BERNARD/MILLER. MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE GREAT EASTERN ROAD, NEW ENGLAND. C. 1765.

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[Map - Colonial New England]
[BERNARD, Sir Francis, Governor of Colonial Massachusetts (1712-1779) & Francis MILLER, Surveyor (1733-1800).
Untitled Manuscript Road Map of "The Great Eastern Road." [Road map from Charlestown, Mass, to North Yarmouth, Maine, along the coastal corridor]
Pen, ink and wash on paper. Manuscript road map on paper on 10 sheets, joined together.
[New England: c.1765 (date on north point).]
14" x 72" sheet, 26 1/2" x 82" framed.

Provenance: Sir Francis Bernard (1712-1779), by descent.

Manuscript road map on paper on 10 sheets joined charting the 150- mile route from Charlestown outside Boston to North Yarmouth, Maine (just north of Portland), generally following the course of the present day Route 1. Each sheet with border graticule to top and bottom of the sheet, miles indicated along the route, as distance per mile from Charlestown, junctions with other roads indicated, prominent buildings en route along the road marked, principal river crossings (often by boat), and numerous taverns and inns marked for refreshment and changes of horses, north lines drawn in on sheets 1, 2 and 10, the north point on sheet 1 dated 1765, with the surveyors base pencil grid, underlying the inked route of the road. Sheets 1 and 10 both torn cleanly in two equal halves, some light browning to extremities, a few clean tears to margins.

IMPORTANT ROAD SURVEY OF NORTH AMERICA. THE FIRST ROAD SURVEY OF MASSACHUSETTS, this very attractive, extremely long (13 feet), historic Massachusetts map surveys the principal road from Charlestown via Lynn, Salem, Ipswich, Newbury, Salisbury, Portsmouth (NH) and Kittery (Maine), York River, Kennebunk, Biddford, Falmouth in Casco Bay, and finally on to North Yarmouth Woods, (approx 30 miles north of Portland). One of the earliest road surveys in North America, it was part of a program of surveys instigated by Governor Bernard during his term as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and accomplished by his surveyor Francois Miller in 1765 and 1766. Sir Francis became Governor in 1759, just after the British had taken Quebec and the French territories of the St Lawrence, Old Massachusetts with its satellite territories of Maine and New Hampshire covered an enormous area, ripe for colonial development. In 1763 the British Parliament passed a law requiring that post roads in the American Colonies had to be surveyed, and the Massachusetts Legislature ordered Bernard to arrange for the surveys to be done, giving 200 pounds for the task. So it was to this end that Bernard co-opted a military surveyor, Francis Miller from the 45th regiment, based in Newfoundland, to come to Boston in the summer of 1765, to do accurate road surveys of the principal roads in the State.

It was the notable American carto-bibliographer William P. Cumming who first discovered, in 1969, the cache of manuscript road maps found amongst the papers at the English ancestral family home of Governor Bernard. He noted that "no other route maps as detailed as these, except for two short New Jersey road maps, are known for any other section of the Eastern Seaboard, until those of Christopher Colles in 1789" (Cumming p 29-30). The concept of surveying roads in this strip pattern form is quintessentially English, one of the earliest English road surveys being that by John Ogilby, who, as his Majesty's cartographer, published the first English road atlas in 1675. It was with remarkable forethought that the British Parliament ordered road surveys in 1763, in part one suspects to allow their forces to move around the country with an accurate map in their hands! It appears that Massachusetts was the only state to obey the Government Act, and events of the Revolutionary War put paid to any other surveys being completed in the Colonial period.
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