Carte De L'Amerique Septle. Pour servir a l'intelligence de la Guerre entre les Anglois et les Insurgents
By: Jean de Beaurain
Date: 1777 (dated) Paris
Dimensions: 16.25 x 24.25 inches (41.25 x 61.5 cm)
This is the second state of Jean de Beaurain’s rare, important map of the American Colonies, one of the earliest focusing on the American Revolution to be published in Europe, and an important piece of persuasive cartography that helped propel the French into the Revolutionary War of behalf of the American Colonies thus defeating the British and establishing the United States of America.
Jean de Beaurain, Royal Geographer to King Louis XVI, created the map as an early propaganda tool designed to help generate financial support for the Colonies, and to prepare the French populace for the moment when France, already secretly aiding the Colonies, would officially declare itself on their side and formally enter the war.
The map depicts all of North America from the Eastern Seaboard to the Great Plains, and is based on the famous 1755 map of John Mitchell. However, de Beaurain modified and updated the political boundaries to depict the large territory of "Louisiane" which the French had recently lost control of to the British. In Mitchell's map and most other British maps of North America, the colonies extend west indefinitely, suggesting territorial ownership all the way to the west coast. Beaurain's map was issued separately from any atlas or book and used as a tool of persuasion to garner the support of important french citizens and dignitaries for the idea of aiding the Americans in their revolution against the British.
Many other changes distinguish this map from Mitchell’s, including in the Midwest and the Deep South. The map is highly detailed including settlements, forts, Indian territories and villages, river systems and mountain ranges. Ports along all coasts are depicted, and some islands of the Bahamas are noted. All colony names are indicated and while the names are in French, they are easily identifiable.
A beautifully drawn inset in the lower right quadrant depicts the mid-Atlantic colonies in impressive detail. The inset is entitled "Carte de Nouvelle York de la Nouvelle Jersey, d'une Partie de la Nouvelle Angleterre de celle Pensilvany du Maryland et de la Virginy."
The entire map is done in decorative Rococo style with much flourish, and embellished with a lovely title cartouche, a scroll framing the inset, and vignettes featuring Mars the God of War observing the winged figure Fame proclaim the founding of the of the new country.
This is the second state of this very rare map, with most examples residing in esteemed institutions such as the Library of Congress, Newberry Library, Cleveland Public Library, University of Kansas and Yale University.
Condition: Map is in B+ condition with a few minor marginal pin holes and one small tear that enters the image at the top by 1 inch. Damp staining is apparent on the verso, but not on the face of the map.