HUTCHINS, THOMAS. 1730-1789.
A Topographical Description of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and North Carolina, Comprehending the Rivers Ohio, Kenhawa, Sioto, Cherokee, Wabash, Illinois, Missisippi, &c. The Climate, Soil and Produce, Whether Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral; The Mountains, Creeks, Roads, Distances, Latitudes, &c. and of Every Part, Laid Down in the Annexed Map. London: for the author, and sold by J. Almon, 1778.
, ii, 67,  pp. 2 folding engraved plans, and folding engraved table of distances. 8vo (208 x 123 mm). Early blue wrappers.
[AND WITH]: A New Map of the Western Parts of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina; Comprehending the River Ohio, and all the Rivers, which Fall into It; Part of the River Mississippi, the Whole of the Illinois River, Lake Erie; Part of the Lakes Huron, Michigan &c. And all the Country Bordering on these Lakes and Rivers. London: T. Hutchins, 1778. 4 engraved sheets joined as 2 (approximately 940 x 1130 mm joined), with hand-coloring in outline. Housed in custom cloth folder and with text in cloth clamshell case. Text with minor toning including wrappers, but near fine. Map with a few minor stray stains, faint toning close to joins.
FIRST EDITION OF "BY FAR THE BEST MAP OF THE WEST PRINTED TO THAT TIME" (Streeter). The accompanying text is FIRST EDITION, FIRST STATE. Hutchins, born in New Jersey, was a military engineer in the British Army in America. When the Revolutionary War broke out he was unwilling to fight against his countrymen and was subsequently imprisoned for high treason. After his release in 1780, he returned to America, via France, and with Benjamin Franklin's aid was made official geographer of the United States. He was the first and only man to serve at this post. Hutchins compiled this phenomenal map from his own personal surveys made from 1764 to 1775, partly from his reconnoitering tours during the French and Indian Wars. This four-sheet, separately-issued map, which is mentioned in the title of the text volume, covers from the Allegheny Mountains in the east to past the Mississippi River in the west and to about the mouth of the Arkansas River in the southwest and the Wisconsin River in the northwest. It is generally considered the first true general map of the American Midwest and Cumming calls it the best colonial map of the region south of the Great Lakes. Clark I:258; Cumming British Maps of Colonial America p 36; Field 744; Graff 2029; Howes H846 ("d"); Sabin 34054; Streeter sale 1299-1300.
Acquisition: Siebert sale, Sotheby's New York, May 21, 1999, lot 289, $37,000.