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AUCTION 20

86. [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. LÓPEZ DE SANTA-ANNA, Antonio. Exposición que eleva al soberano congreso nacional al excelentísimo Sr. Presidente interino de república, general de división y benemérito de la patria, D. Antonio López de Santa-Anna, con el documento que en ella se cita, dirigido al encargado del Supremo Poder Ejecutivo.... [Dated at end, Tehuacan, November 10, de 1847]. Orizava: Imprenta de la Caja de Ahorros, dirijida por J. Ramon Matos, 1847. 16 pp. 8vo, original yellow printed wrappers, stitched. Upper corner of front wrapper supplied in excellent facsimile, entire pamphlet and wraps gently washed and stabilized, staining (mainly confined to wraps and upper blank corners of text). Very rare.

     First edition. Not in Garrett & Goodwin (The Mexican-American War), Kurutz & Mathes (The Forgotten War), Palau, Sabin, Sutro, Tutorow, etc. Following disastrous defeats in at Monterrey, Cerro Gordo, Puebla, and the fall of Mexico City to General Winfield Scott on 15 September 1847, interim president Antonio López de Santa-Anna moved the national government to Querétaro, resigned his office on 16 September and delivered executive power to the president of the supreme court, Manuel de la Peña y Peña. Santa-Anna retained command of the remainder of the Mexican forces and marched upon Puebla, perhaps hoping to cut the U.S. supply line from the port of Veracruz or, perhaps, hoping to advance his flight from the country through that port. Thus absent from national politics, Santa-Anna was accused by his enemies of treason for his failure to defend the nation from the invader and to negotiate an armistice, thus avoiding heavy losses in and around Mexico City.

     Notified of demands for him to appear before a tribunal, on 1 November 1847 from Tehuacán, Puebla, Santa-Anna wrote to the national congress, publishing his letter and supporting documents as a means of seeking political support. In his letter he states that he has always been aware of his duty and the honor of the presidency, and that, even knowing he would be the target of factions, he had set aside personal considerations, thinking only of combating the invaders. He writes that he was called to the government by the congress in February and then led forces to La Angostura and later to Cerro Gordo against a powerful enemy, and that although he was not victorious, he made the enemy aware of Mexican determination in defense of the nation. Arriving at Puebla, he was unable to hold the city without supply, and returning to the capital he began its fortification. He declares that he gave presidential power to the president of the supreme court in case of his death in combat and had not considered it a permanent resignation. He considers the actions of Peña y Peña as arbitrary, and herewith submits his resignation. He closes by protesting the defamations and calumnies of “bastard enemies” following the war, and that he was the subject of military misfortunes, having served with loyalty and honor.

     Santa-Anna appended his letter with a letter directed to Peña y Peña under the same date, explaining his transfers of government as a result of accusations of treason and demands of relinquishing command because of his losses, without consideration of the office of the presidency. He states that he was obliged to leave Mexico to save the government and continue war, and installed it in Querétaro while he marched on Puebla. His renunciation of the government was temporary and to avoid separation from it due his inability to act as commander and civil authority at the same time. He declares that the government was not abandoned, and that his act of going to defend the nation was not illegal, not subject to criticism, nor does it empower Peña y Peña to take power. There exists no constitutional power to force him to submit to a tribunal regarding his errors and failures, and he is prepared to give a full explanation of actions to the nation.

     The critical loss of the Battle of Cerro Gordo, which has been called “the Battle of Thermopylae of the West” (the use of terrain was similar to the maneuver that the Persians used to eventually defeat the Greeks), is often cited as typical of Santa-Anna’s stubborn unwillingness to listen to others. This was one of the more humiliating moments suffered by Santa-Anna, including the capture of his cork leg which eventually made its way to an Ohio museum. ($500-1,000)

Sold. Hammer: $550.00; Price Realized: $646.25

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