Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Nye, Nathaniel

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NYE, NATHANIEL (fl. 1648), writer on gunnery, born in 1624, was author of (1) ‘A New Almanack for 1643,’ on the title-page of which he describes himself as ‘mathematician and practitioner of astronomy’ and of (2) ‘The Art of Gunnery, wherein is described the true way to make all sorts of gunpowder, gun-match [sic], the art of shooting in great and small ordnance, excellent ways to take Heights, Depths, Distances, accessible or inaccessible, either single or divers distances at one operation: to draw the Map or Plot of any City, Town, Castle, or other fortified place,’ 2 parts, 1647, 8vo. The author is styled Master gunner of the city of Worcester. On the title-page it is stated that the book is ‘for the help of all such, gunners and others, that have charge of artillery, and are not well versed in arithmetic and geometry;’ all the rules and directions ‘being framed both with and without the help of arithmetic.’ ‘The Art of Gunnery’ is dedicated, with a quaint preface, to the Earl of Lindsey, lord great-chamberlain of England. In a second preface, addressed to the reader, Nye writes: ‘Whatsoever thou findest in my Fireworks I do protest to thee that I have made and still do make practice of them myself; having by experience found them the best of all others that ever I have read of: or that are taught by Bate, Babington, Norton, Tartaglia, or Malthus.’ Several illustrations and plans are given. ‘The true Effigies of Nathaniel Nye,’ aged 20, drawn and engraved by Hollar and prefixed to the edition of 1647, is termed by Evans ‘fine and scarce.’ An edition of 1670 is in the library of Sion College.

[Nye's Works; Granger's Biogr. Hist. of England, ii. 338–9; Evans's Cat. Engr. Portraits.]

G. Le G. N.