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1871 Colton Map of the Canadian Maritimes

Colton's New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Id. - Main View

1871 Colton Map of the Canadian Maritimes


Proof State of a Separate Issue Rarity.


Colton's New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Id.
  1871 (dated)     14.5 x 16 in (36.83 x 40.64 cm)     1 : 3400000


This is a proof state of Colton's 1871 rare, separately-issued, map of Canada's maritime provinces. The map covers the Maritime Provinces of British Canada: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island. It was produced on behalf of the United States' Government Printing Office to accompany the privately-circulated Confidential Memorandum For The Use of The Commissioners on the Part of the United States in the American-British Joint High Commission, Washington, 1871. The Memorandum and the maps therein were intended for the use of the United States' negotiators with those of Britain in the formulation of what would be the 1871 Treaty of Washington, and the map was not included in any of Colton's atlases. The present example, moreover was not meant for publication at all, but was an in-house document providing fair copy of the map's legend and accompanying text for the typesetter.
The Joint High Commission
In January 1871, the British government sent Sir John Rose to negotiate the Northwestern boundary dispute with President Ulysses S. Grant's administration. Secretary of State Hamilton Fish received this advance and, on January 26, the British proposed the appointment of a joint high commission to meet in Washington to resolve the dispute. The United States agreed, and at this point the president appointed commissioners. The commission met promptly, and on May 8 concluded the Treaty of Washington. The treaty settled claims stemming from British support of the Confederacy during the American Civil War and made provision for appointment of a further commission to meet at Halifax in order to settle differences with regard to the northeastern fisheries of the British Dominions in Canada.
The Confidential Memorandum
In order to prepare the American negotiators, a set of instructions was published - certainly no sooner than early February (it includes correspondence dated February 3). The memorandum contained two maps: one to support the discussion of the Northwest Water Boundary, and the other to support the Maritime Fisheries negotiations. The text of the Memorandum included a detailed diplomatic history with respect to the fisheries, referencing at length The London Convention of 1818, a treaty which had governed British-American fishing rights in the Maritimes, and which were the agreements at the center of the current fishing disputes between the two nations.
Colton Supplies a Map
In order to procure a map for the Memorandum, the Government Printing Office reached out to New York map publisher Colton. The firm had, since 1855, been publishing a map of the region, and had made various updates to it. The 1855 version, however, was a general map meant to illustrate national and regional boundaries. What the memorandum required was a map that highlighted the relevant areas to the 1818 treaty, and furthermore would allow keying those areas to the text of the Memorandum. This called for a different color scheme than was typically used on Colton's maps, and it called for the addition of typeset text including relevant paraphrases from the 1818 treaty and a legend for the map.

The present example provides a rare glimpse into the production process of the Colton firm. The map is updated from the 1855 to include newer railways, more detail in its extreme west and east portions, and employs a different border than the firm typically used in its atlases. It exhibits hand color in various tones highlighting the relevant coastlines to the negotiations. The bottom margin contains a neat manuscript synopsis of the 1818 agreement and tying it to the map.
The American fishermen have the right to take fish of every kind on the coasts colored [blue] [pink] [green]. They have also the right to dry and cure fish in the unsettled bays harbors and creeks of the coast colored thus [blue]. It is claimed that the French fishermen have also the right to take fish on the coast colored thus [pink; the result of an earlier agreement between France and Britain]. The United States have renounced the liberty to take, dry or cure fish within three marine miles of the coasts, bays, creeks or harbors of the British Dominions in America not included in the above limits; but the privilege is reserved to American fishermen to enter such bays or harbors for the purpose of shelter and repairing damages there, of purchasing wood and of obtaining water, and for no other purpose whatever, under such restrictions as may be necessary to prevent them from taking, drying or curing fish therein, or in any other manner whatever abusing the privileges reserved them.
This exact text would be reproduced (albeit in two columns, rather than the one large one here) on the map finalized for the printed Memorandum.
Historical Context
The issue of fishing rights in the Gulf of St. Lawrence was one of several lingering problems between the U.S. and Great Britain in the wake of the American Civil War (1861 - 1865), along with boundary disputes in the Pacific Northwest, the Fenian raids, launched by Irish nationalists based in the U.S. against British troops in Canada, and the 'Alabama question,' relating to the U.S. government seeking compensation for damages done to the Union Navy by Confederate raiding ships built in Britain. Despite the intensity of disagreements, both governments were eager for a compromise and agreed to the Treaty of Washington in early 1871. In addition to settling the fisheries and Northwest Boundary question, the treaty also established an international tribunal for resolving the Alabama claims. Both the treaty and the tribunal were milestones in international diplomacy still studied as models for peaceful arbitration.
Publication History and Census
This map was first published by J.H. Colton in 1855. The original plate was updated for the purpose of the Confidential Memorandum as early as February 1871. The present example is a proof state of the 1871 memorandum map, with the text of the final version provided in fair copy in the bottom margin for the benefit either of Colton's own printer, or for the Government Printing Office in typesetting the final version. That final version would see reprint in 1874 withinPapers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, Part 2, Volume 3 (Government Printing Office, 1874). We see eight copies of the original memorandum listed in institutional collections, and only three copies of the individual map. The date 1871 appearing on this proof state may be stamped: it does not appear on any of the published 1871/1874 examples of the map that we have found.


