[Havana?]: 1822. pp. Small quarto. Partially sewed, with several loose gatherings. Occasional dust soiling; light tanning and scattered faint foxing. Accomplished in a highly legible script. Very good. Item #2856
A contemporary manuscript copy of Manuel de la Barcena's scarce call for Mexican Independence, first printed in Puebla in 1821, with a second edition being published in Veracruz the same year. A note on the final page of the present manuscript indicates that this was copied from an extremely rare third edition, printed in Havana in 1822, or that perhaps this manuscript, which is set out like a book, constitutes a third edition.
In the early years of the 19th century, much of the conservative Mexican clergy opposed independence, observing the oath of loyalty to Spain sworn to under the terms of the Church's Patronato Real. Resistance to independence in the quarter dissipated following the Riego Revolt of 1820, and the abandonment by the clergy was one of the significant blows to colonial New Spain that led to the recognition of independence for Mexico in 1821. Manuel de la Barcena (1768-1830) was the Archdeacon of Michoacan through the years of Central and South American independence from Spain. Mirroring the sentiments of clergymen in New Spain, Barcena initially opposed the insurgent movement but came around to the notion of independence and became sympathetic to the cause of Iturbide and his allies. He was a signatory of the Act of Independence of the Mexican Empire and was appointed a member of the Regency of the Mexican Empire.
Barcena begins by flatly stating that, "The independence of New Spain is absolutely necessary," and notes that, "The flames of discontent have become greater between the years 1817 and 1820, flames fanned by the desires of freedom, liberty, and individuality...." His principal argument against colonial rule is one of logic and geography:
"New Spain cannot exist politically, and depend on the mother country more than 2,000 leagues away.... So much time is wasted in government offices. Sometimes a whole year passes by before we receive a reply to a petition.... Just suppose the Russians cared to land in California, and the Spanish artillery happened to be in the Pyrenees...."
Barcena continues with many moral, philosophical, and religious arguments for independence, and the whole is an impassioned but forceful argument for an independent Mexico that comprises a fascinating reflection of opinion of a powerful faction in Mexican society just before independence was fully realized. The Havana edition contains a foreword from the publishers, noting the importance of its content to politics across the Spanish American colonies and several added footnotes. OCLC notes a single copy of this Havana edition, at DIBAM (Chile), and any edition is extremely scarce on the market -- the Eberstadts offered the first Puebla edition in 1956 for $300, and a contemporary Barcelona reprint of the Veracruz edition sold for approximately $1400 at a Mexican auction in 2016. "Rare and valuable" (Eberstadt), and an important treatise favoring the imminent independence of Mexico, and fascinating evidence of its distribution across the Spanish colonial world.
Eberstadt 138:40 (ref). Medina, Puebla 1883 (ref). Palau 128843 (later ed.).