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1732 Agreement to the ‘Lord Baltimore – Penn Dispute’ Including the Rare Senex Map
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The agreement – including the map – that ultimately ended the MD-PA border dispute.

[BALTIMORE-PENN DISPUTE]. True Copies of I. The Agreement between Lord Baltimore and Messieurs Penn, dated 10 May 1732. II. The Commissions given to the Commissioners to mark out the Lines between Maryland, and Pensilvania and the Three Lower Counties on Delaware. III. The Return or Report of the Commissioners on both Sides, made 24 Nov. 1733. Shewing for what Reasons the Lines were not mark’d out within the Time appointed for that Purpose. [Docket title]. London: 1734-35. Pamphlet, 8 pp., First edition. With: the map printed to accompany the agreement: [“Pensilvania, Maryland & Three Lower Countys,” or “Proposed Maryland/Pennsylvania Boundary”]. John Senex. [London, 1732-33]. 14 ¼ x 9 ½ inches and wide margins, uncolored, First State, with the scale of miles imperfectly erased from the plate, and still visible – the earliest printing of this map after the proof.

Inventory #20882.99       Price: $130,000

Printing History

The Senex map was created to accompany the six manuscript copies of May 10, 1732 of the Articles of Agreement.  This proof state was amended, most notably with the deletion of the scale of miles, owing to conflict over which measurement system to use.  The revised map [this copy] was first produced in 1732-33 (First State), and is distinguished by remnants of the scale.

Following the creation of the manuscript originals, Benjamin Franklin printed the Articles of Agreement in 1733.  It contains the first two sections of what is printed here.  He also printed his own version of the Senex map, using a woodcut.
With the addition of Part “III. The Return or Report of the Commissioners …1733”, all three parts were first published together here as “True copies…” in London in 1734-35, for Penn Family use “perhaps as a memorandum for use in the petitions made to George II that year [1734] by Lord Baltimore and Richard Penn.” (TWS 951).  For this, the Senex map was reprinted, using the same exact plate from 1732-33.  However, the map here is the earlier edition – the only difference between being that these were modified with a manuscript annotation by the Penn’s lawyer Ferdinando John Paris, before being paired with the pamphlet.

True copies…” was subsequently typeset and printed by Franklin about 1735-37, again probably for Penn use, likely for support among Delaware-area landowners.
The Senex map was again re-used for the Breviate of 1742, the Boundary Commission appointments, and the contract with Mason and Dixon in 1763, with very minor differences.

The key settlement – including the map – that ultimately ended the Baltimore-Penn dispute, after Lord Baltimore was forced to comply with it per English Chancellor, Lord Hardwicke’s decision of 1750.  This then set the groundwork for the Mason and Dixon Line Survey of 1763-67.

Despite this landmark agreement to the 50 year-old dispute, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore (1699-1751), would re-argue it in court for several more decades once he learned that the Senex map was based on the inaccurate Visscher map (Novi Belgii, 1651-1656?), which placed Cape Henlopen (‘Disappearing Cape’ in Dutch) about 25 miles farther south than in reality.  Because of that error, the Baltimore family stood to – and ultimately did – lose a considerable amount of land on the east coast of the Delmarva Peninsula.  According to Wainwright: “the Agreement… was a momentous one, a state paper of the highest importance, specifying boundaries essential to the geographical outlines of [Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware].” (p.253)  The document “records Lord Baltimore’s refusal to go ahead with his agreement of May 10, 1732 to draw a boundary line ‘at twelve miles distances from the town of Newcastle.’” (TWS 951)

Further Historic Background

In 1682, William Penn and Lord Baltimore could not agree upon the ownership of the Three Lower Counties (Delaware).  Baltimore insisted the Counties were part of Maryland and that the Duke of York’s grant of the area to Penn was invalid.  The King in Council ruled in 1685 that the Counties belonged to Penn.  Baltimore petitioned to have the order set aside in 1708 and 1709 but failed.  The failure to resolve the boundary dispute continued to cloud the title to the land.  Penn could not collect rent in the Three Lower Counties and settlers would not pay for land purchases until the title dispute was resolved.  After discussions between Lord Baltimore and Penn family lawyer Ferdinando John Paris in 1731, the two negotiated an initial draft of an agreement to resolve the dispute.  The final issue between the parties was whether to use the map supplied by Baltimore or the Penns to illustrate the agreement. 

