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The Earliest Printed Map of a Particular Part of New Jersey
Both Benjamin Franklin & Lewis Evans Involved in its Production
New Jersey/ Colonial Printing & Law.
TURNER, James/ EVANS, Lewis/ ALEXANDER, William [Boston, 1747]
Map No. III... .
11 1/4 x 24 inches.
A few marginal stains & small mend, else excellent.
A rare, early American-printed map--the earliest printed map of a specific part of New Jersey produced in America--whose creation involved both Benjamin Franklin and the great mapmaker, Lewis Evans. It was engraved by James Turner, called by Isaiah Thomas "the best engraver which appeared in the colonies before the revolution." Overall, an outstanding example of this rare, colonial-era, American map.
The map appeared in a landmark of colonial American jurisprudence--James Alexander's A Bill In The Chancery of New-Jersey At The Suit of John Earl of Stair, and others,... It assembled all the available background documents and opposing arguments involved in a long-running New Jersey land dispute centered on the Newark-Elizabethtown area. Its purpose was to finally settle the dispute that began in 1660's when grants of lands in this area were made to John, Lord Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret. Unaware of this, the British colonial governor at the time, Richard Nicholls, allowed colonists to acquire lands in this same area, thus creating conflicts with the royal grantees.
The map offered here was one of three included in the above work, but of these was the most specific and germane to case. (It is scaled at 150 chains, or less the two miles to the inch.) Its focus is on the property boundaries established by the numerous surveys completed between 1676 and 1743; it includes historical notes relevant to the dispute. Also on the map is the north-south Quintipartite Line, the boundary established after the Quintipartite Deed of 1676 created East and West New Jersey and provided for the sale of the latter to the Quakers. The map was to be used in co-ordination with ownership tables appearing the book.
Franklin facilitated the creation of this map and the other two in the work by enlisting Lewis Evans to draft the maps and by arranging that they be engraved by the Boston silversmith and engraver, James Turner, who Franklin regarded as superior to engravers then available in Philadelphia. Turner would later engrave Evans' masterwork, A General Map of the Middle British Colonies, published in 1755 in Philadelphia, where Turner had moved in 1754 with Franklin's encouragement. Turner also engraved Nicholas Scull's highly important, 1759 map of Pennsylvania.
James Alexander (1691-1756) was a lawyer and, for most of his adult life, Surveyor General of New Jersey, but is today best remembered for arguing the landmark Zenger case that established freedom of the press in the colonies. Alexander also had a hand in this map, adjusting the boundary lines and other details that were pertinent to the land dispute case. Despite Alexander's arduous effort, the case was never successfully adjudicated.
Wheat & Brun 398; cf. Felcone, J. New Jersey Books, no. 21; Thomas, I. History of Printing in America, p. 256; Snyder, J. P. Mapping of New Jersey, pp40-41; Ristow, W. American Maps & Mapmakers, p. 52; cf. Krieger/ Cobb, Mapping Boston, pp. 40, 49-50.