Important English Wall Map of North America
One of the earliest large-scale English maps of North America, incorporating the best available French and English sources.
The map represents the first significant British attempt to consolidate new information about the North America, largely by consolidating the information from Guillaume De L'Isle's landmark maps Carte du Mexique et de la Floride and Carte de la Canada. Senex improves upon this work with a fine depiction of the Great Lakes region and the most accurate definition of the lower Mississippi River and its delta by an English cartographer of the period.
Sir William Phipps's discovery of Spanish wrecks off the coast of the Caicos and Southern Bahamas is noted. Senex also extended the map's coverage to the Canadian Arctic and the Terra Incognita above Baffin's Bay. Present-day Oklahoma and Texas are part of La Floride, considered at the time to be a possession of the French. The Red River and the Indian villages of east Texas are portrayed accurately, but Senex, following De L'Isle, incorrectly placed many Texas rivers, in addition to depicting some strange and unrecognizable names.
Several of the most important and controversial cartographic discoveries of the period are discussed at length, including Lahontan's mythical Longue River and the Salt Lake east of the Country of the Mozeemleck's, both of which are also depicted in remarkable (albeit fanciful) detail.
Lahontan's Longue River originated from the French nobleman and adventurer Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, Baron de Lahontan and the publication of the narrative of his travels and explorations in North America in 1703. One of the most interesting inclusions was a map featuring a mythical westward-flowing river called the Longue River. This body of water was allegedly located in the uncharted territories west of the Great Lakes. According to Lahontan, the Longue River flowed from the west, originating from a range of mountains where precious stones and metals could be found, a proposition that ignited the exploratory interest of many. The river's existence was widely debated during the 18th century, serving as a tantalizing possibility for the elusive Northwest Passage. Despite the lack of empirical evidence supporting its existence, the Longue River appeared on numerous maps for nearly a century until it was conclusively disproven by expanding western exploration and cartographic knowledge. Lahontan's Longue River is now considered one of the most intriguing cartographic myths in North American history, symbolizing the period's blend of exploration, imagination, and misinformation.
The second myth, the East Salt Lake of the Country of the Mozeemleck's, found its origin in the 18th century. This mythical lake was believed to be east of the lands inhabited by the Mozeemleck, a fictitious Native American tribe. This geographical feature was typically depicted as a large body of water connected to a network of rivers, flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. The existence of this lake was predicated on tales of abundant resources, namely salt and other minerals. This map myth was largely propagated by the works of cartographers who relied heavily on secondhand accounts from explorers, traders, and native tribes. Combined with the Lahontan's Longue River, the pair offered marvelous prospect for a water course through the Northe American continent. Much like Lahontan's Long River, the East Salt Lake persisted on maps until further explorations could disprove its existence.
The map has 5 currently recognized states:
- Stevens & Tree 61a. "By John Senex, Cha. Price & John Maxwell, Geographers 1710".
- Unrecorded state. "By John Senex and John Maxwell Geographers 1710".
- Stevens & Tree 61a*. "By John Senex F. R. S. 1710". Price & Maxwell's name deleted from the title. No Imprint beneath the scales in the bottom left corner. (1710)
- Stevens & Tree 61b. "By John Senex F. R. S. 1710". Price & Maxwell's name deleted from the title. Imprint added, "Printed for T. Bowles 1710." (1710)
- Stevens & Tree 61c. Includes the imprint of T. Bowles, J. Bowles & Robert Sayer. [1750 ca]
John Senex (1678-1740) was one of the foremost mapmakers in England in the early eighteenth century. He was also a surveyor, globemaker, and geographer. As a young man, he was apprenticed to Robert Clavell, a bookseller. He worked with several mapmakers over the course of his career, including Jeremiah Seller and Charles Price. In 1728, Senex was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, a rarity for mapmakers. The Fellowship reflects his career-long association as engraver to the Society and publisher of maps by Edmund Halley, among other luminaries. He is best known for his English Atlas (1714), which remained in print until the 1760s. After his death in 1740 his widow, Mary, carried on the business until 1755. Thereafter, his stock was acquired by William Herbert and Robert Sayer (maps) and James Ferguson (globes).