Society of Anti-Gallicans, A New and Accurate Map of the English Empire in North America

15/Oct/14 / 17:59 / admin

The early 1750s were marked by increasingly fierce competition between England and France for control of North American territory and commerce, especially the lucrative fur trading and fishing. Both countries issued proclamations, pamphlets, and maps in support of their conflicting claims, each accusing the other of illegal “encroachments.” The French vigorously asserted their sovereignty over the entire watersheds of the St. Lawrence and Mississippi Rivers, including the Great Lakes and Ohio River valley. The British grudgingly conceded only the Canadian regions north of the St. Lawrence River from the Ottawa River (“R. Outaouais”) to the Bustard River (“R. Bustard”), the islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a narrow strip of the northern coast of Newfoundland, and lands immediately adjacent to French settlements. These areas, described as “French Possessions and Encroachments,” are left uncolored on the map. Tensions steadily mounted until 1755, when the “map wars” gave way to bloody armed conflict: The French and Indian War. This map, made after the onset of hostilities, is perhaps the most blatant of the British propaganda maps. The issuers, a “Society of Anti-Gallicans,” make no pretense of impartiality, and present an aggressive and overtly partisan statement of British territorial claims. The title of the map describes the British position as a “Rightful claim as confirm’d by Charters,” and refers to the “Encroachment of the French, with the several Forts they have unjustly erected” [emphasis added]. Inscriptions and colored lines define exaggerated British claims which are, in fact, “encroachments” on New France.