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PROFESSOR OF MATHEMATICS IN THE STAFF COLLEGE, AND FORMERLY
SCHOLAR OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
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IN WRITING the following pages, I have had in view the wants of a rather numerous class of readers—those who wish to study the first principles of mechanics before they have obtained the knowledge of geometry, algebra, and trigonometry, which most elementary books on the subject presuppose. Some knowledge of arithmetic and geometry, it is true, must be assumed in discussing the most elementary questions as to forces; but I have found on trial that a very large portion of the principles of mechanics admits of exposition and illustration without demanding of the student a knowledge of more than arithmetic, a few rules in mensuration, enough geometry to make accurate diagrams with compasses, scale, and protractor, and enough algebra to solve a simple equation. No more than this is needed for the study of the following pages, with the exception of Chap. VI., on motion in a circle, and a few articles and examples, occurring, for the most part, towards the end of the book.
It will be proper to observe here that a good deal of choice has been exercised both as to the contents of the book, and as to the order in which they have been arranged,