BELLIN, JACQUES NICOLAS Ville de Manathe ou Nouvelle-Yorc. [Paris: circa 1764]. Hand-colored engraved map, with Tome...
[Paris: circa 1764]. Hand-colored engraved map, with "Tome I, No. 33" at upper right. Neat lines 10 1/4 x 1/4 inches; framed. Evenly toned, tipped to card at upper corners with offset from mounting, the left edge irregular but with ample margin.
A scarce and important French map of the tip of Manhattan, first published in in Bellin's 1764 Petit Atlas Francois but copied directly from an inset on Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin's 1693 manuscript map of the island. At the time of Franquelin's plan, the English were at war with France and extremely fearful of an attack on the fort at Manhattan which could jeopardize the entire colony - thus Franquelin's map was made under a shroud of secrecy and it is believed that a French privateer named John Reaux, a recently naturalized citizen of New York, aided in its creation as a spy. The city is here presented as quite formidable: the fortress is enclosed and shown with a battery facing the Hudson, the town is insulated from the water by a large port with a surrounding wharf, and walled areas with several batteries protect the shoreline. In actuality, the fort and surrounding batteries were often in a state of disrepair and the wharf and surrounding walls much less forbidding than depicted - but perhaps the strength suggested by Franquelin's map discouraged a French attack. Astonishingly, it seems there were no other printed plans of the city available to the French in the decades between 1693 and 1764. Thus, this map as printed in 1764 "is therefore the earliest printed plan of the city acquirable by the collector today" (Augustyn & Cohen). The map is rare with ABPC and Rare Book Hub listing only two copies sold in 20 years. Manhattan in Maps 1527-1995, p. 50.
C Property of a New York Collector
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