The Best Atlas Map of Texas & The American Southwest From the Early 19th Century
Nice example of Pinkerton's fine early map of Texas, the Southwest, and Mexico, one of the best and most highly detailed commercial atlas maps of the period.
The map is based largely on Humboldt's map of Mexico, including his remarkable treatment of the Rocky Mountains and Rio Grande River basin.
The source of the Colorado is given in 3 tributaries, extending deep into the primitive western slope of the Rocky Mountains. The mouth of the Gila is inaccurately placed in the Gulf of California. Both Lake Timanogos and Teguayo appear, the latter with no Western or Southern Coastlines.
The fine detailed treatment of the California coastline is of note, with significant topographical detail given for the coastal range and a fine depiction of San Francisco Bay, San Diego Bay, the Channel Islands, etc. The depiction of San Pedro Bay is among the earliest of any detail. The whole is drawn from the Arrowsmith wall map of Mexico, but with a far greater sensitivity to the topographical depiction of the coastal range.
The detail of the map from the Platte River south to Texas is extraordinary, with the Savannas shown with wonderful engraving style. Nice early detail in Texas, in the decade prior to the arrival of Austin, including early roads west of Galveston.
La Salle's settlement of 1683 is located, as is Pres. De Bejar, Capital of the Province of Texas. Many other rich details in Texas, Missouri and Indian Territory. The detail west of the Mississippi, in the Lower Missouri and Kansas River Valleys and along the Arkansas River, are also extraordinary for the time period, being the largest format English maps of the region to appear in Commercial Atlases.
Excellent early detail east of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming, immediately prior to Long's expedition and the official report of Lewis & Clark.
While at first blush, the map appears similar to Thomson's map, in fact, it is a far rarer and more detailed map than Thomson's map. An essential map for American collectors, which has become scarce on the market.
John Pinkerton (1758-1826) was Scottish literary critic, historian, poet, and geographer. From age twelve he educated himself at home in Edinburgh, as his father had declined to send him to university. His father instead apprenticed John to a lawyer, William Aytoun, but the boy did not like the legal profession. In his spare time, the young man wrote poetry and collected Scottish ballads, which he tried to have published. After the death of his father, Pinkerton moved to London in 1781, to be closer to the vibrant literary scene.
Pinkerton’s earliest publications were collections of ballads. However, a fellow critic uncovered that Pinkerton had forged several of the “ancient” poems and published accusations against Pinkerton in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Throughout the 1780s, Pinkerton published poetry, works on numismatics, and historical works. He corresponded with Sir Walter Scott, Horace Walpole, and Edward Gibbon, but most of his friendships ended in acrimony. Pinkerton was a hypochondriac, unorthodox about morality and religion, and a prickly personality who lived with several women during his lifetime, marrying illegally at least once.
After 1800, Pinkerton turned to geographical works. In 1802 he published Modern Geography, a text that was quite popular and translated into French and Italian. In 1808-15, he produced a New Modern Atlas, which was well received, followed by A General Collection of Voyages and Travels (1808-14). Soon after these projects, Pinkerton moved to Paris, where he lived until he died in 1826.