France Claims Texas Based on LaSalle

Beautiful Rendering of the Gulf of Mexico—Original Full Color

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338. [MAP]. MOLL, Herman. A Map of the West-Indies or the Islands of America in the North Sea; with ye adjacent Countries; explaning [sic] what belongs to Spain, England, France, Holland &c. also ye Trade Winds, and ye several Tracts made by ye Galeons and Flota from place to place; [cartouche above title] To Wil. Paterson Esq; This Map of the West-Indies &c is most Humbly Dedicated by Her. Moll Geographer; [inset maps at top right, clockwise]: [1] La Vera Cruz; [2] Cuba Islan [sic]; [3] The Bay of Porto Bella; [4] A Draught of ye City of Cartagena its Harbour & Forts; [5] A Draught of St. Agustin and its Harbour; [key within border above bird’s-eye view] Explanation [bird’s-eye view at lower left] The City of Mexico in New Spain. [London, ca. 1708-1715]. Copper-engraved map on two joined sheets of heavy laid paper with full original color (showing the West Indies, Eastern Mexico, South Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Central America, part of northern South America); neat line to neat line: 59 x 102 cm, overall sheet size: 65 x 107 cm . Exceptionally fine, strong impression (seldom encountered thus). Separately printed and issued.

     First edition? Jackson, Flags along the Coast, pp. 54-55 (see also footnotes 126 & 158, where he suggests a date of 1715):

Moll issued [Delisle’s] main elements in enough variations to drive a cartographer to distraction. A notable example is his A Map of the West-Indies, c. 1715... [from footnote 126] Moll was influenced by the Enríquez Barroto/Bisente coastal model not only though its expression on French maps, but via the maps of his adopted countrymen like Thornton and the firm of Mount and Page. [p. 54] Moll [was] one of the most flagrant copyists of any era—to the extent that practically all of the interesting features on his maps can be identified on earlier printed maps, if one is diligent enough. But his maps were attractively designed and engraved, and they enjoyed considerable popularity. At least Moll, like De Fer, stole from the best sources available and, in this respect, their works merit study. Moll’s Florida differs from the Enríquez Barroto model, following the earlier charts of Thornton and John Seller, which in turned were patterned after the mid-seventeenth century Gulf map in Dudley’s influential Aracano del Mare... But Moll preferred the old rendition of Florida, used by Thornton in his pre-1706 maps and Mount and Page in their 1702 Chart of the Bay of Mexico.

     The map is dated 1709-1720; there is no evidence the map was ever in an atlas. The bird’s-eye view of Mexico at lower left was reproduced from an important view originally painted by Trasmonte and later published by Ogilby, Montanus, and others. See Dennis Reinhartz, “Herman Moll, Geographer: An Early Eighteenth-Century European View of the American Southwest,” in Reinhartz & Colley, The Mapping of the American Southwest, p. 36 & illustrated at figure 2 (uncolored):

Moll worked at the very dawn of what has been called the “cartographic enightenment,” and it is evident from his mapping of the American Southwest that he was serious about being dedicated to his craft as a geographer. His inaccuracies and inconsistencies were common to the age and the state of the art and were often derived from earlier work by others. He certainly was not atypical, but he was one of the most important European cartographers and imagemakers of the early eighteenth century.

     This is a particularly beautiful example in original full color of an interesting map for our region. Texas is not named, but the region is labeled Quelameloueches (Comanche Indians) and is a Country full of Beeves. The area between New Mexico and Florida is colored bright pink and labelled “Louisiana in possesion of ye French,” an assertion apparently based on the obvious presence of the “French Fort” indicating where La Salle established his ill-fated colony. The area is described as inhabited by Indians who use horses and trade with the Spanish and French.


Sold. Hammer: $3,600.00; Price Realized: $4,410.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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