button to main menu  Greenwood and Hodgson 13.9.1823

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  An acre of grazing
Westmorland Gazette, 13 September 1823:-
GENTLEMEN, - A neighbour of mine has a circular field, containing four acres, and I have agreed with him for an acre of the fog. I intended tethering in the middle, but he insists upon my tethering in the hedge. I am quite at a loss to find the length of tether I must use; and my neighbour, being of a keen litigious disposition, insists not only upon payment, but threatens a prosecution if I eat a yard too much of the grass. Your far-famed celebrity as accurate Surveyors induces me to apply to you for information - what length of teher will be sufficient? It is only a plain question, and will not , I imagine, occupy much of your valuable time; and, if possible, please to let the solution be divested of algebraic and fluxional process, as he is no great scholar, and will not be satisfied with an answer in terms he cannot comprehend. - Your answer through the medium of the Kendal Chronicle, will much oblige
Your very humble servant,
J. N. C.
September 10, 1823.


from - JNC
to - T Hodgson and C Greenwood
AN ACRE OF GRAZING a reader's query (nothing to do with the controversy)


Fog Fog is long grass, left standing over winter.
In other issues of the Kendal Chronicle is it not unusual to find an algebraic problem discussed, with several column inches of formulae; not something we would expect in a newspaper today. Algebra is something we can member from school. Fluxions will not be so familiar; they are a reference to what is now called calculus, developed by Sir Isaac Newton but only published nine years after his death:-
    Newton, Isaac, Sir & Colson, John (translator and editor): 1736: Method of Fluxions and Infinite Series ...: (London)
grazing The problem is entirely artificial; I would have to search very hard to find an exactly circular field in which to rent the keep as expressed. But the problem is not trivial.
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