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1825 Jocelyn Map of the West Indies illustrating Piracy

Map of the West Indies, and the History of Piracies Committed on American Seamen and Commerce. /  To the Gallant Officers and Seamen of the American Navy, the Protectors of our Commerce in the West India Seas this Map Is Respectfully Inscribed by the Publishers. / West Indies, from the latest and best authorities. - Main View

1825 Jocelyn Map of the West Indies illustrating Piracy


Rare Broadside Map chronicling the last resurgence in piracy in the West Indies.


Map of the West Indies, and the History of Piracies Committed on American Seamen and Commerce. / To the Gallant Officers and Seamen of the American Navy, the Protectors of our Commerce in the West India Seas this Map Is Respectfully Inscribed by the Publishers. / West Indies, from the latest and best authorities.
  1825 (dated)     20.5 x 28.5 in (52.07 x 72.39 cm)     1 : 7250000


A remarkable, separately issued, and extremely rare 1825 broadside map by Nathaniel and Simeon Smith Jocelyn of New Haven, Connecticut, responding to the last great outbreak of West Indian piracy between 1817 and 1825. It responds with gratitude to the defending American West Indies Squadron and horror at the acts of piracy in the West indies. The lengthy text along both sides expresses horror at the depredations of the West Indies pirates and gratitude to the American West Indies Squadron sent to restore order. Seamen and merchants out of Connecticut, who were then heavily invested in the West Indies trade, would have been particularly receptive to its passionate message.

The map covers all of the West Indies and the Caribbean, extending from northern Florida to the Republic of Colombia and from Guatemala and the Yucatán to the Windward Isles.  The focus is the Greater Antilles, particular the area between Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands where the cartographer as noted the presence of 'freebooters.'   The places identified in the text, Foxardo (Fujardo), Saint Thomas, and Matanzas, are noted.   Although initially the map bears some structural resemblance to the maps issued with Carey and Lea's 1823 <i>A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas</i>, it is in fact an unrelated production.  Carey and Lea's architecture of wide text filled borders clearly inspired the Jocelyn brothers, the content with regard to both the map and the surrounding text is completely unrelated.  The present broadside is also far larger.

The Return of Piracy

Until about 1817, most West Indian pirates were actually privateers, bearing Letters of Marque. These were essentially licenses to capture enemy merchant ships and confiscate their goods – an act that would otherwise have constituted piracy and called down international retribution. Letters of Marque became particularly significant and easily acquired during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), when inter-European rivalries played out in far reaching colonies and encouraged free action against enemy interests.

The Letters of Marque system had certain advantages. First, they somewhat regulated an industry that would otherwise have been chaos. Pirates like Jean Lafitte, who bore and had the right to issue Letters of Marque, were seen not as criminals, but as national heroes. Second, sized goods could be legitimately sold and trafficked in officially sanctioned marketplaces. Third, neutral parties, such as the United States, could trade freely and had no need to fear pirate attack. This had the effect of creating a huge industry, both on land and at sea, that thrived on the spoils of privateers.

This situation was not to last. From about 1810, the Spanish Empire in America began a painful process of dissolution. Rebellions throughout South America, Mexico, and the West Indies resulted in Spain loosing most of its New World territory by 1817. By that time, only two West Indian islands, Puerto Rico and Cuba, both economically and politically on the edge of collapse, remained under tenuous Spanish sovereignty. By 1816, with Napoleon defeated and Spain in a precarious position with regard to its remaining colonies, the Spanish crown stopped issuing Letters of Marque. Spanish privateers were suddenly unemployed, and Spanish colonial towns reliant on privateer trade faced financial ruin. Many former privateers, seeing little differentiation between the two, switched to outright piracy. They also made deals with the officials in small towns and markets throughout the West Indies, but particularly in Puerto Rico and the surrounding small islands, to fence their pirated goods. The change meant that no nation's shipping was off limits and the new wave of piracy threatened not only political enemies, but all West Indies trade. In response, President John Quincy Adams dispatched the U.S West Indian Squadron to defend American interests.

