Exhibitions

European charts of the North American coasts were initially produced in very small numbers. They were drawn by hand, one at a time. This reflected the small market for such charts. Not only were there few ships sailing the Atlantic, but charts usually took second place as a navigational tool to lists of sailing directions ('rutters'). The success of the seventeenth-century colonies established by both the English and French produced a steady increase in trans-Atlantic trade in the 1600s. This in turn so increased the market for charts of American waters that the demand could only be met by printing. Most of the printed sea charts were made by Dutch mapmakers, who sold their maps across all of western Europe. The first detailed sea chart of the eastern seaboard was produced in Italy largely from Dutch sources (21). The English market for sea charts expanded through the seventeenth century until it could support an English-based chart-trade. William Fisher and John Thornton published the first English atlas of charts and sailing directions for North America in 1689: The English Pilot, The Fourth Book. Although this atlas was initially focussed on English interests in the Caribbean, subsequent editions published throughout the 1700s added more information for the northern colonies (22). Through the eighteenth century, the English chart trade was supplied by new surveys and maps made in the colonies. Before 1750, the main source for the new charts were ships' masters who plied the eastern seaboard and who codified their accumulated coastal lore in their own charts. Of most interest in this respect was Cyprian Southack (22, 23). His general chart of the east coast (Boston, 1717) was the first map to be engraved on copper and printed in the colonies. He also produced an atlas of charts and sailing directions: The New England Coasting Pilot (Boston, 1729-33). The struggle for empire with France led the English to chart the coasts of the Americas in great detail after 1756. In doing so, the English surveyors entered into complex negotiations with the local inhabitants as to the names of islands and bays and thus of the character of the coastal landscape. The published result of these negotiations was J. F. W. DesBarres' massive Atlantic Neptune, printed in London between 1774 and 1780, in about 250 full-size plates (24).

Carta particolare della nuoua Belgia Š parte della nuoua Anglia ...

This map--made by a nobleman exiled from the court of Elizabeth I--is the first detailed coastal chart of New England and the eastern coast of North America. Dudley took most of his information from existing Dutch maps. He did add new information from English chart-makers, including the depth-soundings over the fishing banks. The apparently English place-names in New England are derived from John Smith's map (26, 27) but they have been interspersed in new locations among the older names that Smith tried to supersede.

SIR ROBERT DUDLEY (English, 1574-1649)
Carta particolare della nuoua Belgia Š parte della nuoua Anglia ...
From: Dell'Arcano del Mare, 2nd ed. (Florence, 1661)
Engraving, 46.2 x 37.9 cm
Osher Collection

454.0001
A Map of the Coast of NEW ENGLAND, from Staten Island to the Island of Breton ...

Southack captained vessels in New England waters for 22 years. His New England Coasting Pilot (Boston, 1729-33) summarized the wealth of information he had collected about the coast, its hazards, and its currents. Southack's lists of sailing directions and eight charts guided ship's captains all the way from the Hudson River to Nova Scotia. Although criticized in the colonies as quite inaccurate, Southack's work was adopted by London chart makers. The present map was produced in 1744 by combining the eight charts from Southack's atlas into a single map; between 1775 and 1794 it was often reprinted in the principal English navigational manual for North America, The English Pilot, The Fourth Book.

CYPRIAN SOUTHACK (English, 1662-1745)
A Map of the Coast of NEW ENGLAND, from Staten Island to the Island of Breton ...
London, 1775
Engraving, 59.9 x 78.2 cm
Smith Collection

4739.0001
The Harbour of CASCO BAY, and Islands Adjacent

Southack's chart of Casco Bay is typical of the many highly detailed harbor charts which show water depths and potential hazards. Although Southack had carried an English expedition to the bay in 1698, he did not publish this map until 1720. In the mean time, his geographical image for Casco bay become quite garbled; a 1699 manuscript map in the Public Record Office (London) is much more accurate! Even so, the map was the only one of the bay that was publicly available for most of the eighteenth century. It was quickly copied--in 1721--for The English Pilot, The Fourth Book and republished thereafter until 1794; this copy dates from about 1764. A French copy was also made for the Neptune Americo-Septentrional (1778-80). Note: the "Col. Runamer" identified as the builder of Casco Fort should be Colonel William Wolfgang Römer, a German engineer serving with the English army first in the Hudson Valley in 1698-1703 and then in Massachusetts and Maine.

CYPRIAN SOUTHACK (English, 1662-1745)
The Harbour of CASCO BAY, and Islands Adjacent
London: J. Mount and T. Page, ca.1764
Engraving, hand colored, 43.2 x 54.1 cm
Smith Collection

1966.0001
[Casco Bay, 1776]

The English victory in the French and Indian War (1756-63) produced both a new conception of an English 'empire' stretching from Qu‚bec to Florida and a need to produce a comprehensive survey of that empire. An engineer and hydrographer, Samuel Holland, was given charge of the survey north of the Potomac River in March 1764. Between August 1770 and October 1773, Holland and his team of six surveyors, 35 assistants, and four local guides surveyed the more than 3,000 miles of New England coastline, estuaries, and islands. This chart of Casco Bay is typical of the large-scale maps produced under Holland's direction. The emphasis is on the coastal waters, with sand bars and rocks being especially prominent. Land features were mapped only as they would be seen by sailors: hills, towns, and areas under cultivation. All of Holland's work was engraved and published by J. F. W. Des Barres in the monumental Atlantic Neptune (1774-80), which comprised a few coasting charts and well over 250 large-scale maps such as this.

SAMUEL HOLLAND (Dutch/English, 1728-1801)
JOSEPH F. W. DES BARRES (Swiss/English, 1722-1824)
**7 [Casco Bay, 1776]
From: Des Barres, Charts of the Coast and Harbors of New England ..., vol.3 (London, 1780)
Engraving, hand colored, 74.0 x 106.1 cm
Osher Collection

844.0001