Early German History of the American Revolution
With an Extremely Rare Map of the Newly Formed United States
A later printing of Sprengel's Allgemeines historisches Taschenbuch oder Abrisz der merkwurdigsten neuen Welt-Begebenheiten enthaltend fur 1784 die Geschichte der Revolution von Nord-Amerika, which first appeared in Berlin in 1783. A still earlier version under the title Ueber den Jetzigen Nordamericanischen Krieg was published at Leipzig, in 1782.
The volume opens with an interesting list of source books on the American Revolution, mostly English language, which suggests the book was a serious scholarly work for the time.
Map of the United States
The map, which is present here in a beautiful impression with original color, is based on William Faden's famous map, originally issued after the signing of the Treaty of Peace in September 1783. The map is titled in German and has an inset of Newfoundland:
Die Vereinigten Staaten von Nord=America. nach der Wm. Faden 1783. [with inset:] Neu-Fundland order Terre-Neuve.
Curiously, while the cartouche title is in German, and the text below the map is in French, the annotations within the map are entirely in English, including many references to Native Tribes (Eastern Sioux, Delawares, Creeks, Osages, Cherokees, and others), and other interesting information, for example:
Extensive Meadows full of Buffaloes [in upper Louisiana]
Ft. St. Peters destroyed
Cadodaquis [east of the Mississippi]
Country full of Mines [west of Ft. Chartres].
Thus far the Mississippi has been ascended.
While this book is well represented within institutional confines it is quite scarce in the market, especially in such nice condition, complete with the handsome map present.
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.