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One of the Finest & Most Important Early Plans of New York City
MONTRESOR, J./ VALENTINE, D. T. [New York, 1775/ 1855]
A Plan of the City of New-York & its Environs to Greenwich... Survey'd in the Winter, 1775 Sold by A. Dury, Dukes Court St. Martins Lane.
24 x 19 inches
Lithograph with fine hand color; mounted on a board, else excellent.
One of the most beautiful and historically important, early plans of New York City, here in a fine mid-19th edition by Valentine. Its delicate hand color enhances its similarity to the original edition. The city is seen here as it was in the years leading up to the American Revolution, when its developed streets reached only as far as just north as today’s Canal Street. The country homes of the city’s commercial elite, and their owners are named on the plan. Also depicted are a ten-acre lake called The Fresh Water or Collect Pond as well as numerous streams, rivers, marshes and forest. Greenwich Village can be seen as an actual village in the northernmost part of the plan. Within the street plan is King's, later Columbia College, shown here for the first time on a map. The legend below the map indicates the location of the city's first synagogue (on Mill Street) and on the plan itself the "Jew's Burying Gr." is noted.
The plan was drafted in 1765 and 1766 by the British military engineer, Captain John Montresor, by order of General Thomas Gage, then Commandant of the British forces in North America headquartered in New York City. At the time, violent riots were sweeping the city, as colonists protested the Stamp Act and other onerous measures of the Crown. Since an adequate plan of the city did not exist at the time, Gage ordered Montresor to prepare one to aid in planning strategy in the event of a full-scale insurrection.
Cf. Augustyn/Cohen, Manhattan in Maps, pp. 70-2; Nebenzahl, K. Atlas of the American Revolution, Map 11, p. 85; Tooley, R.V. Mapping of America, p. 213, #126, pl. 126; Haskell, D.C. Manhattan Maps, no. 307.d.