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Another instance, and the more striking, as the subject matter belongs to the latitude of the equator, and as it serves to illustrate that the arbitrary government of his Catholic Majesty was paternal and thoughtful as well, I give a translation of the original, complete:
Jacobo Ugarte y Loyola, commandante general of the internal provinces, writes to Pedro Fages, governor of California, as follows :
ARISPE, April 22, 1787. “On the 20th of November last past, his excellency the marquis of Sonora, (Viceroy of Mexico,) was pleased to communicate to me the following royal order:
«• The archbishop, Viceroy of Santa Fé, (in South America,) on the 2d of July last, gave me an account of a remedy happily discovered by his confessor, against the ravages of the jigger (nigua) in the hot countries of America, which consists in annointing the parts affected by the jiggers with cold olive oil, which causes them to die, and the sacs containing them can be easily extracted which the King desires should be published as a bando (proclamation) in the district under your government, in order that it may reach the notice of all; and you shall take care that all those who are afflicted with said insect shall use said remedy, which is as effectual as it is simple.'
And I insert the same to you in order that you may cause it to be published. May God preserve your life many years.
" JACOBO UGARTE Y LOYOLA."
And so this valuable.specific was made known by a public crier and with a roll of drums, all the world over, even here in California, where the troublesome insect is fortunately unknown.
The couriers, who were the overland mail of that day, on leaving, for instance, Monterey, received a certificate from the commandante of the presidio that he started at a certain hour; on his arrival at the next stopping place he presented his certificate to the officer in command of the place, who noted the hour of his arrival and departure, and so on at all the stopping places between Monterey and La Paz, in Lower California; so that if the mail carrier loitered on the way his way-bill would show it. Such way-bills from Monterey to La Paz, with all these memoranda on them, may be found in the archives. It was the unfortunate mail rider, and not the government, that people were in the habit of blaming in those days. These way-bills show that he made the distance from San Francisco to San Diego in five days. Quiet old days! But little of a public sort was doing then in California. There was a dispute that amounted to something like a law suit between the mission of Santa Clara and the pueblo of San José. It commenced from the very day of the establishment of the latter. Father Junipero objected to the pueblo being so near the mission, the boundary as at first established running about half way between the two places. The governor was obstinate and Father Junipero desired that his protest might be entered in the proceedings of the foundation, which the governor refused. The controversy by no means died out; the head of the college of San Fernando at Mexico, to which all the Franciscans of California belonged, brought it before the Viceroy, praying him not to allow the Indians and missionaries to be molested by the pueblo. The governor of California was therefore ordered to investigate the matter, and seems to have settled it by making the river Guadalupe the boundary from that time forward. Again, one Mariano Castro obtained from the Viceroy permission to settle himself upon a place called La Brea, in the neighborhood of the mission of San Juan Bautista ; under this license he applied to the governor to give him the possession of the land, but the priests at San Juan objected strenuously, alleging that the place of La Brea was needed by the mission for its cattle. This was represented by the governor to the viceroy, who, in the end, told Castro to select some other place, and the
mission kept La Brea. We see with what jealousy, and how effectively, the fathers vindicated the title of themselves and their Indian pupils to their California.
For a complete view of the internal constitution of California at that day, two facts, which are exceptional to this ecclesiastical domination, require to be noted.
In 1791, Pedro Nava, commandante of the internal provinces of the west, in a decree dated at Chihuabua, gives to the captains commanding presidios, or recognizes as already existing in them, authority to grant building lots to the soldiers and other residents, within the space of four square leagues. I do not know, but presume, that this power was exercised at San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Monterey, and hence the origin of the towns bearing those names, which, at a later period, come into view as such. At San Francisco, however, there is nothing in the archives, or elsewhere, yet discovered, to show that such a grant was ever made by the captain of the presidio. And in 1795 a commissioner was appointed under the orders of the viceroy to select a place and establish another town, who reported that “the worst place or situation in California is that of San Francisco for the formation of a villa, as proposed.” And therefore the villa of Branciforte, so called in honor of the viceroy, the Marquis of Branciforte, was, by great preference, established near the mission of Santa Cruz. It never attained any consequence, and some adobe ruins may now attest its former existence.
Suspicion and exclusion were the rule towards foreigners. On the 23d of October, 1776, the viceroy writes to the governor of California : " That the king having received intelligence that two armed vessels had sailed from London, under the command of Captain Cook, bound on a voyage of discovery to the southern ocean, and the northern coast of California, commands that orders be given to the governor of California to be on the watch for Captain Cook, and not permit him to enter the ports of California.” At a later day a better spirit prevailed towards Vancouver, who spent some time in 1793 in the port of Monterey. We have a voluminous correspondence of his with the governorthe letters in English, and written with his own hand. He sets forth the harmonious understanding existing between England and his Catholic Majesty of Spain, and their united efforts in the cause of humanity, and asks assistance in arresting some deserters, and obtaining supplies, &c., which he will pay for with bills on London. Instructions had been previously received by the governor totreat Vancouver well. We see in this amiability between old enemies that the great French revolution was making itself felt on this remote coast. And in some of the letters of the fathers, of a little later period, we find Napoleon spoken of as the great “Luzbel," (Lucifer,) for such he appeared to their imagination in their missions.
