Slike strani
PDF
ePub

the coat-of-arms of their Order on the frontispiece of the churches they built, as if to say to us: “We, unknown to you, poor religious of St. Francis, have built this for you; pray for us.' Nevertheless, if the tradition be right about the time spent in building the church of San Xavier, we can raise the veil of humility by looking at the names of the missionaries of whom mention is made in the church records during this period, extending, as above written, from 1783 to 1797. The priest in charge, as Superior of the San Xavier Mission from May 22d, 1780, to 1794, was the Rev. Baltazar Carillo. He was succeeded in the charge of Superior by Fray Narciso Gutierres, who kept the position until 1799. From these authentic data, we can safely say that it was under the administration of these two religious that the beautiful church of San Xavier was built. The same can be said of that of Tumacacuri, which was administered by these two priests in succession before 1822, when its new church was put in charge of Fray Ramon Liberos.

“The tradition goes among the old people of the territory that the builders of the abovenamed churches, as also that of Cavorca in Sonora, were two brothers, members of the Gauna family, yet in existence in the country.

As regards the second question, viz.: What were the means the missionaries had at their disposal for the erection of substantial and rich churches ?

“Leaving apart the marvelous products of the rich mines, which are supposed to have been held in possession by the ancient missionaries, and which probably, never existed really, as no mention of them is made either in the records or in the historical books which we have read on the old missions, we have the following to answer: According to the writers of two of the works which have contributed to our little knowledge about the past ecclesiastical history of Arizona, the “Rudo Ensayo' and the Noticias Estadisticas,' the churches were built by the missionaries solely from the produce of the land assigned by the government to each one of the missions, which land was cultivated by the Indians under the direction of their respective ministers. To this resource we might add the product of the livestock, which was considerable at times in several of the missions, and also what the missionaries were able to spare of the scant allowance they received in money from the government for their yearly support. This explains why the building of the churches required a long time, and also why some of them remained unfinished in some of their parts.

“Deeming it will not be out of place, we will say a few words about the dealing of the missionaries with the Indians, and about the way they taught them, little by little, the manners of civilized life. According to details we received in 1866 from men who had seen the Fathers at work and who had been employed by them as foremen in the different labors carried on in the mission of San Xavier, the Indians were perfectly free to work for themselves or for the church, to cultivate their own fields or the church land, with the difference that the former had to look for their maintenance, while the latter were supported by the mission. Those who worked for the mission were dependent on it for food and clothing, not only for themselves but for their families. For that purpose provisions were stored in the mission house, or convent, and distributed in due time.

“Early in the morning the inhabitants of the pueblo had to go to church for morning prayers and to hear mass. Breakfast followed this exercise. Soon after a peculiar bell called the workmen. They assembled in the atrium, a little place in front of and adjoining the church, where they were counted by one of the priests and assigned to the different places where work was to be done. When the priests were in sufficient number they used to superintend the work, laboring themselves, otherwise they employed some trustworthy Mexicans to represent them. During the season of planting and harvesting, the workmen had their dinner prepared in the farmhouse. Towards the evening, a little before sundown, the work was stopped and the men permitted to go home. On their arrival in the houses which were located round the plaza, one of the priests, standing in the middle of this plaza, said the evening prayers in a loud voice in the language of the tribe. Every word he pronounced was repeated by some selected Indians who stood between him and the houses, and lastly by all the Indians present in the pueblo. Notwithstanding these orderly measures, many of the Indians fled every day, as is reported in the 'Rudo Ensayo,' from their respective squads, before they reached the place where they had to work, and tried to be present only at meals. Nevertheless, taken on the whole, these are the men who, by their work, enabled the missionaries to build their churches and houses, learning at the same time how to earn their living in the future. That these Indians must have been happy under such a rule nobody can doubt, and San Xavier, owing perhaps to the vicinity of the Presidio of Tucson, became afterwards one of the most flourishing missions under the administration of the Franciscan Fathers.

“The missions of the southern part of Arizona were all composed of members of that portion of the Pima nation designated by the name of Papago. According to the testimony of the authors we have mentioned several times, the Papagos, though barbarous in their customs, and very much inclined to the use of intoxicating liquors, which they made from several kinds of wild fruit, were industrious, thrifty, and more sociable than those of other tribes. Their moral character was excellent. Previous to the establishment of the missions amongst them, they had already, it seems, a knowledge of the sacredness of marriage, as they kept it always in its unity and perpetuity. They were so strict on that point, that the woman who committed adultery was punished with death. The number of Papagos living at San Xavier can only be approximately calculated, as many of them do not remain in the pueblo after the harvesting of the wheat, but go to the mountains where they find more facilities for the tending of their animals. Those who reside constantly are about five hundred in number. As for the total number of Papagos living in Arizona, it is estimated to be about 5,000.

“As we have seen before, the expulsion of the religious, and the confiscation of the missions' property were the cause why the Indians of the southern part of Arizona, except those who lived at San Xavier, abandoned their pueblos, leaving their churches at Tumacacuri, Tubac, and Tucson, to go gradually to ruin, as they are seen at the present day. The missions, it is true, were not abandoned by the Church, as the bishop of Sonora had them put in charge of the parish priests of Magdalena, but owing to the distance and the danger from the Apaches who, at all times, were infesting the country, the visits of the priests were only on rare occasions. We have been told that when the people of Tucson wanted to be visited by a priest for some festival or during Easter time, they had to send eighteen or twenty mounted and well armed men for him and give him the same escort to take him back to Magdalena. This arrangement was nothing but what was necessary, but, as can be easily imagined, could not be resorted to as often as the spiritual needs of the people required. On the other hand, the priests, after the expulsion of the Franciscans, were too scarce in Sonora, to permit the bishop to assign one for the missions of Arizona."

Bancroft says, as I have quoted from him in Volume 1 of this history, that there were only two missions, that of San Xavier del Bac, and Guevavi, and that all the others were visitationes,

VII-20

ܕܕ

« PrejšnjaNaprej »