FIRST STATE. A very rare sea chart from the ‘English Pilot Fourth Book’, in its first state dated 1731. A legend on Emanuel Bowen’s map entitled ‘A New Chart of the Vast Atlantic Ocean’ published in the ‘London Magazine’, 1740, credits ‘particularly Capt. Southacks Accurate Survey of ye Coasts of N. England … published 1731 which gives Nova Scotia or Acadia quite a New form’. This refers to Cyprian Southack’s original eight-sheet ‘New England Coasting Pilot’ published just prior to this. That landmark unobtainable work is the first marine atlas published in America.
Cyprian Southack (1662-1745) was a sea captain based in Boston, a privateer and mapmaker. He fought in several campaigns against the French, took part in various diplomatic missions and was even a salvager. Of his mapmaking activities, little is known. His first known is a chart of the St. Lawrence River produced for the ill-fated campaign against Quebec of 1711. No copies survive. A copper plate chart of North America was printed in Boston, 1717, of which only the JCB example survives of the first state.
Southack’s eight-sheet ‘New England Coasting Pilot’ was a big improvement over available material at the time. Its impact was such that it was reduced immediately for inclusion in ‘The English Pilot. Fourth Book’. It is not known if Southack authorised or undertook the work. This was the dominant sea atlas of the America’s published intermittently from 1689. The ‘reduction’ itself is a large two-sheet folding map and first included in the edition of 1732. From the 1749 edition, the date 1731 was removed from the chart. The map extends from New York to the tip of the Island of Breton and includes a large inset chart of Boston Harbour. The whole is finished with a fine ornate title cartouche lower right. Provenance: acquired from a London Gallery in 2002. References: Baynton-Williams ‘The Charting of New England’ in the MapForum.com no. 2, checklist no. 83; refer Le Gear’s ‘The New England Coasting Pilot of Cyprian Southack’ (Imago Mundi no. XI, pp. 137-144; McCorkle ‘New England’ no. 731.1; Phillips ‘List of Maps of America’ p. 469; Sellers and Van Ee, ‘Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies’ no. 201 (later state).