First French Edition of Pike's Cornerstone Report
"Voyage au Noveau-Mexique, a la Suite d'une Expedition Ordonnee par le Gouvernement des Etats-Unis, pour Reconnoitre les Sources des Rivieres Arkansas, Kanses, La Plate et Pierre-Jaune...", Pike, Zebulon
Subject: Central United States
Period: 1812 (published)
Color: Black & White
5.3 x 8.3 inches
13.5 x 21.1 cm
This is the first French edition of this important report covering the first United States government expedition to the Southwest, depicting Pike's journey from 1805-1807. The French edition is translated by M. Breton from the 1811 English edition, which was substantially improved and revised over the 1810 American edition. Pike's book is one of the most important of all American travel narratives, and stands alongside those of Lewis and Clark as a cornerstone of early western exploration. Included are accounts of Pike's travels to find the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers, his explorations along the Mississippi River, and his Spanish escort to Santa Fe, New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico. The three folding maps included at the back of the volume have been corrected and improved over earlier editions and printed on heavy paper. The maps include:
Premiere Partie de la Carte de l'Interieur de la Louisiane (17.8 x 17.3") [and] Carte de l'Interieur de la Louisiane, Comprenant tous les Pays jusqu'alors inconnus... (15.1 x 17.1"). These two sheets, each with their own borders, depict Pike's journey to the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers. The maps cover the region from the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers west to the Rio Grande and north to above Highest Peak (later to be named Pike’s Peak). They depict the path of the American Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains as well as the route of the pursuing Spaniards. A legend at bottom left identifies American camps, Spanish camps, villages and survey work (western sheet). The maps are filled with numerous notations in French including "Source of the Red River of the Mississippi," and "Innumerable Herds of Buffaloes &c..." Wheat notes that these two maps were "the first maps of this entire region to display knowledge derived from actual explorations" and were "milestones in the mapping of the American West."
Carte du Mississippi, Depuis sa Source jusqu'a l'Embouchure du Missouri (29.5 x 9.0"). This long map follows the course of the Mississippi River from the Missouri River to its source and farther north to Lake Winnipeg. Includes numerous notations describing features of the river, locates scores of Indian villages, and shows the winter quarters of Pike, Potier and Dickson.
Octavo, 2 volumes bound in one (368 pages and 373 pages). Hardbound in quarter leather over marbled boards with gilt titling on spine. Published by D'Hautel in Paris.
References: Wagner-Camp #9:3; Howes #P373; Sabin #62838; Streeter (Texas) #1047C; cf. Wheat (TMW) #297-298.
The folding maps have very crisp impressions on clean, heavy sheets with light offsetting. Text is clean and tight with an occasional spot of foxing. Covers have light wear and the front joint is cracking at top.