Re: Francis Drake globe could help rewrite history of B.C. (News, Aug. 15)
In the early 18th century, England was flexing its muscle as an emerging world power. The foundation of this island nation’s might and income rested upon its maritime supremacy.
Yet the increased trade and expanding navy of the British Empire were threatened by the uncertainty of oceangoing navigation.
Securing prize money from the Board of Longitude proved as hard for John Harrison as creating his legendary marine chronometer, partly due to powerful opposition from royal astronomer Nevil Maskelyne and a rival for the prize.
Ultimately, King George III had to intervene on Harrison’s behalf to procure his rightful winnings.
It could be argued Maskelyne’s denial of the merits of Harrison’s chronometers set the search for simplifying longitude back a hundred years. The same could be said of the ne’er-do-wells opposing the publication of Sam Bawlf’s findings as you reported.