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On The Eve of the War of 1812

An attractive and highly detailed map of the Northern portion of the United States, from John Cary's New Universal Atlas.

The map includes the District of Main with an undefined northern boundary with Canada (which was then under dispute), as well as Ohio still shown as "The Western Territory," with the Indian Boundary Line established by the Treaty under General "Mad Anthony" Wayne in 1795.

The map contains many worthy features. At the mouth of the Cayanhoga River on Lake Erie, there is a note concerning a 70 ft rock which makes navigation dangerous. Another note indicates that the easiest passage from Lake Erie to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers is via the Sandusky and Sioto Rivers. A proposed fort is noted south of Detroit. The western boundary of the 6 Indian Nations in western New York is noted. There are similar notes throughout the map, including annotations on each of the Great Lakes.

The map is highly detailed and includes towns, roads, rivers, Indian details, springs, and a host of other information. A marvelous collector's map.

John Cary Biography

John Cary (1755-1835) was a British cartographer and publisher best known for his clean engraving and distinct style which influenced the entire map industry. Born in Wiltshire, John was apprenticed to an engraver in London. He started his own business by 1782 and moved to several premises before settling at 86 St James’s Street in 1820.

Cary had several significant collaborations during his career. John Wallis and Cary diversified Cary’s business to include broader publishing projects. Brother William and John made globes together, while brother Francis participated in the company’s engraving work. Finally, geologist William Smith and Cary developed and sold geological maps, some of the first of their kind. The pair also produced a notable series of county maps starting in 1819. Cary’s atlases, of English counties and the world, were the standard texts of the early nineteenth century. He was appointed surveyor of roads to the General Post Office in 1794, which led to the New Itinerary, first published in 1798.  

John trained his son, George, in engraving and George and his other son, John Jr., took over the business in 1821. It was then known as G. and J. Cary and continued in trade until 1850. The firm’s materials were then acquired by George Frederick Cruchley and then Gall and Inglis. By the time John died in 1835, Cary was the authoritative name in private map publishing and his business was a leader in the field throughout the first half of the nineteenth century.