Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-558cb97cc8-sbl5v Total loading time: 0.469 Render date: 2022-10-07T23:26:13.405Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

The calculating eye: Baily, Herschel, Babbage and the business of astronomy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2009

William J. Ashworth
Institute of Historical Research, University of London, Senate House, London WC1E 7HU.


Astronomy does not often appear in the socio-political and economic history of nineteenthcentury Britain. Whereas contemporary literature, poetry and the visual arts made significant reference to the heavens, the more earthbound arena of finance seems an improbable place to encounter astronomical themes. This paper shows that astronomical practice was an important factor in the emergence of what can be described as an accountant's view of the world. I begin by exploring the senses of the term ‘calculation’ in Regency England, and then seek to reveal how the dramatic growth of vigilance in science, the organization and control of labour, and the monitoring of society and the economy drew upon and informed this disciplined numerical technique. Observations in all these areas could only be trusted if correctly reduced through a single system of calculation assisted by a group of standardized tables and division of mental labour. Within this setting the stellar economy provided an object that was seemingly ordered and law-like and therefore predictable through a powerful combination of techniques.

Research Article
Copyright © British Society for the History of Science 1994

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


I would like to thank Janet Browne, Boyd Hilton, Patrick O'Brien, Simon Schaffer and Andrew Warwick for their helpful suggestions. For permission to quote from manuscript materials I am grateful to the Royal Society, the Harry Ransom Humanities Center at the University of Texas at Austin, the Royal Astronomical Society, Cambridge University Library, St John's College, Cambridge, and the British Library.

1 Babbage, Charles, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers, 4th edn, London, 1835, 387–8.Google Scholar

2 Bentham, Maria Sophia, Suggestions for the Better Management of the Civil Concerns of the Navy: Taken from the Papers of the Late Samuel Bentham, London, 1850, 49.Google Scholar

3 Sombart, Werner, Der Moderne Kapitalismus, 6th edn, Munich and Leipzig, 1924, ii, 119Google Scholar. Quoted in Studies in the History of Accounting (ed. Littleton, A. C. and Yamey, B. S.), London, 1956, 34.Google Scholar

4 Maunder, E. Walter, The Royal Observatory Greenwich: A Glance at its History and Work, London, 1900, 15.Google Scholar

5 Dodd, George, Days at the Factories, or The Manufacturing Industry of Great Britain Described, London, 1843, 548Google Scholar. Quoted in Berg, Maxine, The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815–1848, Cambridge, 1980, 194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

6 Turner, H. H., ‘The decade 1820–1830’, in The History of the Royal Astronomical Society (ed. Dreyer, J. L. E. and Turner, H. H.), London, 1923, 149, on 2Google Scholar. Those also present were: two lawyers, Daniel Moore and Charles Stokes; Olinthus Gregory, professor of mathematics at Woolwich Royal Military Academy; Captain Thomas Colby of the Royal Engineers; Rev. William Pearson; James South, a rich amateur astronomer trained in medicine; and lastly, Peter Slawinski, a professor at Vilna University in Poland and from 1825 Director of the Vilna Observatory.

7 Quoted in Dyer, G. P., ‘“One of the Best Men of Business”: Master of the Royal Mint’, in John Herschel 1792–1871: A Bicentennial Commemoration (ed. King-Hele, D. G.), Proceedings of a Royal Society Meeting held on 13 May 1992, London, 1992, 105–13, on 105.Google Scholar

8 Turner, , op. cit. (6), 35.Google Scholar

9 Rudwick, M. J. S., ‘The foundation of the Geological Society of London: its scheme for co-operative research and its struggle for independence’, BJHS (1963), 4, 325–55, on 344–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

10 Minutes of the Political Economy Club, 1821, in The Political Economy Club, London, 1921, vi, 1.Google Scholar

11 Baily, to Babbage, , 11 03 1820Google Scholar, Babbage correspondence, British Library.

12 Morus, Iwan, Schaffer, Simon and Secord, Jim, ‘Scientific London’, in London – World City 1800–1840 (ed. Fox, Celina), Recklinghausen, 1992, 129–42, on 129.Google Scholar

13 For this view see the official history of the Society given in Dreyer, and Turner, , op. cit. (6).Google Scholar

14 Herschel, John, ‘Address to the Society’, Memoirs of the Astronomical Society of London (1824), 1, 17, on 4.Google Scholar

