Baily, Francis (1774-1844)

Baily, Francis, astronomer, was born at Newbury, Berks, 28th April 1774. An apprenticeship in a London mercantile house was followed by two years of roving in North America, but in 1799 he settled down as a stockbroker in London. In financial business he showed great capacity, and gradually acquired a large fortune, publishing meantime a series of excellent books on banking and assurance. At 51 he retired from business to devote himself entirely to astronomy. Among his chief services were his share in the foundation of the Astronomical Society, the improvement of the Nautical Almanac, his laborious repetition of Cavendish's measurement of the earth's density, and the production of the Astronomical Society's Star-catalogue. Baily's ninety-one writings included a Life of Flamsteed (1835), but mostly appeared in the Astronomical Society's Memoirs. He died in London, 30th August 1844. See Memoir by Sir J. Herschel (1845).
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 61.

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