Dublin: N.P. [maps with the imprint of Henecy & Fitzpatrick], N.D. .
Folio, 84 pp., with six folding engraved maps with coloured details; contemporary dark calf.
William Bligh maps... Dublin Bay
Very rare. This collection of reports on proposed improvements to the Dublin waterways, submitted to the Directors-General of Inland Navigation in Ireland, contains a significant contribution by William Bligh, commissioned to carry out surveying work in Dublin Bay after the end of his command of the Director in 1799. The resulting map was "is the first modern-style chart of Dublin Bay" (Daly).
Very rare. This collection of reports on proposed improvements to the Dublin waterways, submitted to the Directors-General of Inland Navigation in Ireland, contains a significant contribution by William Bligh, commissioned to carry out surveying work in Dublin Bay after the end of his command of the Director in 1799. The resulting map was "is the first modern-style chart of Dublin Bay" (Daly).Bligh's report (pp.23-49) deals with the area in general, and has detailed specific comment on the areas proposed for improvement: Dalkey Sound, Bullock Harbour, Dunleary, Howth and Ireland's Eye. His work constitutes about a third of the volume, with an accompanying map; other contributors include Joseph Huddart, John Rennie, Daniel Corneille and Richard Broughton as well as Thomas Hyde Page of the Royal Engineers, apparently the overall editor of the work.Bligh wrote to Joseph Banks in October 1800 (the letter is in the Mitchell Library) that he was in Dublin "to make a Survey of Dublin Bay, and give my opinion what can be done for the shelter and security of ships… This survey will keep me for some time here, and I hope will be of considerable benefit…". His work was evidently well received as he wrote to Nepean in February 1801 that "The Board of Navigation in Dublin, having particularly requested by letter that I would publish my survey of Dublin Bay, stating it as their opinion "it would be of infinite importance to their navigation, it being a work so correct and of such authority"… I hope their Lordships will be pleased to permit me to do so, as thereby I will come more correctly before the publick, than by being published in Dublin, and be of some advantage to myself…" (quoted by Mackaness, Life of William Bligh, II, p. 61).Despite Bligh's request, the reports were published in Dublin, and so presumably without financial benefit to him. Bligh's works in print were very few: the Mutiny and Voyage of 1790 and 1792 (the second actually includes the first), the very rare Answer to certain assertions of 1794, and his 4-page Memoir of 1803 (known in a single copy) constitute his entire printed body of work; this significant and rare piece on Dublin harbour is thus of considerable interest. "But it is the survey and the chart resulting from it which is Bligh's enduring memorial to his visit. It is the first modern-style chart of Dublin Bay. John Cowan's map, dated 1800 but probably drawn much earlier, is very crude by comparison with few soundings and an outmoded style of showing land features. Earlier maps were as bad or worse."The number of soundings shown in Bligh's chart is far greater than on earlier ones of the bay. The direction of currents are carefully shown; there are lines of sight to various landmarks; anchorages and the position of wrecks are marked. It is a thoroughly practical chart for the use of navigators sailing in dangerous waters drawn up with a thoroughness and attention to detail which was typical of the man. When one remembers the methods used in those days for finding the depth with a lead weight on a line it seems extraordinary that so many soundings could have been taken in so short a time and in bad weather conditions. It would have been impossible to take soundings on a day of rough weather. Bligh also took samples from the bottom as he remarks in his report that there is fine sand all over the bar. The soundings shown on the chart are for extreme low water spring tides and the actual soundings had to be adjusted to that base. The currents would have to have been measured with a buoy or float, and again fairly calm weather would be needed for the exercise" (Daly).
Provenance: Inscribed at the start "The Gift of the... Directors of the Inland Navigation to John Vernon Esq. the 9th Jany. 1803". We can reasonably assume that this would have been the influential figure John Vernon of Clontarf Castle, who would have had a close interest since the castle directly overlooked Dublin Bay. Among other manuscript at the start of the volume is a long quotation from a judgement by Lord Kenyon about property rights.
Daly, Gerald J. "Captain William Bligh in Dublin, 1800-1801", Dublin Historical Record, vol. 44, no. 1, 1991, pp. 20–33
Price (AUD): $12,250.00 other currencies Ref: #4504925