Mitchell's Reference and Distance Map of the United States.
55.75 x 69.75 in (141.605 x 177.165 cm)
1 : 1584000
This is an exceptionally rare 1844 edition of S. A. Mitchell and J. H. Young's important large-scale wall map of the United States, and the only edition to include both the short-lived Republic of Texas and the even more ephemeral Florida Leigh Reed County. Like most maps of the United States predating the Mexican-American War (1846 - 1847), this map covers from the Sabine River to the Atlantic, and from the Great Lakes to Florida. There are multiple insets, but two of note. The largest is a map of the United States with a prominent Republic of Texas exhibiting the pre-1846 borders. To the left a large inset Florida includes Leigh Read County - a ephemeral county division that never formally materialize (see below). The map also illustrates the 54°40' dispute over U.S. claims in modern-day British Columbia.
Republic of TexasThe Republic of Texas was a short-lived nation established in March of 1836 when it ceded from Mexico. Following the independence of Mexico from Spain, the American Stephen Fuller Austin lead a group of 300 Empresarios to settle Texas, near Austin, where they received a grant from the Mexican government. As more Americans moved to Texas, resentment and strife began to build between the American settlers and Mexican authorities. This and other factors ultimately led to the Texan Revolution in 1835 and the declaration of Texan independence in 1836. Texas remained an independent republic until it joined the United States 10 years later in 1846.
Texas BordersThe borders of the Republic of Texas were in dispute from the earliest days of the Texan Revolution. The Republic-claimed borders followed the Treaties of Velasco between the newly created Texas Republic and Mexican leader, Antonio López de Santa Anna. The treaties established an eastern boundary following the 1819 Adams-Onís Treaty between the United States and Spain, which established the Sabine River as the eastern boundary of Spanish Texas and western boundary of the Missouri Territory. The Republic's southern and western boundary with Mexico was more nuanced. Texas claimed the Rio Grande del Norte as its western and southernmost border, while Mexico argued for a boundary much further east at the Nueces River. When Texas was annexed into the United States, the agreement followed the Republic claimed boundary, thus absorbing Mexican claimed territory as far west as Santa Fe. This escalated already existing tensions between the United States, the former Republic of Texas, and Mexico, ultimately triggering for the Mexican-American War (1846 -1848).
Leigh Read County, FloridaLeigh Read was born in Tennessee, served as a militia general during the Second Seminole War (1835 - 1842), and was a delegate to the Convention of 1837 lobbying for Florida statehood. Read and fellow Florida Democrats passed a constitutional amendment to prohibit the sale of bonds by the territorial government. The bill garnered Read a host of enemies who would have profited from the bond sales, among them former friend, Augustus Alston. In retribution, Alston challenged Read to a duel, a method frequently used Florida Whigs to dominate territorial politics. Read initially refused the challenge, but, after being ridiculed as a coward, finally agreed. As the challenged, Read selected the weapon, Yager Rifles, and a site in Georgia (to avoid Florida's dueling ban). Alston, a confident and experienced dueler, and told his wife to have a sumptuous dinner ready on his return. On chilly morning in December 1839, Alston and Read faced off. The dueling protocol called for each to take four steps, turn, and fire. As Read and Alston separated, Alston stumbled and misfired. Read, on the other hand, calmly took aim at Alston's chest and fired, killing him instantly. Alston's sister, it is said, dug the bloody slug out of Alston's chest and sent it to his brother Willis Alston, then living in Texas. Bent on vengeance, Willis Alston travelled to Florida in January 1840 with a new bullet made from the old slug. He found Read at the Brown Hotel celebrating his election as the presiding officer of the territorial legislature. Alston shot Read in the shoulder, but Read returned fire, hitting Alston in the hand. Alston then stabbed Read with a Bowie knife and fled. While Read recovered from this attack, Alston was undeterred, attempting a second attack, firing unsuccessfully into Read's carriage. Alston made a third attempt on Read's life on April 26, 1841. Read was crossing a Tallahassee street when Alston shot him in the back with a shotgun, followed by a second blast to the chest, killing him. Alston was arrested, but allowed to post bond after which he fled to Texas. Shortly thereafter, the hotheaded Alston quarreled with and murdered a popular Texas doctor. A mob of as many as thirty Texans extracted frontier justice, dragged Alston out of town and 'executed him, each man taking a shot'.
Leigh Read County on MapsWe are aware of only five instances of Leigh Read County appearing on a published map. The first is the 1842 Sidney Morse and Samuel Breese map of Florida. Later that same year, Jeremiah Greenleaf published a map of Florida that also identified Leigh Read County. In the 1844 Mitchell / Young wall map of the United States Leigh Read county appears in the inset maps of Florida. In 1845, H. S. Tanner published a map of Florida with Leigh Read County, which was the direct precursor to an 1846 Mitchell Map of Florida.
