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The Rare Final State  - Updates From Russian Sources

Rare third state of the so-called Lost Cook Chart of the North Pacific, originally intended to be published with the Official Account of Cook's Voyages, but which was suppressed by Alexander Dalrymple.

Originally published by William Faden and Henry Roberts in 1784 after the refusal of Alexander Dalryple to published this map as part of the official account of Cook's Third Voyage, this is the third of three states of the map, each with significant revisions and improvements reflecting important new discoveries in the region.

In the second state, information is added from the voyages of George Vancouver and Alexander MacKenzie. In this third and final state, revised by Delarochette, the chart includes new information from 18th Century Russian sources not shown on earlier editions. One interesting feature is the supposed course of the Columbia extending due north into British Columbia, as well as a proper outline of an as yet unnamed Vancouver Island (simply noted as Wakash Nation) and complete revision of the coast of British Columbia.  The Rocky Mountains are now tentatively shown, with significant updates in the internal hydrography, largely from the Hudson Bay Company sources.

The Legendary Lost Cook Chart

The first state of the so-called "Legendary Lost Chart of Captain James Cook," drafted by Henry Roberts, was published in 1784 by William Faden and involves a story of intrigue and jealousy.  The Roberts' chart illustrated in great detail the known and unknown regions along the Northern Pacific Coastlines of America and Asia, illustrating Cook's Routes in 1778 and 1779 in Red and Blue. While not specifically noted on this chart, the areas of British, Russian and Spanish Discoveries are also coded in Red (British Discoveries), Blue (Russian Discoveries) and Yellow (Spanish Discoveries). A similar coding is employed (and annotated) on the Faden edition of Henry Roberts' A General Chart Exhibiting the Discoveries made by Captn.James Cook . . ., first published in 1784

The first state of this extraordinary map was prepared by Cook's primary cartographic assistant on his third voyage, Lieutenant Henry Roberts. Roberts served as the Masters Mate on the HMS Resolution. The chart was originally prepared by Roberts for the atlas which accompanied the official account of Cook's third voyage ( A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. . . , London: 1784), but because of disputes among the editors, it was not included in the final publication of the official account.

It is now known that the plate for the Robert's chart, "a version more elaborate than that in the authorized atlas", was purchased by London map publisher William Faden and published separately. In addition to showing Cook's discoveries, the Faden-Roberts chart is the first published map to show the discoveries of Samuel Hearn in the Canadian Arctic. Hearn's journal and maps were not published until 1795.

Cook's death left the production of the expedition's findings to two camps of editors. Henry Roberts and Captain King, the authors of the charts and journals and participants in the expedition found themselves at constant odds with Alexander Dalrymple, Cook's longtime rival, Sir Joseph Banks and Lord Keppel, among others. The production process was highly contentious. As noted by Hellen Wallis:

The maps and engravings were a major source of disagreement between the editors and the committee whose proceedings seem to have become more arbitrary with the succession of Keppel as First Lord. Banks and Webber supervised the engraving of the drawings while Alexander Dalrymple (none other) "at Lord Sandwich's desire," had direction of the charts and coastal views, with the exception of the general chart. Under the sole direction of the Admiralty this was being prepared by Lieutenant Henry Roberts, who had served as master's mate in the Resolution under William Bligh.

In a report by Captain King regarding a meeting he had with Sir Joseph Banks (King letter to Dr. John Douglas on July 25, 1782), King stated:

I was received coldly, perhaps owing to my having desired the engraver of the Genl. map not to proceed with it till further enquiry should be made whether the original plan of it should be altered in the way it was by Mr .Dalrymple . . . Sir Joseph then waited on Lord Keppel . . . the consequence was that his Lordship left the entire direction of the engraving of Mr. Webbers drawings as well as of the maps to him, upon which Sir Jos. summoned Mr. Roberts to lay before him the state of the Genl. map; desired him to give the drawings to him & told him that he had nothing further to do with it; as he should make what alterations in it he pleased, & be responsible for the propriety of those alterations & for its being engraved; Mr . Roberts finds himself very strangely treated by Sir Jos. & refused for the present complying with Sir Jos. request.
Upon finding that it was the declared intention of Sir Jos & Mr. Dalrymple to introduce tracts & alterations in this Genl. map which would rest upon Mr. Dalrymples authority only & that the motives for which, were to contradict some oppinions (sic) given by C. Cook, I begged Lord Duncannon would show Lord Keppel a few lines I wrote of the state of the publication, & that I took it for granted his Lordship would not authorise any alterations in maps without my being consulted. When I sent this to Lord Duncannon I did not know of the power that Lord Keppel had given Sir Jos. The answer I received was, that Lord Keppel could not recede from the promise he had given Sir Jos. When Mr . Roberts found that I was too insignificant to be consulted in these matters, he declared he would have nothing further to do with the map, as long as it was to be altered at the pleasure of those who had used him so ill, & who even told him, that it was not to be considered as a map of his drawing.

Dalrymple and Banks won out, and Roberts' chart was replaced with the less-detailed map engraved by T. Harmar. As reported by Captain King in a letter to Douglas on December 13, 1783:

The [Dalrymple] & Sir Jos. are determined to have their Polar map & not mine, & to have none of the Hudson bay Companies discoveries inserted saying that these things are only proper in the General Chart."

As noted by Helen Wallis:

This shows that the "Chart of the NW Coast of America and NE Coast of Asia" was the design of Dalrymple in collaboration with Banks, and explains the omission of any interior details of North America and of the name King George's Sound.

Roberts' "lost chart" contains a number of place names not found on the authorized version. The Roberts chart also includes important information, which had never previously appeared in print, showing the Coppermine River (information probably suppressed for commercial reasons by the Hudson's Bay Company) and the impossibility of a Northwest Passage through Hudson's Bay to the Pacific Ocean.

It was not understood that Roberts' chart and the Faden were the same until 1985, when the British Library acquired a proof state of the map. Roberts had sold his copperplate to Faden, who published the "lost chart" a month after the publication of the official atlas. The Roberts-Faden map contains fourteen Alaskan place names not on the authorized map, including Bald Head, Cape Denbigh and Cape Darby in Norton Sound. It also shows, for the first time on any printed map, the results of Hearn's expedition in the Canadian Arctic.

In describing the Roberts chart, Cohen & Taliaferro (Catalogue 62) note:

This legendary lost chart was drawn by Henry Roberts for the authorized atlas of Cook's third voyage, but because of disputes among the editors, it was never included. It is now known that the plate for Roberts' chart, " version more elaborate than that [included] in the authorized atlas" (Campbell), was purchased by Faden and published separately.
Although a few examples of the chart were known, including one belonging to the great Americana collector, Thomas Streeter, its true importance was not recognized until 1985, when a proof copy was acquired by the British Library . . .
The Roberts-Faden chart also contains information on interior geography not included on the [official map]. The source for this information came from Samuel Hearne's c.1772 manuscript map of the Coppermine River, in the possession of the Hudson's Bay Company, and which had never before appeared in print. The Company suppressed Hearne's map to protect its interests in the north. This was important information because Hearne's map showed the impossibility of a Northwest Passage through Hudson's Bay, and it is curious that the Company had not released it to settle arguments over a point that continued to occupy public attention. . .

Revisions To The Lost Chart

A revised edition of the "lost chart" would be issued by Faden in 1794, William Faden commissioned the engraver Louis Stanislas D'Arcy de la Rochette to update Roberts' chart with new data gathered over the last decade. A note on the map states:

The Interesting Discoveries made by the British and American Ships, since the first Publication of this Chart in 1784, Together with the Hydrographical Materials, lately procured from St. Petersburg and other places, have enabled Mr. De la Rochette to lay down the Numerous Improvements which appear in the Present Edition.

The 1794 begins to build on Cook's original "lost chart' by significantly filing in details, some real, some entirely historical and contextual.  The entire coast of Alaska, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest has been completed, but in a manner which suggests a compilation of sources, including extensive additions from Russian sources and most notably the expeditions of James Colnet, whose is acknowledged in the credit reading North West Georgia of Captain Colnet 1783.  

The map includes numerous notes, many of which are attributed to explorers, such as:

  • Volcanos seen by the Spaniards in 1775
  • Islands of Ice seen by the Iphagenia iin Augsut 1788
  • Foosang of hte Chinese Navigators about 453 (AD).
  • Where Dementieff was lost with 12 men in 1741
  • Princess Royal's Islands and Straits 1788
  • Supposed Track of the American Sloop Washington in the Autumn of 1789 (reported by Meares)
  • A'Aas Toopulse or Great Sea of the Claaset Indians -- reported by Mr. Chs, Duncan in 1788
  • Great Sea of the West first indicated by Guillaume Delisle in 1697
  • Line of the Sea of the West according to [Philippe] Buache in 1752, communicating wit hthe Mishinipi (Great Water Lake ) which appears to be the Arathapescow Lake according to Mr. Dalrymple.

Similarly, further into the interior of Canada, the map is significantly augmented with information from Alexander MacKenzie and Hudson Bay Sources.

The Final State (1808)

The final state completes the dramatic improvements in the region occasioned by the race among the Spanish, Russians, Engliand and Americans to stake their claims of sovereignty to the region.  

The 1808 state benefits from numerous sources, most notably the explorations of George Vancouver , who is credited with exploring in the regions, but certainly benefits from the Bodega y Quadra expedition, with whom Vancouver exhanged considerable information over the course of several years.    

Inspite of the the remarkable improvements to the coastal features, which inlcude the appearance of most of the major islands of British Columbia and southern Alaska, the map still preserves bits of the the past.  Most notably, "R. Oregan or Columbia R.", which had already been visited by Lewis & Clark, is poorly defined and almost immediately turns due north, a curious conflation of the tributaries of the Columbia with the Fraser River.

Without question, this set of three maps, better than any others, tells the story of the exploration of the Pacific Northwest in three distinctive snapshots.

The  three maps are an essential component of a collection of the mapping of this region.

Streeter Sale VI, #3479; Wagner, Northwest Coast #700; Campbell, A Cook Mystery Solved, The Map Collector #32, p.37 (1985).
William Faden Biography

William Faden (1749-1836) was the most prominent London mapmaker and publisher of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His father, William Mackfaden, was a printer who dropped the first part of his last name due to the Jacobite rising of 1745. 

Apprenticed to an engraver in the Clothworkers' Company, he was made free of the Company in August of 1771. He entered into a partnership with the family of Thomas Jeffreys, a prolific and well-respected mapmaker who had recently died in 1771. This partnership lasted until 1776. 

Also in 1776, Faden joined the Society of Civil Engineers, which later changed its name to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. The Smeatonians operated as an elite, yet practical, dining club and his membership led Faden to several engineering publications, including canal plans and plans of other new engineering projects.

Faden's star rose during the American Revolution, when he produced popular maps and atlases focused on the American colonies and the battles that raged within them. In 1783, just as the war ended, Faden inherited his father's estate, allowing him to fully control his business and expand it; in the same year he gained the title "Geographer in Ordinary to his Majesty."

Faden also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801, a map of Kent. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts.

Faden was renowned for his ingenuity as well as his business acumen. In 1796 he was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts. With his brother-in-law, the astronomer and painter John Russell, he created the first extant lunar globe.

After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice. He died in Shepperton in 1826, leaving a large estate.