Carte Reduite Des Cotes Orientales De L'amerique Septentrionale Contenant Partie du Nouveau Jersey, la Pen-sylvanie, le Mary-land, la Virginie, la Caroline Septentrionale, la Caroline Meridionale et la Georgie, Assujettie aux Observations les plus recentes et aux Cartes de detail les plus estimées. Dressée au Dépôt Général des Cartes, Plans et Journaux de la Marine. Pour le Service des Vaisseaux Français Par Ordre de M. de Sartine, Conseiller d'Etat, Ministre et Secretaire d'Etat, ayant le Département de la Marine. 1778.
1778 (dated) 23 x 34 in (58.42 x 86.36 cm)
A rare and extraordinary map of considerable historic importance. This map, which covers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania southward through Maryland and Virginia, then along the Carolina coast to Georgia and Florida, was issued by the French 'Depot General de la Marine' in 1778. Although ostensibly a nautical chart, this map features a magnificent wealth of inland detail as far west as the Appellation Mountains and the Ohio River. Around the time this map was issued the French had been dragged into the American Revolutionary War. As a government-issue map, included in the extremely rare Neptune Americo-Septentrional, this map would have been carried by most French naval, merchant marine, and other military commanders. While the French contribution to the American Revolutionary War was primarily naval, the military nature of this map gives us some insight into the superb inland detail offered. We may safely surmise that such rich inland and topographic details would have been invaluable to any French forces that may have been grounded or forced to wage a land campaign. Details political and topographical features ranging from colonial borders to rivers and swamps, such as the Okefenokee in Georgia. Shows the American Indian holdings in western Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. The map also gives special attention to churches, missions and more specifically religious congregations, listing the Quakers, the 'Assemblent les Non-confirmistes,' and others. The 'Non-confirmistes' are a curious element of this map. Though to the Catholic French, this could have referred to Anglicans, Puritans, or any other Protestant group, the general location of the 'Assemblent,' in western North Carolina, suggests the possibly that they were Franklinites. The coastline is dotted with innumerable detailed depth soundings. The location of the Catawba Indians 'Catawbaw Town' is shown south of Charlotte. In Virginia, the town of York is noted on the York River, where we now recognize Yorktown. One can easily imagine that the French Admiral De Grasse consulting this map when, in 1781, his blockade of the York River forced the surrender of Cornwallis' British forces at Yorktown, effectively ending the American Revolutionary War.
This map was commissioned by Antoine de Sartine for inclusion in the Neptune Americo-Septentrional. It was engraved by Petit. Though his name does not appear on the map, the cartographic work behind this map is most likely the legacy of the late Ingenieur Hydrographe Jacques-Nicolas Bellin. Though dated 1778, this is mostly likely the second state of this rare map as is suggested by the removal of Petit's full title 'Graveur du Roi et de la Marine' in the lower left hand corner and the addition of a price, 'Pris Trois Livres' in the lower right.
Antoine de Sartine (1729 - 1801) was a competent, ruthless, and extravagant figure who dominated Paris for nearly 15 years. Sartine was born in Barcelona, Spain, the son of French financier Antoine Sartine. Upon the death of his mother, young Antoine was sent to Paris to be educated in Law. Following his studies, Sartine purchased the commission of Criminal Lieutenant of Police and was subsequently ennobled. A favorite of the King, he was soon appointed Lieutenant General of Police in 1759. This effectively made him dominant local power in Paris. Despite his purchased commission, Sartine proved to be a competent and effective city administrator. Paris flourished under his care, he restored public buildings, founded schools, improved finances, and tempered police corruption. He was also head of the French Intelligence organization, at the time the envy of Europe, and reported daily to the King with all of the city's gossip and scandals. This earned him the 1775 commission of Secretary of State for the Navy and the honorific rank of Minister of State. Sartine proceeded to expand and advance the French navy in competition with England. His influence put the French in a position to aid the American Revolutionaries against the British at the close of the Revolutionary War. It was during his tenure as head of the French Navy that Sartine ordered the creation of numerous updated nautical charts. Sartine's expansion of the Navy was reconsidered and deplored for its depletion of the French national treasury. As a result he was dismissed with honors in 1780. Following his dismissal, M. Sartine remained in Paris until the outbreak of the French Revolution. Unpopular with the French citizenry for his work as Police Lieutenant, he wisely fled to his childhood home of Barcelona, Spain. This no doubt saved his life as his son, who chose to stay behind, was shortly thereafter arrested and condemned to execution. Antoine de Sartine died in Tarragona, Spain in 1801.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - 1772) was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years, Bellin is best understood as geographe de cabinet and transitional mapmaker spanning the gap between 18th and early 19th century cartographic styles. His long career as Hydrographer and Ingénieur Hydrographe at the French Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine resulted in hundreds of high quality nautical charts of practically everywhere in the world. A true child of the Enlightenment Era, Bellin's work focuses on function and accuracy tending in the process to be less decorative than the earlier 17th and 18th century cartographic work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bellin was always careful to cite his references and his scholarly corpus consists of over 1400 articles on geography prepared for Diderot's Encyclopedie. Bellin, despite his extraordinary success, may not have enjoyed his work, which is described as "long, unpleasant, and hard." In addition to numerous maps and charts published during his lifetime, many of Bellin's maps were updated (or not) and published posthumously. He was succeeded as Ingénieur Hydrographe by his student, also a prolific and influential cartographer, Rigobert Bonne.
Neptune Americo-Septentrional, 1778 edition.
Very good condition with a fine dark impression. Beautifully rendered hand color. Minor wear along the original centerfold as well as a few minor later creases here and there. Wide clean margins. Generally speaking, an extremely attractive example of a very rare map.
Phillips, Philip Lee, A List of Geographical Atlases in the Library of Congress, 1211-2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cm912m F81. Not listed in Cumming or Sellers and Van Ee