54-40 or Fight! American Claims to British ColumbiaFollowing the transcontinental crossing of North America by the British Northwest Company sponsored explorer Alexander MacKenzie (1792 – 1793), and the American expedition of Louis and Clark up the Missouri to the mouth of the Columbia River (1804 – 1806), it became apparent that control of the fur and resource rich Pacific Northwest would bring great wealth and power to whoever could assert sovereignty. The American tycoon John Jacob Astor, with the permission of President Thomas Jefferson, was the first to attempt a permeant trading colony in the region, founding Astoria on the Columbia river in 1811. This quickly let to a confrontation with the established British-Canadian Northwest Company over this valuable territory. Americans in the 1820s through the 1840s argued that most of the Pacific Northwest should be part of the United States as a legacy of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. England, on the other hand, argued for residual claims to the region derived from the MacKenzie Expedition and its fur trading empires: The Northwest Company and the Hudson Bay Company. The Oregon Dispute, as it came to be known, became an important in geopolitical issue between the British Empire and the United States, especially after the War of 1812. Americans adopted the slogan '54-40 or Fight!' until the Oregon Question was finally resolved roughly along the current border-line by the 1846 Oregon Treaty.
Publication History and CensusMost examples of this map are copyrighted to 1833. It was most likely first released by S. A. Mitchel is 1834. It was subsequently regularly updated with editions in, at least, 1841 (Republic of Texas added), 1844 (as here w/ Republic of Texas), 1845 (with Texas' stovepipe configuration) 1846 (U.S. map replaced by Mitchell's pocket map of Texas, Oregon and Upper California), and 1849 (post Guadeloupe-Hidalgo borders). The map was engraved by J. H. Young, F. Dankworth, E. Yeager and E. F. Woodward. The cartouche was engraved and designed by W. Mason. While examples of this map do come to market from time to time, the 1844 edition is exceedingly rare, absent from most cartobibliographies, and with only one other sales record in the last 25 years. This is the only one of two editions to include the Republic of Texas borders, so while the map itself is obtainable in other editions, the present edition is a rare find.
Samuel Augustus Mitchell (March 20, 1792 - December 20, 1868) began his map publishing career in the early 1830s. Having worked as a school teacher, Mitchell was frustrated with the low quality and inaccuracy of school texts of the period. His first maps were an attempt to rectify this problem. In the next 20 years Mitchell would become the most prominent American map publisher of the mid-19th century. Mitchell worked with prominent engravers J. H. Young, H. S. Tanner, and H. N. Burroughs before attaining the full copyright on his maps in 1847. In 1849 Mitchell either partnered with or sold his plates to Thomas, Cowperthwait and Company who continued to publish the Mitchell's Universal Atlas. By about 1856 most of the Mitchell plates and copyrights were acquired by Charles Desilver who continued to publish the maps, many with modified borders and color schemes, until Mitchell's son, Samuel Augustus Mitchell Junior, entered the picture. In 1859, S.A. Mitchell Jr. purchased most of the plates back from Desilver and introduced his own floral motif border. From 1860 on, he published his own editions of the New General Atlas. The younger Mitchell became as prominent as his father, publishing maps and atlases until 1887, when most of the copyrights were again sold and the Mitchell firm closed its doors for the final time. Learn More...
James Hamilton Young (December 18, 1792 - c. 1870) was a Scottish-American draughtsman, engraver, and cartographer active in Philadelphia during the first half of the 19th century. Young was born in Avondale, Lanark, Scotland and emigrated to the United States sometime before 1817. Young was a pioneer in American steel plate engraving, a process superior to copper plate engraving due to the increased durability of steel. His earliest known maps date to about 1817, when Young was 25. At the time he was partnered with William Kneass (1780 - 1840), as Kneass, Young and Company, an imprint that was active from 1817 to 1820. He then partnered with with George Delleker, publishing under the imprint of Young and Delleker, active from 1822 to 1823. Young engraved for numerous cartographic publishers in the Philadelphia area, including Anthony Finley, Charles Varle, and Samuel Augustus Mitchell, among others. His most significant work includes maps engraved for for Anthony Finley and later Samuel Augustus Mitchell. Mitchell proved to be Young's most significant collaborator. The pair published numerous maps from about 1831 well into the 1860s. Young retired sometime in the mid to late 1860s. In 1840 he registered a patent for an improved system of setting up typography for printing. Learn More...
Joseph Yeager (1792 - 1859) was a Philadelphia based engraver active in the first half of the 19th century. Yeager was trained early on as an engraver with works appearing as early as 1808 and 1809, at just 16 years of age. By the time he reached adulthood, Yeager had become one of the top engravers in Philadelphia, where he maintained offices from 1816 to 1845. He is responsible for numerous maps and views including the map plates for Carey and Lea's American Atlas and the map plates for the 1832 edition of John Marshall's Life of Washington, and a stunning illustration of the Battle of New Orleans. Yeager also published numerous children's books and, in time, became the president of a railroad. Learn More...
Very good. Full professional restoration including fresh linen backing. Even overall toning. Can be reattached to original rollers upon request.
Library of Congress, G3701.F7 1830 .Y6. OCLC 5501625.