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    [George Wilkes]: The Life of the Celebrated Munroe Edwards, (Boston: William White & H.P. Lewis, Spring Lane corner Devonshire Street. 1842.) 33 pp., blank leaf. 12mo. Printed paper wrappers. Full title: The Life of the celebrated Munroe [sic] Edwards, convicted in New-York, before the Court of Oyer and Terminer, June 6, 1842, for Forgery and Swindling, to the Amount of Fifty Thousand Dollars. By a Texian. "I knew him well, Horatio." Copyright notice, dated 1842, on verso of title, in name of Wm. White and H.P. Lewis.


    Monroe Edwards (ca. 1808-1847) was an early Texas slave smuggler and forger. Son of a once wealthy plantation owner, Moses Edwards, Monroe was born in Danville, Kentucky, about 1808 and moved to the Galveston Bay area of Texas about 1825, working as a clerk for a prosperous merchant, James Morgan. Soon after his arrival, Monroe found more lucrative, if less respectable, pursuits. He became involved in smuggling slaves to Brazil from Africa and soon made a profit of $50,000. Through his mistress's husband, a Mexican official, he obtained a large land grant in Brazoria County. He called his property Chenango Plantation and used it as a base for continued slave smuggling to Texas from Cuba. His only claim to favorable historical recognition was his arrest and brief imprisonment, with others, by the Mexican garrison at Anahuac in 1832. Ultimately, Edwards landed in Sing Sing, where he died in 1847 after an escape attempt.

    George Wilkes, who in 1846 was one of the editors of the National Police Gazette, probably authored this work. The name Monroe Edwards does not appear in the index to Texas History Theses, edited by H. Bailey Carroll and Milton R. Gutsch, or in Theses on History, edited by Claude Elliott, both published by the Texas State Historical Association at Austin in 1955. Contemporary half leather case, gilt lettering. Minor repair to title page and binding, else very fine. A wonderful read and a delightful addition to any collection of notable Texas characters. From the collection of Darrel Brown.

    Reference: Streeter 1411. Sabin 95142.

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    December, 2007
    1st-3rd Saturday-Monday
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