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1755 Mitchell Map

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January 27, 2019 @ 12:47 pm – 1:47 pm
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Wikipedia on John Mitchell and his 1755 map.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitchell_Map

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Mitchell, John, 1711-1768.  map maker

Kitchin, Thomas, -1784.  engraver

Millar, Andrew, 1705-1768.  printer

 

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https://explore.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/show/lewisclark/item/5707

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https://www.loc.gov/maps/?fa=contributor%3Akitchin%2C+thomas&dates=1755

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https://www.loc.gov/maps/?fa=contributor%3Akitchin%2C+thomas&dates=1755

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https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03085690701669327?src=recsys&journalCode=rimu20

John Mitchell’s Map of North America (1755): A Study of the Use and Publication of Official Maps in Eighteenth‐Century Britain

Pages 63-85 | Received 01 Jul 2006, Accepted 01 Mar 2007, Published online: 19 Dec 2007

 

John Mitchell’s famous map of North America stands as an archetype of the official publication of maps in eighteenth‐century Britain. It was, however, the product of a special effort by the Earl of Halifax, president of the Board of Trade, who sought to advance his own aggressive agenda with respect to the British empire in North America in the run‐up to the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763, known in North America as the French and Indian War, 1755–1760), to persuade his ministerial colleagues both directly through negotiation and indirectly by manipulating public opinion. This re‐evaluation of Mitchell’s work concludes that its archetypal status is unwarranted. The practices that were developed by administrators in London and the colonies for commissioning, using and circulating regional maps are examined. A distinction is made between the use by officials of printed maps as sources for general geographical knowledge and of manuscript maps for knowledge specific to certain administrative issues. Then the origins of Mitchell’s map are re‐examined. The conclusion reached is that the map is truly innovative: it was the result of a uniquely successful solicitation of information from the colonies and its publication broke with the established patterns of map circulation and consumption.

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A Publishing History of John Mitchell’s
Map of North America, 1755-1775

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Lawrence Martin (1934) called John Mitchell’s imposing, eight-sheet
Map of the British and French Dominions in North America (Figure 1),
“the most important map in American history,” because British, Spanish,
and American negotiators used several versions of the map to conceptualize the boundaries of the new United States of America in Paris in 1782-83.
Martin had represented the U.S. government in several international and
interstate boundary settlements between 1917 and 1935 (Williams 1956,
359-60), so it is perhaps understandable that he should have emphasized
this particular aspect of the map. But even before Martin, scholars were
drawn to the map because of its role in the Treaty of Paris and subsequent
Anglo-American boundary negotiations. In particular, B. F. Stevens, a U.S.
diplomat based in Britain in the 1890s, set out to collect as many variants
as he could precisely because of the map’s association with diplomatic
affairs.1
After Mitchell, almost every historian who has considered the
map has repeated Martin’s accolade. In other words, Mitchell’s map has
consistently been studied solely from the inward-looking perspective of
American exceptionalism. This applies to the study of the map’s origins in
1750–1755 (see Edney 2008a) and to the history of the seven variants of the
map published in London between 1755 and 1775. Each variant is taken to
have been prompted by events and surveys that occurred in North America.2
However, Mitchell’s map was prepared and published in London and
it was read primarily in London and Britain. My purpose in this paper is
therefore to reexamine the publication history of Mitchell’s map in terms
of the British public and its views of empire, rather than through the lens
of colonial concerns.
This argument is grounded in the ongoing reevaluation of the nature
and history of maps. Traditionally, map studies have emphasized the
production of maps. In this respect, the history of the mapping of Britain’s
North American colonies has overwhelmingly been told as the history
of how the colonies were progressively explored and surveyed, generat-
“. . . Mitchell’s map has
consistently been studied
solely from the
inward-looking perspective of
American exceptionalism.”
CP58_edney.indd 4 12/21/2007 8:57:22 AM
Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives
Figure 1. John Mitchell, A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America with the Roads, Distances, Limits and Extent of the
Settlements, Humbly Inscribed to the Right Honourable The Earl of Halifax, And the other Right Honourable The Lords Commissioners for
Trade and Plantations, engraved by Thomas Kitchin (London: Andrew Millar, 1755). Variant 1. 136cm x 195cm. Courtesy of the Geography and Map
Division, Library of Congress (G3300 1755 M5 Vault). (see page 71 for color version)
ing new information and so new maps. Critical approaches, exemplified
by Harley (2001), Jacob (2006), and Wood and Fels (1992), have however
demonstrated that the relationship of the map to the territory has never
been as simple as was once presumed. By extension, the burden of explanation in map studies has moved away from the territories depicted and
to the contexts in which maps were produced and consumed (see Edney
2007). By examining the geographical and social patterns of the circulation
of maps from makers to users, we can say something about the kinds of
people who read each kind of map and why they did so. In other words,
the study of maps as artifacts—as things made to be physically moved
through space, housed, and used—has little immediate connection to the
territories being mapped but has everything to do with the people who
created and read them (see McKenzie 1999, 43-48)

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http://www.cartographicperspectives.org/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/cp58-edney/326

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Bio of Mitchell

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A Publishing History of John Mitchell’s
Map of North America, 1755-1775

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John Mitchell Makes His Map
We are fortunate in having a definitive biography of John Mitchell (Berkeley and Berkeley 1974). Born in Virginia in 1711, his family was sufficiently
well off to send him to Scotland for his education. He received his M.A. in
1729 from the University of Edinburgh and he then studied medicine there
until late 1731. Returning to Virginia, he engaged in a successful career
as a physician and pursued an active scholarly interest in botany and
zoology. But he fell ill in 1745 and he was forced to quit the colonies. He
returned, with his wife, to London. There, his botanical skills brought him
to the attention of a circle of aristocratic gardeners. One of these, George
Montague Dunk, second earl of Halifax, was in 1748 appointed president
of the Board of Trade and Plantations, the government office in London
that coordinated communications between the colonial governors and the
royal Privy Council. With tensions growing once more with the French
over competing territorial claims in North America—and so with rising official and public interest in the colonies—Halifax prevailed upon Mitchell
to share his first-hand geographical knowledge of the colonies. Halifax
ultimately commissioned Mitchell to make his large map (Edney 2008a;
see Figure 1)

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http://frenchandindianwarfoundation.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=6372&action=edit

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Another bio of Mitchell

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From Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia writes  to Cadwallader Colden, 13 September 1744 about Dr  John Mitchell, maker of the 1755 map.

To Cadwallader Colden

als: Yale University Library

Philada. Sept. 13. 1744

Sir

Dr. Mitchel,5 a Gentleman from Virginia, came to Town this Morning with Mr. Bertram, and we have been together all Day,6 which has hindred my Writing to you as I intended. We are to go to Mr. Logan’s tomorrow, when I shall have an Opportunity of knowing his Sentiments of your Piece on Fluxions.7 I am Sir Your most humble Servant

B Franklin

Addressed: To  The Honbl Cadwalr Colden Esqr  N York  Free  BF

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Taken from Ben Franklin writing a letter about Mitchell visiting him.

