Introductory

the Epistola ad Stgerum, from the trenches at Luc-era, in August, 1269.

Magnetic declination was unknown to Peregrinus, else he would not have written the following words: " Wherever a man may be, he finds the lodestone pointing to the heavens in accordance with the position of the meridian 55 (Chapter X). Of course, the geographical meridian is the one here meant, as the necessity of a distinct magnetic meridian had not yet occurred to any one.

Nor was this important magnetic element known to Columbus when he sailed from the shores of the Old World in 1 492 as appears from the surprise with which he noticed the deviation of the needle from North as well as from the consternation of his pilots. Columbus has the unquestionable merit of being the first to observe and record the change of declination with change of place.

The first printed edition of the Epistola, now very rare, was prepared by Achilles Gasser, a physician of Lindau, a man well versed in mathe-

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