London: A. Millar & T. Cadell, 1767. First edition. With a large folding plate of an orrery, a folding plate of a "magic square of squares" done by Benjamin Franklin, and a folding plate of a "magic circle of circles" done by Benjamin Franklin. Throughout the text are numerous charts and tables, taken from the work of Abraham de Moivre and Thomas Simpson. Title-page and table of contents pages lightly browned, title a little chipped at the edges, never intruding to text. A good, sound copy. Rebound in half calf over marbled paper boards. Gilt spine with raised bands. Octavo. , 328 pp. Item #7140
A collection of essays on actuarial and other calculations relating to death probabilities, conjunctions of the sun and moon, surveying, the workings of clocks, and other manifestations of probability, all illustrated and proved by charts and tables taken from de Moivre and Simpson. Ferguson (1710-1776) was the son of a Scottish tenant farmer and received little formal education. While working at a variety of domestic jobs, he mastered the elements of surveying, horology, astronomy and portraiture. Colin Maclaurin discovered Ferguson's mechanical abilities and introduced him to Martin Folkes, who encouraged Ferguson to lecture to the Royal Society about his astronomical contrivances. A skilled designer of clocks and planispheres (as well as a 'solar eclipsareon'), he became an accomplished public speaker and expounder of Newtonian ideas, especially after the publication of his Astronomy Explained Upon Sir Isaac Newton's Principles (1756), which went through seventeen editions.