15 Turner, , op. cit. (6), 25.Google Scholar

16 Baily, Francis, ‘On Mr. Babbage's new machine for calculating and printing mathematical and astronomical tables’, from H.Schumacher's ‘Astronomische Nachrichten’, 1823, no. 46Google Scholar, reprinted in the Philosophical Magazine (May 1824), and Babbage's Calculating Engines: A Collection of Papers by Henry Prevost Babbage (ed. Bromley, Allan G.), Los Angeles, 1982, 225–35, on 228 and 229.Google Scholar

17 Montgomery, James, The Theory and Practice of Cotton Spinning; or the Carding and Spinning Master's Assistant, Glasgow, 1833, 243Google Scholar. Quoted in Berg, , op. cit. (5), 193.Google Scholar

18 Baily, , op. cit. (16), 229–30.Google Scholar

19 Baily, to Babbage, , 8 11 1823Google Scholar, Babbage correspondence, British Library.

20 Berg, , op. cit. (5), see ch. 7.Google Scholar

21 Miller, David Philip, ‘The Royal Society of London 1800–1835: A Study in the Cultural Politics of Scientific Organization’, Ph.D thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 1981, 108–9Google Scholar. See also his ‘The revival of the physical sciences in Britain 1815–1840’, Osiris (1986), 2, 107–35Google Scholar. For the quote see Some Members in the Minority, An History of the Instances of Exclusion from the Royal Society, London, 1784, 20Google Scholar; and for Mutton's book-keeping see his A Complete Treatise on Practical Arithmetic and Bookkeeping, Both by Single and Double Entry, 14th edn, London, 1815.Google Scholar

22 Babbage, , op. cit. (1), 169.Google Scholar

23 Rosenberg, Nathan, ‘Adam Smith and moral capital’, History of Political Economy (1990), 1, 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

24 Berg, , op. cit. (5), 160.Google Scholar

25 See Hoskin, Michael, ‘Astronomers at war: South versus Sheepshanks’, Journal of the History of Astronomy (1989), 20, 175212CrossRefGoogle Scholar and ‘More on South versus Sheepshanks’, Journal of the History of Astronomy (1991), 22, 174–9.Google Scholar

26 Robinson, Thomas Romney, Proceedings of the Royal Society (18671868), 16, pp. xlivxlviiGoogle Scholar, on xlvi. Quoted in Hoskin, , op. cit. (25), 183.Google Scholar

27 Babbage, , op. cit. (1), 379.Google Scholar

28 Baily, , op. cit. (16), 226.Google Scholar

29 Price, Richard, Observations on Reversionary Payments; on Schemes for Providing Annuities for Widows, and for Persons in Old Age; on the Method of Calculating the Values of Assurances on Lives; and on the National Debt, London, 1769, 131.Google Scholar

30 See Herschel, John, ‘Memoir of Francis Baily’, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (1844), 6Google Scholar, reprinted in his Essays from the Edinburgh and Quarterly Review, London, 1857, 552621Google Scholar. It was probably Baily's financial acumen that ensured the Society's financial status in its early years. Most of the compositions were invested in the Navy 5 per cents, while fees from non-resident members were invested in East India Bonds. These two sources of income were kept separate from the annual payments. See ‘Report of the Council of the Society to the First General Meeting’, 9 02 1821Google Scholar, Memoirs of the Astronomical Society (1824), 1, 2132, on 26.Google Scholar

31 Horton-Smith, L. G. H., ‘Francis Baily: The Astronomer 1774–1844’, The Newburian, Newbury, 1937Google Scholar, reprinted as a short pamphlet in 1938, 4.

