A scarce map of New York and New Jersey, engraved by James Turner and published by Ben Franklin

James Alexander (mapmaker) / James Turner (engraver and printer) / Ben Franklin (publisher) , MAP No. II , "Near the Town House Boston,", 1747.
Engraving, 17"h x 13.5"w at plate mark plus margins, uncolored

A scarce map of the American colonies, engraved by James Turner of Boston and published and sold by Ben Franklin. One of the very few maps produced in America before 1750 and obtainable by the collector.

This is one of three maps engraved by James Turner and issued with a A Bill in the Chancery of New-Jersey (1747). Filed in 1745 by the Proprietors of East New Jersey, it represented their point of view in a land dispute with settlers around Elizabeth:

“The controversy began in March 1664 when Charles II conveyed all of the land between the Connecticut colony and the Delaware River to the Duke of York…. The Duke of York sent Colonel Richard Nicolls to capture the Middle Atlantic colonies, and by May this region was under English rule and Nicolls was appointed governor.”

“The Duke of York subsequently granted the New Jersey proprietary to John, Lord Berkely, and Sir George Carteret. Before Nicolls learned [of the grant], he gave the settlers living in the area of Elizabethtown permission of purchase titles to their lands from the Delaware Indians. Nicolls’s actions led to years of litigation over who actually possessed title because the settlers claimed possession based on their Indian deeds and the colony maintained that the lands belong to the proprietorship.” (Pritchard and Taliaferro, p. 150)

The Bill was prepared in 1745 by James Alexander, “lawyer, merchant, surveyor general for both East and West Jersey, Council member in New Jersey, and attorney general in both New Jersey and New York.” The Bill included as exhibits a suite of three maps illustrative of the dispute, with the text making numerous references to each.

The map
MAP No. II depicts western Long Island, New York City and all of northern New Jersey. Designed not for cartographic precision but rather to make a point, there is little geographc detail other than the coastal outline, major bays and rivers, and a few cities and towns. The most important features are several engraved lines superimposed on the map, each intended to illustrate an important boundary discussed in the Bill. For example, one shows “the Quintipartite Line as Run by Laurence in November 1743 from the South Partition Point to the North Partition Point.” This represented an attempt to resolve the long-running boundary dispute between the proprietors of East and West New Jersey. Several parallel lines at upper right show different surveyors’ determinations of the hotly-disputed New York-New Jersey boundary.

Cumming, The Southeast in Early Maps, #266; McCorkle, New England in Early Printed Maps, #747.3; Pritchard and Taliaferro, Degrees of Latitude, #28 (illus. p. 151); Wheat and Brun, Maps and Charts Published in America before 1800, #294. Background on Turner from Stauffer, American Engravers, I:278-279.

Background from George Miller, “The Printing of the Elizabethtown Bill in Chancery.” In Board of General Proprietors of the Eastern Division of New Jersey, Pamphlet Series No. 1. Perth Amboy, NJ, 1942.


Some very faint smudging and soiling, mostly confined to margins. Some reinstatement of top and left margins and a chip in right margin filled, not affecting printed image