POPPLE, Henry (d.1743)
A Map of the British Empire in America with the French, Spanish and the Dutch Settlements adjacent thereto ...
Amsterdam: Covens and Mortier, [ca. 1742]. Hand-coloured copper-engraved map on four sheets, joined, 46 by 41 inches. Handsomely framed in a gold frame.
A primary map of North America.
Henry Popple produced this map under the auspices of the Lord Commissioners of Trade and Plantations to help settle disputes arising from the rival expansions of English, Spanish and French colonies. "France claimed not only Canada, but also territories drained by the Mississippi and its tributaries - in practical terms, an area of half a continent" (Goss). The thrust of British mapmaking after 1718 was to establish her presence cartographically on the French. Hence the title "The British Empire in America..." Nevertheless, in making the map, Popple used the best available geographical information: Colonel Barnwell's map of the southeast; De L'Isle's Carte de la Louisiane; Cadwallader Colden's map of the Iroquois nations, and seems to have come up with a map that did not please imperialistic British viewers as much as it did those who only wanted an accurate depiction. The result is a vast map of North America never before delineated in such detail, and a source of delight and intrigue to this day. Babinksi notes that George Washington owned a copy of the key map (Popple's abbreviated version) and Benjamin Franklin ordered two copies for the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1746 and another in 1752. The Popple and Mitchell (1755) maps were the most important maps of North America made in the 18th century and were widely known and referred to throughout the formation of the United States. This example is the second state of the edition published by Covens and Mortier in Amsterdam, circa 1742. Covens & Mortier was a highly respected Amsterdam map publishing firm, which, more than any of their colleagues, maintained the high standards established by the Dutch and French cartographers of the previous century. It is differentiated from the first state by the word "Hollandish" being changed to "The Dutch" in the cartouche. The original Popple map is virtually impossible to present as a unified piece (joined, it measures more than eight feet square). The Covens and Mortier version of Popple offers in a more manageable and accessible form all the geographical and political material of the original, including the depiction of Wager's sea battle with the Spanish near Cartagena in 1707. The region in question, the Eastern half of North America and a portion of northern South America, is laid out on four sheets, which joined are 46 x 41 inches. An excellent example of one of the most important American maps of the era.
Mark Babinski, Henry Popple's 1733 Map (New Jersey, 1998), state 2 of the Covens & Mortier edition; E. McSherry Fowble, Two Centuries of Prints in America 1680-1880 (1987), 6, 7 (ref); Graff 3322; Howes P481, "b"; Lowery 338; McCorkle et al, America Emergent 21; McCorkle, New England 741.3; Phillips, Maps 569; Sabin 64140; Schwartz & Ehrenberg, p.151; Streeter Sale 676; Stephenson & McKee, Virginia in Maps, map II-18A-B; Goss, The Mapping of North America, p.122.