32 Hilton, Boyd, Corn, Cash, Commerce: The Economic Policies of the Tory Governments, 1815–1830, Oxford, 1977Google Scholar; Brewer, John, ‘Commercialisation and politics’, in The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialisation of Eighteenth-Century England (ed. McKendrick, N., Brewer, J. and Plumb, J. H.), London, 1982Google Scholar; and Perkin, Harold, The Origins of Modern Society, 1780–1880, London, 1969.Google Scholar

33 Baily, Francis, Tables for the Purchasing and Renewing of Leases, for Terms of years Certain and for Lives, with Rules for Determining the Value of the Reversion of Estates after any such Leases; and for the Solution of other Useful Problems; Adapted to General use, London, 1802, 8 and 37.Google Scholar

34 Hacking, Ian, The Taming of Chance, Cambridge, 1990, 49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

35 Baily, Francis, The Doctrine of Interest and Annuities Analytically Investigated and Explained Together with Several Useful Tables Connected with the Subject, London, 1808, pp. vvi.Google Scholar

36 Baily, , op. cit. (35), 105.Google Scholar

37 Baily, , op. cit. (35)Google Scholar. The Sinking Fund was originally set up in the early eighteenth century to pay off the national debt. However, most governments did not use it for this purpose and in practice it had been used as a reserve fund in case of sudden need, i.e. war. It was abandoned in 1828.

38 Baily, , op. cit. (35), 6 and 106.Google Scholar

39 Milgate, Murray and Stimson, Shannon C., Ricardian Politics, Princeton, 1991, 75.Google Scholar

40 Baily, , op. cit. (35), 2nd edn, 1810, p. iGoogle Scholar. This edition is substantially different in detail and greatly extended.

41 Baily, , op. cit. (35), p. v.Google Scholar

42 Baily, , op. cit. (35), p. x.Google Scholar

43 Herschel, , op. cit. (30), 6Google Scholar; Charles Babbage, ‘On the influence of signs in mathematical reasoning’, a paper read to the Cambridge Philosophical Society on 16 December 1821 and printed in the Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (1827), 2, 325–77, on 373.Google Scholar

44 Baily, Francis, An Account of the Several Life Assurance Companies Established in London: Containing a View of their Respective Merits and Advantages, London, 1810, 12Google Scholar. Richard Price constructed the Northampton tables for this Society.

45 ‘Regulations of the Society’, Memoirs of the Astronomical Society (1824), 1, 912.Google Scholar

46 Herschel, , op. cit. (30), 8.Google Scholar

47 Sir George Colebrooke was head of the firm ‘Colebrooke, Lesingham and Binns’, Bankers of Threadneedle Street; the latter two were only nominal partners. Sir George was the son of James Colebrooke, a banker who had made a large fortune in the South Sea Bubble years. Sir George played an important part in the dealings and politics of the East India Company and was made their Chairman in 1769. His activities in the company were not thought by his enemies to be independent of his interests as a stockbroker. See Sutherland, Lucy, Politics and Finance in the Eighteenth Century (ed. Newman, Aubrey), London, 1984, 445–71.Google Scholar

48 Colebrooke, T. E., The Life of H. T. Colebrooke, 3 vols., London, 1873, i, 109.Google Scholar

49 Colebrooke, Henry, Remarks on the Present State of the Husbandry and Commerce of Bengal, Calcutta, 1795.Google Scholar

50 Colebrooke, H., op. cit. (49), 174.Google Scholar

51 Colebrooke, H., op. cit. (49), 94.Google Scholar

52 Colebrooke, Henry to Colebrooke, George, 28 07 1788Google Scholar. Quoted in Colebrooke, T. E., op. cit. (48), 31.Google Scholar

53 Colebrooke, T. E., op. cit. (48), 271–2.Google Scholar

54 Colebrooke, T. E., op. cit. (48), 296.Google Scholar

55 Colebrooke, T. E., op. cit. (48), 297.Google Scholar

56 See ‘Minutes of the Council of the Astronomical Society’, 9 03 1821Google Scholar, Royal Astronomical Society archives.

57 Gompertz won the annual prize, without exception, between 1812 and 1822 for the best solutions to prize questions contained in the Gentlemen's Mathematical Companion.

58 Adler, Marcus N., ‘Memoir of the late Benjamin Gompertz’, paper read before the Institute of Actuaries and of the Statistical Society, 18 12, 1865Google Scholar. Printed in The Assurance Magazine and the Institute of Actuaries (1867), 13, 120, on 1–2.Google Scholar

