[BOSTON]. Manuscript map, "Plan de la Baye, Ville, et Environs de Baston" [sic], n.p., n.d. [France, ca.1755?]. Oblong folio, 18 1/4 in. x 23 5/8 in. (465 x 600 mm.), pen and ink and wash drawing on a single folio sheet of unwatermarked paper, originally folded in half and bound on a guard into an album, verso labelled "Baston," in a contemporary hand. The plan finely executed in colored inks with double-ruled border, neatly lettered caption at top, a scale ("Echelle de une lieue et demie") at lower right, a large compass rose (incorporating a small fleur-de-lis) in red and green in right-hand portion, roads and man-made structures highlighted in carmine ink, the sea, fields and stylized trees shaded in green and pale ochre inks, margins of the sheet strengthened in two places on verso, a small tear in ocean portion discreetly repaired.
An attractively drawn French plan, apparently intended for military (naval) use, almost certainly dating from the period of the French and Indian War. It emphasizes navigational features, carefully delineating the "Grande Entrée pour les Vaisseaux," through the harbor islands and a "Petit passage pour Barques et Chaloupes", both of which terminate at the dock areas, which are shown in considerable detail. Boston's fortifications and harbor defenses are minutely recorded: on the jetty, the map notes, are mounted "60 pieces de cannon"; at one end a shore "Batterie de 25 pieces" is located, and at the south end, the "Fort de Andros qui Comande le ville" is shown. The star fort on Castle Island (later Castle William) is indicated on the "Isle du Fort." At Charleston another battery is marked, alongside the "Havre ou l'on construit." The presence of a mill ("moulin") on the south side of Charleston neck is noted, with its mill-dam. Most of the major harbor islands and other features are depicted and labelled with at times awkward French approximations: "I. Dyr" (Deer Island), "I. Egue" (Egg Island), "I. Spectidle" (Spectacle Island), "I. Petit Brust" (Little Brewster Island), "I. Nan" (Nahant). Dorchester Neck is captioned "Dacheten Neche" (and is shown without fortifications) while the Bay of Lynn is rendered as "B. de Lin." The town of Charleston, village of "Rochberi" (Roxbury) and the "grand village" of "Cambridge Université," with their principal road connections are shown, but without significant detail.
A note pencilled on the verso provides useful clues to the dating of this map, recording its having been purchased in Paris in 1947. Other maps in the portfolio from which it came, the inscription notes, were dated 1755, and the group may have originated with the Royal "Dépot de la Marine." The best-known French map of Boston from this period is the small-format "Plan de la Ville de Boston," issued in 1763-1764 by Jacques Nicholas Bellin (see R.V. Tooley, "North American City Plans," in The Mapping of America, ed. R.V. Tooley, 1980, p.208, no.105), and the key English map is that of John Bonner, originally published in 1722, reprinted with additions by William Price at Boston in 1743 and 1769.