The previous post ended with a brief account of the conquest of Louisbourg and Port la Joye by the British North Americans in 1745. We will return to that sad story shortly but first I want to introduce you to a great French cartographer, Nicholas Bellin, who produced beautiful and most elegant maps of the eastern parts of New France.

Jacques Nicolas Bellin (1703 – 21 March 1772) was a geographer and hydrographer. He was prodigiously clever and talented and at the age of 18 was appointed chief cartographer to the French Navy. He soon became part of a unique intellectual group called Les Philosophes – not so much philosophers as experts at the cutting edge of all the arts and sciences. He, along with Baron d’Holbach at whose house the core group met for many years, worked along and discussed passionately their various areas of interests, all free from the supervision of the Catholic Church. He would have met the great but disparate minds of Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau and debated with them the merits of their ideas. It must be understood that, at this time, except in progressive Protestant countries like Holland, it was absolutely forbidden to discuss topics not approved by the Church, under pain of death, in some instances.

He belonged to another group called the Encyclopédistes, who, under the leadership of Denis Diderot produced, over many years, the formidable 35 volume Encyclopédie, which set out to explain, using articles by the greatest experts, and some of the best engravings of every process ever made (we still use them). Bellin contributed nearly 1000 articles to the Encyclopedia in his lifetime.

His fame spread internationally. Not only was he chief of France’s hydrographic office but was a member of not only the Académie de Marine, but the Royal Society of London.

Over his fifty-year career he produced a majority of the best maps in the world. They were noted for their clarity, the leaving out all the decorative and mythological decorations of the Middle Ages, and for providing only the most up to date information. His career coincided with the earth-shaking events that were winding up and would soon see the destruction of France in America, and his maps honestly documented the whole process, to the point of collaborating with English cartographers to achieve results that would express the knowledge and beliefs of both nations.


1744 Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) cartographer, François Desbrulins, (16..-17..?) engraver, Carte de la Partie Orientale de la Nouvelle France ou du Canada, 42 x 58 cm, Published in Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix’s Histoire et Description Generale de Nouvelle France, Paris. Internet auction.

Bellin’s 1744 map of Ile Saint Jean has its actual geographic features exaggerated to the point where the entrance to Charlottetown Harbour – Port la Joye is a vast bay, and the narrow isthmus of Summerside near which the community of Malpec was strung along is actually cut through. In the list of place names there are no surprises. We have encountered them all before. The changes are to be seen in the spelling of the names, which becomes more regular and approaches how we expect them to be in contemporary French. He even uses accents on letters that require them.

Bedec – Bedeque

Cap à l’Ours – Cape Bear

Casquembec – Cascumpec

Havre à l’Anguille – Savage Harbour

Havre Quiquibougat – New London Bay

Havre S. Pierre – Saint Peter’s Harbour

I à Bois – Wood Islands

Les 3 Rivieres – Three Rivers

Magpec – Birch Hill/Low Point area

Port Chimene – Tracadie Bay

Port la Joye

Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Pte. Du Nord – North Cape

The map depicts a gentle world, people with hard-working settlers,who slowly, but with great experience, developed the fisheries, cleared the land, built farms, raised farm animals and planted crops sufficient unto themselves and Louisbourg.

 In the same year, responding to the increasing diplomatic tension between France and England as to what exactly constituted the territory of Acadia, Bellin, after extensive research, produced this small map which, most significantly, he names Carte de L’Accadie. According to Boucher (p. 12/24) it is the first map ever to depict Acadia as a separate geographical entity. However this is not the case. It may be the first printed map to appear with that name, but in  1702 Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin published a beautiful, highly-coloured manuscript map, calling the region Acadia. Maybe they can share the glory in their respective formats.

The detail is extremely clear and Bellin seems only to have identified those places and features about which he had secure knowledge. He looks at Ile Saint Jean more closely than before, because it has become the focus of considerable diplomatic interest.


1744 Bellin (Jacques-Nicolas), Carte de l’Accadie. Dressée sur les Manuscrits du Dépost des Cartes et plans de la Marine. Par N. B. Ing.r et Hyd. de la marine. Carte insérée dans l’Histoire et Description Générale de la Nouvelle France de Fr.-X. de Charlevoix, t. I., Livre III, 1744. © Ruderman Antique Maps Ltd.

This is the classic Bellin format for depicting Acadia and it will be cheerfully stolen by other mapmakers for years to come because of its clear and unambiguous format. There is one significant addition to this map in the form of indicating the location of Aboriginal settlements both on the mainland and Ile Saint Jean.

In the general area of Indian River and present-day Malpeque he inserts three icons denoting Mi’kmaq wigwams which he labels Cabanes Sauvages. The communities listed are augmented by one that is not on the larger regional map – Trocadie, and I. à Bois is called I. à Bova. The outline of Ile Saint Jean differs considerably in the two maps produced the same year. We must remember that before the accurate surveying methodology introduced by Holland and his successors in the 1760s, there was no “standardised” matrix to consult and copy exactly. Every map was a series of idiosyncratic squiggles.

While searching through the Lewenthal Collection site I saw an anonymous manuscript map that looked very familiar, even though it did not have a cartouche. All of mainland Nova Scotia was labelled “Accadie.” Comparing it closely to Bellin’s published map above I concluded that this lovely drawing could be the prototype Bellin sent to the engraver who then added the cartouche. The amazing thing is that it came from the collection of King George III who was a passionate map collector, and who regularly trawled the resources of his own government departments for new treasures. In time it passed down to the British Museum.


A colored map of Acadie, Isle Royale, Isle St. Jean, and the Baye Françoise, being Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Pr. Edward’s Island, and the Bay of Fundy; drawn by a French hand, on a scale of 13 1/2 French leagues to an inch: 1 f. x 8 in.’  No date is given. Formerly in the collection of George III. Catalogue of the manuscript maps, charts, and plans, and of the topographical drawings in the British Museum. 

So exciting and popular was this map, daring to make Acadia its subject, that copies began to be made in other countries. Here is a German example from 1744, attributed to Bellin, perfect in every detail except that as many names as possible are rendered in German.


Jacques Nicolas Bellin, Karte von Accadia nach den manuscripten des vorrathes von karten und grundrissen bey der Marine, published by Arkstee and Merkus, Leipzig, dated 1744. W. K. Morrison Special Collection, Centre of Geographic Sciences, Nova Scotia Community College.

It is interesting to see some of the Ile Saint Jean place names rendered in German. The mapmaker follows Bellin exactly.


But just one year later in 1745 the optimistic world depicted in this ordered map fell apart when the British North Americans invaded and severely damaged Louisbourg and burnt Port la Joye to the ground.

The city of Louisbourg, seen in this 1745 coloured German engraving depicting its fall, and the colony of Ile Saint Jean, had both come into being at the same time, both as centres for the fishery. After 25 years of non-stop work in building fortifications, Louisbourg also became France’s fortress of the Atlantic, guarding the entrance to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and Canada. It also administered and interfered in the affairs of the huge area of Acadia which annoyed the British, who had had political control of most of the region for many years. It was in this tense and ambiguous milieu that the Acadians created and maintained the vast saltmarsh grasslands economy.

The English, whose presence in New England grew ever more powerful and agitated, were acutely aware of the riches of New France and the major inconvenience the French, with Aboriginal support, posed to their dreams of territorial and economic expansion. By the time the 1740s came along there were clear indications in many quarters, both in Britain and in America, that England had to dominate the continent.

In July of 1745 the British commander William Pepperell sent an expedition to Ile Saint Jean that destroyed the Roma enterprises at Three Rivers. The French garrison at Port la Joy consisted of 20 troops who fled and were pursued up the Hillsborough River while the British burned the capital to the ground.

In the messy altercations that followed the French fought back, some New Englanders were killed, and hostages were taken. Here is a good summary of those events.

Eventually Louisbourg was returned to France, in spite of the great indignation shown by many British North Americans, by the 1748 Treaty of Aix -la-Chapelle. The following year, after military skirmishes, the French regained possession of Port la Joye and the process of rebuilding went on for another ten years.


The English enter the Mapmaking Scene

Two years before the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, while the North American colonies were still at war, a significant thing happened. The great English mapmaker Thomas Jefferys, using Bellin’s base map, produced a map of how things now stood politically on the ground. Acadia disappears completely to be replaced by Nova Scotia.

Thomas Jefferys (c. 1719 – 1771) was Geographer to King George III, and was perhaps the most prolific English mapmaker of his day, supplying maps of the major countries of the world, but showing a special interest in North America. He produced a number of maps and atlases of the region. This interest in North America continued until his death when his activities were taken over by another mapmaker, Robert Sayers. Jefferys worked with various surveyors of the New World and made their work generally available through his maps. Like Bellin, Jefferys documented his sources in an age when there were no copyright laws, and it was every man for himself when it came to stealing any published works, text or graphics, that enhanced your own projects.