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Founders footnote:

John Mitchell (d. 1768), physician, naturalist, map maker; studied medicine at Edinburgh and settled in Urbanna, Virginia, in the 1720’s, where he became a justice of the peace of Middlesex County. He traveled much in North America; on his visit to Philadelphia, 1744, he allowed copies to be made of his treatises on yellow fever (see below, p. 418) and pines. Mitchell collected and described American plants, many of which he introduced into the British Isles; corresponded with European and American naturalists; and became a member of the APS, 1744. After contributing articles on such varied topics as the opossum, potash, electricity, and race and color to the Phil. Trans., he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 1748. On a voyage to England in 1746 he was captured by the French and lost all his papers. From the records of the Board of Trade he prepared an authoritative Map of the British and French Dominions in North America, 1755, that was frequently reproduced. It was used in the peace negotiations of 1782–83 and in many controversies regarding boundaries and grants, and was reckoned by Lawrence Martin to be “without serious doubt … the most important map in American history.” bf’s last surviving letter (to Thomas Jefferson, April 8, 1790) concerns this map. DAB; DNB; Theodore Hornberger, “The Scientific Ideas of John Mitchell,” Huntington Lib. Quar., x (1946–47), 277–96; Raymond P. Stearns, “Colonial Fellows of the Royal Society, 1661–1788,”

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https://founders.archives.gov/?q=Author%3A%22Franklin%2C%20Benjamin%22&s=1111311111&r=177#BNFN-01-02-02-0109-fn-0001

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Notes

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http://www.cartographicperspectives.org/index.php/journal/article/viewFile/cp58-edney/326

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A Publishing History of John Mitchell’s
Map of North America, 1755-1775

