|Hutton, Charles Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary 1795|
from the sun; and here he fancied that he found a similitude to the divisions of the octave in music. Lastly, he imagined that if lines were drawn from the earth, to each of the planets, and the planets appended to them, or stretched by weights proportional to the planets, these lines would then sound all the notes in the octave of a musical chord.
See his Harmonics; also Plin. lib. 2, cap. 22; Macrob. in Somn. Scip. lib. 2, cap. 1; Plutarch de Animal. Procreatione, è Timæo; and Maclaurin's View of Newton's Discov. book 1, chap. 2.
, a hand-gun, or a fire-arm of a proper length and weight to be borne in the arm. Hanzelet prescribes its proper length to be 40 calibres, or diameters of its bore; and the weight of its ball <*> oz. and 7/8; its charge of powder as much.
, a very eminent English mathematician and astronomer, was born at Oxford in 1560, and died at London July 2, 1621, in the 61st year of his age. Harriot has hitherto been known to the world only as an algebraist, though a very eminent one; but from his manuscript papers, that have been but lately discovered by Dr. Zach, astronomer to the duke of Saxe-Gotha, it appears that he was not less eminent as an astronomer and geometrician. Dr. Zach has printed an account of those papers, in the Astronomical Ephemeris of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Berlin, for the year 1788; of which, as it is very curious, and contains a great deal of information, I shall here give a translation, to serve as memoirs concerning the life and writings of this eminent man; afterwards adding only some necessary remarks of my own.
“I here present to the world (says Dr. Zach), a short account of some valuable and curious manuscripts, which I found in the year 1784, at the seat of the earl of Egremont, at Petworth in Sussex, in hopes that this learned and inquisitive age will either think my endeavours about them worthy of its assistance, or else will be thereby induced to attempt some other means of publishing them. The only undeniable proof I can now produce of the usefulness of such an undertaking, is by giving a succinct report of the contents of these materials, and briefly shewing what may be effected by them. And although I come to the performance of such an enterprize with much less abilities than the different parts of it require, yet I trust that my love for truth, my design and zeal to vindicate the honour due to an Englishman, the author of these manuscripts, which are the chief reasons that have influenced me in this undertaking, will serve as my excuse.
“A predecessor of the family of lord Egremont, viz, that noble and generous earl of Northumberland, named Henry Percy, was not only a generous favourer of all good learning, but also a patron and Mæcenas of the learned men of his age. Thomas Harriot, the author of the said manuscripts, Robert Hues (well known by his Treatise upon the Globes), and Walter Warner, all three eminent mathematicians, who were known to the earl, received from him yearly pensions; so that when the earl was committed prisoner to the Tower of London in the year 1606, our author, with Hues and Warner, were his constant companions; and were usually called the earl of Northumberland's three Magi.
“Thomas Harriot is a known and celebrated mathematician among the learned of all nations, by his excellent work, Artis Analyticæ Praxis, ad æquationes algebraicas nova expedita & generali methodo, resolvendas, Tractatus posthumus; Lond. 1631: dedicated to Henry earl of Northumberland; published after his death by Walter Warner. It is remarkable, that the fame and the honour of this truly great man were constantly attacked by the French mathematicians; who could not endure that Harriot should in any way diminish the fame of their Vieta and Des Cartes, especially the latter, who was openly accused of plagiarism from our author. [See Montucla's Histoire des Mathematiques, part 3, p. 485 & seq.—Lettres de M. Des Cartes, tom. 3, pa. 457, edit. Paris 1667, in 4to.—Dictionnaire de Moreri, word Harriot.—Encyclopedie, word Algebra.—Lettres de M. de Voltaire, sur la nation Angloise, lettre 14. —Memoire de l'Abbé de Gua dans les Mem. de l'Acad. des Sciences de Paris pour 1741.—Jer. Collier's great Historical Dictionary, word Harriot.—Dr. Wallis's preface to his Algebra.—To which may be added the article Algebra, in this dictionary.]
“Des Cartes published his Geometry 6 years after Harriot's work appeared, viz, in the year 1637. Sir Charles Cavendish, then ambassador at the French court at Paris, when Des Cartes's Geometry made its first appearance in public, observed to the famous geometrician Roberval, that these improvements in Analysis had been already made these 6 years in England, and shewed him afterwards Harriot's Artis Analyticæ Praxis, which as Roberval was looking over, at every page he cried out, Oui! oui! il l'a vu! Yes! yes! he has seen it! Des Cartes had also been in England before Harriot's death, and had heard of his new improvements and inventions in Analysis. A critical life of this man, which his papers would enable me to publish, will shew more clearly what to think upon this matter, which I hope may be discussed to the due honour of our author.
“Now all this relates to Harriot the celebrated analyst; but it has not hitherto been known that Harriot was an eminent astronomer, both theoretical and practical, which first appears by these manuscripts; among which, the most remarkable are 199 observations of the Sun's Spots, with their drawings, calculations and determinations of the sun's rotation about his axis. There is the greatest probability that Harriot was the first discoverer of these spots, even before either Galileo or Scheiner. The earliest intelligence we have of the first discovered solar spots, is of one Joh. Fabricius Phrysius, who in the year 1611 published at Wittemberg a small treatise, intitled, De Maculis in Sole observatis & apparente eorum cum Sole conversione narratio. Galileo, who is commonly accounted the first discoverer of the Solar Spots, published his book, Istoria e Dimonstrazioni intorne alle Machie Solare e loro accidenti, at Rome, in the year 1613. His first observation in this work, is dated June 2, 1612. Angelo de Filiis, the editor of Galileo's work, who wrote the dedication and preface to it, mentions, pa. 3, that Galileo had not only discovered these spots in the month of April in the year 1611, at Rome, in the Quirinal Garden, but had shewn them several months before (molti mesi innanzi) to his friends in Florence. And that the observations of the disguised Apelles (the Jesuit Scheiner, a pre-