Saltillo (Mexico): Tipografía "El Golfo de Mexico," de Severo Fernandez, 1886. First Edition. 8vo (20 x 15.5 cm). 482 pp.,  p. (errata). Contemporary Saltillo binding by Valente E. Flores (with ticket inside front cover): quarter cloth over marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt (corners and extremities worn). Title-page tipped onto stub (separating). Textblock browned and brittle due to acidic paper. Good. Item #3636
First edition of the first publication of documents of the Bosque-Larios expedition of 1675, in which are presented extremely early accounts of native Coahuilans, the early missionaries, and colonial Texas. Scarce: ours is the only copy on the market.
"The original documents of the Bosque-Larios expedition, along with a large body of documents bearing upon the conquest of the province of Coahuila, were first published by Esteban L. Portillo, Apuntes para la Historia Antigua de Coahuila y Texas (Saltillo, 1886), pp. 44-181 [...] The Bosque-Larios expedition was the product of the orders of Antonio Balcarcel Riva de Neira Sotomayor, alcalde mayor of Coahuila, who dispatched these individuals across the Río Grande to learn about the Indians in Texas. The expedition entered Texas in the neighborhood of Eagle Pass and penetrated possibly as far as the headwaters of the Guadalupe River. The expedition brought back a valuable account of the Indians in this area and is an important, but minor, step in the process of Spanish expansion into Texas at this early time." (SOURCE: Clark, Old South I:3).
Bolton remarks: "As a result of the reports and recommendations of Bosque and Father Larios, the Spanish established several missions in the Coahuila district to serve Native Americans living near the Rio Grande" (Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916, pp. 283-309).
In addition to the early exploration narratives, some of which are published here for the first time, this work is valuable for its early histories of Borderland missions and towns, many of which had vanished by the time this book was published. Among the missions he discusses are San Antonio de Bejar, Nacogdoches, San Bernardino, San Juan Bautista, and San Buenaventura. Some of the towns he reviews are Viesca, Monclova, Rosales, Cuatro Cienegas, and Saltillo. He also reprints a portion of Conde de Revillagigedo’s 1793 report and includes observations on Borderland tribes, some of whom had gone into extinction, or nearly so. This classic work was derived almost exclusively from the Coahuila state archives in Saltillo, which -- according to the author -- "remain forgotten until now, and are not within the reach of the people, who so much need to know their local history" (our translation).
REFERENCES: Basic Texas Books 19n. Eberstadt 113:422. Howes P492 (“aa”). Palau 233502. Rader 2696. Steck, Spanish Borderlands, p. 64. See Wagner, Spanish Southwest, p. 518. Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography 494.
PROVENANCE: Contemporary printed label on verso of final blank leaf: "Severiano O Rodriguez, Saltillo, Coah." -- Dorothy Sloan Catalogue 9 (1991) no. 320 ($950).
CATALOGUER'S NOTE: In 2014 a copy offered by Morton Casa de Subastas was wrongly dated "1876" (a ghost). Another copy, correctly dated "1886" but with the lower board completely detached, sold at the same auction house in 2020 for MXN 24,000.