The first mention of an American ship occurs in the following letter from the governor of California to the captain of the presidio of San Francisco :
“Whenever there may arrive at the port of San Francisco a ship named the Columbia, said to belong to General Washington, of the American States, commanded by John Rendrick, which sailed from Boston in September, 1787, bound on a voyage of discovery to the Russian establishments on the northern coast of this peninsula, you will cause the said vessel to be examined with caution and delicacy, using for this purpose a small boat which you have in your possession, and taking the same measures with every other suspicious foreign vessel, giving me prompt notice of the same. "May God preserve your life many years.
"PEDRO FAGES. “SANTA BARBARA, May 13, 1789. " To JOSEF ARGUELLO."
H. Ex. Doc. 2919
Twenty years before, this same Fages had sailed on the San Carlos to rediscover and people California. The San Carlos and the Columbia, and Fages the connecting link! The United States of America and California joined for the first time in a thought! It is impossible by any commentary to heighten the interest with which we read this document. Its very errors, even to the governor's ignorance of the geography of his own country, are profoundly suggestive.
The Columbia did not enter the ports of California, but made land further to the north, and discovered the Columbia river.
Fourteen years later, it would appear that American ships were more frequent on this coast.
On the 26th of August, 1803, José Argüello, comandante of the presidio of San Francisco, writes to governor José Joaquin de Arrillaga :
" That on the first of the present month, at the hour of evening prayers, two American vessels anchored in the port, (San Francisco,) one named the Alexander, under the command of Capt. John Brown, and the other named the Aser, under the command of Thomas Raben; that as soon as they anchored the captain came ashore to ask permission to get supplies of wood and water, when observing that he was the same Brown that was there in the preceding month of March, he refused to give him permission to remain in port; that on the day following, at six in the morning, he received a letter from the captain, (or supercargo,) a copy of which he trausmits, which is as follows:
“ PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO, August 12, 1803. “ To the Señor commandante of the port :
“ Notwithstanding your order for our immediate departure from this port, I am constrained to say that our necessities are such as to render it impossible for us to do so. I would esteem it a great favor if you would come aboard and see for yourself the needy circumstances in which we are placed, for during the whole of the time we have been on the northwest coast we have had no opportunity of supplying ourselves with wood and water, the Indians being so savage that we have not been able to hold any kind of friendly intercourse with them what
“We had several fights with them in the straits of Chatham; the first was in the port of Istiquin, where we were attacked by three hundred canoes, each canoe containing from ten to twenty-three Indians, each one with two or three escopetas and their pistols and spears. Three times in one day they attempted to take the ship, but we defended the same without losing any of our men.
“From this port we went to the Ensenada of Icana, in said straits, at which place we found about a thousand Indians encamped, many of whom came aboard our vessel for purposes of trade, carrying their arms in one hand and their skins in the other.
“ After we had been four days in this port, all the Indians came aboard, saying that they were not afraid of the Americans, since they were but few, while there were many Indians, who had many arms.
“On the fifth day of our stay in this port, about six o'clock in the evening, three or four canoes came alongside the ship, and, on being ordered to leave, they refused, when our captain seized a gun and fired it in the air, on which the Indians laughed very much, saying he did not know how to shoot, and could not kill; whereupon the captain seized another gun, fired at and killed the Indian, on which the rest retired to the land, and all of them went to a neighboring island; and from ten o'clock at night till eight in the morning they made no further demonstrations against us, at which time we made sail, in the mean time striking upon a rock and somewhat injuring our vessel.
· From this port we went to Juan de Fuca, at which place we learned from the chief, Tatacu, that the chief Quatlazepe had taken the ship Boston; that when the said vessel had been some four days in port, the Indian chief and the captain of the ship, having some difficulty in relation to trade, the captain of the ship said to the chief that he had traded with many chiefs to the north, and that he knew he did not act like an honorable chief; whereupon the chief Pioeque replied to the captain that he was a bad man. At this the captain seized a gun and ordered him ashore; whereupon he went to his rancheria and issued an order for the assembling of all the neighboring Indians, from the straits of Juan de Fuca to the point of Nutka, which were so assembled within three days; and, after holding a council, they determined to take the Boston, which they affected in the following manner : At seven o'clock in the morning they went aboard and asked permission of the captain to have a dance, as a ceremony of the renewal of the friendship after their recent dispute. To which the captain replied that he was willing that they should do so. Accordingly, at eight o'clock in the morning, a company of chiefs came and danced on the quarter-deck, having in the mean time ordered their people to arm themselves with knives, so that while they were dancing they could jump aboard and kill the whole crew, which they did; for while they were dancing they made presents of otter skins to the captain, and also to the sailors, who in a short time had collected on the quarter-deck, when suddenly the Indians fell upon them in their defenceless condition and butchered all save two, who escaped and concealed themselves; the Indians carrying off everything that could be removed during the whole of that day and night, and until twelve o'clock the following day; having in the mean time discovered the two hidden sailors, who, after some cruel treatment, were handed over to the chief, who spared their lives, and they are now at that place. On the following day the ship was beached, and her decks and part of the cargo burnt. Quatlazape has made a fortification at the place where the Spaniards were established.
