The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

years following his term as port collector is proof of his integrity while
in office. But that inference does not necessarily follow. No doubt he was
merely following the usage of the time in accepting bonds as payment of
customs duties; and it was not his fault if the financial crisis of 1837
caused the importers to default, creating a shortfall in the customs
house. The real question, however, was whether or not he diverted this
financial paper into his speculations in Texas, so that when both the
importers defaulted and his affairs in Texas aborted, he was caught in
a financial bind of heroic proportions. Because the correspondence as
published is imprecise on the charges and because Swartwout made no
attempt to explain or justify his conduct to Morgan, the internal evi-
dence is lacking to establish his innocence.
However it may have been, this correspondence will be rewarding to
both the casual buff and the serious student of Texas history. Its frank-
ness and vigor of style, the wide range of men and subjects discussed,
and the pathos evoked by the struggles and failures of the two writers
add up to a valuable source of Texana and to a touching human drama.
University of Texas, Austin NANCY NICHOLS BARKER
Book Notes
A Companion to California. By James D. Hart. (New York: Oxford Press,
Inc., 1978. Pp. viii+504. Preface, maps, index. $19.95.)
This encyclopedia will quickly establish itself as the standard reference
book on California. Its chief virtues are comprehensiveness and readability.
Entries include brief biographies of prominent Californians, past and pres-
ent, as well as references to important political movements and events, cities,
geographical features, crops, institutions, movies and literary works, and a
good deal more. Filled as the book is with fascinating details of the state's
past, the general reader as well as scholar will read it from cover to cover
with pleasure as well as profit. Between "abalone" and "Adolf Zukor" (a
Hollywood film producer), items include such varied topics as the Beat
movement, the French in California, Hiram Johnson, Kern County, Willy
Mays, prunes, San Quentin prison, the Townsend Plan, University of Cali-
fornia, vigilance committees, and John Wayne. This fine book does for Cali-
fornia what Howard Lamar's superb Reader's Encyclopedia of the American
West (1977) has done for the west as a whole.


Texas A&M University


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 28, 2016.

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