This impressive map the Georges-Louis Le Rouge edition of John Mitchell’s important eight-sheet map and is entitled “Amérique septentrionale avec les routes, distance en miles, villages et établissements françois et anglois.” The map was published in Paris by Le Rouge in 1777.
This is the French edition of John Mitchell’s map of North America. It is a landmark map of the continent. It was first completed in 1750 with the first state published in 1755 by Andrew Miller. The second state was published in 1757 with added text blocks. Jeffreys and Faden bought the copperplates after 1769 and printed it in three editions. The map was produced in French, Dutch, and Italian editions as well. This being the French translation by Georges-Louis Le Rouge that incorporated some corrections done by M. hawkins in 1776.
The map was produced by Mitchell and commissioned by George Montagu Dunk, Lord Halifax. They were able to gather important cartographic material from the colonies including contributions from the London officers of the Hudson’s Bay Company as well as the governors of Massachusetts Bay, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. They provided the following maps and information that helped inform this map: a map of the territories they claimed to the north of New France; a large map of New England specially surveyed and compiled by Richard Hazzen; an impression of Lewis Evans’s map of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York (as well as a manuscript version); map of the province of Virginia by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson; a plan of Virginia and North Carolina.
The map extends from Louisiana to the Atlantic Ocean and from Hudson Bay in Canada to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. The map illustrated the British territories of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. It has an inset of Hudson Bay and Labrador. It features an elegant cartouche and two compass roses. The colonies are very details with forts, travel routes, lakes, rivers, and villages.
The map became a standard in the late 1700s and was widely distributed to government officials. It was used to solve border disputes because of its great detail and wide adoption. John Jay utilized it for the Paris Treaty of 1783 that ended the American Revolution and recognized the United States of America’s independence. Nicolas King also adopted it to prepare a map for Meriwether Lewis.
John Mitchell (1711 – 1768) was a British-American mapmaker. He was born in Virginia but educated in Europe. He studied medicine and practiced in Virginia. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1744 and the Royal Society in 1748 (after moving to London in 1746). He is known only for his ‘Mitchell Map’ but this is considered the most important map in 18th century American history. In 1749, George Montagu Dunk, Lord Halifax contracted Mitchell to produce a large, detailed map of British and French claims in America during a time of increasing tension of their American interests.
Georges-Louis Le Rouge (c1707 – c1790) was a Paris based, German-born engraver, map and book publisher. He served as the engineer-geographer to King Louis XV and Louis XVI. He placed a higher importance on exact geography than current treatises as “to want to learn geography without good maps, it is wanting to reason with figures without ever having learned to draw.” He produced thousands of maps and diagrams including city and town plans, atlases, military campaigns, and sea charts.