The Earliest Obtainable Map of New Jersey.
Rare early map of New Jersey by John Seller, oriented with west at the top . Burden speculates that the map was originally issued separately, prior to the publication of the Atlas Maritimus.
The map is based upon the second state of Seller's separately published A Mapp of New Jarsey, published circa 1675. Seller's map was conceived by William Penn shortly after the formation of the colony as a promotional aid for promoting early settlement. Seller's map was issued prior to Quintipartite Deed of 1676. Seller relies heavily on Augustine Hermann's map of 1673 for his treatment in the southern regions of the map and upon Visscher's Novi Belgii map (1651) for the northern regions.
The map also provides excellent large scale treatment of New York Harbor, based upon an unknown source. Early names include Staten Island, Conny [Coney] Island, Manhatt(an), Hudson River and Sandy Hook.
We are not aware of another example appearing on the market in several decades.
John Seller was one of the most notable map and instrument makers in England in the late-seventeenth century. He was especially known for the sea charts, many of which featured in his influential English Pilot and Atlas Maritimus. Seller was born in London in 1632. His father was a cordwainer and John was apprenticed to Edward Lowe, of the Merchant Taylors’ Company. He was made free of that company in 1654. Later, he also was made a brother of the Clockmakers’ Company, which housed several instrument makers. He started business as a compass maker but expanded his offering to include navigational instruments and charts.
Seller’s career was halted temporarily, and fantastically, when he was tried for high treason in 1662. He was accused of involvement in a plot led by Thomas Tonge. While Seller likely only unwisely repeated rumors, he was convicted. The other conspirators, who did admit some degree of guilt, were executed, but Seller maintained his innocence and, via insistent petitions, he eventually secured his release from Newgate Prison.
This episode did not seem to slow Seller’s rise too much, however. Seller was granted a royal license to publish English-language maritime atlases. This gave him a near-monopoly and led to his being named hydrographer to the King in 1671. Although the point of the project was to produce English charts of Dutch dominance and bias, Seller ended up using many Dutch plates as his base material. The first volume of The English Pilot was published in 1671, followed by more volumes as well as The Coating Pilot (1672) and the Atlas Maritimus (1675). Seller was commercially successful, but some of his projects required further support. The English Pilot was eventually taken over by John Thornton and William Fisher, for example, and his proposed English atlas only produced maps of six counties.
Seller’s sons, John and Jeremiah, followed in their father’s profession. Seller also apprenticed several promising young men, including Charles Price, with whom his sons partnered. Through Price, Seller can be seen as the founding figure of an important group of London mapmakers that included Price, John Senex, Emanuel Bowen, Thomas Kitchin, and Thomas Jefferys.