The ‘best contemporary account of this war’ (Howes), rightly celebrated for its text and cartography. One of the great rarities of the French and Indian war, complete with all the maps and the elusive errata leaf and in full contemporary binding. Thomas Mante (bap.1733-c.1802) was born in Havant, Hampshire to an estate manager. He was appointed to the marines in June 1756 and was in the West Indian campaigns of 1759 and 1762 in the siege of Havana. In August of the same year, he was sent to New York where he joined Colonel Henry Bouquet’s campaign against the Pontiac tribes in 1763. He also took part in Colonel John Bradstreet’s peace expedition of 1764 with the Pontiac coalition. The years 1765 to 1773 were spent largely in London. He worked to set up a colony at Detroit and unsuccessfully for the Board of Trade from 1765 to 1768. He was also employed by the secretary of the Treasury and head of foreign intelligence, John Robinson.
His literary contributions include four works, the most notable of which is this ‘History of the Late War in North America’, 1772. It details the Braddock campaign, and others under George Washington, Amherst, Bouquet and Bradstreet. The campaigns in Canada and the West Indies are also described.
The introduction gives an account of George Washington’s frontier expedition to reconnoitre the French frontier forts in 1753. It also recounts his survival at the hands of a treacherous Indian guide. It goes on to record Washington’s second western campaign the following year when he defeated Jumonville only to be defeated himself later. These were the opening skirmishes of the French and Indian War.
Field writes that Mante ‘seems … to have made good use of his opportunities to gain information.’ He writes with great accuracy and impartiality. The final chapter of the book deals with Pontiac’s War, a campaign in which he served as major und Colonel Dudley Bradstreet. He took his small force to Detroit to retake the frontier posts to the west that had been captured by the Indians.
The eighteen maps are highly praised as being by far the best relating to the war. They include ‘A Sketch of the Cherokee Country’. Sabin writes: ‘Copies with all the maps are scarce. It is probable that but few were printed, although the large and beautiful plans and military maps (which gave it so great a value), must have made its production a work of much expense.’
Provenance: Sir Christopher Sykes, 2nd baronet, (1749-1801), Sledmere House, Yorkshire; thence by descent; Sotheby’s 7 May 2009 lot 243 £20,000; William S. Reese Collection; sold Christie’s New York 25 May 2022 lot 46. Church (1907) 1092; ESTC T122589; Field (1873) 1003; Howes (1962) M267; ODNB; Sabin (1868-1936) 44396; Streeter sale (April 1967) 103.