(AMERICAN REVOLUTION.) Romans, Bernard. Map of the Seat of Civil War in America. Engraved map, 16 1/2 x 19 inches; backed by cloth, folds, minor foxing and toning. [Philadelphia: Nicholas Brooks, 1775]
Estimate $20,000 - 30,000
This map is dedicated by Romans to John Hancock, then president of the Continental Congress. It depicts most of eastern Massachusetts from Salem south to Sandwich, going as far west as Worcester, and including the northern part of Rhode Island and a sliver of Connecticut. A key identifies the many islands of Boston Harbor, as well as Bunker's Hill. The two insets are most interesting. A "Plan of Boston and its Environs 1775" depicts the provincial and royal lines, as well as redoubts, breast works, and a fascine battery from the Siege of Boston; a notation reads "Charles Town b[urn]t June 17." Below the map is "A View of the Lines thrown upon Boston Neck by the Ministerial Army," with the Boston skyline and John Hancock's house identified in the background. Bernard Romans (1741-1784) was not just a mapmaker. At this early point in the war, he was already an officer in the fight for independence. He was a Dutch immigrant to America who had found work surveying the Florida coast, and then moved to New York in 1773. 1775 was a busy year for Romans, who quickly joined the patriotic cause. In April he published "A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida." In May, he led a company which captured Fort George in conjunction with the Ticonderoga expedition. Next, in Philadelphia on 12 July, he issued a prospectus for this map, which was advertised as ready for sale on 23 August. Romans spent the last years of the war as a prisoner of the British, and died on his return journey to America in 1784. Evans 14444; Nebenzahl 12; Wheat & Brun 204 (describes this as the 3rd state, with additional key outside the right neat line). Only one other copy known at auction since 1976.