“One of the essential Texas books”—Streeter

With an Excellent Map of Texas in 1836 based on Austin’s Prototype

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124. EDWARD, David B[arnett]. The History of Texas; or, The Emigrant’s, Farmer’s, and Politician’s Guide to the Character, Climate, Soil and Productions of That Country: Geographically Arranged from Personal Observation and Experience. By David B. Edward. Formerly Principal of the Academy, Alexandria, La,; Late Preceptor of Gonzales Seminary, Texas. Cincinnati: Stereotyped and Published by J.A. James & Co., 1836. [i-v] vi-xii, [13] 14-336 pp., folded engraved map of the Republic of Texas (see below). 12mo (18.4 x 11.2 cm), publisher’s original dark green ribbed cloth with floral pattern, original yellow printed spine label (History of Texas with a Map, Cincinnati, J.A. James & Co. 1836). Professionally recased, corners and spinal extremities restored, a few light stains to cloth. Scattered moderate foxing to interior, heavier on first and last leaves and endpapers. On verso of map are a few careful archival repairs (no loss to map image). The map is fine, with excellent color retention.


Map of Texas, Containing the Latest Grants and Discoveries by E.F. Lee. Published by J.A. James & Co. Cincinnati 1836. Doolittle & Munson. [below lower neat line] Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1836. by J.A. James & Co. in the Clerk’s Office in the District Court of Ohio. [text at lower left above neat line] Note: The Rio del Norte, Grande, or Bravo runs a course of some 1800 miles... If this river should ever become the western boundary of TEXAS (as desired by its inhabitants; it will add 100 miles to its sea coast...D.B. Edward. Copper-engraved map on banknote paper, original outline coloring of land grants, graphic scale: about 75 miles to the inch; prime meridians: Greenwich and Washington; neat line to neat line: 31.5 x 21.5 cm; overall sheet size: 34 x 23 cm. Day, Maps of Texas, pp. 23-24: “Shows towns, rivers, colonies, grants, Indian villages, mountains, roads, silver mines in Mexico and on the San Saba River, iron ore, copper mine, note on Col. B.R. Milam’s death, comments on wild life & topography, salt works on Galveston Bay, site of General Toledo’s defeat in 1813.” Taliaferro, Cartographic Sources in the Rosenberg Library 251: “Lee adapted the map from a later issue of Austin’s map, probably the 1835 issue.” TCU, Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps, pp. 38-40, Color Plate 19: “One of the last Texas Mexican provincial maps.” This excellent and handsome map of Texas is based on the Austin-Tanner conformation.

     First edition. Streeter notes that “in some copies one or two pages of advertisements are inserted at the end.” No ads or evidence of their ever being present are in this copy. Basic Texas Books 53: “One of the best accounts of Texas on the eve of the Revolution. The book attempts to be unprejudiced, but the author was clearly anti-Texan at heart.” Bradford 1511. Clark, Old South III:35: “Like Mrs. Holley’s Texas, this work was extensively used as a basis for many other books on that state written in the 1830s and 1840s.” Graff 1208. Howes E48: “Conditions just prior to the Revolution described by an actual observer.” Rader 1279. Raines, p. 74. Sabin 21886. Streeter Sale 344. Streeter 1199:

This contemporary history by Edward, notwithstanding some idiosyncrasies of the author, is one of the essential Texas books. It gives a good account of the physical features and towns and products of the Texas of 1835, followed (pp. 142-176) by an excellent analysis of the colonization laws of the republic and state. Pages 177 to the end are devoted for the most part to the political events from 1832 to about October, 1835, with copious extracts from the New Orleans newspapers of December, 1835, on the ill-fated Tampico expedition of Mexia.

