Map of the Northern Parts of the United States of America. By Abraham Bradley Jr. Corrected by the Author
By: Abraham Bradley / Jedidiah Morse
Date: 1802 / 1804 (published) Boston
Dimensions: 8.5 x 15.5 inches (21.5 x 39.5 cm)
This interesting map is an early and important document depicting the development of the US postal service in the early days following the American Revolution and the five Jeffersonian states proposed by the Ordinance of 1789.
The early American colonies had no organized postal service, and people relied on friends, merchants and sometimes indigenous Native Americans to carry their mail for them. Finally in the late 17th century a system was instituted when, at the command of King William and Queen Mary in 1692, New Jersey governor Andrew Hamilton was ordered to establish postmasters in each of the American colonies. As there was no official post office, early postal riders deposited mail at taverns and inns in communities instead of delivering directly to people’s homes. Richard Fairbank’s Tavern in what is now Boston, Massachusetts, was named the official repository for mail received from abroad, and thus the first post office in America came into being.
Because so little official mail needed delivery before the Revolution, this system remained in place for some time. Following the Stamp Act of 1765, when the colonies began planning revolt against the British Crown and the overthrow of the British Imperial Post, plans were made to devise a new independent system. In 1775, Benjamin Franklin oversaw the creation of the USPS as a separate government entity, and served as the head of the newly created department for some time. By 1789 the first postmaster general had been named, there were 75 official post offices, and more than 2,000 miles of post roads.
This map is one of the earliest to depict both the postal routes and the five Jeffersonian states proposed by the Ordinance of 1789, and one of the first to extend to territories beyond the Mississippi River. The survey of early trade agreements and land settlement decisions are shown in detail, and the results of them, with territories throughout the newly created United States of America being surveyed and divided into townships and cities are clearly documented here in many regions throughout the map.
Geographically and topographically speaking the map is quite reliable, however, some surprising omissions are present. Although the Great Lakes themselves are depicted fairly accurately, Lake Huron ‘Lac des Hurons’ (‘Lake of the Huron Indians’ as named by early French explorers) is missing the enormous body of water known today as Georgian Bay and the smaller body of water directly to the north of the lake, which is part of the Lake itself. Other details abound, with cities, states, bays, river systems and ports all designated, along with other important topographical details such as reserves which would later become sites of cities, and lands still belonging to Indigenous peoples
Condition: Map is in B condition with some minor tears along the lower margin that have been repaired on the verso. The map is very bright and clean with a little color around the state of Ohio.
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