"The Best Collection of Facts in General, for a Future Historian, that Was Ever Made or Published" -- John Huskey, 1755
This is a fascinating and important Boston-published work from the late-Colonial period, a year into the French and Indian War. Intriguing in many regards, it paints a detailed and thorough picture of the British colonies in North America.
The work goes through each colony, with a particular focus on their politics. Many references to the growing French power in North America are made. The controversial views of the author, William Douglass, M.D., sometimes seep into this work, particularly his opposition to inoculations. However, his skepticism for accepted knowledge means that this work appears to be less influenced by earlier texts than other works of the period.
Jeffery's North America from the French of Mr. D'Anville
This is a fascinating and politically charged map of the future eastern United States, published on the eve of the Seven Years' War. The map was published as a British response to supposed infringements by the French throughout North America, listing the various crimes perpetrated by the latter during the on-going French and Indian War. Published in the short period between the start of the two wars, this is an important map that reflects British and colonial public sentiment during what Churchill called the "first world war."
The upper left details French encroachments into the territory claimed by England, dating to as early as the attempted French conquest of New York in 1687. In the lower right, British claims in North America are detailed, alongside any encroachments. A note in the cartouche explains that "Canada & the French Incroachments" are shown in yellow, Spanish settlements in Green, and English colonies in other colors, though this example was never colored. It is not difficult to draw parallels between this map and the propaganda maps published in the days and years prior to the nationalistic wars of the 20th century.
In addition to the map's fascinating political history, the map is an important cartographic achievement of the time. The map is rich with details west of the Appalachians, including Indian Tribes, early forts, and other contemporary information. Main[e] is named, and [New] Hampshire takes up all of Vermont. Massachusetts Bay and Delaware Bay are named. Detail in the American South and Florida is intriguing. The region west of the Mississippi is dominated by Spanish Louisiana Territory, with the lands between the Mississippi and the Appalachians controlled by Indian Tribes.
This is the first state of the map, with the date of May 1755 and with only Jefferys imprint. The second state would appear around 1763 and have a Sayer & Bennett imprint added. Three additional maps are advertised in the introduction to the second volume, however, we were unable to locate examples of the work with these maps.
Volume I: Title Page. i-viii. 1-568. Signatures: A⁴. B-Mm⁸ (T repeated), Nn⁴.
Volume II: [1-6] including title page. 1-416. 1-8 (publisher's advertisement). Signatures: A⁴, B-Dd⁸.
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.