Edward performs a useful service in giving lengthy verbatim extracts from many of the important documents of the period. He gives on pages 160-162 eighteen of the first thirty-two articles of the text of Decree 39 for the regulation of justice, first passed in 1827 and reprinted in 1831 (entry Nos. 720 and 720A), which is given in Kimball only by title, and is not reprinted in Gammel. Only one copy of the 1827 edition and one copy of the 1831 reprint are known. Edward also reprints, at pages 162-176, the entire text of the law of April 17, 1834, on the administration of the courts, which, as stated in the note to the law (entry No. 805), lacks, as reprinted in Kimball and Gammel, the important Section X at the end. He also reprints, with some changes in order and actual wording, the Constitution of 1833, first printed in New Orleans in 1833 (entry No. 1141), another pamphlet of great rarity not reprinted by Gammel, and other memorials and manifestos difficult to find in the original.

The map must have been lithographed as late as January, 1836, for it has a note on Milam’s death at the storming of Bexar by the Texans on December 10, 1835. The book was undoubtedly anathema to the local members of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Texas, for under a section, “Abuses of Religion” (pp. 295-313), Edward tells some rather discreditable stories about several ministers of that denomination and gives their names. Gonzalez Seminary, an institution advertised in the Texas Gazette as early as October 16, 1830, was sponsored, or at least patronized, by the authorities of the Methodist Episcopal Church, so very likely Edward, in his remarks on Methodist clergymen, was paying off old scores. As noted in an earlier entry for Edward in the year 1834 (entry No. 1145), he, at that time when he was “late Preceptor, Gonzalez Seminary, (Texas),” had already a copyright for “Observations on Texas, embracing the Past, the Present, and the Future” but so far as we know his present History of Texas is his first publication on Texas. According to the preface Edward, a native of Scotland, had spent six months in Texas in 1830 as a member of an exploring expedition and from the title page of his book, copyrighted in 1834, he was at that time no longer a preceptor of Gonzalez Seminary.

     Sibley, Travelers in Texas, pp. 178-179: “Edward is inclined to moralize about the shortcomings of Texans, but withal he gives so pleasant a view of the country that one suspects him of protesting too much when he denies owning land there.” Sibley (p. 19) refers to Edward “borrowing” from Mary Austin Holley’s 1836 book on Texas. Sibley (p. 17) also discusses Viktor Bracht’s praise of Edward’s book in 1848, at which time Bracht noted that there were “over a hundred works on Texas...most of which were absolutely worthless to those who have learned to know and love the country through their own observations.” Bracht rated Edward’s History of Texas as “one of the best.” Yet, E.M. Pease warned against Edward’s book: “There is little in this work that can be relied on except what is stolen from Mrs. Holley.”

     Stephen L. Hardin, Handbook of Texas Online:

David Barnett Edward (born 1797, Forfarshire, Scotland-died 1870, Wheelersburg, Ohio), early Texas settler, teacher, and writer...emigrated from Scotland and lived in the West Indies, and in Colombia for several years before moving to the United States in 1819.... Although Edward claimed to be objective, he was clearly pro-Mexican and anti-Texan in his reporting and was the subject of heated criticism. Stephen F. Austin branded the book “a slander on the people of Texas”.... Edward’s book managed to offend almost everyone in Texas. Texas boosters, eager to present their country as a place of limitless opportunity, were aghast when Edward asserted, for instance, “There are no poor people here, if land makes rich; and none rich, if money is wealth.” He alienated Houston and other supporters of President Andrew Jackson by proclaiming that the Mexican dictator was “a ‘Jackson’ of a fellow....” As a leading spokesman for the Tory position, Edward maintained that American settlers had “by their perverse conduct, forfeited every claim to protection from the civil law; and therefore must either come under military control, or altogether be expelled from the [Mexican] Republic.” Edward’s suggestion that the martyrs of the Alamo and Goliad had been driven by the “wrong motives” and his praise of “enlightened” Mexican immigration policies was more than most Texans could abide.... The book’s perspective generated such intense enmity in Texas that Edward found it advisable to take his family permanently out of the fledgling republic during or soon after the Texas Revolution.


Sold. Hammer: $4,200.00; Price Realized: $5,145.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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