button to main menu  Gents Mag 1748 p.3

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Gentleman's Magazine 1748 p.3

  Survey of the NW coast
Cumberland Coast Survey

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EXTRACT of a Letter giving an Account of a Survey of the N.West Coast of England, in August 1746, at our Expence.
I WAS made extremely sensible of the want of correct maps in the course of my survey; in my opinion, the nation ought to encourage general meridians thro' Britain at least from Berwick to the south coast of England, as has been done in France. Geography gains ground fast, and by a few observations of the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites, made at different places by proper observators, our longitudes might all be corrected. The principle objection, I own, is the great expence of the work; but it well known that Moll's little erroneous trifles, built altogether on copy, took very well, and certainly in a more curious age, correct ones would not need encouragement.
It was my business every night to prepare meridians, by the north-pole, in case of mistakes by the needle, after allowance made for the position of the pole-star from the point of the earth's produc'd axis, against my mornings works. I could not find, that the points of Darwent mouth bore near so much west as suppos'd in the present maps, the makers of which, I imagine, depended on the magnetical meridian more than the solar one.-
And, indeed, as the difference of the magnetical and solar meridians is very near 18° on this coast, it is not to be wonder'd that surveys, following the needle, should throw all promontories so much south of west, as seems to be the case, in constructing on these principles; the magnetical being a false meridian, tho' sailors use it for a true one.
Observations by the magnetical needle uncorrected by the solar, are at least about 1½ point west of the north. It has encreased on this coast since 1715 from 14° to 17° 30', where it is now, but is still encreasing.- I have marked the position of the sands from the best intelligence - Tho' the sea coast is most useful to be taken as it appears, for the service of mariners, yet it is great pity that public encouragement is not offer'd for accurate maps of the land also.
I began, at the monument on Burgh Marsh, to measure off the Solway bay; and as the ground was very low, I took several bases of triangles, to measure the opposite shore, and fix its
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