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Original Boards, Uncut—Launching the Mexican Revolution from Galveston


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493.     ROBINSON, William Davis. Memoirs of the Mexican Revolution: Including a Narrative of the Expedition of General Xavier Mina, with Some Observations on the Practicability of Opening a Commerce between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, through the Mexican Isthmus in the Province of Oaxaca, and at the Lake of Nicaragua; and on the Future Importance of Such Commerce to the Civilized World, and More Especially to the United States. By William Davis Robinson. Philadelphia: Printed for the Author, Lydia R. Bailey, Printer, 1820. [i-iii] iv-xxxvi, [1] 2-396 pp. 8vo (23.2 x 15 cm), original tan paper backstrip over drab slate green boards, original printed paper spine label, uncut. Minor staining to lower corners of boards, mild uniform age-toning to interior, but overall an exceptionally fine, unsophisticated copy in original condition.

     First edition of the earliest and most widely read contemporary account of the Mexican War of Independence. Editions followed in several languages: London (1821 and 1824, the latter in Spanish), Haarlem (1823), Hannover (1824), Paris (1888, reprint in Spanish). American Imprints (1820) 3035. Brinley 5318. Howes R380: “Chief contemporary authority on the audacious filibustering expedition against Mexico, under Mina, launched with a handful of men, through Texas in 1817. Notable also for its advocacy of a communication between the Atlantic and Pacific via Nicaragua.” Larned 3978. Palau 271093n. Raines, p. 176. Sabin 72202. Streeter 1080: “These Memoirs are included because of their nearly contemporary account of General Xavier Mina and of his expedition from Galveston Island to Soto la Marina, a few miles inland from the Mexican coast, and of his later march with his troops farther into Mexico, there to meet his doom. Robinson obtained data on Mina and his expedition in part from the journal of an Englishman who accompanied Mina from England to Mexico and seems to have escaped. Robinson himself went to Mexico in 1816, or the year before the Mina expedition, and was captured by the royalists and sent to Spain, finally escaping in 1820.”

     Chapter III describes the arrival and training of the revolutionary party on Galveston Island, Aury’s assistance to Mina, and a description of the island. This work is one of the few sources for the activities of printer Samuel Bangs, who accompanied the Mina expedition and created the earliest recorded specimens of printing for Texas and Northern Mexico. Pages 79 and 80 allude to Bangs’ third imprint (no copy located). It also includes a lengthy disquisition on the Virgin of Guadalupe as an imposture of the priesthood.

     Further printing history interest centers on the printer of this work, Lydia R. Bailey (1779-1869; see DAB), who was for sixty years involved in printing in Philadelphia, being among the first women printers in that city. Left an impoverished widow with four children in 1808, Bailey began printing, with the assistance of Philip Freneau, the poet of the American Revolution. From about 1830 to 1850, she served as printer for the city of Philadelphia. Upon her death, the North American Review described her as “one who enjoyed woman’s rights to the full, though living before a formal exposition of that doctrine, and who as a practical printer had considerable deserved local fame.”

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

Auction 22 Abstracts

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