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of the work begun with so much zeal and heroism in 1769. But because they failed, we none the less respect the motives and the laborers, whether of Church or State.
The unworthiness of the Californian Indian did not altogether deprive him of sympathy. Every Government expressed some feeling at seeing him hasten so rapidly to his wretched end. And the just and kind-hearted Figueroa battled for him manfully. In the midst of the complex labors of his administration he was almost crushed by the arrival of three hundred persons, for whom he had to make provision, without resources, and who came under the charge of a Director of Colonization, instructed by the Supreme Government, at that time radically democratic, to begin operations by taking possession of the property of the Missions and admit the new colonists to a division of it with the Indians. During the winter of 1834-5 Figueroa and the Director carried on an animated discussion in writing, on the subject of the last of these propositions. Figueroa maintained that the Missions were the private property of the Indians, and protected from invasion, by the Constitution. The Director insisted upon the letter of the order of the Supreme Government. Figueroa said it was improvident, and refused to obey it until he could make a representation to the Supreme Government on the subject. The end was that some of the partizans of the Director attempted an insurrection at Los Angeles, in the spring of 1835, which was easily suppressed, but furnished Figueroa the opportunity to send the Director and the heads of his faction back to Mexicc. Of these, the principal was the same man who had been
nt out of California by Victoria, for the same cause, a desire to have a part in the secularization of the Missions. The colony, however, remained, and though mumbering but three hundred, was a great addition to the population of California in those days. Among them we find the names of several persons who afterwards became conspicuous in the country, amongst them José Abrego, José Ma. Covarrubias, Augustin Olvera, and Francisco Guerrero.
Figueroa died at Monterey, on the 29th of September, 1835, his death being probably hastened by the effect of the anxiety
and vexation of this controversy, upon a constitution already broken. At that time his manifesto to the Mexican Republic, in which he gives a clear and forcible statement of the whole affair, and an able vindication of his conduct, was going through the press at Monterey. His death seems to have been very greatly deplored at that time, and he is still recognized as the ablest and most upright of the Mexican Governors. His work of the political organization of California lasted but a little while; it fell with the overthrow of the Federal Constitution of 1824, by Santa Anna, in 1836. California then became a Department; POLITICAL CHIEF was changed into GOVERNOR, and Territorial Deputation into Departmental Assembly.
These changes, however, were not fully completed in California until 1839. The Department of the Californias was then divided into three districts; the first extending from the frontier of Sonoma to San Luis Obispo, its principal point or seat of administration being the old Mission of San Juan, on the Pajaro river; the second district included the rest of Upper California, the seat of its administration being the city of Los Angeles, which had been promoted to that rank from the original condition of a Pueblo, in the year 1835; and the third comprised Lower California, which, after a separation, was now re-united with Upper California. These districts were divided each into two Partidos, of which, consequently, there were four in Upper California. Ayuntaimentos were abolished and a Justice of the Peace substituted in each Partido. For the whole district there was a Prefect, who resided at the seat of the administration of one of the Partidos, and a Sub-Prefect, who resided at that or the other Partido. In 1843 Michaeltorena, acting under extraordinary powers, made some changes in this system, but it was substantially restored by Pio Pico, in 1845, but when again Lower California was thrown off.
With Figueroa everything like stablity, and indeed order, passed away. The next year after Figueroa's death, the Californian's drove away the Governor, and Don Juan B. Alvarado being at that time President of the Territorial Deputation
was declared Governor. After this was done the Deputation went one step further and on the 7th of November 1836 passed these resolutions.
(1.) California is declared independent of Mexico until the "re-establishment of the Constitution of 1824."
(2.) "California is erected into a free and sovereign State, "establishing a Congress, &c., &c."
Public documents for a while were headed "Free and Sovereign State of California." This anomalous state of things lasted until 1838. The demands of the Free and Sovereign State were not complied with, nor on the other hand was the Central Government disposed or perhaps able, to push the controversy to extremes. In 1838 Alvarado was appointed Governor ad interim; and Constitutional Governor in 1839, when we have seen that the innovations of Santa Aña took effect. Whilst California was in rebellion the President of Mexico commissioned Carlos Antonio Carillo, as Governor. Alvarado refused to recognize him, and accepted the aid of a party of Americans who since the time of Jedediah Smith, seem to have found their way into the country. Alvarado prevailed over Carillo; and his appointment as Governor ad interim, compromised the difficulties of those times. Here is a document relating to this contest, which will serve to illustrate California warfare. It is the report of General Josè Castro to Governor Alvarado, dated the 28th of March 1838.