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A Publishing History of John Mitchell’s
Map of North America, 1755-1775
Matthew H. Edney
Osher Map Library
University of Southern Maine
edney@usm.maine.edu
History of Cartography Project
Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
Initial submission, January 22, 2007; revised submission, August 22, 2007; final
acceptance, August 27, 2007
INTRODUCTION
John Mitchell’s Map of the British and French Dominions in North
America (London, 1755) is a prominent feature of the history of cartography of the British colonies in North America. A close examination of
the history of the publication of its seven identified variants (1755-1775)
indicates, however, that the map is properly understood in terms of the
British, and more specifically London, market for maps and geographical information. There, it contributed to public discussions about the
nature of the British empire and the British nation. This study also demonstrates the validity and necessity of applying the established bibliographical scheme of edition, printing, issue, and state to maps.
Keywords: John Mitchell, Thomas Kitchin, William Faden, map trade,
colonial cartography, wall map, cartobibliography
awrence Martin (1934) called John Mitchell’s imposing, eight-sheet
Map of the British and French Dominions in North America (Figure 1),
“the most important map in American history,” because British, Spanish,
and American negotiators used several versions of the map to conceptualize the boundaries of the new United States of America in Paris in 1782-83.
Martin had represented the U.S. government in several international and
interstate boundary settlements between 1917 and 1935 (Williams 1956,
359-60), so it is perhaps understandable that he should have emphasized
this particular aspect of the map. But even before Martin, scholars were
drawn to the map because of its role in the Treaty of Paris and subsequent
Anglo-American boundary negotiations. In particular, B. F. Stevens, a U.S.
diplomat based in Britain in the 1890s, set out to collect as many variants
as he could precisely because of the map’s association with diplomatic
affairs.1
After Mitchell, almost every historian who has considered the
map has repeated Martin’s accolade. In other words, Mitchell’s map has
consistently been studied solely from the inward-looking perspective of
American exceptionalism. This applies to the study of the map’s origins in
1750–1755 (see Edney 2008a) and to the history of the seven variants of the
map published in London between 1755 and 1775. Each variant is taken to
have been prompted by events and surveys that occurred in North America.2
However, Mitchell’s map was prepared and published in London and
it was read primarily in London and Britain. My purpose in this paper is
therefore to reexamine the publication history of Mitchell’s map in terms
of the British public and its views of empire, rather than through the lens
of colonial concerns.
This argument is grounded in the ongoing reevaluation of the nature
and history of maps. Traditionally, map studies have emphasized the
production of maps. In this respect, the history of the mapping of Britain’s
North American colonies has overwhelmingly been told as the history
of how the colonies were progressively explored and surveyed, generat-
“. . . Mitchell’s map has
consistently been studied
solely from the
inward-looking perspective of
American exceptionalism.”
CP58_edney.indd 4 12/21/2007 8:57:22 AM
Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives
Figure 1. John Mitchell, A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America with the Roads, Distances, Limits and Extent of the
Settlements, Humbly Inscribed to the Right Honourable The Earl of Halifax, And the other Right Honourable The Lords Commissioners for
Trade and Plantations, engraved by Thomas Kitchin (London: Andrew Millar, 1755). Variant 1. 136cm x 195cm. Courtesy of the Geography and Map
Division, Library of Congress (G3300 1755 M5 Vault). (see page 71 for color version)
ing new information and so new maps. Critical approaches, exemplified
by Harley (2001), Jacob (2006), and Wood and Fels (1992), have however
demonstrated that the relationship of the map to the territory has never
been as simple as was once presumed. By extension, the burden of explanation in map studies has moved away from the territories depicted and
to the contexts in which maps were produced and consumed (see Edney
2007). By examining the geographical and social patterns of the circulation
of maps from makers to users, we can say something about the kinds of
people who read each kind of map and why they did so. In other words,
the study of maps as artifacts—as things made to be physically moved
through space, housed, and used—has little immediate connection to the
territories being mapped but has everything to do with the people who
created and read them (see McKenzie 1999, 43-48).
In remembering that Mitchell’s map was a geographical work published in London, we must appreciate that all of its seven variants were
intended first and foremost for the British public, and more particularly
for that wealthy segment of the public who could afford it. The map was
treated just like any other product of the London printing presses. London
publishers did ship their books and other printed works to the provinces,
but only in a limited manner. The distance from London to the North
American colonies meant that London publishers generally shipped few
“By examining the
geographical and social
patterns of the circulation of
maps from makers to users, we
can say something about the
kinds of people who read
each kind of map and why
they did so.”
CP58_edney.indd 5 12/21/2007 8:57:23 AM
 cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
copies of any one work to the colonies, although if books did not sell well
they did dump the unsold stock onto the colonial markets with the hope
of recouping at least some of their expenses (Botein 1983; Raven 2002).
Mitchell’s map did not suffer such an ignoble fate, and it seems to have
been available in the colonies only in very small numbers. Certainly, almost all impressions of the map found in U.S. libraries were acquired only
in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries via British dealers from private
collections in Britain. We need therefore to look to the London market if
we are to understand properly the map’s history. Despite its unusual size,
careful compilation, and historical significance, Mitchell’s map was in this
respect no different from the many other maps published in London in the
same period, even the small and sketchy maps published within monthly
“magazines” (Figure 2).
When we look carefully at the public market for geographical maps
and books in eighteenth-century London, we find little sustained interest
Figure 2. An Accurate Map of the British Empire in Nth. America as Settled by the Preliminaries in 1762, engraved by John Gibson, in The
Gentleman’s Magazine 32 (1762): 602-603. The shaded territory was that to be ceded by France and Spain to Great Britain. 21cm x 26cm. Courtesy of the
Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress (G3300 1762 .G5 Vault / Lowery no. 457). (see page 72 for color version)
CP58_edney.indd 6 12/21/2007 8:57:23 AM
Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives
in the colonies. This can be seen in the pattern of maps printed within the
monthly periodicals, such as the Gentleman’s Magazine or the London Magazine. These magazines were interested in current affairs, just like the daily
and weekly newspapers, but their longer production cycle and greater
price permitted their publishers to invest the necessary time and money
to include maps in many issues (e.g., Figure 2). The publishers sought to
meet the current interests of the reading public, so it is logical to presume
that they incurred the extra cost of having maps prepared and printed
only when they thought their readers would be interested in them. The
appearance of maps in monthly periodicals thus serves as a surrogate for
the public’s geographical interests. A simple review of the maps in these
magazines (as listed by Klein 1989 and Jolly 1990–91) reveals that maps of
North America and the West Indies featured in the magazines only during
times of colonial conflict or diplomacy: in 1748-49, 1755-64, and 1774-83
(see Carlson 1938; Reitan 1985 and 1986). So, what does the later publication history of Mitchell’s map tell us about public interest within the imperial metropol about the North American colonies?
This study of the publication history of Mitchell’s map also has the
benefit of refining cartobibliographic analyses of the map. The several bibliographic schemes developed between the 1890s and 1920s are explained
in the Appendix. They are all misleading, especially in their careless and
colloquial use of the term “edition.” By distinguishing up to five editions,
cartobibliographers have suggested that the map’s publication history featured as many distinct publication events, but the evidence adduced here
suggests that there were probably only three distinct publication episodes.
I therefore take the opportunity to advance a new, although still necessarily preliminary, classification according to the precise bibliographical
hierarchy of edition, printing, issue, and state (see Karrow 1985, 4).
John Mitchell Makes His Map
We are fortunate in having a definitive biography of John Mitchell (Berkeley and Berkeley 1974). Born in Virginia in 1711, his family was sufficiently
well off to send him to Scotland for his education. He received his M.A. in
1729 from the University of Edinburgh and he then studied medicine there
until late 1731. Returning to Virginia, he engaged in a successful career
as a physician and pursued an active scholarly interest in botany and
zoology. But he fell ill in 1745 and he was forced to quit the colonies. He
returned, with his wife, to London. There, his botanical skills brought him
to the attention of a circle of aristocratic gardeners. One of these, George
Montague Dunk, second earl of Halifax, was in 1748 appointed president
