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GOWER, Richard Hall. - A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Seamanship, together with a system of naval signals .. a useful compendium to the officer, to instruct him when young, and to remind him when old. The third edition, corrected and enlarged. [bound with] A Supplement to the Practical Seamanship ...

London, for Wilkie & Robinson &c 1808; London for Mawman 1807. Octavo contemporary calf (rebacked, original lettering piece retained); xxviii,242,[2]pp; volvelle and ills and diagrams through the text; [4],208pp; seven plates - numbered to six with two fours - and illustrations through the text. ¶ Probably the last edition of the Treatise. The volvelle is particularly marvellous: a revolving ship in plan, on it a moveable jib (stayed with cotton), fore yard, main yard, C.J. yard and tiller/rudder; in a printed circle 120mm in diameter. The author's preface to this third edition reminds us why these books are so scarce: "the author having seen impressions of the former editions of this work, in the possession of young men on shipboard, many of which impressions had been deprived of their plates altogether, by rough sea-usage, and too intimate an aquaintance with the lee-scuppers - has, in part, prevented the evil in the present edition, by introducing the explanatory figures with the letter-press." His preface to the second edition is a list of complaints about Steel's "Rigging and Seamanship", not so much for his piracy from Gower as for the misrepresentation and obfuscation introduced in his attempt to disguise that piracy. The Supplement is Gower's continuing research, experiments, designs and inventions: his quite radical ship 'Transit', his new patent log, an eyeshade ... many of which were not much noticed but bore remarkable resemblances to improvements made later by others. Gower seems to have been an admirable man; clever, learned, always inspired by notions of progress, improvement and humanitarianism, and indefatigable in pursuit of acknowledgment and adoption of his work. I get the impression that the halls of power emptied at news that Gower was in the building. Burnley said, in his DNB entry for Gower, that a second edition of the Supplement appeared in 1810 but I am yet to find a copy. The Treatise is hard to find, the Supplement is rare.
AUD 1300.00 [Appr.: EURO 877.25 US$ 845.04 | £UK 798.25 | JP¥ 121477] Book number 10930

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