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to be regretted that it was not known to the gentlemen who designed the coat of arms adopted for this State.
“In session of the 13th of July, 1827, of the Territorial deputation, a propositon was made to change the name of the “ Territory to Moctesuma, the arms of the same to be an Indian “ with his bow and quiver, in the act of crossing a strait,
placed in an oval, with an olive and live oak on either side; " the same being symbolical of the arrival of the first inhabi
tant to America, which, according to the generally received opinion, was by way of the Straits of Anian."
The conception is poetical and simple, and differs in this particular widely from the confused medley of incongruous figures with which we have chosen to illustrate our idea of California. The name MOCTESUMA is very significant. It shows how the Mexican, since his independence, has preferred to draw his opinions, as he derives his blood, from the conquered rather than the conquerors. A late but signal triumph of race! California was near losing the name given her by heroes who came across the Atlantic for one suggestive of a descent from an imaginary people who came across Behring's Straits.
The Russians and the American trappers, estrays dropping in from the mountains, seemed to have taught the Californians the value of furs. The Government of the Territory very naturally made this new business a source of revenue. They sold licenses to trap. To obtain this privilege was rather a formal matter. Here is an example :
Juan B. R. Cooper petitions the Governor for a license to trap with ten boats, for seven months, for otters. The Governor refers the petition to the Alcalde, to know whethnr Mr. Cooper is matriculated in the marine, i. e., a seaman. The Alcalde reports that he belongs to the first class of seamen, and the Governor orders a license to be issued to Mr. Cooper to hunt otters from the parallel of San Luis Obispo to Bodega, two-thirds of the crews of his boats to be natives of the country. There are many others who get licenses, whose names are familiar to the oldest of the living pioneers. Edward McIntosh got his on January 9th, 1834, William Wolfskill his
September 21st, 1833; and many of the old Californians embarked in the same business, as Angel Castro, March 25th, 1833, and Juan Bandini on the 9th of April, 1833.
Internal disturbances seem to have commenced in California about the year 1830. The liberal Spanish Cortez of 1813, in carrying out the Constitution which they adopted for the Spanish monarchy the year before, decreed the secularization of all the Missions in the Spanish dominions. The design was to make general what had always been done before by special authority-to liberate the Indians from the control of the Missionary Fathers, and divide amongst them, as their separate property, the land, cattle, and whatever else they had owned in common; to establish secular priests in the place of regular priests or monks of the religious orders among them, for their spiritual guidance, and in every respect to convert the Indian villages of the missions into Spanish pueblos—the process by which, in so great a degree, society was constructed in all Spanish American countries, and the ultimate fulfilment of the purpose of the King, everywhere so prominently put forth in colonizing California.
The decrees of the Cortez, not incompatible with the republican form of government, continued after the establishment of her independence to be the laws of Mexico, but very few, if any, of them had been put into operation in California. With the rest, that of SECULARIZATION remained a dead letter. Echandia, the Political Chief, (as the Governor was then entitled) in 1830, very hurriedly, and without consulting the Supreme Government, published, as the custom of the Government was, a set of Regulations for carrying this old law into effect. At that moment he was superceded by Victoria, who suppressed the Regulations, and put a peremptory stop to the secularization of the Missions. Victoria's conduct was approved by the Supreme Government, but there was a party here warmly in favor of the secularization, and disturbances which were considered serious and threatening ensued, although I do not know that they resulted in bloodshed. The chief promoter of the scheme was sent out of the country by Victoria ; and thus,
I think, civil strife commenced in California. The occasion was the disposition to be made of the Missions, which we have seen, were once, and for so long a time, so nearly all of California. It was the beginning of the downfall of those ancient establisments, so difficult for us to comprehend, and now so entirely passed away, that to recall them is like recalling the images of a dream. What the Government of Mexico was opposed to was not the secularization of the Missions, but the manner in which it was attempted. The agitation which had been thus commenced resulted in the passage, by the Mexican Congress, of the law of the 17th of August, 1833, to secularize the Missions of the Californias. Under it the work was begun by Figueroa, the best and ablest of the Mexican Governors. At the same time he had two other laws, most fundamentally subversive of the old order of things, to carry into execution. They were the law for the political organization of the Territory, being another of those decreed by the Spanish Cortes in 1813, and the law of colonization, passed by the Mexican Congress August 18th, 1824, with the Executive regulations, prescribing the manner of its application, dated Nov. 21, 1828. It is evident