A New Map of the Western Parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina

Description

Partie occidentale de la Virginie, Pensylvanie, Maryland et Caroline Septle (The western parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina) is a hand-colored map by cartographer, author, and illustrator Georges-Louis Le Rouge (born 1712), royal geographer to King Louis XV. It is a translation of the 1778 map of the same territory by Thomas Hutchins (1730–89) that accompanied the pamphlet, A Topographical Description of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina. A native of New Jersey, Hutchins fought with the militia in the French and Indian War. He became an expert frontiersman. In 1766 he was given a regular commission as an engineer in the British army and assigned to survey the western regions of Britain’s North American empire. When the American Revolution began in 1775, Hutchins was in London for the publication of his work and was imprisoned on charges of treason. He escaped to France, from where Benjamin Franklin, American minister to Paris, helped him return to America. When news of Hutchins’s predicament reached Georges-Louis Le Rouge in Paris, Le Rouge came to Franklin seeking either to be the sales agent for Hutchins’s work or to bring out a French edition of Hutchins’s pamphlet and map. At the time, Le Rouge was an important publisher of North American maps. He had already translated charts from English into French, possibly for use by the French navy. The two men sharply reduced the size of Hutchins’s original map, deleted some of the notes, and included a legend corresponding to descriptions in the pamphlet. With the help of Franklin, Hutchins was named the first official geographer of the United States upon his return to America in 1781. The map shows state boundaries, towns, forts, roads, Indian villages, Indian paths or trails, rivers and creeks, waterfalls, portages, springs, mountain passes, and deposits of minerals. It also shows a few estates, homes of several frontier residents, the boundary line against further westward colonial expansion set by Lord Fairfax, and military bounty lands. The map includes descriptive text and historical notes on the area. Scale is given in miles and leagues. The map is from the Rochambeau Collection at the Library of Congress, which consists of 40 manuscript maps, 26 printed maps, and a manuscript atlas that belonged to Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725‒1807), commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780‒82) during the American Revolution. Some of the maps were used by Rochambeau during the war. Dating from 1717 to 1795, the maps cover much of eastern North America, from Newfoundland and Labrador in the north to Haiti in the south. The collection includes maps of cities, maps showing Revolutionary War battles and military campaigns, and early state maps from the 1790s.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Georges-Louis Le Rouge, Paris

Language

Title in Original Language

Partie occidentale de la Virginie, Pensylvanie, Maryland, et Caroline Septle. la rivière d'Ohio, et toutes celles qui s'y jettent, partie de la Rivière Mississippi, tout le cours de la rivière des Illinois, le Lac Erie, partie des Lacs Huron et Michigan &. toutes les contrées qui bordent ces lacs et rivières

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 map : color ; 49 x 60 centimeters

Notes

  • Scale approximately 1:2,500,000

References

  1. Ellen R. Cohn, “Benjamin Franklin, Georges‐Louis Le Rouge and the Franklin/Folger Chart of the Gulf Stream,” Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography 52, number 1 (2000).
  2. John R. Sellers and Patricia Molen Van Ee, compilers, Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789: A Guide to the Collections in the Library of Congress (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1981).

Last updated: August 10, 2017