The Anti Gallicans Map of North America

A Society of Anti-Gallicans, A NEW AND ACCURATE MAP OF THE ENGLISH EMPIRE IN NORTH AMERICA : Representing their Rightful Claim as confirm’d by Charters, and the formal Surrender of their INDIAN FRIENDS ; Likewise the Encroachments of the FRENCH, with the several Forts they have unjustly erected therein. London: William Herbert & Robert Sayer, Dec. 1755.
Engraving, 17”h x 20”w at neatline plus title and margins, original outline and wash color.

An iconic propaganda map, the 1755 Anti Gallicans Map is the most extreme cartographic statement of British imperial claims in North America at the outset of the French and Indian War.

The Society or Order of Anti Gallicans was organized in 1745 or -46 in response to the renewed hostilities with France, known now as King George’s War. Officially its aims were patriotic, though they were more likely economic in nature and concerned with slowing or preventing the flow of French goods into England. The Order appointed distinguished presidents, including Lord Carpenter and Sir Edward Vernon, held regular meetings, and outfitted at least one privateer charged with harrying the French at sea. In addition to the famed Anti Gallicans Map offered here, the Society published patriotic songs, anti-French prints, and at least one novel (The Anti-Gallican, or the History and Adventures of Sir Henry Cobham (1757).

The Anti Gallicans issued their remarkable map was published in December 1755. It had been a dreadful year for British arms in North America, the nadir coming with the catastrophic defeat of General Braddock’s expedition against Fort Duquesne. Despite the dismal state of affairs, the map presents an extremely aggressive interpretation of British territorial claims on the continent, along with evidence of illicit French “encroachments” on those claims.

The map’s cartography follows closely that of John Mitchell’s Map of the British and French Dominions in North America, issued earlier in 1755, but the political geography is far more aggressively pro-British. The map does follow Mitchell in extending the boundaries of Virginia and North Carolina west of the Mississippi, presumably to the Pacific Coast, but it also gives a similar treatment to those of New York, South Carolina and Georgia, and even the territory of the Hudson Bay Company. French claims, by contrast, are left uncolored and confined to a small, un-named portion of Quebec and a few islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The map also identifies strategic English forts on the Ohio, Wabash, Connecticut and Illinois Rivers, with others in the Lake Champlain-Lake George region and Georgia. It also pinpoints a number of French forts—the “encroachments” referred to in the title–including those at the Falls of St. Anthony, Green Bay and Lake Huron and others along the Mississippi River. An inset map at lower right extends the coverage north to Labrador and New South Wales and south to take in the Caribbean and much of Central America.

Per the title, the map’s territorial claims are grounded in the charters granted to the various British colonies, as well as a very aggressive interpretation of treaties with various native American nations, in particular the Iroquois. On this interpretation, the treaties constituted the “surrender,” not only of those nations but also those allied with or subject to them. Hence, for example, the treatment of New York’s territory as extending well north of the Great Lakes, based on treaties made with the Iroquois.

The present example reflects the second state of the map, adding long annotations explaining the color scheme, both above and to the left of the inset map. Examples of both states are known with pasted-on panels at left and right with an extension of the insert map and other insets of French forts and fortresses at Lake Champlain, Quebec, Louisbourg and elsewhere.

The map is rare on the market: The Antique Map Price Record lists but two examples, offered in 1993 and 2011. Rare Book Hub adds the Siebert sale copy in 1999, another sold by Sothebys in 1989, and the Streeter copy. All appear to have had the added side panels.

In all, a rare and fascinating propaganda map from the contest for empire in North America.

Rarity and references
Phillips, List of Maps of America, p. 575. Schwartz, French and Indian War, fig. 43.Sellers & Van Ee, Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, #62. Streeter sale, vol. 2 #822.


Folds flattened and some minor soiling and discoloration, but better than very good