The Oriental Navigator; or, Directions for Sailing to, from, and upon the Coasts of, the East Indies, China, Australia, &c. Composed, for the Use of Ships trading in the Indian, Malayan, and Chinese, Seas; and for those engaged in the Fisheries of the Pacific Ocean, &c. From manuscripts, Journals, Memoirs, and Observations, of the most experienced Officers in the Hon. East-India Company's Service; of Commanders of Ships in the Country Trade; from those of other Navigators, British and Foreign, acquainted with the Indian and Eastern Seas; and from the Last Edition of the French Neptune Oriental, by Mons. D'Apres de Mannevillette, being a requisite Companion to the Charts and Plans which constitute the Complete East-India Pilot. Third Edition; with considerable additions: Newly Revised and Corrected by John Stevens, of the Honourable Company's Service. London: James Whittle and Richard Holmes Laurie, 1816.
4to., (10 4/8 x 8 2/8 inches). Half-title. Full-page engraved map "Sketch of Southern Port, on the S.E. of Stewart Island. New Zealand", "Plan of Chatham Island, &c. to the Eastward of New Zealand" (pages 693-696 torn and with early repairs). Modern maroon buckram, gilt.
Third edition, but greatly expanded, first published in 1794, then in 1801, revised and edited by Joseph Huddart.The two maps of New Zealand illustrate "new discoveries". Including detailed sailing directions to and from England to Africa, India, the East-Indies, China and Australia: "We have observed, at the beginning of this book, that ships going the outer passage, and bound to New south Wales, steer to the eastward in the parallels of latitude from 37 degrees to 40 degrees, where they meet with strong gales from W.S.W to S.S.W. and N.W. that course must be continued until they come near the coast of New Holland, when they haul more southerly, and gather into the latitude of Cape Diemen, the southernmost Cape of New Holland; having rounded that cape, they enter the South Pacific Ocean, and steer northward for Port Jackson or for Norfolk Island, from whence they take their departure for the North Pacific Ocean and China..." (page 682).
At the beginning of this edition, John Purdy has provided "A series of Original and Copious Tables of the determined positions of all the principal points and places, from the British Seas to Cape Horn, the Cape of Good Hope, and thence to the Islands of Japan, &c". These tables comprise 172 pages of detailed nautical positions, and most interestingly notes referring to the most recent accounts of voyages to each location. For example for Australia "Including Torres Straits, Van Diemen's Land, and the Smaller Islands, Shoals, &c., Adjacent", the reader is directed to Captain Matthew Flinder's "A Voyage to Terra Australis" and advised on which instruments to use, and how, in order to interpret his account accurately.
1795 Purdy "entered an apprenticeship with David Steel, nautical publisher and bookseller, of Little Tower Hill. In 1806 he drew his first known charts; these were of English Channel harbours, published by Steel's widow and successor, Penelope Mason, and of the North Sea, published by Laurie and Whittle of 53 Fleet Street. Within a few years he was working exclusively for Laurie and Whittle and by 1812 had become its principal hydrographer. He compiled charts and wrote the accompanying sailing directions for Laurie and Whittle and its successor, R. H. Laurie, until his death.
"Purdy's greatest contribution was to the knowledge of the 'Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea'. In his Memoir … 'to Accompany the New Chart of the Atlantic Ocean' (1812, with eight editions in his lifetime) he made available to ordinary navigators James Rennell's work on ocean currents. Rennell had ‘a high opinion of his talents’, and in 1832 his daughter, Lady Rodd, entrusted Purdy with editing her father's Wind and Current Charts. Purdy's other works included 'Tables of the Positions …' (1816), to accompany Laurie and Whittle's 'Oriental Navigator'; 'The Columbian Navigator' (1817); and works on the south Atlantic, northern European waters, and the Mediterranean. Most of these went through several editions in his lifetime and continued in print after his death under the editorship of his successor, Alexander George Findlay.
"Purdy exchanged information with leading hydrographers of the day, both British and foreign. He was respected as the foremost authority in private chart publishing, where he was exceptional for the care with which he acknowledged the many varied sources on which his work was based" (A. F. Pollard, rev. Susanna Fisher for DNB).
D'Apres de Mannevillette, whose Oriental Neptune provides the maps to accompany this Navigator, was a celebrated French cartographer who had a long and distinguished career in the French East India Company. He studied under the famous Guillaume Delisle, the King's geographer, and was one of the first navigators to make use of Hadley's revolutionary octant in taking measurements at sea. During his many voyages d'Apres de Mannevillette created a number of charts for a hydrographic atlas which, with the support of the Academie des Sciences, was published in Paris in 1745 under the title "Le Neptune Oriental" with 25 maps. For the next thirty years, with the help of his friend and eminent British hydrographer Alexander Dalrymple, d'Apres de Mannevillette revised his charts for a second and enlarged edition. This comprehensive atlas was used on all French ships, and by some foreign ones too, navigating the Indian Ocean. It replaced the "English Pilot" published by John Thornton in 1700 and the charts of the van Keulens, the hydrographers of the Dutch East India Company, which were full of errors.
Laurie & Whittle was one of the foremost British cartographic firms of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. As the successors to Sayer & Bennett, who published Thomas Jefferys' groundbreaking "American Atlas," Laurie & Whittle became heirs to a legacy of international cartographic excellence and predominance. Catalogued by Kate Hunter