12. DANIELCOXE.
"A Map of Carolana and of the River Meschacebe."
In A Description of the English Province of Carolana, by the Spaniards
call’d Florida, And by the French La Louisiane
. London, 1722.

Daniel Coxe (1673-1739) was the eldest son of Dr. Daniel Coxe of London, who received an immense grant of land in the lower Mississippi valley from Charles II. Daniel Coxe lived in the American colonies from 1702 to 1716. After returning to England he published an account of his travels and a description of the area encompassed by his father’s claim.

The above map was published in a promotional tract entitled A Description of the English Province of Carolana, by the Spaniards call’d Florida, And by the French La Louisiane in London in 1722 and republished in 1741. A legend on the map claims that "Carolana" is bounded to the west by New Mexico and to the east by "Prickt Lines from Port Royal in Carolina to the Palachean Mountains, & thence to the Lake Champlain." Coxe’s map is the first English map of the Mississippi valley. An insert map entitled "A Map of the Mouth of the River Meschacebe" gives a fairly accurate representation of the Mississippi delta. Information for this insert map may have come from an expedition to the Mississippi which was commissioned by Coxe’s father in 1698.

Coxe’s map improved on earlier maps by eliminating the mountains other cartographers usually depicted along the Mississippi River, and by accurately positioning the Ozark and Appalachian mountains. Certain fanciful features of American geography, such as a shortened "Long River" and a very large "Lake of Thoyago" in New Mexico, also appear on Coxe’s map.

Coxe’s map is not considered a cartographic landmark but his book’s development of the concept of symmetrical geography exerted considerable influence on geographical thinking about western North America. Coxe believed that the Mississippi valley demonstrated symmetrical geography and that the western slopes of what would be called the Rocky Mountains likewise mimicked the eastern slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. More important to the search for a passage to the western sea, Coxe popularized the notion of "an easy Communication betwixt the river Meschacebe [Mississippi River], and the South Sea."

Coxe’s conception of this "easy communication" helped convince a group of Albemarle County land speculators known as the Loyal Company to plan an expedition to the West in the 1750s (see Section III). Joshua Fry of the Loyal Company and Thomas Jefferson each owned a copy of Coxe’s book, possibly the 1741 edition.


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