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Philippe Buache Responds To Errors In Popple's Map of the British Colonies.

Scarce map of the coast of Southern Newfoundland and part of Nova Scotia by Philippe Buache in 1736, as part of his critique of the accuracy of Henry Popple's map of 1733. This is one of a set of four maps illustrating Buache's arguments.

One of the other 4 maps superimposes Henry Popple's version of the same section of coast for his Map of the British Empire in America of 1733, printed in blue and red, respectively,

The map is described in an article published in 1736 in the Memoires de l'Academies des Sciences de l'Institut de France in 1736 (p141-142). The article translates as follows:


M. Buache presented to the Academy in1736 a map of Southern shores of the island of Newfoundland, of the Isle Royale, of the part of the Grand-banc where fishing for cod is taking place, and of all the coasts, islands and seas between the 43rd and the 49th degree of North latitude, and the 49th and 64th degrees of western longitude of Paris. This map is part of that which had been given in England by Mr. Popple three years before; but it was very different in this same part, by a prodigious number of corrections which entirely changed the positions. These are the changes which Mr. Buache gives us this year, in a manner as abridged as it is instructive, by drawing on the Map of 173t or on another very similar one, the line of all the corresponding positions of the map of M Popple, whom he distinguished by engraving, and, what is perhaps new in Geography, by the color printed with the map itself. We see here at a glance what a long speech would barely explain. Mr. Popple has made all these countries much further Western than the other Maps given before him, all the Dutch Maps, and more than they really ought to be. For example, he has placed Cape Raz about 8 degrees 20 minutes or 120 leagues further west than it is in the first, and 4 degrees only 10 minutes or 60 leagues further than that fixed by Buache according to his examination of it. Such a variance in the location of so important a point in the navigation of this part of America, must engage the Navigators to determine it with fury, and at the same time show the necessity; to check the position by good astronomical observations. The same can be said of Cape Breton in Isle Royale, and some other points of entry to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The position of Isle de Sable, more famous for the shipwrecks made there than remarkable for its size, differs from that of Mr. Popple only by about 1 degree 20 minutes. Thus we see that this general transport of Lands and Seas to the West beyond their real location, in relation to the Lopes of Europe, varies here infinitely in its parts, and thus became more difficult explain.

The map is rare on the market.

Philippe Buache Biography

Philippe Buache (1700-1773) was one of the most famous French geographers of the eighteenth century. Buache was married to the daughter of the eminent Guillaume Delisle and worked with his father-in-law, carrying on the business after Guillaume died. Buache gained the title geographe du roi in 1729 and was elected to the Academie des Sciences in the same year. Buache was a pioneering theoretical geographer, especially as regards contour lines and watersheds. He is best known for his works such as Considérations géographiques et physiques sur les découvertes nouvelles dans la grande mer (Paris, 1754).