[Here are useful links for more information on Jefferys and Sayer.]   Robert Sayer


In the cartouche to his map, Jefferys fully acknowledges Bellin’s work and his professional title. He replaces Bellin’s austere linear cartouche with the swirls and shell ornaments popular at that time in Rococo art. He even introduces a very attractive vignette in an empty area of sea to the left of the corner cartouche showing the siege of Louisbourg. Jefferys himself signs his work on the lower border as Jefferys sculpsit, the Latin verb for carving but used to describe an engraved plate.


1746 T Jefferys and1744 Bellin, Jacques Nicolas, A New Chart of the Coast of NEW ENGLAND, NOVA SCOTIA, NEW FRANCE or CANADA, with the Islands of NEWFOUNDL’D CAPE BRETON ST. JOHN’S etc.…engraved on copper, Library of Congress.

The map is taken directly from Bellin with very little variation in outline but with a complete makeover of place names. Acadia becomes Nova Scotia. The New England Coast and lower New Brunswick become New England. Because nothing worthwhile is known about the interior of New Brunswick, Jefferies takes it over to insert plans of the city of Quebec and its fortifications. The whole map throbs with military anticipation.

Ile Saint Jean is anglicised as much as possible but there was nothing he could do at this point with the French adaptations of Aboriginal names. But some French names are smartly translated into English. Curiously he leaves out Bedeque.

Anguille Harbour – Savage Harbour

Bears C – Cape Bear

Casquembec – Cascumpec

East P – East Point

Magpec – Birch Hill/Low Point area

North P.t – North Cape

Port Chimene – Tracadie Bay

Port Joye – Port la Joye

Quiquit’ougat H – New London Bay

S Peters H – Saint Peter’s Harbour


Jefferies map is a propaganda map, intended to make a massive statement about Britain’s intentions in North America. It is clear, that ten years before the beginning of the Seven Years War in 1755, Jefferys, on behalf of his Royal clients, was expressing extremely violent intents – which all came to pass to Britain’s advantage.


A very peculiar manuscript map of Saint John’s Island housed in the Bibliotheque Nationale appeared the same time as Jefferys elegant but menacing propaganda map. This one is a far cry from anything Jefferys would have produced. From the moment I first set my eyes on it I thought it was a highly distorted obscene picture of a naked woman. Closer examination indicated that it was a hasty sketch, probably military in origin, showing the Island recently acquired by the British.


1746 Island of St John Latitude 47˚ 10ʹ in the Bay of St. Lawrance, Subject to King George by the Capitulation of Lewisburg 17th June 1746, BNF btv1b8446235x.

The towns and villages indicated are the following:

E point – East Point

Gov. – Governors Island

Indian Harbour – Savage Harbour

Malpac – Birch Hill/Low Point area

N River – Hillsborough River

NW River – North River

Port Lajoye

St. Peters – Saint Peter’s Bay

St. Peters – St. Peter’s Island

West River

The mapmaker seemed to be a little vague on compass directions.


Another map was published in Paris in Vaugondy’s Atlas Portatif, universel et militaire that strongly takes a view quite the opposite of Jeffery’s map of 1746, and introduces a subject that had become a major irritant to the English. Gilles Robert de Vaugondy (1688-1766) was a prominent geographer in Eighteenth Century France whose family business was noted, like Bellin, for its extensive research and general accuracy. In 1760 Vaugondy was appointed Geographer to Louis XV. His Atlas Universel, published in 1760 was a major authority in the maps of the times.


1749 – Gilles Robert de Vaugondy, L’Acadie, Par le Sr Robert de Vaugondy, from Atlas Portatif, universel et militaire, composé d’après les meilleures cartes, tant gravées que manuscrites, des plus célébres géographes et ingénieurs. Tome 1, par M. Robert, geographe ordinaire du Roy, Paris, 1748-49. Bibliotheque Nationale – bpt6k1510918f.f212.

At first glance this map is identical to Bellin from which it was copied. At this time of tension between the French and the English it was the base map to which everybody fled to fill with their political agenda. Vaugondy cheerfully pushes Nova Scotia into New Brunswick but stops at writing “l’Acadie” in big letters across Nova Scotia. Instead, he carefully labels all the places he knows of where there are Aboriginal settlements, labelling them Village Sauvage and even showing little symbols for wigwams, perhaps as a powerful reminder to the British that they are also fighting the Mi’kmaq.

Along with his carefully labelled place names on Ile Saint Jean, with Bellin’s detail to correctly accented words, we see at the bottom of Malpec bay, which he does not label, the indication of Cabanes Sauvages! I believe that the well-informed Vaugondy introduced all these Cabane and Village Sauvages in his map both as an irritant and a threat to the British. The French had been living mostly in harmony with the Mi’kmaq for at least one hundred years.

Along with this place name information on the map, Vaugondy introduced quite credible topographical indications of hilly country. Again, this is an indication of his deep knowledge of the region. Here is the place name information contained on his map of Ile Saint Jean:

Bedos – Bedeque

C a l’Ours – Cape Bear

Cabanes Sauvages – Indian River

Casquembec – Cascumpec

Havre à l’Anguille – Savage Harbour

Havre Quiquibougat – New London Bay

Havre S. Pierre – Saint Peter’s Harbour

I a Bois – Wood Islands

Les 3 Rivières – Three Rivers

P la Joye – Port la Joye

Pointe du Nord – North Cape

Port Chimene – Tracadie Bay

Pte. de l’Est – East Point


Should you want to see what one of these popular atlases of the Eighteenth Century was like you can explore the Vaugondy one in great detail, page by page, at this site. You can even download individual pages, zoom up special details or but a huge high-resolution scan of the page.


The Map as a Threat: The Establishment of Halifax,to%20Father%20Le%20Loutre’s%20War.

(This slight digression is necessary at this point to illustrate the propaganda value of maps in times of political strife on the eve of conquest, and also to demonstrate the passionate initiative of a businessman mapmaker who expresses his desire for a British take-over in an unsolicited map/propaganda piece of great skill and beauty.)

Halifax was founded in the beautiful harbour of Chebucto Bay in 1749 on a flat area of land that rose to a steep hill. It was meant to counter the fortress of Louisbourg after it was returned to the French and also to be the new administrative headquarters of Acadia. It was a definitive and provocative act by the British government to establish its presence in the middle of the Acadian settlements, and to do it on land that for millennia had been Mi’kmaq territory.

When Edward Cornwallis arrived on June 21, 1749, to establish the British colony, earlier treaties with the Mi’kmaq were violated, and the outraged aboriginals, led by the Abbé le Loutre, raided the new settlement twelve times. Cornwallis had brought with him 1,176 settlers and their families, and the next year 151 more immigrants arrived and were settled on the eastern side of the harbour.

Halifax was meant to be a major colonial town and was laid out as such following a grid pattern, inspired by Ancient Roman models, that would be repeated again and again in British North America. Famous examples are Savannah, Georgia, also represented by a fine bird’s-eye view when it was founded in 1734, Toronto, and most perfectly preserved of all, Charlottetown on Ile Saint Jean. Halifax was also intended to be a fortress, and in the bird’s-eye view sketch of the new town, you can see walls and fortified bastions, like miniature forts, surrounding the settlement.

This highly unusual presentation/propaganda map was produced by Thomas Jefferys and dedicated to his patron, The Prince of Wales, who would eventually become the Prince Regent. Since the port of Halifax would be home to fishing fleets the top left corner of the map shows the Atlantic Ocean with the fishing banks of Nova Scotia above it. The top right corner has a plan of the town with a key to its principal features. The lower right corner has a bird’s-eye view of the town drawn from the topmast of a ship in port.

To show how attractive this presentation piece – and incitement to conquest – could be I use this beautifully coloured version at Brown University to begin my discussion of this topic.


A Map of the South Part of Nova Scotia and its Fishing Banks Engraved by T Jefferys Geographer to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, 1750. John Carter Brown Library at Brown University.

The lower left cartouche dedicated to the Lords Commission for Trade and Plantations and signed by Jefferys is a masterpiece of iconography and propaganda. Topped by the British flag crossed over a cannon on a Rococo-style construction, in danger of being hacked by an axeman, the inscription is flanked by detailed, very clear and unambiguous views, of men constructing a building and others fishing.

