Historical information

This technical textbook is the nineteenth edition of the book by Henry Raper, Lieutenant in the Royal Navy with awards that include F.R.A.S. (Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society) and F.R.G.S. (Friend of the Royal Geographical Society).

The book is dedicated in honour of Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort K.C.B., Hydrographer to the Admiralty. He was awarded the title K.C.B. (King's Commander) as a Member of the Order of Bath, an order of British Chivalry,

The book was first published in 1840 and soon became a resource for navigation students. It includes topics on nautical navigation, astronomy, navigation charts, calculations and mathematical tables, time, tides, ships, longitude, and position at sea.

Thomas A. Hull, who revised and expanded this edition, was a Commander in the Royal Navy and had previously been Superintendent of Admiralty Charts used for navigation worldwide by seamen from many walks of life.

The publisher, J D Potter of London, was at that time the sole agent for the Admiralty Charts produced by the Royal Navy.

Printer Spottswoode and Co.,. was established by William Strachan in 1738. In 1819 his nephews A and R Spottswoode took over the business and bought premises in New-Street Square and Shoe Lane. In 1850 over 200 workers were employed by the firm. and five years later the business became Spottswoode & Co. Andrew Spottswoode invented the Spottswoode Press.


This technical book was very popular as a textbook for students of maritime navigation, written and updated by members of the British Royal Navy and relied upon for accurate advice and information. The first edition was published in 1840, this edition was updated, expanded and published in 1891 when ports around the world were filling with travellers, merchants and business people.

Physical description

Title: The Practice of Navigation and Nautical Astronomy
Author: Henry Raper, Lieut, R.N., F.R.A.S., F.R.G.S.
Nineteenth Edition, revised and enlarged by Commander Thomas A. Hull, R.N., Late Superintendant of Admiralty Charts
Dedication: To Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort K.C.B.
Publisher: J D Potter, London, sole agent for the sale of Admiralty Charts
Printer: Spottswoode and Co. New-Street Square, London
Date: 1891
Small leather hardcover book with gold embossed text and lines on the spine.

Inscriptions & markings

The Dedication in the book is as follows: -
"To Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort K.C.B. Hydrographer to the Admiralty.
The eminent station which you occupy in the naval scientific world renders it highly gratifying to me to dedicate the following Work to you as a testimony of my regard and esteem; while the general accordance of my views on the subject with those of your more experienced judgement, gives me the greater confidence in laying my labours before the Public.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, HENRY RAPER"