MEAD, BRADDOCK ("John Green"). A Chart of North and South America, including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with the nearest Coasts of Europe. [London]: T. Jefferys, February 19, 1753. Large engraved chart in 6 sheets, atlas folio, each sheet with vertical central fold backed with a guard, the sheets formerly bound or hinged into an atlas and numbered in contemporary ink 17 through 22; faint offsetting to all sheets. FIRST ISSUE. Each sheet with its own title (as below) and engraved border, designed for separate sale, engraved numeration I-VI at lower right. Hand-colored in outline, without the letterpress color key slip sometimes found pasted down to sheet VI. Notwithstanding the few small defects listed below, a very good, clean set.
Sheet I [top left] Chart containing part of the Icy Sea with the adjacent Coast of Asia and America. Platemark: 476 x 540 mm. (18 7/8 x 21¼ in.).
Sheet II [top right] Chart comprising Greenland with the Countries and Islands about Baffin's and Hudson's Bays. 548 x 620 mm. (21 5/8 x 24½ in.) (platemark shaved at top), originally folded horizontally at bottom, the fold reinforced with a guard on verso, half-inch fold break at bottom, slight discoloration along center fold.
Sheet III [center left] Chart containing the Coasts of California, New Albion, and Russian Discoveries to the North, with the Peninsula of Kamchatka, in Asia, opposite thereto; and Islands, dispersed over the Pacific Ocean, to the North of the Line. 459 x 535 mm. (18 x 21 1/16 in.), marginal dampstaining, just entering platemark at top.
Sheet IV [center right] Chart of the Atlantic Ocean, with the British, French, & Spanish Settlements in North America, and the West Indies. 480 x 625 mm. (18 7/8 x 24 5/8 in.), slight darkening along fold.
Sheet V [bottom left] Chart containing the greater part of the South Sea to the South of the Line, with the Islands dispersed thro' the same. 460 x 534 mm. (18 1/8 x 21 in.).
Sheet VI [bottom right] Chart of South America, comprehending the West Indies, with the Adjacent Islands, in the Southern Ocean, and South Sea. 549 x 619 mm. (21 5/8 x 24 3/8 in.) (platemark cropped at bottom), formerly folded horizontally at bottom, the fold reinforced with a guard, vertical crease.
Braddock Mead's chart of the Americas, "the most authoritative [of its] time" (Streeter sale), was issued by Thomas Jefferys as a corrective to the numerous inaccuracies plaguing the English charts of North America then available. "The genius behind Jefferys in his shop was a brilliant man who at this time went by the alias of John Green... Green had a number of marked characteristics as a cartographer. One was his ability to collect, to analyze the value of, and to use a wide variety of sources; these he acknowledges scrupulously on the maps he designed and even more fully in accompanying remarks. Another outstanding characteristic was his intelligent compilation and careful evaluation of reports on latitudes and longitudes used in the construction of his maps, which he also entered in tables on the face of the maps" (William Cumming, British Maps of Colonial America [Chicago, 1974], p. 45). Braddock Mead alias John Green was a university-educated Irish renegade -- "a man of warm passions fond of ye Women & Intrigue" (T. Jefferys in a letter to the Earl of Morton, 17 January 1767) -- who arrived in London in 1728 under the name Rogers, on the run from the law after participating in the kidnapping of a 12-year old heiress. After working for and falling out with a series of well-known London editors and publishers (he assisted Chambers on the Dictionary, Edward Cave on the translation of Du Halde's China, and John Astley on the London Magazine), he took employment with Jefferys and finished his life by jumping out of a window in 1757. "Mead's contributions to cartography stand out in contrast to the shoddiness of his private life. At a time when the quality and the ethics of map production were at a low ebb in England, he vigorously urged and practiced high standards; in the making of maps and navigational charts he was in advance of his time. For this he deserves due credit" (op. cit., pp. 46-47). Phillips Maps, p. 109; Schwartz and Ehrenberg, p. 159 ("This is the first English map that recorded the discoveries of Vitus Bering and Aleksey Chirikov in Alaska"); Stevens and Tree, "Comparative Cartography", in Tooley, The Mapping of America, no. 4, pp. 52-56; Streeter sale VI, 3453. (6)