The aerial view of the new town, much more advanced in its construction than what we can see in the 1734 engraving of Savannah, Georgia, and surrounded by substantial temporary fortifications, is a vision that prefigures the dream of similar establishments in Maritime New France.

In itself, the view is a lovely work of miniature art, where the scale of the composition is in no way affected by its size on a piece of paper. The ships in the foreground, emphasizing that this is a port city, and also that it is connected intimately across the sea with England, is a very fine design element.

This small map is a propaganda milestone that prefigured the Seven Years War. It is a shock in the iconographic record just after the colonies of Acadia, Ile Royale and Ile Saint Jean are rebuilding themselves after the destructive invasion of 1745.


Rebuilding Acadia

In the years following the return of the Atlantic colonies to France in 1748 there were attempts here and there to rebuild the military, administrative and domestic infrastructure in the region. The presence of Halifax as the British administrative centre was a constant threat and the French, and especially the Acadians, were acutely aware of that. They began to migrate away from parts of Acadia to Ile Saint Jean and other places. They had only eight years left to rebuild and settle in places of refuge.

For the first time that I can discover, the French produced a map that showed an interest in inland communication and perhaps settlement. Before that, all settlements were located along the coastline in shore villages. The Mi’kmaq, of course, had traversed the Island for millennia before the French came and had favoured footpaths and portages established all over the Island. The French, when they came, because of their good relations with the Mi’kmaq, would have adopted these avenues of land communication as their villages became established. For all the first years of the colony there was no pressing need for any cross-country roads except for the Roma establishment at Three Rivers, where a more direct approach to Port la Joye was perhaps desired.

This map by Louis Franquet, a French cartographer based in Quebec, is the first and only instance of interest in developing a road system on Ile Saint Jean that I have been able to discover. It seems to be one of two almost identical copies in the National Archives and is tied to a specific passage in the report Franquet would write to his superiors.

Franquet (1697-1768) was a French military engineer of great experience who was sent to Louisbourg in 1750 to see what could be done to restore the fortifications. He was to make many suggestions for improvements. He visited Ile Saint Jean in 1750-51 and it is at this time, at the request of his superior, that he proposed a system of roads that would unite the major communities of the eastern end of the Island with Port la Joye. This map gives you an idea of what he had in mind.


1751 – Franquet (1697-1768) – Carte de l’Isle St Jean dans la Golfe de St. Laurent en Canada – LAC.

These lines, drawn hastily on paper without the evidence of any surveying at all, are just indications of where it was desirable to make connections. The only significant land route that that existed for centuries and which had been very heavily used, was the short portage over boggy land from Mount Stewart to Saint Peter’s Village. It is clearly marked on this map and Franquet gives a rich description of the road that passed by the house of the Widow Gentil. For those of us who are familiar with that landscape it is possible to insert oneself into the description.


Après avoir fait environ deux lieues, l’on découvrit, de loin, une maison de face au cours de la rivière; l’on nous dit que son origine était à un quart de lieue au-dessus, et qu’il était à propos, crainte de manquer d’eau plus avant, de mettre à terre à la rive droite vis-à-vis l’habitation de la veuve Gentil, nous y vîmes de près des grains de la plus grande beauté, et le chemin de là au havre St-Pierre étant frayé, large de 6 à 7 pieds et propre à des charrettes attelées de deux boeufs, on le suivit à pied, il traverse des bois brûlés dans lesquels est une grande quantité de bleuets (1) qu’on mange en rafraîchissement, il va aboutir au ruisseau à Comeau où la mer forme une espèce de barachois qu’on traverse à sec, à marée basse, et à haute mer sur deux pieds et demi d’eau; cet endroit est réputé le point milieu du chemin d’entre la dite veuve Gentil et le havre St-Pierre.

A la sortie de ce barachois, le chemin rentre dans le bois jusqu’à l’endroit nommé la Queue-des-Etangs où un autre petit ruisseau forme semblable barachois, toujours couvert d’eau, et dont le fond vaseux et mol en rend le passage difficile.

C’est à cet endroit que les dunes commencent à se former, elles garantissent le pays des inondations de la mer, le chemin les laisse à gauche et à droite il borde des étangs que l’on traverse de distance à autre, il s’y trouve ordinairement deux pieds à deux pieds et demi de hauteur d’eau et dans les grandes crues toute l’assiette du chemin en est couverte; néanmoins comme elle est dure, il n’y a aucun risque d’y passer, mais seulement beaucoup d’incommodités aux gens de pied qui sont obligés de se mouiller; à la sortie de ces étangs se trouvent les clôtures des terrains concédés, on les côtoie pour arriver devant l’entrée du havre du Petit-St-Pierre.

(French translation to follow in time.)


When we look at a close-up of Franquet’s lines for proposed roads we become aware that there are capital letters at several places connected with the lines – A, B, C, D, E.

As was the custom of the day maps could be drawn oriented to the north or the south. Since this map was attached to copies of Franquet’s report it is there that the mystery of the letters becomes clear. Here is the text in an English translation kindly provided by Early Lockerby.


There is only one real road on this island. that is the one that goes from the widow Gentil who lives on Rivière du Nord-Est to Havre St-Pierre, as has been described previously. Due to its poor state and having commerce in mind, there is a need to draw another ‘BC’ from the spot commonly known as La Grande-Source, straight on the church of the aforementioned harbour; we will not discuss this further. Most of the inhabitants communicate along the ocean’s coastline, along the riverbanks or in canoes. These roads being long and not safe in any circumstances, Count de Raymond, because of the necessity to establish a quick link between the principal areas of this island, ordered the building of a 4 to 5 feet wide [road] only from Pointe-a-la-Framboise, situated at Port La Joie, up to Trois-Rivières and another one from this last port to Havre St-Pierre, and this based on the report made to him about the position of these sites. We could not propose anything better unless these two roads were drawn in a fork at spot ‘D’, communication from these three sites would not be lengthened, but that from the aforementioned Port La Joie to Havre St-Pierre would be considerably shorter and, in succession, the establishment of Rivière-du-Nord-Est becoming considerable, the inhabitants could form branch ‘DE’ which would culminate at a spot in the fork from which they would communicate with the already mentioned ports and harbours and even in the inhabited areas along the ocean’s coast between the Eastern and Southern parts.

There are many other areas of the island where it would be usual to communicate, but since their location the lands to he crossed are unknown to us we could only hazard proposals. Later, as the country is settled. it will be possible to build roads in areas that will call for attention.

We believe that we have addressed fully all questions about this island and we have written down what we have learned, however we ought not to finish without reiterating all that has been said about the goodness of the country, the resources Ile Royale can benefit from, and if His Majesty persist in its projected establishment, we observe that is should be strengthened solidly so that the inhabitants will feel protected and troops may be able to resist with confidence, if not all the money spent already. the money spent every day and all expenses to be made in the future for works less than those proposed. would be a total loss, in which case it would be better not to undertake them.


An interpretation of the letter notations.

A to B runs parallel to the only road on Ile Saint Jean, described above. Maybe it was meant to replace it with new, straight construction that avoided the wet places along the way. BC cuts across country from Saint Pierre to Three Rivers, which in Franquet’s mind, seems to be a natural place of convergence for two other roads. CE cuts across to the Mount Stewart area, while C sets out again for Port la Joye and ends up at Pointe a Marguerite or Battery Point across the harbour. In the middle of all this no less than four roads converge in the wilderness at point D. Whatever did Franquet have in mind? It is perhaps possible to see that his internal point of juncture seems to be in the Montague, New Perth or Cardigan area. The severe geometry of Franquet’s lines on an outline map that was highly inaccurate in its conception to begin with did little else than indicate that lines, meaning roads, were needed to join up these future areas of activity.

The areas of activity of this map are to be found in the place names, which most surely Franquet would have placed there because there was settlement and meaningful activity. Refugees from the mainland were already arriving in significant numbers and one wonders where they were put or where they went. Did they build new houses as extensions to existing communities, or were they taken into existing homes, making crowded, dark and smoky interiors even more dense in their congestion. That seems unlikely.


Cap a l’Ours – Cape Bear

Chemin du Havre St. Pierre – Former portage to Saint Pierre

Havre St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Harbour

I Gouverneur – Governors Island

Ile St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Island

La grande Souris – place on east side of Hillsborough – Mount Stewart?

Les Is. a Bois – Wood Islands

Les trois Rivieres – Three Rivers

Maison de la Veuve Genlil – place on west side of Hillsborough – Mount Stewart?

