— Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2013 —
Rare Conjunction of Colonial Mexican Figures involved in the Settling and Organization of Texas & the Southwest
Beautifully Engraved by Fabregat
167. GÜEMES PACHECO DE PADILLA, Juan Vicente de, Second Conde de Revillagigedo (Viceroy of New Spain, 1789-1794). [Text begins] Don Juan Vicente de Guemes, Pacheco de Padilla, Horacasitas, y Aguayo, Conde de Revilla Gigedo, Baron.... [lower left below border] Fabregat sc. Copper-engraved appointment form within elaborate border with large image of the Conde’s arms, completed in manuscript and appointing José de Andrade lieutenant in the Dragoons Regiment of Spain, signed by Revillagigedo and Antonio Bonilla. Mexico City, March 24, 1794, with three contemporary ink acknowledgements and filing notes on verso, all dated March 26, 1794.  page, verso blank. Folio (image size: 31.7 x 21.2 cm; overall sheet size: 35.6 x 25 cm). Creased where formerly folded, with three small professionally closed splits intruding into image (no losses), several small holes in left blank margin, otherwise fine. The appointment is highly legible and the signatures are dark and bold.
A handsome Viceregal-era military appointment form executed by two of Mexico’s prominent political figures and engraved by one of Mexico’s significant eighteenth-century engravers. Revillagigedo (1740-1799), the fifty-second viceroy of New Spain, is considered the best colonial viceroy. His administration was very progressive, and he supported the strengthening and founding of various cultural and political institutions, in addition to other activities such as road building and various exploratory ventures, including an expedition to Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. He advocated a more enlightened view of the missions, presidios, and Native Americans in the Spanish Southwest. Revillagigedo’s Instrucción reservada (published posthumously in Mexico in 1831; Sabin 70288) is a basic source on the colonial administration of Mexico and Spanish possessions in the present Southwest U.S. Despite being accused of wrongdoing by his enemies, he was completely exonerated, and his accusers were charged with the costs of the proceedings.
The other signer of this document, Antonio Bonilla (?-?) was the first historian of Texas, completing his Breve compendio (1772) in about two weeks. He was later heavily involved in Texas matters, including compiling important reports for Revillagigedo, whom he served as secretary. See Handbook of Texas Online: Antonio Bonilla. The engraver, José Joaquín Fabregat (1748-1807) was at one time in charge of the Real Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City, where he had previously studied. Fabreget instituted the highest standards for printing and engraving, introducing the most advanced techniques from Europe. His engravings are considered to this day “magníficos” and embody a refined neo-Classical style, as is the case here. Rare conjunction of Mexican figures involved in the settling and organization of Texas embodied in a beautifully engraved document. Provenance: From the Andrade family.
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