash & Williams C122
Provenance: Owen Phillips (ink name on title and B1); “John Carter att ye signe of ye Bible without Compter barr att ye corner of Essex Street” (ink inscription on rear pastedown).