Pointe a Marguerite – Battery Point

Port la Joye

Portage – placed between Savage Harbour and Tracadie

Pt. du Sud ou de Prime – Point Prim

Pt. de l’Est – East Point


Chemin du Havre – original and only road on Ile Saint Jean


Franquet produced another map of Ile St. Jean at this time, oriented to the north. The cartouche is quite large, as if it were meant to contain a lot of information, but aside from the title and scale reference it is empty. This raises questions. It is very neatly drawn and has a large wind rose which suggests it was made for navigational purposes between Ile St. Jean and the settlements on the mainland.


1752 – Franquet, Carte de L’Isle St. Jean dans le Golphe de St. Laurent, LAC.

This map has a wider selection of place names than the other map made at the same time. Unfortunately, the only available picture of it came off the internet at a quite small resolution so that it is impossible to read the place names with complete accuracy.

Baye de Magpec – Malpeque or Richmond Bay

Bedec – Bedeque

Cadepiche? – Savage Harbour

Cap a l’Ours – Cape Bear

Casampec – Cascumpeque

H Tranchmontagne – North Lake

Havre Quiquibougat? – New London Bay

I St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Island

Ile a Bois – Wood Islands

Ile de Tentrec – Fish Island

Les Trois Rivieres – Three Rivers

Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Port la Joye

Port St. Pierre – St. Peter’s Harbour

Tracadie – Tracadie

(About 6 place names are unaccounted for because they are not legible on my photo.)



Acadia – The Final Threat

Nicolas Bellin, in the happy distance that an ocean provides, was not aware when he published this very lovely map, with its Rococo cartouche, of the eastern part of New France, that this world was about to be shattered completely by the mounting tensions between the French and the English. Things had been going from bad to worse for the past ten years after the conquest of Louisbourg and Ile Saint Jean that took place in 1745, but always there was optimism as agricultural work continued in the marshes of Acadia and the fisheries were bountiful as ever.

1755 – Bellin Jacques Nicolas, 1703-1772, Partie Orientale de la Nouvelle France ou du Canada, possibly published by the firm of Homann Erben in Nürnberg. 43 x 53 cm, Library of Congress 73695754.

Everything in the map is labelled with French names and its as if this world was still exclusively French, except that the honest conscientious Bellin inserts the new settlement and fortification of Halifax in this sea of French ambition.

Ile Saint Jean is clearly labelled with what now appear to be the principal settlements recognised by the government. What is not shown on that tiny scale is the multitude of villages at the mouth of Port la Joye harbour and up along the Hillsborough River to the fishing centre of Saint Peters.

Bedec – Bedeque

C a l’Ours – Cape Bear

Casquembec – Cascumpec

  1. St. Pierre – Saint Peters Harbour

Havre a l’Anguille – Savage Harbour

Havre Quiquibouga – New London Bay

I a Bois – Wood Islands

les Trois Rivieres – Three Rivers

Magpec – Birch Hill/Low Point area

Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Pointe de Nord – North Cape

Port Chimene – Tracadie Bay

Port la Joye


Tensions Intensify

In the eastern part of New France however, the Catholic Church was being highly disruptive and politically active in the person of l’Abbé Le Loutre, a missionary priest centered at Beaubassin, who for over ten years coerced the Mi’kmaq and Acadians on Ile Royale and in Acadia to attack, in small highly irritating small ways, the English who wanted a stable Acadia. This Acadia is the one depicted in Bellin’s map.


Fort Beausejour – June 15, 1755, 9 AM – The Death of Acadia

While the fishing industry was concentrated in a few seaports, the vast agricultural wealth of Acadia lay scattered all over estuarine Nova Scotia where salt marshes had been reclaimed from the sea and turned into highly productive land. Although Louisbourg was the official centre of authority for the region, Beaubassin, at the head of the Bay of Fundy, perched on a small ridge on the edge of the Missaguash River, was also a powerful centre of authority. It was on the border of what was to become New Brunswick and its greatest agricultural treasure, the Tantramar Marches, had been reclaimed on that side. Beaubassin was a major centre of communication, situated as it was on the edge of the Isthmus of Chignecto which, from time immemorial had been interlaced with paths and portages created by the Aboriginals and shared with the French. Bay Verte, on the Northumberland Strait, was one of the stepping off points to Ile Saint Jean.

After the town and fort of Halifax had been built by the English in Chebucto Bay in 1749, the English wanted to control the head of the Bay of Fundy and the Isthmus of Chignecto and, after a failed attempt, managed to build a small temporary four-pointed fort on the site of Beaubassin which had been destroyed by the French at the urging of the renegade priest the Abbé Le Loutre. It was called Fort Lawrence after Major Charles Lawrence who had been sent from Halifax to establish a hostile military presence in the area.

In 1751-52, in response to Major Lawrence’s little fort, the French built a handsome five-pointed classical fortification on another finger of land across the Missaguash River that protruded into the Bay of Fundy and called it Fort Beausejour, after the village that was already established there.

By the summer of 1755 a large force of British troops landed at Beaubassin with the intention of eliminating French control. The French were not prepared for this and shots began to be fired on June 15, and at 9 AM a shell pierced a casemate, an underground room in one of the pointed bastions, killing French officers. Thus, began the Seven Years War that ended French rule in North America. Many scholars consider it to be the first global war ever fought because of the many military encounters between the English and the French that brought most of the rest of Europe into the struggle, as well as the battles in North America that ended on the Plains of Abraham on 13 September 1759, when General James Wolfe led 5,000 troops up the Quebec cliffs to attack the city from the rear.

Skirmishes continued until 1762 when the war formally ended with the Treaty of Paris.

In 1755 a massive deportation of the Acadians was begun at Beaubassin and other centres where Acadians were concentrated. The idea was to get them out Acadia and away from the Mi’kmaq so that British plans of colonisation could go ahead. The ethnic cleansing was for the most part a success but for many people this tainted the setting up of British Colonial North America. A few years later, in 1758, this would be repeated on Ile Saint Jean. The descendants of these Acadians are now a powerful cultural and political force, and the memory of this act will never die.


War of the Maps

Thomas Jeffery was very quick to produce a most elegant and restrained propaganda map to celebrate the beginning of this world war. The cartouche for this new map tells it all. It also brings to our attention the intensifying concern for more accurate surveying, saying that the production of the map was “regulated by many new Astronomical Observations of the Longitude as well as the Latitude, with an Explanation.” And below the cartouche are all the observations on which this new map is based.


1755 – Thomas Jeffery – A New Map of Nova Scotia and Cape Britain with the adjacent parts of New England and Canada Composed from a great number of actual surveys … Library of Congress.

Compared to previous maps this one attempts to make anything French disappear from the Maritimes. Nova Scotia, in large Roman capitals, sweeps down from the Saint Lawrence River, across New Brunswick and down across Nova Scotia to the Atlantic. In quite large letters the presence of the Mi’kmaq is indicated in Chignecto and Northern Nova Scotia. And the place where it all began – Forts Lawrence and Beausejour – are clearly marked. Every attempt has been made to anglicise place names that generally appear in previous maps as French forms of Aboriginal names of great antiquity. All the fishing banks are now Nova Scotian. And what of Ile Saint Jean?

Ile Saint Jean perhaps looks more like the Island we know today except that it obviously had not been surveyed with the new astronomical observations that are much vaunted in the cartouche. We are struck by the energy of the Mi’kmaq presence which is indicated in large capitals spread across Port la Joye and its harbour entrance. What a slap in the face! The list of place names becomes more and more anglicised and only the most important locations and harbours are listed.

3 Rivers – Three Rivers

Bear C – Cape Bear

Bedec – Bedeque

Kaskambek – Cascumpec

Kinkebugat Harb – New London Bay

North Pt. – North Cape

P Joy – Port la Joye

Port Shimene – Tracadie Bay

East Pt. – East Point

Wood I – Wood Islands


Hard on the heels of Jefferys, the French cartographer Georges-Louis Le Rouge took Jefferys map and used it as a counter propaganda piece. Flanking the title outside the map’s border are arguments and lists of treaties that are in question. In the continental edition of the same map Le Rouge inserts a section in German for that audience. We must remember that at this very moment Europe has been thrown into ever-expanding military turmoil by the start of the Seven Years War, and all the allegiances that will be called upon on to be honoured.

Two almost identical maps were produced at this time and I am including the 1755 version meant for the German audience, which was published in 1762 as part of an atlas Le Rouge published on the four corners of the world.

This is a map designed not only to provide information about what was going on at that moment in New France but also to stimulate discussion about the territorial claims that were being made by the English.


1755  -Thomas Jeffery and Georges-Louis Le Rouge – Nouvelle Ecosse ou Partie Orientale du Canada, Traduite de l’Anglois de la Carte de Jefferys publiée a Londres, en May 1755, from the author’s Atlas général contenant le detail des quatre parties du monde principalement. Republished in 1762. Library of Congress 73695762.

