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A Rare Chart of Mauritius by its Surveyor General

Rare separately published sea chart of Grand Port, Mauritius, published in 1843 by the British Admiralty.

The map is based upon the surveys led by John Augustus Lloyd in 1836.

The map is centered on the Champagne River and extends north to Deer Island (ile aux Cerfs) and to Pt. Deux Cocos (Blue Bay).

Includes a town plan for Mahebourg.


OCLC locates a single example in the British Library.  We note also the copy at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

John Augustus Lloyd

John Augustus Lloyd (1800–1854), was a British engineer and surveyor, and the  youngest son of John Lloyd of Lynn, Norfolk.

Lloyd was born in London and educated in at Tooting and at Winchester, where he was taught the rudiments of science.  The peace of 1815 prevented his obtaining a commission in the army as he desired, and he was sent out to his elder brother, who was king's counsel at Tortola. There John spent his time in surveying, and acquired a knowledge of Spanish and French.

He proceeded to South America, where he served for Simon Bolivar, the liberator of Colombia, as his staff as a captain of engineers, ultimately attaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In November 1827, he was commissioned by Bolivar to survey the Isthmus of Panama and report on the best means of inter-oceanic communication. His progress was arrested by disturbances at Cartagena, where in helping to restore order he was severely wounded. He ultimately carried out the survey. Lloyd recommended a road, on the line since adopted for the Chagres and Panama railway.

Lloyd thereafter returned to England. His report on his survey appeared in ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ 1830, pp. 59–68, with supplementary information in ‘Journal of Royal Geographical Society,’ i. 69–101. In the same year he was made F.R.S. He was employed, under the joint direction of the board of admiralty and the Royal Society, in determining the difference of level in the Thames between London Bridge and the sea. His report appeared in ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ 1831, pp. 167–98.

In 1831 Lloyd went out to Mauritius, where he was appointed colonial civil engineer and surveyor-general, where he would remain for 20 years.   He arrived at Port Louis on August 31, 1831, and soon afterwards made an ascent of the Peter Botte mountain, which was previously regarded as inaccessible (see account in Journal of Royal Geographical Society, vol. iii.) During his twenty years' service in Mauritius he executed many useful public works, including a breakwater for the inner harbor, the custom house, a patent slip for vessels of six hundred tons, the colonial observatory, iron bridges, district churches, hundreds of miles of macadamised roads, and a trigonometrical survey of the island and the adjoining islets. He also compiled a new map of Madagascar, with a memoir, published in ‘Journal of Royal Geographical Society,’ vol. xx.

He left the island in April 1849, and reached Europe by way of Ceylon. He made his way to Norway, and afterwards travelled through Poland, where he was temporarily detained by the Russian authorities at Cracow. On his release he visited the Carpathians, Vienna, Tyrol, and France, and inspected the observatories en route.

Lloyd became an associate of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and served on the council. His paper communicated to the institute in 1849 on the ‘Facilities for a Ship Canal between the Atlantic and Pacific’ (see Proc. Inst. Civil Eng. ix. 58 et seq.) was awarded the Telford medal. ‘There was nothing,’ he wrote, ‘but the climate and the expense to prevent a canal being cut from one sea to the other of sufficient depth to float the largest ship in her majesty's navy’ (ib. p. 60). In 1851 Lloyd acted as special commissioner, in conjunction with Dr. (now Sir James) Lyon Playfair, in procuring specimens of the industrial products of the metropolis and manufacturing districts for the Great Exhibition, and performed his work with indefatigable industry. By way of reward he was sent as British chargé d'affaires to Bolivia. A paper which he wrote there on the famous mines of Copiapo, Chili, was communicated by Prince Albert to the Royal Geographical Society (see Journal, xxiii. 196–212). After the outbreak of war with Russia, Lloyd started on a mission to stir up the Circassians in the English interest. He was detained in the Crimea after the battle of the Alma to collect information, and died at Therapia of cholera on 10 Oct. 1854, in his fifty-fifth year. He left a widow and family. Two sons held commissions in the British army.

Lloyd was a man of immense energy and of much scientific aptitude. Besides the scientific papers already mentioned Lloyd wrote ‘Notes on Panama’ (‘Journal of Royal Geographical Society,’ i. 69–100), ‘Account of Observations at Mauritius’ (‘Astronomical Society's Monthly Notices,’ 1833–1836, iii. 186–94), ‘On Beds and Masses of Coal at a distance from the Sea in Mauritius’ (‘Geological Society's Proceedings,’ 1842, iii. 317–18), ‘Notes on Geological Formation of Round and Serpents Islands, Mauritius’ (‘Proc. Verb. Soc. Hist. Nat. de Maurice,’ 1846, pp. 155–6), ‘Report of a Journey across the Andes between Cochabamba and Chimoré’ (ib. xxiv. 259–65). A volume of ‘Papers relating to Proposals for establishing Colleges of Arts and Manufactures for the Industrial Classes’ was printed for private circulation at London in 1851, 8vo. He made many drawings of Madagascar, and charts, mostly South American. 

British Admiralty Biography

The British Admiralty has produced nautical charts since 1795 under the auspices of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (HO). Its main task was to provide the Royal Navy with navigational products and service, but since 1821 it has also sold charts to the public.

In 1795, King George III appointed Alexander Dalrymple, a pedantic geographer, to consolidate, catalogue, and improve the Royal Navy’s charts. He produced the first chart as the Hydrographer to the Admiralty in 1802. Dalrymple, known for his sticky personality, served until his death in 1808, when he was succeeded by Captain Thomas Hurd. The HO has been run by naval officers ever since.

Hurd professionalized the office and increased its efficiency. He was succeeded by the Arctic explorer Captain William Parry in 1823. By 1825, the HO was offering over seven hundred charts and views for sale. Under Parry, the HO also began to participate in exploratory expeditions. The first was a joint French-Spanish-British trip to the South Atlantic, a voyage organized in part by the Royal Society of London.

In 1829, Rear-Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort was appointed Hydrographer Royal. Under his management, the HO introduced the wind force scale named for him, as well as began issuing official tide tables (1833). It was under Beaufort that HMS Beagle completed several surveying missions, including its most famous voyage commanded by Captain FitzRoy with Charles Darwin onboard. When Beaufort retired in 1855, the HO had nearly two thousand charts in its catalog.

Later in the nineteenth century, the HO supported the Challenger expedition, which is credited with helping to found the discipline of oceanography. The HO participated in the International Meridian Conference which decided on the Greenwich Meridian as the Prime Meridian. Regulation and standardization of oceanic and navigational measures continued into the twentieth century, with the HO participating at the first International Hydrographic Organization meeting in 1921.

During World War II, the HO chart making facility moved to Taunton, the first purpose-built building it ever inhabited. In 1953, the first purpose-built survey ship went to sea, the HMS Vidal. Today, there is an entire class of survey vessels that make up the Royal Navy’s Hydrographic Squadron. The HO began to computerize their charts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, the compilation staff also came to Taunton, and the HO continues to work from there today.