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branches should gather in future time the unborn millions that would forget the zealous old pioneer of the cross, whose life had been a sacrifice, forgotten in time to be remembered in eternity.
It is not our intention to give a history in full of the California missions, for that in itself would fill a volume; and having placed before the reader the first and most important events, the balance will be passed with brief mention. Within the forty-six years that succeeded the first settlement at San Francisco, there were established in California twelve other missions, making twenty-one in all, which, in accordance with the plan of Spain, were located along the coast, making a chain of occupied territory that would serve to keep off foreign settlement. The situations selected were of course made with reference to the soil, as upon its productions maintenance must eventually depend. Where the boundary limits of one ended another began, so that the coast was all owned by the missions from La Paz on the peninsula to San Francisco. The interior was the great storehouse from which to gather, in the beginning, proselytes to the Catholic faith—in the end, slaves to work their plantations.
North of the bay the Russians interfered with the general plan, by establishing a settlement in 1812, in what is now Sonoma county. This was followed by an attempt, on the part of the padres, to surround the invaders by a cordon of missions, and, in pursuance of the plan, San Rafael, in 1817, and San Francisco de Solano, in 1823, were established; but further efforts in this line were cut short by the "march of human events." The time had come when the system, instead of being an aid, was an impediment to the elevation of the human race, and it was forced to give way. Then commenced its decline, followed soon by its passage from the stage of action.
The number of converted Indians, in 1802, given by Humboldt, was 7,945 males and 7,617 females, making a total of 15,562. The other inhabitants, being estimated at 1,300, not including wild Indians, making the total population of California at that time 16,862. The term "wild Indians" was applied to such as were not reduced to control by the padres.
Downfall of the Missions.
Beginning of the End—What Weakened their Power—Their Mode of Dealing Injures the Natives, and is not Just to their own Race—The First Blow—Secularization Ordered—The "Pious Fund"—An Opposition Party Springs up—The Handwriting on the Wall—The Final Struggle—A Colony that Fails to Get the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg—Wreck of the Brig at Monterey that Carried Napoleon from Exile—The Priests Destroy what they have Built Up—The "Father of his Country "—The End, when they are Sold at Auction—The Last Missionary —The Final Result Achieved—A Table that is a history in itself.
The cloud, no larger than a man's hand, commenced to gather over the missions in 1824, when Mexico became a republic, having declared her independence from Spain two years before. The spirit that resulted in making of Mexico a free country, was one calculated to lessen the force of traditions that had bound up the church with the state, thus weakening the power of the former. Heretofore, all things had been made subservient in California to the purpose of making a Catholic of the Indian. In pursuance of this idea, he was either persuaded or forced to go through the forms of worship; but nothing was done to develop a higher mental standard. In fact, the opposite was the result. They were taken care of like any other slaves, and such qualities as were found calculated to make them self-sustaining were eradicated, probably without having such an intention, yet doing it effectually. It was accomplished by the system of absolute dependence, forced by the padres in their manner of control and kind of instruction given to them, that were only calculated to impress a feeling of inferiority. Nothing could be accomplished in California by a member of the white race, calculated in any way to interfere with the general plan of proselytism. The territory was claimed for the Indian, and the padres were his masters. The European was not encouraged by them to own or settle upon land, for it might become an element of discord in the country. The soldiers that protected them in their operations were not allowed to marry, except in rare cases, as the offspring or the parent might admit the idea into their heads that they, too, were of consequence in the general plan of the Creator.
Such a state of things could not last. The world was becoming more enlightened, and a system that stood in the path of progress must inevitably give way.
The first blow dealt this Catholic body politic was by the Mexican congress, in the form of a colonization act, passed in August, 1824. In its provisions were some fair inducements for a settlement of the country, and a settlement necessarily meant ruin to the missions; for the interests of settlers were not in harmony with them. Four years later their secularization was ordered, and grants of lands were authorized as homesteads to actual settlers, the territorial governor being the one authorized to issue the grant, subject to the approval of the legislature. There was a class of property in Mexico that had been obtained by the Jesuits from their friends, when they were operating on the peninsula, by donations, wills, and otherwise, that had been invested in real estate; the product or interest of which was used yearly to support the missions, keeping the principal intact. When the Jesuits were banished from the kingdom this property was turned over to the Franciscans, and its proceeds had increased until the-^ yearly income from it amounted to about $50,000. This was termed the pious fund, and a year before -t the secularization was ordered, $78,000 of it had been seized by the government in Mexico. This was the beginning, and the end came in 1842, when Santa Anna sold the balance to the house of Barrio and the Rubio Brothers, the proceeds finding their way into the government treasury.
