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English writer leaves Texas


On this day in 1844, William Bollaert, writer, chemist, geographer, and ethnologist, left Texas. Bollaert was born in England in 1807. After training in chemistry, he took a position at the Royal Institution while only thirteen years old and worked for several eminent scientists, including Michael Faraday. At age eighteen he sailed for Peru, where he worked as an assayer in the silver-mining province of Tarapacá. After living in Portugal and Spain for a number of years, Bollaert journeyed to the Republic of Texas at the behest of his friend William Kennedy, who was subsequently appointed British consul at Galveston. He reached the coastal town in 1842. During the next two years he traveled extensively throughout Texas and wrote not only a formal report for the British Admiralty but also a very detailed journal, which he hoped to use as material for a book. After returning to England, he wrote prolifically about history, ethnology, science, and travel, but produced only a few scattered articles about Texas. Bollaert died in London in 1876. In 1956 editors W. Eugene Hollon and Ruth Lapham Butler published his original "Texas Manuscript," consisting of six diaries and two volumes of journals, under the title William Bollaert's Texas . It remains one of the most important sources of information on the Republic of Texas and its people.

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