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Matt Hall
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I've miles to go, to get back to my Jeep.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I've miles to go, to get back to my Jeep.

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Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) filed a “resolution of inquiry” Thursday, a relatively obscure parliamentary tactic used to force presidents and executive-branch agencies to share records with Congress. Under House practice, such a resolution must be debated and acted upon in committee or else it can be discharged to the House floor for consideration.

Nadler’s resolution asks Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide “copies of any document, record, memo, correspondence, or other communication of the Department of Justice” that pertains to any “criminal or counterintelligence investigation” into Trump, his White House team or certain campaign associates; any investment made by a foreign power or agent thereof in Trump’s businesses; Trump’s plans to distance himself from his business empire; and any Trump-related examination of federal conflict of interest laws or the emoluments clause of the Constitution.

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One of the finest 17th-century maps of the English Empire in America, 1685

The rare first obtainable state of the finest general map of England’s American colonies to date. This most important map is one of the earliest to adopt Augustine Herrman’s cartography for Virginia and Maryland. To the North it includes one of the earliest depictions of the Pennsylvania colony (est. 1681), the first printed chart of New York Harbor, and significant additions to the cartography of New England.

This is one of a series of general maps issued by the English in the late 17th century, arguably beginning with Morden and Berry’s A New Map of the English Plantations in America (1673). Catalyzed by the capture from the Dutch of the area that became the Middle Colonies of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, these maps reflect the dawning realization that England now possessed a coherent, contiguous imperium in North America.

The map depicts the English colonies from Cape Ann in Massachusetts to Cape Henry at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. Though sparser as one moves inland, the coverage extends as far north as the tributaries of the Hudson, Delaware and Susquehannah Rivers and as far west as the tributaries of the Potomac and Rapahannock. Augustyn and Cohen suggest plausibly that contemporaries would have viewed this map with the greatest interest:

“To the ambitious person, the map would have presented an enticing vista: it displays a loose federation of colonies, between and beyond which there appears to be ample unclaimed land. It creates an image of an area comfortingly linked by civilization but still containing much open territory.” (Augustyn & Cohen, p. 48)

The geography of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey is derived largely from the Thornton-Greene Mapp of Virginia Mary=land, New Jarsey, New=York, & New England (ca. 1678, Burden #507), whose depiction of the region is in turn based largely on Augustine Herrman’s Virginia and Maryland (1673, Burden #429). The Thornton-Morden-Lea departs from these prototypes, however, in showing the new colony of Pennsylvania and incorporating changes to the course of the Delaware and place names along its banks. Burden suggests that the mapmakers must have struggled with this area, as it bears numerous signs of erasure and re-engraving.

The New Netherlands and southern New England are taken from an inset map of the region included on the Thornton-Greene map, which in turn draws on John Seller’s Mapp of New England (1676, Burden #473). Here as well Thornton, Morden and Lea have departed substantially from the prototypes: Long Island’s barrier beaches are shown for the first time on a printed map; numerous place names are introduced along the Connecticut coast and on Cape Cod; the boundaries between Massachusetts, Plymouth and Connecticut colonies are drawn; and several roads are shown.

The little inset of New York Harbor at lower right is a most important piece of work. Hydrographic data for the area had appeared on smaller-scale regional maps (most notably in two charts from Arent Rogeveen’s 1675 Het Brandende Veen), but this should be considered the first separate printed chart of the area. Based on a 1683 survey conducted by Philip Wells for William Penn and the other proprietors of West New Jersey, it is far more accurate than earlier work. It shows particularly well the shoals that confine shipping to a single deep-water entrance around Sandy Hook. To the credit of Thornton et al, the depiction on the main map of New York and its harbor have been updated to reflect the Wells cartography and hydrography.

Publication history
Research by Barbara McCorkle and Henry Taliaferro has shed light on the unusual publication history of this map:

“The map is actually a separately-issued section of a multi-sheet wall map entitled A New Map of the English Empire in the Continent of America (1685). This ambitious project was a collaborative venture between three of London’s leading map publishers, but it resulted in a map that was far too expensive to succeed. The Thornton-Morden-Lea wall map survives today only in one … copy in the Bibliotheque National in Paris.