The legislation of 1824 began to have its effect in 1830. A party had sprung up not friendly to the missions, and Governor Echeandia commenced to enforce the secularization laws that year; but the arrival of the new governor, Victoria, put a stop to the attempt. This was the beginning of the open struggle between the two parties, one for the maintenance, the other for the destruction of the missions. It continued with varying success until 1834, when a colonization scheme, set on foot by the home government, caused the padres to "see the handwriting on the wall." This colony was formed with the purpose, on the part of the Mexican president, of placing in the colony's control the commerce of California, the missions to play the part in the general scheme of the fabled "goose that laid the golden egg." The project never reached its final purpose, for, with the usual promptness of Mexicans in changing their government, Santa Anna was made president. He sent overland orders in haste, countermanding the whole plan; and Hijar, who was to have been governor of California under the new conditions, landed at San Diego September 1, 1834, to find himself only the leader of a disappointed colony that had accompanied him to the country. He was sent, with his followers, north of San Francisco to the mission of San Francisco Solano, to make out as best he could, without the power to carry out the original objects of the enterprise.
The brig in which this colony arrived, wrecked on the fourteenth of the following month in the harbor of Monterey, was the Natalia, the same that, February 26, 1815, had borne, in his flight from Elba, the great soldier of destiny, to read the decree of his fate at Waterloo.
The priests, on learning how narrowly they escaped being robbed, concluded there was no longer any hope of final success in the struggle, and commenced to destroy what they had built up through the years of the past. The cattle "upon a thousand hills" were slaughtered only for their hides, the vineyards
were permitted to go io waste, the olive groves were neglected, the missions were allowed to decay and the slaves (Indians) were turned loose to starve, steal or die. The California legislature, in 1840, appointed administrators, who took charge of the property, and a general system of plunder seemed to be the order of the day.
In 1843, General Micheltorena restored the ruined mission establishments to the control of the padres, and in 1845 the end came, when what remained passed at an auction sale into the hands of whomsoever would buy. The last of those missionaries—Father Altoinira, the missionary priest and founder of the mission of San Francisco Solano, otherwise known as Sonoma, who, in 1828, accompanied by Padre Ripol, of the mission of Santa Barbara, left California in the American brig Harbinger, for Boston—was living, in 1860, at Tenneriffe, one of the Canary Islands.
Thus passed from the country a system of occupation that paved the way for civilization. It was conceived in error, executed in blindness, and ended in disaster to the people it sought to benefit . It only served as a means by which another race gained a footing—to crush out and annihilate the one that was found in the land.
The auuexed table is a history in itself. It represents the population and wealth of California in 1831. It will be observed that the total population was 23,025; of this number only 4,342 were of the free races, the balance of 18,683 being Indians, subject to the missions; no account was taken of those running wild.
Spanish Military Occupation.
Two Separate Interests in the Original Plan of Occupation—What they Were—Why one Eventually Failed—Duties of the Governor—What was a Presidio—The Forts—Monterey Captured by Pirates— Soldiers, their Duties and Character—Ranchos—A Pueblo, What it was, How they were First Started—The First Grant—Why it was Given, and what Followed Six Years Later—Christian Population of California in 1749, 175,>, 1790—Policy of Spain towards Foreign Nations—Captain Cook must not Enter the Harbors of California—Home of the Missions and Home of the Free Joined in One Thought—The First Writing Books—Earthquakes of 1800, 180S, 1812. and 1818 —The Russians' First Appearance in California—A Sad, Historic Tale of Love—Russian Occupation - Declaration of Independence from Spain—List of Spanish Governors. •
In the original plan for the occupation of the Californias, there were two distinct objects sought; one by the church, another by statesmen, and they formed a co-partnership, as each was essential to the other. The church sought to extend her influence and increase her membership; to this end all her energies were bent. The statesman reached out to secure for his nation a country that he believed would become a jewel in the crown of Spain, and was willing to aid the church if she would contribute to this end.
The statesman would protect, by the military arm of this government, the priest who was to make of the Indian a convert, who as such would become a subject of Spain. With numerous converts there would be numerous subjects bound by religious affinity to defend their country against invasion by any other nation. Thus would be created a Spanish province that would become a bulwark of defense against encroachment by hostile nations upon the more southern possessions of the mother country.
We have in previous chapters seen what the end was of the operations and design of the church; that it made slaves instead of citizens of its converts, and the disastrous results to the Indians; thus