In 1974, Malcolm McLean published volume I of the Papers Concerning Robertson’s Colony in Texas, which related to the Texas Association and traced the development of that association and its Kentucky and Tennessee members between 1788 and 1822. Then the association commissioned Robert Leftwich and Andrew Erwin, two of its members, to go to Mexico to obtain a grant of land in Texas on which it originally offered to settle 200 families. The diary and letterbook written by Robert Leftwich and partially by Andrew Erwin while in Mexico between April 1822 and May 1824, were not known to exist until April 1983. It was then decided rightfully to make it the introductory volume to the set that had grown to 12 volumes, of which volume II bears the subtitle Leftwich’s Grant, and covers the period from 1823 through September 1826.
This book presents in facsimile the manuscript diary and letterbook, page by page, with a printed transcription at the bottom of each page. Of the 438 pages, only 373 are complete; 165 pages are completely blank, missing, or badly damaged. Nonetheless, the available material gives a good account of the activities of the two non-Spanish-speaking agents and their impressions of newly independent Mexico and its government officials, as well as their relations with other United States, European, and Mexican empresarios, among whom were Stephen F. Austin, James Wilkinson, James Barry, Tadeo Ortiz de Ayala, and Lorenzo de Zavala.
Understandably, the Mexican officials were more concerned about organizing their government and sustaining independence. However, it is important to note the courtesy of Agustín Iturbide, both before and after he became emperor of Mexico; of his minister, José Manuel de Herrera; and of members of the congress, in personally receiving these foreign empresarios, who apparently naively interpreted this reception to mean that their requests would be readily attended. The diary and letterbook reveal more about the maneuvering, thinking, and frustrations of the grant seekers than about Mexico and the crucial events occurring there.
The work is illustrated and carefully documented, and contains translations of some of the colonization laws considered and passed between 1822 and 1824. It also lists the grants (i. e. contracts) issued by the state of Coahuila and Texas during 1815-35. It is well worth consultation by anyone interested in the early colonization of Texas.