“But the map’s publishers had anticipated that the wall map would be financially risky, so they included all of the English colonies except for Carolina on one sheet, and this sheet was designed to that it could be sold separately. It was given its own secondary title, A New Map of New England New York New Jarsey Pennsylvania Maryland and Virginia, which could be trimmed off when the sheet was used for the wall map.” (Richard B. Arkway and Cohen & Taliaferro, Catalogue 62, item #8)

The example of the map offered here is described by Burden as representing the first state, bearing the imprints of Thornton, Morden and Lea. Three later states appeared ca. 1695, 1698 and 1715, with alterations both major and minor. Pritchard and Taliaferro posit a true first state preceding the four identified by Burden, based on numerous signs of erasure, visible for example in the faint traces of rhumb lines visible on the inset of New York Harbor. However, no examples are known, and this writer remains agnostic as to the existence of such a state.

See it up close:

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The first map of New Jersey to be printed in America, for the West Jersey Proprietors, 1784

“The first map of New Jersey to be printed in America” (Delaney), published in 1784-85 on behalf of the West Jersey Proprietors.

The boundaries of Great Britain’s American colonies were usually the subjects of long-running disputes, based as they were on a toxic brew of ambiguously-written charters and geographic ignorance. The case of New Jersey was no exception, as its boundary with New York was only resolved by a Royal Commission in 1769, while the disagreement over the line between the former East and West New Jersey continued even longer. Over the course of the 18th century these disputes yielded a number of interesting maps, the best known of which is The Province of New Jersey, Divided into East and West (1777), based largely on the work of military engineer Bernard Ratzer working on behalf of the 1769 Commission.

Offered here is the first map of New Jersey printed in America, derived largely from the Ratzer map and published on behalf of the West Jersey Proprietors in The Petitions and Memorials of the Proprietors of West and East-Jersey, to the Legislature of New-Jersey… (New York: Shepard Kollock, 1784). The pamphlet was compiled by New Jersey surveyor and politician John Rutherford (1760-1840) and was just one of several related to and disputes between the East and West Jersey proprietors. A second, expanded edition appeared in 1785.

The map is an outline sketch of New Jersey and parts of surrounding states, highlighting details relevant to the boundary issues but little else. Two northern boundaries with New York are shown. One is based on the original 1664 sale by the Duke of York to his associates Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley. This specified a boundary running from the head of the northernmost branch of the Delaware (thought to be at 41° 40’) to the intersection of the 41st parallel with the Hudson River. The other is the Ratzer line of 1769, which set the northern terminus of the boundary at the juncture of the Delaware and Mahacamack Rivers and remains in effect to this day.

The map also indicates no fewer than three alternative boundaries between East and West Jersey: the “Keith Line,” run in 1687 by surveyor George Keith; John Lawrence’s “Quintipartite Line” of 1743; and an “Ideal Line to Mahacamack claimed by the West Jersey Proprietors since the Year 1775.” The first two appeared on Ratzer’s map of 1777, but the last was introduced on this map to make the case for the West Jersey Proprietors. John Delaney ably explains this “Ideal Line:”

“Though all three division lines begin in Little Egg Harbor, halfway down the Jersey coast, they take different paths northward. Of concern to the petitioners is the pie-slice-shaped tract of land, estimated at four hundred thousand acres, created between the angle of the Quintipartite Line that runs to latitude 41° 40’ and their “ideal” line, which ends at the junction of the Delaware and Mahacamack (Neversink) Rivers. Because that point had become the official northern border of New Jersey with New York and Pennsylvania, the proprietors of West Jersey felt that their line should become the true boundary between West and East Jersey for private property rights issues. The problem lay in its retrospective application: property owners had been using the Quintipartite/Lawrence Line for more than forty years. As a result, the New Jersey Legislature was not convinced by these petitions to make any changes.” (Nova Caesarea, pp. 38-39)

As the author of the pamphlet notes, this map was produced almost as an afterthought, only after a more ambitious undertaking failed to get off the ground.

“The editor begs leave to mention that when the title page was printed it was intended that a map of the state should be affixed; giving the lines of the different counties and townships and the names of all the places of note, but the expense and delay of such undertaking, were so great, as to occasion the design to be laid aside, and the present map was substituted, which contains all those matters that relate to the subject in controversy, and is accurately extracted from Mr. Ratzer’s general map, which is compiled the most part from actual survey; the lines of division, and their descriptions, being added thereto.” (Petitions and Memorials, from the verso of the “Errata” page)

See the details:

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Hi all. This is the second article in the series about Montenegrian tumuluses and their link to the spread of metallurgy into the Western Europe and particularly Ireland and Britain.

