A Plan of Quebec.
EDWARD OAKLEY / JOHN ROCQUE
Published 1759, London
Size: 12 1/4" X 20"
Condition: Discolouration in margins.
A very significant and rare broadside with original colour of the city of Quebec published shortly after the capitulation of Quebec by the French forces under Lt General Montcalm to the English forces commanded by General Wolfe during the Seven Years War (1756-1763). The broadside also includes an insert of the Battle formations under the unsuccessful attack by General Phipps in 1690, as well as an insert map of Quebec and the surrounding area. Also of interest is the inset to the left of the city plan that provides a textual history and geographical information relating to the Capital of New France prior to its fall in 1759.
It indicates notable events such as; its founding by its first Governor, Samuel de Champlain, in 1608, the successful invasion by David Kirk in 1629 on behalf of the English King Charles the 1st and its restoration to France in 1632, the defeats of Sir William Phipps in 1690 and of Sir Hovendon Walker in 1711 to capture the City as was the case in 1746 with the defeat of Admiral Lestock in his ill conceived campaign during King George’s War.
The present example of the Plan of Quebec is the second state that was published in October 1759. The first state, with no insert map of the surrounding area, was published the prior January of the same year but before the fall of Quebec in September. Thus, both broadsides are important in that they would have been published with the intent of informing the British public either of the upcoming battle in the North American theatre of the Seven Year’s War, or shortly after its successful conclusion.
It is important to note that the British public would have been quite interested in the military events occurring in North America as it was crucial to the outcome of the Seven Year’s War. Thus, with the fall of Louisboug in 1758 and with the capitulation of Quebec on September 13th 1759, the way was open for Britain to proceed onwards to Montreal and obtain the last bastion of French resistance in North America. With this decisive victory, North America would become British and western American expansion could commence unimpeded by another European power.
It is also worth noting that the British victory over Quebec rested on their ability to navigate their fleet through one of the most treacherous bodies of water on the St-Laurence River, an area known as the Traverse. The British were able to accomplish this feat as a result of the surveying efforts of James Cook and Samuel Holland that led to their famous chart A New Chart of the Rivers St-Laurence… published in 1759.
It is important to note that the siege of Quebec, that was famously depicted in Thomas Jefferys’ An Authentic Plan of the River St.Laurence from Sillery to the Fall of Montmorency… or his A Correct Plan of the Environs of Quebec… were printed some time after Oakley Rocque’s important broadside was published to announce the result of the Battle of Quebec. However, all battle or city plans of Quebec, such as that of Oakley Rocques majestic broadside, which depict the city in 1759, are a reminder of the events that led to a key moment in the history of North America, and in world history in general, during the latter part of the 18th Century.
(Sources: Kershaw 821)