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but Laurent had gained his object. To trace this point, it is useful to read Green's fluttered appeal to the public.* Here it is:
Mr. Green finding it industriously circulated that he has entirely given up his intention of completing his survey, conceives himself for the liberal patronage he has experienced under the obligation of informing his subscribers that so far from relinquishing it, the Plan is threefourth finished, and that he intends laying aside all his other occupations to appropriate the ensuing half year, from Christmas to midsummer, solely to that work, about which time, as part of it will very early in spring be put into the hands of able engravers, he hopes to complete it. From a plan, lately begun by another person who wished to assist Mr. Green, he hopes he shall not be injured in the public opinion, as the difference between a plan made from an actual survey, with accurate instruments, and conducted upon principles true in theory (which will be explained to every scientific enquirer) and one made by striding, is too palpable to escape observations.
We can realise Green's alarm at the rumours deliberately spread in the town by Laurent. It must be observed that Harrop, formerly one of Green's own representatives, had gone over to Stockdale, as local agent for the sale of Dr. Aikin's work. Laurent presented himself to Harrop under circumstances which at once procured not only that bookseller's support, but also the liberal co-operation of architects, surveyors, owners, and others in obtaining matter requisite for a rival map of the town.
Laurent remained here from December, 1791, to January, 1792, opening a subscription list and canvassing for his map. He then returned to London. Both Green and Laurent were meanwhile hard at work; for Green it was an interval of fatigue and anxiety. Let me refer to his announcement in the Mercury, dated 22nd October, 1793:
*Mercury, 13th December, 1791, No. 2,114.
Mr. Green respectfully informs his subscribers and the Public at large that his Plan of Manchester & Salford will be ready for their inspection in a few weeks. It may not be improper to observe that this survey was begun in the year 1787, and occupied more than half the author's time until the end of the year 1791; since which it has been almost uninterruptedly attended to, to the present moment. To the consequent heavy expenses, fatigue and extreme anxiety, annexed to this undertaking, Mr. Green can scarcely presume to hope for a general attention, but trusts that a sight of his performance with an account of the manner in which it has been carried on and completed, will induce, in some degree, that countenance and support, which he flatters himself he shall justly merit. This Plan, which is engraved on 9 sheets, was advanced some time ago from 1 guinea to I guinea and a half.
This appeal was a necessity, in consequence Laurent's return to Manchester. See the Mercury, 29th October, 1793:
M. Laurent respectfully acquaints his subscribers to the Plan of Manchester & Salford, to which is added in compartment from actual survey, a map of the country round Manchester, a plan of the road from Manchester to London, and a map of the town of Manchester, taken about the year 1650, that it will speedily be published, proofs of which in a very forward state, engraved by Mr. John Carey, London, may be seen at Mr. Harrop's and Mr. Thompson's booksellers, Manchester, where subscriptions to the same is continued to be received; and at the same time Laurent begs leave to add his grateful acknowledgement for the liberal patronage he has already received. Laurent's stay in Manchester being very short from the necessity of his returning to London, his object at present for visiting Manchester, being solely to correct the engraving upon the spot. Subscribers who are desirous of having their Plans mounted, coloured or printed upon Sattin, will be so good as speedily as possible, to signify to Mr. Harrop, or Mr. Thompson, the manner in which they would have their Plans fitted up.
Laurent pushed forward the publication of his map, and had the copyright registered on 9th December, 1793. * This hurried map bears traces of an incomplete piece of work. It did not much matter to him so long as he had gained his point in forestalling Green, whom he
* See Laurent's map.
defeated in point of time. Its appearance was announced in Harrop's paper,* 14th January, 1794:—
This day is published and sold by J. Harrop, Printer, in the Market Place, Manchester, price 1 guinea, A Topographical Plan of the Town of Manchester & Salford with the adjacent Parts, to which is added A Plan of the said Town in the year 1650, A Plan of the Road from Manchester to London, & a Map of the County for 10 Miles round Manchester.