1755 LeRouge Jefferys LC

LeRouge is more conscientious than Jefferys in his 1755 map in providing a more detailed listing of place names on Ile Saint Jean. He is aware of the hilly country in Prince and King’s Counties and indicates this with the usual icons. There are very complicated lines that indicate Acadian fisheries boundaries limits. So anxious is Le Rouge to provide every possible reference for his map that at the top right there is a large table giving the longitude for a variety of places as provided by the most prominent mapmakers of the day. In many instances effort has been made to give both the French and English names of settlements. There are even a number of what one takes to be roads indicated in a number of places. It is a very serious piece of work that Le Rouge is anxious to defend in as many ways as possible.

Only a few by now very familiar place names remain on Ile Saint Jean.

Bedec – Bedeque

C aux Ours – Cape Bear

Cascanpec – Cascumpec

Havre a l’Anguille – Savage Harbour

I Malpec – Hog Island

les 3 Rivieres – Three Rivers

P Prime – Point Prim

Pierre Martin* – house site near Pisquid River?

Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Pointe du Nord – North Cape

Port la Joye

St. Pierre – Saint Peter’s Harbour


Cehourie des Loups marins – this is written inland along the whole length of King’s County and refers to échoueries – rocky coastlines where seals seek refuge from predators and are used as rest and reproduction areas.

*Pierre Martin and his family came from Port Royale, lived a few years in Port Toulouse on Ile Royale and then moved to Ile Saint Jean where in 1720 they settled on the rich marshlands of the Mount Stewart Marsh on the Hillsborough River. We do not know why his name was given community status on several maps, especially at this late date. He is the progenitor of all the Martins who live on the Island. (This information was kindly provided by Georges Arsenault.)


Propaganda Maps

Propaganda maps reached their height of production in the post 1755 period. This one says it all with its title, although attempts have been made to show the limits of French claims as opposed to more legal ones by the English, based on treaties with the Aboriginals.


1755 – A new and accurate map of the English empire in North America; Representing their rightful claim as confirmed by charters and the formal surrender of their Indian friends; likewise the encroachments of the French, with the several forts they have unjustly erected therein. By a Society of Anti-Gallicians, 41 x 50 cm, Published by William Herbert, London. Library of Congress.

The Society of Anti-Gallicans was formed about 1745 to stop the import of French goods into Britain and to resist French influence on English society.

William Herbert, 1718-1795, and Robert Sayer, 1725-1794, both mapmakers and publishers produced and sold this map in London. Aside from showing the locations of various Aboriginal tribes and providing fine drawing of the major fortifications in the early struggles of the Seven years War, it brings no insights to the Island of Saint John, which is identified, but no more. Its value in the history of map propaganda however is great. Similar large scale maps were produced at this time to satisfy the public’s interest in what was happening in America.


A Strange-Looking Map;

This map of the Atlantic region published in Augsburg starting in the 1740s and going on into the 1760s always draws the surprised attention of visitors to an exhibition because the continent has been squeezed vertically so that everything is out of proportion. I include it in this selection of maps because it illustrates perfectly the necessity of establishing a longitude point (a pole to pole line) and having instruments with which to measure distance so that, when you transfer your data to paper, the lay of the land looks credible.

Georg Matthaus Seutter (1647 – 1756) was one of the most important and productive German map publishers in the Eighteenth Century. He started out life as a brewer but that held no fascination so he moved to Nuremberg where he trained as an engraver under a famous teacher. Early in the 1700s Seutter left the engraver J. B. Hoffman to set up a business in Augsburg. It was tough going in the early years but by diligently copying all the best maps that were being produced in France, Germany and England at that time his reputation grew and he prospered.

Using all the research material that was available to me I have not been able to find out why this particular map was produced, with the greatly shortened latitude distances. He seems to have been experimenting with various longitude and latitude charts that were being used by various mapmakers of the time and somehow decided to produce this large and very grand, quite old-fashioned map as far as design goes, but filled with all sorts of up-to-date information on old and new place names as they appeared. Halifax, for instance, gets inserted in one of the 1750 editions of this map. There are a few other maps of the period that use this elongated format.


1756–1762 – Tobias Conrad Lotter (creator) and Albrecht Carl Seutter (engraver) – Partie orientale de la Nouvelle France ou du Canada: avec l’isle de Terre-Neuve et de Nouvelle Escosse, Acadie et Nouv. Angleterre avec fleuve de St. Laurence, 56 x 48 cm, printed at Augsburg – Boston Athenaeum.

The map is pretty much the last dying gasp on the old Seventeenth Century models that were dripping with elaborate decoration and so we are given special treats, one of which I reproduce so you can say farewell to that custom.

In the lower right corner of the map is a wonderful depiction of the fishing fleets at work on the fishing banks of Acadia.

If you look at the extreme edge of this detail you will see Halifax proudly established in its fine harbour.

Seutter’s elongated map of Ile Saint Jean includes al the names we would expect in the labelling of the island.

There is nothing new for me to list as the place names associated with Ile Saint Jean do not seem to vary in any significant way at the beginning and early stages of the Seven Years War.

It is important to remember that this map, produced perhaps for the first time just before the 1745 attacks on Acadia, and improved from time to time to record the progress of the War after 1755, was eagerly sought out in Germany which did not have extensive contact with active navies and fishing fleets like the French and English had.


Bellin will simply not go away and, desperate to provide the German audience with new material on the fate of Acadia, in 1756 the Leipzig publishers, Arkstee and Merkus, bring out their version of the little 1744 map.


[1756] Bellin – Karte von Accadia nach den manuscripten des vorrathes von karten und grundrissen bey der Marine, 20 x 32 cm, W. K. Morrison Special Collection, Inventory # WKM-M-019.

The collection of place names has been kept intact except where it was possible to translate French into German. The old mistake, noted previously in calling Wood Island I. à Bova, is repeated.

Even the Cabanes Sauvages appear again as Hütten der Wilden.


Bellin appears yet again in 1757 with a map designed assert French claims on the boundaries of Acadia at that time. It is pure propaganda. Sadly, there were no boundaries to sort because the English were almost finished deporting most of the population. This beautiful little map is a memory filled with pathos and a dream that will not go away.


1757 – Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, Carte de l’ Accadie, Lsle Royale, et Païs Voisins, R. Porter Collection.

The map had been produced as an illustration to Bellin’s voyages at that time and so you always see the crease in the middle where it was folded back into the book. The map is simple and clear and there is an attempt to suggest topography by the inclusions of icons that suggest hilly country. Probably because of Bellin’s popularity as a continental mapmaker this map was printed – and used by others, including Bellin himself! – many times, well into the 1760s.

An attempt has been made to present the hilly topography of Ile Saint Jean. While not accurate, I do not think that these hill symbols should be dismissed because the French had had about 200 years to travel through, observe and record the interior of Ile Saint Jean. This design convention, which is incidental to the larger purpose of Bellin’s map, still suggests the hilly parts of the three counties.

There are a few additions or variants to the place names of Ile Saint Jean and so I will list them for easy reference.

Baye de Magpec – Malpeque or Richmond Bay

Bedec – Bedeque

Cap a l’Ours – Cape Bear

Havre a la Souris – Souris River

Havre Quiquibougat – New London Bay

Havre S. Pierre – St. Peter’s Harbour

I a Bois – Wood Islands

le Gouvernm’t – Port la Joye

Les Trois Rivieres – Three Rivers

Pointe de l’Est – East Point

Port a l’Anguille – Little Harbour

Port la Joye – here entrance to Charlottetown Harbour

Riv. Tranche montagne – North Lake

Trocadie – Tracadie



The Defeat of Louisbourg and Ile Saint Jean

On July 26, 1758 Governor Augustin de Boschenry de Drucou surrendered at Louisbourg. This effectively sealed the fate of the French and Acadians on Ile Saint Jean.

In the fall of 1758, there was a series of small military campaigns that brought an end to the colony of Ile Saint Jean. The intent was to deport the Acadians and French living there, along with the many who had fled Acadia at the time of the 1755 deportation. Lieutenant-Colonel Rollo with a force of 500 British troops, which included James Rogers with his company of Rogers Rangers, was sent to accomplish this. The number of people who died during this expulsion exceeded the fatalities of the 1755 Deportation principally because overcrowded unseaworthy ships sank at an alarming rate.

General Jeffery Amherst ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Rollo to take possession of Ile Saint Jean. He built a four-pointed rectangular fort on top of the hill behind the French fort, and set about deporting the Acadians. When it became clear just how many Acadians lived, and had fled to Ile Saint Jean Rollo was appalled to discover that the number totalled nearly 5000 people.

