The Most Important Map of the British Colony of New York just after the Beginning of the American Revolution.
Superbly hand-colored dissected example of Montresor's tour de force mapping of the Hudson River watershed, covering New York City, all of Long Island, and with an inset of Lake Champlain and part of the Connecticut River.
Montressor's map is the largest scale map of its time for the region. Its purpose was military rather than civilian use, with considerable emphasis on features affecting mobility: The regional network of roads, lakes, rivers and streams is quite detailed, while elevations are depicted effectively by means of hachuring, particularly in the Hudson and Mohawk River valleys. The map also delineates the boundaries of land patents in the Hudson Valley and towns in western New England as well as the locations of forts, farms, and various interpretations of the disputed New York-New Jersey boundary (which Montresor helped survey in 1771).
In the tumultuous years prior to the Revolution, John Montresor was ordered by Gage to compile a map of New York City and its environs and a map of the Province of the New York. Though essentially complete by 1766, the resulting map was not published until 1775, with a revised edition appearing in 1777.
Montresor's map is based only in part on his own surveys, particularly in the areas around New York City and the New York, New Jersey, border. The sources and improvements from prior maps are too numerous to describe. Montressor's depictions of the Hudson Valley and Lake Champlain drew respectively on the work of Samuel Holland and William Brasier. Southern New England and Long Island are copied closely from an early state of Jefferys' Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England (1755). In keeping with what is known of Montresor's combative and jealous character, his map credits none of these sources: the title states only that it is "from an actual survey by Captain Montresor."
Stevens & Tree's fourth of four states ("Republished with great Improvements, April 1st 1777.") This, the final state of the English edition of the map, adds substantial detail, including several notes related to the New York Campaign during the Revolution. For instance, in Brooklyn, there is now a note added: "Here the brave Genl. Howe, Defeated the Americans, 27th Aut. 1776."
Captain John Montresor (1736-1799) was born in Gibraltar to the British military engineer James Gabriel Montresor (1704-1776). In 1754, at the age of 18, he accompanied his father to America. There he served as an ensign in the 48th Regiment of Foot on the expedition to Fort Duquesne. He was wounded there, but survived and was promoted to lieutenant. He served throughout the colonies during the French and Indian War, including at the Mohawk River and Fort Edward. He was present at the Siege of Louisbourg and later at Quebec, where he drew one of the last portraits of General Wolfe.
Montresor was involved in Pontiac's Rebellion, bringing dispatches and troops to Fort Detroit.
From 1762 to 1764, he was intimately involved in the establishing the defense of the Niagara region. He designed and oversaw the building of Fort Niagara and Fort Erie, as well as a series of blockhouses.
In 1765, Montresor witnessed Stamp Act riots in Albany and New York City. That year he was also promoted to captain-lieutenant.
Montresor was in Boston at the outset of the American Revolution. He served with Lord Percy in the relief of the British forces at Concord. He rose to the rank of Chief Engineer in America and captain in late 1775. He was with Percy and Howe at the Battle of Long Island, in 1776, and he was present at the execution of Nathan Hale in September of that year. He was made aide-de-camp to General William Howe around this time.
In 1777 he was present during the New Jersey campaign, including at Quibbleton and Brandywine. He and John André planned the Mischianza ball at Philadelphia, in honor of General Howe.
In 1778 or '79, Montresor was superseded, for a second time, in his role as chief engineer. He returned to England and resigned from the army in March 1779.
Later in life, after the British defeat, Montresor was repeatedly questioned over his conduct and expenditures during the war. The state eventually seized much of his property as compensation for disallowed expenses, and he died in prison, presumably as a debtor, on 26 June 1799.
Andrew Dury (fl. 1766-1777?) was a British map and print publisher who operated out of Duke's Court on St. Martin's Lane in London. He was substantially less successful than contemporaries such as Thomas Jefferys or William Faden Junior, and his large format maps seldom appear. He is most commonly associated with Rennell's large Indian maps. Dury was also responsible for Revolutionary War era plans of Boston and Philadelphia, as well as a series of maps related to the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-74.