1814 (dated) 20 x 24 in (50.8 x 60.96 cm)
This beautiful map is John Thomson's important 1814 interpretation of North America. This map covers from the Arctic Sea south to the southern tip of Florida and the northern parts of Mexico. Cartographically Thomson draws heavily from the explorations of Samuel Herne, Alexander MacKenzie, Louis and Clark, David Thomson, and others. This map naturally offers impressive detail both with regard to those better known parts of the United States located east of the Mississippi as well as in the British controlled provinces north of the Missouri River. The Great Lakes as well as many of the lakes and riverways to the west of the Hudson Bay are also exceptionally well mapped giving evidence to the work of French and British explorers seeking a river passage to the Pacific as well as to the exploratory efforts of the Northwest Company and the Hudson Bay Company, most notably Herne and Mackenzie treks to the Arctic. The Transmississippi is, by contrast, only sparsely mapped in accordance with the 1811 cartographic speculations of Alexander von Humboldt, especially his remarkable treatment of the Rocky Mountains, compounded by relatively limited information drawn from the just published journals of the Louis and Clark Expedition. Curiously neither Great Salt Lake nor Utah Lake are anywhere in evidence despite being mapped in some of Thomson's other maps of the region, such as his Spanish North America plate. Another curiosity is the interesting path commencing at the confluence of the Oisconsin and Mississippi Rivers and running east nearly to the Missouri - its source and purpose are a mystery In a clear case of carto-advocacy Thomson has attached the name New Albion to the entire western coast from Vancouver Island to the Gulf of California, thereby asserting a British claim to the region dating to Drake's 16th century circumnavigation of the world. Dated: 'Drawn and Engraved for Thomsons New General Atlas 1814.' This is the first edition of Thomson's map from the 1814 edition of the Atlas. Subsequent editions were published in 1817 and 1826. This map is an essential addition to any serious Transmississippi collection
John Thomson (1777 - c. 1841) was a Scottish cartographer, publisher, and bookbinder active in Edinburgh during the early part of the 19th century. Thomson apprenticed under Edinburgh bookbinder Robert Alison. After his apprenticeship he briefly went into business with Abraham Thomson. Later the two parted ways, John Thomson segueing into maps and Abraham Thomson taking over the bookbinding portion of the business. Thomson is generally one of the leading publishers in the Edinburgh school of cartography which flourished from roughly 1800 to 1830. Thomson and his contemporaries (Pinkerton and Cary) redefined European cartography by abandoning typical 18th century decorative elements such as elaborate title cartouches and fantastic beasts in favor of detail and accuracy. Thomson's principle works include Thomson's New General Atlas, published from 1814 to 1821, the New Classical and Historical Atlas of 1829, and his 1830 Atlas of Scotland. The Atlas of Scotland, a work of groundbreaking detail and dedication would eventually bankrupt the Thomson firm in 1830, at which time their plates were sequestered by the court. The firm partially recovered in the subsequent year allowing Thomson to reclaim his printing plates in 1831, but filed again for bankruptcy in 1835, at which time most of his printing plates were sold to A. K. Johnston and Company. There is some suggestion that he continued to work as a bookbinder until 1841. Today, Thomson maps are becoming increasingly rare as they are highly admired for their impressive size, vivid hand coloration, and superb detail.
Thomson, J. A New General Atlas, (Edinburgh) 1814.
Very good condition. Some offsetting. Original centerfold. Blank on verso.
Rumsey 1007.059 (1817 edition). Wheat, Carl Irving, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 1540-1861 (5 vols), #319.