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Nice example of this rare variant edition of Lahontan's map of Canada, from Acadia and the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the upper Mississippi River and the Grand Lac des Assinipoval, centered on the Great Lakes.

This example is apparently from the collection of " Le Moyne de Martigny," explained at greater detail below, with a pencil annotation on the verso in an old hand referencing
"coll. Le Moyne de Martigny."

Lahontan's maps and most notably the map showing a western River extending to the Pacific, were among the most influential of all mythical cartographic works of North America, effecting the cartographic landscape of the upper Mississippi, Plains and Rocky Mountain Regions for nearly 50 years.

The map was first issued in Memoires de l'Amerique Septentrionale ou la Suite des Voyages ...., one of the most influential and fanciful works of its time. The map depicts the Longue flowing from the mountains in the west (Rocky Mountains), home to the Gnacsitares Indians, and connecting to the Mississippi River. On the western side of the mountains is another river, presumably flowing into the Pacific.

Lahontan's concept was copied by virtually all 18th-century cartographers, including Moll, Senex, Popple, and Delisle, thus perpetuating the myth.

The present example, while very similar other examples, as a somewhat cruder engraving style and may have appeared in an early pirated edition of Lahontan's work, although to date, we have not located the source of the map. It includes some curious printing errors, the most obvious of which is the engraving of the word's "Nouvelle Angleterre" upside down.

Le Moyne de Martigny is an old French-Canadian family name, which came from Dieppe, France to America in 1640. The first Le Moyne's, Jacques Le Moyne and Charles Le Moyne, came first to Quebec, before traveling to the Jesuit Missions in Huron country, where he became fluent in the native languages. Charles became an extremely important interpreter. He was captured by the Iroquois in 1665, where he was tortured for several months and nearly executed, before winning the trust of his captors, who returned him to Quebec and hailed him a great Great White Chief. By 1668, the King of France bestowed upon Charles the title of Sieur de Longueuil, a Barony created near Montreal for Charles. The National Archives of Canada holds the Collection of the Le Moyne family, including papers from:

  • Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville (1661-1706)
  • Pierre-Joseph Le Moyne de Sérigny (né en 1705)
  • fils de Joseph Le Moyne de Sérigny et de Loire (1668-1734)
  • Charles Le Moyne de Longueuil et de Châteauguay (1626-1685)
  • Antoine Le Moyne de Châteauguay (1683-1747)
  • François Le Moyne d'Iberville (1666-1691)
  • Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Martigny et de la Trinité (1662-1709)
  • Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville (1680-1768)
  • Emile Le Moyne de Sérigny.
Condition Description
Repaired tear, entering the image from the right and extending to Tabitibi, repaired on the verso.
Kershaw, K.A. 291; Armstrong, J.C.W. #19; TMC 19.