John Thomson. “Southern Provinces of the United States.” From A New General Atlas. Edinburgh: J. Thomson, 1817. 19 1/2 x 23 1/4. Engraving by Hewitt. Full original hand color. Very good condition. Inset view of “Characteristic Scenery of the Hudson River.”
In the early nineteenth century, the British cartographic publishers were producing the finest maps in the world. John Thomson, working in Edinburgh, was one of the leading British cartographers and his maps are good evidence of the quality of work issued in Great Britain at the time. This striking map of the southeastern U.S. is an particularly good example of his work. It was issued at an interesting period in the history of the American southeast. The state of Georgia is of particular note, for its borders are shown as they were in 1798 just before the Mississippi Territory was established, extending from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. It is not unusual for a British map maker to be late in reflecting internal American information on his maps, but the nearly twenty year lapse here makes one wonder whether Thomson was in fact a Georgian chauvinist. While somewhat anachronistic, the information of settlements, rivers, mountains, and ethnological details is fascinating. Overall, a fine map of the American southeast.