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THORNTON, MORDEN, AND LEA. A New Map of New England, New York, New Iarsey, Pensilvania, Maryland and Virginia. By Philip Lea at the Atlas and Hercules in Cheap-side, London [c. 1685]. Third state. 21¼ x 17¾ in.

Inventory #22134       Price: $25,000

Historical Background

A highly important map of the English Colonies in North America, including the earliest printed plan of New York Harbor. The present example is the third state of the map, bearing the imprint “By Philip Lea at the Atlas and Hercules in Cheap-side” in place of Thornton, Morden, and Lee’s imprint, a distinguishing feature of the second state. No examples of the first state, lacking the New York inset, survive. Two later states also appeared. 

Thornton, Morden, and Lea’s map is the first obtainable state of the finest general map of England’s American colonies. It is also one of the earliest to include Augustine Herrman’s cartography for Virginia and Maryland, as well as one of the earliest depictions of the Pennsylvania colony (est. 1681), the first printed chart of New York Harbor, and significant additions to the cartography of New England.

According to Pritchard and Taliaferro, the map was issued as part of a 4-sheet wall map, but its publishers, three of London’s leading map publishers, limited their fiscal risk by placing all English colonies except Carolina on one sheet and giving it a separate title that would be trimmed off or pasted over when the sheet was used as part of the wall map.

The map shows the English colonies from Cape Ann in Massachusetts to Cape Henry at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, extends as far north as the tributaries of the Hudson, in the southwest it shows the Delaware and Susquehannah Rivers and as far west as the tributaries of the Potomac and Rappahannock.

The geography of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are derived from the Thornton-Greene Mapp of Virginia Mary=land, New Jarsey, New=York, & New England (ca. 1678), which is, in turn, based largely on Augustine Herrman’s Virginia and Maryland (1673).

The Thornton, Morden, and Lea map departs from its precursors by showing the new colony of Pennsylvania, adjusting the course of the Delaware River, and adding place names. 

In New York and New England, Thornton, Morden, and Lea rely on earlier examples, notably John Seller’s Mapp of New England (1676) but add Long Island’s barrier beaches as well as numerous place names along the Connecticut coast and on Cape Cod. Also, the boundaries between Massachusetts, Plymouth and Connecticut colonies are drawn, and several roads are shown.

The inset of New York Harbor is also significant as the first separate printed chart of the area. Based on a 1683 survey conducted by Philip Wells for William Penn and the other proprietors of West New Jersey, the New York Harbor chart is far more accurate than earlier work, clearly showing the shoals that limited shipping to a single deep-water channel around Sandy Hook and into harbor. 


Augustyn & Cohen, Manhattan in Maps, pp. 48-49; Burden, Mapping of North America, #616; Cumming, British Maps of Colonial America, p. 31, fig. 18 (detail); McCorkle, New England in Early Printed Maps, entries 680.4 and 685.3; Pritchard & Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, pp. 362-363.


Centerfold and right edge with expert paper restoration intermittently along their entire length.  The map laid down on linen.  Some darkening along fold in lower right quadrant, old stain at right side, and some bleed-through from ink inscription on verso.

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