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2010/11 Winter Catalogue > 7. EARLY MAP of the UNITED STATES according to the Land Ordinance of 1784



7. EARLY MAP of the UNITED STATES according to the Land Ordinance of 1784

Didier Robert de Vaugondy [Vaugondi]. “Etats-Unis De L’Amerique Septentrionale Avec Les Isles Royale, De Terre Neuve, De St. Jean, L’Acadie &c. 1785” (Paris: Delamarche, 1785). Copper plate engraving with early outline hand color. 18 5/8 x 24 5/8" to neat line. Sheet: 21 1/2 x 28 1/2." Light, fairly even age toning; some foxing, mostly marginal; mainly marginal 2" tear at l.l., with repair. A good, dark impression. Overall very good.

Price: SOLD.

While presenting an intriguing a map of the newly-formed United States, Vaugondy also illustrates the terms of the 1783 Treaty of Paris, and includes indications from the Land Ordinance of 1784. According to the 1783 treaty, which determined the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War, U.S. territories are here outlined in blue, English in red, and Spanish in yellow. The many concessions that were negotiated for a peace eventually gave to the newly-formed United States not only title to the traditional boundaries of the former thirteen colonies, but lands through to the Mississippi River. Boundaries shown here for the states of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia extend through to the great river on this map. Other newly-acquired lands to the north have a series of divisions that would soon be changed according to the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

The original proposal in the Land Ordinance of 1784 was to divide the area west of the Appalachian Mountains, north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River into ten new states. Thomas Jefferson is credited with the sometimes inventive names that were suggested for the new states. Vaugondy’s map includes those names at the lower right, below a list of the existing thirteen states, as follows: Silvania, Michigania, Chersonesus, Arsenistpia, Metropotamia, Illinoia, Saratoga, Washington, Polypotamia, and Pelisypia. According to Karpinski, this is the first reference to “Michigan as applying to a land division of the United States.

Vaugondy’s map also extends westward to New Mexico, showing the known settlements along the Rio Grande, some indications of rivers along the Texas coast, and a Louisiana Territory detailed by the extant charting of the Mississippi River system. All else in between lacks detail and is labeled “Grand Espace de Pays qui n’est pas connu,” or “expansive, unknown country.” There are notes concerning the Sioux and Padouca people. Indications of native tribe locations and the routes of explorers are quite detailed throughout the rest of the map. A lovely vignette at the upper left depicts the wreck of a cargo ship in the tropics with another ship sailing on the horizon.

Didier Robert de Vaugondy (1723–1786) was the son of Gilles Robert de Vaugondy (1688–1766), also known as Le Sieur or Monsieur Robert. Didier became geographer to Louis XV, and was famous for his atlases and globes. Two issues of the present map appeared in 1785. The Che’s Boudet imprinture specifies that it was a supplement to the de Vaugondy atlas. The Delamarche map was possibly issued as a separate publication. Charles Franćois Delamarche (1740–1817) was an important mapmaker and successor to Nicolas Sanson, Robert de Vaugondy, and Rigobert Bonne.

Refs.: Karpinski, Bibliography, p. 179–80; Seller & Van Ee, no. 187.

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