Dorothy Sloan -- Books

AUCTION 22

 

Braman’s 1857 Emigrant Guide to Texas


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74.     BRAMAN, D[on] E[gbert] E[rastus]. Braman’s Information about Texas. Carefully Prepared by D.E.E. Braman of Matagorda, Texas. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1857. [i-ii] iii-viii, 9-192 pp. 12mo (18.5 x 12.5 cm), original dark brown cloth embossed on both covers, title lettered in gilt on spine. Slight wear to spinal extremities, scattered light foxing (primarily to edges and endpapers), overall a very good, bright copy.

     First edition (another edition came out the following year, apparently with no changes). Adams, Herd 305: “Rare.” Bradford 526. Eberstadt, Texas 162:79: Howes B719. Rader 463. Raines, p. 30: “A good immigrants guide.” Sabin 7364. Braman gives the prospective settler a well-balanced view of Texas, with detailed coverage of land and legal matters (including status of women), how to establish a cattle ranch, sheep, vineyards, honey bees, deceased land claimants, an overview of each county, etc. Braman wrote his guide to stimulate immigration among more established families from the older states and suggests that they organize emigrant companies. Overland and river routes from Galveston are provided.

     Braman’s chapter on Galveston is prescient: “Galveston Island, with all its boasted accumulation of people, habitations, wealth, trade, and commerce, is but a waif of the ocean…liable, at any moment, and certain, at no distant day, of being engulfed and submerged by the self-same power that gave it form. Neither is it possible for all the skillful devices of mortal man to protect this DOOMED place against the impending danger; the terrible power of a hurricane cannot be calculated, much less resisted; its strength is the awful power of combined elements, and the waters of the mighty deep are made a fearful and sudden engine of destruction…” (p. 46).

     The chapter on stock raising is a practical, how-to guide filled with great enthusiasm and optimism (even in the face of the winter of 1855-1856, which devastated so many Texas cattle). Braman gives specific instructions on choosing the right land and cattle, costs of setting up an operation, branding, strays, hide trade, cattle depots and trails, breeding programs, and encouraging young boys to get involved (“at the age if eight or ten, they soon become as efficient as grown hands, and are far more apt in learning [and] become much attached to it, and their interests are generally stimulated by making them the owners of a few head”).

     Like Sam Houston (see Item 64 herein), Braman advocated a “protectorate” over Mexico in his chapter “Remarks on Present and Future Prospects”:

When we look on Texas, and then turn our eyes to the adjacent country, Mexico, we are astonished at the contrast, so unfavorable to the latter. While she is old in theories, crimes, and civilization, with but the moral stamina and vigor of an ancient debauchee, Texas, her dismembered province, becomes, under another influence, vigorous and thrifty, with well-founded hopes of future greatness. We say to ourselves, notwithstanding it is unchristian to covet our neighbor’s goods still, where that neighbor is so improvident with the bounties which God hath bestowed, and so little thoughtful of the Giver, that the world would be much benefited with a more thrifty tenant, and no one could be injured by the change (p. 191).

     Braman (1814-1897) came to Texas in 1837 to enlist in the Texas Army. He originally became established near Matagorda on his head right, but moved to Victoria after the 1886 hurricane. See Handbook of Texas Online: Braman.

($250-500)

 

 

 

Auction 22 Abstracts

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