Baltimore’s map was chosen and transmitted to John Senex in London, where a proof copy was engraved on copper by Thomas Hutchinson.  The initial proof was returned with a printed scale of one degree to 69.5 English Statute Miles – Baltimore and Penn disagreed on the type of miles to be used, and therefore struck the scale as too controversial.  The agreement was signed on May 10, 1732.  However, Lord Baltimore refused to consummate the agreement, claiming that the map which accompanied the Articles was a forgery.  They disputed the location of Cape Henlopen, which was to define the southern boundary of the Three Lower Counties.

To support the Penn claim, in 1735, Penn family lawyer Ferdinando John Paris produced True Copies.  Paris also instructed Senex to make a composite of John Smith’s map of 1606 and the Dutch map of 1650 which he believed to be the one used by Lord Baltimore, in order to establish that the intent of the Duke of York’s grant to William Penn in 1685 was to establish the southern boundary of the Three Lower Counties 20 miles south of Cape Cornelis, the place where Cape Henlopen then appeared on contemporary maps.  The Senex map, and in some instances the composite map, was added to the True Copies.

From 1735 to 1743, the parties prepared to present the matter to Chancery Court in London.  Paris amassed a huge manuscript document supporting the Penn’s case, which became a 116 page folio work called the Breviate, which was printed in London by Henry Woodfall.  Sixty copies were prepared for Penn. Each included a copy of the 1732 Senex map, which Paris ordered be hand colored with red lines to distinguish the significant borders at issue.  A copy of a map by Benjamin Eastburn, surveyor general of Pennsylvania was also added to the Breviate.  At the insistence of Sir Dudley Ryder, the Barrister selected to present the case, a version of the Breviate, summarized in 13 pages known as The Plaintiff’s Case, was also prepared. This work, much rarer than the Breviate, included the maps, although Wainwright surmised that an over-run of the maps was used, since there was no record of Paris ordering additional maps from Senex. 

In the process of preparing the Breviate, Paris became an antiquarian, amassing a large collection of books and maps on America. From various accounts of the early history of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, he determined that a Dutch Captain (Cornelis Mey?) sailing up from the South toward Delaware Bay in 1614, noted a false cape (“Heenlopen”) in his reports.  This account was corroborated by Jan De Laet’s Nieuvve Wereldt, a seminal work on America published in Dutch in 1630 and later in Latin in 1633.  Paris also established that prior to the Duke of York’s conquest of the region, the Dutch had purchased the Lower Three Counties from 3 Indian Chiefs, proving that the Lower Three Counties were part of the land acquired by the Duke of York and therefore should be part of his subsequent grant to Penn.  The maps of Visscher (1651 Novi Belgii...) and Ogilby also were used to support the claim and the location of Cape Henlopen.  Oddly overlooked by Baltimore in his agruments were several English maps of the region which supported his location of the Cape, including Speed’s A Map of Viriginia & Maryland, and maps by Augustine Hermann, Robert Morden & William Berry, John Thornton and Richard Daniel.

Philip Lord Hardwicke ruled in favor of the Penns in May 1750.  Surveying commenced in 1750 and 1751, but stopped for a time with the death of Lord Baltimore.  Work on an agreement to implement the Articles of Agreement was completed in 1760.  The Senex map was re-printed on Vellum to augment the final agreement executed by the Penns and Baltimore.  Surveying commenced again, but by 1763 it became clear that neither side was satisfied with the domestic surveyors.  At the suggestion of Thomas Penn, surveyors were hired in England.  Charles Mason & Jerimiah Dixon were retained and commenced surveys which were completed in 1767.  The formal contract employing Mason & Dixon included a copy of the 1732 map pasted to the contract.  The surveys were followed by the drafting and publication of the Mason Dixon map, which was engraved first by Henry Dawkins and finished by James Smither, with an issue of 200 copies completed in August 1768.

