VALLANCEY, Charles. A Treatise on Inland Navigation, or, the Art of making Rivers navigable.
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Of making Canals in all sorts of soils, and of Constructing Locks and Sluices. Extracted from the Works of Guglielmini, Michelini, Castellus, Belidor, and others, with Observations and Remarks. Dublin: Printed for George and Alexander Ewing, 1763. First edition. Quarto. pp. , iv-ix, , 179, [24 (folded leaves of plates)]. Modern quarter buckram on marbled boards with original letterpiece. One or two fore margins a little frayed and toned, title with repaired tear to verso, some light spotting. A very good copy. Extremely rare.
ESTC T112244. Goldsmiths’-Kress no. 09915.
Charles Vallancey (1721-1812), General and antiquarian, was born in England of French Huguenot parentage. He came to Ireland in 1761 to assist in a military survey of the island and made this country his adopted home. He was one of the founder members of the Royal Irish Academy and had a great interest in Irish history, philology and antiquities, at a time when their study was totally neglected by the establishment. During the Rebellion of 1798 he furnished plans for the defence of Dublin.
In 1763 he was elected a member of the Dublin Society, where for almost fifty years he was to play a prominent part. In the same year he married a lady of Huguenot descent, Julie de Blosset. It may have been his need for extra money (he had a large family to support) that led him to turn to translating texts and to acting as consultant on canal, harbour, and bridge projects. He published this treatise on inland navigation in 1763, and in 1766 a translation from the French of a work on stone cutting. The Queen’s Bridge over the Liffey was built to his design. He brought out a report on the Grand Canal in 1771. In 1767 the 4th Viscount Townshend, said to have been a friend of Vallancey at Eton, was appointed lord lieutenant, and for the next few years Vallancey was occupied preparing maps for Townshend’s dispatches on Irish defence. He was also planning a military survey of Ireland. In 1776 his plan for the military survey was accepted, though confined to the south and south-west coast of Ireland. For the next twenty years he worked on the survey, which has been described as the most elaborate cartographic project in Ireland since the time of Sir William Petty.
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