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The Mapping of North America

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MORRIS, William

Plans of the Principal Harbours, Bays, & Roads, in St. George's and the Bristol Channels, From Surveys Made Under the Direction of the Lords of the Admiralty: By the late intelligent and ingenious Hydrographer, Lewis Morris, Esq.

Shrewsbury, 1801
Quarto (305 x 220 mm.), later quarter calf, embossed titles to spine, protecting the original blue paper wrappers, with typographic title page, Dedication, Preface and List of Subscribers followed by a list of Officers in His Majesty’s Navy, Observations, pp. xii, 21, and 32 engraved charts consisting of one large folding one and 3 other folding charts, uncut, some light dampstaining, otherwise in good condition.
Lewis Morris (1701-65) from his early twenties was employed as an estate surveyor in and around Anglesey, many of which survive to this day in Bangor. In 1729 he was appointed ‘Searcher and Customs Officer’ at Beaumaris and Holyhead. It is whilst employed here that he learnt of the poor quality of the charts of the island and coastline of Wales in general. At that time mariners were relying on those of Captain Greenville Collins published in the ‘Great Britain’s Coasting Pilot’ from 1693. Although they were undoubtedly an advance at the time, they were still inadequate and inaccurate. In 1735 he proposed to the Admiralty that he undertake a large-scale survey of the Welsh coast. As is often the case he received little support. So, he began surveying the island of Anglesey in 1737 using his own funds. With the help of his old employer’s influence at the Admiralty he managed to acquire the use of a vessel in 1739 to continue the work. Still his work received no official backing for publication so, in 1748 he published the work privately.

The ‘Plans of Harbours, Bars, Bays and Roads in St. George’s Channel’ was an immediate success, there are no less than 1,247 individual subscribers listed. His son William (1758-1808) re-published the book offered here in 1801 with entirely new engraved plates. There are also some entirely new plates including one large folding one of Liverpool and Chester, and another of Dublin. The dedication to the Lords Commissioners is dated Aberystwyth, 1 June 1801. Notable names listed amongst the subscribers is Alexander Dalrymple and William Faden, the publisher who ordered 20 copies.

Evans (1964). ‘Maps of Wales and Welsh Cartographers’, in ‘Map Collectors’ Circle’ no. 13 pp. 11-12; Evans, Olwen Caradoc. (1969). ‘Marine Plans and Charts of Wales’, in ‘Map Collectors’ Circle’ no. 54 pp. 28-31 no. 102; Morris, Rear Admiral R. O. (1998). ‘Lewis Morris and his ‘Plans in St. George’s Channel”, in ‘IMCoS Journal’ no. 74 pp. 45-50; NMM 402; Robinson (1979) ‘Lewis Morris, Chartmaker Extraordinary’, in ‘The Map Collector’ no. 8 pp. 32-6; refer Shirley Atlases in the BL M.Morr 1a.
Stock number: 9764
£ 1,250
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