Map of the Week: Grierson Pirate of Herman Moll’s Codfish Map of North America

To His Grace Hugh, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate and Metropolitan of all Ireland and One of the Lords Justices of the said Kingdom this map of North America According to the Newest and most Exact Observations is most humbly Dedicated by your Graces most humble Serv: Geo: Grierson.

To His Grace Hugh, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate and Metropolitan of all Ireland and One of the Lords Justices of the said Kingdom this map of North America According to the Newest and most Exact Observations is most humbly Dedicated by your Graces most humble Serv: Geo: Grierson.

An antique map discovery of the utmost rarity. Ostensibly, this is a fine example of Hermann Moll’s important and highly desirable 1720 Codfish Map, entitled “To the Right Honourable John Lord Sommers…” Upon closer inspection however, an entirely different picture emerges – this is in fact the Irish map publisher George Grierson’s 1732 piracy of Moll’s Codfish Map, entitled, “To his Grace Hugh Lord Archbishop…”. Although clearly copied from Moll’s map, Grierson’s map is actually a completely new engraving, with original cartouche work, an Irish-centric dedication, and a host of lesser variations throughout. Grierson’s piracies of Moll’s maps are far rarer and more desirable than Moll’s own work, the present example being the only known Grierson Codfish Map to have ever been on the market and possibly the only one extant.

Grierson published this map, and many others, in the year of Moll’s death, 1732, a clear piracy of Moll’s The World Described, most largest and impressive atlas. Today no known complete example of Grierson’s The World Described has survived, though very rarely individual maps, like the present example, do surface. In The Cartographer and the Literati – Herman Moll and his Intellectual Circle ( Edwin Mellen Press, 1997), Dennis Reinhartz notes that

two editions of [Moll’s Large Atlas] The World Described… were done by the Dublin publisher George Grierson… all of the maps in the Irish editions were completely re-engraved, even to the point of understandably having been rededicated to contemporary Irish notables. The Grierson atlas had new and/or changed cartouches, dedications, details, and comments. It also showed obvious erasers and additions, and some of the maps were updated.

Moll’s map, “To the Right Honourable John Lord Sommers…”, was originally published in 1718 or 1720 (there is some dispute on the matter) in counterclaim to Guillaume de L’Isle’s most influential map, the 1718 “Carte de La Louisiane de du Cours du Mississipi”. Moll and many other Englishmen were infuriated by De L’Isle’s cartographic advocacy for French hegemony in the region, including a vast Louisiana looming over the English coastal colonies and the ceding of Carolina to France. Moll’s response was this, a much larger and more inclusive map that, though drawing much of its basic cartography from De L’Isle’s definitive map, advocates for the British colonies particularly in Carolina.

This map gets is common name, the “Codfish Map”, from the illustration, at left center, of the Newfoundland cod fishery. Dried cod was possibly the most important North American export of the 18th century, and was a mainstay of the British Royal Navy. The British also operated the largest cod fishing fleet in the Grand Banks. Moll illustrates all stages of the fishery, from the catching, to the drying, to the cleaning and packing, to the clothing of a typical fisherman.

This is also one of the last maps to represent California as an Island. Moll’s confidence in the insular California theory, despite prevailing wisdom of the time, came from his claim that he “had in [his] office mariners who have sailed round it.” The idea of an insular California first appeared as a work of fiction in Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo’s c. 1510 romance Las Sergas de Esplandian, where he writes

Know, that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons.

Baja California was subsequently discovered in 1533 by Fortun Ximenez, who had been sent to the area by Hernan Cortez. When Cortez himself traveled to Baja, he must have had Montalvo’s novel in mind, for he immediately claimed the “Island of California” for the Spanish King. By the late 16th and early 17th century ample evidence had been amassed, through explorations of the region by Francisco de Ulloa, Hernando de Alarcon and others, that California was in fact a peninsula. However, by this time other factors were in play. Francis Drake had sailed north and claimed “New Albion” (identified here on the northwest coast of California Island) near modern day Washington or Vancouver for England. The Spanish thus needed to promote Cortez’s claim on the “Island of California” to preempt English claims on the western coast of North America. The significant influence of the Spanish crown on European cartographers caused a major resurgence of the Insular California theory. Just before this map was made Eusebio Kino, a Jesuit missionary, traveled overland from Mexico to California, proving conclusively the peninsularity of California.

