Connecting Baltimore to Pittsburg By Water
Rare folding map of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, illustrating the work of the Commissioners appointed in December 1822 to survey the route of a Canal which would connect the Susquehanna River with the City of Baltimore.
Published by Fielding Lucas Jr. in Baltimore, this rare map illustrates at its center the proposed Canal to Baltimore, along with the broader region north to Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and west to Ohio. Not only is the primary canal show, two other shorter canals are shown further west, to illustrate the prospects for connecting Pittsburg an Baltimore via the Juniata River. A table at the top left explains the distances of the canals illustrated on the map.
The map illustrates not only the canals, but the principal roads in the region, as a means of illustrating to legislators the current system of wagon roads over which commerce was flowing to Baltimore. The competing Canal, which connected the headwaters of Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay are also shown, illustrating the competitive advantage which Philadelphia would gain and which would bypass Baltimore. Further north, the "Grand Canal of New York" is shown.
The map is incorporated into a rare pamphlet, entitled Report By The Maryland Commissioners on A Proposed Canal From Baltimore To Conewago, published in Baltimore by Fielding Lucas Jr. The commissions work and this map were done two years before the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal was started and five years before work began on the Chesapeake and Potomac Canal, during a period of intense interest in canal building.
Interest in the creation of a Canal to service Baltimore dates to back to 1783, when the General Assembly of Maryland granted a charter "The Proprietors of the Susquehanna Canal" to build a canal from tide water to Love Island, just south of the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. Construction was completed in 1803, but the venture failed to gain support from Pennsylvania and was a commercial failure. In the early 1820s, several new canal ventures, including the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Potomac Canal threatened to hurt Baltimore's commercial interests. As a result, a new venture on the Susquehanna was launched in 1822, to connect the Susquehanna to Baltimore, as described in this pamphlet.
The map and pamphlet are rare. This is the first example we have seen on the market.
The last example of the pamphlet to appear in a dealer catalog was Goodspeed's in 1960. The last example at auction was Anderson Galleries in 1914.
Fielding Lucas, Jr. (1781-1854) was a prominent American cartographer, engraver, artist, and public figure during the first half of the 19th century.
Lucas was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia and moved to Philadelphia as a teenager, before settling in Baltimore. There he launched a successful cartographic career. Lucas's first atlas was announced in early- to mid-1812, with production taking place between September 1812 and December of 1813, by which point the engravings were complete. Bound copies of the atlas -- A new and elegant general atlas: Containing maps of each of the United States -- were available early in the next year, beating Carey to market by about two months. Lucas later published A General Atlas Containing Distinct Maps Of all the known Countries in the World in the early 1820s.