Earle Lockerby tells the story of what happened in this very detailed article.

Lockerby – Deportation – Acadiensis

This aerial photograph from the internet shows the entrance to Charlottetown Harbour and on the right is the site of the French administrative centre of Port la Joye. On top of the hill, you can see the remains of Fort Amherst, a primitive earthwork with palisades that never amounted to anything. The French fort was on the slope below and some archaeological remains have been found.

Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst National Historic Site

In the foreground, just where a range light is situated above a small pond, the land above the high cliffs slopes down to the shore and this was always the landing place where people and goods from ships were offloaded and brought to shore. It was at this very spot that thousands of Acadians gathered on the shore to await transport to the large ships that would take them away.


The British Conquerors begin to describe their new possessions.

After 1758 there was a flurry of activity as the English began the very difficult process of mapping New France as they perceived the territory. The beginning was small, in a popular magazine, but soon new improvements in mapmaking would change the course and standards of cartography in the world forever.


1758 – A Map of the Island of St. John near Nova Scotia lately taken from the French, The Grand Magazine of Magazines or Universal Register, 4 1/4 x 7 1/2”, October 1758, London.

The Grand Magazine of Magazines was one of many popular magazines produced, for a small price, for ordinary people who wanted news of current events. This particular project only lasted a year, from July 1758 until November 1759. Illustrations of very important events or subjects were added and this is how this lovely little map of Saint John’s Island got in. It is very special in the history of Island cartography and is believed by many to be the first map of the Island engraved on a copper plate. Sadly, this is not really the case because in 1723 a map of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, based on the memoires of Gédéon Catalogne, was engraved on copper and a copy survives in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. It is reproduced in my previous post on the 1720-45 period.

The Grand Magazine map was obviously taken from French sources and as many place names as possible anglicised. It is worth listing the place names to see what has been carried on from before, changed or added for the first time. It is an impressively long list, demonstrating the focussed interests of the conqueror.

Bears Cape – Cape Bear

Bedec – Bedeque

Cadoecpich – Savage Harbour

Casambec – Cascumpec

East Point

Eel Port – Port a l’Anguille – Little Harbour

Gotteville Is. – Robinson’s Island?

Gouvernours I. – Governors Island

Harbour for Sloops – Rustico Bay?

I de Tentrée – Fish Island

Kikibougat Harbr. – New London Bay

les Trois Rivieres

Magpec Bay – Malpeque or Richmond Bay

Mouse Harbour – Souris

North Point

Petit Port for Sloops – South Lake?

Point Prime

Port la Joye

Shimene Port – Tracadie Bay

St. Peter’s Car. place – Portage from Hillsborough R. to St. Peter’s

St. Peter’s Harbour

St Peter’s I – Saint Peter’s Island

The Governours – Port la Joye administration/fort

The Great River – Hillsborough River

Tranch Mont R. – North Lake

Trocadie – Tracadie

Wood I – Wood Islands


Britain begins to survey Saint John’s Island

In 1764 Samuel Holland was appointed Surveyor General of the Northern District, that is, everything in the new British Empire in America north of the Potomac River. Holland began with Cape Breton Island and Saint John’s Island, and because there was urgency on the part of the Board of Trade to settle these colonies quickly, an effort was made to account for the entire surface, not just the outline, of the land. These cadastral maps, as they were called, divided all the territory into land units in use in Britain, and so there are counties, townships, parishes and county capitals with their Common and Royalty extensions.

General Surveyor Samuel Holland and his team embarked in September 1764 for St. John aboard the armed sloop Canceaux. Before British forces invaded St. John in 1758 and began deporting its inhabitants, French colonists had established fifteen small villages scattered around the island’s bays and inlets that, at the end, contained over 4000 people. By the time Holland arrived, fewer than three hundred French settlers remained.

Having taken Saint John’s Island from the French, and having deported the bulk of its population, Britain found it necessary to document this new possession with descriptions of the land illustrated with a map. Lockerby and Sobey (p. 19) raise a number of issues about the cartographic activity that followed, about when it was done, and who did it.

From their research it is clear that the Board of Trade and Plantations instructed a number of local governors to send out surveyors to obtain an accurate record of these new lands. On 22 November 1763 Governor Montague Wilmot of Nova Scotia was sent just such a letter but only received it on18 March 1764. He replied in June saying that he had begun the survey and with his letter sent a Description of the Island of Saint John that he was able to find.

This description, hastily prepared one gathers, is of significant interest because its circulation ensured that interest in the potential of Saint John’s Island spread to a number of influential people. This would be soon followed by more accurate and informed letters from Samuel Holland, but it is worth experiencing the freshness of perception in this early report written before Holland took over.

In his very extensive research on the history of the forests of Prince Edward Island – a life’s work, really – Dr. Doug Sobey located one such document in the Hardwicke Papers in the British Library and published a selection from it dealing especially with forest resources on the Island. I have taken the liberty of sharing his selection published in Early Descriptions of the Forests of Prince Edward Island – A Source Book – Part II, The British and Post Confederation Periods, 1758-c. 1900, Part B: The Extracts. I find it full of charm, in spite of its superficial observation, and have no difficulty imagining myself in the landscape the anonymous author describes.

Anon. (1762) Remarks relative to the Sketch of the Island of St. John’s in North America. [Hardwicke Papers, British Library: Add. MSS 35914, 95-99ff. and PEI PARO 4615.]

Remarks relative to the Sketch of the bland of St John’s in North America, where I was employ’d by order of the General, to run over that Island, its Harbours, & Interiour parts, that he might be in some measure Inform’d [of the?] Value, and Situation of the Several Towns, with the Quantities of Cultivated Lands, which inviron’d each, that thereby he might be enabled to make an Estimation of the Number of Families each Town Ship was Capable of receiving, for which service I left Fort Amherst, the 6th July 1762 with a Party of 30 Men a light whale Boat and a French Pilot to Conduct me to the several Villages, Harbours &c &c and first of the Village of Port la Joy.

Port la Joy is the principal Harbour on the Island; … here are Branches of Three very fine Rivers, the NE: the N: and what is called the N.W: the Banks of the NE River, is settled very close from its Entrance to its Source about 9 Leag: the Banks of the other two Rivers are not so Closely settled … however the Land is to be Cleared at no very greet expense … on the Banks of the three Rivers are great numbers of Servicible Timber, and Scarce a Village but has a Saw Mill …


 Hillsborough a Village about 5 Leagues up the N: E: River, as this Village make one of the many on the Banks of this River, I need only Observe that the Lands are  very fine and as Cleared for many Miles round with entermixed pieces of Woodland for the Conveniency of the Tenants. ….

Grand Restico is … but a Winter retreat for the Inhabitants of Tracadie and the Adjacent Villages, who retire here for the cover of the Woods, being more Commodiously situated for Firewood, and the Convniency of Hunting, from this, I proceeded 3 Leag father W N W to Petit Restico an habitation of the same nature with the former but no Cultivated Lands although exceedingly good if improved. …

[p. 95v]

From here [i.e. North Cape] the Island Wynds of to the Southward and at 15 Leagues S W: lies Cape Molliack [i.e. West Point], betwixt which are no Harbours or Settlements, the Land here is somewhat higher, of a good Quality and seems by Nature fortified aspirin the bleak N W Winds (to which this Quarter lies exposed) by an impenetrable Rampart of a thick kind of Brush wood which even a man can scarcely penetrate through. …

Augt 7th: I set out a second time to make the Tour of that part of the Island that ly’s to the Eastward of Fort Amherst. … 4 Leags E S E [from Isle Du Bois] ly’s the 3 Rivers the best Harbour in the whole Island, for it receives of 4 or 500 Tons, no Settlemts yet made but very good Land & plenty of fine Ship Timber and very large. 3 Leag’: N E of this ly’s Cap a LOurs only a remarkable Head Land but not Settled, at this place is the best Ship Timber in the Islad 3 Leag’: N E b [by?] N: ly’s bay of Fortune. … very fine land & remarkably Commodious for a Fishery.

Backwards into the Country, it is almost entirely clear even to the Bay of St. Peters, from a fire which happen’d in the year 1750. From thence I proceed N ½ E 3 Leag to Newfrage a small harbour only fit for Shallops and but thinly Settled, the Lands much of the same Quality with the other parts of the blend. To Point East, it is 6 Leags N N E, and is only taken notice of as ye most Easterly point of the Island: The Lands thickly Cover’d with a small species of Birch, From hence we began to proceed to the westward, for St Peters 9 Leagues W ½ North, …

[pp.96v 97]


What surveyor did he send? Logically it would have been Charles Morris who a few years later in 1768 would draw up the plan for the new city of Charlottetown. If that was the case, why are there no maps signed by Morris in the record that we know about?