59 Adler, , op. cit. (58), 5.Google Scholar

60 Adler, , op. cit. (58), 16.Google Scholar

61 DNB, entry for Joshua Milne.

62 The Works of Charles Babbage (ed. Campbell-Kelly, Martin), London, 1989, iv, 1415.Google Scholar

63 Baily, , op. cit. (35), 60.Google Scholar

64 Gompertz's first paper to the Royal Society in 1806 was on the application of the method of differences to a species of series whose sums are obtained through impossible quantities. The paper was communicated through the then Astronomer Royal, Dr Maskelyne. See Adler, , op. cit. (58), 6Google Scholar. For Frend's rejection of negative and imaginary quantities see his Principles of Algebra, London, 1796.Google Scholar

65 Hacking, , op. cit. (34), 49.Google Scholar

66 Adler, , op. cit. (58), 16.Google Scholar

67 Babbage, , A Comparative View of the Various Institutions for the Assurance of Lives, London, 1826, 13.Google Scholar

68 Adler, , op. cit. (58), 1213.Google Scholar

69 De Morgan, Augustus, Athenaeum, 22 07 1865Google Scholar. Quoted in Adler, , op. cit. (58), 13.Google Scholar

70 Brown, Samuel, ‘President of the Institute of Actuaries, Extracts from the Opening Address of the President of Section F [Economics, Science and Statistics] of the BAAS, at the 38th Meeting at Norwich, August 1868’, The Assurance Magazine and the Institute of Actuaries (1870), 15, 19.Google Scholar

71 DNB, entry for Patrick Kelly.

72 Miller, ‘Royal Society’, op. cit. (21), 112.Google Scholar

73 Kelly, Patrick, The Universal Cambist, and Commercial Instruction; Being a General Treatise on Exchange, Including the Monies, Coins, Weights, and Measures, of all Trading Nations and Colonies, with an Account of Their Books and Paper Currencies, 2 vols., London, 1811, i, p. iGoogle Scholar. For Kelly's book-keeping see his The Elements of Book-Keeping both by Single and Double Entry, London, 1801.Google Scholar

74 Kelly, , Universal Cambist, op. cit. (73), p. ii.Google Scholar

75 Kelly, , Universal Cambist, op. cit. (73), p. xxi.Google Scholar

76 Kelly, , Universal Cambist, op. cit. (73), p. xxivGoogle Scholar. Paper credit included Bank notes, Exchequer, Navy and Ordinance Bills, Bonds, Mortgages, Transfers of Stock, Bills of Exchange and all other forms of paper securities.

77 Clerke, Agnes M., A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century, London, 4th edn, 1908, 7.Google Scholar

78 Schaffer, Simon, ‘Herschel in bedlam: natural history and stellar astronomy’, BJHS (1980), 13, 211–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar and ‘Uranus and the establishment of Herschel's astronomy’, Journal for the History of Astronomy (1981), 12, 1126Google Scholar; Williams, M. E., ‘Was there such a thing as stellar astronomy in the eighteenth century?’, History of Science (1983), 21, 369–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

79 Dewhirst, David W., ‘Meridian astronomy in the private and university observatories of the United Kingdom: rise and fall’, Vistas in Astronomy (1985), 28, 147–58, on 147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

80 Herschel, John, A Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy (1830), Chicago, 1987, 276.Google Scholar

81 Herschel, , op. cit. (80), 280.Google Scholar

82 Desmond, Adrian, The Politics of Evolution: Morphology, Medicine and Reform in Radical London, Chicago, 1989Google Scholar. For astronomy see Schaffer, Simon, ‘The nebular hypothesis and the science of progress’, in History, Humanity and Evolution: Essays in Honour of John C. Greene (ed. Moore, J. R.), Cambridge, 1989, 131–64.Google Scholar

83 Hoppit, Julian, Risk and Failure in English Business 1700–1800, Cambridge, 1987, 166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

84 Hilton, Boyd, The Age of Atonement: The Influence of Evangelicalism on Social and Economic Thought 1785–1865, Oxford, 1988, 123 and 140.Google Scholar

85 For an analysis of the prevalent balanced and atemporal view of the world in the early nineteenth century see Hilton, , op. cit. (84)Google Scholar, especially ch. 8, and M. Norton Wise with the collaboration of Smith, Crosbie, ‘Work and waste: political economy and natural philosophy in nineteenth century Britain (I)’, History of Science (1989), 27, 262301Google Scholar, ‘Work and waste (II)’, History of Science (1989), 27, 391449Google Scholar, and ‘Work and waste (III)’, History of Science (1990), 28, 221–56Google Scholar. The change from a static to a dynamical view roughly occurs during the 1830s.