"I have the honor to announce to your Excellency, that after two days continual firing without having lost but one man, the enemy took to flight, under cover of night, numbering one hundred and ten men; and I have determined to dispatch one company of mounted Infantry, under the command of Captain Villa, and another of Cavalry lancers, under the command of Captain Cota, in their pursuit, remaining myself, with the rest of the division, and the Artillery, to guard this point, &c., &c."
And here is another of the same period. It now appears that the Americans who sided with Alvarado had fallen under suspicion and into disfavor at about the time that their chief made up his
differences with the Central Government and received his commission as Governor ad interim. They were all arrested, some fifteen or twenty perhaps, it is said by surprise, and sent to Mexico. Amongst them was Mr. Isaac Graham, of Santa Cruz. This paper will also serve as a specimen of Californian eloquence at that period, and I commend it at the present moment as a model to our political
PROCLAMATION MADE BY THE UNDERSIGNED :
"Eternal Glory to the Illustrious Champion and Liberator of the Department of Alta California, Don José Castro, the Guardian of Order, and the Supporter of our Superior Government.
Fellow-citizens and Friends: To-day, the eighth of May, of the present year of 1840, has been and will be eternally glorious to all the inhabitants of this soil, in contemplating the glorious expedition of our fellow countryman, Don José Castro, who goes to present himself before the Superior Government of the Mexican nation, carrying with him a number of suspicious Americans who, under the mask of deceit, and filled with ambition, were warping us in the web of misfortune; plunging us into the greatest confusion and danger; desiring to terminate the life of our Governor and of all of his subalterns; and finally, to drive us from our asylums; from our country; from our pleasures, and from our hearths.
The bark which carries this valorous Hero on his Grand Commission goes filled with laurels and crowned with triumphs, ploughing the waves and publishing in distinct voices to the passing billows the loud vivas and rejoicings, which will resound to the remotest bounds of the universe. Yes, fellow-citizens and friends, again we say, that this glorious chief should have a place in the innermost recesses of our hearts, and be held as dear to us as our very breath. Thus we desire, and in the name of all the inhabitants, make known the great rejoicings with which we are filled, giving, at the same time, to our Superior Government the present proclama, which we make for said worthy chief; and that our Governor may remain satisfied, that if he (Castro) has embarked for the interior of the Republic, there still remain under his (the Governor's) orders all his fellow countrymen, companions in arms, etc., etc.”
The foregoing is signed by seven citizens of note and respectability in the country. When this laurel laden vessel reached San Blas, the Mexican authorities took a different view of the matter.
They put Gen. Castro in prison and Graham and his companions in the best hotel in the place, (he says a palace) and entertained them handsomely until they could send them back to California, which they did at the expense of the Government.
In 1839, Captain John A. Sutter, a man who had seen many vicissitudes and adventures, in Europe and the wilds of America, arrived in California from the Sandwich Islands. By permission of Gove:nor Alvarado he established himself in the valley of the Sacramento, then the extreme northern frontier. He engaged to protect the Mexican settlements extending in that direction under the Colonization Law, (the only vital thing left of the Mexican rule for many years) from the incursions of the Indians, and he kept his word.
In 1841, he obtained a grant of land himself, and built a fort which soon became the refuge and rallying point for Americans and Europeans coming into the country. Over all these Sutter, by virture of an appointment as Justice of the Peace, exercised whatever government there was beyond the law of the rifle. Practically his powers were as indefinite as the territorial limits of his jurisdiction. Amongst those who early gathered around Sutter, we find the names of John Bidwell, who came in 1841, and Pearson B. Reading and Samuel J. Hensley, who came in 1843, and many others well known at the present day.
The Pioneers of that day all bear testimony to the generosity of Captain Sutter, at a time when his fort was the capital and he the Government for the American colony in the valley of the Sacramento. In 1844, the numbers of this population had come to be so considerable as to be a power in the State. In the revolution which then occurred, Sutter took the side of Governor Micheltorena. But before he marched he took the reasonable precaution, so obviously required by justice to his men, to obtain from Micheltorena a grant of the land for which they had respectfully petitioned. Micheltorena then issued the document known as the General Title.
In this document he declares that every petition upon which Sutter, in his capacity of Justice of the Peace, had reported favorably, should be taken as granted; and that a copy of this