ROBINS, Benjamin.

Mathematical Tracts… In two volumes. Vol. I. Containing his new principles of gunnery… [Vol. II. Containing his discourse on the methods of fluxions, and of prime and ultimate ratios, and other miscellaneous pieces.] Published by James Wilson, M.D.

London: Printed for J. Nourse… .1761

2 volumes, 8vo, pp. xlvi, (ii), 341, (3) adverts, 2 engraved plates (1 folding); (viii), 7–380, 1 engraved plate. Half-titles. Contemporary speckled calf, spines ruled in gilt with red morocco labels. Joints rubbed, heads of spines slightly worn and crack at top of upper joint of vol. 2, but a very good and clean set. With the engraved armorial bookplates of Ramsey Abbey.

FIRST EDITION of Robins’ collected works, including some published for the first time. The first volume is entirely concerned with gunnery; it includes Robins’ description of the ballistic pendulum, invented by him, studies on the pressures in a gun-barrel, rockets for signalling purposes, the resistance of fluid media to high-speed objects, etc. This last aspect applied Newtonian mechanics to artillery, and brought about “an epoch-making improvement in the accuracy of field guns” (Prof. Niall Ferguson, “Civilisation: is the West History?”). The second volume is mathematical, including his discourse on Newton’s fluxions, of whom Robins was a staunch supporter. The editor James Wilson, in the long appendix, appraised Newton’s Method of Fluxions, and first revealed Newton to be the author of the Account of the Book entitled Commercium Epistolicum, Newton’s fullest account of the development of his own mathematical ideas. Wallis 268.001. Roberts & Trent, Bibliotheca Mechanica, pp. 279–280.


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