568. ZAVALA, Lorenzo de. Ensayo
histórico de las revoluciones de México, desde 1808 hasta 1830. Mexico:
Imprenta a cargo de Manuel N. de la Vega, calle de Tiburcio núm. 21, 1845.
Vol. I: [1-3], 4-332 pp., 2 lithograph portraits; Vol. II: [1-3], 4-320 pp.,
3 lithograph portraits. 2 vols. in one, 8vo (21.2 x 14.5 cm), contemporary
full straight-grain olive green Mexican calf, covers bordered in gilt, spine
lettered and decorated in gilt. Minor shelf wear (including small snag at
foot of spine), scattered light foxing (affecting some plates), overall a
fine copy. Front pastedown with early pale green label (“En la Libreria Poblana
de José B. Pascal, 2. calle de Mercaderes numero 6...”). On back pastedown
are the pencil notes of old-time Mexican bookseller Roberto Valles.
Plates (sheet size of each plate is
20 x 13.4 cm, and all are attributed to José Mariano Fernández de Lara, calle
de la Palma, Mexico):
Lorenzo de Zavala. Image, title,
and imprint: 12.4 x 9.3 cm. Faces p. 33, Vol. I.
Migl. Hidalgo [title is signature
with rubric]. Image and title: 14 x 9.5 cm. Faces p. 225, Vol. I.
José Ma. Morelos [title
is signature with rubric]. Image and title: 14.5 x 8 cm. Faces p. 85, Vol.
El Generalisimo D. Agustín Iturbide.
Image and title: 13.5 x 8 cm. Faces p. 245, Vol. II.
El Exmo. Sr. General D. Manuel de
Mier y Terán. Image and title: 13 x 10 cm. Faces. p. 277, Vol. II.
First illustrated edition and first
Mexican edition (first edition, Paris & New York, 1831-1832; see
preceding entry). Palau 378347. Sabin 106277n. Streeter 1128A. González
Peña, History of Mexican Literature, pp. 247-249: “The life of Zavala
explains his personality as a writer. He was a man of superior talent and
culture, but he was enslaved by passion. He wrote while fighting, he fought
while writing. Rather than a historian, he was a vivid and impassioned chronicler
of his period. His style is clear, precise, cutting, full-throated; at times,
it strikes fire.... Sometimes he penetrates to the most deeply hidden causes
of the drama of Mexican history. Even today, some of the questions that he
raised are alive and urgent.”
The lithograph portraits of Zavala
and Mier y Terán are included in Ron Tyler’s preliminary study on Texas lithographs
of the nineteenth century, in which Dr. Tyler refers to the men as:
[T]wo important figures who were
involved in Texas.... General Mier y Terán was commandant general of the
eastern division of the Provincias Internas (which included Texas). Because
of continued disturbances in Texas and along Mexico’s eastern coast, he conducted
an inspection of the frontier in 1829, concluding that Mexico should strengthen
its hold on Texas by encouraging the immigration of Mexican families. The
Law of April 6, 1830, was passed as a result of his recommendations, but,
contrary to his desire, it contained an article prohibiting further immigration
from the United States. As commandant general of the eastern division, he
worked with Empresario Stephen F. Austin to see that it was rendered practically
inoperative. Apparently out of despair for the state of the Mexican nation,
Mier committed suicide in 1832, and Austin succeeded in having the Law of
April 6 repealed in 1833....
Mier’s 1829 expedition is one of
his great legacies. It gathered a significant body of information, only a
small portion of which was ever available for study. Mier collaborated with
Jean Luis Berlandier, the expedition botanist, on Memorias de la Comisión
de límites a las órdenes del general Manuel de Mier y Terán (Matamoros,
1832) shortly before his death. Diario de viage de la Comision de Limites
que puso el gobierno de la republica, which contains further information
on the expedition, was published in 1850. Lorenzo de Zavala, a former governor
of the state of México and a member of Congress, saluted Mier in his Ensayo
histórico de las revoluciones de México (2 vols.; Paris, 1831-32); a
subsequent edition of which contains this portrait of Mier.
De Zavala was one of the best known
and ablest Mexican patriots to help Texas win its independence. De Zavala
had a distinguished political career in Mexico under both the Spanish and
the Mexican governments as governor of the state of México, member of the
Chamber of Deputies, and minister to France. He had been interested in Texas
for several years, for he received an empresario contract in 1829
to settle 500 families in Texas and, along with his partners, David G. Burnet
and Joseph Vehlein, sold the contract to the Galveston Bay and Texas Land
Company the following year.
Concluding in 1835 that Santa Anna
had no intention of upholding the Constitution of 1824, de Zavala returned
to Texas in July of that year and established a home on Buffalo Bayou. He
participated in the Consultation of 1835 and the Convention of 1836 and signed
the Declaration of Independence. He was elected ad interim vice president
of the Republic of Texas in March, 1836, and served in that capacity until
October 22, when he resigned along with the rest of the ad interim government.
He died the following month.
De Zavala published Ensayo histórico
de las revoluciones de México in Paris in 1831-32. It was reprinted
in Mexico in 1845 and 1918, and is probably the most important of his many
publications. The French edition contains no illustrations, but the Mexican
edition contains portraits of both de Zavala and Mier. They were printed
in the shop of José Mariano Lara, one of the better Mexican lithographers
of the 1840s.
Auction 22 Abstracts
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