An Account of the First Discovery, and Natural History of Florida: With a Particular Detail of the Several Expeditions and Descents Made on that Coast

An account of the first discovery, and natural history of Florida. : With a particular detail of the several expeditions and descents made on that coast. Collected from the best authorities by William Roberts. Illustrated by a general map, and some particular plans, together with a geographical description of that country, by T. Jefferys, Geographer to His Majesty.

William Roberts

London : printed for T. Jefferys, at Charing-Cross, MDCCLXIII., 1763

4to.  Bound in 1/4 leather over marbled boards.  Solid binding, some shelf wear to cover.  viii, [2], 102 p. 6 folding maps and plates.  Folding engraved frontispiece map of the Carolinas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida, five other folding engraved maps and plans.  Important Note: Maps appear to be facsimiles, though printed on early laid paper.  Armorial bookplate of Lord Napier. 

William Robert's Account of the First Discovery of Florida was written in the aftermath of the French and Indian War (Seven Years war) and the resulting Treaty of Paris of 1763.  Britain had captured Cuba in the conflict and traded it back to Spain for the largely unknown Spanish domains of Florida.  Contemporary Englishmen were largely critical of the exchange, and many, including William Pitt argued that the wealthier West Indian islands would be more advantageous for Britain.  After the treaty, Spain evacuated its citizens and proselytized-Indian peoples and Britain was left with a largely unknown, unpopulated territory of swamps, unfriendly Indians, and "pestiferous sea coats."  The English attempted to open the new lands for colonization and divided its territory into East and West Florida to remove the west-ward expansionistic pressure with the Indian nations west of the Alleghanys and keep British subjects under the reach of royal authority.  It is in this context that English propagandists wrote about Florida, promoting settlement, advocating its resources, warm climate, fertile soil, and potential for wealth.  Roberts work "included geographical descriptions, the history of European discovery and exploration, and also several of Thomas Jeffreys' excellent maps of St. Augustine, Pensacola, and the entire peninsular colony.  Roberts' book became the first sound and dependable source of facts readily found in Great Britain, and for several years, ... it was the only instructive account available to potential settlers and land speculators." - Robert L. Gold, "An account of the first discovery, and natural history of Florida," Introduction, xvi-xvii p., 1976.  "A timely book, issued immediately after the cession of this colony from Spain to England, to satisfy British curiosity concerning the territory acquired." - Howes. 

Refs: BMC, Vol 21, p. 780 (167); Church 1046; Clark 1:296; Cumming 334; Howes R348; Sabin 71926; Servies 436; Streeter Sale 1181; ESTC T100147.

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