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Influential Emigration Lecture on Texas by Mapmaker De Cordova


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161.     DE CORDOVA, J[acob Raphael]. Lecture on Texas Delivered by Mr. J. De Cordova at Philadelphia, New York, Mount Holly, Brooklyn, and Newark. Also, a Paper Read before the New York Geographical Society, April 15th, 1858 “Texas,—the Garden State of the Union.”—The Wanderer. Philadelphia: Printed by Ernest Crozet, Thirteenth and Market Sts., 1858. [1-3] 4-32 pp. 12mo (20 x 12.3 cm), original blue printed wrappers bound in modern brown calf over tan buckram, spine gilt lettered. Wraps foxed, else a fine copy of an imprint that makes an interesting adjunct to De Cordova’s great map of Texas (see Item 287 herein).

     First edition. Braislin 484. Clark, Old South III:459: “De Cordova had lived in Texas for twenty years. His lecture…was intended to promote emigration to the Southwest. The author gave brief but interesting information on population, education, religion, clubs, banks, labor, agriculture, transportation, and climate.” Eberstadt, Texas 162:248: “Glowing account of ‘the rare inducements offered in Texas to our Northern fellow-citizens to emigrate to that State.’” Howes D199. Norris 3896. Sabin 19190. Cf. Basic Texas Books 38.

     De Cordova, one of the earliest Jewish settlers in Texas, was known as the “Publicity Agent for an Empire” as a result of his promotional efforts on behalf of Texas in the U.S. and Europe (Handbook of Texas Online). The author published an important map of Texas (Martin & Martin 39), two Texas newspapers, and the most authoritative guides to Texas issued in the 1850s. His activities were responsible for attracting many emigrants to Texas in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and the present lecture is down-to-earth and at times humorous, with advice on “Persons Who Ought Not to Emigrate to Texas,” “To the Ladies,” and “To Widows and Old Maids.” In the last section, he remarks:

To Widows and Old Maids. I trust that neither the young ladies nor their mothers will take any offence if I gave a little advice to the widows and the old maids,—although I do not suppose that in this assemblage of beauty there is to be found a decided old maid. Still, supposing that there may be some of these ladies who are thinking of emigrating to our State, I deem it a solemn duty to inform their friends that the gentlemen of Texas have always evinced a perfect horror at the bare idea of allowing the widow, and the old maid with her pet cat, to reside long within the limits of their State.

Our bachelors have entered into a solemn league to extirpate the whole race; and no sooner are they informed of the arrival in any neighborhood of either one or the other of these members of society, than they take the most energetic steps in their power to get rid of them, and are generally successful in their endeavors.

Having first got rid of the cats, they obtain the necessary warrant from the county clerk, and procuring the services of a minister of the gospel or of a justice of the peace, in an almost incredibly short space of time the ladies are compelled to renounce the cheerless state of single blessedness and are transferred, without much inconvenience, to that of matrimony.

Strange as it may appear, it is not more strange than true that ladies who have been treated in this summary manner seldom evince any reluctance or displeasure. It will thus be seen that, instead of being crooked and cross-grained, as they are generally represented, they are either very good-natured or very patriotic, believing that in changing their condition they are certainly contributing their share toward the advancement of the interests of society and the prosperity of our country.


Sold. Hammer: $300.00; Price Realized: $360.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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