Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Shakerley, Jeremy

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SHAKERLEY, JEREMY (fl. 1650), astronomer and mathematician, was author of ‘The Anatomy of Urania Practica, or a short Mathematical Discourse; laying open the errors and impertinences delivered in a Treatise lately published by Mr. Vincent Wing and Mr. William Leybourne, under the title of Urania Practica,’ London, 1649. Leybourne retorted in ‘Ens fixum Shakerlæi, or the annihilation of Mr. Jeremie Shakerley,’ 1649.

Shakerley's chief claim to distinction is as the second observer of the transit of Mercury. The first transit was observed in 1631 (Chambers, Astronomy, 1889, p. 341). According to Vincent Wing [q. v.] (Astronomia Britannica, London, 1669, p. 312), Shakerley foretold the transit of 1651 in a colloquy or disputation entitled ‘De Mercurio in sole videndo.’ No trace of this tract seems extant. Wing asserts that Shakerley went to India to observe the phenomenon, and that he made his observations by means of a telescope at Surat on the morning of 24 Oct. 1651.

While still absent, apparently in India, there appeared in London Shakerley's ‘Tabulæ Britannicæ, the British Tables; wherein is contained Logistical Arithmetick, the Doctrine of the Sphere, astronomicall chronologie, the ecclesiasticall accompt, the Equation and Reduction of Time, together with the Calculation of the Motions of the Fixed and Wandering Stars, and the Eclipses of the Luminaries. Calculated for the Meridian of London from the hypothesis of Bullialdus and the Observations of Mr. Horrox’ (pp. 92 and tables), London, 1653, R. & W. Leybourn. Wallis wrote to Collins on 13 Feb. 1671–2, ‘What Shakerley's tables are I know not;’ but Flamsteed, addressing the same correspondent on 13 Aug. 1672, seemed to be better informed. ‘The precepts,’ Flamsteed wrote, ‘I found translated by the ingenuous (sic) Mr. Shakerley, which I transcribed from him because I thought them clearer expressed than the English ones in Crabtree's letter, though they are in substance the very same’ (Rigaud, Corresp. of Scientific Men, ii. 157, 351).

[Authorities cited.]

H. F. B.