The intriguing and speculative explorations of the Baron Louis Armand de Lahonton appear in the northwestern quadrant of North America. Lahonton (1666-1715) was a French military officer commanding the fort of St. Joseph, near modern day Port Huron, Michigan. Abandoning his post to live and travel with local Chippewa tribes, Lahonton claims to have explored much of the Upper Mississippi Valley and even discovered a heretofore unknown river, which he dubbed the Longue River. This river he claims to have followed a good distance from its convergence with the Mississippi. Beyond the point where he himself traveled, Lahonton wrote of further lands along the river described by his guides. These include a great saline lake or sea at the base of a mountain ranger. This range, he reported, could be easily crossed, from which further rivers would lead to the mysterious lands of the Mozeemleck, and presumably the Pacific. Lahonton’s work has been both dismissed as fancy and defended speculation by various scholars. Could Lahonton have been describing indigenous reports of the Great Salt Lake? What river was he on? Perhaps we will never know. What we do know is that on his return to Europe, Lahonton published his travels in an enormously popular book. Lahonton’s book inspired many important cartographers of his day, Moll, De L’Isle, Popple, Sanson, and Chatelain to name just a few, to include on their maps both the Longue River and the saline sea beyond. The concept of an inland river passage to the Pacific fired the imagination of the French and English, who were aggressively searching for just such a route. Unlike the Spanish, with easy access to the Pacific through the narrow isthmus of Mexico and the Port of Acapulco, the French and English had no easy route by which to offer their furs and other commodities to the affluent markets of Asia. A passage such as Lahonton suggested was just what was needed and wishful thinking more than any factual exploration fuelled the inclusion of Lahonton’s speculations on so many maps.

Just to the south of Lahonton’s Longue River, past “Parts Unknown”, the kingdom of Great Teguayo (Great Teguaio) is noted. Teguayo was believed to be one of the seven Kingdoms of Gold presumably to be discovered in the unexplored American west. The name Teguayo first appears in the Benevides Memorial, where it is described as a kingdom of great wealth to rival Quivara, another mythical kingdom which curiously does not appear on this map. The idea was later popularized in Europe by the nefarious Spaniard and deposed governor of New Mexico, the Count of Penalosa, who imagining himself a later day Pizzaro, promoted the Teguayo legend to the royalty of Europe. Originally Teguayo was said to lie west of the Mississippi and north of the Gulf of Mexico, but for some reason, Moll situates it far to the west.

Much like Moll’s map of the West Indies, this map can also be understood as a guide to English piracy and privateering in the Americas. Moll, most likely through his acquaintance with the pirates William Dampier and Woodes Rogers, offers a wealth of information on the traffic of silver bearing Spanish treasure fleets en route from the Mexican port of Veracruz, through the islands, to Spanish ports in Europe. Following the dotted line, Moll identifies the Spanish treasure fleet’s entrada into the Caribbean via the passage between Granada and Trinidad. The fleet then sailed westwards, skirting the Spanish Main until they reached Cartagena, where they rested and provisioned before heading northwards, rounding western Cuba and stopping in Havana. Using the strong Gulf Stream current – shown here – ships would sail northwards from Havana while being steadily forced to the southeast thus alighting at the deep water port of Veracruz. On the return, laden with silver from the mines of San Luis Potosi, the Spanish fleet took advantage of eastward blowing trade winds, which helped to overcome the strong current on the sail to Havana. From Havana they would travel northwards via the narrow passage between Florida and the Bahamas before cutting eastward and out to sea at St. Augustine. It was here, in this crucial passage between the English dominated Bahamas and Spanish Florida, where the most nefarious pirates lay in wait for their prey. In addition to descriptions of the sailing routes and currents, Moll provides insets of six important treasure ports, including Port Royal, Veracruz, Havana, Porto Bella, and Cartagena. As privateer fleets grew in strength and number in the early 18th century full scale assaults on major ports became increasingly common. Moll’s choice of these key treasure ports leaves little doubt regarding his intentions and sources.

