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“The only comprehensive history of the colonization of Texas and the Texas Revolution from the Mexican point of view” (Eugene C. Barker)

28. FILISOLA, Vicente. Memorias para la historia de la guerra de Tejas, por el General de División, D. Vicente Filisola, actual Presidente del Supremo Tribunal de Guerra y Marina de la República. Publicación del siglo diez y nueve.... Mexico: Imprenta de Ignacio Cumplido, Calle de los Rebeldes, número 2, 1849. 256, 267-511 [1 blank], [2, himno]; 267 [1 blank] pp. 2 vols. in one, 8vo, contemporary Mexican crimson calf over tan mottled boards, spines lettered and decorated in gilt. Very fine in a handsome Mexican binding. Laid in is an original manuscript (4-1/2 pp., 8vo, in ink, some marginal tears) containing observations on Filisola’s book, signed by Mexican military and political leader Juan Suárez y Navarro (1813-1867; Dicc. Porrúa), dated in Mexico on December 31, 1851. Suárez y Navarro wrote Historia de México y del General Antonio López de Santa-Anna...1821 hasta 1848 (Mexico: Cumplido, 1850; Palau 24102), an unfinished defense of Santa-Anna and the army. See notes at end of this description for more on the manuscript.

     First edition of the Cumplido edition of Filisola’s memoirs (Rafael published an edition in Mexico in 1848 and 1849); the Cumplido edition provides the best coverage of the Battle of the Alamo and the 1836 campaign. Basic Texas Books 62: “The best account by a Mexican contemporary of the American conquest of Texas. Eugene C. Barker called it ‘the only comprehensive history of the colonization of Texas and the Texas Revolution from the Mexican point of view.’... The Rafael and Cumplido editions each stand on their own as separate works but complement each other so much that both are necessary to have a complete account.” Eberstadt, Texas 162:236. Howes F126. Palau 91612. Rader 1381. Raines, p. 82. Sabin 24324. Streeter 853n: “Filisola, in two quite different, especially in the Cumplido work, a much fuller account of the Texas campaign in 1836 and of the attempts of a Texas campaign in 1837.... The Cumplido imprint reports in detail upon the military operations from the taking of the Alamo in March 1836, to about August 1, 1837. The account for the period from the taking of the Alamo to shortly after the Battle of San Jacinto is much fuller than in...the Raphael imprint.... What Filisola calls the second campaign against Texas began in October, 1836, and is covered in the remaining pages, 397-511, of Volume I and the 267 pages of Volume II. This work printed by Cumplido is largely made up of army orders issued during the period.... One of the most important sources on Texas from the 1820s through 1837...enriched with scores of original documents and military orders unavailable elsewhere.”

     Filisola (1789-1850), a native of Italy who participated in many battles of the Napoleonic wars, came to Mexico in 1811, where he rapidly rose in the Mexican military because of his friendship with Iturbide. He received a colonization grant in Texas in 1831. In November 1835 he was appointed second in command to Santa-Anna on the Mexican campaign to crush the rebellious Texans. For more on Filisola, see Valentine J. Belfiglio, The Italian Experience in Texas (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983) and Handbook of Texas Online (Vicente Filisola). W. Michael Mathes sums up Filisola succinctly: “Filisola was a straight arrow in a time of many crooked ones. His memorias are, to me, about the best early Texana item from an historical viewpoint.”

     Regarding the manuscript notes laid in this copy of the book, Juan Suárez y Navarro,a well-known supporter and apologist of Santa-Anna, states that the censoring of the work of Filisola is intended to be kept in the privacy of his library and that this statement is made in the event that upon his death, it is read by another. He states that he does not hate Filisola and has never met him, thus the criticism in not based upon emotions. He specifies that the notes pertain to these two volumes and those published by José Agustín Escudero of Chihuahua. The document is titled “Critical judgment of the volumes regarding this matter written by Licenciate Agustín Escudero.” He states that Escudero wrote with the support of Filisola and his notes and papers to be able to produce the Memorias Históricas of Texas because the general committed so many errors there that he needed an historian who would sanctify his interests. Escudero, “whose presumption is equal to his ignorance,” took on the task and produced two volumes full of errors, contradictions, and lies. “Since Escudero is a parasite lawyer, his self-opinion, his ideas of honor, and being very much the adulator, his work reflects grotesque pedantic that characterize his poor reasoning. The reader becomes irritated by the repellent erudition of this insubstantial missionary.” He goes on to say: “All of the narrative of Escudero is tiring and deceiving.” He falsifies events, does not follow chronology, and forgets to avoid contradicting himself. The principal viewpoint of the writer is to provide excuses for the failures and errors of the actors in the “drama played in Texas.”

     Suárez y Navarro was promoted to general by his mentor in 1853 and fought as a conservative in the War of Reform and the French Intervention. His work on Santa-Anna is considered to be extremely apologetic and historiographically deficient. Escudero, on the other hand, is considered an important legislator from Chihuahua who fought against the dismemberment of his state by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. He published well accepted and important studies on the history, ethnology, and geography of Durango, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Sonora, and New Mexico, hardly the work of an ignorant man. This may be a classic case of the “pot calling the kettle black”. ($2,000-4,000)

Sold. Hammer: $3,600.00; Price Realized: $4,230.00

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