Finely colored example of the first state of this important early map of the English Province of Quebec, the St. Lawrence River and Valley, and northern New York State and Maine, drawn according to the recently concluded Treaty of Peace of 1763.
Shortly after the conclusion of the French & Indian War, the British undertook a number of important surveys, in order to update the existing French surveys of what had been New France. Captain Jonathan Carver, led a survey of the region from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the Thousand Islands, the results of which form the basis for this map. The map provides a fine depiction of the province of Quebec as bounded by George III's Proclamation of October 7, 1763. This document demarcated the boundaries of the North American territories gained following the French and Indian War, as well as providing for the establishment of representative government and the institution of law. Quebec's boundaries were defined as follows:
The Government of Quebec bounded on the Labrador Coast by the River St. John, and from thence by a Line drawn from the Head of that River through the Lake St. John, to the South end of the Lake Nipissim; from whence the said Line, crossing the River St. Lawrence, and the Lake Champlain, in 45. Degrees of North Latitude, passes along the High Lands which divide the Rivers that empty themselves into the said River St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Sea; and also along the North Coast of the Baye des Chaleurs, and the Coast of the Gulph of St. Lawrence to Cape Rosieres, and from thence crossing the Mouth of the River St. Lawrence by the West End of the Island of Anticosti, terminates at the aforesaid River of St. John.
This map is also interesting for its attempt to integrate French and British survey data. The source of the French data is unclear, but the French naturally had ample time to conduct detailed surveys during their occupation of the region. The British data was assembled by Jonathan Carver, who served in the French and Indian War and was with Wolfe at the taking of Quebec (1759). He is best known for making an epic journey of exploration from Mackinac to the Mississippi, up the River to the St. Francis and back to Mackinac via Lake Superior. He published an account of this trip in Travels through the Interior Parts of North America (1778), which fell into disrepute because of numerous embellishments and fabrications introduced by the publisher.
Ironically, this map was issued on February 19, 1776, while the remnants of Benedict Arnold's expeditionary force were still laying siege to Quebec City. Clearly, news of the siege had not yet reached London, as it certainly would have been a worthy inclusion in the map.
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.
John Bennett (fl. 1760-d. 1787) was a London printer best known for his role in the successful partnership of Sayer & Bennett. In 1760, Bennett became a servant of Robert Sayer (ca. 1724-1794), the prominent print and map seller, and was apprenticed to him in 1765. In 1774, Bennett became a free journeyman and entered into a partnership with Sayer. They issued joint advertisements and publications. In 1777, Bennett owned 1/3 share in the business. The partnership was likely to continue fruitfully, but in 1781 Bennett began to show signs of mental illness. In 1783, he was admitted to an asylum for nine months and, in 1784, Sayer filed papers to dissolve their business partnership. Bennett died in 1787.