1843 Mitchell Map of U.S.-Canada Border Region

Mr. Jay's map : extract from a map of the British and French dominions in North America. - Main View

1843 Mitchell Map of U.S.-Canada Border Region


Border dispute in the Great North Woods.


Mr. Jay's map : extract from a map of the British and French dominions in North America.
  1843 (dated)     13.25 x 12.75 in (33.655 x 32.385 cm)     1 : 2050000


An 1843 map of the U.S.-Canada border region, including portions the states and provinces of Maine, New Hampshire, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, as it appeared one century prior. This map is a reissue of a portion of a 1755 map by John Mitchell which played an important role in settling the boundary between the American Republic and British North America (Canada) in the late 19th century. It was republished in the aftermath of the 'Aroostook War,' an Anglo-American diplomatic dispute between 1838 and 1842 over the same boundary, appearing in Albert Gallatin's A Memoir on the North-Eastern Boundary, in Connection with Mr. Jay's Map.
A Closer Look
Hand-colored outlines mark the borders of Quebec, Nova Scotia, and the New England colonies, largely consistent with the present-day borders. Another proposed border settlement noted as 'Mr. Oswald's Line' is traced in brown. Mountains, rivers, lakes, islands, forts, towns, and a coastal road are noted, as are territories (including the 'Province of Sagadahock') and Native American tribes.

This map reflects an early attempt to clearly demarcate the border between British and French colonies in North America, albeit on terms favorable to the British. It was originally produced in 1755 by John Mitchell, as Anglo-French tensions mounted across the world, culminating in the Seven Years' War, one theater of which was North America. Mitchell originally prepared the map a decade before, but delays, including his being captured by French ships on his return voyage to England, held publication. In any event, Mitchell's detailed cartographic work allowed the British to make a strong case for a border demarcation favorable to them vis-à-vis the French, though it would soon be a moot point as Quebec was transferred to the British at the end of the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763).

Mitchell's map was given renewed importance during the treaty negotiations at the end of the American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783) and the subsequent Jay Treaty normalizing relations between the U.S. and Britain (it is referred to here as 'Mr. Jay's Map' after top U.S. diplomat John Jay). Two Anglo-American commissions in the late 18th and early 19th century failed to firmly demarcate the border, and the creation of the state of Maine in 1820 added new urgency to resolving the dispute.
The Aroostook War, 1838 - 1839
The disputed territory of 13,000 square miles were problematic primarily due to disagreements over logging rights. Tensions increased to the point that threats and violence broke out in 1838-1839. Still, this war (also known as the Pork and Beans War), between British colonies in Canada and American forces in the state of Maine, really should be called an international incident. Though there were injuries, no one was killed and there was never a significant engagement between the two sides. The treaty ending the 'war' (signed by U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster and British diplomat Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton, in August 1842) gave the United States over half of the disputed territory. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty finally settled the border between the United States and British Canada.
Publication History and Census
Though the original 1755 John Mitchell map was engraved, this is a lithographic print of a portion of the map undertaken by Endicott and Co. in New York. It appeared in A Memoir on the North-Eastern Boundary, in Connection with Mr. Jay's Map (OCLC 562170825), published by Albert Gallatin and the New York Historical Society. This edition of the map is held by roughly ten institutions in the United States and is scarce to the market.


John Mitchell (April 13, 1711 – February 29, 1768) was and British-American mapmaker of great significance. He is known for one and only one map, the 'Mitchell Map', considered the most important map in 18th century American history. Mitchell was born in Lancaster County, Virginia, the son of a prosperous planter and merchant. Like many of his social peers, he was educated in Europe, at Scotland at Edinburgh University, where he studied medicine. Mitchell practiced medicine in Virginia for a short time prior to the French and Indian War. He was elected to the original American Philosophical Society in 1744. In 1745 Mitchell argued that a series of epidemics occurring in Virginia were due to unsanitary troop ships from Britain - at the time a revolutionary idea. He relocated to London in 1746 - presumably for the agreeable climate. Mitchell never practiced medicine in London, but was known to be an avid botanist, and was considered an exotic plant expert in London society circles. He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society in November 1748, his candidature citation describing him as

A Gentleman of great merit and Learning, who Some time Since communicated to the Royal Society a very curious dissertation concerning the Colour of the skin in Negroes, and who from his long residence in Virginea, and from his great application to the Study of Natural history, especially Botany, is very well acquainted with the vegetable productions of North America, being desirous of being admitted a fellow of the Royal Society, is recommended by us from our personal knowledge of him as highly deserving the Honour he desires, as we believe he will be (if chosen) a usefull and valuable member of our Body.
As an educated American adopted into British high society, Mitchell became the de facto expert on all matters North American. In 1749, during a time of ever-increasing political tensions between British and French interests in America, Lord Halifax contracted Mitchell to produce a large and detailed map of British and French dominions in America. While embracing the most advanced geographical data, Mitchell also advocated pro-British interpretation of political boundaries. The resulting map was thus geographically unimpeachable and reframed the cartographic perspective from French to British terms. The map proved significant and was used in most subsequent treaties. Michell issued 3 editions in his lifetime. He died in London in 1768. More by this mapmaker...

Endicott and Company (fl. c. 1828 - 1891) was a New York based family run lithography firm that flourished throughout the 19th century. The firm was founded by George and William Endicott, brothers who were born in Canton, Massachusetts. George Endicott (June 14, 1802 - 1848) trained as a lithographer under Pendleton Lithography from January 1826. He later worked as superintendent of Senefelder Company until the summer of 1828. Afterwards, in 1830, he relocated to Baltimore and partnered with Moses Swett. Endicott and Swett relocated to New York City in December 1831. They remained partners until July 1834 when the relationship dissolved. George set up shop on his own account at 359 Broadway. William Endicott (1815 - 1851), George's younger brother of 14 years, joined the firm in 1840 and was made a partner in 1845, after which the name of the firm was changed to G. and W. Endicott. George Endicott died shortly afterward, in 1848, but William continued operating the firm as William Endicott and Co. until his own 1851 death at just 35 years old. The firm was carried on by his widow Sara Munroe Endicott until it was taken over by her son, Francis Endicott, who ran the firm from 1852 to 1886. George Endicott, Jr. subsequently ran the firm from 1887 to 1891. Peters, in his important work on American lithography America on Stone writes 'it is hard to summarize the Endicotts. They did everything and did it well . . . [they] worked with and for Currier and Ives, yet in spite of all that much of their work lacks real individuality.' The Endicott firm was responsible for many 19th century views and plans of New York City and state as well as plans of Sacramento, California, and the Midwest. Learn More...


Gallatin, A., A Memoir on the North-Eastern Boundary, in Connection with Mr Jay's Map, (New York: New York Historical Society) 1843.    


Very good. Fairly even toning. Some creasing in the right margin. Other sporadic minor imperfections.


OCLC 26164165, 24295114.