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Fine example of Robert Sayer's separately issued 2-sheet map of North America, "Printed for Robt Sayer Map and Printseller at the Golden Buck in Fleet Street."

Sayer's map was one of the first of the early large format maps to show the interior parts of North America. As noted in Seller & Van Ee's discussion of this map:

During the first half of the eighteenth century, the quality of maps of the interior parts of North America was . . . poor. . . . In the decade of the 1750s, however, several landmark maps appeared. . . . The reasons for the increased interest in North American geography and the tremendous improvement in the quality of maps of the eastern half of the continent are not hard to find. Once again Great Britain and France faced the prospect of war over their territorial claims in the New World. As in all such struggles, the demand for maps of the war zone increased. In France, for example, map publishers like Jean Baptiste Nolin and Maurille Antoine Moithey took advantage of the situation to produce maps that favored French claims and denoted the 'pretentions des Anglois,' and in England mapmakers like John Lodge, Robert Sayer, and Emanuel Bowen highlighted the 'French Encroachments' in North America for the English-speaking world.

This is the third state of the map, which has been completely revised to incorporate the revisions occasioned by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. The first state, dated on the Library of Congress Website as 1750, does not include the relevant articles of the 1763 Treaty of Paris, which ended the Seven Year War (French & Indian War), and resulted in France's loss of most of their colonial claims in North America. For an example of the first state of the map, click here: The second state of the map apparently includes the date of 1760, but is otherwise identical to the first state.

The map was unquestionably prepared in connection with the greater interest in England with its claim in North America, as typified by the annotations added to the first and second states of the map.

The French have stretched their Louisiana on both sides of the Mississipi, which is another instance of their Incroachment, for they have no just claim to any part of the Country lying Eastward of that River... But it is to be hoped that his British Majesty will no longer be kept unacquainted with ye Consequence of ye Country lying between ye British Settlements & ye Mississipi. Let this not be thought a remote contingency, for if the French settle on the Back of our Colonies, ye English must become subject to them in a little Time.

Following the conclusion of the War, these passages were removed and in their place, the text of the relevant parts of the Treaty of Paris added.

The limits of the various British Colonies are shown extending to and beyond the Mississippi Riger, with a significantly reduced and emasculated French Louisiana, following the end of the War.

Among the more noteworthy features of the map are the well delineated routes of the 17th Century British explorers in the Canadian Arctic Regions, including a number of points of discovery which include explorer's names and dates.

Other annotations includes details of the Confederated Indians surrender of their Beaver Hunting Country to the English in July 1701, a note that until the early 18th Century, California was believed to be an island and a note regarding Tchirkow's discovery of lands along the Northwest Coast of America in 1741.

Another annotation along the Northwest Coast of America references Captain Spanberg's citing of Land in 1728 ("from whence the Russians fetch Beautiful furs." This is likely an erroneous reference to the voyage of the Danish Captain Spanberg, in 1738 (working for the Imperial Russian Navy), as Spanberg did not arrive to Okhotsk on the East Coast of Russia until 1735 and thereafter spent 3 years preparing for his first voyage, which did not commence until June 1738 in search of a sea route to Japan. The information from this voyage was likely transmitted back to England by Captain William Walton, who commanded one of the vessels in Spanberg's expedition.

The map also tracks the ocean currents, in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and notes the route of the Spanish trading Galeons.

The map is of the utmost rarity, with no examples of state 1 or state 3 appearing auction or in dealer catalogues in the past 30 years and only 1 example of state 3 in 2001. OCLC locates 3 examples of the first state, no examples of the 2nd state and 4 examples of the third state of the map, with the Newberry Library apparently holding a unique example of a fourth state.

We previously offered an example of this map in 2013, this being the second example we have offered in over 20 years.

Condition Description
Two sheet map, joined.
Robert Sayer Biography

Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794) was a prominent London map publisher. Robert’s father was a lawyer, but his older brother married Mary Overton, the widow of prominent mapmaker Philip Overton and the proprietor of his shop after his death. Mary continued the business for roughly a year after her marriage and then, in early 1748, it passed to Robert. Robert became a freeman of the Stationers’ Company later that year; his first advertisement as an independent publisher was released in December.

Sayer benefited from Overton’s considerable stock, which included the plates of John Senex. In the 1750s, Sayer specialized in design books and topographical prints, as well as comic mezzotints. In 1753, he, along with John Roque, published a new edition of Thomas Read’s Small British Atlas, the first of several county atlases that Sayer would publish.  

Sayer’s business continued to grow. In 1760 he moved further down Fleet Street to larger premises at 53 Fleet Street. In 1766, he acquired Thomas Jefferys’ stock when the latter went bankrupt. In 1774, he entered into a partnership with John Bennett, his former apprentice. The pair specialized in American atlases, based on the work of Jefferys. They also began publishing navigational charts in the 1780s and quickly became the largest supplier of British charts in the trade.

Bennett’s mental health declined, and the partnership ended in 1784. As Sayer aged, he relied on his employees Robert Laurie and James Whittle, who eventually succeeded him. He spent more and more time at his house in Richmond. In 1794, he died in Bath.