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October 26, 2007

“The giant who should beat a cripple would be a hero in comparison”

213. NEWMAN, John B. Texas and Mexico, in 1846; Comprising the History of Both Countries, With an Account of the Soil, Climate, and Production of Each. New York: Published by J. K. Wellman, 116 Nassau-Street, 1846. 32 pp., folding lithograph map with original hand coloring and U.S. flag planted at “Point Isabel” and waving across Texas, which is outlined in yellow: Mexico & Texas in 1846. Seat of War. New York. J. K. Wellman, 116 Nassau St. Lith. of Lewis & Brown, 272 Pearl St. (neat line to neat line: 23.1 x x 26.2 cm). 8vo (21.4 x 14 cm), original yellow printed front and back wrappers with ornamental borders, stitched. Unevenly trimmed, tip of lower spine slightly chipped, upper wrapper moderately stained, title, text, and map lightly water-stained, wrapper with moderate staining, dime-size stain on upper right blank corners of two leaves, overall a good copy of a rare pamphlet and map (seldom found with map). Preserved in a green cloth folding case.

            First edition. Eberstadt, Texas 162:567. Howes N122. Rader 2480. Sabin 55013. In the first part of his book, Newman discusses the history and geographical features of Mexico, follows with several pages on Texas (land claims, climate, agriculture, etc.), and concludes with a denunciation of the United States as a warmongering country seeking to pick a fight with a peaceful neighbor for no good reason. Although his knowledge of Mexico appears to be secondhand, he is clearly sympathetic with the country and its citizens, expressing particular admiration for the manner in which they won their independence. Concerning the future prosperity of Mexico, if it enjoys good relations with the United States, he states: “Public coaches will one day roll on from Philadelphia and Washington, to Mexico and Acapulco” (p. 19). He also comments with some amusement on the Mexican habit of smoking cigars, stating that even a woman “thinks she is destitute of one of her attractions, if she has not a segar in her mouth” (p. 23).

            Newman’s admiration for Texas is also manifest. For example, he remarks of the area around the Trinity River, “This is a district remarkable for its fertility and beauty” (p. 26). However, he belittles the Texas claim that the country extends all the way to the Rio Grande. As part of his discussion of the Texas Revolution, he reprints the so-called Declaration of Causes (pp. 10-11). Finally, his denunciation of the United States’ pretext for war with Mexico is heartfelt and vigorous. Concerning the fairness of the contest, he states, “...the giant who should beat a cripple would be a hero in comparison” (p. 29).

            Perhaps the most riveting feature of this work is the unusual and colorful map of Texas and Mexico, with its blatantly jingoistic image of the flag of the United States waving over Texas. Two boundaries between Texas and Mexico are drawn in yellow, one at the Nueces and the other at the Rio Grande. (Wheat does not mention the map, although it extends to the Pacific.) George W. Lewis & William K. Brown, who were active in New York between 1845 and 1849, lithographed the map. Peters (America on Stone, pp. 265-67) comments on the sketchy history of the lithographers and does not mention this map.

            Author John B. Newman was a physician and wrote works on botany, homeopathy, and some eclectic titles, such as Origin of the Red Men: An Authentic History of the Peopling of America by the Atlantians and Tyrians; the Origin of the Toltecs, the Description and History of Atlantis...Legend of Quetzalcoatl...the Aztec City of Sumai... (New York, 1849) and a treatise on onanism, The Philosophy of Generation: Its Abuses, with Causes, Prevention, and Cure (New York, 1853). ($2,500-5,000)

Sold. Hammer: $3,400.00; Price Realized: $3,995.00

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