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A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England: Jefferys 1755 [c. 1768]

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  • Title: A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England
  • Author: Thomas Jefferys
  • Date: 1755 [c. 1768]
  • Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Very Good - age toning, foxing, wear and discoloration along issued folds
  • Inches: 40 x 42 [Paper]
  • Centimeters: 102.56 x 107.69 [Paper]
  • Product ID: 1706

This large map is the rare second edition, second state of a map originally published in 1755 by English cartographer Thomas Jefferys (c. 1719-1771), Royal Geographer to King George III. We know little of his background, save that he married in 1750 and seemed to identify primarily as an engraver, rather than as a geographer. In 1766 he went bankrupt, which gave publisher Robert Sayer the opportunity to purchase a large portion of Jefferys’ materials and plates. Following this setback, Jefferys did continue to publish maps in partnership with the younger William Faden.

Map extends from Long Island and the Hudson River in the west to part of present-day Maine in the east. Also includes Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, eastern New York, New Hampshire, and present-day Vermont (though it is not labeled). In the upper left corner appears an inset map labeled ‘A Plan of the Town of Boston.’ In addition to a legend marking important sites around the city, Jefferys also includes a list of major fires which had damaged the city in recent history. Next to the title cartouche in the lower right corner sits ‘A Plan of Boston Harbor from an Accurate Survey.’

Along the right margin, Jefferys cites the cartographic sources used to render each region of the map. Below this, he includes a legend explaining the map’s symbols and abbreviations used to indicate topographic features, forts, settlements, etc. Throughout the map he inserts annotations regarding the climate, topography, territorial boundaries, and Native peoples of the region.

The title cartouche contains an image of the English arriving at Plymouth. They are graciously welcomed by a Native man, as well as a woman in Greco-Roman garb, seemingly an allegorical character. To the lower right of the image sits Plymouth Rock, bearing the inscription ‘Plymouth MD CXX.’,  the Mayflower rests at anchor in the background.

A Map of
the most Inhabited part of
New England,
containing the Provinces of
Massachusets Bay and New Hampshire,
with the Colonies of
Conecticut and Rhode Island,
Divided into Counties and Townships;
The whole composed from Actual Surveys and its Situation adjust by
Astronomical Observations.

November 29th 1755. Published according to Act by Thos. Jefferys Geographer to HIs Royal Highness the Prince of Wales near Charing Cross