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conquest, to achieve with the cross what the army, navy, and power of a kingdom combined had failed to do.
On the nineteenth of October, 1679, they reached the point selected on the east coast of the peninsula, and says Venegas :—" The provisions and animals were landed, together with the baggage; the Father, though the head of the expedition, being the first to load his shoulders. The barracks for the little garrison were now built, and a line of circumvallation thrown up. In the center a tent was pitched for a temporary chapel; before it was erected a crucifix, with a garland of flowers. * * * The image of our Lady of Loretto, as patroness of the conquest, was brought in procession from the boat, and placed with proper solemnity."
On the twenty-fifth of the same month, formal possession was taken of the country in " his majesty's name," and has never since been abandoned.
Immediately the priest initiated the plan of conversion. He called together the Indians, explained to them the catechism, prayed over the rosary, and then distributed among them a half bushel of boiled corn. The corn was a success—they were very fond of it; but the prayers and catechism were " bad medicine." They wanted more corn and less prayers, and proceeded to steal it from the sacks. This was stopped by excluding them from the fort, and they were kindly informed that corn would be forthcoming only as a reward for attendance and attention at the devotions. This created immediate hostility, and the natives formed a conspiracy to murder the garrison and have a big corn-eat on the thirty-first day of October, only twelve days after the first landing of the expedition upon the coast. The design was discovered and happily frustrated, when a general league was entered into among several tribes, and a descent was made upon the fort by about five hundred Indians. The priest rushed upon the fortifications and warned them to desist, begging them to go away, telling them that they would be killed if they did not; but his solicitude for their safety was responded to by a number of arrows from the natives, when he came down and the battle began in earnest. The assailants went down like grass before the scythe, as the little garrison opened with their fire-arms in volleys upon the unprotected mass, and they immediately beat a hasty retreat, where at a safe distance they sent in one of their number to beg for peace; who, says Venegas, "with tears assured our men that it was those of the neighboring rancheria under him who had first formed the plot, and on account of the paucity of their numbers, had spirited up the other nations; adding, that those being irritated by the death of their companions were for revengeing them, but that both the one and the other sincerely repented of their attempt. A little while after came the women with their children, mediating a peace, as is the custom of the country. They sat down weeping at the gate of the camp, with a thousand promises of amendment, and offering to give up their children as hostages for the performance. Father Salva Tierra heard them with his usual mildness, shewing them the wickedness of the procedure, and if their husbands would behave better, promised them peace, an amnesty, and forgetfulness of all that was past; he also distributed among them several little presents, and to remove any mistrust they might have, he took one of the children in hostage, and thus they returned in high spirits to the rancherias."
Thus was the first contest brought to a termination eminently satisfactory to the colonists. The soldiers' guns had taught the Indians respect, and the sacks of corn allured them back for the priests to teach them the Catholic faith.