86 Hoppit, , op. cit. (83), 172 and 39Google Scholar. See also Yamey, B. S., ‘Scientific bookkeeping and the rise of capitalism’, Economic History Review (1949), 2nd series, 1, 99114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

87 Hoppit, , op. cit. (83).Google Scholar

88 Scrope, George Poulett, On Credit Currency and its Superiority to Coin, London, 1830, 74.Google Scholar

89 Ricardo, David, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 3rd edn, London, 1821Google Scholar. Everyman reprint, 1926, 50.

90 Hilton, , op. cit. (32), 179.Google Scholar

91 Colebrooke, H., op. cit. (49), 279.Google Scholar

92 David Ricardo quoted by his fellow club member Mallet, J. L., op. cit. (10), p. x.Google Scholar

93 Thompson, E. P., ‘Time-discipline, and industrial capitalism’, Past and Present (12 1967), 5697.Google Scholar

94 Herschel, John, ‘Elements of Greatness’Google Scholar, Herschel MS, n.d. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre, University of Texas at Austin.

95 Herschel, , op. cit. (80), 27.Google Scholar

96 Quoted in Schaffer, , op. cit. (82), 135.Google Scholar

97 Wise, with Smith, , op. cit. (85), I, 277.Google Scholar

98 Taylor, William Cooke, Factories and the Factory System, London, 1844, p. iii.Google Scholar

99 Cariyle, Thomas, ‘Signs of the times’, Edinburgh Review (06 1829)Google Scholar, reprinted in A Cariyle Reader: Selections from the Writings of Thomas Cariyle (ed. Tennyson, G. B.), Cambridge, 1984, 3154, on 46.Google Scholar

100 Farr, William, ‘On the construction of Life Tables, illustrated by a new Life Table of the healthy districts of England’, The Assurance Magazine and the Institute of Actuaries (1861), 9, 121–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

101 ‘Minutes of the Council of the Astronomical Society’, 9 03 1821Google Scholar, Royal Astronomical Society archives.

102 Brewer, John, The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, 1688–1783, London, 1989, 67–9.Google Scholar

103 Brewer, , op. cit. (102), 94 and 92.Google Scholar

104 Brewer, , op. cit. (102), 84.Google Scholar

105 Hacking, , op. cit. (34).Google Scholar

106 Meadows, A. J., Greenwich Observatory: Recent History (1836–1975), London, 1975, ii, 3.Google Scholar

107 In 1857 Airy wrote in his Report to the Board of Visitors: ‘The meridional system is sacredly preserved.’ Quoted in Meadows, , op. cit. (106), 4.Google Scholar

108 Schaffer, Simon, ‘Astronomers mark time: discipline and the personal equation’, Science in Context (1988), 2, 115–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

109 Douglas, Mary, How Institutions Think, Syracuse, 1986, 1.Google Scholar

110 Miller, , op. cit. (21).Google Scholar

111 Rankin, Robert, A Familiar Treatise on Life Assurances and Annuities, London, 1830, 72.Google Scholar

112 Senior, Nassau William, An Outline of the Science of Political Economy, London, 1836, 135.Google Scholar

113 Senior, , op. cit. (112), 134.Google Scholar

114 Wise, with Smith, , op. cit. (85), II, 414.Google Scholar

115 Herschel, , op. cit. (30), 41.Google Scholar

116 Herschel, , op. cit. (30), 31Google Scholar; see also Pannekoek, A., A History of Astronomy, London, 1961, 321–38.Google Scholar

117 Herschel, John, ‘Address to the Astronomical Society of London’, 1829, in his Essays, op. cit. (30), 510.Google Scholar

118 Meadows, , op. cit. (106), 30.Google Scholar

119 Quoted in Meadows, , op. cit. (106), 29.Google Scholar

120 Berg, , op. cit. (5), 46.Google Scholar

121 Wise, with Smith, , op. cit. (85), I, 276.Google Scholar

122 Portlock, Colonel J. E., Memoir of the Life of Major General Colby, London, 1869, 8.Google Scholar

123 Quoted in Miller, , op. cit. (21), 321.Google Scholar

124 Turner, , op. cit. (6), 29.Google Scholar

125 Francis Baily, Notes and Appendix to Cagnoli, A., Memoir on a New and Certain Method of Ascertaining the Figure of the Earth, By Means of Occultations of the Fixed Stars, London, 1819, 31.Google Scholar

