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

The Mapping of North America

Mr. Philip D. Burden​
P.O. Box 863,
Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks HP6 9HD,
Tel: +44 (0) 1494 76 33 13

AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE MAP in its FIRST STATE. The ‘Encouragement to Colonies’, and its map, were published to promote Sir William Alexander’s colonial desires in America. These attempts in ‘New Scotlande’ as he named it, or Nova Scotia, were ultimately unsuccessful. Unreasonably dismissed by many, this map is of great importance.

Following the destruction of the French settlements in the Bay of Fundy by Captain Samuel Argall in 1613, the English began to take an interest in the region. In November 1620, the Council for New England was founded with control of the Americas between 40 and 48 degrees north latitude, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Some forty patentees received land. In 1621 William Alexander, first Earl of Stirling (1567-1640) and a court favourite, obtained from James I (James VI of Scotland) a Royal Charter for the area east of the Ste. Croix River and the Acadian peninsula. In 1623 a meeting of the Council reduced this number to just twenty, whose names are recorded on this map for the first time. Following the unnamed war with France in 1627-29, and the Treaty of St. Germain in 1632, the English relinquished all claims to the territory that is now New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The map reflects Alexander’s Scottish interests, with many placenames having their origin in that country. Newfoundland incorporates some of John Mason’s as yet unpublished cartography, particularly of the west coast. The French colonies of Tadousac and Kebec are depicted, but none of those in Acadia. What we believe to be Prince Edward Island is recorded. This was noticeably lacking from earlier maps of the area. There are two states, the first being extremely rare. In 1625 the plate was used for Samuel Purchas’ ‘Pilgrimes’, appearing in volume four with the page numbers on the map. A second edition of ‘An Encouragement to Colonies’ was published in 1625, and later in 1630 with a new title, ‘The mapp and description of New-England’. This was published using the unsold sheets from the previous editions; hence the map still appears in its first state. The author has not located an example with the second state present’ (Burden). References: Burden (1996-2007) no. 208; Church (1907) nos. 400, 401a & 414; Kershaw (1993-98) pp. 84-5; O’Dea (1971) fig. 13; Phillips (1901) p. 465; Sabin (1868) nos. 739-40, 66686 & 91853; Sotheby’s, Ham House sale 30 May 1938 lot 5 (1624 edition); Suárez (1992) pp. 131-3.

ALEXANDER, Sir William

(No title)

London, 1624
AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE MAP in its FIRST STATE. 250 x 340 mm., with wide margins, with some repair to double folds as might be expected, light fold along the centre, otherwise in good condition.
Stock number: 9881
$ 15,950
Send us your name and email address.
We'll add you to our subscriber list and alert you to new catalogues and similar news