AUCTION 23

 

Very Fine Copy in Original Cloth of Folsom’s Mexico in 1842

With an Unusual Map of the Republic of Texas

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147. [FOLSOM, George]. Mexico in 1842: A Description of the Country, Its Natural and Political Features; with a Sketch of Its History, Brought down to the Present Year. To Which is Added, an Account of Texas and Yucatan; and of the Santa Fé Expedition. Illustrated with a New Map. New York: Charles J. Folsom; Wiley and Putnam; Robinson, Pratt and Co., [J.P. Wright, Printer, 18 New Street, N.Y. (title verso)], 1842. [1-5] 6-256 pp., folded lithograph map, original color (outline coloring of Mexican states and Texas in bright rose; Republic of Texas in yellow): Mexico and Texas in 1842. Published by C.J. Folsom, No. Fulton St. cor. Pearl, New-York. Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1842, by C.J. Folsom, in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New-York. Lith. of G.W. Lewis, cor. Beckman & Nassau St. N.Y.; neat line to neat line: 23.1 x 25.8 cm (overall sheet size: 23.8 x 27.2 cm. 16mo (15.6 x 10.8 cm), original dark brown embossed cloth, gilt-lettering on spine. Head of spine skillfully reinforced, foot of spine slightly worn and frayed, overall binding is fine and unfaded. Text with occasional mild foxing, the map is pristine with good color retention. Overall a wonderful copy, the map superb.

     First edition. Braislin 745. Eberstadt, Texas 162:301. Graff 1372. Holliday Sale 380. Howes F226. Moser, Daniel Webster: A Bibliography 870. Palau 93035. Plains & Rockies IV:91. Rader 1423. Raines, p. 83. Rittenhouse 694. Sabin 24968. Smith, The War with Mexico, p. 542.

     Streeter, in his Bibliography of Texas (1413), best sums up the salient points of this book:

In the section of this book on Mexico which ends at page 151, there is a reprinting from Niles Register of December 4, 1841, apparently the first in book form, of a letter giving an account of a journey from St. Louis to Santa Fe.... The text from page 153 on relates to Texas for the period from about 1832 to 1842. It is most useful for its printing at pages 215-230 of the correspondence of Bernard E. Bee and James Hamilton with Santa-Anna that passed between December, 1841, and March, 1842...and for its reprinting, at pages 234-243, from Niles Register of March 5, 1842, of the Franklin Combs narrative of the Texan Santa Fe expedition. Combs (Coombs, according to Falconer and F.W. Hodge), the seventeen-year-old son of General Leslie Combs of Kentucky, was one of the small group that included Kendall and Falconer who had gone on the expedition as guests. His narrative relates mainly to the surrender of the expedition and its sufferings in the journey to Mexico as captives. It gives no details of the route of the expedition.... [Combs] was apparently the first of the prisoners to be released at Mexico City. Winkler, Manuscript Letters and Documents, Austin, 1937, reproduces a letter from Folsom to Ashbel Smith, dated October 24, 1843, indicating Folsom’s authorship of Mexico in 1842, and this is made certain by a presentation copy in the collection of Everett D. Graff, with the inscription signed “George Folsom, Esq. the Author.”

     Folsom (1802-1869), although originally intending a career in law, turned to antiquarian and political pursuits. He assisted the American Antiquarian Society and became librarian of the New York Historical Society. In both positions he was instrumental in bringing a number of basic source materials for historical studies to publication. He also served in various political capacities, including that of the U.S. chargé d’affaires to the Netherlands.

     The work has a short, interesting chapter on the cooperation of the Republic of Texas and Yucatan in their mutual rebellion against Santa-Anna’s dictatorship, including mention of the subsidized Republic of Texas Navy that protected the Yucatecans. Folsom documents important events leading up to and including the Texas Revolution. His comments on Mexico and Mexicans are unkind in relation to the Revolution; on the other hand, his comments about the country’s resources are fairly flattering, although his distaste for Santa-Anna is obvious.

     This book is prized as much for its text as the unusual map, which shows the Republic of Texas in a rather bizarre configuration. A tall, wide Panhandle reaches to the Arkansas River. Though the Panhandle is wide, the outlining carefully retreats back to just east of Santa Fe. The southwestern boundary follows the Rio Grande and Pecos Rivers, relinquishing most of the Trans-Pecos West to Mexico. Phillips, America, p. 410. G.W. Lewis, who lithographed the map, is listed in Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers (revised edition), Vol. III, p. 128. Peters, America on Stone (pp. 264-265) attempts to piece together Lewis’ body of work (1841-1867), conjecturing that he may have been a stage-struck actor who supported himself with lithographic work. His map of Texas certainly reflects a dramatic flair. The advertisement at the front states: “The accompanying Map of Mexico, although small, conveys a more correct view of the country than any one hitherto published. Many towns have sprung up since the revolution that are not found on former maps; and notwithstanding the general accuracy of Humboldt, his magnificent atlas contains some errors.”

($2,000-4,000)

Auction 23 Abstracts

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