Fine hand-colored example of this important colonial map of the Hudson River and its tributaries, including the Mohawk, and also with New Jersey and the upper course of the St. Lawrence River, published by Sayer & Bennett in London.
This is the first time we have seen this map presented as a wall map in old color. Most surviving examples are either bound into atlases or were dissected and laid on linen.
The map is one of the most influential and comprehensive maps of the region published during the American Revolution. The settlements in New York are almost entirely confined to the banks of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. The unexplored Adirondack County is left entirely blank, with a lengthy notation that begins, "Coughsaghrage or the Beaver Hunting Country of the Confederated Indians. . . " Pennsylvania extends north into western New York state almost as far as the Mohawk, and Vermont is shown attached to New York, with each existing township identified. Interesting notations on the country are scattered across the face of the map.
The map is beautifully illustrated, with a pastoral title cartouche suggestive of the Hudson Palisades in the lower right-hand corner. There are three large insets: 1) A Chart of the Mouth of Hudsons River from Sandy Hook to New York. This is in effect a chart of New York Harbor, with depth soundings, shoals, and other marine information laid down; 2) A Plan of Amboy. The city of Perth Amboy, the old capital of New Jersey, and the most important port in that province; 3) A Plan of the City of New York. Twenty-five important sites are identified by key in the New York City inset.
The map was originally prepared by Major Samuel Holland, Surveyor General for the Northern District of North America and issued as early as 1768. As a result of The French and Indian War (1755-1763), Great Britain had significantly expanded its interests in America, for which there were few adequate maps. Two new offices of surveyor general for the American colonies were established in 1763-64. The colonies were divided at the Potomac River into a northern and southern district and the respective surveyors appointed were Samuel Holland and Gerard De Brahm. Holland conceived of a general survey of North America east of the Mississippi to be based upon geodetic principles, on a scale of one inch to one mile. Work was interrupted in 1775 by the outbreak of the American Revolution.
There are five states of the map. The following is a list of changes which help to recognize the different states:
- State 1: No inset plans. "Printed for Robert Sayer." Title includes "and the Governments of Trois Rivieres and Montreal. Drawn By Capt. Holland. . . No inset plans at top left. Second title at top of map, "A Chorographical Map of the Country Between Albany, Oswego . . . " above top neatline.
- State 2: No inset plans. Imprint changed to "Rob't Sayer & T. Jefferys. . ."
- State 3: 3 inset plans added. title changed to ". . . and the Province of Quebec, drawn by Capt. Holland . . . "
- State 4: Title revised to include ". . . Corrected and improved from the original mateials by Governr. Pownall . . ." Many improvements are made east of Oneyda Lake. Tryon County appears, as do land grants for Lord Holland, General Gage, Sir Wm. Johnson, Wromans & Co. Lott & Low, McGinn, Glenn, Crosby Manor, Bayard, Staley, Schulyer, Young, Curry, Hardwick, Col. Croghan, Wagoner &c, Dunnes, Warren, Delancy, Duchess of Gordon, G. Wharton and others.
- State 5: Title revised ". . . Drawn by Major Holland, Surveyor General of the Northern District of America." Addition of a 4 line note off Sandy Hook, which begins, "For description of this Country..."
Sayer & Bennett refers to the partnership of Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794) and John Bennett (fl. 1760-d.1787), which lasted between 1774 and 1783. Bennett had been Sayer’s apprentice. The pair specialized in American atlases, based on the work of Thomas Jefferys, who plates had been acquired by Sayer when Jefferys went bankrupt in 1766. They also began publishing navigational charts in the 1780s and quickly became the largest supplier of British charts in the trade. However, in 1783 Bennett lost control of his mental faculties and the partnership dissolved as a result. Sayer’s business was later passed to his employees, Robert Laurie and James Whittle.