London: Printed and sold by R. Sayer and J. Bennett, 1782. Letterpress title and index leaf, otherwise engraved throughout. Twenty-three engraved maps on thirty-one sheets (eighteen folding, eleven double-page), all handcolored in outline. Antique-style half speckled calf and marbled boards, spine with raised bands, bands and ornaments tooled in gilt, leather label. Titlepage somewhat soiled, early ownership inscription at top. Minor edge wear and edge soiling to some maps; a few minor instances of foxing. A few closed tears, not affecting images, neatly repaired. A handsome, near fine copy. Item #WRCAM43278
THE AMERICAN ATLAS is the most important 18th-century atlas for America. Walter Ristow describes it as a "geographical description of the whole continent of America, as portrayed in the best available maps in the latter half of the eighteenth century...as a major cartographic reference work it was, very likely, consulted by American, English, and French civilian administrators and military officers during the Revolution."
As a collection, THE AMERICAN ATLAS stands as the most comprehensive, detailed, and accurate survey of the American colonies at the beginning of the Revolution. Among the distinguished maps are Braddock Meade's "A Map of the Most Inhabited Parts of New England," the largest and most detailed map of New England that had yet been published; "The Provinces of New York and New Jersey" by Samuel Holland, the surveyor general for the northern American colonies; William Scull's "A Map of Pennsylvania," the first map of that colony to include its western frontier; Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson's "A Map of the Most Inhabited part of Virginia," the best colonial map for the Chesapeake region; and Lieut. Ross' "Course of the Mississipi," the first map of that river based on English sources.
Jefferys was the leading English cartographer of the 18th century. From about 1750 he published a series of maps of the English American colonies that were among the most significant produced in the period. As Geographer to the Prince of Wales, and after 1761, Geographer to the King, Jefferys was well placed to have access to the best surveys conducted in America, and many of his maps held the status of "official work." Jefferys died on November 20, 1771, and in 1775 his successors, Robert Sayer and John Bennett, gathered together these separately issued maps and republished them in book form as THE AMERICAN ATLAS.
The only difference between this 1782 edition and the editions of 1776 and 1778 is the titlepage; the maps are all the same. They are as follows:
1) Braddock Meade (alias John Green): "A Chart of North and South America, including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans." Published June 10, 1775. Six sheets joined into three, a total of 43½ x 49½ inches. This great wall map was chiefly issued to expose the errors in Delisle and Buache's map of the Pacific Northwest, published in Paris in 1752.
2) "Imperial Academy of St. Petersburg. The Russian Discoveries." Published March 2nd 1775. One sheet, 18 x 24 inches.
3) Thomas Pownall after E. Bowen: "A New and Correct Map of North America, with the West India Islands." Published July 15th 1779. Four sheets joined into two, 43 x 47 inches. Thomas Pownall updated Bowen's North America map of 1755. Pownall's version includes the results of the first Treaty of Paris drawn up after the end of the French and Indian War.
4) Thomas Jefferys: "North America from the French of Mr. D'Anville, Improved with the English Surveys Made since the Peace." Published June 10, 1775. One sheet, 18 x 20 inches.
5) Samuel Dunn: "A Map of the British Empire in North America." Published August 17, 1776. Half sheet, 12 x 19 inches. This updates Dunn's map of 1774.
6) Thomas Jefferys: "An Exact Chart of the River St. Laurence from Fort Frontenac to the Island of Anticosti...." Published May 25, 1775. Two sheets joined into one, 23½ x 37 inches.
7) Sayer and Bennett: "A Chart of the Gulf of St. Laurence...." Published March 25, 1775. One sheet, 19½ x 24 inches.
8) "A Map of the Island of St. John in the Gulf of St. Laurence...." Published April 6, 1775. One sheet, 15 x 27¼ inches.
9) James Cook and Michael Lane: "A General Chart of the Island of Newfoundland...." Published May 10, 1775. One sheet, 21½ x 22 inches. James Cook went on to gain renown for his Pacific exploration.
10) "A Chart of the Banks of Newfoundland...." Published March 25, 1775. One sheet, 19½ x 26 inches. Based on the surveys of James Cook (see above), Chabert, and Fleurieu.
