Description

    Extremely Rare Bonnell Report on Texas Indians

    Report of G. W. Bonnell, Commissioner Indian Affairs, Third Congress - First Session. Houston: Telegraph Power Press, 1838. 8vo. 18pp. including integral blanks. Paper wrappers; disbound. Light to moderate age toning throughout; a few heavy ink spots on final pages. Fine.

    Journalist/editor George William Bonnell recruited a company of volunteers from Columbus Mississippi, and traveled to Texas in the summer of 1836 to join the fight for independence. During Sam Houston's first term as president of the Republic, Bonnell served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. In June 1838, Houston asked Bonnell to prepare this report for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the status of relations with the Indians. In part: "Most of the Indian tribes in this Republic have manifested much hostility to the white inhabitants... They should be taught distinctly to understand that any depredation will be punished, and that there will be no avoiding the just retribution of their crimes... It is in their power to detect the offenders, and if they fail to do it, we should demand an equal number of their people for instant execution... Or we might demand and retain as hostages the children of some of the principal families." Bonnell felt that Indians could never be trusted, calling them "a nation of robbers" and as evidenced by the above, he advocated the harshest of policies against them.

    This is one of the rarer titles from the government of the young Republic. Streeter notes that of the 200 copies originally printed, only one other complete copy is known; a third copy is extant but lacks the title page. In 1840, Bonnell published his Topographical Description of Texas, to Which is Added an Account of the Indian Tribes, which includes some information from this report, but complete copies of this issue are essentially unknown, this one being particularly handsome.

    Reference: Streeter 248, "The most important report we have upon the Indian tribes of Texas." 200 copies. Not in Howes or Raines.


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    14th Saturday
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