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Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
(DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.) James E. Taylor, artist. Original drawing of a military parade during the 1871 annexation debates. Ink and wash on paper, 18 x 22 3/4 inches; minor foxing, chipped on all edges with substantial loss including most of signature, laid down on heavy stock and stabilized, attractive despite flaws. Not examined out of frame. [Santo Domingo], 1871
This drawing was done during the visit of a delegation to the Dominican Republic in 1871. Ulysses Grant, the president of the United States, had proposed annexing the small island nation, but had not received approval from Congress. He sent a group of diplomats including Frederick Douglass on a mission to salvage the deal. Accompanying the delegation was James E. Taylor (1839-1901), who had made his reputation as a Civil War sketch artist and reporter for Frank Leslie's Weekly, and continued with the paper until 1883. Several of his drawings from this trip were engraved for Leslie's, starting with the 11 March issue.
This drawing, which does not seem to have been published in Leslie's, depicts Dominican officers and soldiers in dress uniform, apparently preparing to march in a military parade. The standard-bearer can be seen in the foreground tying his shoes, with the musicians behind him, then troops arranged in rows apparently taking instruction from a drill sergeant. Officers in dress uniform can be seen to the left and on horseback in the background, and the Dominican flag flies overhead. The occasion may have been a 27 February dispute in which Haitian troops were said to be marching on the city of Azua, and Dominican troops prepared to face them. The New York Daily Herald of 17 March 1871 wrote: "This military parade has served the purpose, for it has impressed the Commissioners with an idea that all the trouble comes from Hayti."
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