We quote further from the Jesuit historian, Venegas, that the reader may get a correct understanding of the manner in which the fathers treated the aboriginal occupants of the country, and the way they conquered the ignorance, indolence and viciousness of those tribes. In speaking of Father Ugarte, the historian says :—
"In the morning, after saying mass, and at which he obliged them to attend with order and respect, he gave a breakfast of pozoli to those who were to work, set them about building the church and houses for himself and his Indians, clearing ground for cultivation, making trenches for conveyance of water, holes for planting trees, or digging and preparing the ground for sowing. In the building part Father Ugarte was master, overseer, carpenter, bricklayer and laborer. For the Indians, though animated by his example, could neither by gifts nor kind speeches be prevailed upon to shake off their innate sloth, and were sure to slacken if they did not see the father work harder than any of them; so he was the first in fetching stones, treading the clay, mixing the sand, cutting, carrying and barking the timber; removing the earth and fixing materials. He was equally laborious in the other tasks, sometimes felling the trees with his axe, sometimes with his spade in his hand digging up the earth, sometimes with an iron crow splitting rocks, sometimes disposing the water-trenches, sometimes leading the beasts and cattle, which he had procured for his mission, to pasture and water; thus, by his own example, teaching the several kinds of labor. The Indians, whose narrow ideas and dullness could not at first enter into the utility of these fatigues, which at the same time deprived them of their customary free dom of roving among the forests, on a thousand occasions sufficiently tried his patience—coming late, not caring to stir, running away, jeering him, and sometimes even forming combinations, and threatening death and destruction; all this was to be borne with unwearied patience, having no other recourse than affability and kindness, sometimes intermixed with gravity to strike respect; also taking care not to tire them, and suit himself to their weakness. In the evening the father led them a second time in their devotions; in which the rosary was prayed over, and the catechism explained; and the service was followed by the distribution of some provisions. At first they were very troublesome all the time of the sermon, jesting and sneering at what he said. This the father bore with for a while, and then proceeded to reprove them; but finding they were not to be kept in order, he made a very dangerous experiment of what could be done by fear. Near him stood an Indian in high reputation for strength, and who, presuming on this advantage, the only quality esteemed by them, took upon himself to be more rude than the others. Father Ugarte, who was a large man, and of uncommon strength, observing the Indian to be in the height of his laughter, and making signs of mockery to the others, seized him by the hair and lifting him, up swung him to and fro; at this the rest ran away in the utmost terror. They soon returned, one after another, and the father so far succeeded to intimidate them that they behaved more regularly for the future." In writing of the same priest and his labors in starting a mission in another place, this historian relates that: "He endeavored, by little presents and caresses, to gain the affections of his Indians; not so much that they should assist him in the building as that they might take a liking to the catechism, which he explained to them as well as he could, by the help of some Indians of Loretto, while he was perfecting himself in their language. But his kindness was lost on the adults, who, from their invincible sloth, could not be brought to help him in any one thing, though they partook of, and used to be very urgent with him for, pozoli and other eatables. He was now obliged to have recourse to the assistance of the boys, who, being allured by the father with sweetmeats and presents, accom panied him wherever he would have them; and to habituate these to any work it was necessary to make use of artifice. Sometimes he laid a wager with them who should soonest pluck up the mesquites and small trees; sometimes he offered reward to those who took away most earth; and it suffices to say that in forming the bricks he made himself a boy with boys, challenged them to play with the earth, and dance upon the clay. The father used to take off his sandals and tread it, in which he was followed by the boys skipping and dancing on the clay, and the father with them. The boys sang, and were highly delighted; the father also sang, and thus they continued dancing and treading the clay in different parts till meal-time. This enabled him to erect his poor dwelling and the church, at the dedication of which the other fathers assisted. He made use of several such contrivances in order to
learn their language; first teaching the boys several Spanish words, that they might afterwards teach him their language. When, by the help of these masters, the interpreters of Loretto, and his own observation and discourse with the adults, he had attained a sufficient knowledge of it, he began to catechise these poor gentiles, using a thousand endearing ways, that they should come to the catechism. He likewise made use of his boys for carrying on their instruction. Thus, with invincible patience and firmness under excessive labors, he went on humanizing the savages who lived on the spot, those of the neighboring rancherias, and others, whom he sought among woods, breaches and caverns; going about everywhere, that he at length administered baptism to many adults, and brought this new settlement into some form."
In this manner those devoted fathers struggled on through seventy years of ceaseless toil to plant the cross through that worthless peninsula of Lower California—a land that God seemed to have left anfinished at the eve of creation, intending it for solitude and the home of the cactus, the serpent, and the tarantula.
The plan of subduing, the savages will be readily seen from what Venegas records, and it proved to be successful. The missions, some of them always, all of them for a time, were supported by remittances from Mexico, until the Indians could be christianized and educated to work, and, with the aid of the fathers, make the missions self-supporting. Within the first eight years there were expended, in establishing six missions, fifty-eight thousand dollars, and one million two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars in supporting the Indians that were subject to them.
