Rare sea chart of West Papua, New Guinea, Waigeo, Pulau Raja, Pulau Sanjang, Pulau Aju, etc., published by Laurie & Whittle in London, based upon the surveys under the command of Captain Robert Williams aboard the Thames (1796 - 1797) and Captain Michael Hogan aboard the Marquis Cornwallis (1796).
This finely executed sea chart illustrates the most up to date information for Dampiers Strait and the region to the northwest of Papua, New Guinea. The inset at upper left is a map showing the track of the Marquis Cornwallis, between the isles of Pigeon and Augusta, in Dampiers Strait.
This region was of great importance to the East India Company and the important spice trade. The chart was designed for use by ships trading in the East Indies. The routes of many explorers are identified, including Dampier, Forrest, Bougainville, Walton, Hogan, and the ships Warwick and Cornwallis.
Captain Michael Hogan was the commander of the The Marquis Cornwallis. Hogan left Cork, Ireland, on August 9, 1795, to transport Irish convicts to New South Wales. On September 9, as the ship neared Cape Verde Islands, Hogan learned of a plot by some of the convicts and soldiers to seize the ship. Hogan acted swiftly. Between forty and fifty convicts were flogged and two guards were imprisoned. Seven of the convicts and one of the guards died of wounds. The ship arrived in Sydney, on February 11, 1796. Because of an enquiry into the mutiny, Hogan was obliged to stay in Sydney for three months. The ship left Sydney on May 15, 1796, reaching England on 24 July, 1797.
Hogan was aided by Henry Moor, who served as chartmaker during the time when the present charts were made. Moor came to Sydney as Master of the Reliance in 1795. He later captained several ships including the Montgomery, Fortune and Wansted. He joined the Marquis Cornwallis in Sydney on March 26, 1796, and disembarked at Calcutta on October 2, 1796. He later published ' Sailing directions to accompany a new Chart of the Molluccas and Eastern Islands: together with separate plans ... surveyed, in the course of two years and six months stations in those seas, by Henry Moor, assisted by V.V. Ballard', 1801.
Captain Robert Williams' account of his observations on the Straits of New Guinea, Dampier's Strait, Pitt's Passage, Sandalwood Island, the Straits of Flores, etc., was published in James Huddart's The Oriental Navigator, Or, New Directions for Sailing to and from the East Indies, China and New Holland &c &c &c . . ., during his expedition into the region aboard the Thames.
Richard Holmes Laurie (1777-1858) was the son of mezzotint engraver Robert Laurie, who had taken over Robert Sayer's publishing house with James Whittle in 1794. Richard Holmes Laurie joined in a partnership with Whittle when his father retired in 1812. The name of the firm then switched from Laurie & Whittle to Whittle & Laurie. Whittle died in 1818, leaving Richard Holmes to continue publishing alone as R. H. Laurie.
When the Hydrographic Office opened in 1795, it was tasked with creating and producing all the nautical charts for the Royal Navy so as to wean the Navy off dependence on foreign charts. By the 1820s, private publishers were augmenting HO charts and competing with them, including Richard Holmes Laurie. Richard gave up publishing anything except nautical materials by 1830. He also sold charts to Trinity House, the lighthouse and maritime safety fraternity. He died in 1858.
The firm continued to print under the name R.H. Laurie even after 1858. Later, the firm was managed by Laurie’s draughtsman, Alexander George Findlay, and, later, Daniel and William Kettle.
James Whittle (1757-1818) was a British engraver and map printer. Whittle was employed by Robert Sayer (ca. 1725-1794). Together with Robert Laurie (1755?-1836), he took on Sayer’s business when the older man died in 1794. The two traded together as Laurie & Whittle until 1812, when Laurie retired. They had specialized in sea charts and maritime atlases. Whittle then partnered with Laurie’s son, Richard Holmes Laurie, until he died in 1818.