This map's chronology of 'piratical depredations and barbarities' against American shipping, occupying the lower margins of the map, covers attacks from 1818 to 1825, but the rise in piracy more accurately dates to about 1817. To the left and right are side panels describing the 1824 'Foxardo Affair,' and the 1822 death of Lieutenant William Howard Allen of the U.S.S. Alligator, respectively.

The Foxardo Affair

The account of the Foxardo Affair describes and supports the unsanctioned 1824 American retaliatory attack on the Puerto Rican town of Fujardo. The most active West Indian pirate was then the Criollo Roberto Cofresí y Ramírez de Arellano (June 17, 1791 - March 29, 1825). Cofresí's second-in-command, Bibián Hernández Morales, attacked the Danish colony of Saint Thomas, plundering about $5000 of goods from the American owned store of Cabot, Bailey and Company. Hearing of the attack on an American interest, Lieutenant Charles T. Platt of the West Indies Squadron embarked onboard the Beagle in pursuit of the pirates. They were unable to overtake the pirate fleet, but they were able to follow the pirates to the town of Fujardo. Dressing in plain clothes, so as not to insight an international incident, Platt made his way into town where he addressed the mayor, Francisco Caro. Caro was shown a letter by Cabot, Bailey and Company officer Juan Campos describing the robbery. Unimpressed, Caro arrested Platt and ordered a search of the Beagle. While eventually allowed to go free, Platt and the crew of the Beagle recognized the arrest and search were mere subterfuges so that the stolen booty could be moved out of Fujardo.

Back in Saint Thomas, Platt brought the issue before his commander, Commodore David Porter, a naval hero of the War of 1812 for his epic voyage in the Essex. Porter agreed that Fujardo Mayor Francisco Caro was doubtless in cahoots with Cofresí's band and was offended at his treatment of an American Naval officer. Moreover, Porter was further incensed at new intelligence that Cabot, Bailey and Company officer Juan Campos had purchased the stolen goods – suggesting that he was in fact a double agent in league with Caro and Cofresí.

Porter launched an unsanctioned punitive expedition against Fujardo with a flotilla that included the John Adams, the Grampus and the Beagle. Arriving in Fajardo on November 14, 1824, Porter demanded an explanation from the mayor and threatened the town with 'total destruction' if ignored. Taking his demand for an attack, the Spanish officials at Fujardo began arming their cannons. In turn, Porter, believing he was about to be bombarded, ordered his marines to take the battery and proceed towards town, which he found heavily defended. Both sides recognized that they were close to precipitating an international diplomatic incident. To prevent potential war between the United States and Spain, the Mayor of Fujardo and his officers apologized to Porter, Platt, and the American Navy in general.

The American ambassador in Saint Thomas was aghast at Porter's unsanctioned action and, attempting to prevent war, placed him under court martial. The Spanish officials, for their part, recognized the Caro and Campos' complicity with El Pirata Cofresí, and removed them from their offices. War was narrowly avoided.

In the United States, particularly in Connecticut, Porter's actions were admired as a heroic defense of American business interests in the West Indies. With six years of vicious piracy behind them, and the American government seemingly incapable or unwilling to take decisive actions to defend American shipping, Porter appealed as an unfairly maligned hero. As described on this map,
…our countrymen have fully maintained their character for good conduct; and from the ardor and enthusiasm manifested by everyone to share the anticipated dangers of the expedition, there is little reason to doubt that, had they met a worthy foe, new laurels would be added to those which already flourish in perennial verdure around the brows of the gallant officer who commanded the expedition.
The Death of Captain Allen

The text to th right of the map details events related to the death of American West Indian Squadron Lieutenant William Howard Allen (July 8, 1790 - November 9, 1822),), commander of the schooner USS <i>Alligator</i>.   When Allen arrived in Havana in November of 1822, he received intelligence that a gang of pirates had captured merchant vessels and American citizens in the Bay of Le Juapo, near Matanzas, Cuba. He immediately set out to rescue the hostages and bring the pirates to justice. In the ensuing battle, wherein the pirates were defeated, the hostages rescued, and the captured ships liberated, Allen received mortal wounds and died shortly thereafter.