The after events that constituted the history of the peninsula are a continuous succession of strongly marked acts that would make an interesting book for one to peruse who is seeking the history of the Indians as a race; but not of sufficient importance as an adjunct to California history to warrant their relation in this work. Therefore they will be passed, enough having been given to show the reader how the Catholics became the conquerors of the country. In 1767, the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish dominions, and forced to abandon their work in Lower California; but they left behind them a record of having paved the way and solved the problem of how to subdue and control the native tribes of the West. They have left behind them the record of having become the pioneers in the culture of the grape and in the making of wine on this coast, having sent to Mexico their vintage as early as 1706. They were the pioneer manufacturers, having taught the Indians the use of the loom in the manufacture of cloth as early as 1707. They built, in 1719, the first vessel ever launched from the soil of California, calling it the Triumph of the Cross. Two of their number suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Indians, and the living were rewarded for those years of toil, of privation and of self-sacrifice, by banishment from the land they had subdued; leaving, for their successors, the Franciscans, sixteen flourishing missions, and thirty-six villages, as testimonials of the justice and wisdom of their rule.
Conquest of Upper California by the Franciscans.
Dominicans Succeed the Franciscans in Lower California—Why the latter were Willing to Give Way—The Original Plan of the Jesuits—The King of Spain Orders the Colonization of Upper California—The Expedition and its Objects—It Goes by Land and Sea—Loss of the Vessel St. Joseph—Mortality on Board the other Ships—The Party by Land Divided— A Description of the Pioneer of California—A Mule-driver Turns Doctor—The Overland Expedition Arrives Safely at San Diego—An Epoch in the History of the World—The San A ntonio Returns to San Bias—The Country Taken Possession of—How a Mission is Formed—Governor Portala sets out in Search of Monterey, and Discovers Instead the Bay of San Francisco—First Mission Founded—First Battle in California— An Almost-Baptized Papoose—Abandonment of the Country Decided Upon—Timely Arrival of the San Antonio Prevents Abandonment—Two New Expeditions Start in Search of Monterey—Monterey Found—What Junipero Thought of the Port—They take Possession—Mission of San Carlos Established—They Proceed to Scire the Little Devils Away—Mission of San Antonio Established—First Irrigation in California and the Results—Mission Established near Los Angeles, called San Gabriel—Another Miracle—Governor Portala Returns to Mexico, the Bearer of Welcome News—Father Junipero also Visits Mexico—The Pioneer Overland Expedition from Mexico by Captain Anza—He returns to Mexico—Attempt to Destroy the Mission at San Diego by the Indians—The First Vessel Kn ,wn to have been in the Harbor of San Francisco —Death of Father Junipero Serro—Why a Full History of the Missions is not given—The General Plan of their Location, and Reason for it—Russians Interfere with the Plan—Population as given by Humboldt.
The Franciscan order of the Catholic Church had no sooner become possessed of the missions established on the peninsula by the Jesuits, than another order of that church, called the Dominican, laid claim to a portion of them. The Franciscans deemed it a work and class of property that should not be segregated, and expressed a preference of yielding the whole rather than a part, and eventually turned it all over to the Dominicans. This willingness to abandon the field to their rivals was not, what it might at first seem to be, a spirit of self-abnegation. It was rather the wisdom of the serpent that lay concealed under an exterior of apparent harmlessness like that of the dove.
As before stated in this work, the process of occupying the peninsula of Lower California had been a school wherein the Catholic Church had educated the world in the proper means to be employed in making a conquest of the coast Indians and their country. It had been a part of the original plan of the Jesuits to extend the missions on up the country, along the coast, until a chain of connection had been formed from La Paz in the south to those straits in the north that the nautical world supposed separated Asia from America, and called at that time the "Straits of Anian." But they were not permitted to p?rfe3t the plan, being banished before their conquests had reached beyond the limits of the peninsula.
The Franciscans gave up the possession of the territory of their rivals to the Dominicans with the purpose of entering further north and taking possession of the country that heretofore had only been seen "as through a glass darkly," and thus perfect the original plan. In this way they hoped to become possessors of a better land, where legend had located the gold and rich silver mines, from whence the Aztecs had drawn their treasure.