London: Printed by T[homas]. F[awcet]. for G. Hurlock, and are to be sold at his Shop at St. Magnus-corner, 1647.
Quarto: 18.1 x 14.4 cm. (6), 142 pp. Collation: A-S4, T2
NINTH ENGLISH EDITION (1st 1584). All editions are extremely rare. The first ed. survives in a single copy (Bodleian). The work is represented in North America at only five institutions (Huntington, Yale, Wisconsin, Free Library, Boston Athenaeum.) This edition is not in ESTC or Wing. The printer, Thomas Fawcet, also printed the 1640 edition (together with Bernard Alsop) for Hurlock.
A very fine, fresh copy. Bound in modern blind-ruled calf. Very small tear at upper blank margin of title, no loss. With an elaborate woodcut title border [McKerrow & Ferguson 302] showing celestial and terrestrial spheres, mariners standing on column bases taking sightings with mariner’s staves, a ship, and a compass rose. Small woodcuts throughout showing the coastal elevations of various harbors, cities, and towns as they appear from the sea, an instrument, and two astronomical diagrams.
This important English manual for coastal navigation is a translation, by the English instrument maker and mathematician Robert Norman, of the Dutch “Het leeskaartboek (Coast-description) van Wisbuy”. By making the sophisticated work of the Dutch navigators accessible to English mariners, Norman greatly advanced English maritime knowledge and effectiveness. The book ends with short practical treatises on the use of the compass, a “Briefe way to shift the Sun and Moone by memory”, and the description (illustrated) of a navigational instrument.
Known as a “rutter” in English, a leeskaartboek “recorded the magnetic compass courses between ports and capes, the distance between them, the distance at which it was reckoned a man could discern the coastline (and in this book, using woodcuts, how the coastlines appeared from the sea); the direction of flow of the tidal streams; the time of high-water on days of new or full moon at important ports, headlands and channels, that is to say the establishment of the port or place; and the soundings or depth of water and nature of the sea-bed.”(Waters)
“By the 158os, Robert Copland's ‘Rutter of the Sea’ had been in print for over half a century and, though still being reprinted, was little changed. By now the English North Sea trade was quite as important as the old Bordeaux one, and an up-to-date rutter was needed. The Dutch, with their peculiarly treacherous shores, had long paid particular attention to the problems of pilotage. With the rise of Antwerp to commercial supremacy in the first half of the sixteenth century, Dutch rutters, mostly compiled by mariners from the northern coasts of the Low Countries, had come to the fore. By now Dutch rutters were the best and English printers were now technically competent to reproduce a rutter, illustrated, like the continental ones, with woodcuts of coastal elevations. In 1584 therefore Norman published a translation of two Dutch rutters of northern waters under the appropriate title of ‘The Safeguard of Sailers, or great Rutter.’
“Norman was moved to produce this work by the sincere patriotism that inspired so many Elizabethan pioneers in navigation, the art, as he put it, by which 'the Navy Royal [is] furnished, the Realme fortified, and the commonwealth enriched '. Thus on the eve of the first great maritime war in their history (i.e. with Spain) the English could not only boast of 'the common report that strangers make of our ships daily amongst themselves ... that for strength, assurance, nimbleness, and swiftness of sailing, there are no vessels in the world to be compared with ours', but also deserved the reputation they enjoyed 'of being, above all the Western nations, expert and active in all naval operations.' Finally, thanks to Norman, they were well equipped with the latest sailing directions -the first in English to be illustrated with wood-cuts of the coasts- for the waters in which they would have to fight the decisive battle for freedom from Spanish domination.”(Waters, “The art of navigation in England in Elizabethan and early Stuart Times”, p. 167-168)
The original Dutch work was heavily influenced by the work of the cartographer, mariner, and painter Cornelis Anthoniszoon, who produced the first illustrated coastal description (“leeskaart”.)
“The word Caert had two meanings in the Dutch tongue: it was a map or chart in our sense, i.e. a drawn chart, also named pascaert, or it was a Leeskaart, a coast-description or Caerte van der Zee. Originally the leeskaarten were written by the mates and pilots. The first printed Dutch leeskaart was published in 1532 at Amsterdam; a second edition, revised and enlarged, was published in 1541. These editions did not yet have pictures, coast-profiles or landverkenningen. Anthonisz. was the first who produced a Caerte van der Ze with illustrated coast-profiles….