Allan was a war hero from his actions in the War of 1812, and a gentleman of respectable means from Hudson New York.  His death captured the imagination of the nation, particularly in the Northeast. In his home town of Hudson New York, crowded city hall meetings and town-wide eulogy services were held. His remains were repatriated to the United Sates on the Grampus which, moored in the Hudson River, gave the hero's funerary procession to Hudson a cannon salute.

Allen's death focused American attention outbreak in piracy in the West Indies, forcing the government into more decisive action. Shortly after the incident, Secretary of the Navy Smith Thompson authorized Commodore Porter to procure new vessels for the squadron and ordered an expansion of American naval presence in the area. Allen's sacrifice was the beginning of the end of Caribbean piracy.

The Last Caribbean Pirate

During the period addressed by the timeline on this map, the most active Caribbean pirate was the afore mentioned Roberto Cofresí y Ramírez de Arellano, better known as El Pirata Cofresí. Cofresí and his men were responsible for many of the acts of piracy referenced on this chart. A rather unique character, Cofresí was born into a noble criollo family in Puerto Rico that had been hit hard by the destabilization of Spain's American empire. With little to lose, Cofresí turned to piracy, was most active from about 1820, and gained a Robin Hoodlike reputation.  He also focused his piratical acts on foreign and international shipping, avoiding and generally not harming criollos like himself. Despite the success of the American West Indian Squadron, which by 1825 had significantly reduced piracy in the region, Cofresí remained active and elusive – the last substantial pirate threat in the Caribbean. An international manhunt ensued and Cofresí's flotilla, led by the Anne, was finally captured. Cofresí was sent to trial in San Juan wherein he was declared guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad. Cofresí's last words were reportedly, 'I have killed hundreds with my own hands, and I know how to die. Fire!'

With the capture of the Anne and Cofresí's execution, piracy declined throughout the West Indies. The last pirate attack identified on this map's catalog is in March of 1825, the very month that Cofresí was captured and executed. His death marked the end of an era and he is considered to be the last successful Caribbean pirate.

Unusual Printing Technique

An unusual two stage printing technique was used to produce the map. Iis printed on woven paper, as one would expect from the period. The central map and the surrounding text blocks were printed separately. The map itself is a lithograph, thus one of the earliest examples of American lithography – which is no surprise given that the printer, Converse, controlled one of the largest and most advanced printing operations in the United States. The surrounding text and the outer border, which are slightly skewed from the central map, are printed in letterpress, probably setup as a single large printing block. The map was engraved by activists Simeon Smith Jocelyn and Nathaniel Jocelyn under the imprint of N. and S. S. Jocelyn. It was published by Monson and Company and printed by Sherman Converse, both of New Haven, Connecticut. We have provided biographies for both Jocelyn brothers and Converse, but of Monson, we have found no trace. It may be significant that Converse grew up in the town of Monson, Massachusetts, and studied at the Monson Academy, so perhaps there is a yet to be determined connection.


This separate issue broadside map is extremely rare. We find no record of another having appeared on the antiquarian market and are aware of but three other surviving examples, at Yale University, the Connecticut Historical Society, and the University of Texas at Arlington. 


