Monday, May 5, 2014

Manuscript Monday--Manifiesto a la Republica Mejicana

Acompaño a V. E. un ejemplar del manifiesto que hace a la Republica Mejicana mi antecesor el finado Sr. Gefe politico y Comandante general de este territorio D. Jose Figueroa, Vault MS 161, California Historical Society.
This broadside, signed and rubricated by Nicolás Gutiérrez (governor of Alta California) and Francisco del Castillo Negrete, Secretario, accompanied and presented the first book-length work printed in California, José Figueroa’s Manifiesto a la Republica Mejicana (Monterrey: Impenta del C. Agustin V. Zamorano, 1835). This recently cataloged copy belonged to the great bookman George L. Harding, founder of the California Historical Society’s Kemble Collection on Western Printing and Publishing.

Manifiesto a la Republica Mejicana que hace el general de brigada Jose Figueroa, comandante general y gefe politico de la Alta California, sobre su conducts y la de los Señores D. Jose Maria de Hijar y D. Jose Maria Padres, como directores de colonizacion en 1834 y 1835, Vault 979.403 F469m, Califonria Historical Society.

In the Manifiesto, Figueroa and other liberal Californios invoked the lawful rights of emancipated Indians to former mission lands in order to bolster their position, as Californios, against newly arrived settlers from Mexico. (In reality, most ranchos were granted to Californio men.) According to historian Lisbeth Haas in her fascinating book, Conquests and Historical Identities in California, 1769-1936 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), the Manifiesto was widely read in Mexican California and “expressed, for the first time, a collective Californio identity.”

The Manifiesto is currently on exhibit in the CHS gallery as part of the show Juana Briones y su California: Pionera, Fundadora, Curandera.

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian
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