Description

    William Kennedy. Texas: The Rise, Progress, and Prospects of the Republic of Texas. In Two Volumes. Vol. I[-II]. London: R. Hastings, 1841. First edition. Two octavo volumes (8.5 x 5.125 inches; 216 x 130 mm.; 8.4375 x 5.125; 215 x 130 mm.). lii, 378; vi, 548 pages. Volume I complete with the two folding maps and two full-page maps; the folding maps are backed with linen, repairing a few short tears and fold separations. "Map of Texas, compiled from Surveys recorded in the Land Office of Texas, and other Official Surveys, by John Arrowsmith" bound between pages lii and [1] of the text (measures approximately 24 x 19.875 inches; with both insets, one showing the Republic of Texas and Mexico, and the other, "Plan of Galveston Bay;" hand-colored in outline); "A Map of the Republic of Texas and the Adjacent Territories, Indicating the Grants of Land Conceded under the Empresario System of Mexico" bound between pages 336 and 337 (measures approximately 15.5 x 13.125 inches; the full-page maps face page 38 ("Chart of Matagorda Bay") and page 50 (listed as "Plan of Aransas Bay" in "Directions to the Binder," and captioned "Aranzas Bay, as Surveyed by Captn. Monroe of the 'Amos Wright'" on the plate).

    Modern antique-style half-calf, decoratively tooled in blind, over marbled paper-covered boards. Spine decoratively tooled in blind in compartments, with four slightly raised gilt-decorated bands, with gilt rules at head of spine and gilt palmettes at foot of spine, and dark green leather label ruled and lettered in gilt. Fore-edge and bottom edge sprinkled red, top edge stained dark green, plain light brown endpapers. Both volumes are tightly bound. Text browned slightly, especially around the edges; a few upper corners lightly creased; a few tiny edge chips or tears; occasional faint marginal staining or smudging; very occasional light foxing; a few scattered tiny ink spots and rust spots. Volume I with title browned slightly around the edges, with a tiny tear at fore-edge and dark smudge on verso, and on recto of following leaf; stains in the text on pages xxxvi and xxxvii (pages xxxvii with an adhesion); fly-title to Book I browned, with light foxing, and chipped at the edges, with short split at lower corner where it was once folded up. Volume II with faint dampstain upper gutter throughout. A near fine copy, overall, in a handsome period-style binding.

    Advertisement (on page [v]): "The complete Map of the Republic of Texas has been compiled from the best published authorities, including the maps of Stephen Austin, Mitchell (Philadelphia), and surveys made under the sanction of the Texas Government. To these is to be added Le Grand's original survey, of the precise date of which, owing to a manuscript omission, I am not certain,-the point is trifling, but the survey must have been made in 1830 or 1831. To the zeal and skill of Mr. Arrowsmith I am materially indebted for a map which, without pretending to absolute accuracy, is a great improvement upon all preceding ones, and will serve every practical purpose of the politician and emigrant. The necessity of correcting the sheets of this work at a considerable distance from London, has delayed its appearance beyond the anticipated period."

    "This book, on its first publication, was pronounced to be the best history of Texas extant. The Texan Congress passed a resolution of thanks to the author. Mr. K. visited Texas in 1839 for historic material. His favorable report on return to England doubtless prepared the way for English recognition of the Republic. The physical description of Texas in Vol. I [is] the best published up to that time, and the history proper in calm and dignified style, and not without literary merit. No historian of Texas has more eloquent paragraphs" (Raines).

    Graff 2308; Howes K92 ("Paints a favorable view of Texas and may have hastened English recognition of her independence"); Jenkins, Basic Texas Books, 117; Martin & Martin 32; Raines, pp. 132-133; Sabin 37440; Streeter, Texas, 1385; Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 451, and II, p. 173: ("While a description is unnecessary, this is a landmark for its delineation of the pioneer counties of the State, as well as for its inclusion of Le Grand's 'exploration' in what is now the panhandle and beyond").


    More Information:

    This is a most interesting book, for even in Book I on the geography and so on of Texas, and in Book II on history to 1836, Kennedy brings in various contemporary comments not usually found in the conventional account, and in Book III there is much in the way of contemporary articles and observations of others. All this is quite remarkable, for before the publication of his Texas Kennedy was in Texas only from sometime in April, 1839, to the end of June of that year. In 1842 he returned as British Consul at Galveston and in that year started proceedings to settle six hundred families south of the Nueces, a project never carried out" (Streeter, Texas).

    "This is the most comprehensive account of Texas published during its decade as an independent nation, and a work of such profound influence that it was a key factor in gaining English recognition of Texas independence. Bancroft said Kennedy 'was a keen observer; and better still, his observations were conducted without prejudice, and are correct. His conclusions are just.' Eugene C. Barker said Kennedy 'wrote with real historical spirit, and, in some respects, his book has not been superceded.' Sister Agatha said Kennedy wrote in a 'dignified style that has made his work remain to this day a dependable source book for historical reference.' It is astonishing that an Irish poet and journalist, after visiting Texas only from April to June, 1839, could write such a thorough, comprehensive account of the history and geography of Texas...The work had enormous influence in Europe, especially in England and Germany. So powerful was its pro-Texas impact in England that N. D. P. Maillard's History of the Republic of Texas (London, 1842), an anti-Texas work, was written in reply to it...The large map by John Arrowsmith ranks with those of Tanner and Emory as the best maps of Texas during the period of the republic. It is a monument of Texas cartography, but apparently was included in only a portion of the copies of the original edition, as only a small percentage of surviving copies contain it" (Jenkins, Basic Texas Books).

    "Arrowsmith's map was probably the first to show the full extent of Texas's claim to the region of the upper Rio Grande, an area included within Texas's boundaries until the Compromise of 1850. It was issued with two insets, one showing the geographical relationship of Mexico, Texas, and the United States, and another inset showing Galveston Bay, with soundings illustrating for the traveler the best route to the new city of Houston. The popularity and general acceptance of the map has been documented by the fact that many map makers copied liberally from Arrowsmith's map, including some of its errors...As one of the earliest maps to contain information from the General Land Office of Texas, the map located Indian tribes, major roadways, and included editorial comments for the benefit of the future traveler to Texas, such as 'excellent land,' 'valuable land,' 'rich land,' and 'delightful country.' In spite of its few errors, the map certainly was the best information on Texas geography available in Europe during a decade in which the political fate of the new Republic was of international concern" (Martin & Martin).



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