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Auction 14: Americana

Lots 16 & 17: Bangs Imprint & Bryan Manuscript

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Streeter’s Copy of a Rare Samuel Bangs Imprint

16. [BANGS, Samuel (printer)]. SPAIN. LAWS. [Reissued by]: MEXICO. PROVINCIAS 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 fine. 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 first 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 first printer in Texas and three Northern Mexican states (Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, and Coahuila). Bangs’s first 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 guerrilla 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 forgot 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, insufficient food and other basic necessities, and a paltry supply of type. The latter deficiency 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).
    Aside from its printing history and the interest attached to the signatures of Arredondo and Gonzáles, the content of this circular is important for borderlands history because it encouraged free establishment of factories and exercise of all useful industries by Spaniards and resident foreigners.

17. BRYAN, Moses Austin, William Lochridge & Rebecca Lochridge. Manuscript promissory note by which William & Rebecca Lochridge agree to pay $400 to James F. Perry. N.p., March 9, 1843. Signed by the Lochridges on recto; verso with receipts between September 1, 1844, and December 8, 1846, written and signed by Moses Austin Bryan on behalf of James F. Perry. Age-toned, otherwise fine.
    Moses Austin Bryan (1817-1895), soldier, San Jacinto veteran, statesman, and kinsman of Stephen F. Austin, moved to Texas in 1831, worked as Stephen F. Austin’s secretary, clerked in the General Land Office, and served at San Jacinto as third sergeant in Moseley Baker’s Company and aide-de-camp to Thomas J. Rusk. Bryan acted as interpreter at the conference between Sam Houston and Antonio López de Santa Anna after the Battle of San Jacinto. In 1839, Lamar appointed Bryan to be secretary of the Republic of Texas legation to the United States. He joined the Somervell expedition in 1839 and was a major in the Third Texas Regiment during the Civil War.

    The note is pledged to James Franklin Perry (1790-1853), also a kinsman of Stephen F. Austin, who came to Texas in 1832 at Austin’s urging and established Peach Point Plantation. Perry tried to steer clear of politics but eventually became active for the revolution as a member of conventions and of the Committee of Safety. He handled Austin’s affairs when the latter was imprisoned in Mexico and served as administrator of Austin’s estate. Perry was an early advocate of railroads and among the first planters to shift from cotton to sugar. For more on Bryan and Perry, see Handbook of Texas Online (Moses Austin Bryan and James Franklin Perry).

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