Back to the William R. Talbot Home Page.  Back to the Maps Page
  William Faden. “The United States of North America, according to the Treaty of 1784” (London: 1796).  
Faden, America, Treaty 1784

Faden’s Superb Map of the Newly Formed United States
featuring the State of Franklinia

William Faden. “The United States of North America: with the British Territories and Those of Spain, according to the Treaty of 1784” (London: William Faden, Feb. 11, 1796). Copperplate engraving with original full and outline hand color. 20 3/4 x 24 5/8" at neat line. Sheet size: 23 x 31". Old transference, minor surface soiling and spotting, marginal creasing at top and bottom edges; a couple of tiny tears at bottom center of margin. Large title cartouche at l. r. showing the British bartering with New World natives. Excellent condition overall.

One of the first and finest English maps to display the boundaries of the newly recognized United States, the present is the sixth recorded state of this scarce and finely engraved map by the greatest British cartographer of the period. Faden published the map (originally titled The British Colonies in North America) in 1777 during the Revolutionary War, and he regularly revised and updated it as new information became available. The map covers an area from Newfoundland and James Bay to the southern tip of Texas, here labeled “Cenis” for the Indian tribe that occupied the eastern region. The United States is rendered in solid yellow, while other political entities are indicated by colored outline. Faden distinguishes between the British territories of today’s Canada and the Bahamas and the Spanish territories of Louisiana and Florida. He also notes the large “Western Territory” north of the Ohio River.

In this edition of the map, the date has been advanced to 1796 and there is an interesting notation added to the color key that all lands not settled by Europeans “should belong by right to the Aborigines.” The sixth state is the first to name the “Tannesse Government” and to show the new national capital, “Washington or / the Federal City.” The map is also one of a small number (fewer than 20) to record the short-lived state of “Franklinia” in what is now eastern Tennessee. Franklinia was formed by settlers in 1784, but it was never recognized by Congress. Eventually it was annexed by North Carolina and later reverted back to Tennessee. Also indicative of the sixth edition, the words “Cape B” in line five of the color key have been expanded to “Cape Breton.”

Aided by the fine quality of engraving for which Faden was known, the details are superb and easy to read. They include topography, rivers, towns, Indian settlements, and extensive notes about political boundaries and characteristics of various regions (e.g., “Extensive Meadows Full of Buffaloes and Elks and Deers” in today’s eastern Nebraska).

An excellent example of this beautiful map representing the best eighteenth-century British understanding of the cartography of North America and featuring many firsts in the mapping of the nascent United States.

Refs.: LeGear, 6010; Sellers and Van Ee, Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, no. 733; Henry Stevens and Roland Tree, “Comparative Cartography,” no. 80f, in Tooley, Mapping of America.

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot