Fine reproduction from the Kalms travel Journal including the provinces
of New England, New York, Pensilvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island
& Part of Virginia - Canada, and Hallifax
When Linnaeus’ apostle Pehr Kalm arrived in Philadelphia in September 1748 he brought letters of introduction from London which opened doors to Benjamin Franklin’s circle of acquaintances as well as the versatile property owner and geographer Lewis Evans. As a cartographer, Evans was considered a pioneer among the American settlers. While Kalm lived in Raccoon, Evans published maps of New England and Pennsylvania with Franklin and his printing partner David Hall. Kalm brought two copies of the maps back to Sweden, one to be donated to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences according to a letter to secretary Pehr Wargentin, dated 3 October 1777. Kalm had considered using the other map as an illustration in the fourth part of his travel account, but this was not to be the case as this manuscript was destroyed.
A map from 1749 was later included in Evans’ large publication A general Map of the Middle British Colonies in America, 1755. Many copies were printed, some on silk, both in Philadelphia and London, and copied by, amongst others, Bellin in 1757 in Histoire … des voyages. The 1749 edition is rarer. During the 1740s and 1750s the map business was exceptionally lively in the states east of the Ohio River. ‘Everywhere the talk was of surveys.’ The surveyors were equipped with plane tables, chains and a circumferentor. Although theodolites were now being used in England they were considered impractical in the dense American forests. As Lewis Evans pointed out, ‘Here are no Churches, Towers, Houses or peaked Mountains to be seen from afar, no Means of obtaining the Bearings or Distances of Places, but by the Compass, and actual Mensuration with the Chain’. Together with John Bartram and others, Evans had travelled and ridden far across the Appalachian and Tuscarora ranges ‘across the high mountains’. Triangulation was not used. Benjamin Franklin’s son William Franklin, who had specialised in the study of the life of the Indians, had told Evans about the characteristics of Indian tribes and, as had once been done on medieval maps, they entered this information on their maps. Longitude was measured in Boston with Thomas Godfrey. It might well have been Evans who encouraged Kalm to travel north to Canada and also to see the Niagara Falls. Kalm was not unaware of the growing unease in the colonies but he did not believe that a war was imminent. Nevertheless, between 1754 and 1763 the French and Indian War was fought and, at the same time, a war at sea was fought between England and France in the
Atlantic. As in all wars, there was a need for maps and charts and for a long time there had been a dispute over the borders between Pennsylvania and Maryland near the Ohio River. To settle the dispute, the astronomer Charles Mason and the mathematician and surveyor Jeremiah Dixon were called in from London in 1762. The dead straight 400 km long border that these two drew in 1767, the Mason-Dixon line, was also to become the symbolic boundary between the North and the South, between the free, non-slave states and the slave states, between the British Protestant and the French/Spanish Catholic worlds – a boundary that through political circumstances provoked the civil war of 1775-1783. George Washington, who had started his career as a surveyor before joining the army and progressing to general, always maintained his interest in cartography. During the 1754-1763 war he bought up vast tracts of land during his travels and mapped them himself. After he had become the first president of the USA in 1783, he used the lands he had bought for property exploitation. President Thomas Jefferson also interested himself in cartography, an interest he had acquired from his father and surveyor Peter Jefferson. However, his presidential ambitions were more idealistic; all unexploited land west of the Appalachian Mountains would be taken over by the government which would then organise the transfer to private investors. An individualistic concept of ownership consequently characterised the great mapping project that was carried out in North America at the end of the 18th century.
[Text © a quotation from The Linnaeus Apostles - Global Science & Adventure. Volume One (INTRODUCTION). Chapter One ”One World, Many Horizons„ by Professor Ulla Ehrensvärd. 2010]