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AUCTION 21

October 26, 2007

G.T.T. Whether They Like It or Not
Mexican Convicts Sent to Texas to Establish New Colonies

202. MEXICO (Republic). MINISTERIO DE JUSTICIA Y NEGOCIOS ECLESIÁSTICOS. [José] Miguel Ramos Arizpe. Memoria del Ministerio de Justicia y Negocios Eclesiásticos de la República Mexicana. Presentada por el Secretario del Ramo á las Cámaras del Congreso general, en cumplimento del artículo 120 de la Constitución Federal, y leida en la de Diputados el dia 17, y en la de Senadores el dia 18 de Mayo del año de 1833. México: Imprenta del Águila, dirigida por José Ximeno, calle de Medinas núm. 6, 1833. [2], 18, [20 (tables)] pp., 3 folded tables. Folio (28.3 x 20.5 cm), original illustrated printed wrappers with elaborate ornamental border and wood engraving of Mexican eagle, stitched as issued. Light vertical crease where formerly folded, two small wormholes that occasionally touch a few letters, light marginal water staining, more pronounced on first few leaves, but overall very good.

            First edition of an important report issued during a critical period of Southwestern history. Palau 160880. Not in Sabin or Streeter. In this annual review of the state of laws and justice in the Mexican Republic, Arizpe reports that new judicial districts have been set up in the territories of New Mexico and Upper California and discusses whether new bishoprics should be established in New Mexico and Sonora. He touches on numerous topics, such as the state of church finances, charitable institutions, and students enrolled in schools. Among his subjects is the number of prisoners in various Mexico City jails and what is to become of them (pp. 8-9). He reports that prisoners were sent to Veracruz and trans-shipped to Texas on January 24, 1833, in accordance with laws passed concerning the need to settle Texas with Mexicans (such as the Texas Colonization Law), with the aim of accomplishing that end. On the 7th of this month, Arizpe dispatched 107 more such people. To increase the number of such emigrants, Arizpe also declared that wives, parents, and emancipated minors of the prisoners could also accompany them and be supported according to applicable laws. If the prisoners behaved themselves in their new locale, their sentences were to be either reduced or forgiven. The potential total such population is given in Table 1, “Estado que manifiesta el número de reos de ambos sexos que á esta fecha hay existentes en la Cárcel de la Diputación, llamada de Ciudad,” which lists 283 male prisoners and 40 females. This report is a clear manifestation of the chronic problems Mexico had in sufficiently populating Texas. Peopling colonies with convicts and other societal misfits had a long history by this time, and the idea worked no better in Mexico’s case than in had in other venues.

            Miguel Ramos Arizpe (1775-1843), Mexican priest and politician born in Coahuila, served as deputy in 1810 and as justice minister for Presidents Guadalupe Victoria, Manuel Gómez Pedraza, Valentín Gómez Farías, and Antonio López de Santa-Anna. Ramos Arizpe is known as the father of Mexican federalism, one of the main ideas that motivated the Texans in their revolt against Santa-Anna's centralism. The city of Ramos Arizpe in Coahuila is named for him. ($400-800)

Sold. Hammer: $400.00; Price Realized: $470.00

Auction 21 Abstracts

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