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Englishman and future critic arrives in Texas


On this day in 1840, British lawyer and writer Nicholas Maillard arrived in Texas. He settled in Richmond, where he acquired a reputation as a mixer of excellent drinks and became coeditor of the Richmond Telescope. In May and June 1840 he made several trips to Houston and one to Austin, but by mid-August had returned to London, where he immediately began writing letters to the press and to British officials condemning Texas. In 1842 he published a book, The History of the Republic of Texas, from the Discovery of the Country to the Present Time and the Cause of Her Separation from the Republic of Mexico, in which he claimed that the Texans were "a people whose existence as an independent nation is owing, first, to their own base treason, and secondly, to a political juggle of Andrew Jackson." Texas, he continued, was "filled with habitual liars, drunkards, blasphemers, and slanderers; sanguinary gamesters and cold-blooded assassins; with idleness and sluggish indolence (two vices for which the Texans are already proverbial); with pride, engendered by ignorance and supported by fraud." He warned against the recognition of Texas by Great Britain and against British emigration to the wretched, sickly place. Though biased, the book nevertheless contained an excellent account of the Indians. Ashbel Smith, chargé d'affaires to Great Britain, stated that the book failed to "produce the slightest effect" upon the British recognition of Texas independence, which was accomplished on June 28, 1842.

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