Scarce and highly important engraved map by Thomas Hutchins -- an important early mapping of the colonial frontier.
The main map is roughly bounded by Fort Miami in the west, Fort Presque Isle in the north, Fort Loudon in the east, and the juncture of the Scioto and Ohio Rivers in the south.
This map precedes Hutchins' famous A New Map of the Western Parts of Virginia. . . by a decade. It was published sometime between 1766 and 1768, while Hutchins was still at work in America. After completing his survey work in the midwest, Hutchins returned to England. There he was accused of being an American spy (rightly) and was subjected to a severe inquisition. Nonetheless, his great map was published in 1778, years after this much rarer progenitor.
While its primary concern is the military maneuverings of General Bouquet, the map provides one of the earliest truly authoritative accounts of the colonial backcountry that would eventually become Ohio. For a serious Ohio collector, the map is truly indispensable.
This map is concerned with Pontiac's War, the 1763-'64 insurrection of Native Americans in the Great Lakes region, which followed the British victory in the French and Indian War. The war was named after the Odawa leader Pontiac, the foremost native leader among the confederated tribes that participated.
General Bouquet was one of the three most important British generals involved in the conflict, the others being Jeffery Amherst and Thomas Gage.
In the autumn of 1764, Bouquet assumed command of Fort Pitt. He took proactive steps to end the ongoing war, leading a force into the Ohio Country. This is the primary interest of the map, which records Bouquet's march into the heart of Indian territory. Once established among the Native American villages, Bouquet used attacks and the threat of attack to force a treaty, signed in 1764.
A neat summation of Hutchins' involvement in the events is provided in The National Cyclopedia of American Biography:
In 1763 General Henry Bouquet, a British officer then in command at Philadelphia, was ordered to the relief of Fort Pitt, now Pittsburgh, and setting out with 500 men, mostly Highlanders, found the frontier settlements greatly alarmed on account of savage invasions. He has some fighting with the Indians along the way, but succeeded in reaching Fort Pitt with supplies, losing, however, eight officers and one hundred and fifteen men. Hutchins was present at this point, and distinguished himself as a soldier, while he laid out the plan of new fortifications, and afterwards executed it under the directions of General Bouquet.
General Bouquet attained lasting infamy during the course of the conflict; he and his commander, General Jeffery Amherst, hatched a strategy of biological warfare to be used against the opposing Indian tribes. Amherst proposed, and then Bouquet agreed, to spread smallpox-infected blankets among the Indians. The episode would come to characterize the white-Indian relationship in the popular mind. By some estimates, 400,000-500,000 Native Americans died from smallpox in the years following Pontiac's War. Although similar tactics had been in use in Europe and the Ancient World for centuries, this represented one of the first deliberate acts of biological warfare in North America, and it had a devastating effect.
Bouquet would die shortly thereafter in Pensacola.
General topography of North America and the West Indies
The present map comes from the supremely important atlas of North America and the West Indies by Thomas Jefferys. Jefferys' General topography of North America and the West Indies is certainly the scarcest of the great 18th century atlases of America. It substantially surpasses Faden's North American Atlas, Jefferys' American Atlas, and Des Barres' Atlantic Neptune, in rarity. In many repsects, it also surpasses those atlases through the inclusion of maps that are not to be found anywhere else. The atlases has only appeared once on the market in the last 80 years, with a defective copy making 8,000 GBP at Sotheby's in 1971.
A French language edition of the map was published, on two sheets, in the 1789 book Relation Historique de L'Expédition Contre Les Indiens de L'Ohio en MDCCLXIV, by William Smith.
Unsurprisingly, the map is extremely rare. The only record we can find of it having come to market was in a 1941 Goodspeed catalog, there offered for $20.