Written by the Only Official
Thomas Hutchins. An Historical Narrative and
Topographical Description of Louisiana and West-Florida...
Philadelphia: Printed for the Author and sold by Robert Aitken,
1784. First edition. Small octavo. 94, [1, Table of Distances], [1,
blank] pages. Table of Distances, present here, is lacking in some
copies. Bound in modern full black levant morocco, front board
lettered in gilt, spine tooled and ruled in gilt. Corners of text
and boards neatly rounded for rebinding. Minor rubbing to binding.
Text toned, with occasional foxing or soiling. Page 51/52 chipped
at bottom with no loss; page 65/66 restored at fore-edge (some text
restored); page 83/84 with a small hole near text with no loss.
Some soiling to later endleaves. Still, very good.
"Geographer of the United States"
Thomas Hutchins (1730-1789) was an American military officer who began the revolutionary war as a member of the British army. During his military service before the revolution (including a tour of duty during the French Indian War), he worked on survey projects in Florida and the Midwest, including participating in an expedition down the Ohio River to survey territory acquired in the Treaty of Paris (1763). During these surveys, he would write useful accounts and make maps, some of which were the first maps of the territories visited. Although he was a British officer, he was sympathetic to the colonial cause when the revolution began, and secretly worked on behalf of the colonists (he was stationed in England when the conflict started). He was arrested, charged with treason and imprisoned in 1780. He soon escaped from a British prison and journeyed to France to contact Benjamin Franklin to request to join the American army, which was accepted. Little is known about his military service as an American officer.
In 1781, Congress appointed him the "Geographer of the United States," the only person to ever hold this title.
The present title describes the enormous Louisiana territory and West Florida, both their history and geography. Although there were some advertisements of a map to accompany this work, no copy has ever had this map (indeed, this map has never been seen anywhere).
Evans 18532. Howes H846. Sabin 34056.
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