of the Board of Trade and Plantations, the government office in London
that coordinated communications between the colonial governors and the
royal Privy Council. With tensions growing once more with the French
over competing territorial claims in North America—and so with rising official and public interest in the colonies—Halifax prevailed upon Mitchell
to share his first-hand geographical knowledge of the colonies. Halifax
ultimately commissioned Mitchell to make his large map (Edney 2008a;
see Figure 1).
The map’s purpose was to educate other administrators and politicians, as well as the general public through its published version, about
the threat posed by the French in North America. To this end, the Board of
Trade’s secretary certified the map’s status as an official and geographically correct document. What the map presented was the inherent Britishness
of the large swathe of territory from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico
and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, to which
“The map’s purpose was to
educate other administrators
and politicians, as well as the
general public through its
published version, about the
threat posed by the French in
North America.”
CP58_edney.indd 7 12/21/2007 8:57:23 AM
cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
the French also laid claim and on which they were building many forts.
The map’s many annotations and its allegorical title cartouche laid out the
legal superiority and historical priority of Britain’s claims to this extensive
territory, and portrayed the French as interlopers who aggressively and
illegally encroached on British lands (see the detailed discussion in Edney
2008a). The map was very much a product of a particular moment in English politics and Anglo-French imperial rivalry.
First Printing (1755)
To publish the map, Halifax and Mitchell contracted with two well-established London tradesmen, the engraver Thomas Kitchin and the book and
print seller Andrew Millar. The copyright statement in the map’s lower
margin, just below the cartouche, bears the date of 13 February 1755,
which was probably several weeks before the map was actually made
public. Millar did not actually advertise the map until the very end of
March. The time delay was perhaps caused by the need to print and color
enough copies of all eight sheets to build up a sufficient stock to meet anticipated demand. It was probably during this period of printing the map
that small errors in the printing plates were caught and corrected. The first
error to be corrected was the misspelling of Millar’s name and address in
the copyright statement. Someone then realized that the town of Worcester
in Massachusetts was wrongly labeled “Leicester,” giving two towns by
that name; correction of this error produced the map’s third distinct variant (see Appendix for details).
Mitchell’s Map of the British and French Dominions in North America is a
very large map that measures 136 cm (4’5”) high by 195 cm (6’5”) wide
when its eight sheets are assembled. As with other maps of this size and
complexity, it was expensive and Millar sought to maximize sales by offering the map in several different formats. It was made available in no
less than nine formats. When first advertised in the Public Advertiser on 28
March 1755 (repeated 2 and 4 April 1755), it was offered for sale in three
formats:
a-b) as eight separate sheets, either colored or uncolored, and suitable
for binding as an atlas, priced at one guinea (£1/1); and
c) the first impressions pulled from the plates “on superfine double
Elephant Paper,” for one and a half guineas (£1/11/6).3
That Millar had the printer use “superfine” paper for the first impressions pulled from the printing plates—when the image would have been
sharpest and blackest—indicates his intention to sell the map to those
high-end print collectors who sought the most perfect examples of the
engravers’ art. Millar again advertised the map in the Public Advertiser
one month later, on 29 April 1755, when he specified the availability of the
map in another three formats:
d) the eight sheets assembled into two halves, each of four sheets,
for £1/5;
e) the same, but bound “so as to represent the whole,” for £1/15;
and
f) the eight sheets assembled into one map and backed onto canvas
for strength, ready for mounting on the wall, for £1/11/6.
After two more weeks—on 14, 15, and 16 May 1755—Millar advertised the
assembled map (format f) as now being ready equipped with rollers for
“The map’s many annotations
and its allegorical title
cartouche laid out the legal
superiority and historical
priority of Britain’s claims to
this extensive territory, and
portrayed the French as
interlopers who aggressively
and illegally encroached on
British lands. The map was very
much a product of a particular
moment in English politics and
Anglo-French imperial rivalry.”
CP58_edney.indd 8 12/21/2007 8:57:23 AM
Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives 
wall display. He also specified new formats:
g-i) all eight sheets assembled, colored, and then dissected and
backed onto cloth for folding at three different size (folio,
quarto, and octavo) into cases suitable forthe library or the
traveling trunk, for £1/11/6.
Finally, all of these different formats were advertised together, starting on
26 August and continuing until 13 September 1755.
This list of the map’s formats is actually incomplete. Most of the impressions of the map that I have examined were dissected and backed onto
cloth, so they could be readily folded without damaging the paper. Several
impressions survive in which the entire map was dissected into thirty-two
sections and then mounted onto a single sheet of cloth, which could then
be folded up and stored in a folio-sized case (formats g-i). But still more
impressions survive in which each of the eight sheets was divided into
four, eight, sixteen, or even twenty sections and mounted on cloth; doing so permitted the individual sheets to be folded and stored together in
small, but thick, cases. This format was much more manageable because
the user could extract individual sheets from the case, perhaps using small
leather tabs fixed to the cloth, without having to open out the full map.4
Maps in each of these dissected formats could be stored in its case just like
a small book, which meant that the purchaser did not have to possess special furniture for holding flat sheets or sufficient free wall space to display
the whole map. (Special cases could easily be made that looked like books
when placed on a shelf.) I know of no surviving impressions of Mitchell’s
map that were hung on a wall for display (format f): the act of hanging is
seriously destructive, with maps fading from long exposure to light and
perhaps tearing under their own weight.5
However, the map was certainly
intended to be hung on the wall in a manner akin to a painting or mirror:
the ornate cartouche, prepared by delicate etching of the copper printing
plate as well as by strong engraving, is of a style commonly found on English wall maps of the eighteenth century. (By comparison, maps for books
were positively austere in their aesthetic, as in Figure 2).
Like any other printed map from the period, Mitchell’s was printed in
black ink on creamy white, hand-laid paper. Any color that appears on the
map was applied with watercolors by hand. That the separate sheets were
sold with or without color for the same price (formats a-b) suggests that
this particular coloring was not sophisticated and probably entailed the
addition only of simple outline color of the sort evident in Figure 1. The
more expensive versions of the map were perhaps colored more intensely;
some impressions have full, bright color covering the entire map, and
some of the advertisements refer to the map being “curiously illuminated”
rather than being merely “colored.” I have been able to examine a number
of impressions from this first printing, and it is clear that Mitchell intended a consistent scheme for coloring the maps and he meant this scheme to
have political effect. The outline color was applied to emphasize Britain’s
territorial claims — or rather Halifax and Mitchell’s interpretation of them
— and full wash applied within the same boundaries of outline color.
Virginia and New York, for example, both greatly swollen by the inclusion
of supposedly Iroquois lands, were consistently outlined in red and, when
filled with a wash, were filled with pink (Edney 2008a, pl.9).6
Just how expensive was the map? In its several formats, it ranged from
£1/1 to £1/15. Through the comparison of retail indices, these values are
roughly equivalent to £87-144 in 1991 (McCusker 1992, app. B) or £125-207
in 2005 (Officer and Williamson 2006). In terms of purchasing power in
“Maps in each of these
dissected formats could be
stored in its case just like a
small book, which meant that
the purchaser did not have to
possess special furniture for
holding flat sheets or sufficient
free wall space to display the
whole map. (Special cases could
easily be made that looked like
books when placed on a shelf.)”
CP58_edney.indd 9 12/21/2007 8:57:23 AM
10 cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
the mid-eighteenth century, these prices were truly significant sums. In its
cheapest formats, the map cost one guinea, the gold coinage then circulating in Britain. The symbolism was clear: this is a map for the elites, for
people who might actually handle gold. In terms of estimates of contemporary wages in southern England, one guinea represented approximately
sixteen days’ income for a laborer (ca. 16d per diem), ten to eleven days’
for a skilled craftsman (ca. 24d per diem), four days’ for a clergyman (ca.
£92 per annum), or just over one day’s for a lawyer (ca. £231 per annum)
(Brown and Hopkins 1955, 205; Williamson 1982, 48; see also Pedley 2005).
The more expensive formats of the map would have represented still more
labor; those that sold for £1/15, for example, would have required almost
three days’ income for the average lawyer. Mitchell’s map could therefore
never have been a casual purchase. It was a luxury item intended for sale
