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Streeter’s Copy of a Rare Samuel Bangs Imprint

16

. [BANGS, Samuel (printer)]. SPAIN. LAWS. [Reissued by]: MEXICO. PROVIN-

CIAS INTERNAS DE ORIENTE. COMMANDANTE GENERAL (Joaquín de

Arredondo).

D. Joaquín de Arredondo Mioño Pelegrin...Por el Ministerio de la

Governación de Ultramar se me há comunicado la Rea

[l]

Orden que sigue...sobre el

libre establecimiento de fabricas y ejercicio de qualquiera industria útil....

Monterrey:

[Printed by Samuel Bangs], December

5

,

1820

.

1

p., printed folio broadside, with ink

rubric of Joaquín de Arredondo, and signed in full by Rafael Gonzáles (because of

the lack of a secretary). Very

fi

ne. Thomas W. Streeter’s copy, with his pencil note

(“early Monterrey printing”). Rare (copies located at Bancroft, Yale, and the

University of Texas).

Early Northern Mexican imprint, dating from the

fi

rst year of establishment of a

press in Monterrey by pioneer printer Samuel Bangs (ca.

1798

-

1854

). Jenkins,

Printer

in Three Republics

29

. Spell,

Pioneer Printer

35

. Bangs was the

fi

rst printer in Texas and

three Northern Mexican states (Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and Coahuila). Bangs’s

fi

rst

imprint was a proclamation printed on a portable press at Galveston Island, while he

was a member of the doomed expedition organized in

1817

by noble Spanish guerril-

la Francisco Xavier Mina to liberate Mexico from Spain. The Royalists in Mexico

quickly defeated Mina, and he and most of his men were summarily executed.

Royalist general Joaquín de Arredondo spared Bangs only because the young man

from Boston knew how to operate the captured press. But Arredondo promptly for-

got about Bangs, who spent the next three years working on a chain gang cobbling

the streets of Monterrey. In April

1820

, Arredondo remembered Bangs and his little

printing press and put Bangs to work printing decrees like the present one. Printing

in Monterrey at that time presented distinct challenges to Bangs, including the lack

of printing paper (writing paper was substituted when it could be found), want of a

proper press, Bangs’s lack of knowledge of the Spanish language, insu

ffi

cient food

and other basic necessities, and a paltry supply of type. The latter de

fi

ciency led

Bangs to create some highly unusual imprints—not having a full complement of

roman type, Bangs was forced to substitute some letters with italic type. This mixture

of roman and italic types is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Bangs’s early

imprints, as evidenced in the present imprint.

The decree bears the ink paraph of Spaniard Joaquín de Arredondo (

1798

-

1837

), a

military commandant who was promoted to colonel and given command of an

infantry regiment in Mexico in

1810

. Thereafter, he was instrumental in suppressing

Hidalgo’s revolt, for which he was rewarded by appointment as commandant of the

eastern division of the Provincias Internas in

1813

. He defeated rebels in San Antonio

in

1813

at the Battle of Medina and returned to Monterrey. Ironically, it was

Arredondo who approved the petition of Moses Austin to bring Anglo settlers to

Texas (see

Handbook of Texas Online

: Joaquín de Arredondo). The decree has the full

signature of Tejano Rafael Gonzáles (

1789

-

1857

), governor of Coahuila y Texas, who

was born in San Fernando de Béxar in

1789

. He began his military career as a cadet

in the presidial company of Nuestra Señora de Loreto and moved up the ranks to

serve as secretary of the comandancia of Coahuila y Texas. The town of Gonzales,

Texas, was named for him (see

Handbook of Texas Online

: Rafael Gonzáles).

Item

16