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First Grant to Navigate the Trinity River

15. COAHUILA Y TEJAS. LAWS (April 16, 1833). [Decree No. 218 of the Congreso constitucional, promulgated April 16, 1833, by Governor Veramendi, granting exclusive privilege to Francisco Madero for a term of eighteen years to introduce steamboats on the Trinity River]. [Printed heading at top] Gobierno supremo del Estado libre de Coahuila y Tejas. [text commences] El vice gobernador del Estado de Coahuila y Tejas, en ejercio del Supremo Poder ejecutivo á todos sus habitantes sabed: que el congreso del mismo Estado há decretado lo que sigue...Art. 1.o Se concede al ciudadano José Francisco Madero, privilegio exclusivo por el termino de diaz y oche años, para que pueda introducir en el Río Trinidad, Buques de Vapor ó de Caballo, Vela ó Remo, siempre que de su cuenta lo ponga en disposicion de poderlo verificar... [at end] Dado en la ciudad de Monclova á 16 de abril de 1833. Juan Martín de Veramendi | Santiago del Valle secretario. Broadside (28 x 18.7 cm), on hand-made Italian laid paper watermarked Almasso. With ink rubrics of Veramendi and del Valle, ink number at top (44) and transmittal note to Santa Rosa at lower left. Various pencil notes, including Kimball citation in pencil at top left. Blank margins slightly trimmed, creased at center where formerly folded, a few tiny holes at left blank margin.

     First printing of the first and exclusive right to navigate the Trinity River in Texas. Kimball, p. 209. Streeter Sale 314. Not in Mr. Streeter’s Texas bibliography, though it seems odd it is not there, since it fits his parameter and there was a copy in the Streeter Sale. This decree grants to José Francisco Madero the right to navigate the Trinity River under five provisions: (1) Steam, horse-drawn, sail, or row boats can be used as long as they can be verified as Madero’s; (2) grant becomes effective with the publication of this decree; (3) during the grant term of eighteen years no new state taxes may be imposed on these boats, only those imposed by the national government; (4) upon notification of the government, the grant can be transferred, in whole or in part as long as it is not to a subject of a nation at war with the United Mexican states; (5) grant becomes null if not acted upon within three years. “The prospect of a Trinity River navigable from its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico to Dallas has long been a cherished dream in Texas, and numerous proposals for making that dream a reality have been put forth. Beginning around 1836 numerous packet boats steamed up the Trinity River, bringing groceries and dry goods and carrying down cotton, sugar, cowhides, and deerskins.”—Handbook of Texas Online (Trinity River Navigation Projects). The last failed attempt at this project was in 1963.

     Grantee José Francisco Madero (b.? Chihuahua), Mexican surveyor, Texas land commissioner, organizer of Liberty Municipality, and Federalist, arrived at San Felipe de Austin in January 31, 1831, immediately becoming embroiled with Juan Davis Bradburn in the Federalist-Centralist clash, one of the factors leading to the Texas Revolution. Madero issued sixty land titles, mostly on the lower Trinity River. He was also involved in the Convention of 1833, being enlisted by authorities to persuade East Texas settlers to work for peaceful change. He died in the cholera epidemic in 1833. He may possibly be the ancestor of Francisco Madero, also from Coahuila, and certainly the same family.

     The broadside bears the ink ms. rubric of Juan Martín de Veramendi (b. San Antonio 1778-d. 1833 Monclova), Mexican governor of Coahuila y Tejas, holder of several other offices, and father-in-law of James Bowie. Veramendi received an eleven-league empresario grant in 1825 from Stephen F. Austin. He was one of the actively engaged pro-Anglo Tejanos, and therefore unpopular with many Mexicans. Like Madero, Veramendi died in the 1833 cholera epidemic. ($1,000-2,000)

Sold. Hammer: $1,700.00; Price Realized: $1,997.50

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