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A Chart of the West Coast of Newfoundland: surveyed by order of Commodore Palliser, Governor of Newfoundland, Labradore [sic] &c. &c
London: Published by Permission ... by James Cook, printed for R. Sayer & J. Bennett, 10 May 1770 [but printed 1775]. Copper engraving on three joined sheets. Good condition. 21 5/8 x 69 1/2 inches (joined). A spectacular chart from the survey that launched the career of Captain James Cook. This fine and large map of Newfoundland appeared in the first part of the North American Pilot, the most thorough and detailed mapping of the Canadian territory ceded to Great Britain at the end of the French and Indian war. Following the war, surveys of the region were immediately ordered, as the waterways were deemed of vital economic importance to the inland fur trade. Selected for the task were James Cook and Michael Lane. "On 19 April 1763 James Cook, Master R.N.. was ordered by the Admiralty to proceed to Newfoundland 'in order to your taking a survey of the Parts of the Coasts and Harbours of that Island'" (Tooley & Skelton, p.177). His appointment would have been based, in no small part, on the glowing endorsement of his commanding officer, who had written to the Admiralty in December 1762 "that from my experience of Mr. Cook's genius and capacity, I think him well fitted for the work he has undertaken, and for greater undertakings of the same kind." Cook started by surveying the northwest stretch of coastline in 1763 and 1764, then in 1765 and 1766 the south coast between Cape Ray and the Burin Peninsula, and in 1767 the west coast. Cook's work in the region allowed him to master the art of practical surveying and navigation, bringing his name to the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society at a crucial moment in his career. Summoned to depart on what would prove to be the first of his three great voyages to the Pacific, the survey of Newfoundland and southern Labrador was finished by Michael Lane between 1768 and 1773. Their charts were first published in 1769 (under the title A Collection of Charts, but containing only 10 maps); in 1775, they were republished with additions by Jefferys within the first part of the North American Pilot. "The charting of Newfoundland and southern Labrador by Cook, in the years 1763-7, and by his successor Michael Lane, in 1768-73, was unequalled, for thoroughness and method, by any previous hydrographic work by Englishmen; and it produced the first charts of this extensive and difficult coastline that could (in the words of a later hydrographer) 'with any degree of safety be trusted by the seaman'" (Skelton & Tooley). For Cook, his accomplishment led directly to his being commissioned to the Endeavor, launching his reputation as the greatest maritime explorer of his age, and perhaps of all time. Skelton & Tooley, "The Marine Surveys of James Cook in North America" 13.XVI in Tooley, The Mapping of America
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-08-01           Check availability:      Biblio    

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