Map, "ESSAY DU COURS DE L'OYO avec les Forts François et Anglois"

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  • Publisher: George Louis Le Rouge; After work by: Joshua Fry & Peter Jefferson
  • Paris, France
  • 1756
  • Black and White Line Engraving
  • 1988-420

Map: "ESSAY DU COURS DE L'OYO avec les Forts Francois et Anglois"; based partially on John Peter Salley's report from Thomas Walker's expedition of 1750. Historical Information: In 1753, the British Ministry, who took the position that the Ohio River and surrounding lands were located within the western bounds of the colony of Virginia, ordered that a message be sent to the French demanding that they abandon Fort Le Boeuf and vacate the Ohio altogether. Upon receiving the order, Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie dispatched Major George Washington to deliver the message. Washington was unsuccessful in forcing the French to retreat and returned to Williamsburg with the French response that they had every right to establish garrisons in the area since the Ohio was discovered by La Salle and therefore rightfully belonged to France. Washington kept a journal of his western mission, which was published in Williamsburg in 1754. Copies of his Journal were sent to England where Thomas Jefferys reprinted it. To accompany the text, Jefferys included a small Map of the Western parts of the Colony of Virginia as far as the Mississipi. In 1756, George Louis Le Rouge published a French edition of Washington's work, copying the map that Jefferys had included, altering the title to "Essay du Eours de l'Oyo avec les Forts Francois et Anglois". It is the French edition of Jefferys' map that is illustrated here. Although Jefferys did not cite his source for the map, there is evidence to suggest that the geography may have come from portions of Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson's draft of Virginia sent in 1751 to Lord Halifax, president of the Board of Trade & Plantations . Halifax, who had requested each of the colonies to provide information on the western territories, commissioned Thomas Jefferys to engrave, print, and publish the map submitted by the Virginians. Since Fry and Jefferson's manuscript map no longer survives, it is impossible to determine if Jefferys faithfully copied their geography. The draft was accompanied by "An Account of the Bounds of the Colony of Virginia & of its back settlements, & of the lands towards the Mountins & Lakes," prepared by Fry, in which he included reports from two other Virginia expeditions, one by John Howard and John Peter Salley in 1742, and another by Dr. Thomas Walker in 1750. Walker explored southwestern Virginia and Kentucky and named the Cumberland River, Gap, and Mountains. The surviving report suggests that Fry and Jefferson included information on their original draft that Jefferys chose to eliminate from the printed version. Fry notes in the text that Thomas Walker "built a House on Cumberland River, as is noted in the Map". The printed version of Fry and Jefferson's map did not extend far enough west to include the Cumberland River. Since the Cumberland River and Walker's house, along with other streams mentioned in the report, are clearly visible on the map published by Jefferys in Washington's Journal, it is believed that Jefferys used the portion he eliminated from the printed version of Fry and Jefferson's map to create this smaller one. Thus, the maps found in the English and French editions of Washington's Journal likely provide the only source for information Fry and Jefferson included for the extreme western territory of Virginia.

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