that this is the true era of revolution in Mexican California. Observing the ancient limits of the Presidial jurisdictions, municipal governments were established for each district. Authority was exercised by elective bodies called Ayuntamientos, of which the head was an Alcalde or Judge. This body regulated the economy of the whole district, directly of the pueblo in which it resided, and of every other pueblo in the district, through the intervention of local and subordinate Ayuntamientos. This was the separation of the civil functions from the military functions, both of which had been continued in the hands of the commanders of the Presidios, as in the Spanish times. Here in San Francisco, and for all the region north of San Mateo creek, east indefinitely, and west to the ocean, the separation of powers took place in December, 1834, at which time the Ayuntamiento was established for the civil government of this Presidial district, and Gen. M. G. Vallejo, then in command of the Presidio, was left with only his military command. In the secularization of the Missions, Figueroa advanced so far as to put administrators in possession in place of the Fathers, at which stage his proceedings were arrested by a decree of the Mexican President. Ruin was inevitable; it was as rapid as spoliation could make it, and it was soon complete. Governor after Governor adopted regulations upon regulations, to secure a faithful administration of the property of the Missions, i. e., of the Christian Indians, who inhabited them, and by whose labor all had been built and accumulated. It was to no purpose ; and of as little avail was the partial restoration of the Missions, to the charge of the Fathers, by Micheltorena in 1843. The Indian was by nature a very little above the brute; the Fathers were not able to elevate him in spite of nature; the administrators stripped him without compunction; and, when the United States conquered the country, he was already exterminated, his destruction complete in ten years. When emancipation began, Figueroa says there were twenty thousand Christian Indians in the Missions of Cal. ifornia.
Colonization was another idea introduced by the Spanish Cortes in 1813. It was embodied in the Mexican Law of Colonization, of 1824. The scheme was to reduce all the public lands of the State to private property. The Spanish rule be. fore 1813, had ever been to make such grants the exception, and to retain all lands generally speaking, as the domain of the King. Other Mexican Governors may have made informal grants of which nothing appears, but Figueroa was the first to inangurate the system of which we find the records in the Archives. He established a course of proceeding in exact accordance with the law and the regulations, and adhered to it strictly and executed it conscientiously and with great intelligence. From the lands subject to be granted are excepted such as belong to Pueblos and Missions. Of Pueblos, i. e. villages, there were but two, San Jose and Los Angeles, or three including the unprosperous Villa de Branciforte. Whatever lands these owned were at their foundation, surveyed, marked out, and set apart to them; and then recorded. The same course was followed with such of the Presidios as were converted into Pueblos, as at Monterey, and would have been pursued with the Missions when converted into Pueblos, if that change had not been arrested. In these cases there could have been no uncertainty as to what lands the Governor could grant. With the Missions, untouched, or incompletely secularized as they were left, there was difficulty. The title of the Indian who had consented to become a christian and a civilized man, binding as it was upon the King had always been indefinite as to quantity, and as to the situation of his lands, save that it should be at and about the Mission; in which essential particulars it rested altogether in the King's discretion, exercised by the proper officers of his government. The Mexican Republic stepped into the same relation to these christian Indians. That no injustice might be done them, every petition was referred to the Priests, and afterwards to the Administrators of the Missions. They were asked whether the grant could be made without prejudice to the Indians. As they replied so were the grants given or withheld. So it was at least in Figueroa's day, and that, no matter how far the land petitioned for was from the nearest Mission. Other Governors were neither so exact nor so concientious as Figaroa. And as in the hands of the Administrators to whom they were delivered over, the Missions went rapidly down to complete ruin, it is evident that the lands required for the Indians would become continually less ---such would be, and was, the answer of their new guardians to the inquiries of the Governor-and finally all was granted, and in some cases, it is alleged, even the Missions themselves. Their cattle without the aid of a grant from the Governor took the same course. It is not too much to say that when the United States in 1846 took possession of the country they found it passing through a conquest still raw and incomplete. It was the conquest of the Missions and the christian Indians, by the settlers of the Presidios and Pueblos who at first had been introduced into the country mainly for their benefit; to aid the King and the Church in carrying out their pious and humane intentions towards them. Yet it was well that it was so. Who that looks upon the native Digger Indian could wish that a superior race should be sacrificed or postponed for his benefit? We contemplate a miserable result