Rare separately issued example of Bradock Mead's remarkable large format map of New England & Long Island.
First published by ThomasJefferys in 1755, at the outset of the French & Indian War, Bradock Mead's map became the single most influential map of New England for the next four decadesyears, influencing most of the significant policy and boundary decisions of the later part of the English Colonial Period.
The map was prepared by Bradock Mead (alias John Green), one of the more colorful characters of the map period, whose failed plan to kidnap and either marry or extort a large ransom for the return of an heiress resulted in his spending the majority of his life underground on the fringes of London's map and print publishing business.
The map is an amalgam of contemporary sources, which are identified in table in the upper right portion of the map. However, Douglass' Plan of the British Dominions of New England in North America is a curious (and obvious) omission. Jeffrey's map represents the first widely disseminated large format depiction of the region and a substantial improvement from the Douglass map, in part because of the additional territory covered and almost certainly the additional information which was likely available to Jeffreys and Mead in the several years following the issue of the Douglass map.
The map includes a pictorial cartouche, showing the Pilgrim's landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620 (the dat being shown on the rock on the right side of the cartouche.
While atlas copies of the map appear occasionally on the market, separately issued examples are very rare. The present example includes markings on the verso of the linen suggesting that its first owner was German and this may have been either a field map or otherwise utilized by its owner during the American Revolution.
Thomas Jefferys (ca. 1719-1771) was a prolific map publisher, engraver, and cartographer based in London. His father was a cutler, but Jefferys was apprenticed to Emanuel Bowen, a prominent mapmaker and engraver. He was made free of the Merchant Taylors’ Company in 1744, although two earlier maps bearing his name have been identified.
Jefferys had several collaborators and partners throughout his career. His first atlas, The Small English Atlas, was published with Thomas Kitchin in 1748-9. Later, he worked with Robert Sayer on A General Topography of North America (1768); Sayer also published posthumous collections with Jefferys' contributions including The American Atlas, The North-American Pilot, and The West-India Atlas.
Jefferys was the Geographer to Frederick Prince of Wales and, from 1760, to King George III. Thanks especially to opportunities offered by the Seven Years' War, he is best known today for his maps of North America, and for his central place in the map trade—he not only sold maps commercially, but also imported the latest materials and had ties to several government bodies for whom he produced materials.
Upon his death in 1771, his workshop passed to his partner, William Faden, and his son, Thomas Jr. However, Jefferys had gone bankrupt in 1766 and some of his plates were bought by Robert Sayer (see above). Sayer, who had partnered in the past with Philip Overton (d. 1751), specialized in (re)publishing maps. In 1770, he partnered with John Bennett and many Jefferys maps were republished by the duo.
John Green is an alias for Bradock Mead (ca. 1688-1757). Raised in Dublin, his brother Thomas, served as Lord Mayor of the city in 1758-9. While in Dublin, he published The construction of maps and globes (London: 1717). He also became involved with a plot to kidnap an heiress. He escaped, but others in his group were not so lucky. He came to London and took on the name Rogers and worked as an amanuensis.
He was active in London from at least the early 1720s to 1755. Later, as Green, he translated du Halde’s Description géographique de la Chine into English for the publisher Edward Cave. He also worked on Astley’s voyage collection. However, he fell out with both men. From the 1730s onward, he worked periodically with Thomas Jeffreys, Geographer to Frederick Price of Wales and later to King George III. In 1757, he committed suicide by jumping from a third-story window.