The Canonis Descriptio on its publication in 1614, at once attracted the attention of Edward Wright, whose name is known in connexion with improvements in navigation, and Henry Briggs, then professor of geometry at Gresham College, London.
Briggs was greatly excited by Napier's invention and visited him at Merchiston in 1615, staying with him a whole month; he repeated his visit in 1616 and, as he states, "would have been glad to make him a third visit if it had pleased God to spare him so long."
The different editions of the Descriptio and Constructio, as well as the reception of logarithms on the continent of Europe, and especially by Kepler, whose admiration of the invention almost equalled that of Briggs, belong to the history of logarithms (q.v.).
Fortunately, however, Robert Napier had transcribed his father's manuscript De Arte Logistica, and the copy escaped the fate of the originals in the manner explained in the following note, written in the volume containing them by Francis, seventh Lord Napier: "John Napier of Merchiston, inventor of the logarithms, left his manuscripts to his son Robert, who appears to have caused the following pages to have been written out fair from his father's notes, for Mr Briggs, professor of geometry at Oxford.
For Mr Henrie Briggs, Professor of Geometrie at Oxforde."
There is nothing to show whether the transcripts were sent to Briggs as intended and returned by him, or whether they were not sent to him.
Only one of the four analogies is actually given by Napier, the other three being added by Briggs in the remarks which are appended to Napier's results.
Briggs also used decimals, but in a form not quite so convenient as Napier.
Briggs seems to have used the notation all his life, but in writing it, as appears from manuscripts of his, he added also a small vertical line just high enough to fix distinctly which two figures it was intended to separate: thus he might have written 63 0957379.
Charles Augustus Briggs, tried for heresy for his inaugural address in 1891 as professor of biblical theology at Union Seminary (in which he attacked the inerrancy of the Bible, held the composite character of the Hexateuch and of the Book of Isaiah and taught that sanctification is not complete at death), was acquitted by the presbytery of New York, but was declared guilty and was suspended from its ministry by the General Assembly of 1893.
Dr Briggs remained a member of the Union Seminary faculty but left the Presbyterian Church to enter the Protestant Episcopal.
Briggs, American Presbyterianism (New York, 1885).
Briggs, Study of Holy Scripture (1899), especially ch.
Briggs, Bishop Asbury (London, 1874); W.
Briggs, The Messiah of the Apostles, p. 284 seq.; Sabatier, Les Origines litteraires et la composition de l'Apocalypse de St Jean (1887); Spitta, Die Offenbarung des Johannes untersucht (1889).
Briggs, "The Case of the Abbe Loisy," Expositor (London, April 1905), and C. A.
Briggs and F.
200, and Briggs on Ps.
Passing over the invention of logarithms by John Napier, and their development by Henry Briggs and others, the next author of moment was an Englishman, Thomas Harriot, whose algebra (Artis analyticae praxis) was published posthumously by Walter Warner in 1631.
In 1895 Briggs (Messiah of the Apostles, 1895) developed this theory to a still more extreme degree.
Briggs George S.
Degree (in 1630) corresponded with Henry Briggs and other mathematicians.
Briggs, whose influence has been due in part to a large and varied body of work (Biblical Study, 1883, and many articles and volumes since) and in part to his organization of united critical, international and interconfessional labour, the chief fruits of which have been the Hebrew Lexicon (based on Gesenius, and edited by F.
Briggs, General Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture (1889); G.
Briggs Study of Holy Scripture (Edinburgh, 1899), ch.
(" Our Lord's use of the Old Testament "); Briggs, op. cit.
Among more recent works and articles should be mentioned Briggs, Messianic Prophecy; Giesebrecht, Die Berufsbegabung der alttestamentlichen Propheten; Volz, Die vorexilische Jahwe-Prophetie u.
Both Napier and Wright died soon after the publication of the Descriptio, the date of Wright's death being 1615 and that of Napier 1617, but Briggs lived until 1631.
There is a short " preface to the reader " by Briggs, and a description of a triangular diagram invented by Wright for finding the proportional parts.
Henry Briggs, then professor of geometry at Gresham College, London, and afterwards Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford, welcomed the Descriptio with enthusiasm.
Briggs accordingly visited Napier in 1615, and stayed with him a whole month.
2 He brought with him some 1 Dr Thomas Smith thus describes the ardour with which Briggs studied the Descriptio: " Hunc in deliciis habuit, in sinu, in manibus, in pectore gestavit, oculisque avidissimis, et mente attentissima, iterum iterumque perlegit, ...
William Lilly's account of the meeting of Napier and Briggs at Merchiston is quoted in the article NA Pier.
Inl,1616 Briggs again visited Napier and showed him the work he had accomplished, and, he says, he would gladly have paid him a third visit in 1617 had Napier's life been spared.
The date of publication is, however, fixed as 1617 by a letter from Sir Henry Bourchier to Usher, dated December 6, 1617, containing the passage- " Our kind friend, Mr Briggs, hath lately published a supplement to the most excellent tables of logarithms, which I presume he has sent to you."
Briggs continued to labour assiduously at the calculation of logarithms, and in 1624 published his Arithmetica logarithmica, a folio work containing the logarithms of the numbers from to 20,000, and from 00,000 to ioo,000 (and in some copies to roi,000) to 14 places of decimals.
Briggs had himself been engaged in filling up the gap, and in a lettex to John Pell, written after the publication of Vlacq's work, and dated October 25, 1628, he says: " My desire was to have those chiliades that are wantinge betwixt 20 and 90 calculated and printed, and I had done them all almost by my selfe, and by some frendes whom my rules had sufficiently informed, and by agreement the busines was conveniently parted 'amongst us; but I am eased of that charge and care by one Adrian Vlacque, an Hollander, who hathe done all the whole hundred chiliades and printed them in Latin, Dutche and Frenche, moo bookes in these 3 languages, and hathe sould them almost all.
The original calculation of the logarithms of numbers from unity to ror,000 was thus performed by Briggs and Vlacq between 1615 and 1628.
The first calculation or publication of Briggian or common logarithms of trigonometrical functions was made in 1620 by Edmund Gunter, who was Briggs's colleague as professor of 1 It was certainly published after Napier's death, as Briggs mentions his " librum posthumum."
During the last years of his life Briggs devoted himself to the calculation of logarithmic sines, &c. and at the time of his death in 1631 he had all but completed a logarithmic canon to every hundredth of a degree.
Briggs appreciated clearly the advantages of a centesimal division of the quadrant, and by dividing the degree into hundredth parts instead of into minutes, made a step towards a reformation in this respect, and but for the appearance of Vlacq's work the decimal division of the degree might have become recognized.