FRENCH NAVIGATORS, I
Amongst the most interesting particulars contained in two large 4to volumes, we must mention those relating to the Canary Islands and their ancient inhabitants the Serères and Yolof, on Iceland, and the accurate remarks made by Verdun upon the subject of the meridian of Faroe Islands.
"It was the most easterly meridian of these islands," he says, "that Ptolemy chose for the first meridian. It would doubtless have been easy for him to have selected Alexandria for the first meridian; but this great man was aware that such a choice would bring no real honour to his country, that Rome and other ambitious towns might covet this imaginary glory, that every geographer, every narrator of voyages, arbitrarily choosing his own meridian, would engender confusion or at least embarrassment in the mind of the reader."
Clearly Verdun regarded the question of the first meridian from a high standpoint, as all really disinterested minds still do. It gives him yet another claim to our sympathy.
Let us conclude with a quotation from this author: "The watches came out of the contest with honour. They had borne heat and cold, they had been becalmed, they had endured shocks as well as the vessel which carried them when it was wrecked at Antigua, and when it received charges of artillery. In a word, they fulfilled the hopes we had indulged, they deserve the confidence of navigators, and lastly they are of great service in the determination of longitude at sea."
The solution of the problem was found!