Rare Broadside Concerning Apache Depredations in Northern Mexico
The newly installed Governor General of Chihuahua vows to bring war upon the Apache raiders who had been devastating the region.
Problems between Mexico and the Apache deteriorated once Mexico achieved independence in 1821. Limited resources in Mexican missions led to the Apache abandoning these establishments. As they returned to a nomadic way of life, the Apache increased their raids into Chihuahua. Northern Mexican villages in Chihuahua and Sonora were routinely plundered of livestock and horses, the adult men murdered, and many women and children taken as captives.
The present broadside stems from Mexico's attempts to strengthen the Chihuahua and Sonora borderlands against Apache raiders. The veteran soldier José Joaquin Calvo was no doubt seen as a good candidate to fight the raiders. Born in Havana in 1798, Calvo served in the Spanish army sent to fight the Mexican insurgents. In 1821 he switched sides, joining the cause for independence. In September 1834 Calvo became military governor of Chihuahua and New Mexico.
The dramatic wording of Calvo's Discurso is notable: while he promises to extend to the Indians the same rights as all members of the "Mexican family," the very next paragraph declares the need to "carry the war to the barbarians."
English translation here follows:
The solemn oath that I have taken for the people of Chihuahua has imposed upon me many sacred duties and obligations in these very difficult circumstances. There is not a single inhabitant of the State who has not been touched by violence, and even though the barbarians who have committed hostilities against us share our love of life and enjoyment, nay more so, for their affections are even stronger. Charged with dual authority (military & civilian) and in command of the arms that I will use, I shall hold in one hand the scales of justice, and in the other, the exterminating sword of the law with which I will put to good use in defending against the savages. He is the son of a great Mexican family and enjoys the same rights to the soil of his birth, just as we, the sons of the conquistadors; and when they hear the voice of justice and reason, it is imperative to offer them the securities of the just and reasonable rights that nature confers to all mortals for their livelihood. This is the first step that my administration will take, time with indicate what comes next.
I will reestablish for all the calm spirit which is necessary to hear the voice of justice and reason, it is my duty, and to achieve this happy end, it is necessary to carry the war to the barbarians, at a great sacrifice to my person as well as to all of my fellow citizens, the mayority of whom have suffered the accompanying ills, for who in the State has not shed tears over a lost loved one? Nevertheless, I promise to avoid its effects as much as possible, and without neglecting the other branches of government entrusted to me, by the will of the Chihuahuan people, dedicating myself to procuring and ensuring the invaluable gift of peace and the full and free enjoyment of all social goods. So be it.
Chihuahua 1834. Printed by J. Melchor de la Garza in the State's office.
This broadside is extremely rare in the market. OCLC locates only a single copy, that in the Bancroft Library.