VIRGINIA - (Bishop James MADISON [1749-1812])
Letter signed by Virginia Governor William H. Cabell to Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull, sending him a copy of the Bishop Madison map of Virginia
Richmond: 3 March 1808. 1p.
Evidence of the early distribution of the Bishop Madison map of Virginia.
"One of the most important developments of early American cartography was the indigenous production of state maps. Whereas individual maps of the colonies produced before the Revolutionary War were most likely published in London, the entire cartographic process - surveying, compiling, drafting, engraving and publishing - shifted to the United States after Independence ... In 1807 Virginia took the lead among the southern states by completing the first state map for that part of the country. Bishop James Madison, cousin of the President [and President of the College of William & Mary], directed the production of the map ... Although Bishop Madison saw the necessity of publishing a state map, he did not possess the skills necessary to produce the map himself. After gathering information from completed state-boundary surveys, recent observations of latitude and longitude, and county surveys from local surveyors, he enlisted the aid of several associates. Beginning in 1803, William Prentis, of Petersburg, supervised the compilation of the map; William Davis, a 'neat, correct and intelligent draughtsman,' prepared the final drawings; and Frederick Bossler, a local Richmond engraver, etched the drawing onto the copperplates ... Madison, Prentis, and Davis privately published the map in Richmond, dedicating the work to the General Assembly of Virginia [who subsequently ordered 20 copies for distribution to Congress and to the legislatures of each state]. Although the state government neither sponsored nor subsidized the project, the map was created solely from resources and talent within Virginia" (Mapping of Virginia).