Joseph Hutchins Colton (July 5, 1800 - July 29, 1893), often publishing as J. H. Colton, was an important American map and atlas publisher active from 1833 to 1897. Colton's firm arose from humble beginnings when he moved to New York in 1831 and befriended the established engraver Samuel Stiles. He worked under Stiles as the 'Co.' in Stiles and Co. from 1833 to 1836. Colton quickly recognized an emerging market in railroad maps and immigrant guides. Not a cartographer or engraver himself, Colton's initial business practice mostly involved purchasing the copyrights of other cartographers, most notably David H. Burr, and reissuing them with updated engraving and border work. His first maps, produced in 1833, were based on earlier Burr maps and depicted New York State and New York City. Between 1833 and 1855 Colton would proceed to publish a large corpus of guidebooks and railroad maps which proved popular. In the early 1850s Colton brought his two sons, George Woolworth Colton (1827 - 1901) and Charles B. Colton (1832 - 1916), into the map business. G. W. Colton, trained as a cartographer and engraver, was particularly inspired by the idea of creating a large and detailed world atlas to compete established European firms for the U.S. market. In 1855, G.W. Colton issued volume one the impressive two volume Colton's Atlas of the World. Volume two followed a year later. Possibly because of the expense of purchasing a two-volume atlas set, the sales of the Atlas of the World did not meet Colton's expectations and so, in 1856, the firm also issued the atlas as a single volume. The maps contained in this superb work were all original engravings and most bear an 1855 copyright. All of the maps were surrounded by an attractive spiral motif border that would become a hallmark of Colton's atlas maps well into the 1880s. In 1857, the slightly smaller Colton's General Atlas replaced the Atlas of the World, which lacked the border. Most early editions of the General Atlas published from 1857 to 1859 do not have the trademark Colton spiral border, which was removed to allow the maps to fit into a smaller format volume. Their customers must have missed the border because it was reinstated in 1860 and remained in all subsequent publications of the atlas. There were also darker times ahead, in 1858 Colton was commissioned at sum of 25,000 USD by the government of Bolivia to produce and deliver 10,000 copies a large format map of that country. Although Colton completed the contract in good faith, delivering the maps at his own expense, he was never paid by Bolivia, which was at the time in the midst of a series national revolutions. Colton would spend the remainder of his days fighting with the Bolivian and Peruvian governments over this payment and in the end, after a congressional intervention, received as much as 100,000 USD in compensation. Nonetheless, at the time it must have been a disastrous blow. J. H. Colton and Company is listed as one of New York's failed companies in the postal record of 1859. It must have been this that led Colton into the arms of Alvin Jewett Johnson and Ross C. Browning. The 1859 edition of Colton's General Atlas lists Johnson and Browning as the 'Successor's to J. H. Colton' suggesting an outright buyout, but given that both companies continued to publish separately, the reality is likely more complex. Whatever the case may have been, this arrangement gave Johnson and Browning access to many of Colton's map plates and gave birth to Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas. The Johnson's Atlas was published parallel to Colton's atlas well in to the 1880s. The Colton firm itself subsequently published several other atlases including an Atlas of America, the Illustrated Cabinet Atlas, the Octavo Atlas of the Union, and Colton's Quarto Atlas of the World. They also published a large corpus of wall maps, pocket maps, and guides. The last known publications of the Colton firm date to 1897 and include a map and a view, both issued in association with the Merchant's Association of New York. Alice M. Colton married August R. Ohman (May 3, 1859 - April 22, 1934) on January 5, 1897. In 1898, Ohman joined the Colton firm, which continued to publish as Colton, Ohman & Co. until 1901. Learn More...


Good. Closed tear extending five-and-one-half (5.5) inches into printed area from left border repaired on verso. Closed tear extending two-and-one-quarter (2.25) inches into printed area from bottom border repaired on verso. Manuscript notations below bottom border.


cf OCLC 1088672477.