The Provinces of New York and New Jersey; with part of Pensilvania and the Province of Quebec.
A rare and important map from Thomas Jeffery’s The American Atlas which was published by Robert Sayer and John Bennett. Jeffery’s Atlas has been described as “one the most important atlases of the American Revolutionary War period” and the map as “one of the most influential and comprehensive maps of the region published during the American Revolution.”
Sayer and Bennett’s important map of the the Northeast from New York and New Jersey to Quebec was drawn by Major Samuel Holland, the Surveyor General of the Northern District of America and consists of six known states, of which this is the final and most complete edition. Holland’s map was issued as early as 1768 following the end of the Seven Year’s War and the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Furthermore, it is argued that Holland “was directing survey parties in the enormous task of mapping Atlantic coastal lands fro the Sant John River (N.B) to New York City in the context of a project to supply the British government with the best possible maps of the Atlantic seaboard at a time when her American colonies were drifting toward revolution.”
The map is adorned with three inset plans and charts, as well different annotations providing information relating to the region. For example, the annotation of the area in which is now known as the Adirondacks is described as Coughsaghrage or the Beaver Hunting Country of the Confederate Indians. It also mentions that the region was surrendered to the English in 1701 and confirmed in 1724, but remained largely unexplored.
The three insets map depict Amboy, which was the capital of the province of New Jersey from 1686 to 1776, a chart of the mouth of the Hudson’s River from Sandy Hook to New York, and finally a plan of the city of New York.
Of particular interest with Holland’s map of the Northeast region is the delineation of the borders of New York. It should be noted that as well as being named Surveyor General of the Northern District in 1764 for the board of trade that governed the American colonies, Holland was the New York - New Jersey boundary commissioner in 1769-70, and was the representative for New York in 1774 on a commission to settle the boundary with Pennsylvania. Holland was also preparing to establish the boundary with New York and Massachusetts when hostilities began in what would become the American Revolution. In viewing the map one is struck by the different annotations that describe the “equvalent lands surrendered by Connecticut to the Province of New York in 1731, as well as multiple boundaries lines for the different proposals relating to the Northern boundaries of New Jersey and New York.
As such, Holland’s map is important not only for providing a great depiction of the strategic Northeast coast during the period leading to the American Revolution, but the map also provides an indication of the thorny issues of colonial boundaries from the person who was responsible, in many ways, in establishing those Provincial borders, especially as it relates to New York.
(Sources: DRMC No. 0346020, Dictionary of Canadian Biography Volume V)