126 Baily, , op. cit. (125), 33–4.Google Scholar

127 Baily, Francis, Remarks on the Present Defective State of the Nautical Almanac, London, 1822, 18.Google Scholar

128 Baily, , op. cit. (127), 18.Google Scholar

129 Herschel, John, On the Board of Longitude, n.d. (1825?), Herschel MS, St John's College, Cambridge, my italics.Google Scholar

130 Baily, , op. cit. (127), 3943.Google Scholar

131 Herschel, John and Babbage, Charles, Memoirs of the Analytical Society, 1813, original manuscript, 12, Herschel MS, St John's College, Cambridge.Google Scholar

132 Charles Babbage, ‘On Transcendents’, Babbage MS, Cambridge University Library, probably 1812.

133 Baily, , op. cit. (16), 226.Google Scholar

134 This problem was international, tables were not reduced through standardized techniques and tools. See, for example, ‘On the Differences of Declination of Certain Stars, according to Different Astronomers; and on Refraction, &c. Extracted from a Letter of M. J. J. Littrow, Director of the Imperial Observatory at Vienna, to the Foreign Secretary’ – dated Vienna, 3 January 1823, Memoirs of the Astronomical Society (1824), 1, 339–48.Google Scholar

135 Baily, , op. cit. (127), 49.Google Scholar

136 South, James, ‘An inquiry how far it would be advisable that the daily corrections in right ascension and north polar distance of the forty-six zero stars should be computed annually at the public expense’, Annals of Philosophy (1824)Google Scholar, January and February, printed as a separate pamphlet, London, 1824, 9.

137 Baily, , op. cit. (127), 60Google Scholar. See also Herschel, , op. cit. (129).Google Scholar

138 Herschel, , op. cit. (30), 19 (my italics).Google Scholar

139 Miller, , op. cit. (21), 324.Google Scholar

140 Herschel, John to Gurney, Hudson, MP, 25 06 1830Google Scholar, quoted from Schweber, S. S., Aspects of the Life of John Herschel, New York, 1981.Google Scholar

141 Herschel, John to SirWatson, William, 12 02 1819Google Scholar, Herschel correspondence, Royal Society.

142 Herschel, to Gurney, , op. cit. (140).Google Scholar

143 Herschel, , op. cit. (129).Google Scholar

144 Dickens, Charles, Hard Times (1850), Harmondsworth, 1985, 149–50.Google Scholar

145 Warwick, Andrew, ‘The Laboratory of Theory or What's Exact about the Exact Sciences?’, paper presented in Oldenburg, 08 1992.Google Scholar

146 Latour, Bruno, Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society, Cambridge, Mass., 1987, ch. 6.Google Scholar

147 Quoted in Rosenberg, , op. cit. (23), 11.Google Scholar

148 Smith, Adam, ‘Essay on the history of astronomy’, in The Essays of Adam Smith: Philosophical and Literary (ed. Joseph Black and James Hutton), n.d., 325–85, on 352.Google Scholar

149 Bentham, Samuel, Naval Essays, or Essays on the Management of Public Concerns as Exemplified in the Naval Department, Considered as a Branch of the Business of Warfare, London, 1828, 9.Google Scholar

150 Bentham, , op. cit. (149), 36.Google Scholar

151 Bentham, Maria Sophia, The Life of Brigadier-General Sir Samuel Bentham, London, 1862, 98Google Scholar; Cooper, Carolyn C., ‘The Portsmouth system of manufacture’, Technology and Culture (1984), 2, 182226, on 192–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

152 Bentham, M. S., op. cit. (151), 83.Google Scholar

153 Morriss, Roger, The Royal Dockyards During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Leicester, 1983, especially ch. 7.Google Scholar

154 Bentham, M. S., op. cit. (151), 60.Google Scholar

155 Bentham, Jeremy, Panopticon; or, The Inspection House: Containing the Idea of a new Principle of Construction Applicable to any sort of Establishment …in a Series of Letters Written in the Year 1787, from Crecheff in White Russia, to a Friend in England, London, 1791, 23 and 107.Google Scholar