Many causes combined to delay Green's map: to bring it up to date constant alterations and additions had to be made; the copper-plate engraving was an arduous task, demanding great care and time. No wonder that only on 25th March, 1794,† Green was in a position to announce that:
Proof impressions, short of about 500 Words, may be seen at Mess. Clarke and Bank's. The number of copies subscribed for amounts to 431, but it is feared that death and other circumstances will considerably reduce that number. As it is the author's intention to delay as little as possible the publication of this plan, it will begin to be delivered, in the order of subscription, as soon as 600 copies are subscribed for. As all the additional words are now engraved, and the printing in great forwardness, it is respectfully and earnestly requested that those ladies and gentlemen who have not yet, but do intend, to honour this work with their patronage will be as early as possible in giving their names.
It was issued in nine sheets at £2. 2s., or £2. 15s. 6d. on canvas, on a scale of sixty yards to an inch, or about twenty-nine inches to a mile, with the north at the top, measuring within the border about eleven feet nine inches by nine feet four inches, while Laurent's survey is six feet by three feet two inches and seventeen inches to a mile. Green's survey is entitled, "A Plan of Manchester and Salford, drawn from an actual survey by William
* Mercury, No. 2,221.
+ See Mercury.
A copy, mounted on canvas, is in possession of the Manchester Geographical Society; another, in nine sheets, bound in large folio, is in the Manchester Free Reference Library.
Green, begun in the year 1787 and compleated in 1794.” It was engraved by John Thornton, who for four years* was assistant to Green, and accompanied him "to various parts of England and Wales in the pursuit of the beauties of landscape-nature." John Thornton, who engraved this exquisite map, was a local man, described in the directory of 1794 as an engraver, at 38, Alport Street, and in 1797, in addition, as drawing-master. The graceful vignette, which adds a charm to the map, was drawn by his friend W. M. Craig, who often visited Manchester, where he was patronised by the gentry of the town, and had his painting-room at Mr. Norris's, cabinet-maker, top of Market Street Lane,t the same who drew the "View of Manchester," engraved by J. Landseer, another friend of Green's. The high value and merit of Green's work are patent to all interested in topography. It constitutes the first standard survey of Manchester, based on strict scientific principles, and is a record of the town's old boundaries long since vanished, and indispensable to the antiquary. It may be said of this, as of all that Green touched, it was a work of love, upon which he always looked with satisfaction. This map, had he done nothing else, would have perpetuated his name in Manchester. It was not a success, due principally to the machinations of Laurent, whose cheap and attractive map caught the popular eye. There is still a popular idea that Laurent's map was "based on actual survey of positions and places," to use the expression of Mrs. Isabella Banks, and that it was "a map drawn up by authority to lay down. the lines of suggested improvements."§ It is nothing
* See Mercury, 19th January, 1796, No. 2,317..
† Ibid, 28th November, 1797.
See City News, October 17th, 1885, No. 122.
more than a piece of plagiarism by a man who, backed up by Harrop and Stockdale's powerful influence, managed to procure the aid of local surveyors and owners. He availed himself of Casson and Berry's older maps. His orientation is also done in the old style. He may have hunted up Oldham's survey. The map of 1650 must have been got from Harrop, who had the copper plates of Casson and Berry's maps, on which they first appeared. The "fitting up" of his map and the size were probably considered and adopted after inspection of Green's work.* On Laurent's first hurried plan, of which two separate re-issues were published, some ninety names of streets, houses, and courts were left out (I have taken the trouble of comparing square by square). In later issues these were filled in, and grosser errors amended-after the appearance of Green's map. This impostor played upon the credulity of the public, awe-struck with his powers, when he perambulated the town with chain and field book. We must here read John Stockdale's laudatory reference to Laurent, found in the opening part of Aikin's Description of the Country round Manchester:—
The approbation which the plan of Manchester and Salford by Mr. Laurent has met with, induced the publishers to purchase the plates for the benefit of those of his subscribers who are not already in possession of that performance.
It was very extraordinary that a foreigner without knowledge of the language, or previous acquaintance with the country, should be able, by his eye alone, without the assistance of any instrument (as was verified by
* Harland, in his Collectanea, has a few vague words to this effect: "It has been stated that Laurent, having obtained some help from the survey of Green, hurriedly published a plan which was in part (!) derived from it, so as to anticipate him in the sale, which he did effectually."