to members of London’s elites who actively debated English policy for
the North American colonies both in the halls of power and in the public
sphere of coffee houses and printed discourse.
Second Printing, or Mitchell’s “Second Edition” ([1757])
Several of Mitchell’s contemporaries in Great Britain praised Mitchell’s
political image (Berkeley and Berkeley 1974, 201-10). John Huske (1755,
27), for example, wrote in 1755 that
“it must give every Briton great Pleasure to see our Countryman Dr.
Mitchel, F.R.S. detecting their Mistakes and designed Encroachments,
and almost wholly restoring us to our just Rights and Possessions, as
far as Paper will admit of it, in his most elaborate and excellent Map of
North-America just published; which deserves the warmest Thanks and
Countenance from every good Subject in his Majesty’s Dominions.”
The map itself was subsequently copied and reused in much simplified
form, for example in the map, also engraved by Thomas Kitchin, included
with Huske’s book (Figure 3). But once the English and French started
fighting in North America during the summer of 1755 and formally
declared themselves to be at war in 1756, the moment that had generated
Mitchell’s map had passed. The map itself was expensive, but it had generated a flood of cheaper derivatives that were widely available in London. Why then was a new printing of Mitchell’s map undertaken?
The “second edition” — as Mitchell himself called this new variant in
one of the large blocks of text that he had added to the map — has hitherto been explained solely in terms of the improvement of geographical
knowledge. Among all the contemporaries who praised Mitchell’s map,
one leveled a significant criticism: the infamous John Green, gambler,
womanizer, sometime jailbird, and critical geographer, who worked in the
1750s for the prominent London map seller Thomas Jefferys (Crone 1949
and 1951; Harley 1966; Worms 2004a). Jefferys published Green’s New Map
of Nova Scotia and Cape Britain in May 1755, together with Green’s memoir
explaining how he had constructed that map. Green took Mitchell to task
for giving Nova Scotia and the adjacent portions of New England an erroneous coastline. After listing Mitchell’s errors, and giving a table of differences, Green observed that his own map was indeed better than Mitchell’s
because he had used not only the recent observations for latitude and longitude made by the marquis de Chabert but also Nathaniel Blackmore’s
surveyed map of Nova Scotia (see Robinson 1976). In contrast, Mitchell
had apparently used only a few spotty observations. Green further complained that Mitchell had provided no memoir or other document that
“Mitchell’s map could
therefore never have been
a casual purchase. It was a
luxury item intended for sale to
members of London’s elites who
actively debated English policy
for the North American colonies
both in the halls of power and
in the public sphere of coffee
houses and printed discourse.”
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Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives 11
Figure 3. A New and Accurate Map of North America . . . Humbly Inscribed to the Honorable Charles Townshend one of the Right Honorable Lords Commissioners for Executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain &c By his Most Obliged, most Obedient and Very
Humble Servant Huske, engraved by Thomas Kitchin, in John Huske, Present State of North America (London: R. & I. Dodsley, 1755). 39cm x 49cm.
Courtesy of the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress (G3300 1755 H8 Vault). (see page 73 for color version)
explained how he had made his map (Green 1755, 8 and 12).
Mitchell evidently took this criticism to heart, because in his new variant he corrected his map’s outline of Nova Scotia by shifting the positions
of two key headlands: Cape Race by twenty minutes of latitude southward, Cape Sable by one degree of longitude eastward. He also added,
set in the Atlantic Ocean, two lengthy textual statements to vouch for the
quality of his work (transcribed by Edney 1997). The lower text block defined all of Mitchell’s original sources: published accounts, direct observations, and most interestingly the logbooks of British men-o’-war to which
he had access through the Board of Trade and Plantations. In conjunction
with this information, Mitchell now added observations of magnetic variations off the Atlantic coast of North America, labeled with large Roman
numerals. Unfortunately, Mitchell’s explanations of his sources are rather
abbreviated and are by no means as clear as those of other eighteenthcentury geographers. The upper text block is more discursive and underCP58_edney.indd 11 12/21/2007 8:57:24 AM
12 cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
standable. In it, Mitchell summarized the alterations he had made to the
New England and Nova Scotia coastline in reaction to Green’s criticism.
He apologized for not having used Chabert’s work, for the simple reason
that he had not known of it, but he had now made the necessary changes.
However, Mitchell’s access to the Board’s documents meant that he had
to dismiss Blakemore’s survey out of hand: Blackmore had indeed been a
lieutenant in HMS Dragon off Nova Scotia in 1711 but he did not draw his
coastal chart until 1715, and Mitchell found it to be as rough and as inexact
as any other work depending on memory. Mitchell also observed that in
publishing the map, the map seller Herman Moll had falsely claimed for
Blackmore the appointment of “surveyor general,” so that Blackmore’s
map was not at all deserving of the authority given to it by Green. Mitchell also dismissed all of the English maps and charts that had been based
on Blackmore’s work.
It is difficult to be certain when Mitchell made his additions to create this fourth variant. Neither title nor imprint date were updated. Did
Mitchell reconstruct the Nova Scotia coastline and get the map re-engraved before the end of 1755, or did the process take longer? However
long the revisions took to be made, it seems likely that the fourth variant
was not actually published until 1757. This assessment is based upon a
comment in the otherwise anonymous7 American Husbandry (London,
1775), that
Upon [the] occasion of the last war [i.e., Seven Years’ War, 1756-1763]
Dr. Mitchel was employed by the ministry [i.e., government] to take
an accurate survey of all the back countries of North America, most of
them being then but little known except to the French . . . This was the
origin of his map of North America, the best general one we have had;
at the time it was published, it was accompanied by a bulky pamphlet,
written by the Doctor and entitled, The Contest in America, in which he
enters into a full elucidation of the importance of the back countries . . .
(Carmen 1939, 205)
The anonymous Contest in America was indeed published in 1757, makes
no mention of a map but it does possess the same underlying political ideals as Mitchell’s map.
Like the many inscriptions on the map, the pamphlet’s purpose was to
explain why it was so important for the British to keep the French out of
the “back country” between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River,
and the valley of the Ohio River in particular. Its author claimed to have
had access to a great deal of privileged, governmental information, which
he nonetheless omitted to keep simple his argument about why this war
required unity among the British. This was not a war, he wrote, to which
the British could apply their usual games of party politics. Indeed, his
abiding message was that the war was actually the result of disunity
among the British in the colonies: had the colonies been able to overlook
their petty differences, they could have united to keep the French from
establishing any forts on British territory. What the British needed to do,
the pamphlet argued, was to adopt a larger geographical perspective on
the colonies, which is precisely what the map provided (Mitchell 1757, xli
and 17-84). These points strongly suggest that Mitchell did indeed write
the pamphlet.
If the anonymous author of American Husbandry was correct, then the
pamphlet and the map which was associated with it—the second printing
of Mitchell’s map—were published in order to continue the education of
the British public about the nature of the imperial prize in North America.
“This was not a war to which
the British could apply their
usual games of party politics.
Indeed, the abiding message
was that the war was actually
the result of disunity among the
British in the colonies: had the
colonies been able to overlook
their petty differences, they
could have united to keep the
French from establishing any
forts on British territory. What
the British needed to do, the
pamphlet argued, was to adopt a
larger geographical perspective
on the colonies, which is
precisely what the map
provided.”
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Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives 13
The distaste shown by Mitchell in the preface to the Contest in America
for party politics manifested a common rhetoric of public discourse in
eighteenth-century Britain; it was part of the manner in which writers
could claim to be disinterested, to be above the fray of dirty politics, and
to be writing only in the interest of the entire nation. But given the political wrangling that is endemic to any declaration of war, I have to wonder
how much both the pamphlet and the “second edition” of the map were
once again motivated by the earl of Halifax and his imperial vision.
With the fall of Québec in 1759 and Montreal in 1760, and the end of
the North American theater of the Seven Years’ War, the British public’s
interest in the geography of the continent declined. There would certainly
have been no further need for Halifax to keep the French threat in North
America in the public eye. Halifax himself stepped down as president of
the Board of Trade and Plantations in 1761, after which he became Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland and a secretary of state, while Mitchell died in 1768.
