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October 26, 2007

“The augmentation of one nation through the losses of another”

176. [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. MEXICO (Republic). SECRETARÍA DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES (José María Lafragua). Memoria de la primera Secretaría de Estado y del Despacho de Relaciones Interiores y Esteriores de los Estados-Unidos Mexicanos, leida al soberano Congreso constituyente en los días 14, 15 y 16 de diciembre de 1846 por el ministro del ramo, C. José María Lafragua. Impresa por acuerdo del soberano congreso. Mexico: Imprenta de Vicente García Torres, en el ex-convento del Espírtu Santo, 1847. 185 [1 blank], 246, [2] pp., 21 folding charts within ornate typographical borders. 4to (27 x 19 cm), original green and brown Mexican tree sheep, covers gilt rolled, spine gilt, brown marbled endpapers. Spine faded, dry, and rubbed; boards moderately rubbed with some flaying and shelf wear; hinges starting (but holding), title with light scattered foxing, interior very good except for second folding table, which is trimmed closely at right (loss of a few letters) and tape repair on verso. Lafragua’s signed presentation note in ink on verso of title, to his colleague and friend José Ignacio Villaseñor.

            First edition of a work offering a fundamental, precisely documented look into the Mexico side of the Mexican-American War. Garrett & Goodwin, The Mexican-American War, p. 89. Palau 160957. Sabin 38613. Kurutz & Mathes, The Forgotten War, p. 40:

Recently appointed Minister of Interior and Exterior Relations José María Lafragua presents a summation of relations with Brazil, European powers, and, more extensively, the United States. Noting that, although the prior memorandum treated the disagreeable Texas question, there remained hope for a satisfactory solution, but this is no longer the case. The United States availed itself of the generosity of Mexico regarding immigration to establish a colony in Texas and then stimulated its separation, finally annexing it. This completely changed the character of relations, for it was the augmentation of one nation through the losses of another. On March 22, 1845, notification of annexation was given to the governors, on March 29 notice of the rupture of diplomatic relations was given, and on July 16 two circulars were issued reflecting the failure of Mexican attempts to negotiate with Texas. Circulars of January 14, May 13, and July 4, 1846, ordered restrictions and internment of United States citizens and preparations for defense, and those of August 18, September 10, 21, and 30, and October 7 ordered the raising of troops, supplying of arms, and assistance to the federal government. The circular of November 27 reported the status of occupation of the Californias and New Mexico and the conflict with the United States. Lafragua’s memorandum continues with a discussion of interior matters, public order, attempted revolts, national guard, the press, mining, agriculture, industry, commerce, colonization, public works, public education, academics, libraries and archives, museums, police, health, hospitals, cemeteries, welfare, and state statistics. The memorandum is followed by an extensive appendix of supporting documents. Among these documents are twenty-six communications and circulars to the governors relative to the breakdown of negotiations with Texas and the United States between March 1845 and November 1846. They include translation of Texian and United States diplomatic notes and communications regarding the mission of John Slidell. Statistical tables of taxes, expenditures, schedules, activities, and personnel of administrative dependencies are also appended.

This report contains the first publication of documents on the preliminaries for a treaty of peace between Mexico and the Republic of Texas following annexation by the United States. ($500-1,000)

Sold. Hammer: $500.00; Price Realized: $587.50

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