DescriptionWilliam Kennedy. Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas. In Two Volumes. London: R. Hastings, 1841. First edition. Two 8vo volumes. lii, 378 pages; vi, 548 pages. Appendices. Bound in brown cloth, blind stamped and featuring the Lone Star; giltstamped spine. Two folding maps and two full page maps. With a complete map by John Arrowsmith, attached opposite the title page: Map of Texas, compiled from Surveys recorded in the Land Office of Texas, and other Official Surveys. Measuring 20" x 24", outlined in color, marking towns, counties, roads, military routes, rivers, creeks, and other physical features. With insets of the "Plan of Galveston Bay" and the western U.S. and Mexico. Printed along the lower edge of the map, "London Pubd. 17 April, 1841, by John Arrowsmith. 10 Soho Square." The map is beginning to separate from the book in places, but is otherwise in great condition.
The spine covering of Volume I is detached at the top and torn in the bottom half, exposing what appears to be excerpts from a newspaper and a magazine. The boards are faded and stained; corners are bumped. The foot of the spine is chipped, but no loss of cloth. Pages are only slightly toned and remain bright. Binding is tight. Boards of Volume II are faded with some chipping at the top and middle of the spine. Corners are bumped; pages mildly toned. Binding of Volume II is also tight.
Both volumes have the bookplate of the previous owner, the Earl of Ellenborough, attached to the front pastedown. Edward Law (1790-1871), the first and only Earl of Ellenborough, was a member of the Privy Council and is most remembered as the seventeenth Governor-General of India. In both volumes is also found handwritten above the bookplates "Ellenborough," though it is likely that this is not in Edward Law's hand.
Jenkins, in his Basic Texas Books, writes that the Arrowsmith map was, apparently, "included in only a portion of the copies of the original edition, as only a small percentage of surviving copies contain it." The second folding map, facing page 336 of Volume I, is a Map of the Republic of Texas and the Adjacent Territories, Indicating the Grants of Land Conceded under the Empresario System of Mexico. It measures 16" x 13".
Considered the single best work on early Texas and hugely important in encouraging European emigration. This publication by William Kennedy (1799-1871) covers the geography and natural features of Texas as well as its history during the revolution and early years of the Republic, with many of the basic documents of the revolution seeing their first European publication in these volumes. Texans were shocked that such a thorough and comprehensive overview of Texas could have been written by a European, but "Kennedy himself gives a clue as to how he was able to obtain such a wealth of reliable data when he reveals that he was given access to M[irabeau]. B. Lamar's private papers -- a collection that was then and is still now an unexcelled mine of information on Texas history and geography" (Jenkins). This work had such a profound influence on gaining recognition of Texan independence abroad -- particularly in England and Germany -- that Kennedy, an Irishman, was appointed by the Texas government as Texan Consul in London and later as British Consul at Galveston. Per Raines: "This book was pronounced to be the best history of Texas extant. The Texan Congress passed a resolution of thanks to the author. The physical description of Texas [is] the best published up to that time. No historian of Texas has more eloquent paragraphs." "An important work on Texas . . . [and] a most interesting book . . . Kennedy brings in various contemporary comments not usually found in the conventional account, and there is much in the way of contemporary articles and observations." (Streeter).
An extremely important book that helped to establish Texas as an international presence.
References: Basic Texas Books 117. Graff 2308. Howes K92. Raines, pp. 132-133. Sabin 37440. Streeter 1385.
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