" This is all the account I am able to give of the matter, and I pray you, in the name of God, to come aboard our ship and see the needy circumstances in which we are placed, destitute of wood and water, and our vessel needing repairs. Trusting in your Christian charity, and that of your nation, we hope to be permitted to remain in this port the time necessary to obtain supplies and make repairs, since otherwise we shall certainly lose our ship. “God preserve your
- JAMES ROWAN.” Times have changed, and Yankee captains are not now so meek in the port of San Francisco. We do not know what John Brown had been doing in March, nor can we vouch for the truth of all the particulars of their adventures on the northwest coast, especially not for the number of escopetas and other arms carried by each Indian. The loss of the Boston was doubtless communicated to her owners and the public by John Brown and Thomas Rab(v)en on their return to the United States. The guardians of this port do not note now the arrival of foreign ships by the hour of evening prayers. There was a contrast of national habits then between the shore and the Yankee ships; and the same contrast exists undiminished between the California of 1803 and 1860. From time to time other American vessels, traders to the northwest coast, and whalers, are said to have occasionally entered these waters, but at it was a Spanish colony there could be no American commerce; and it was after the independence, therefore, that the bide trade sprung up.
With the beginning of the century earthquakes make their appearance for the first time of record in the archives, and with startling effect. I prefer, on this subject, to give the words of the contemporaneous documents :
Account of earthquake at San Juan Bautista, as given in letter of the captain
of the Presidio of Monterey, to Governor Arrillaga, on the 31st of October, 1800.
“ MONTEREY, October 31, 1800. “I have to inform your excellency that the mission of San Juan Bautista since the 11th instant has been visited by severe earthquakes ; that Pedro Adriano Martinez, one of the fathers of said mission, has informed me that during one day there were six severe shocks; that there is not a single habitation, although built with double walls, that has not been injured from roof to foundation, and that all are threatened with ruin ; and that the fathers are compelled to sleep in the wagons to avoid danger since the houses are not habitable. At the place where the rancheria is situated some small openings have been observed in the earth, and also in the neighborhood of the river Pajaro there is another deep opening, all resulting from the earthquakes. These phenomena have filled the fathers and the inhabitants of that mission with consternation.
“The Lieutenant Don Raymundo Carillo has assured me the same, for on the 18th he stopped for the night at this mission (San Juan) on his journey from San José, and being at supper with one of the fathers, a shock was felt so powerful and attended with such a loud noise as to deafen them, when they fled to the court without finishing their supper, and that about eleven o'clock at night the shock was repeated with almost equal strength.
“ The fathers of the mission say that the Indians assure them that there have always been earthquakes at that place, and that there are certain cavities caused by the earthquakes, and that salt water has flowed from the same. “ All of which I communicate to you for your information. May our Lord preserve your life many years.
• ÅERMENEGILDO SAL-'
San Juan Bautista is the mission between the Monterey and San José, about twenty miles from the former and forty from the latter. The next mention comes nearer home.
Account of earthquake at Presidio of San Francisco, given by Louis Argüello,
Captain of Presidio, to Governor Arrillaga, on the 17th of July, 1808. "I have to report to your excellency that since the 21st of June last to the present date, twenty-one shocks of earthquakes have been felt in this presidio, some of which have been so severe that all the walls of my house have been cracked, owing to the bad construction of the same, one of the ante-chambers being destroyed; and if up to this time no greater damage has been done, it has been for the want of materials to destroy, there being no other habitations. The barracks of the Fort of San Joaquin (the name of the fort at the presidio) have been threatened with entire ruin, and I fear if these shocks continue some unfortunate accident will happen to the troops at the presidio. “God preserve the life of your excellency many years.
“LUIS ARGUELLO. . “SAN FRANCISCO, July 17, 1808."
It could not be said now, if such shocks as these were to come again, that the damage was limited by the “want of material to destroy." I acknowledge a preference for one-story houses, and built of wood.
About this time the Russians were first seen in California. 66 Von Resanoff, chamberlain of the Emperor of Russia, returning from his embassy to Japan, after having inspected, by order of the court of St. Petersburg, the ports, establishments, and trading-houses that the Imperial Russian-American Fur Company possessed, as well on the side of Asia, at Kamsohatka, and in the