This “True Copies” contains brief manuscript notes.  The first, in a contemporary hand, adds dates in the margins and articulates that the agreement is between Penn & Baltimore.  The second is a pencil note, referencing Calvert on the outer Title portion of the Tri-fold, where the words True Copies .... appears.  The prior owner speculates that the first hand is either Paris or an agent of one of the parties, as the annotative style suggests someone who was intimately familiar with the dispute, and annotating dates for advocacy or similar purposes.

Conservation and restoration of portions of margins, bound in contemporary style leather boards.  The map shows traces of tri-fold (similar to the tri-fold of the “True Copies” pamphlet.)
The prior owner bought the map from a London dealer in the early 1960s, and the pamphlet from Reese several years ago.


Nicholas B. Wainwright, “Tale of a Runaway Cape, The Penn-Baltimore Agreement of 1732.” 

The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 87 (July 1963), pp.251-293

C. William Miller, Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia Printing, 1974, p.62-63

Thomas W. Streeter Sale L951; Library of Congress.  Not listed in Evans; nor in Hildeburn; Imprint 2.

Sales History and Other Copies

There are only a few known copies of the map and agreement, in any of the forms above. Streeter was able to locate only two in the Huntington Library (one of which he acquired in 1945), and a third in the John Carter Brown Library.  The Franklin 1737 and London 1734-5 editions of True Copies are found at the Library of Congress, but not the Franklin 1733 Articles.

Christie’s 12-19-2002, Lot 213.  Franklin printing of Articles of Agreement (1733) with Franklin map (1733) printing of Senex [after our edition].  (20?pp.) Lacking pp.19-20. – $77,765.

Christie’s 4-1-1982, Chew Sale, Lot 10.  Franklin printing of True Copies (1735-37) (8 pp.) – $2,200.  Note that the map has never been found with this edition. Franklin advertised such a map for a number of weeks; we don’t know if any exist, or if it was never executed.

Christie’s 4-1-1982, Chew Sale, Lot 8.  Senex map, ca. 1735.  w/ Paris notation on   verso. – $3,520.

Streeter sale 951 in the 60’s.  True Copies.  London: 1735 (w/ map?) [Find info.].

Streeter sale 950 … Articles of Agreement (1733) [Find info.].

Manuscript Text

(Christie’s 4-1-1982, Chew Sale, Lot 7) – Vellum Articles of Agreement, Manuscript Document Signed by Charles Calvert (5th Earl Baltimore), John, Thomas and Richard Penn, 1732.  With engraved inset map by Senex – $9,350.  6 copies were prepared (3 for each party), of which 3 are known.  Wainwright hypothesizes that the Lords Baltimore, upset with the agreement, discarded their copies.  [In the same auction, a Dunlap Declaration went for $313,500.  The most recent one sold for $8,140,000 in 2000.]

Franklin’s 1733 map is distinguished from the Senex by a different font and lack of the outer map borders.

For a link to the Library of Congress copy of True Copies, you can look on the LOC website.


[to complete]
Proof copy of Senex (1732) – in Penn Papers at PA Historical Society. Showing several alterations by Paris.

2 pamphlets at LOC. 1? In Swarthmore-Bryn Mawr-Haverford system?.  in MD State Archives….etc

Author: Baltimore, Charles Calvert, Baron, 1699-1751. Title: Articles of agreement made and concluded upon between the Right Honourable the Lord proprietary of Maryland, and the Honourable the proprietarys of Pensilvania, &c. touching the limits and boundaries of the two provinces : With the commission, constituting certain persons to execute the same. Publisher: Philadelphia : Printed by B. Franklin, at the new printing-office near the market, M,DCC,XXXIII. [1733] Description: Book 19, [1] p. : 1 folded map ; 33 cm. (fol.) LC Subject(s): Maryland --Boundaries --Delaware. Delaware --Boundaries --Maryland. Maryland --Boundaries --Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania --Boundaries --Maryland. Maryland --History --Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775. Pennsylvania --History --Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775. Local Subject(s): CHR 1733
Location: Rare Bk & Ms Library Curtis Collection Call Number: Folio 49F

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