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An Important but Short-Lived Mexican Periodical

Ugalde’s 1790 Texas Expedition to Sabinal Canyon against the Apache

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416.     [MEXICAN JOURNAL]. Revista Mexicana. Periódico científico y literario. Tomo I, Nos. 1-[5]. Mexico: Impreso por Ignacio Cumplido, calle de los Rebeldes, casa N. 2. 1835. No. 1: [1-3] 4-100, [4] pp.; No. 2: [2], [101] 102-194, [2] pp.; No. 3: [195-197] 198-231, 332-400, [2] pp. (text complete); No. 4: [401-403] 404-510, [2] pp., 1 folded table; No. 5: [513-515] 516-615 [1, blank], [6] pp. 8vo (23.2 x 16 cm), original colored printed paper wrappers bound in later tan Mexican sheep over gold, brown, and green mottled boards, spine with raised bands, gilt decorated, with red, gilt-lettered leather label. Slight shelf wear, corners bumped, front hinge open but holding. Nos. 2-3 want upper wrap and No. 5 wrappers are soiled, wrinkled, and wanting one blank corner. Some issues slightly waterstained, otherwise interior is near fine. All published; an outgrowth and continuation of the 1832-1833 Registro trimestre (Palau 253883). Very rare. We find no sales recorded.

     First edition. Palau 253834 & 264447. Sabin 70318. Marshall H. Saville, “Bibliographical Notes on Xochicalco, Mexico” in Indian Notes and Monographs VI:6 (New York: Heye Foundation, 1938), p. 195. In their introduction, the editors state that they intend to publish articles of historical, scientific, and literary interest, including materials originally published in Europe and translated from those languages. They also promise, however, that they intend to avoid all political discussions.

     Included, for example, is an 1825 letter from Humboldt to A. Coquerel concerning the religious and social aspects of North America, in which he says Catholics outnumber Protestants two to one, although his analysis makes it clear that the latter far outnumber the former in the U.S.; he predicts that the same ratio will also eventually result in other countries, such as Brazil and Haiti. As an aside, he notes that in South America, it is estimated that more than 1.5 million natives know nothing but their indigenous tongue, whereas fewer than one million seem to have forgotten it entirely because they moved into cities (pp. 425-429). Federico de Geroldt offers a natural history article based on two recent excursions to Popocatépetl (p. 461). Geroldt, a German, spent considerable time in Mexico in various capacities; his ascent of the volcano took place in 1834. The journal also records the results of Renato de Perdreauville’s March, 1835, investigation of the ruins at Xochicalco, wherein he reports that he believes about 1,754 carved facings of the pyramid were removed by various people and ended up, among other places, as stones used to build ovens.

     Finally, the journal reprints a February 28, 1790, report, written at San Antonio de Béxar, from Texas governor Rafael Martínez Pacheco concerning Juan de Ugalde’s expedition to the Borderlands to pacify the Apache and other tribes. This report specifically concerns the victory of his forces and their Native American allies at the January 9, 1790, Arroyo de la Soledad battle (pp. 534-538). “[Ugalde] and his troops, with more than 100 Indian allies, surprised and defeated 300 Lipan, Lipiyan, and Mescalero Apaches at the Arroyo de la Soledad, the present Sabinal River canyon. In commemoration of this victory, the battlefield was named the Cañón de Ugalde; from it the city and county of Uvalde derived their names” (Handbook of Texas Online: Juan de Ugalde). See also: Elizabeth A.H. John, Storms Brewed in Other Men’s Worlds: The Confrontation of Indians, Spanish, and French in the Southwest, 1540-1795 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1975).

     The chief editor of both the Revista and its predecessor was prominent historian, politician, and writer José Gómez de la Cortina (1799-1860). As the editors state in their opening remarks, publishing any type of literary or historical journal in Mexico has been a dubious proposition because of the constant social, political, and military upheavals that have plagued the country. In fact, they ascribe the demise of the former publication to those very ills, but optimistically assert that since the country has calmed down somewhat, they are confident they can resurrect such a publication. As the book lists and reviews indicate, the editors were certainly in receipt of considerable European and foreign intellectual matter. Given the fact that this journal lasted only one year, perhaps they were overly sanguine. A scarce journal that reflects a bid to continue and foster Mexican intellectual life at a time when the nation had many other worries.


Sold. Hammer: $400.00; Price Realized: $480.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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