“Because Anthonisz. promised in 1543 to give such a leeskaart "very soon” it is permissible to suppose that his little book was published for the first time in 1544, but no copy of this first edition is known [the first known is from 1551]… It is beyond doubt that the leeskaart of Anthonisz. exerted a great influence on all those that followed, including “Het leeskaartboek van Wisbuy”.”(Keuning, Cornelis Anthonisz, Imago Mundi, 1950, Vol. 7 (1950), pp. 51-65)
About the translator:
"Robert Norman (fl. 1560–1584), maker of mathematical instruments, whose origins are unknown, spent, by his own account, eighteen or twenty years at sea before settling down as a compass maker and self-styled 'hydrographer' at Ratcliff, London. Most of what is known about him comes from his own publications, in particular The Newe Attractive, which appeared in London in 1581. The title-page announced Norman's discovery of magnetic inclination or dip; in his terminology this was called the 'declining' of the needle from the horizontal. He made variation compasses, as well as common steering compasses, and designed the first dip circle for measuring inclination. He judged that any theory of magnetic variation, a measurement he considered useful for position finding as well as necessary for the management of the steering compass, would have also to take account of inclination; from reports and observations of both these variables he drew general conclusions regarding the contested explanations of the earth's magnetism. Norman [calculated] daily values for solar declination… essential for finding latitude from the noonday altitude of the sun. He was encouraged in his magnetic work by William Borough, comptroller of the navy.
"Norman has attracted considerable interest on account of his self-conscious adoption of an experimental approach and his unusual application of instruments. He was deploying his dip circle at a time when instruments were associated not with natural philosophy but with applications of mathematics to practical arts. He was sensitive that, as an 'unlearned mechanician', he would scarcely have been expected to concern himself with an area of practical mathematics relevant to natural philosophy, but he vigorously asserted the worth of investigations by practical men, who had the relevant art 'at their fingers ends', while their more learned critics were 'in their studies amongest their bookes'. Norman saw himself and his fellow mechanics as heirs to the vernacular tradition of mathematical publication, exemplified by the works of Robert Recorde and Billingsley's English translation of Euclid."(J. A. Bennett, ODNB)
About Cornelis Anthoniszoon:
“Cornelis Anthonisz. was a many-sided man, who made a name as navigator and cartographer, as painter and draughtsman, as an engraver on wood and on copper. About his youth nothing is known with certainty. According to P. F. Basan, he was born in 1499. From his works it seems that in his youth he sailed as a mate, because he was very familiar with navigation and all its methods in use. His great gifts of observation enabled him to make notes of many kinds about courses, trends, distances, currents, depths, shallows, harbors, etc. in particular in the domain of the Eastern trade of the Dutch….
Already in 1527 we meet him in Amsterdam, where he was appointed administrator of the property of the four children under age of his late brother-in-law Jan Dircx and Mary Jans. After that year he seems to have stayed ashore in the main…. As a painter he is mentioned for the first time in 1533. In 1531-2 he made the oldest known plan of Amsterdam, a pen-drawing, which served as a model for his picture of this city of the year 1538. In 1542 Anthonisz. published his famous "Caerte van Oostlant", with a privilege from his Imperial Majesty Charles V, for sovereigns, merchants and ship-owners…
“In his preface to the reader on the “Caerte van Oostlant” Anthonisz. says that he will give "one of these days" a little book, wherein he will record all that he could not explain satisfactorily in that chart; in that little book he will also give pictures of the countries as these present themselves to navigators, and finally he will record yet more things, which will give use and pleasure to mariners; in other words, he intended to publish "one of these days" a sailing direction of the Eastern Sea with many woodcuts of coast-profiles and with instructions for navigators…. Sometime between 1544 and 1551 he wrote his Leeskaartboek…. By 1557 his wife was a widow.”(Keuning, Cornelis Anthonisz, Imago Mundi , 1950, Vol. 7 (1950), pp. 51-65)
The original Dutch version of this work consisted of two parts: “Die Caerte vander See om oost ende west te seylen” and “Die Caerte vander Suyder See.”.
Not in ESTC or Wing. But see Wing (CD Rom) A3476aA for the 1656 edition, not printed by Fawcet but with same page count as this edition.