"One of the most valuable descriptions of Texas on the eve of revolution"
With Author's Corrections
This book stands as the most thorough overview of Texas by a Mexican official on the eve of the Texas Revolution. It is based on Almonte's travels in the region in 1834. The present copy is notable for having notations and corrections by the author, including a change to the title itself: Noticia Estadistica de Tejas.
Almonte was ostensibly sent to hear complaints voiced by the Texas, but he was also collecting information on their military capabilities. His trip took him from Nacogdoches to San Felipe, Brazoria, Velasco, Matagorda, and Harrisburg (Houston). He covers a wide-range of interesting information about the region, including natural history, Indian tribes, geography, and seems somewhat sympathetic concerning the plight of the Texan people.
This was Almonte's official report as an aide to Santa Anna after extensive travels in Texas in 1834. It is mainly a description of Texas, its location, climate, products, history, political divisions, geology, rivers, and Indians - Clark.
One of the folding tables lists Texas imports and exports. Almonte noted one school in the Department of Bexar maintained by the local government, and a subscription school near Brazoria, and three common schools in the Department of Nacogdoches.
By January of 1835, the date when Almonte signed his introduction, Stephen Austin had been imprisoned in Mexico for several months, Santa Anna was raising troops, and Texans were on the verge of revolt. Almonte’s prediction that “Texas could be the most prosperous part of our republic” would be in vain.
Because of the military purpose behind Almonte’s orders, his text includes information pertinent to both the history of slavery and native American history. The charts and folding tables especially contain relevant statistics, such as that the population of the “Departamento de Los Brazos” has 1000 blacks living in slavery among the 8000 residents (p. 50). Table no. 3 presents a census of fourteen Indian tribes, indicating which are hostile and which are friendly, with the note that a few other tribes are not worth mentioning because they are almost extinct. The vastness of the Texas plains is highlighted by the final table, which studies population density: Nacogdoches has approximately two inhabitants per square league; Brazos has a few more than one and one-half; and, Bejar does not even have one-half - Siebert.
Almonte notes that in Texas horses called mesteñas (i.e. mustangs), are those that have escaped and live in the mountains (footnote on page 31).
"An interesting link in the chain of Texas history" - Raines.
This Noticia Estadistica is based on a visit made to Texas by Almonte in the spring of 1834, at the orders of the Mexican government, to hear the complaints of the Texans and to gain time for the government to devote its attention to Texas matters.... Almonte arrived at Nacogdoches by way of New Orleans in May, 1834, and had reached Monclova on his way back to Mexico City in September, 1834. His Noticia was published in February, 1835, shortly after the publication of Austin's Esposicion... It is an invaluable account of Texas as it appeared to an intelligent observer in the year 1834 - Streeter.
While reasonably well represented in institutional collections, nice complete examples of Almonte's Noticia Estadistica are rare in the market. Only a single example noted in RBH in the last 20 years.
Hubert Hudson, former Texas Senator 1957-1963, Brownsville, Texas.
J. M. Andrade, prominent 19th-century Mexican collector, with his bookplate illustrated with a strawberry plant and the motto "Inter Folia Fructus," suggesting there is "fruit" to be found "between the leaves (i.e. pages)."