There is a group of nearly identical maps, some unsigned, that can be found as originals and copies in the British Archives, in Ottawa and in Charlottetown. Which is the one Morris sent to the Board of Trade?

It is fascinating to look at these maps as they all originate from the same template. Two are signed, one on the border and the other in the cartouche.

One of these maps, signed by W. J. Hebert between the frame lines on the lower right is full of exciting and charming detail if you are trying to get a general impression of a place.


1764 W. J. Hebert del, [no title] Island of St. John, drawn on 4 sheets glued over gauze and card, WC 02bb PARO 0,450.

Of all the manuscript maps of Ile Saint Jean that I have come across over the years this one, brightly coloured, and full of excitement, is, aesthetically, my favourite. It is extensively tinted with wash, and the cartographer has gone to great lengths to locate precisely the various communities that could be described at that time. For the first time since the colony of Ile Saint Jean has been established – and now abolished – you get a vivid sense of what it was all about. I have not been able to find out anything about this cartographer, and can only infer from his work that he was an individual of exuberance and vision. For the first time since the 1720s a mapmaker does not only indicate a place on a map, he draws a picture of it!

For example, in all the previous maps I have looked at the location of Cascumpec is vaguely hinted at but here it is given a precise location with an outline of its field system. There may even be an indication of the Kildare River.

Malpeque, also never really tied to a specific spot is given a well-articulated treatment. You can see where its church was located close to the shore which makes it not surprising that in the 1950s and ‘60s its cemetery, according to reliable eyewitnesses, was eroding out of the bank. Hebert seems to think that it is surrounded by water on the west side and he may be joining the Trout and Ellis Rivers, based on the information he received, because this same feature appears on all the maps which are based on this matrix. So sketchy is his information, or so careless was Hebert, that Malpeque is called Midaick.

The section through the Island from Port la Joye to Saint Peter’s is full of excitement and somehow, movement, with the agricultural details of reclaimed marshland, roads, portages and even churches all claiming their pride of place! Even unsettled nature seems to vibrate with hidden life.

It is for reasons such as these that I find this map, in the group of three, to be the most valuable of all to a student of topography. Even though Ile Saint Jean’s outline is far from the one that would emerge in Holland’s survey, we are able to get a clear impression of how the Island had been settled and exploited by the French in the past 45 or so years. Because of its rich intimate detail, I tend to see this as the prototype of the other copies which only reproduce outlines of cleared land and add nothing to explain what they mean.

I will insert a pdf of the copy I have of this map which I obtained from the Provincial Archives.

1764 Hebert Ile Saint Jean, PARO

Here are the place names that appear on the map:

Bay de Fortune – Fortune

Bay de Grand Ance – Egmont Bay

Cap Mollack – might be West Point

Franche River – Tranchmontaigne – North Lake

Fort – Fort Amherst

Govr. Island – Governors Island

Grande Echurie – Large Basking Area for Seals on the West cliffs at North Cape. In other maps this is located near Souris on the East coast.

Grand Restico – Rustico Bay

Harbour of Bedek –

Harb of Cascumpick – Cascumpec Harbour

Harbr. of Malpaick – Malpeque Harbour

Harbr. of Saint Peter’s – Saint Peter’s Harbour

Harbr of Tracadie – Tracadie

Hillsborough – Scotchfort

Isle du Bois – Wood Islands

La Petite – New London Bay

Le Havre – indicating harbour entrance to Malpeque Bay

Noufrage – an event, not a place, near Souris?

Petit Echurie – South Lake Seal haven?

Petit Havre – Savage Harbour

Petit Restico – maybe Covehead Bay

Point de l’Este – East Point

Pointe du Weste – North Cape

Port Joy – Port la Joye

Riviere du Blanc – Johnston’s River area

Riviere du G? – MS damaged

Riviere du Sable – DeSable

St. Peters Island

Trois Riviere’s – Three Rivers

Village of Midaick – Birch Hill/Low Point Area

Village of Point Prim – Point Prim

Village of Saint Peter’s – St. Peter’s


The Two Other Maps in this Series

The other two maps based on this template are identical in outline and borrow, in a linear fashion, the settlement and agricultural patterns drawn in colour in the Hebert map. Its all there, its all very useful, and its all very dull for lack of adequate labelling. It looks like second-rate civil service work to accompany reports and descriptions of Saint John’s Island.

The second of the signed maps is by Henry Coates. It looks as if he started out with grand design plans but never got beyond the cartouche.


1764 Hy. Coates, A Sketch of the Island of St. Johns in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,/ Hy. Coates del. CO 700/Prince Edward Island 2, The National Archives, Kew.

Henry Coates has begun to draw an elaborate cartouche in the top right corner and then given up, leaving the dark design as something heavy to disturb the balance of the map. Palm trees luxuriate. Judging by the rough, uneven edges, somebody must have cut away the various framing lines that would have helped give substance to the whole. As it is, the Island and mainland just seem to float. It seems incomplete.

Although clear in detail we have only a small-sized reproduction to study. The map has not yet been scanned by the British Archives and there is only this photograph.

These are the communities listed in this map insofar as they can be read from my source. Some equivalent names may have to be corrected in the future.

Bay of Fortune

Bois Id. – Wood Island

Cape Molliack – Cape Egmont?

Communication River – Foxley River

Crapeau Village- Crapaud

East Point

Fort Amherst

Gouvernoure Id. – Governor’s Island

Great Rustico – Rustico Bay

Guise River – Perceval Bay

Hillsborough Village – Scotchfort?

Indian Path from Three Rivers to Saint Peter’s – now Routes 4 and 313?

Keseampeke Village – Cascumpec

Little Bay – Boughton Bay?

Little Harbour – Savage Harbour

N E River – North East River – Hillsborough River

Nine Mile House ? – Nine Mile Creek

North River

North West River

Point Prim Village

Sable Village – DeSable

St. Petre Id. – Saint Peter’s Island

Blanc – Dunk River

Three Rivers

Tranche River – North Bay

West Point – North Cape

Village of Beduck – Bedeque

Village of Malpec – Birch Hill/Low Point area

[illegible] near Souris. Shipwreck? With similar symbol above also found on “Wilmot” map.


The last in this series of similar maps has a cartouche but is not signed. It is in LAC in Ottawa and has been attributed to Wilmot in some tenuous way as there is record of his having sent a map to London. In that case what is this doing in Ottawa? Obviously, provenance is a problem with these maps. The men who copied them did so faithfully from a single matrix but not from a same list of place names. They all chose a different cartouche except for the coloured version in PARO which has none. Perhaps a cartouche would have diminished its excitement.


1764 [attributed to Wilmot], A Sketch of the Island of S. Johns in the Gulf of St. Laurence, pen and coloured wash on paper, LAC.

This has the same outline as the other maps, along with a crookedly placed cartouche. It would be good at this time to construct a comparison table of all the place names in these maps so that we could see at a glance of they were given a master list to work from. Just from the process of transcription it appears that the great majority are the same, but there are a few differences that make one wonder what the nature of the place name list was and where it come from.

Bay of Fortune

Blanc River – Dunk River

Bois Id. – Wood Islands

Cape Molliack – Cape Egmont?

Communication River – Foxley River?

Crapeau Village – Crapaud

East Point

Fort Amherst

Gouverneur Id. – Governors Island

Guise River – Perceval Bay

Hillsborough Village – Scotchfort

Indian Path from the Three Rivers to Saint Peters

Kescampeak Village – Cascumpeque

Little Bay – Boughton Bay?

Little Harbour – Savage Harbour

N E River – Hillsborough River

North River

North West River

Point Prim Village

Sable Village – DeSable

Shipwreck – an event – near Souris? With a symbol

St. Peters Village

St. Petre Id. – Saint Peter’s Island

Three Rivers

Tracadie Village – Tracadie

Village of Beduck – Bedeque

Village of Malpec – Birch Hill/Low Point area

West Point – North Cape


C. Pettigrew copied a number of original maps in the British archives at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. His most ambitious project was the great Holland map but he also copied smaller maps, such as this one we have been examining.


1764 – Anonymous original, copied by C Pettigrew, May 1919, Sketch of the Island of St. Johns in the Gulf of St. Laurence, NB The small dotted Lines, represent the suppos’d Boundaries of Cleared Lands, 1764 – 04 pei sketch, c. 1764 LAC NMC 1853 ID 21998.