156 Bowring, John, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, Edinburgh, 1843, x, 226Google Scholar, quoted in Cooper, , op. cit. (151), 193.Google Scholar

157 Bentham, J., op. cit. (155), 45.Google Scholar

158 Herschel MS, n.d., Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.

159 Berg, , op. cit. (5), 193.Google Scholar

160 See, for example, Baily, , op. cit. (44)Google Scholar, Babbage, , op. cit. (67)Google Scholar, Rankin, , op. cit. (111)Google Scholar, Scrope, , op. cit. (88)Google Scholar, and Bentham, Samuel, Financial Reform Scrutinized in a Letter to Sir Henry Parnell, Bart MP, London, 1830.Google Scholar

161 Berg, Maxine and Hudson, Pat, ‘Rehabilitating the Industrial Revolution’, Economic History Review (1992), 45, 2450, on 42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

162 Herschel, John, ‘Address to the Astronomical Society’, 11 04 1827, in his Essays, op. cit. (30), 466–88, on 470.Google Scholar

163 Quoted in Meadows, , op. cit. (106), 31.Google Scholar

164 Scrope, , op. cit. (88), 43–4Google Scholar; Milne, Joshua, Treatise on the Valuation of Annuities and Assurances on the Construction of Mortality, London, 1815, pp. 1 and xliiGoogle Scholar; A Gentleman of the Exchange, Stock-Exchange Laid Open, London, 1814, 26–7.Google Scholar

165 Michael Foucault uses panopticism as the paradigmatic characteristic of a prevalent disciplinary technology. See his, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, London, 1977.Google Scholar

166 Bentham, Jeremy, Panopticon: Postscript; Part II: Containing a Plan of Management for a Panopticon Penitentiary House, London, 1791, 40.Google Scholar

167 Schaffer, , op. cit. (108), 118.Google Scholar

168 Babbage, , op. cit. (1), 367.Google Scholar

169 Babbage, , op. cit. (1), 169.Google Scholar

170 Cooper, , op. cit. (151), 193.Google Scholar

171 Babbage, , op. cit. (1), 201.Google Scholar

172 Bessel quoted in Littrow, , op. cit. (134), 343.Google Scholar

173 Quoted in Pannekoek, , op. cit. (116), 325.Google Scholar

174 Littrow, , op. cit. (134), 342.Google Scholar

175 Gompertz, Benjamin, ‘On the theory of astronomical instruments, Part 1’, Memoirs of the Astronomical Society (1824), 1, 349–55, on 349.Google Scholar

176 Gompertz, , op. cit. (175).Google Scholar

177 Baily, , op. cit. (16), 229.Google Scholar

178 See Bennett, Jim, ‘Instrument makers and the “Decline of Science in England”: the effects of institutional change on the elite makers of the early nineteenth century’, in Nineteenth-Century Scientific Instruments and Their Makers (ed. de Clerq, P. R.), Amsterdam, 1985, 1329.Google Scholar

179 Berg, , op. cit. (5), 33.Google Scholar

180 Herschel, John, ‘Address to the Astronomical Society’, 11 04 1827, in Essays op. cit. (30), 466–88, on 483–4.Google Scholar

181 Herschel, John, ‘Address to the B.A.A.S. at Cambridge’, 19 06 1845, in Essays op. cit. (30), 655.Google Scholar

182 Babbage, , op. cit. (1), 379.Google Scholar

183 Baily, , op. cit. (16), 225.Google Scholar

184 Quoted in Berg, , op. cit. (5), 128.Google Scholar

185 Colebrooke, Henry, ‘On presenting the honorary medals of the Society’, Memoirs of the Astronomical Society (1824), 1, 509–14, on 509.Google Scholar

186 Miller, , ‘Royal Society’, op. cit. (21), 217.Google Scholar

187 Review of ‘Letters addressed to H. R. H. the Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, on the theory of probabilities as applied to the moral and political sciences, by M. A. Quetelet, Astronomer Royal of Belgium, translated by Olinthus Gregory Downes, London, 1849’, The Assurance Magazine and the Institute of Actuaries (1851), 1, 362.Google Scholar

Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The calculating eye: Baily, Herschel, Babbage and the business of astronomy
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

The calculating eye: Baily, Herschel, Babbage and the business of astronomy
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

The calculating eye: Baily, Herschel, Babbage and the business of astronomy
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *