Nathaniel Bowditch--America's Navigator


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  • Pub No.: 5507
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reprinted from "Ships and Sailors of Old Salem" by Ralph D. Paine

This ocean pathfinder of Salem, Nathaniel Bowditch, made no important discoveries in the science of navigation, but with the intellect and indusry of a true mathematical genius, he both eliminated the costly errors in the methods of navigation used in 1800, and devised much more certain and practicable ways of finding a ship's position on the trackless sea. So important were the benefits he wrought to increase the safety of shipping that when the news of his death was carried abroad, the American, English and Russian vessels in the port of Cronstadt half-masted their flags, while at home the cadets of the United States Naval School wore an offical badge of mourning, and the ships at anchor in the harbors of Boston, New York and Baltimore displayed their colors at half-mast. The London Atheneum said of "The Practical Navigator," in the days when no love was lost between British and American seamen: "It goes, both in American and British ships, over every sea of the globe, and is probably the best work of the sort ever published."

28 pages


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