London: Printed for the Author, and sold by J. Almon, 1778. ,ii,67pp., including appendix, plus two folding maps and one folding table. Late 19th- century three-quarter red morocco and marbled boards, spine gilt with raised bands, t.e.g. Moderate shelf wear. Light tanning, some offsetting, a bit of foxing. Penciled and inked marginalia to the appendix leaves. Folding table with a neat closed split along a lower portion of a fold, confined to the margin. A very good copy. Item #WRCAM63193
First edition, second issue of this important work by one of America’s most influential early geographers. Thomas Hutchins was a seminal figure in the surveying and mapping of the United States. He began his career as a topographical engineer for the British Army during the French and Indian War, and from 1758 to 1777 served in the Ohio Valley, designing the fortifications at Fort Pitt in 1763. The following year he accompanied Bouquet on his expedition to put down Pontiac's Rebellion, resulting in a map of the country on the Ohio and Muskingum rivers, published in London in 1766. He was also a member of the exploring party sent down the Ohio Valley in 1766 to investigate the territory recently acquired from France, after which he produced the first accurate maps and surveys of the Ohio River. After surveying the Mississippi River in 1774, he returned to England to publish his findings. By 1781, Hutchins had returned to America and was appointed (first and only) "Geographer to the United States" by Congress. In 1783 he was a member of the commission that surveyed the Mason-Dixon Line, and in 1785 he was appointed by Congress to the commission that surveyed the New York-Massachusetts boundary.
The present work was published in 1778 alongside Hutchins’ landmark NEW MAP OF THE WESTERN PARTS OF VIRGINIA, PENNSYLVANIA, MARYLAND, AND NORTH CAROLINA, though the two were not issued as a unit. It is a valuable and descriptive source on the western country in North America during the late British period, and these exact descriptions of the regions west of the Alleghenies were the best available at the time of the Revolution. The folding maps include a plan of the rapids of the Ohio River, and a map of settlements along the Mississippi in Illinois Country, and the folding table gives distances from Fort Pitt. In addition to detailed geographical description, Hutchins also provides notes on the demographic makeup of French and English settlements as well as the population and territories of indigenous tribes in the regions described. Appendix I includes a narrative of Captain Kennedy’s voyage to the headwaters of the Illinois River in 1773, and Appendix II (marked III) provides “A List of the different Nations and Tribes of Indians in the Northern District of North America, with the number of their fighting Men, &c.&c.” As the second issue, this copy does not contain the errata page included in the first issue, rather it incorporates the corrections mentioned in the first issue errata page into the text.
"Hutchins' work is one of the most valuable sources on the West during the British period. It is of particular interest for the Illinois country. The appended journal by Capt. Kennedy describes his voyage up the Illinois River to its headwaters during July and August of 1773" - Streeter. STREETER SALE 1299. HOWES H846, “b.” FIELD 744. SOLIDAY IV:312a. CLARK I:258. THOMSON 625. GRAFF 2029. SABIN 34054.