Before his death, Mitchell published a second pamphlet on Britain’s empire in North America, but this was more of a commentary on the economic relations between Britain and its colonies (Mitchell 1767). It made no
reference to his map, nor does it seem to have been an occasion for a new
publication of the map.
During these years, Andrew Millar seems to have kept John Mitchell’s
map in print, pulling enough impressions from the copper plates to keep
up with whatever demand for the map that there might have been, but
without making any further alterations to the plates. This is indicated
by a much smaller, folio-sized map of North America—A New and Accurate Map of the British Dominions in America, according to the Treaty of 1763;
Divided into the several Provinces and Jurisdictions—engraved by Kitchin
and published by Millar sometime in or after 1763. The imprint for this
map included the advertisement, “Where may be had on Eight Imperial
Sheets A Map of the British & French Dominions in Nth. America; with the
Roads, Directions, Limits, & Extent of the Settlements. Price 1 Guinea in
Sheets. 1£ 11s 6d on Canvas & Rollers.” Note the price for Mitchell’s map
had not been reduced.8
While it is impossible to say how many times, or when, the map was issued during this period of the map’s second printing, at least from the evidence of the engraved map alone, it is nonetheless possible to identify to a
distinct issue from a particular variation in coloring. A royal proclamation
in October 1763 set new bounds for the province of Canada. To the north
of the St. Lawrence River, these bounds comprised long straight lines
between key geographical features to form a distinctive lozenge-shaped
territory; these boundaries are evident in many maps (e.g., Calloway 2006,
115). I have encountered one impression of this variant of Mitchell’s map
in which this distinctive area is in outline color only, and undefined by engraved lines; the remainder of the map is in full wash color in accordance
with other boundaries defined in the same proclamation. The implication
is that this map was at least colored, if not printed, after 1763.9
Third Printing ([1774-1775])
Andrew Millar also died in 1768. It is uncertain what then happened to the
map’s eight printing plates, until William Faden eventually acquired them.
William Faden senior, a wealthy printer, had bought his then sixteen-yearold son a partnership with Thomas Jefferys in 1767 or 1768. (Jefferys had
bankrupted himself in November 1766 with an overly ambitious scheme
to make large-scale topographical surveys of several English counties and
desperately needed new capital.) On Jefferys’s death in 1771, Faden briefly
“The distaste shown by
Mitchell in the preface to the
Contest in America for party
politics manifested a common
rhetoric of public discourse in
eighteenth-century Britain; it
was part of the manner in which
writers could claim to be
disinterested, to be above the
fray of dirty politics, and to be
writing only in the interest of
the entire nation.”
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14 cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
continued to publish under Jefferys’ name. Starting in 1773, he worked
under the name of “Jefferys and Faden,” before he finally began to trade
under his own name in 1775 (Harley 1966, 47; Pedley 2000; Worms 2004b).
Faden published the third printing of Mitchell’s map under the imprint
of “Jefferys and Faden.” We can be sure, therefore, that all three states
within the printing appeared between 1773 and 1775. We can in fact be
more precise, because Faden (1774, 15) listed Mitchell’s map in a catalogue
in the following manner:
The British and French Dominions in North America, with the roads,
distances, limits and extent of their settlements, 8 sheets, 1755; scarce |
Mitchell
Unlike most other entries in the catalogue, Faden did not specify a price
for the map. Together with his description of the map as “scarce,” this
silence strongly suggests that he did not at this point own the printing
plates, nor had he sold any impressions of the map that might have come
his way. Rather, he only knew of the map. Indeed, the map had occasionally appeared after 1768 in the sales catalogues of London book dealers,
where they fetched consistently high prices:
The maps might not in fact have sold quickly: the dealers seem to have
offered for sale more copies of Henry Popple and Clement Lempriere’s
great 1733 map of North and Central America (in twenty sheets; see
Babinski 1998 and Edney 2008a) than they did copies of Mitchell’s map.
We might therefore conclude that Faden saw some continuing demand for
a high-priced, large wall map of North America. Sometime in 1774-1775,
therefore, he acquired the plates for Mitchell’s map, modified them by
abbreviating the existing imprint and adding his own imprint, and then
printed three new variants in short order.
The occasion for Faden’s republishing of the map would seem to have
been the passage of the Québec Act, 22 June 1774 (14 Geo. III c. 83). Martin
(1934) thought that a copy of the map could well have been used during
the parliamentary debate on the bill, a debate which turned repeatedly
to the issue of the large size granted to Canada and which even included
some detailed redefinition of particular boundaries (Anonymous 1806-20,
“We might conclude that Faden
saw some continuing demand
for a high-priced, large wall
map of North America.
Sometime in 1774-1775,
therefore, he acquired the plates
for Mitchell’s map, modified
them by abbreviating the
existing imprint and adding his
own imprint, and then printed
three new variants in short
order.”
“finely coloured,” and folded in £1/1 (Davies 1768, 3)
portable case
colored, “half-bound” (format e?) £0/12 (Payne 1768, 31;
Payne 1769a, 33;
Payne 1769b, 33)
on large paper, “neatly coloured” £0/15 (Payne 1768, 31;
Payne 1769a, 33;
Payne 1769b, 33)10
colored, pasted on cloth, and on £1/5 (Robson 1770, 13)
rollers
“finely coloured” £0/10/6 (Davies 1771, 2)
colored, on cloth, and in a case £0/12/6 (Todd 1776, 6)
colored £1/1 (White 1776, 8)
colored, on cloth, and on rollers £0/18 (Sotheran 1777, 8)
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Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives 15
17:1357-400 and 1402-07, esp. 1391-92). However, there is no reference to
the map in the surviving parliamentary record and we should not be as
certain as Brown (1959, 96) that the map was indeed consulted. The act’s
purpose was to reconfigure the government of Canada. At the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War, in 1763, the French recouped only their
North American colonies of Cape Breton and other islands in the Gulf of
St. Lawrence, and Britain kept France’s extensive continental colony of
Canada. The royal proclamation in October 1763 established preliminary
boundaries between Canada and the Atlantic colonies; those limits were
now finalized in 1774.
Faden’s alterations to Mitchell’s map included several changes in the
boundaries of the northern colonies that seem to reflect the Act, with
further changes being made in a sixth variant; the two variants manifested
different stages in a single process of reworking the boundaries on the
map. Perhaps the most important change in the map’s details at this time
featured the replacement of a straight boundary line running roughly
east-west to the north of Lake Ontario—labeled “Limits of Canada and the
Iroquois according to De L’Isle and other Geographers” and prominent on
the first two editions—with a boundary line passing through Lake Ontario
(Figure 4a). Several of the boundary lines delimiting territorial claims by
Figure 4a. Detail of the area of Lake Ontario and of political boundaries from first variant. Courtesy of the Geography and Map Division, Library of
Congress (G3300 1755 M5 Vault and G3300 1774 .M5 Vault). (see page 74 for color version)
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16 cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
both New York and New Jersey were also deleted. Faden was not, however, completely consistent in his alterations and corrections. The colony of
Massachusetts Bay had long claimed all the territory reaching up to the St.
Lawrence River, so Mitchell had depicted the New England/Nova Scotia
line accordingly, in order to bolster British territorial arguments before the
war; although the colony’s claim was negated by both the 1763 proclamation and the 1774 act, Faden did not update the map by engraving Canada’s newly affirmed boundary running to the south of the St. Lawrence.
The new boundaries established between New England, Nova Scotia,
and Canada were, however, properly delineated by the color applied to
the map. Faden seems to have imposed a standardized color scheme onto
the map, or at least onto those impressions that were sold colored. Referring to an impression of the sixth variant owned by John Jay that was used
in the Anglo-American treaty negotiations in Paris in 1782, the early nineteenth-century U.S. statesman Albert Gallatin described this color scheme
as follows: “Nova Scotia is designated by a red border, the ground not
being colored. New England is colored yellow, New York blue, &c., and
Canada green.” Gallatin further noted that the green for Canada reached
south past the Great Lakes all the way to the confluence of the Ohio and
Mississippi rivers (see Figure 4b), depicting Canada in accordance with its
Figure 4b. Detail of the area of Lake Ontario and of political boundaries from sixth variant. Courtesy of the Geography and Map Division, Library of
Congress (G3300 1755 M5 Vault and G3300 1774 .M5 Vault). (see page 75 for color version)
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Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives 17
boundaries as set by the Québec Act (Gallatin and Webster 1843, 20).11
Thereafter Faden brought out a seventh variant, marked solely by an
alteration to the map’s title. He re-engraved the line in the title reading
“British and French Dominions” to read just “British Colonies.” The new
title was thus, A Map of the British Colonies in North America. This change
