Nouveaux Voyages de Mr. Le Baron de Lahontan Dans L’Amerique Septentrionale, Qui contiennent une relation…
Rare first edition of Lahontan’s description and mapping of New France, which propagated the myth of the Northwest Passage
Out of stock
Complete first edition, rarely seen on the market — a true collector’s item!
The maps, which are first states, are described as follows:
1. Carte que les Gnacsitares ont Dessiné sur… Carte de la Rivière Longue et de quelques autres qui se Déchargent dans le Grand Fleuve Mississippi…
A fascinating and very significant rare map that influenced a generation of some of the most important cartographers of the 18th century including Guillaume de l’Isle and John Senex, and their depictions of the American Northwest. The intriguing map is a composite of two depictions. The first draws a fictitious “Rivière Longue” emanating from the Great Lakes region and the Mississippi, while the second is a depiction of the “Rivière Morte” that was claimed to have been drawn from reports by the Gnacsitares tribe. This latter river system emanated from a Western mountain range, which we now know as the Rocky Mountains and was linked to another river system on its Western side in the region of the “Pais des Mozeemlek.”
That it is a first state can be discerned by the omission of a longitudinal scale at the top of the map.
Lahontan’s map was influential because it provided the possibility of an internal river route to the Pacific from the Great Lakes region. Lahontan’s depictions of the “Rivière Longue” and the “Rivière Morte,” which eventually became known as the “River of the West” with its various fanciful drawings, might be pure fabrications on the part of Lahontan.
His map is adorned with different markings showing his route to the interior from the French outpost of Misilimakinak as well as displaying the different French trade outposts and forts near Lake Superior and Lake des Illinois (Michigan) and Native tribes such as the Mozeemlek, the Gnacsitares, the Tahuglauks, the Esanapes, the Eokors who were supposedly located on Lahontan’s fictitious rivers. Also added by Lahontan are drawings of lodgings and canoes of the Tahuglauk tribe and their copper medals.
However, it is conceivable that Lahontan’s depictions were not entirely fabrications and were actually the result of his discovery, or (more likely) his access to native reports of the Missouri River. It should be noted that Lahontan is basing his recollections on actual travels to the upper Mississippi River valley in 1688 whilst leading French forces in their conflicts with the Iroquois Nations. As such, native claims of the Missouri River, the longest river in North America which does in fact begin in the Rocky Mountains in Montana and does flow east into the Mississippi north of St. Louis, Missouri, could have come to his attention.
Lahontan’s map should therefore be seen not only as possibly a fanciful depiction that influenced the cartography of the Northwest, but also as a potential first impression of the Missouri, America’s longest river.
2. Carte Generale De Canada. Dediee au Roy de Danemark Par son tres humble et tres obeissant et tres fidele serviteur Lahontan
Centered on the Great Lakes, this map extends from from Acadia and the mouth of the St. Lawrence, to the upper Mississippi River and the Grand Lac des Assinipoval. A number of forts and towns are identified, including Boston, Manhattan (Manate) but without Long Island, Montreal, Quebec (Kebek), and Chicago (Chegakou). Portages between rivers are marked with a Maltese cross and the Indian Villages that were destroyed by the Iroquois are marked by a shield with three dots. A dashed line extending across the map indicates the “limits of Canada per the French” and a note below indicates that this boundary also served as the route that various Indian tribes used to wage war with the Iroquois.
2 vols. 2 pp. Frontis., . 279 pp., two maps (one folding), 12 folding plates; 2 pp. Frontis., 220,  pp. + folding map, 10 folding plates. 12mo. Old speckled calf. Spines rebacked with modern calf in a contrasting color, raised bands and gilt lettered labels. First edition, first issue with the angel emblem on the title page of both volumes. Each volume: 10.7 x 16.5 cm (4.2 x 6.5 in); Carte Generale de Canada: 53.3 x 43.2 cm (21 x 17 in); Carte de la Riviere Longue: 66 x 29.2 cm (26 x 11. 5 in) Volume 1: Text generally clean with occasional foxing. The large Carte Generale du Canada has some stains, mostly at upper right where it touched a text page; the right margin is trimmed close where fitted into the book with a two inch fold tear and some creasing. The plate facing p. 242 creased with a small tear where folded into the book. Volume 2: Some creasing to large Riviere Longue map; minor transference; Plate facing p. 133 small tear where folded into book; lower corner of leaf C12 lacking, text not affected.
Kershaw 299-306, Mapp, P., The Elusive West and the contest for Empire, 2011. Howes L25; Karpinski p. 127; Kershaw #282, #289, #298; McCorkle 703.3, 703.4; Wheat #86.