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Lithograph Portrait of the First Vice President of the Republic of Texas

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568.     ZAVALA, Lorenzo de. Ensayo histórico de las revoluciones de México, desde 1808 hasta 1830. Mexico: Imprenta a cargo de Manuel N. de la Vega, calle de Tiburcio núm. 21, 1845. Vol. I: [1-3], 4-332 pp., 2 lithograph portraits; Vol. II: [1-3], 4-320 pp., 3 lithograph portraits. 2 vols. in one, 8vo (21.2 x 14.5 cm), contemporary full straight-grain olive green Mexican calf, covers bordered in gilt, spine lettered and decorated in gilt. Minor shelf wear (including small snag at foot of spine), scattered light foxing (affecting some plates), overall a fine copy. Front pastedown with early pale green label (“En la Libreria Poblana de José B. Pascal, 2. calle de Mercaderes numero 6...”). On back pastedown are the pencil notes of old-time Mexican bookseller Roberto Valles.

Plates (sheet size of each plate is 20 x 13.4 cm, and all are attributed to José Mariano Fernández de Lara, calle de la Palma, Mexico):

Lorenzo de Zavala. Image, title, and imprint: 12.4 x 9.3 cm. Faces p. 33, Vol. I.

Migl. Hidalgo [title is signature with rubric]. Image and title: 14 x 9.5 cm. Faces p. 225, Vol. I.

José Ma. Morelos [title is signature with rubric]. Image and title: 14.5 x 8 cm. Faces p. 85, Vol. II.

El Generalisimo D. Agustín Iturbide. Image and title: 13.5 x 8 cm. Faces p. 245, Vol. II.

El Exmo. Sr. General D. Manuel de Mier y Terán. Image and title: 13 x 10 cm. Faces. p. 277, Vol. II.

First illustrated edition and first Mexican edition (first edition, Paris & New York, 1831-1832; see preceding entry). Palau 378347. Sabin 106277n. Streeter 1128A. González Peña, History of Mexican Literature, pp. 247-249: “The life of Zavala explains his personality as a writer. He was a man of superior talent and culture, but he was enslaved by passion. He wrote while fighting, he fought while writing. Rather than a historian, he was a vivid and impassioned chronicler of his period. His style is clear, precise, cutting, full-throated; at times, it strikes fire.... Sometimes he penetrates to the most deeply hidden causes of the drama of Mexican history. Even today, some of the questions that he raised are alive and urgent.”

     The lithograph portraits of Zavala and Mier y Terán are included in Ron Tyler’s preliminary study on Texas lithographs of the nineteenth century, in which Dr. Tyler refers to the men as:

[T]wo important figures who were involved in Texas.... General Mier y Terán was commandant general of the eastern division of the Provincias Internas (which included Texas). Because of continued disturbances in Texas and along Mexico’s eastern coast, he conducted an inspection of the frontier in 1829, concluding that Mexico should strengthen its hold on Texas by encouraging the immigration of Mexican families. The Law of April 6, 1830, was passed as a result of his recommendations, but, contrary to his desire, it contained an article prohibiting further immigration from the United States. As commandant general of the eastern division, he worked with Empresario Stephen F. Austin to see that it was rendered practically inoperative. Apparently out of despair for the state of the Mexican nation, Mier committed suicide in 1832, and Austin succeeded in having the Law of April 6 repealed in 1833....

Mier’s 1829 expedition is one of his great legacies. It gathered a significant body of information, only a small portion of which was ever available for study. Mier collaborated with Jean Luis Berlandier, the expedition botanist, on Memorias de la Comisión de límites a las órdenes del general Manuel de Mier y Terán (Matamoros, 1832) shortly before his death. Diario de viage de la Comision de Limites que puso el gobierno de la republica, which contains further information on the expedition, was published in 1850. Lorenzo de Zavala, a former governor of the state of México and a member of Congress, saluted Mier in his Ensayo histórico de las revoluciones de México (2 vols.; Paris, 1831-32); a subsequent edition of which contains this portrait of Mier.

De Zavala was one of the best known and ablest Mexican patriots to help Texas win its independence. De Zavala had a distinguished political career in Mexico under both the Spanish and the Mexican governments as governor of the state of México, member of the Chamber of Deputies, and minister to France. He had been interested in Texas for several years, for he received an empresario contract in 1829 to settle 500 families in Texas and, along with his partners, David G. Burnet and Joseph Vehlein, sold the contract to the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company the following year.

Concluding in 1835 that Santa Anna had no intention of upholding the Constitution of 1824, de Zavala returned to Texas in July of that year and established a home on Buffalo Bayou. He participated in the Consultation of 1835 and the Convention of 1836 and signed the Declaration of Independence. He was elected ad interim vice president of the Republic of Texas in March, 1836, and served in that capacity until October 22, when he resigned along with the rest of the ad interim government. He died the following month.

De Zavala published Ensayo histórico de las revoluciones de México in Paris in 1831-32. It was reprinted in Mexico in 1845 and 1918, and is probably the most important of his many publications. The French edition contains no illustrations, but the Mexican edition contains portraits of both de Zavala and Mier. They were printed in the shop of José Mariano Lara, one of the better Mexican lithographers of the 1840s.


Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $900.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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