Second edition of Bowen's spectacular Arctic and sub-Arctic map, showing excellent detail around Hudson Bay, Greenland, Spitzbergen & NE Coast of Europe & Asia.
The second edition has been revised to include the tracks of a number of early explorers, including Hudson, James, Jurd, Willoughby, Barentsz, and Wardhus. Shows Northeast passage and the discoveries of many early explorers.
The map appeared at the height of the so-called Dobbs-Middleton controversy and includes the following note:
It may be proper to Inform the Curious, that in laying down the Geography of Hudson's Bay, and the Neighbouring Coasts &c We have consulted, and in some respects followed Capt. Middleton's Draught; But more particular that of Capt.Smith's and the Officer of the Furnance Sloop and Discovery Pink from 57 degrees to 67 North Latitude. We have also perused and derived some assistance from a chart of these parts lately published, Dedicated to Arthur Dobbs. The Authorities here referred to, are ye most authentick yet Extant; but the publick is in great Expectation of New Discoveries from the Expedition of the Dobbs Galley and the California which passed by Yarmouth the 31st of May 1746 under convoy of Loo of 40 Guns, on their Voyage to Discover the N.W. passage by Hudson's Streits.
Bowen's text goes on to argue the circumstantial evidence favoring the existence of the Northwest Passage and provides a brief account of the information reported from the Spanish Admiral De Font, who had reported contact with a Boston Whaler which had traded far to the east of the coastline along the Northwest Coast of America and along the supposed course of the Northwest Passage. Bowen concludes with an admonition that if the current explorations launched in 1746 fail, the next attempt should be from the west, which should prove less difficult.
That there is a North West Passage to the South Sea, and so to China and the East Indies, is more than probable from the following consideration. That the Western Coast of Hudson's Bay abounds with Islands having many large openings between them, such as Rankin Inlet, Whale Cove, Hopes Bay or Inlet &c. In some of these and in Pistol Bay the Hudson's Bay Company trade Annually for the Finn and Oil taken by the Natives to the Westward of these openings. From Whales which must come from the Western or South Sea; because it is agreed on all hands that there are no Whales in Hudson's Bay, but that they have been known to come in at Wager's Straits, &c. with every Tide of Flood. This conjecture is confirmed by the Spanish Admiral De Fontes who by order of his Court made a Voyage from the South Sea to intercept any European Ships that should attempt a passage this way, after leaving his Ship at Anchor went in his Boat very near these Openings, and there met with and went on board a Boston Ship commanded by Capt. Shapley and Mr. Gibbons, who were Trading Furs in these parts. Therefore if the present Attempt 1746 made for the Parliamentary Reward of 20,000 L should fail, tis worth considering whether a Voyage made by Cape Horn would not sooner determine this matter, for tho tis a long way round, yet the Probability of Success is much greater, as the desirable Passage, if any, will certainly show its self more naturally on the West Side.
A remarkable map, reflecting the active search for the Northwest Passage nearly 100 years before its final discovery by Maclure.
Emanuel Bowen (1694?-1767) was a British engraver and print seller. He was most well-known for his atlases and county maps. Although he died in poverty, he was widely acknowledged for his expertise and was appointed as mapmaker to both George II of England and Louis XV of France. His business was carried on by his son, Thomas Bowen. He also trained many apprentices, two of whom became prominent mapmakers, Thomas Kitchin and Thomas Jeffreys.