Clive A. Burden LTD. Rare Maps, Antique Atlases, Books and Decorative Prints

The Mapping of North America

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Edward Wells (1667-1727) was educated at Westminster School in 1680 he won a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1686. He graduated MA in 1693 and went on to have a turbulent career in the ministry, being involved in many controversies of the time. A prolific writer, he translated several religious and secular works from Latin and Greek into English. He also wrote several scientific works on astronomy, chronology, arithmetic and geometry. It is his work on geography entitled A New Sett of Maps of Antient and Present Geography, 1700, from which this map comes. It focuses on the English plantations in North America. It is engraved by Sutton Nicholls and despite not being particularly accurate cartographically it has considerable charm. There are few detailed English maps of the colonies and most are worthy of merit.

‘The main portion of the map focuses on the region between present-day Maine and North Carolina. This region was securely English. A populated region stretching along 1,000 miles of some of the most fertile and productive coastline in North America, it was greater in size than the mother country. It is interesting to see the diffusion of towns in New England. Massachusetts, a united royal colony since 1691, could boast eighty-three towns on the tax list by 1695. It was expanding rapidly, by the end of Queen Anne’s War in 1713 a further twenty-three were on the list. Soon after the Berkshires would be settled. Extensive settlements are displayed along the Connecticut coastline and the northern shore of Long Island. New Albanie stands out on the Hudson River. The towns displayed as we travel further south all hug the coastline or major rivers. An appealingly simplistic Delaware peninsula bears all the major settlements including Baltimore. One interesting inclusion is Green Spring near Jamestown, the plantation home of the late, patriarchal Governor of Virginia Sir William Berkeley (1606?-1677). There are five inset maps displaying further English interests. That of Carolina bears an Ashley Lake feeding the May R., remnants of John Lederer cartography. Hiltons head and Charles T. are present. Another of New Scotland displays the hotly fought over territory, and its key Port Royal taken briefly by Sir William Phipps in 1690. Further insets show the three key English islands of Jamaica, Bermuda, and Barbados’ (Burden 773).

‘The map is dedicated to the young prince, the Duke of Gloucester, the son of Queen Anne. Always a sickly child, he died 29 July 1700, just a year after the main street in the newly founded capital of Williamsburg, Virginia, was named after him’ (Burden 758). There are three known states, this being an example of the more usually found second state with the plate number inserted below the cartouche. Burden (2007) nos. 758 & 773; Cumming & De Vorsey (1998) no. 130; McCorkle (2001) no. 700.9; Phillips (1909-) nos. 531, 564, 3479, 3480, 3489, 4284 & 5972; Shirley (2004) T.Well-1a no. 41; Worms & Baynton-Williams (2011).

WELLS, Edward

A New Map of the most Considerable Plantations of the English in America

London, 1700-[c.05]
350 x 480 mm., in recent wash colour and good condition.
Stock number: 7988
$ 2,950
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