Stokes, I. N. Phelps The iconography of Manhattan Island 1498-1909 (v. 2)

(New York :  Robert H. Dodd,  1915-1928.)



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OUR knowledge of the discoveries and cartography of the sixteenth century is
by no means complete, and so much Is still lacking towards a scientific clas¬
sification of the known facts that one who wishes to study a particular sub¬
ject in this broad field is apt to find much difficulty in reaching conclusions which
are susceptible of proof, or even generally satisfactory. Though much investiga¬
tion has been done, and an immense amount of material collected, and in part
reproduced, especially during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly
regarding maps delineating America, there are still extensive gaps in our knowledge
of the subject. For the cartography of North America, from its discovery down
to about 1540, we possess the precious work of Henry Harrisse, The Discovery of
North America,{^] published in 1892; but from about 1540 until the discovery of the
Hudson River, in 1609, we lack any general work covering the whole field, and there
are many missing links, and many periods but Imperfectly covered. [^]

At the outset, two obvious methods presented themselves for determining what
knowledge of the vicinity of Manhattan Island existed in the sixteenth century.
One was to examine and compile the rough material contained in all available maps
and documents, and carefully to consider such logical deductions and probabilities
as were suggested by a minute comparison of a great many facts, often seemingly
unrelated; rejecting or accepting conclusions reached by others, and developing
new ones of our own.   This method would inevitably have resulted in much doubt

[<) The original MS., as well as a MS. autobiography—£?«io/<J, 1883—is preserved in the Manuscript Division
oftheN.Y. Pub. Library.

[2] For this latter period, the best authority is the scholarly work of J. G. Kohl, History of the Discovtry of
Maine, in Collections of the Maine Hist. Society, second series. Portland, 1869. The reader is also referred to The
Kohl Collection of Maps relating to America, Justin Winsor, Cambridge, 1886, reprinted by the Library of Congress,
1904, with index by P. Lee Phillips.
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