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The State of Franklin & Land Rights of Native Americans

Scarce map of the United States, which includes the State of Franklinia in Western North Carolina.

One of the first and finest English maps to display the boundaries of the newly recognized United States. Faden published the map (originally titled The British Colonies in North America), in 1777, during the Revolutionary War, and 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.

Faden's map of the United States is one of the most fascinating maps of the period. While its most noteworthy feature is its references to Franklinia--New State of Franklin, it has a number of other fascinating bits of contemporary information. Beginning in Louisiana Territory, there are references to New Iberia and Arkansas or the Fair Nation. The borders of the Carolinas are shown extending beyond the Mississippi to the Pacific Coast, with a reference to the South Sea Charter. The source of the Missouri is noted as unknown. Massive Western Territory, covering Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and part of Minnesota.

Faden also depicts the various company lands, which existed in the West, including New Jersey Company, Wabash Company, the Army Lands, the Lands reserved for the Carolina Troops, Colonel Simms, Donation Lands, Seven Ranges, Virginia Troops, etc. Georgia runs to the Mississippi, with lots of Indian Tribes and East and West Florida shown. Several early roads in Texas. The Twenty Leagues Line is interesting to note and indicates that the British denomination of East and West Florida has been retained, although perhaps not adopted by the Spanish.

The map is one of the few maps to record the short-lived state of "Franklinia." 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.

State of the Map

This is the Sixth edition of the map and one of the most sought after, which includes 3 major changes:

  • One of the Earliest Appearances of Tennessee (here called Tannessee Government), part of the "Lands Reserved For North Carolina Troops."
  • The map shows the new national capital, "Washington or / the Federal City."
  • The map discusses the land ownership rights of Native Americans

Respecting The Lands of Native Americans

Perhaps the most interesting addition to this state of the map is the discussion of Native American land ownership rights.    The lands outline in purple are described as:

The Aborigines or Indians and Boundaries of the Lands which they have Granted {The Whole of the Countries not actually settled by Europeans, should belong by right to the Aborigines, but our Intention has been only to Indicate the few Limits that are known of their respective Possessions, as well as the Boundaries of Lands granted by them, or those with the Several States, to which they have agreed}.

A fascinating statement, perhaps in part reflecting the the British anti-American sentiments of the moment, as certainly this would not have been Britain's position had America remained a group of British Colonies.

Condition Description
Minor offsetting, as usual.
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. (Stevens & Tree, possibly erroneously, call for the title date to be "1793").
William Faden Biography

William Faden (1749-1836) was the most prominent London mapmaker and publisher of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. His father, William Mackfaden, was a printer who dropped the first part of his last name due to the Jacobite rising of 1745. 

Apprenticed to an engraver in the Clothworkers' Company, he was made free of the Company in August of 1771. He entered into a partnership with the family of Thomas Jeffreys, a prolific and well-respected mapmaker who had recently died in 1771. This partnership lasted until 1776. 

Also in 1776, Faden joined the Society of Civil Engineers, which later changed its name to the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers. The Smeatonians operated as an elite, yet practical, dining club and his membership led Faden to several engineering publications, including canal plans and plans of other new engineering projects.

Faden's star rose during the American Revolution, when he produced popular maps and atlases focused on the American colonies and the battles that raged within them. In 1783, just as the war ended, Faden inherited his father's estate, allowing him to fully control his business and expand it; in the same year he gained the title "Geographer in Ordinary to his Majesty."

Faden also commanded a large stock of British county maps, which made him attractive as a partner to the Ordnance Survey; he published the first Ordnance map in 1801, a map of Kent. The Admiralty also admired his work and acquired some of his plates which were re-issued as official naval charts.

Faden was renowned for his ingenuity as well as his business acumen. In 1796 he was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts. With his brother-in-law, the astronomer and painter John Russell, he created the first extant lunar globe.

After retiring in 1823 the lucrative business passed to James Wyld, a former apprentice. He died in Shepperton in 1826, leaving a large estate.