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1849 Political Pamphlet Proposing U.S. “Liberation” of Cuba


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154.     [CUBA]. [BETANCOURT Y CISNEROS, Gaspar]. [Caption title] Thoughts upon the Incorporation of Cuba into the American Confederation, in Contra-position to those Published by Don José Saco. [Colophon: New York: Printed at the Office of “La Verdad,” No. 102 Nassau Street, (Corner of Ann-Street), 1849]. [2, “Preface to the American Edition” signed in print “Editors of La Verdad” and dated July, 1849], [1] 2-30 pp., printed in double column. 8vo (20 x 13.5 cm), original plain yellow wrappers, stitched, contemporary note on upper wrapper “Evening Post.” Fragile wraps lightly stained and with chipped spine, upper wrap lightly chipped at both corners, text lightly waterstained throughout. Old ink stamp on upper wrapper: “23 x 91.” Ephemeral political pamphlet. The preface states that only a few copies were printed.

     First edition in English of a pamphlet urging "liberation" of Cuba. The first edition was in Spanish: Idea sobre la incorporación de Cuba en los EE. UU. en contraposición a José Antonio Saco. Palau (28773) states Havana as the place of publication in 1849, but apparently this work and others put out by the newspaper La Verdad were printed in New York and clandestinely distributed in Cuba. The present English edition is not in Palau, Sabin, and other sources. Eberstadt 167:176 (this copy): “A reply to Saco’s pamphlet of the same title by an anonymous Patriot who requested La Verdad to publish a few copies in English for American editors. This copy is marked in manuscript for the ‘Evening Post.’”

     La Verdad was a New York Spanish-language newspaper that enthusiastically backed Narciso López’s plot to wrest Cuba from Spain and make it a slave state, like Texas. The editor of this English language edition opens with the statement:

The author of the present pamphlet—the original of which is in the Spanish idiom—has sent us an urgent request that we would cause a translation to be made, and that circulation be given to a few copies, printed in the English language…. This request has been prompted by a desire on the part of the author, to “aid, by a feeble effort in correcting an erroneous opinion, which has obtained to some extent in the United States, through misrepresentations of the agents of the Spanish government, viz:—that the people of Cuba are content with their present condition and union with the Spanish monarchy.”

     While this work is not definitively connected to Jane Maria Eliza McManus Storms Cazneau (see Item 103 herein), she may have had a hand its creation or possibly translation. On January 9, 1848, Cazneau became editor of La Verdad, which she used as a mouthpiece for strongly urging annexation of Mexico and Cuba to the U.S. She wrote most of the copy for the bilingual newspaper herself. In 1850 she wrote a book under her pseudonym Cora Montgomery advocating U.S. annexation of Cuba (The Queen of Islands and the King of Rivers). Between 1848 and 1849, she was obsessed with Cuban annexation following the model of Texas. Her incessant lobbying for Manifest Destiny led Senator Thomas Hart Benton to state he had grown weary of her “masculine stomach for war and politics” (Notable American Women I, p. 316). See also Handbook of Texas Online.


Sold. Hammer: $200.00; Price Realized: $240.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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