"global scientific armada"

The 1761 transit was only observable from places fairly remote from Europe.   Despite the complications of the Seven Years War, enemies Britain and France both sent their best astronomers to the far corners of the globe.   Astonishingly, they were armed with letters of transit which allowed them to cross enemy lines and shipping lanes unharmed in the name of science.   British teams were sent to St Helena (Maskelyne), Sumatra (Mason and Dixon – diverted to South Africa) and Newfoundland (John Winthrop). French observers voyaged to Madagascar, Siberia and Pondicherry.