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October 26, 2007

“Grand Review of the Texas Army”

241. [TEXAS CARICATURE]. “Invasion of Mexico! Grand Review of the Texas Army!!” Wood engraving within line border, 8 x 12.2 cm. Illustration of buffo, dandily dressed commander inspecting and reviewing comically pathetic rag-tag troops armed with sticks. The engraving is found in: Dollar Weekly: The Cheapest Paper Ever Published!-The Miracle of the Age! One Dollar a Year, with Two Hundred Original Engravings. By Herrick & Ropes. New York, June 25, 1842, Vol. I, No. 31. 4 pp. printed in 7 columns, 5 illustrations (including masthead). Folio (63 x 46 cm), disbound. Creased where formerly folded, light water stain on bottom half (not affecting any images), light marginal chipping not affecting text. Professionally washed and deacidified.

            The print pokes fun at the ill-prepared Republic of Texas militia and volunteers during the Mexican reinvasion of Texas in 1842 (see: Handbook of Texas Online: Mexican Invasions of 1842). A rare and unusual piece of satiric Texas iconography. One of the articles (“Solitude and Romance”, page 3, column 3) documents Matias Díaz, a Tejano spy who rode for Texas Ranger John Coffee Hays. The story relates Díaz’ miraculous escape when taken a prisoner on the Texan-Santa Fe Expedition. Díaz was betrayed by fellow Mexicans, who reported that he was a former spy in Col. Hays’ Company rather than merely a Mexican servant for the Texan-Santa Fe Expedition. He was confined at Santa Fe but finally escaped and made his way to Bent’s Fort whence he resumed his journey to Independence, Missouri, where he arrived twenty-six days later. The editors comment: “If his story is correct, he is probably the first traveller who has ever ‘gone it alone’ across the immense prairies of the west; and how he escaped starving to death, or being picked up by the Camanches or Pawnees, is almost a miracle.” The story is reprinted from the New Orleans Picayune.

            The Dollar Weekly specialized in popular humor and dreadful poetry, with a little news (mostly the colorful type) thrown in. ($30-60)

Sold. Hammer: $31.00; Price Realized: $36.43

Auction 21 Abstracts

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