As a whole this is a truly remarkable map, rich with captivating elements, beautifully rendered, unique in its piratical executions, and extraordinary rare. Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for the right collector.

Links:
http://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/NorthAmericaCodfishMap-griersonmoll-1732

Johnson’s Map of the Southwest – a study in progress

Johnson’s map of the American southwest is one A. J. Johnson’s most significant and desirable atlas maps. This unusual map went through multiple variants from its inception in 1861 to the final editions of Johnson’s Family Atlas in the 1880s, chronicling through its many changes the exploration and development of the region. The standard wisdom identified 7 issues, but our experience suggests there may be as many as 17. The series has been a staple in Transmississippi Americana collections for the past 100 years, but to this day we know of no specific treatment of the map series. This short blog post, which can be expected to undergo updates and expansions as research progresses, will take a first step in correcting this cartobibliographic oversight.

Before we dive into the map itself, it is best to first discuss the Johnson atlas and its history. A. J. Johnson began publishing maps in the 1850s, but is first major atlas project was the “New Family Atlas” published in 1860. This edition of Johnson’s Atlas, by far the rarest, is heavily derived from J. H. Colton’s well-known atlas, published from 1855 onwards. Though the relationship between Johnson and Colton is vague, they did enter into some sort of business partnership in 1859 following Colton’s brief bankruptcy. From 1860 onwards the two firms published in tandem, freely borrowing from one another to advance their own individual atlases. While most of the maps from Johnson’s Family Atlas are taken directly from Colton, with only new border work and occasional updates to the titles to distinguish them, Johnson did issue several maps of his own accord. One of these is Johnson’s map of the Southwest, which appeared with the first edition of Johnson’s Atlas in 1860.

Johnson’s Southwest, initially titled “Johnson’s California Territories of New Mexico and Utah” seems to be derived from Johnson’s wall map of North America, “Johnson’s New Illustrated and Embellished County Map of the Republics of North America”. This map, which was a joint issue between A. J. Johnson, D. G. Johnson (no clear relation), and possibly J. H. Colton was issued in 1854 or 1855 and laid out the base plan of the U.S. Southwest that would consistently appear, in various states, in all subsequent Johnson’s atlas issues. The Johnson Atlas did not follow a strict annual update schedule and often multiple editions of certain maps appear within the same year. The following represent known issues of this map and will include updates as they become available:

1860a1860a – This is the first state of the map and possibly the rarest. Bears the Johnson & Browning imprint and was issued as plate no. 47 and 48 in the 1860 edition of Johnson’s Atlas. This example follows closely on the Johnson wall map of North America. Predates the formation of Colorado with the Utah – Kansas – Nebraska border following the Rocky Mountains west of South Park, east and therefore inclusive of Middle Part, and then west again exclusive of North Park. The Utah – Nevada border, here a curiosity as the name Utah still stretches across both territories, followed the Santa Clara River past the Vegas de Santa Clara Mission to Lake Sevier. Fillmore City is identified as the capital of Utah. Curiously, the Confederate Territory of Arizona is here presaged – as the events of the Civil War that lead to the territories creation have not yet come to pass. This is most likely reflects appeals to Congress by the population of southern New Mexico to be recognized as a separate territory. These events are recorded as early as 1857 and in 1860 the region was provisionally recognized. However, the events of the Civil War prevented official recognition by the U.S. Congress.The Gadsden Purchase is highlighted in red. (Lourie, 1.0)

1860b Johnson's California Territories of New Mexico and Utah.

1860b Johnson's California Territories of New Mexico and Utah.

