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An Extremely Rare, Irish Edition
Of the Iconic "Beaver Map"
English North American Colonies/ Postal History/ Irish Printing.
MOLL, Herman/ GRIERSON, George [Dublin, 1715/ 1735]
A New and Exact Map of the Dominions of the King of Great Britain on ye Continent of North America. ... By Herman Moll Geographer… .
39 5/8 x 23 1/2 inches
[Second title:] A New and Correct Map of his Majesties Dominions In North America by H: Moll Is most Humbly Dedicated to Luke Gardiner Esqr… by His Most obedient Servant G: Grierson.
Original outline color; mounted on linen at an early date, printer's crease at lower right, a few stains & some soiling, still overall very good condition with a very strong impression.
An extremely rare, separately published, Dublin edition of one of the most famous maps of colonial America, and one of only a few acquirable early maps of America published in Ireland. Moll's map was here entirely re-engraved by Grierson, who added a new cartouche and title to the left of the beaver vignette as well as the imprint below the mileage scale. We have found only one record of a previous sale of this map, and OCLC lists no examples in institutional collections. Another indication of the map's great rarity is that neither Tooley's dictionary nor Worms/ Baynton-Williams, British Map Engravers, both of which contain lengthy accounts of Grierson, cite this map.
The map includes the well-known beaver vignette of zoologically incorrect creatures engineering a dam with the Niagara Falls in the background. It is a charming homage to an animal whose pelt was a cornerstone of the colonial economy. Moll's maps "were published as pictorial counterclaims to offset earlier maps by Delisle (with claims favorable to France)” (Schwartz). In fact, Moll was perhaps the most aggressive proponent of English territorial claims in North America in cartographic form. No where is this more evident than in the Northeast on this map where all of Nova Scotia and the Canadian maritime region up to the southern bank of the St. Lawrence River are claimed for England.
George Grierson (1680?-1753) was born in Scotland but worked with great success in Dublin for virtually his entire career from 1704 onward. He published numerous books of English origin, including several atlases and books illustrated with maps. While Grierson's works are usually referred to as piracies in map literature, he was anointed with the official title of Printer to the King in Ireland in 1735, obtained through Lord Carteret, then Lord-Lieutenant. If a pirate, Grierson was an ambitious one, as exemplified by this edition of the Moll Beaver map, a complex work that was entirely re-engraved. Also, eight apprentices were known to have worked under him and he was married three times. His widow and his two sons briefly continued his business after his death.
"This beautifully designed map, with its insets, gives a great deal of information about the Carolina region" (Cumming), including the names of original settlers and settlements. One inset map contains a plan of Charleston with a key containing 20 locations, while another in the lower left shows Georgia and notes the populations of various Indian tribes and settlements.
This map was the earliest to show and describe the postal system of the English colonies. The map itself delineates the Post Road, while a lengthy note at upper right describes both the various routes of the system as well as its schedule of delivery.
Schwartz/Ehrenberg, p.135, pl.78; Cumming, Southeast no.158; Tooley, Mapping of America, no.55 d, p.88; cf. Worms/ Baynton-Williams British Map Engravers, pp. 283-4; cf. Tooley's Dictionary E-J, p. 218; E. Dahl "The Original Beaver Map," The Map Collector, no. 29.
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