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    Pierre François Méchain. Autograph Letter Signed.
    "Méchain." Two pages in French, 7.5" x 9", n.p. [Italy?]; October 27, 1794. In this letter to Noël-Gabriel-Luce Villar, the brother of a friend, Méchain requests Villar to speak in his favor to Representative Étienne-Nicolas de Calon, Director of the French war department of land and sea, as well as to the committee of public education of which Villar is a member, so that he [Méchain] can obtain authorization to continue to make measurements of the meridian axis used in establishing the system of weights and measures around Perpignan, the area in which he pursued the original project from Catalonia in the direction of travel to Paris. However, he found out the Commission of weights and measures to which the project was attached has been disbanded. Representative Calon, now charged with completing the project, has ordered Méchain to return to Paris to further discuss how best to wrap up the project. His request is that since the project seems guaranteed to resume in the coming spring around Perpignan, and since Cassini has already measured the meridian from Dunkirk to Perpignan, thus making the current project a repetition of that previous work (albeit with more precision), Méchain asks on behalf of "citoyen Villars" [presumably the lesser known brother of above Villar, and Méchain's friend] to communicate to "citoyen Calon" that Méchain is also attached to the Dépôt de la Marine and his presence is absolutely necessary in [Genoa?] all winter long, that it seems more sensible for he and his team to head straight to Perpignan when winter ends rather than make the arduous trip to Paris only to leave shortly after for Perpignan. In the meantime, during the winter, they can conduct experiments with/on the pendulum, which is also relevant to the weights and measures. Originally, the plan was to conduct these experiments by the sea and along the 45th parallel at Bordeaux, but Genoa is similarly situated on the globe so it does not seem worthwhile to travel to Bordeaux to conduct these experiments. However, if this line of reasoning is not acceptable Méchain is more than willing to make his way to Paris, and estimates that this will delay the project by no more than a month so long as the necessary meetings and discussions are conducted immediately when he arrives in Paris. He would be much obliged if Villar could confer with Calon on this subject, and ends letter by saying he, Méchain, wishes nothing else than to contribute to the nation's glory. Signs out with "Salut et fraternité."

    Pierre François André Méchain (1744-1804) was a French astronomer and surveyor who was a major contributor to the early study of deep sky objects and comets. He was director of the Paris Observatory in 1799.

    Noël-Gabriel-Luce Villar (1748-1826) was a French Catholic priest and politician.

    Étienne-Nicolas de Calon (1726-1807) was a brigadier general of the French Revolution, cartographer, and politician.

    A letter full of content from an 18th century French astronomer.

    Condition: Usual folds; two pin holes at top left hand corner where stapled; otherwise good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    4th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 589

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