The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934 Page: 68
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
tury ago, Mrs. Hatcher renders a service alike to historians and
to the general reader interested in Texas. The book was writ-
ten primarily for the purpose of arousing interest in the Texas
colony of the author's cousin, Stephen F. Austin, and is in the
form of letters addressed to her brother, and of answers to specific
questions propounded by those interested in colonization. Though
filled with eminently practical advice and information directed
toward prospective settlers, every page displays the writer's
almost naive delight in this land of "surpassing beauty . .
a splendid country-an enchanting spot." Apparently, Mrs.
Holley fell under the spell that the country seemed to exercise
over most newcomers, for this phraseology is not without prec-
edent; any student of the sources of Texas history will be able
to duplicate it from the records of almost any period, beginning
with those of the first Spanish explorers. This work evidently
was instrumental in attracting immigrants to Texas; it circu-
lated in both the United States and England. Also, Santa Anna
was said to have examined a copy that fell into his hands, learn-
ing from it of the defenseless condition of the colonists.
The remaining portion of Mrs. Hatcher's book is of equal value
and interest. It is an account of Mary Austin Holley's own life
and travels, derived from original letters and documents assem-
bled by Mrs. Hatcher. The daughter of Elijah Austin, an en-
terprising Connecticut merchant and the brother of Moses Aus-
tin, Mary was married at an early age to the Rev. Horace Holley,
a graduate of Yale College and a Unitarian minister. Living
successively at New Haven and Greenfield, Connecticut; Boston,
Lexington, Kentucky, and New Orleans, and on a plantation on
the German Coast of Louisiana, Mrs. Holley had opportunities
probably exceptional among women of her time for travel and
observation. That she made the most of them is apparent from
her letters, which afford most interesting pictures of the life of
that period. She made the first of her several visits to Texas in
1831, when the material for her book was gathered. All of her
writings reflect a witty, cultivated, and vivacious personality,
and have a charm and grace of style most satisfying to the reader.
Mrs. Hatcher's use of this material shows careful selection and
adroit arrangement, the narrative precisely complementing the
numerous quotations that are introduced.
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Texas State Historical Association & Barker, Eugene C. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934, periodical, 1934; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101094/m1/76/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.