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Rare Separately Published Example of Arrowsmith's Republic of Texas Icon

A nice example of Arrowsmith's landmark map of Texas, bound into William Kennedy's The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, published in London in 1841.

John Arrowsmith first issued his Map of Texas, in 1841, in his famous London Atlas. The map also appeared in William Kennedy's book The Rise, Progress and Prospects of the Republic of Texas, in the same year. Arrowsmith again published the Texas map in his 1843 atlas. The map immediately became the model for maps of the new republic and was copied extensively by other publishers.

Arrowsmith's map contains the most up-to-date depiction of the latest political divisions. In addition, four years of study by the General Land Office of Texas provided Arrowsmith with the latest information on geographical features, roadways, and the location of Indian tribes. The seals of the Republic of Texas and the General Land Office of Texas appear beneath the title. Below, a statement indicates that Texas was "Recognized as an Independent State by Great Britain, 16th Novr., 1840."

The map was issued at a time when Great Britain was actively trying to establish a source for cotton in an independent Texas, and so opposed its annexation to the United States. British diplomats attempted to draw a treaty with Texas, France, and Mexico, while the United States debated the issue of Texas's admission to the union. Arrowsmith's map stands as an endorsement of the most extensive territorial claims made by the Republic of Texas.

Martin & Martin note:

Arrowsmith's map was probably the first to show the full extent of Texas's claim to the region of the upper Rio Grande, an area included within Texas's boundaries until the Compromise of 1850.. The popularity and general acceptance of the map has been documented by the fact that many map makers copied liberally from Arrowsmith's map, including some of its errors. For example, a number of later maps continued Arrowsmith's statement printed on the western, arid region of Texas that "this tract of Country explored by LeGrande in 1833 is naturally fertile well wooded & with a fair proportion of water.

Editorial comments throughout the map reveal its intention to encourage development with phrases such as "good land," "rich land well timbered," "beautiful prairie," and "valuable land." A forest shown below the Red River is Lower Cross Timbers, which was considered in 1834, by the U.S. Government, to be the "western boundary of habitable land."

The 1843 state of the map adds the following:

  • Red River Grant
  • Fisher & Company Grant
  • Mr. H. Castro (Grant), plus 2 sections along the Rio Grande
  • Mr. Kennedy (Grant), plus 2 sections along the Rio Grande
  • Al Bourgeois d'Orvanne

These names indicate projected land holdings. In 1842, for example, Kennedy started proceedings to settle six hundred families south of the Nueces.

Al Bourgeois d'Orvanne Bourgeois was a company almost certainly organized by Bourgeois d'Orvanne, not only to profit by the sale of the shares, but also to promote emigration to the concession of June 3, 1842, granted by President Houston to him and Armand Ducos. Using as a basis that 1200 families were to be settled on this concession, and 500 more on another granted July 6th, located along the lower end of the Rio Grande River, almost astronomical prospective profits were set forth in considerable detail. The prospectus for colonization discusses in general terms the benefits to France and to the individual of such emigration and describes, also quite generally, the two concessions from which the emigrant could choose a place to settle.

Apparently unsuccessful in securing emigrants for his concessions, in September, 1843, he interested the Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas, often referred to as the Adelsverein, in the concession of June 3, 1842, and on April 7, 1844, it was formally acquired by that group. Bourgeois was appointed Colonial Director and in May, 1844, he and Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, the Commissioner General, set sail for Texas. There they learned that President Houston had refused to extend the time of the Bourgeois grant of June 3, 1842, which accordingly had lapsed, and in August Bourgeois was notified that his services were no longer required. Bourgeois apparently spent some time in Texas in 1842.   When in Texas he sufficiently impressed President Houston to tie up the Cherokee lands as security for a loan of one million dollars he was to make to Texas. Biesele in his History of the German Settlements in Texas has an account at pages 71-76 of the June 3, 1842, concession and of Bourgeois's efforts to keep it alive, and incidentally remarks (note page 71) that Bourgeois was a Frenchman who added "d'Orvanne" to his name in order to be considered of noble birth.    Nothing seems to be recorded of Bourgeois d'Orvanne before he visited Texas in 1842 or after his dismissal from the Adelsverein in 1844.


Arrowsmith's Texas map is scarce on the market, almost always appearing either as a sheet map from Arrowsmith's London Atlas or removed from Kennedy's book.

The present example, being sold separately and mounted on line by the Andriveau Goujon firm, is quite rare on the market. 

Condition Description
Dissected and laid on linen, as issued. Repiared tear (paper and linen) extending from just below Natchitoches to the Brazos River. Remnants of an old library stamp below title. Includes Andriveau-Goujon bookseller bookplate on verso, as issued.
Amon Carter Museum, Crossroads of Empire, p. 35; Martin & Martin, pl. 32, pp. 55, 127; Streeter, Texas, 1373a; Taliaferro, p. 15; Wheat, p. 173-74, no. 451.
John Arrowsmith Biography

The Arrowsmiths were a cartographic dynasty which operated from the late-eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth. The family business was founded by Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823), who was renowned for carefully prepared and meticulously updated maps, globes, and charts. He created many maps that covered multiple sheets and which were massive in total size. His spare yet exacting style was recognized around the world and mapmakers from other countries, especially the young country of the United States, sought his maps and charts as exemplars for their own work.

Aaron Arrowsmith was born in County Durham in 1750. He came to London for work around 1770, where he found employment as a surveyor for the city’s mapmakers. By 1790, he had set up his own shop which specialized in general charts. Arrowsmith had five premises in his career, most of which were located on or near Soho Square, a neighborhood the led him to rub shoulders with the likes of Joseph Banks, the naturalist, and Matthew Flinders, the hydrographer.

Through his business ties and employment at the Hydrographic Office, Arrowsmith made other important relationships with Alexander Dalrymple, the Hudson’s Bay Company, and others entities. In 1810 he became Hydrographer to the Prince of Wales and, in 1820, Hydrographer to the King.

Aaron Arrowsmith died in 1823, whereby the business and title of Hydrographer to the King passed to his sons, Aaron and Samuel, and, later, his nephew, John. Aaron Jr. (1802-1854) was a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and left the family business in 1832; instead, he enrolled at Oxford to study to become a minister. Samuel (1805-1839) joined Aaron as a partner in the business and they traded together until Aaron left for the ministry. Samuel died at age 34 in 1839; his brother presided over his funeral. The remaining stock and copper plates were bought at auction by John Arrowsmith, their cousin.

John (1790-1873) operated his own independent business after his uncle, Aaron Arrowsmith Sr., died. After 1839, John moved into the Soho premises of his uncle and cousins. John enjoyed considerable recognition in the geography and exploration community. Like Aaron Jr., John was a founder member of the RGS and would serve as its unofficial cartographer for 43 years. Several geographical features in Australia and Canada are named after him. He carried the title Hydrographer to Queen Victoria. He died in 1873 and the majority of his stock was eventually bought by Edward Stanford, who co-founded Stanford’s map shop, which is still open in Covent Garden, London today.