[Paris. 1804 (but distributed in 1826)]. Engraved map, approximately 13 x 37 inches. Matted. Old fold lines. Scattered foxing, mostly in margins and along uppermost fold. Very good. Item #WRCAM52525
A long and highly detailed map of the course of the Mississippi River from St. Louis to the Gulf of Mexico from Collot's famous and incredibly rare VOYAGE DANS L'AMÉRIQUE SEPTENTRIONALE.... Collot was sent by the French government to survey the Ohio and Mississippi valleys in 1796, to gauge the military situation on the frontier on the Spanish and American sides of the river, and to determine possible secessionist sentiment among American frontiersmen. Despite numerous difficulties in operating as a secret agent, under suspicion by both American and Spanish officials, Collot gathered a wealth of cartographical material, as well as sounding political waters. Returning to France, he prepared his work for publication and had it printed in 1804. Unfortunately, Napoleon had just sold Louisiana and, not wishing to draw attention to the area of which he had disposed, suppressed the publication. Collot died in 1805, and the sheets of the book and atlas sat in a warehouse for the next two decades. They were then purchased by Arthus Bertrand, the leading French publisher of voyages at the time. According to Bertrand's own testimony, he retained the original maps and plans, issued new titlepages with his imprint, and destroyed a number of sets to make it more scarce. This map of the Mississippi is a landmark in American cartography of the early republic, and is beautifully engraved on heavy paper, as were all of the maps in the atlas.