“The earliest account of West Florida. Ellicott’s report on the area influenced the eventual U.S. acquisition of the area.” Streeter

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132. ELLICOTT, Andrew. The Journal of Andrew Ellicott, Late Commissioner on Behalf of the United States during Part of the Year 1796, the Years 1797, 1798, 1799, and Part of the Year 1800: For Determining the Boundary between the United States and the Possessions of His Catholic Majesty in America, Containing Occasional Remarks on the Situation, Soil, Rivers, Natural Productions, and Diseases of the Different Countries on the Ohio, Mississippi, and Gulf of Mexico, with Six Maps Comprehending the Ohio, Mississippi from the Mouth of the Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico, the Whole of West Florida, and Part of East Florida. To which is Added an Appendix, Containing All the Astronomical Observations Made Use of for Determining the Boundary, with Many Others, Made in Different Parts of the Country for Settling the Geographical Positions of Some Important Points, with Maps of the Boundary on a Large Scale; likewise a Great Number of Thermometrical Observations Made at Different Times, and Places. Philadelphia: Printed by Budd & Bartram, for Thomas Dobson, at the Stone House, No. 41, South Second Street, 1803. [i-iii], iv-vii [1, blank], [1] 2-232, 232-299, [1-2] 3-151 [1, blank], [1, errata + 1, blank] pp., 14 copper-engraved folded maps, mostly on heavy laid paper (all untitled, drawn by Ellicott and engraved by Alexander Lawson). 4to (28 x 22 cm), original blue paper boards, original tan paper label with ink lettering. Professionally recased and washed. A few signatures lightly stained at right blank margins, otherwise a fine, untrimmed copy.

     First edition. American Imprints (1803) 4147. Buck 50. Clark II:89. Graff 1230. Howes E94: “First thorough American survey of the lower Mississippi and Gulf Regions.” Rader 1295. Sabin 22217: “One of the earliest books by an American author, which describes the vast regions traversed by the commission, and is indeed the pioneer account of regions then desert, and now teeming with life, activity and civilisation.” Servies, Bibliography of Florida 768. Siebert Sale 607. Streeter Sale 1531: “The earliest account of West Florida. Ellicott’s report on the area influenced the eventual. U.S. acquisition of the area.”

     This publication is by far the most comprehensive report on the trans-Appalachian West that had appeared at the time. Although principally concentrated on the Gulf Coast area, the work also includes valuable comments on Ohio and parts of the Midwest. The publication of this work in many ways opened the eyes of both the public and the government to the riches and possibilities of U.S. expansion into the areas discussed and was influential in persuading Jefferson to pursue the Louisiana Purchase. The maps are original contributions to knowledge of the area. The present work was based on U.S. and Spanish surveys following the Treaty of San Lorenzo. The work is also the first extensive description of West Florida.

     Andrew Ellicott (1754-1820) was one of the more important surveyors of his time. He was chosen, for example, to extend the legendary Mason-Dixon Line west, and his survey of the new District of Columbia became the standard for the nation’s new capital, supplanting L’Enfant. He tutored Meriwether Lewis in surveying techniques before the Lewis & Clark expedition. He ended his career as an instructor at West Point. See DAB. The superb maps were engraved by Alexander Lawson (Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, (revised edition), Vol. III, p. 100) and Benjamin Jones (Vol. II, p. 453). Engraver, publisher, Lawson (1773-1846) is best known for his engravings in Alexander Wilson’s American Ornithology (1808-1814) and Charles Lucien Bonaparte’s continuation of the same (1825-1833). Lawson was part of the Peale circle.


Sold. Hammer: $4,200.00; Price Realized: $5,145.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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