The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 158
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
by Hamlin. The proofreading has been faulty, and the notes are hard to
read because of overly small type and faint imprint; yet the book is a de-
lightful and useful addition to the history of a vibrant region.
Dallas WAYNE GARD
Alphonse in Austin. Selected and translated by Katherine Hart. (Austin:
Friends of the Austin Public Library and Encino Press, 1972. Pp.
vi + 56. $6.50. )
Few characters in Texas history have so caught the imagination of the
public as the irrepressible Alphonse Dubois de Saligny, French charge
d'affaires to the Republic of Texas. Dubois de Saligny's controversial
personality and his feud with Innkeeper Bullock are familiar to generations
of Texas schoolchildren. Yet little was known about Dubois de Saligny's
official activities until 1963 when the Austin Public Library began ac-
quiring microfilm copies of the French Legation correspondence. A few
years later the Texas State Historical Association published Nancy Barker's
The French Legation in Texas, a skillfully edited and annotated edition of
the French diplomatic and commercial correspondence relating to Texas.
In addition to official reports, Dubois de Saligny's letters included ob-
servations on the land and people of Texas, and it is this aspect of the
correspondence which Mrs. Hart has gathered into a slender but charming
volume published by Encino Press for the Friends of the Austin Public
Library. As she points out in her brief introduction, her purpose is not to
enlighten but to entertain. The translation is literal, and there are no foot-
notes or annotations, yet she has succeeded in pulling together, from diverse
letters, Dubois de Saligny's views on the social, cultural, and political life
Part I of Alphonse in Austin covers the period 1839-1841. In addition
to geographic descriptions, this section presents Dubois de Saligny's com-
ments on leaders of the Republic. All but the most chauvinistic Texans will
enjoy Monsieur's descriptions of Sam Houston-"administrative incapacity
. . . excessive laziness, and . . . negligence towards his duties" (p. 7);
Mirabeau B. Lamar-"little, ugly, awkward, and ordinary" (p. 8); David
G. Burnet-"a . . . surly and annoying disposition" (p. 43); and Texans
in general-"men of rough and almost fierce manners . . . ungovernable
character and violent passions" (p. 8). Part II contains the correspondence
between Dubois de Saligny and various officials concerning the famous
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/176/?rotate=270: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.