clearly recognized that France no longer had a significant colonial presence in North America and so reflected the culmination of British assertions of imperial power in the continent, especially at a time of increasing
civil unrest within the British colonies. It is significant that the seventh
variant had no alterations to its geographical detail: the only change is
in the title. Moreover, impressions of this variant in original color adhere
to the same general color scheme as colored impressions of the fifth and
sixth variants (reproduced by Goss 1990, 130; Edney 1997). I should note
that I have yet to see sufficient copies of these later variants to be able to
say, with any confidence, whether the slight variations in color indicate
distinct issues of the map.12 Indeed, it is evident that Faden made this final
alteration in 1775, shortly after producing the fifth and sixth variants: in
his 1778 catalog, he identified the map as “A Map of the British Colonies
in North America . . . on 8 sheets, 1775, Mitchell” Stephenson (1972, 109-
13).
The overall implication is that these three variants of the map represent
small alterations made during the course of a single publication event,
which can be dated to between later 1774 and earlier 1775, before Faden
ceased publishing as “Jefferys and Faden.” If so, it makes sense to consider
all three variants as being produced to meet the growing interest of the
Britain public in North America because of the rising colonial unrest. We
can presume that Faden kept the map in print, as the American Revolution
developed, but we cannot presume that it was one of his best sellers.
John Mitchell’s map of North America was a large work. It was costly
to prepare and print, and it was made for those members of London’s
elites who were interested in geography and who could afford to spend a
guinea or more on it. It seems to have been in print only sporadically, and
then only when the London public turned its attention to the affairs of
North America. We cannot presume that it was kept in print continuously,
although an active second-hand market did make it available should
someone want such a map when it was out of print. We certainly must
cease to consider it as being solely of colonial interest, or as having its
principal meaning in a colonial context. The patterns of its production and
consumption strongly indicate that it is more profitably understood within
the context of the imperial conceptions held in Britain. It was part of
Europe’s ironic discourses of imperialism, in which Europeans discussed
and created concepts of their imperial territories with little actual regard
for those territories or their inhabitants (see Edney 2008b).
This essay accordingly suggests that some of the concepts underlying
traditional approaches to the history of cartography need to be extensively and actively rethought. In particular, we must organize our historical narratives and cartobibliographies around not the regions and places
mapped, but rather the contexts within which maps were made and used
(Edney 2008c). After all, the goal of the “new history of cartography”
championed by the late Brian Harley and David Woodward, among others, is to situate maps within their appropriate contexts of making and usage. In this way, we can be clear about colonial maps of colonies, imperial
maps of empires, and their contingent intersections. We can then see how
imperial-era maps were selectively appropriated to serve as nationalist
and anti-colonial icons. And we can see with precision how maps were
CONCLUSIONS
“John Mitchell’s map of North
America was a large work.
It was costly to prepare and
print, and it was made for those
members of London’s elites who
were interested in geography
and who could afford to spend a
guinea or more on it. It seems to
have been in print only
sporadically, and then only
when the London public turned
its attention to the affairs of
North America.”
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18 cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
deployed as tools of state authorities, or as instruments of resistance. Most
importantly, in this way, maps cease to be understood as reflections of the
societies and cultures that produced them, but can be clearly seen as contributing to the constitution of those societies and cultures.
Appendix: Cartobibliographical Information
Cartobibliographical analyses of Mitchell’s map have fallen into two
groups. First, Benjamin Franklin Stevens (ca. 1897) and then the Library
of Congress’s Lawrence Martin, working in the later 1920s (Martin 1927,
nos. 102-8; Martin and Egli 1929, nos. 92-99; Martin and Egli 1930, nos.
77-81; Martin 1933; Martin 1944), were both motivated by the use made of
the map at the Treaty of Paris and subsequent international and interstate
boundary negotiations and litigation. Second, Emerson Fite and Archibald
Freeman, who discussed the map on the occasion of both its first publication and the use of the final variant by British negotiators in Paris (Fite &
Freeman 1926, nos. 47 and 74), and the dealers Henry Stevens and Roland
Tree (1951) featured the map in their analyses of the progressive growth of
geographical knowledge about North America. Stevens and Tree’s work
rested on notes first made in the 1880s and their classification scheme had
probably been developed well before the 1920s.13 Unfortunately, these
schemes have not agreed on terminology or the precise identification of
variants according to the changes made to the printing plates. Martin’s
work is definitive and has been repeated in subsequent publications of the
Library of Congress (Stephenson 1972; Sellers and Van Ee 1981, nos. 37-
53). The schemas are related as follows:
The proliferation of terms that is evident here requires comment. These
uses of “edition,” “impression,” and “issue” do not follow the strict
terms developed by bibliographers; rather they rely more colloquially on
“edition” as a somehow separate thing; as this essay argues, this is inappropriate. “Impression” is also a problem in that it can mean both a set
of printed materials produced in an act of printing (as in bibliographical
usage) and the print/map produced by a single pull on a printing press
Mitchell B.F. Stevens Stevens & Tree Fite & Freeman Martin
Variant 1 [1st edition] collation A 1st edition 1st edition 1st edition
1st issue 1st impression
Variant 2 1st edition 1st edition
2nd issue 2nd impression
Variant 3 1st edition
3rd impression
Variant 4 2nd edition collation B 2nd edition 2nd edition
— 3rd edition14
Variant 5 collation C 2nd edition15 3rd edition
1st impression
Variant 6 collation D 4th edition 3rd edition
2nd impression
Variant 7 collation E 5th edition 2nd edition 4th edition
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Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives 19
(as in art historical usage); in a late essay, Tanselle (1982, 9-10) suggested
that we restrict “impression” to the second meaning and use “printing”
instead for the bibliographical set.
In a system advanced by Coolie Verner (1974), it has become common
to refer to versions of maps in terms of the “state” of the printing plate
and therefore of impressions pulled from that plate. But this terminology
is not easily applied to a multi-sheet map such as Mitchell’s. We would
have to make a matrix of the states of each plate, along the lines of:
States of each plate, 1 thru 8
variant 1 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1
variant 2 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2
variant 3 1 – 1 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 2
variant 4 1 – 1 – 3 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 2 – 3
variant 5 1 – 2 – 4 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 2 – 4
variant 6 1 – 3 – 5 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4
variant 7 1 – 3 – 5 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 5
Note that the values in this matrix are defined by the usual criteria
discussed about each variant of the map and are not based upon a detailed
search for each and every content change in the interior of the map, so I
cannot vouch for the accuracy of this table.
But drawing on Tanselle’s (1982) and Cook’s (1989) argument that we
can, and should, apply the concepts of bibliographers to maps, then it is
possible to describe in preliminary terms the several variants in terms of
the hierarchy of edition—printing—issue—state (see also Karrow 1985, 4;
Edney 2008c). All of the map’s variants constitute a single edition, because
they were all created from a single printing surface, or set of surfaces. It
is the French, Dutch, and Italian derivatives of Mitchell’s map (detailed
by Stephenson 1972) that formed distinct editions. According to the
information adduced in the body of this essay, the variants likely formed
three printings (the act of taking copies from a printing surface, or set of
surfaces)—variants 1-3 in 1755, variant 4 in ca.1757, and variants 5-7 in
1774-1775—defined by several states (marked by alterations to the printing surface[s]). It is probable that there were distinct issues within each
printing of the map (acts of publishing printed copies), but the evidence to
determine these remains unclear.
1st [i.e., English] Edition
1st Printing (1755)
1st State [variant 1]
[title] A Map of the | British and French Dominions in | North
America | with the | Roads, Distances, Limits, and Extent of the |
Settlements, | Humbly Inscribed to the Right Honourable | The Earl
of Halifax, | And the other Right Honourable | The Lords Commissioners for Trade & Plantations, | By their Lordships | Most Obliged, |
and very humble Servant | Jno
. Mitchell.
[inside bottom margin] Tho: Kitchin Sculp. Clerkenwell Green.
[outside bottom margin] Publish’d by the Author Febry. 13th. 1755 according to Act of Parliament, and Sold by And: Miller opposite Katherine Street in the Strand.
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20 cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
2nd State [variant 2]
[title: as 1st state]
[inside bottom margin: as 1st state]
[outside bottom margin] Publish’d by the Author Febry. 13th. 1755 according to Act of Parliament, and Sold by And: Millar opposite Katharine Street in the Strand.