Official history tells us that In the Early Bronze Age (the late 3rd millennium BC) Ireland was one of the most important, if not the most important centres of gold working in Europe. Gold lunulae like the one on the picture were made by the Irish artisans from gold found in the Irish streams and exported throughout Europe. However, the latest scientific data is painting a different picture, one which is in strange correspondence with the "pseudo histories" found in the old Irish annals.

You can read more here:

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Update: Abramson is dumping info again as we speak. This time about the provenance of the Steele Dossier. 

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Rich in copper, skilled in bronzework, Cyprus was courted as a trading partner all over the ancient world. So why did it take so long for archaeologists to discover one of its greatest cities? #Cyprus #BronzeAge #History #AncientHistory #NationalGeographic #Copper

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There have been so many news stories about the Russia investigations in the past week – from Comey's testimony to Flynn's possibly turning state's evidence – that I sat down and tried to pull everything into one place. Here you go.

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Note: If you're reading this, see also the more detailed piece I just put up at Medium:

In the continuing saga of "News stories that I would never have believed if you told me they were going to happen when I was a kid," there are multiple reports at this point that the FBI has gotten (former National Security Adviser) Michael Flynn to flip and turn state's evidence. (Flynn, through a spokesperson, has declined to comment)

If so, this is a very big deal – Flynn was reportedly in the room for quite a few of the more interesting meetings which Abramson was providing details about yesterday.

Even more crazily, there was this story from the WSJ yesterday, in which it appears that while serving as an advisor to Trump's campaign, Flynn was in a meeting with top Turkish government ministers, where the subject was a plot to kidnap Turkish cleric Fetullah Gülen, who now lives in Pennsylvania, and spirit him out of the country to hand him over to Turkish president Erdogan, who views him as his chief political foe. (Erdogan has blamed Gülen for the attempted coup against him last year, although the evidence for this is scanty to say the least; tens of thousands have been arrested there on claims they are linked to him)

This was admitted by the former director of the CIA, who was also at the meeting and says he thought the entire idea was batshit crazy. Flynn has denied this through a spokesman, but he has recently admitted that he was working for the Turkish government at the time (!) and has retroactively filed his status as a foreign agent, indicating a salary of over $500k for his work. He is also under separate investigation by the Army as to whether he received illegal payments from the Russian government in 2015. (

So just to make this news story clear: a retired three-star general, while simultaneously working on a Presidential campaign and as a well-paid agent of the Turkish government, was in meetings with senior Turkish officials about (completely illegally) kidnapping Turkish-Americans seen as enemies of the regime. He was also meeting with the Russian ambassador and (very possibly illegally) negotiating to lift sanctions on Russia if Trump was elected, and is currently under investigation as to whether he was a paid (but illegally undeclared) Russian agent at the time as well. (The payments are not in question; the question is whether, as they were made via RT, which is not officially a government agency, they make him a Russian agent or not.) He definitely lied to investigators about said meetings, which was caught on wiretaps (presumably of the Russian ambassador), and the revelation of that led to his resignation as National Security Advisor after only 24 days.

On top of all this, he may have been present at the "Mayflower Meetings" between Trump and senior Russian figures, with several senior Trump aides (including Sessions, Kushner, and Manafort) present as well, at which deals involving large sums of money (e.g. 0.5% of Rosneft), illegal campaign assistance (e.g. leaking DNC documents hacked by the FSB, SVR, and GRU), and changing US policy around Russian oil interests were all being discussed.

Absolutely confirmed out of this is Flynn's work as a Turkish agent (he's admitted this and filed the forms), his covert meetings with the Russian ambassador (wiretap evidence, his resignation), and his receipt of payments from the Russian government. Highly likely is the Turkish kidnapping meeting (testimony of Woolsey). Arguable in court is that the Russian payments make him an unregistered Russian agent as well as a Turkish one. Reported but not yet confirmed are the contents of the Mayflower Meetings and that Flynn has turned state's evidence. If the latter is true, then the former may soon be explained in great detail to investigators.

Just let this sink in for a moment. We already know for sure that a retired three-star Army general, who served for three weeks as National Security Advisor before being forced to resign, was a paid agent of at least one, and probably two, other governments, engaging in negotiations which range from the "somewhat illegal" (hacking, campaign collusion) to the "holy shit illegal" (kidnapping). And the fact that it's even a possibility that he flip can only mean that the investigators have even bigger fish in their sights.

There aren't many bigger fish than the National Security Advisor.

This is just getting surreal.

(ETA: I just posted a long thread on Twitter with more of this, including lots of links to the underlying news stories and sources. )

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