From the Library of Ulysses S. Grant
The Tehuantepec Railway: Its Location, Features, and Advantages Under the La Sere Grant of 1869.
Stevens, Henry (Ulysses S. Grant).
Item Number: 89456
New York: D. Appleton & Co, 1869.
Presented by the President of the Tehuantepec Railway to President Ulysses S. Grant. Presentation copy, inscribed on the half-title page, “To The President, With the regards, of Simon Stevens Pres. Railway Co New York Nov 25th 69.” Octavo, bound in full red Presidential presentation binding, gilt titles and tooling to the spine, elaborate gilt tooling to the front and rear panels, inner dentelles, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, lithographic plates, two folded maps. In near fine condition. Provenance: Ulysses S. Grant, by descent to his great-grandson Ulysses S. Grant V. Exceptionally rare, this is the first example we have seen from Grant’s library.
After the financial wreckage wrought by the American Civil War, the Mexican government retracted prior concessions for the isthmian routes at Tehuantepec in southeastern Mexico, originally intended to open the California gold fields to the Gulf states. Nevertheless Simon Stevens, nephew of Republican leader Thaddeus Stevens kept alive the project under the 1869 La Sere Grant. Grant's presidency opened in the midst railroad fever with the joining of the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. Stevens no doubt took advantage of the opportune time to present this book in the hopes that Grant might become further invested in his project and support it for its economic benefits as well as to cement US-Mexican relations. Within a decade, the project had failed. Nevertheless, the book remains a handsome example of 19th century economic incentives in the name of diplomatic relations as well as good old American business lobbying.