3rd State [variant 3]
[title: as 1st state]
[inside bottom margin: as 1st state]
[outside bottom margin: as 2nd state]
One minor change of content: one of the two towns labeled Leicester in
Massachusetts Bay is now properly labeled as Worcester.
2nd Printing ([1757])
1st (and only) State [variant 4]
[title: as 1st printing, 1st state]
[inside bottom margin: as 1st printing, 1st state]
[outside bottom margin: as 1st printing, 2nd state]
Significant changes to sheet 7, with the addition of two large text
blocks in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, in the seventh sheet. (The
two scale bars in the Atlantic on the first edition were re-engraved — as
four bars — above the cartouche on sheet 8.) Observations of magnetic
variations are added along the Atlantic coast, labeled with Roman
numerals. Finally, Mitchell redrew the northeastern coast because he
redefined the positions of two key headlands: Cape Race was shifted in
latitude from 46°55’ to 46°35’; Cape Sable was shifted in longitude from
66°35’ to 65°35’. A Maine-related detail: “Sagadahook” was respelled
“Sagadahock.”
3rd Printing (1774-1775)
1st State [variant 5]
[title: as 1st printing, 1st state]
[inside bottom margin 1] Tho: Kitchen Sculp.
[inside bottom margin 2] Printed for Jefferys and Faden Geographers
to the King at the Corner of St. Martins Lane Charing Cross London
[outside bottom margin] Publish’d by the Author Febry 13th 1755 according to Act of Parliament
There are also some changes in the content in the interior around the
Great Lakes, with some boundaries being altered and new place-names
added.
2nd State [variant 6]
[title: as 1st printing, 1st state]
[inside bottom margin 1: as 3rd printing, 1st state]
[inside bottom margin 2: as 3rd printing, 1st state]
[outside bottom margin: as 3rd printing, 1st state]
Numerous content changes include the deletion from sheet 3 of the
straight line labeled as the boundary between Canada and the Iroquois
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Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives 21
(running roughly east-west, north of Lake Ontario) and the addition of
a straight-line boundary through Lake Ontario.
3rd State [variant 7]
[title] A Map of the | British Colonies in | North America | with the
| Roads, Distances, Limits, and Extent of the | Settlements, | Humbly Inscribed to the Right Honourable | The Earl of Halifax, | And
the other Right Honourable | The Lords Commissioners for Trade &
Plantations, | By their Lordships | Most Obliged, | and very humble
Servant | Jno
. Mitchell.
[inside bottom margin 1: as 3rd printing, 1st state]
[inside bottom margin 2: as 3rd printing, 1st state]
[outside bottom margin] as 3rd printing, 1st state]
Matthew Edney is Osher Professor in the History of Cartography, University of Southern Maine, and Director, History of Cartography Project,
University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is thankful to Joel Kovarsky for
useful comments on an early draft. Portions of this essay were originally
presented in his “The Mitchell Map: An Irony of Empire,” http://www.
usm.maine.edu/maps/mitchell, created April 1997; an earlier version of
this essay appeared in Varia História 32 (June 2007), published by the Department of History, Universidad Federale Minas Gerais, Brazil.
1. See Stevens’ correspondence preserved in “Collected Copies of Correspondence and Other Memoranda Relating to Col. Lawrence Martin’s
Studies of the Mitchell Maps, ca.1925-35,” National Archives Records Administration, Record Group 76, Records Relating to International Boundaries, Cartographic Series 28. On Stevens’ historical interests and manuscript
collecting, see Griffin (1946).
2. High-resolution scans of the seven British variants of Mitchell’s map are
freely available at the Library of Congress’s “American Memory Network” «memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/gmdhome.html». Browse in
the “Creator Index” for “Mitchell, John, 1711-1768.” Reference should be
made to this resource to consult particular details of the map.
3. One pound sterling (£ or l) contained twenty shillings (s), each shilling
containing 12 pennies (d); £1/11/6 therefore indicates one pound, eleven
shillings, and six pennies. The guinea was the gold coin then in circulation
in Britain, valued at one pound, one shilling (or £1/1).
4. E.g., the sheets of U.S. National Archives, Record Group 76, Cartographic Series 27, Map 3 (Goggin 1968, no. 18), were dissected into twenty
sections and mounted separately; small leather tags on the back of the
sheets indicate that they were once all folded and placed into a small case,
the tags being used to pull out particular sheets from the tight mass.
5. The three copies of the map in George III’s collections — British Library
K.Top.118.49.a–c — are all assembled, as if for hanging on walls, but they
were probably stored as rolls: ‘a’ shows extensive creasing and damage
(now repaired) suggesting that it had once been squashed when kept
rolled up; ‘b’ was actually assembled from sheets that were originally dissected into quarters and well-used in that format before eventually being
assembled for the king; ‘c’ was assembled from sheets that had originally
been separately bound into an atlas.
AUTHOR’S NOTE AND
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
NOTES
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22 cartographic perspectives Number 58, Fall 2007
6. Full-colour maps examined are Colonial Williamsburg (variant 3), as
reproduced by Pritchard (2002, 169); Library of Congress G3300 1755 .M51
Vault Shelf (variant 2); British Library maps K.Top.118.49.a (variant 3),
reproduced by Goss (1990, 130), which was overlain c.1774 by some other
colour patches; Newberry Library Ayer *133 M66 1755 (variant 3); and
Bibliothèque Nationale Française Ge DD 2987 (variant 3). Outline-colour
maps examined are British Library maps C.27.f.9 and K.Top.118.49.c (both
variant 1); New York Historical Society X3.3.30 (map 9508) (variant 1)
and L4.4.18 (map 8616) (variant 3); and Library of Congress G3300 1755
.M5 Vault Shelf (variant 1) and G3300 1755 .M53 Vault (variant 3). There
remains the possibility that color was applied by a later hand, as in the impression of variant 1 held by the Hungarian National Library, which was
given outline color in a quite inappropriate, vibrant blue-green.
7. Carman (1939, xxxix-lxi) refuted Carrier’s (1918) argument that Mitchell
had himself written this anonymous work.
8. The particular impression examined — British Library maps CC.5.a.242
— is marked up as an index to the larger Mitchell map.
9. Ayer *133 M66 1755, Newberry Library, Chicago.
10. It should be noted, however, that Payne (1768, 1769a, and 1769b) advertised the same two impressions of Mitchell’s map; a third impression
listed by Payne (1768, 31) did not reappear in the later catalogues.
11. This map is New York Historical Society M32.2.1a (map 11051). The
same coloring is found on an impression of the sixth variant in the U.S.
National Archives Record Group 76, Cartographic Series 27, Map 3 (Goggin 1968, no. 18).
12. I have examined the following copies. Variant 5: BL maps CC.5.a.270
(full color, w/ 1763 and 1774 boundaries for Québec); LC G3300 1773
.M5 Vault (outline). Variant 6: New York Historical Society M32.2.1a
(map 11051) and LC G3300 1774 .M5 Vault (both full color, with only
1774 boundaries). Variant 7: BL maps C.11.b.17 (outline color); BL maps
K.Top.118.49.b (full color, with more color applied later, showing 1765 and
1774 boundaries, but the 1765 could have been added later); LC G3300
1775 .M5 Vault (late color); and Osher Map Library OS-1755-1 (full color,
1774 boundary only, but this might have been applied late).
13. Stevens and Tree’s classification had certainly been worked out by
1930, when a catalogue (Henry Stevens, Son & Stiles, ca. 1930, no. 310) listed a putative “third edition” of the map, and probably had been worked
out by Henry Stevens’s grandfather and father, both prominent antiquarian dealers in their own right. Note also that Stevens and Tree (1951) paid
attention only to map titles, imprints, and gross geographical changes and
so did not notice variant 3.
14. Stevens and Tree (1951, no. 54) specified the existence of a “third edition” with the imprint “Publish’d by the Author, Feb. 13th, 1755. Printed
by Jefferys and Faden, St. Martin’s Lane, Charing Cross, London.” Yet this
imprint lacked the copyright formula (“according to Act of Parliament”)
found on all other variants of the map. Significantly, Stevens and Tree did
not record variant 5; conversely, neither B. F. Stevens nor Lawrence Martin
recorded Stevens and Tree’s “third edition.” That is, I am unconvinced
CP58_edney.indd 22 12/21/2007 8:57:26 AM
Number 58, Fall 2007 cartographic perspectives 23
that such a state ever existed; I suggest instead that it was the result of an
incorrect transcription of variant 5. Stevens and Tree’s mistake has been recently repeated by McCorkle (2001, no. 755.31), who further confused the
“third edition” with variant 4.
15. Fite and Freeman (1926, 182 and 290-91) were rather confused as to
the meaning of “second edition” when they variously noted that it was
marked by the change in imprint to Jefferys and Faden but also by the
retitling of the map.
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America. Garwood, N.J.: Krinder Peak Publishing.
Berkeley, E. and Berkeley, D.S., 1974. Dr. John Mitchell: The Man Who Made
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Botein, S. 1983., The Anglo-American Book Trade before 1776: Personnel
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Antiquarian Society.
Brown, E., Phelps, H. and Hopkins, S.V. 1955. Seven Centuries of Building
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Brown, L.A., 1959. Early Maps of the Ohio Valley: A Selection of Maps, Plans,
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Carmen, H.J. (Ed.) 1939. American Husbandry. New York: Columbia University Press.
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Crone, G.R., 1949. John Green: Notes on a Neglected Eighteenth Century
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