FADEN, William (1750-1836)
The United States of North America: with the British Territories and those of Spain, according to the Treaty, of 1784
[London]: Wm. Faden, Feby. 11th, 1793. Copper-engraved map, full period hand colouring. Sheet size: 24 1/2 x 35 1/8 inches.
The extremely rare fifth issue of one of the most important early maps of the United States.
Faden's sequence of maps of the United States represents one of the most important cartographic depictions of the newly independent republic. The present map is the fifth issue of the fourteen total appellations (including the parent plan and thirteen subsequent issues), and is one of the extremely rare first five appellations of this series. The Faden sequence comprises a critical and fascinating series of historical documents regarding the political development of the United States, especially since each issue captures a distinct stage in America's process of transformative change.
The present map depicts the United States' boundaries as determined by the Treaty of 1784, when in actuality it is referring to the settlement agreed to at the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3rd, 1783, which ended the Revolutionary War. This treaty came into effect in April, 1784. The map is in part based on John Mitchell's A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America (1755) that was used by delegates during the treaty process. While the United States was granted a large territory from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River, and from the northern frontiers of Florida to the Canadian border, this map shows that the settled area of the nation was confined to the former Thirteen Colonies, and the two newly admitted states of Vermont (1791) and Kentucky (1792). Even then, the western boundaries of many of the states, past the Appalachians, are undefined. Although Washington, D.C. was in the process of being laid out, it was not yet built, and is absent from the map. One of the most interesting aspects of the map is its labeling of "Franklinia" or the "New State of Franklin." This refers to an attempt by settlers in the Great Smoky Mountains to secede from North Carolina and to form a new state. From 1785 to 1789, seven of the states of the Union endorsed the plan, but it failed to achieve the required two-thirds support to be admitted as a state at the Constitutional Convention. Various lands in Kentucky and the future Tennessee are shown to be reserved for war veterans from "Virginia" and "North Carolina." Another curious appearance is the name of "Indiana" in what is now West Virginia, but nowhere near the future state of that name. Various areas in the southern Midwest are shown to be owned by private land development companies including the "Wabash" and "Ohio" companies. One such enterprise was headed by "Colonel Simmes [sic]," John Cleves Symmes (1742-1814), an eccentric New Jersey magistrate who later wrote a book which theorized that the interior of the earth was both hollow and inhabitable, and could be entered through the poles.
In the same treaty, Spain received possession of Florida from Britain, and the vast Louisiana Territory from France. In the north, although the treaty was supposed to have settled the boundary with Canada from the Great Plains to the Atlantic, a series of geographic misconceptions left the frontier in a nebulous state. Faden elected to present the extreme British conception of the border in northern Maine, and in the northwest, the border was supposed to run west to the source of the Mississippi, when in reality the source was located well to the south. The map also features "The Twenty Leagues Line" located off of the east coast that marked the exclusive maritime jurisdiction of the United States. The composition is completed by an especially finely engraved and coloured title cartouche which depicts scenes of commerce in the prosperous new nation.
Stevens & Tree, "Comparative Cartography," 80e, in Tooley, The Mapping of America ; not in Phillips, A List of Maps of America.