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Pingenot Auction, Lot 158


158. KENDALL, George Wilkins. Narrative of an Expedition Across the Great Southwestern Prairies, from Texas to Santa Fé; with an Account of the Disasters Which Befell the Expedition from Want of Food and the Attacks of Hostile Indians; the Final Capture of the Texans and their Sufferings on a March of Two Thousand Miles as Prisoners of War, and in the Prisons and Lazarettos of Mexico. London: David Bogue, 1845. xii [13]-432 + viii, 436 pp., 2 engraved frontispiece plates, folding lithographed map: Texas and Part of Mexico & the United States.... (40.5 x 28.8 cm; 15-7/8 x 11-1/8 inches, below neatline, D. Bogue and J. R. Jobbins, lith. 16mo, three quarter contemporary green morocco over marbled boards, spine with raised bands and brown gilt-lettered leather labels, marbled edges. Boards slightly rubbed; first leaf of text of vol. 1 soiled at outer blank edge; inner blank margins of vol. 2 title-page and frontispiece slightly worn and stained; one clean split to map. Minor faults all, and the set is actually quite handsome, and an altogether wonderful association copy. Signed presentation copy from Thomas Falconer, inscribed on the versos of both titles: "To Miss Nicholl/ from Thomas Falconer one/ of the Adventurers from San/ Antonio to Santa Fe. 1852." On page 217 of vol. 2 Falconer has added: "In this Mr. Kendall is altogether in error. Mr. Falconer was not on the roll of the Texas command & was released at San Cristobal." This note probably refers to Kendall’s complaints about the lack of protection given U.S. citizens by its government as compared to Britain’s apparent protection of Falconer.
         Second English edition. Basic Texas Books 116C. Plains & Rockies IV:110:3. Streeter 1515Bn. Thomas Falconer (1805-1882), jurist and British secret agent, was among the participants in the abortive Santa Fe expedition. His diary was added to the seventh edition of this book (see preceding entry). The Handbook of Texas Online (Thomas Falconer): "In 1840 [Falconer] determined to immigrate to the Republic of Texas, where, according to a letter of introduction to President Mirabeau B. Lamar, ‘his services in its infant jurisprudence will be of no small value.’ He sailed from Liverpool for Boston on the Britannia on October 20 and arrived in Austin in May 1841, just as word of the intended Texan Santa Fe expedition was on every tongue. Thinking the expedition into the wilderness a great opportunity for adventure, he sought and received Lamar’s permission to accompany Hugh McLeod’s command as ‘historiographer’ and scientific observer. In Lamar’s words, ‘immense accessions’ were to be gained by Falconer’s ‘observations and labors to our knowledge of a Country, of which we are almost entirely ignorant.’ Before departing from San Antonio Falconer established a warm friendship with George Wilkins Kendall of the New Orleans Picayune, who was also to accompany the expedition as a chronicler. Kendall described Falconer as ‘a young gentleman of high literary and scientific attainments, mild and agreeable manners, and extremely sociable and companionable from the first.’ On the trail toward New Mexico, Indians stole Falconer’s horse, and a prairie fire singed off his hair and eyebrows. Although accustomed from birth to ‘the luxuries and good things of an English fireside,’ he endured the hardships of the journey across unexplored Texas well and even appointed himself camp cook for his circle of friends. When McLeod divided his command on the Pease River on August 31, Falconer, because he was now dismounted, was detailed to remain in camp. His diary of this period, published as an appendix to the 1856 edition of Kendall’s Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, is of special significance, since it provides the only record of attacks by the Kiowas on Falconer’s party and their near starvation before McLeod’s men returned on October 9 as prisoners of the Mexicans. The two halves of the expedition, now reunited, were marched to El Paso and then to Chihuahua, where Falconer was confined in the Salón de los Distinguidos of the Jesuit hospital at the presidio, the very room in which Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla had been held captive after the collapse of his revolt in 1811. The prisoners were removed to Zacatecas and allowed to roam at will until, because of a clerical error, Falconer was placed under close arrest on New Year’s night and remained so on the march to Mexico City. Upon arrival at the Mexican capital on February 3, 1842, however, he was immediately released at the demand of the British minister."
         Included with this set is the two-volume 1935 Steck reprint of the 1844 British edition plus the 1930 limited edition (300 copies) of Falconer’s Letters and Notes on the Texan Santa Fe Expedition 1841-1842. (New York: Dauber & Pine, 1930, very fine in original half grey cloth over boards, printed papers labels). Basic Texas Books 116n. Plains & Rockies IV:90n. Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography 2049.
(5 vols.)