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THE UNITED STATES,
MEXICO AND THE WEST INDIES:
INTENDED AS AN ACCOMPANIMENT TO
MAP OF THESE COUNTRIES.
BY JOHN MELISH.
A NEW EDITION, GREATLY IMPROVED.
PUBLISHED BY A. T. GOODRICH.
J. & J. Harper, Printers.
Southern District of New-York, ss. BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the 15th day of March, in the fiftieth vear of the Independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1826, Andrew T. Goodrich, of the said District, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right wbereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:
“A Geographical Description of the United States, with the contiguous conntries, including Mexico and the West Indies ; intended as an accompaniment to Melish's Map of these countries. By John Melish. A new Edition, greatly improved."
In conformity to the Act of Congress of the United States, entitled, “ An Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such
he authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned." And also to an Act, entitled, “An Act, supplementary to an Act, entitled an Act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprie. tors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints."
The first edition of this work was published in 1816. The object of the publication was to present a view of the whole United States Territory, with so much of the contiguous countries as were intimately connected with it; and as the map was necessarily on a small scale, it was judged expedient to prepare an accompaniment, comprising a series of Statistical and Topographical Tables, with an Outline of the General Geography of the country.
The work having answered the original expectation, it was improved from time to time so as to keep pace with the progressive geography of the country.
When the late treaty was negotiated with Spain, which had reference to the map in fixing the south-west boundary, it was determined to bring forward an entire new edition of the Map, exhibiting Florida as a part of the United States, and marking all alterations that had taken place in the country, up to the time of publication; and from a conviction that Mexico would soon become independent, and would eventually be of great importance to the United States, it was determined to add another sheet exhibiting a complete view of that very interesting country, with all the most important West India Islands. This was accordingly executed, and the supplement was so enlarged as to exhibit a view of the whole West Indies, with Guatimala, the Isthmus of Panama, and the northern provinces of South America, now forming part of the Republic of Colombia.
The Description having answered a valuable purpose, it was determined to bring forward a new and improved edition as soon as possible after access could be had to the United States census of 1820. This, it was presumed, could be comprised in a work of 250 pages; but, on arranging the necessary details, it has swelled out to more than 500 pages; and that too without having a single redundant article. To this has been added 12 local maps, so as to illustrate some of the most important positions in the country.
The whole is now before the public, and it is respectfully presumed that it will be found one of the most complete, and certainly the cheapest work of the kind that ever was published in the United States.
It was proposed to insert various testimonies in favour if the work at the close of this volume, but as these cannot, of course, have reference to this edition of the Description, it has been declined; and the work is left to rest on its own intrinsic merits; but the author may here subjoin a few remarks on the importance of the present plan.
From the great extent of country to be represented, the map behoved to be on a scale comparatively small. The scale chosen was 60 miles to an inch ; and with this delineation the map spreads over a surface of between 16 and 17 square feet. It exhibits to the eye all the most important features of the countries which it represents:the Land, the Water, the Civil Divisions, the Mountains, the Towns, Roads, &c.; and the descriptive matter introduced on its surface is as ample as it could possibly be made, consistent with due attention to perspicuity. The description contains 500 pages of closely printed matter, which, if spread out on a plain surface, would exceed
more than four times the surface of the map. A very small portion of this matter only could have been introduced on the Map, and yet the whole is necessary to the illustration of the subject. Taken by itself, the picture exhibited by the Map is an intelligent and a pleasing one; but without something to direct the attention to a practical improvement, it would soon lose its interest. Being examined in connexion with the description, the reader has not only a large addition to the topographical matter, but a great fund of Geological and Statistical information ; together with an account of the civil and moral condition of the inhabitants.
Having had access to the best geographical materials, and having used his utmost endeavours to put them into a form calculated to instruct his fellow citizens, the author respectfully consigns this work to their care, believing that his labour will not have been in vain.
JOHN MELISH. Philadelphia, July 4, 1822.