Nathaniel Jocelyn (January 31, 1796 – January 13, 1881) was an American abolitionist, painter, engraver, and businessman based in New Haven Connecticut, New York, and Savannah. He was the older brother of abolitionist Simeon Smith Jocelyn. Jocelyn was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to clockmaker and engraver Simeon Jocelin and Luceanah Smith. He studied horology with his father and alter took up drawing, engraving, and oil painting under the tutelage of Geroge Munger. The two published a joint print under the imprint of Jocelin and Munger in 1813. In 1817, Nathaniel moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where helped set up the Hartford Graphic and Bank Note Engraving Company. In 1820, he relocated to Savannah Georgia where he pursued his passion for portraiture. He remained in Georgia until 1822, at which point he returned to New Haven to work with his brother, Simeon Smith Jocelyn (November 21, 1799 – August 17, 1879). The brothers founded the N. and S. S. Jocelyn Publishing Company. Initially the brothers focused on engraving and printing Nathaniel's drawings, but later they became involved in larger scale commercial printing. In 1823, they published, along with family friend Jedediah Morse, an Atlas of the United States. The firm remained active until the 1830s. In 1843, he moved to New York where he ran a portrait studio until 1847. He then engraved for a time at the firm of Toppan, Carpenter and Co. before founding the National Bank Note Engraving Company which he managed until the end of the Civil War. Following the war, he once again turned his attentions to painting and art, working as the Italian Art curator at the newly established Yale Art School. He died in New Haven. Learn More...

Simeon Smith Jocelyn (November 21, 1799 - August 17, 1879) was an American abolitionist, reverend, engraver, businessman, and publisher active in New Haven Connecticut. He is the younger brother of the well-known painter Nathaniel Jocelyn. Simeon studied theology at Yale and there became involved in the abolitionist movement. He was part of an effort to charter a 'Negro College' in New Haven, a plan that was ultimately rejected by the city council. He also worked as the reverend of a New Haven African American congregation. In 1822, his brother Nathaniel Jocelyn, returned to New Haven and together they founded the N. and S. S. Jocelyn Publishing Company. Initially the brothers focused on engraving and printing Nathaniel's drawings, but later they became involved in larger scale commercial printing. In 1823, they published, along with family friend Jedediah Morse, an Atlas of the United States. The firm remained active until the 1830s. In 1839, Simeon was active in the support of the African slaves who in 1839 revolted aboard the Spanish ship La Amistad. He convinced Nathaniel to paint a now famous 1840 portrait of Joseph Cinqué (Sengbe Pieh), leader of the Amistad revolt. Although there is no clear record, Simeon have moved to New York later in life, where he died and was interred at Brooklyn's Evergreens Cemetery. Learn More...

Sherman Converse (April 17, 1790 – December 10, 1873) was an American printer, publisher, and bookseller active in New Haven, Connecticut, in the early 19th century. Converse was born in Thompson, Connecticut. He studied at Monson Academy and was the first from that school to attend Yale College, from which he graduated in 1813. On March 4 of 1817 he acquired the Connecticut Journal, which he published until 1826. He also published the American Journal of Science and Arts (1820 – 1826), the Christian Spectator (1821 – 1825), Swift's Digest of Connecticut Laws, (1822 – 1823), and the first edition of Noah Webster's Dictionary (1828). He was additionally the official printer for Yale College from 1819 – 1825. His cartographic work is limited, but he did partner with fellow Yale graduate Jedidiah Morse (1761 – 1826) and his brother Richard Morse (1795 – 1868) to publish the 1823 New Universal Gazetteer. He also published an important anti-piracy broadside and map with N and S.S. Jocelyn in 1825. He sold the interest in most of his Connecticut enterprises in 1826 and relocated to New York City, establishing there a book and publishing company. From 1838 to 1844 lived in Quebec to be closer to his son, George Sherman Converse (1828 - 1895), who was studying there. In 1850, he acquired a severe rheumatic disorder which left him an invalid for the remainder of this days. He lived with his son in Boston Highlands, Massachusetts from 1863 until his death in 1873. Learn More...


Very good.


OCLC 56725040. Connecticut Historical Society, 1963.99.0. Yale University, Beinecke Library, 85 1825A.