Gentleman's Magazine: The British Governments in Nth America Laid down agreeable to the Proclamation of Octr. 7, 1763 [Large Bermuda Inset]

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48702.jpg

Gentleman's Magazine: The British Governments in Nth America Laid down agreeable to the Proclamation of Octr. 7, 1763 [Large Bermuda Inset]

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Date: Initially published in 1763

Condition:  

Description: British North America as it appeared following the Treaty of Paris (which in 1763 ended the Seven Years’ War between England and France), accompanied by a prominent inset of “Bermuda or Summer Islands.”

Map taken from: Gentleman’s Magazine

Cartographer: inset of Bermuda: John Gibson (d.1792)

This rare and unique depiction of British North America as it appeared following the Treaty of Paris (which in 1763 ended the Seven Years’ War between England and France), accompanied by a prominent inset of “Bermuda or Summer Islands,” was initially published in the December 1763 issue of Gentleman’s Magazine, the first periodical in the English-speaking world to use the term ‘magazine’ in a self-descriptive fashion, and the first to provide monthly news and commentary on topics of general interest to the educated public. Published continuously for nearly two centuries following its founding in 1731 by the pioneering London publisher Edward Cave, Gentleman’s Magazine frequently enlisted contributions from London’s finest writers of that era, including Samuel Johnson and Jonathan Swift. The magazine helped to initiate the use of maps as visual aids for articles, employing them to delineate wartime battle lines, chronicle long voyages, and provide pertinent information about areas with which Britain’s economic interests coincided. Several of England’s leading cartographers were associated with the publication, including Thomas Jefferys — the official geographer to King George lll and arguably the most important British map-maker of his day.

The map’s continental component documents those territories formally ceded to Britain as part of the Treaty of Paris — most significantly Quebec and Florida — and freezes in time geographical allocations designed to maintain an uneasy truce, including a wide swath of land west of the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountains to be set aside for the Native Americans (several tribes of which are named on the map), as well as claims by the French to a vast portion of the continent's interior, a blueprint whose historical trajectory was upended by the imminent American Revolution. Of added interest is the map’s detailed archipelagic treatment of the islands off Florida’s coast, as well as the demarcation line west of Lake Superior showing the limits of the Hudson's Bay Company’s dominion.

The positioning of Bermuda as a key element in the map’s overall composition may be a reflection of the island’s growing strategic value at that time to the British government, which several decades hence would utilize the island’s location and harbors to such consequential effect in the War of 1812. The map’s large inset of Bermuda was engraved by the highly-skilled 18th century cartographer John Gibson, whose contemporaneous achievements included the widely-distributed Atlas Minimus (1758) and the extremely rare Map of the Chief Roads in England (1765).

Contemporary academic references cited relating to this map:

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