1860b – This is the second 1860 state of the map and nearly as rare as the first. Bears the Johnson & Browning imprint and was issued as plate no. 54 and 55 in the late 1860 edition of Johnson’s Atlas. This example follows closely on the Johnson wall map of North America. Predates the formation of Colorado with the Utah – Kansas – Nebraska border following the Rocky Mountains west of South Park, east and therefore inclusive of Middle Part, and then west again exclusive of North Park. The Utah – Nevada border, here a curiosity as the name Utah still stretches across both territories, followed the Santa Clara River past the Vegas de Santa Clara Mission to Lake Sevier. Fillmore City is identified as the capital of Utah. Curiously, the Confederate Territory of Arizona is here presaged – as the events of the Civil War that led to the territory’=s creation have not yet come to pass. This is most likely reflects appeals to Congress by the population of southern New Mexico to be recognized as a separate territory. These events are recorded as early as 1857 and in 1860 the region was provisionally recognized. However, the events of the Civil War prevented official recognition by the U.S. Congress. The Gadsden Purchase is highlighted in red. Strapwork Border. (Lourie 2.0)

1861 Johnson's California Territories of New Mexico and Utah.

1861 Johnson's California Territories of New Mexico and Utah.

1861 – The 1861 edition of this atlas features the first appearance of Colorado on Johnson’s map. The borders between Colorado and Utah as well as between Utah and Nevada territories are rectified along the 109th and the 116th lines of longitude, respectively. Though Arizona is identified, the Gadsden purchase shaded according to the earlier editions, and though the boundary line between New Mexico and Arizona included, the line is not highlighted as in earlier editions, suggesting that the entire region is governed full from the territorial capital in Santa Fe. This reflects the Congressional denial of Arizona’s petition for territorial status. Fillmore City remains the capital of Utah. Of particular interested here is the California – Nevada border. Nevada became a territory in 1861. The outbreak of the Civil War and the wealth of silver under Virginia City (here identified as ‘Mormon Settlement’) hastened the conferment of territorial status on Nevada. The new borders of Nevada as set in the territorial charter forced Johnson to revise his 1860 map, moving the Utah-Nevada border three degrees west to longitude 116 and the California border westward to the Sierra Nevada range. This unusual choice infringed upon California’s border charter inciting a border dispute between the two regions. The dispute was formally resolved in 1863 roughly according to the original California charter. This is the only example of Johnson’s southwest map to show Nevada’s original territorial border configuration. Strapwork border. (Lourie 3.0)

1862 – Johnson and Ward. 54-55. Strapwork border. (Lourie 4.0)

1863 Johnson's California Territories of New Mexico and Utah.

1863 Johnson's Californai Territories of New Mexico and Utah.

1863a & b – This is the scarce Civil War issue of Johnson’s California Territories of New Mexico and Utah and the second state to bear the Johnson and Ward imprint. In this state of the map Arizona, whose identification as a territory by color coding was abandoned in 1861 reappears as “Arrizona”. This reflects the 1861 invasion and conquest of Southern New Mexico by the Confederate Col. John Robert Baylor. Baylor, declaring himself “Governor” promptly granted Arizona the territorial status denied to the region by the Union government in Washington D.C. In other parts of the map various borders have been rectified. The Nevada-California border is firmly set at 120 degrees longitude and the Nevada-Utah border is set at 116 degrees. Filmore city is the capital of Utah and the route of the Pony Express can be identified in central Nevada. The U.S. Mail Route, which roughly follows Lieut. Parke’s proposed railroad route is clearly identified running through Arizona and California. This variant of the map is nearly indistinguishable from another version of the map, also published in 1863, which has printing on the verso. Strapwork border. (Laurie 5, Laurie 6 is identical on recto but features printing on verso)

1863c – Johnson and Ward. 58-59. Fretwork Border. (Laurie 7)

1863d – Johnson and Ward. 58-59. Fretwork Border. Text on verso. ( Laurie 8 )

1864 – Johnson and Ward. 66-67. Fretwork Border. Text on verso. (Laurie 1)

1865 – Johnson and Ward. 66-67. Fretwork Border. Text on verso. (Laurie 2)

1866a – Johnson and Ward. 66-67. Fretwork Border. Text on verso. (Laurie 3)

1866b – Johnson. 66-67. Fretwork Border. Text on verso. (Laurie 4)

1867 – Johnson. 67-68. Fretwork border. Text on verso. Nevada border is corrected to reflect southern extension as far as California along the 114th degree of latitude.

This work would have been impossible without the painstaking research and valuable reference provided by Ira Lourie’s website “Johnson U.S. Map Project”, http://www.johnsonmapproject.org.