The Never-Ending Border Troubles

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47. [BORDERLANDS]. MEXICO. SECRETARÍA DE ESTADO Y DEL DESPACHO. SECCIÓN DE AMÉRICA. Cuestion Americana. Negocios Diplomaticos con los Estados Unidos. Notas y Documentos Relativos. Edicion oficial. Guadalajara: Tip. de Banda. Exconvento de Sta. Maria de Gracia, 1878. [3] 4-214 pp. (without title page, as issued). 8vo (22 x 14.5 cm), original stitching (broken), remains of original green wraps on spine (included is a modern copy of upper wrapper with title in typographical border). Except for light soiling to first leaf, text is very good. Only a handful of copies found in institutions; exceedingly rare in commerce. The last copy we trace in the trade was the Porrúa copy in 1949.

     Second edition (first edition published as Correspondencia diplomática relativa á las invasiones del territorio Mexicano por las fuerzas de los Estados Unidos in Mexico City by Ignacio Cumplido, 1878). Palau 66044. Porrúa Catalogue 5 (1949) 6548.

     An omnibus review of the continuing border problems caused by United States armed incursions into Mexico in pursuit of various groups, such as Native Americans and bandits, who had crossed into Texas and committed depredations. The first section contains correspondence and other communications between Mexican officials, mostly in Washington, D.C., and various U.S. officials, provoked by Mackenzie’s incursion (pp. [3]-50). Section B consists of documents concerning Texas governor Richard Coke’s orders allowing Refugio Benavides’ troops to invade Mexico (pp. 50-64). Section C concerns Leander H. McNelly’s incursion (pp. 64-57). Section D presents documents concerning Shafter’s incursion into Piedras Negras (pp. 87-125). Section E comprises General Ord’s order allowing U.S. troops to cross the border (pp. 126-143). The final section contains correspondence between the Mexican Secretario de Relaciones and Washington’s ambassador to Mexico, John W. Foster, principally debating Ord’s order. The period covered is 1873-1878.

     This document is yet another one in the long chain of diplomatic tussles over border policing and the U.S. practice of “hot pursuit,” undertaken because the Mexican borderland governments were challenged in controlling criminal and hostile elements within their territories. After Ord arrived in Texas in 1875, he did not hesitate to unleash U.S. forces across the border. Governor Coke had once recommended removing the Comanche from Texas and probably had little hesitation in ordering cross-border excursions after his election in 1874 since policing the border required significant amounts of money and resources needed for other purposes. Mackenzie’s incursion, for example, was to punish the Kickapoo, some of whom he did manage to encounter and kill. Other incursions sought to punish ordinary banditos and other unsavory elements. Texas Ranger Captain McNelly was something of a maverick and repeatedly crossed the border pursuing bandits, for which actions he was removed from command of the notorious Nueces Strip. In general both U.S. and Texas officials found little comfort in Mexican protests and promises to improve, and the Mexicans found even less to trust in U.S. assertions that raids into its own territory were by Native Americans rather than by Anglos. Finally, Mexican officials suspected, probably with good reason, that the cross-border incursions were quietly sanctioned by the U.S. government.


Sold. Hammer: $200.00; Price Realized: $245.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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