Dorothy Sloan -- Books

Copyright 2000- by Dorothy Sloan-Rare Books Inc. for all materials on this site. All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.


October 26, 2007

Santa-Anna Decrees
Unusual Nineteenth-Century Reproduction Method Using Sunlight

208. MEXICO (Republic). PRESIDENT (Antonio López de Santa-Anna). 5 circulars and orders issued by the Ministry of War and Navy, September-November, 1853. Folio, old stitch holes in left margins and contemporary manuscript ink foliation in upper right-hand corner on all documents. Except for minor stain on lower left blank margin of one item, very good. According to Dr. W. Michael Mathes, these items are manuscripts reproduced by an early form of holography using a concentrated beam of sunlight to transfer text, a process employed in Mexico during a brief period between 1850 and 1856 for short runs and to avoid printing delays and costs. Lithography was impractical for such short-run imprints, as it was extraordinarily costly, took weeks, and presented difficulties in reproducing the writer’s hand. These are rare examples of an unusual nineteenth century method of reproduction in Mexico.

            The documents deal with various subjects related to the aftermath of the war of Texas independence and invasion by the United States; military rewards; problems created by the establishment of the international border; expulsion of perceived traitors; and the United States’ assurance that the Tehuantepec passage can be used as a means of reaching the Pacific Ocean and California without going through fever-infested Panama.

(1) El E. S. Presidente, se ha servido dirigirme el decreto que cede el abono de un año de tiempo à todos los militares....Tornel. Tacubaya, September 2, 1853. [1] p. Santa-Anna decrees the granting of one year of leave to all military who served in the army in the first Texas campaign in the early months of 1836, excluding those who did not go beyond the left bank of the Río Bravo (Grande), but including all those who defended Béxar (San Antonio) during the end of 1835.

(2) El E. S. Presidente de la República se ha servido dirijirme el decreto qe sigue.... La circular de 7 de Mayo último y el decreto de 11 del mismo....Juan Suárez y Navarro. Tacubaya, September 3, 1853. [2] pp. Santa-Anna decrees that the circular of 7 May, 1853, and decree of 11 May, 1853, regarding the confiscation of arms held by individuals are not applicable to the States of Oriente (Texas, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua) or Occidente (Sinaloa, Sonora, Baja California) because of the attacks of wild Indians. Likewise, the prohibition of the introduction of gunpowder to those provinces does not apply. Thus, these provinces should proceed with the acquisition of arms and powder and with open, active warfare against the Indians, and the commandant generals and governors shall report regarding the arms, powder, and munitions introduced to the Ministry of War. Juan Suárez y Navarro, protégé of Santa-Anna, published a history-biography of Santa-Anna in 1850; was promoted to general, chief administrative officer of ministry of War and Navy in 1853; aspired to the post of minister on the death of Tornel but was dismissed due to excessive ambition; turned against Santa-Anna; and from 1865 to 1867 served the empire of Maximillian.

(3) Dispone el E. S. Presidente de la República, que según el prevenido en la Ley de amnistía....J. Suárez Navarro. Tacubaya, September 7, 1853. [1] p. The President of the Republic decrees that, according to the terms of the Law of Amnesty, all persons declared to be voluntary prisoners from the invading forces of the United States and those who requested passports when confronted by the enemy be sent to the border.

(4) Hoy a las diez de la mañana, ha fallecido el E. S. Gral de División...José Ma. Tornel...Juan Suárez y Navarro. Mexico City, September 11, 1853. [2] pp. A profuse paean to this recently deceased Mexican patriot, whose death at ten in the morning of apoplexy is announced here. Tornel was an insurgent in the wars of independence, captured and released in 1813, joined the Trigarantine Army in 1821, served as secretary to Santa-Anna, served as minister to the United States from 1829 to 1831, published work on relations of Texas and the U.S. with Mexico in 1837, negotiated a neutrality treaty for passage across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec with the U.S. in 1853, and served as minister of War and Navy during all administrations of Santa-Anna.

(5) El E. S. Presidente se ha servido disponer, que los individuos del Ejército que gocen uno o mas condecoraciones....Alcorta. Mexico City, November 2, 1853,  [1] p. Santa-Anna has determined that members of the army who hold one or more decorations given for action against the army of the United States may wear only the general medal, if they have actually been in combat with the enemy for which no specific decoration has been granted. The specific medals are a sufficient honor. José Alcorta was a royal cadet in 1813, joined the Trigarantine Army in 1821, became a brigadier general in 1832, and served as minister of War and Navy from May through September of 1847, during U.S. invasion of central Mexico.  He died in 1854. ($300-600)

Sold. Hammer: $300.00; Price Realized: $352.50

Auction 21 Abstracts

Click images or links labeled Enlarge to enlarge. Links labeled Zoom open zoomable images.

Auction 21 | DSRB Home | e-mail: