The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994 Page: 144

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

man David and John Jenkins. "That's just the way it was," he said. "I didn't have
any problem with it then, and I don't have any problem with it now" (p. 31).
Eight months after his auction, Davis was appointed to the Library and Histor-
ical Commission, which oversees the State Library. During his watch, evidence of
stolen documents cropped up at various points throughout the state, most bla-
tantly at an auction held by Dorman David in Houston in 1971. The following
year, the police raided David's shop and arrested him for possession of stolen
goods, but, as Taylor traces the story, the raid netted only a fraction of the stolen
stock. The bulk of it went to John Jenkins and William Simpson and through
them to the marketplace.
Robert Davis may have no problem with this, but the public does. Clearly a
chunk of the Texas birthright was stolen and authorities did little or nothing to
recover it. At this point, however, the most pressing question is not who is re-
sponsible, but whether the documents can be retrieved. This book may well be
the instrument for that retrieval. It is safe to assume that the material is still ex-
tant and carefully preserved, for it went into the hands of Texana buffs. Most
were innocent buyers who will now learn for the first time the nature of their
purchases, and, like one Houston collector, may choose to return the material to
its historic home. Even at this late date, one feels, much of the material could be
retrieved, if officials pursued the matter as tenaciously as Taylor.
This book is a landmark in the field of Texas book dealing and collecting. If it
leads to the return of the stolen heritage, it will stand as one of the most impor-
tant books ever published in the state.
One last thing must be said: it is a painful book to read and review.
The French Thorn: Rival Explorers in the Spanish Sea, 682-r 762. By Robert S. Wed-
dle. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991. Pp. xi+435. Pref-
ace, black-and-white photographs, maps, illustrations, glossary, notes,
bibliography, index. $49.50.)
TheFrench Thorn, Robert Weddle's new book on European exploration and ri-
valry in the Gulf of Mexico, is a fitting companion to his 1985 Spanzsh Sea (Texas
A&M University Press). Although not encyclopedic in coverage, as was the earli-
er work--he mentions several times that certain topics will be dealt with in a sub-
sequent volume-it is as comprehensive a treatment of the period and events
discussed as one would expect from this author. Having over twenty years of re-
search on this general topic behind him, Weddle has produced a thoughtful and
lively work on Spanish-French adventures and misadventures along the coastal
rim of the United States.
If the textbooks are to be believed, and increasingly we find they are not, ex-
ploration in the Gulf of Mexico was limited to the exploits of early sixteenth-cen-
tury conquistadores. In The French Thorn, as in Spanish Sea, Weddle demonstrates
that folly and high adventure continued long after. His enthusiasm for the mate-
rial brings an excitement to the topic that few other writers have conveyed.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994, periodical, 1994; Austin, Texas. ( accessed March 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.