Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, engineer-hydrographer to the King, was asked by the Secretary of State for the Marine to draw the maps required for Père Pierre-François-Xavier de Charlevoix's Histoire et description de la Nouvelle-France (1744). The goal of Bellin's work was to define as accurately as possible the entire hydrographic system of the St. Lawrence and Mississippi basins. Above all, it had to provide information to ships so they could enter the St. Lawrence more easily and make their way safely to the interior of the colony. Due to obstacles such as shallow and narrow channels, reefs, shoals, currents and ice, ships took from 10 to 12 days to sail from Newfoundland's Grand Banks to the settlement upriver at Québec.

The St. Lawrence River
Carte du fleuve de Saint Laurent ou rivière du Canada [Map of the St. Lawrence River, or River of Canada], from Île d'Orléans to Île d'Anticosti, by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, scale 1:500,000, after 1744
FR CHAN N III Canada 6