…or A Treatise containing the Description and Use of four several Quadrants; Two small ones and two great ones, each rendred many ways, both general and particular. Each of them Accomodated for Dyalling; for Resolving of all Proportions Instrumentally and for the ready finding the Hour and Azimuth Universally in the equal Limbe. Of great use to Seaman and Practitioners in the Mathematics. Also an Appendix touching Reflected Dyalling from a glass placed at any Reclination.
London. J.M. for George Hurlock, etc. 1659
FIRST EDITION, (2nd issue) , 4 parts in one vol., 4to (188 x 140mm.), 6 engraved plates, one folding, with cancel title-page of 1658 bound at beginning, 2 contents leaves bound at end of part 1, contemporary polished calf gilt.
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.
Robert Jones MP (c.1682-1715), Fonmon Castle, Glamorgan, inscription dated 1709;
ESTC R32501; Wing C5382; Adams & Waters 416