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AUCTION 22

 

A Mexican-American War Rarity—Suppressed by Santa-Anna

With an Extra Map of Palo Alto Not Found in the Few Copies Located


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389.     [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. [ALCÁRAZ, Ramón, Manuel Payno, Guillermo Prieto, et al. (editors)]. Apuntes para la historia de la guerra entre México y los Estados-Unidos. Mexico: Tipografía de Manuel Payno (Hijo), 1848. [i-iii] iv-v [1, blank], [2], [1] 2-401 [3] pp., 28 lithograph plates and maps: 14 portraits (including Manuel Micheltorena, last Mexican governor of Alta California), folding plate with tables on recto and verso (Ejército del Norte), 14 folding maps, including a rare map of Palo Alto, one of the battles fought on Texas soil. Large 8vo (25 x 18 cm), shiny modern olive green Mexican sheep, spine gilt lettered with raised bands and gilt-lettered green morocco labels, boards with gold rolls, beveled edges, gilt dentelles, sprinkled edges, and green marbled endpapers. Binding fading to brown, spine with some spotting; minor worm damage in gutter margin up through p. 105 (not touching text or images), light to moderate overall foxing and browning including plates and maps, light water damage from p. 235 to end (affecting lower blank margins), Sacramento battle plan stained at lower left into image and Blanco attribution below neat line at left trimmed and lost.

Maps:

Plano del pais situado al N.E. de la Ciudad de Matamoros 1846 [below neat line] lit de P. Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. Neat line to neat line: 19.8 x 27.7 cm.

Plano de la Ciudad de Matamoros 1846 [below neat line] lit de P. Blanco. Neat line to neat line: 20 x 24.7 cm.

Plano de las posiciones…en la Resaca de Guerrero [below neat line] Lit de Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. Neat line to neat line: 18.4 x 27 cm. Troop positions at Resaca de Palma, battle fought on Texas soil.

Plano de la Batalla de Palo-Alto… [below neat line] lit de P. Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. Neat line to neat line: 20.1 x 27 cm. Battle fought on Texas soil.

Plano de la Ciudad de Monterrey del N. León… [below neat line] lit. de P. Blanco. Neat line to neat line: 16.5 x 25.5 cm.

Plano de la Ciudad de Tampico… [below neat line] Lit. de P. Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. Neat line to neat line: 16.1 x 20.7 cm.

Croquis del Combate…Angostura. [below neat line] Lit. de P. Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. Neat line to neat line: 17.1 x 24.7 cm.

Croquis del Sitio de Veracruz… [below neat line] Lit. de P. Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. Neat line to neat line: 17.5 x 30 cm.

Croquis de la Batalla del Sacramento formada por el Sõr. General D. Pedro G. Conde [below neat line] [Lit. de P. Blanco] 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. Neat line to neat line: 17.5 x 23.5 cm.

Croquis de la Posición del Campo de Cerro Gordo… [below neat line] Lit. de P. Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 1 Neat line to neat line: 22.1 x 30.6 cm.

Plano del…Peñon del Marquéz… [below neat line] Lit. de P. Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 1 Neat line to neat line: 18 x 30.5 cm.

Plano de Churubusco. Neat line to neat line: 18.5 x 26.5 cm.

Campo de Padierna… Neat line to neat line: 21.1 x 27.8 cm.

Plano de los Puntos Atacados por el Ejército Americano… [below neat line] Lit. de P. Blanco 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 1. Neat line to neat line: 18.5 x 22.3 cm.

Portraits:

El. Escmo Sr. Grl. de Division D. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna Presidente de la Republica Mexicana [in image, reversed] Blanco [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. In Tyler’s preliminary work on nineteenth-century Texas lithographs

James Nox-Polk, Presidente de los Estados Unidos [in image] Blanco [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15.

General Arista [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15. In Tyler’s preliminary work on nineteenth-century Texas lithographs.

General Scot [in image] Blanco [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15.

General Taylor [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. In Tyler’s preliminary work on nineteenth-century Texas lithographs

General Ampudia [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. In Tyler’s preliminary work on nineteenth-century Texas lithographs.

General Leon.

General Worth. [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15.

El Cne. Lucas Balderas Corl. del Bn de Artileria de Mina.

Dn. Luis de la Rosa [in image] Blanco [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15.

General Valencia [below] Lit. de P. Blanco.

Ayudante General Micheltorena Cuartel=maestre en la Angostura [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15.

Gral. Vasquez [below] Lit. de P. Blanco. 1a. Ce. de Plateros No. 15.

Lic. Couto.

     First edition, this copy having one more map than the thirteen usually reported; it would appear that the Texas map showing the battle of Resaca de Guerrero (i.e. Palo Alto, a battle fought on Texas soil) is often missing. Connor & Faulk 142. Eberstadt 114:733 (27 maps & plates). Garrett, The Mexican-American War, p. 3: “An excellent source of material for the Mexican side of the war. It is generally critical of Santa-Anna.” Haferkorn, p. 8. Howes A105 (27 maps & plates): “The original Spanish edition was suppressed by Santa-Anna.” Larned 2008: “Best source on the conduct of the war.” Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 24 & 56. Palau 14138. Rader 74. Raines, p. 170. Sabin 1858 & 48281: “Extremely rare. Gen. Santa-Anna ordered the edition to be destroyed, and imprisoned the authors…. The account of the campaigns differs vastly from the American reports.” Streeter Sale 279 (27 plates and maps):

This work was originally published in installments between September 1848 and May 1849 under the above general title. Each installment appeared accompanied by portraits or maps at the rate of two per number. When publication of the installments was completed, the various issues and their illustrations were sent to the binder by the subscribers. The final arrangement of the material varies from copy to copy.

Tutorow 3254: “Alcáraz and about a dozen associates met in Querétaro in 1847 to write their accounts of the war. Charges the U.S. with territorial aggression in Texas and blames the U.S. for starting the war.”

     Although the authors lay the blame for the war squarely at the feet of the U.S., which they accuse of using both guile and force to expand its territory, the authors do not spare their own country and its leaders. They describe numerous instances of weak, confused, and ill-considered political and military decisions on the part of Mexican leaders, although they never question the bravery of Mexican soldiers. They imply that the Texas Revolution and the Mexican-American War might have turned out quite differently if only Mexican leaders, both political and military, been more discerning and prepared. They analyze the causes that led up to the war extensively, finding evidence of American maneuvering as far back as the Spanish colonial period which worked to the disadvantage of both Spain and Mexico.

     The authors give a number of examples of poor decision-making by Mexican leaders, such as those leading to the fall of Veracruz. Noting that Taylor’s rapid advance into Mexico had left him with long supply lines, deep in a country where his flanks were unsecured, the authors conclude that the invasion of Veracruz was an attempt to divide Mexican forces by opening another front. This the U.S. could do quite easily, since it had abundant transportation resources. This strategy was even discussed publicly in U.S. newspapers. Yet the authors note that these developments “no mereció la atencion de los hombres que se habian encargado de salvar al pais. Y léjos de robustecer nuestra defensa por ese lado, algunas tropas aclimatadas á costa de inmensos sufrimientos y pérdidas, recibieron del general Santa-Anna…la órden de marcha para México. Esto mismo sucedió con oficiales cuya pericia era importantísima para fortificaor y defender la plaza en el caso de un ataque. El abandono mas completo coronaba esta obra de imprevision ó de un descuido, que hacian mas imperdonables los dolorosos recuerdos de los sucesos de 1838” (p. 152). Such grim analyses come up repeatedly in the text, though this one is particularly striking in its implication that Mexican leaders were indiscreet, self-appointed saviors.

     There is one intelligent, though ultimately ineffectual, Mexican strategy that the authors applaud: the use of irregulars or guerillas, whom they call “estos buenos ciudadanos.” After noting the numerous successful operations such forces had against U.S. troops, they conclude, “La guerra hecha con un buen sistema por medio de las guerillas, nos parece que á la larga habria arruinado á los enemigos y dado el triunfo á la República” (p. 388).

     The fifteen compilers, whose names are boldly listed on one of the preliminary leaves, worked in diverse areas from literature to jurisprudence to politics. They form a composite, both major and minor, of the flower of Mexican intelligentsia at that time. Most were harrassed by Santa-Anna, who supposedly ordered the book suppressed due to its scathing criticism of his actions during the war. The authors prevailed in the end, despite the dictator’s animosity, and went on to serve Mexico in various roles. Several of them were also opposed to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Almost all had participated in the war in one way or the other and had fled when the government abandoned Mexico City to Querétaro, where they compiled this history. A translation into English followed (see next entry, Item 390).

     In his preliminary study on Texas lithographs of the nineteenth century, Ron Tyler cites the portraits of Santa-Anna, Arista, Ampudia, and Taylor. The book has great significance for the history of Mexican lithography. The excellent lithographs were created by Plácido Blanco, who also created the famous El Gallo Pitagórico (1845). Dicc. Porrúa.

($2,500-5,000)

Sold. Hammer: $2,500.00; Price Realized: $3,000.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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