The Pettigrew transcription is obviously that of yet another of these “Wilmot” maps we have been examining. It has a cartouche decorated with exotic vegetation  of the kind, which, in the mind of European cartographers with vague perceptions of natural history, seem to have the right exotic touch for such a place as the Island of Saint John. After all, just where was it anyway?

I attach this pdf file of this map because it gives you the opportunity to view large scale most of the details found on the other maps and will help in the transcription of place names that are difficult to read.

1911 Pettigrew copy of 1764 Wilmot map – LAC



Continental Interest in the Fall of New France

The European continent was involved violently in the Seven years War and as a result there was much demand for accounts of the progress of the war, the territories that were being gained and lost and the battles that were fought. This need for information was hastily met with illustrated pamphlets, magazines and even a 10 volume set of books!

Georg Christoph Kilian belonged to a family of artists in Augsburg that went back several generations. He was an artist who specialised in pictures of antiquity from places like Pompeii and Herculaneum. In many ways his engravings covered classical ruins subjects such as those that made Piranesi famous. He was not only an artist but also an engraver and printmaker who published his own works. As well, he was a cartographer who was involved in the publication of several atlases, including America Septentrionalis of 1760. He was very up to date in subjects of intense interest and presented, in German, his interpretation of what was going on in the late 1750s in Acadia, Ile Royale and Ile Saint Jean.


1761 Kilian, Georg Christoph (1709-1781), Karte von dem Ostlichen-Stucke von Neu Franckreich oder Canada in America: besonders aber Acadia und Neu Schottland (Map of the eastern parts of New France or Canada in America: especially Acadia and New Scotland), engraved hand-coloured map, 18 x 32 cm, published in Augsburg by Christian Friedrich von der Heiden. Mount Vernon Collection.

Killian’s map of Acadia is quite recognisable as a child of Bellin’s various maps. As much as possible he translated place names and disputed territories into German, as this work was aimed for a German audience.

He does not include the whole quota of French settlement on Ile Saint Jean, but it is interesting to note which were translatable into German.

Aal Hafen (Eel Port) – Havre a l’Anguille – Savage Harbour

Bedec – Bedeque

Casquembec – Cascumpec

Die 3 Flüsse – Three Rivers

Hafen (port) Quiquibougat – New London Bay

Hafen S. Pierre – Saint Peter’s Harbour

Maapec – Birch Hill/Low Point Area

Nord Spitze (north tip) – North Cape

Ost Spitze (east tip) – East Point

Port la Joy


Another German Map of Ile Saint Jean

Gabriel Nicolaus Raspe was a prominent bookseller and publisher in Nuremberg. All his basic training was in running bookshops, working as an apprentice, and finally in 1739 became manager of the great Gleditsch bookstore in Leipzig. He worked hard at building up a varied inventory, covering more and more areas of interest as time went by.  This map was included in the 10 volume work describing the events, battles and locations of the Sever Years War called Schauplatz des gegenwaertigen Kriegs or “Overview of the Current War” and was published in Nuremberg between 1757 and 1764. In the series there were 160 maps, 11 of which were of North American interest.


1764 – Raspe, Gabriel Nikolaus (1712 – 1785), Grund riss der amerikanischen Insuln/ Cape Breton, St. Jean und Anticosti im Flusse S.Laurencii (Layout of the American islands/ Cape Breton, St. Jean and Anticosti in the Saint Lawrence River), 22,5 x 37 cm, from Schauplatz des gegenwaertigen Kriegs, Vol. 6 (1762), Nuremberg.

The map is obviously taken from a British source as all the place names are in English. Anticosti Island is lowered into the frame as an inset.

Bear C. – Cape Bear

Bedec – Bedeque

Casquembec – Cascumpec

East Point

H Anguille – Savage Harbour

Magpec – Birch Hill/Low Point area

North Pte. – North Cape

Port Chimene – Tracadie Bay

Port Joy

Quiquibougat Harb. – New London Bay

St. Peters H. – Saint Peter’s Harbour

Three Riv’rs. – Three Rivers

Wood I. – Wood Islands


Bellin Never Stops…

Nicolas Bellin, the great French mapmaker never stopped producing his elegant maps, usually on an existing matrix, of the progress of the war in New France. In 1764, even after the Treaty of Paris had definitively taken the empire that was New France and given it to the conquering English, Bellin continued to turn out clear, well-drawn maps showing the world almost as if nothing had happened. His only concession to the new state of things was the insertion of new English place names, like Halifax.


1764 Bellin J-N Le golphe de Saint Laurent et l’Isle de Terre Neuve, Bibliothèque Nationale, fr/ark:/12148/cb406018390.

Ile Saint Jean appears with a few of its major harbours identified in this map of the Gulf.



Again, in 1764, when all was lost, with sublime indifference Bellin republishes his map of Acadia with suggestions of the topographical layout of the land using the usual symbols for hilly country. ALMOST NOTHING HAS CHANGED!


1764 – Bellin, Jacques Nicolas, (1703-1772,) Carte de l’Acadie et Pays Voisins, from Le Petit atlas maritime: recueil de cartes et plans des quatre parties du monde. Premier volume contenant l’Amérique septentrionale et les isles Antilles, Vol. 1, no. 26. Collection BAnQ Québec.

Everything is presented, except for Halifax, the way it was before the War of the Forts in 1755. Talk about French sang-froid.



The Montresor Episode

Captain John Montresor (1736-1799) was a British military engineer who had a varied and coloured career in the events of the Seven years War. He was present at the siege of Louisbourg and spent time afterwards hunting down Acadians in Cape Breton for eventual deportation. He was ambitious and socially aggressive and lived in a very grand style. In the end he lost it all and ended up in debtor’s prison.  John Singleton Copley, one of the greatest American portraitists of the day,  painted this likeness in 1771. It is now in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

James Murray, the governor of the garrison at Quebec became governor of the District of Quebec in October of 1760 and governor of the province in 1763. He was engaged in a number of mapping projects of the new British possessions in America, using the abilities of several engineers like Samuel Holland, John Spry and John Montresor. There were quarrels between these men and Montresor at one point passed off surveying work done by Holland as his own.

Of particular interest is a very large map of Acadia published under Montresor’s name, twice in 1768. The cartouche is very grand , addressed to a noble patron, and unambiguous in its claims. It is a huge map that had to be printed on four separate sheets of paper and then joined together at the seams, creating an engraved image 100 x 140 cm (40 x 55 ½ inches). It was published in London by Andrew Dury (fl. 1766-1777?), a distinguished mapmaker.

Montresor’s huge map required to be printed on 4 large sheets which had then to be trimmed at the edge of the plate so that all could be joined to form a seamless image. The Richard H. Brown Revolutionary War Map Collection at Mount Vernon has an incredibly rare treasure of the Montresor map printed but still not trimmed for joining together.

Great skill was required to cut away the excess paper, right up to the edge of the engraved image, and then pasting it to the adjacent sheet so that everything would like up.

There are two cartouches on this map. One a large and very elaborate dedicatory one where Montresor signs his name as engineer.

However, there is another cartouche on the right corner of the map that is simpler but more informative about Montresor’s claims.

The claim is made that it is from actual surveys by Captain Montresor, Engineer in 1768.

Scholars have determined that Montresor did not have the time to be in the field to do all the massive amount of work necessary to produce this map. No other contributors are given credit. It is now agreed that Montresor simply stole this cartographic information from Samuel Holland who had already surveyed the region.

Here is the detail of Saint John’s Island from this map. The place names are still those we are familiar with from previous maps.

Again, in 1768 Montresor publishes the same map, this one on the LAC collecton, but wait, there is a difference!

Saint John’s Island has a completely different profile, one that we have never seen before in any representation of the island. It is an outline we are all very familiar with.

The island has been covered by a grid and filled with new place names, all of English patrons, with only a few original names surviving from previous centuries.

And yet Montresor dared claim it was all from actual surveys conducted by himself. In point of fact, he stole the latest survey of Saint John’s Island from Samuel Holland work of 1764-65 which changed forever, in all parts of the world, the way that accurate longitude readings could create outlines that were the most precise ever produced and which gave a true outline of the area surveyed.

Samuel Johannes Holland (1728 – 28 December 1801)

Holland’s extraordinary survey of Saint John’s Island, first drawn, then engraved and widely circulated, will be the story of my next post.

At times in this blog I have spoken of epiphanic moments when I came into contact with various parts of my heritage. The day I stood in front of Holland’s great manuscript map in 2015 was one of those moments. It changed forever the way I looked at maps of the Island, before and after 1765.



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