Rare French edition of this important early Revolutionary War map, published to illustrate the Northern Theater of War in the early years of the American Revolution, shortly after the French entered the conflict in alliance with the American Colonists.
Originally published in 1776 by William Faden, the English edition of the map was issued shortly after the signing on the Declaration of Independence, this French edition of the map was published in 1778, shortly after France formally recognized the United States on February 6, 1778, with the signing of the Treaty of Alliance. French deployment in the American Colonies soon followed after Britain declared war on France on March 17, 1778.
The Sauthier-Ratzer map is a remarkable combination of two of the most important colonial surveys conducted on the eve of the Revolution, combining Claude Sauthier's manuscript map of New York with Berard Ratzer's important survey of New Jersey, which established the boundary between the two colonies.
As noted by David Allen, the northern portion of Faden's map is "a reduced-scale (ca. 1:1,050,000) edition of the manuscript version of [Sauthier's] Chorographical Map of the Province of New-York. The extended title of the 1776 edition includes the statement that it is "reduc'd from" a large-scale map by Sauthier."
Allen notes that Sauthier's map is principally a compilation of the cartographic work of his predecessors, Samuel Holland and John Montressor, and were "built on the framework of earlier maps, and corrected or supplemented with new materials, including Sauthier's own surveys and other maps that came to his attention." However, Allen notes that Sauthier's maps differed from those of his predecessors, in that they were intended for Civilian, rather than Military use. As such, they focus more on land ownership and boundaries, rather than topography and roads. As noted by Allen:
Colonial administrators needed to know who owned what in order to plan settlements and collect property taxes. Governors and other royal officials could profit handsomely from the sale and surveying of land. Property taxes known as "quit rents" could produce revenue for the crown, and potentially make colonial administrators financially independent of the annoying provincial Assembly.
Sauthier's maps were also significantly more accurate than the maps of their predecessors, proving to be the finest and most accurate maps of New York prior to the close of the Revolution and the standard thereafter for some years to follow.
The map provides fascinating and detailed look at the towns, villages, military posts and forts, manors, roads, churches, rivers and ferries in the region, at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The map locates Dartmouth College and settlements along the Connecticut River and notes the disputed line of partition between New York and New Jersey and early county boundaries in New York.
Unlike the Chorographical map, this map extends south to include New Jersey and the surveys of Bernard Ratzer's of 1769, which were undertaken to resolve the boundary dispute between New York and New Jersey. As such, this map pre-dates the publication by Faden of Ratzer's own map of New Jersey, first published in 1777 map. The boundary between New York and New Jersey is shown with the notation "partition line ordered in 1769." The old boundary between East and West Jersey is also shown.
Claude Joseph Sauthier (1736-1802), a French trained surveyor, mapmaker and landscape architect, worked for William Tryon, the last royal Governor of New York under British Rule. From 1771 onward, Sauthier made many regional and local maps of the region, continuing into the early years of the American Revolution. Sauthier created two major maps of New York, his Chorographical Map of the Province of New-York (1779) and A Map of the Province of New York, (1776).
George-Louis Le Rouge (1712-1790), though known for his work in Paris, was originally born Georg Ludwig of Hanover, Germany. He grew up and was educated in Hanover, after which he became a surveyor and military engineer. Around 1740, however, Le Rouge moved to Paris and set up shop as an engraver and publisher on the Rue des Grands Augustins. It was at this time that he changed his name, adopting a French pseudonym that would later become quite famous.
Le Rouge spent much of his forty-year career translating various works from English to French, and his cartographic influence often came from English maps. His experience as a surveyor and engineer in Germany made him a skilled and prolific cartographer, and he produced thousands of charts, maps, atlases, and plans. His work spans from garden views and small-town plans to huge, multiple-continent maps. Le Rouge eventually accepted the position of Geographical Engineer for Louid XV, the King of France.
Later in life, Le Rouge became well-known for publishing North American maps, such as in his Atlas ameriquain septentrional of 1778. One of Le Rouge’s other more famous works is the Franklin/Folger chart of the Gulf Stream, which he worked on with Benjamin Franklin. Franklin and Le Rouge corresponded around 1780 and collaborated to create this map, a French version of Franklin’s famous chart which was originally printed in 1769.