11) Braddock Meade (alias John Green): "A New Map of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island with the Adjacent Parts of New England and Canada...." Published June 15, 1775. One sheet, 18½ x 24 inches. Originally published in 1755, at the beginning of the French and Indian War, this map "proved to be an important documenting in evaluating respective French and English claims to this part of North America" (Ristow). England gained sole possession of the region by the Treaty of Paris, 1763.
12) Braddock Meade (alias John Green): "A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England." Published November 29, 1774. Four sheets joined into two, 38¾ x 40 ¾ inches. The first large-scale map of New England. "The most detailed and informative pre-Revolutionary map of New England...not really supplanted until the nineteenth century" - NEW ENGLAND PROSPECT 13.
13) Capt. [Samuel] Holland: "The Provinces of New York and New Jersey, with Part of Pensilvania...." Published August 17, 1776. Two insets: "A plan of the City of New York" and "A chart of the Mouth of Hudson's River." Two sheets joined, 26½ x 52¾ inches. An important large-scale map of the Provinces of New York and New Jersey, by Samuel Holland, surveyor general for the northern British colonies. With fine insets including a street plan of colonial New York City.
14) William Brassier: "A Survey of Lake Champlain, including Lake George, Crown Point and St. John." Published August 5, 1776. One inset: "A Particular Plan of Lake George. Surveyed in 1756 by Capt. Jackson." Two sheets joined into one, 26 x 18¾ inches. This is the second state of Brassier's terribly important and magnificently detailed map of Lake Champlain. In our experience it is the first state that is included in the 1776 edition of Jefferys' atlas. This second state illustrates the very first battle fought by the U.S. Navy - the Battle of Valcour Island, which transpired near present-day Plattsburgh, New York on October 13, 1775.
15) "A New Map of the Province of Quebec, according to the Royal Proclamation, of the 7th of October 1763, from the French Surveys Connected with those made after the War, by Captain Carver, and Other Officers...." Published February 16, 1776. One sheet, 19¼ x 26¼ inches.
16) William Scull: "A Map of Pennsylvania Exhibiting not only the Improved Parts of the Province but also its Extensive Frontiers." Published June 10, 1775. Two sheets joined, 27 x 51½ inches. The first map of the Province of Pennsylvania to include its western frontier. All earlier maps had focused solely on the settled eastern parts of the colony.
17) Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson: "A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of Virginia, containing the Whole Province of Maryland...1775." [nd]. Four sheets joined into two, 32 x 48 inches. "The basic cartographical document of Virginia in the eighteenth century...the first to depict accurately the interior regions of Virginia beyond the Tidewater. [It] dominated the cartographical representation of Virginia until the nineteenth century" - Verner.
18) Henry Mouzon: "An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers." Published May 30, 1775. Four sheets joined into two, 40 x 54 inches. First sheet [numbered 23], second sheet [numbered 24]. "The chief type map for [the Carolinas] during the forty or fifty years following its publication. It was used by both British and American forces during the Revolutionary War" - Cumming 450.
19) Thomas Jefferys: "The Coast of West Florida and Louisiana...The Peninsula and Gulf of Florida. Published 20 Feby. 1775." Two sheets joined into one, 19½ x 48 inches. A large-scale map of Florida, based upon the extensive surveys conducted since the region became an English possession by the Treaty of Paris, 1763.
20) Lieut. Ross: "Course of the Mississipi...Taken on an Expedition to the Illinois, in the latter end of the Year 1765." Published June 1, 1775. Two sheets joined into one, 14 x 44 inches. The first large-scale map of the Mississippi River, and the first based in whole or part upon British surveys.
21) Thomas Jefferys: "The Bay of Honduras." Published February 20, 1775. One sheet, 18½ x 24½ inches.
22) J.B.B. D'Anville: "A Map of South America...." Published September 20, 1775. Four sheets joined into two, 20 x 46 inches.
23) Cruz Cano [etc]: "A Chart of the Straits of Magellan." Published July 1, 1775. One sheet, 20½ x 27 inches. PHILLIPS, ATLASES 1169. HOWES J81, "b." SABIN 35953. STREETER SALE 72 (1775 ed). Walter Ristow (editor), THOMAS JEFFERYS The American Atlas LONDON 1776, facsimile edition (Amsterdam 1974). HILL 882. REESE, REVOLUTIONARY HUNDRED 44 (ref).