“A Journal of a Tour Across the Continent of New Spain. . .by Lieut. W. R. Broughton in the year 1793…”

A conference paper I prepared for presentation at the Society of the History of Discoveries 43rd Annual Meeting at Zapopan Jalisco, Guadalahara, Mexico in October 2002 was attempt to follow (at least partially) in the footsteps of British maritime explorer Lt. William Robert Broughton who following Pacific Northwest explorations under Captain George Vancouver made a trans-continental crossing of Mexico from San Blas to Veracruz in 1793. However, I was marooned at the Phoenix Arizona airport en route when the FAA cancelled the connecting flight to Guadalahara because of Tropical Storm Kenna that inundated Mexico that weekend and made it impossible for me to reach the conference in time for my scheduled presentation. I returned home dejected that I had been thwarted by the storm but heard later that my paper was accepted for publication in the journal “Terrae Incognitae” the official publication of the Society for the History of Discoveries.”

I was delighted with the appearance of the essay in Vol.36 2004 Issue but there were a few problems that slipped into print. Although I had worked with the editor on revisions by mail I had not been copied on the “Contributors” acknowledgments which noted that I had “presented a first version of this paper at the Society’s meeting at Guadalahara, Mexico.” My attendance at the conference and therefore presentation did not happen because of the flight cancellation. I had sent a working draft to the conference committee during the call for papers. But unfortunately I missed what must have been an interesting if perhaps too exciting conference in the midst of Tropical Storm Kenna.

The other issue was related to the final form of the appendicies that I had attached to the essay which I had not properly edited or missed a chance to update prior to publication leaving some errors in the listing of charts and maps either in the organization or detail of the appendicies. The essay itself seemed to have been well received but another scholar pointed out the deficiencies of the appendicies in a subsequent review in the TI journal. I had relied on second hand sources for this information and the critical scholar is fortunate to work directly with the sources involved so he may been particularly keen to point that out. Interestingly, the critical scholar’s own work was later published and reviewed in a 2011 issue of TI in the book review section in which another reviewer pointed out that he also had “a number of errors in the place names …required the insertion of an errata slip” and that scholarly conventions had not been followed, etc. So I guess what goes around comes around.

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