Slike strani

they were drawn from a wandering life, collected in villages around the Mission Church, and instructed in the habits and arts of civilized life. To keep them in the practice of their lessons, spiritual and secular, the Father in charge of the Mission had over them the control of a master, and for them, the affection of a parent, and was supported in his authority by the soldiers at the Presidios, or an escort stationed at the Mission itself.

This was the mode of accomplishing what Galvez in his instructions declared to be the first object of the enterprise. And in this manner Father Junipero begun the work at San Diego on the 16th day of July. An untoward incident of a very unusual nature in California, attended this first essay. The Indians not being permitted to steal all the cloth they coveted, surprised the Mission when only four soldiers, the carpenter and blacksmith were present, and Father Junipero would have been murdered then at the outset, but for the muskets, leathern jackets and bucklers, and mainly the valor of the blacksmith. This man had just come from the communion, to which circumstance the Fathers attributed his heroism, and although he wore no defensive armor of skins, he rushed out shouting, vivas for the faith of Jesus Christ and death to the dogs, its enemies, at the same time firing away at the savages.

On the 14th day of July, the Governor Portalá and a servant; Father Juan Crespi and Francisco Gomez; Captain Fernando Rivera y Moncada, the second in command, with a sergeant and twenty-six soldiers of the leathern-jackets; Lieutenant Pedro Fages and seven of his soldiers—the rest had died on the San Carlos or were left sick at San Diego; Don Miguel Constanzo, the Engineer; seven muleteers and fifteen Christian Indians, sixty-five persons in all, with a pack train carrying a large supply of provisions, set out to re-discover Monterey. The mortality on board the San Carlos prevented any attempt at that time by sea; that vessel having to be laid up at San Diego, whilst all the efficient men were transferred to the San Antonio, which was sent back with the news and for reinforcements; and lost nine men before reaching San Blas although she made the voyage in twenty days. Such was nav

igation on this Coast at that time. Portalá returned to San Diego on the 24th of June, six months and ten days after his departure. He had been at the Port of Monterey, stopped there and set up a cross without recognizing the place. Father Crespi, who kept the diary, said he supposed the bay had been filled up, as they found a great many large sand-hills. This disappointment caused Portalá to keep on further towards the north, and at forty leagues distant in that direction they discovered the Port of San Francisco, which they recognized at once by the description they had of it. The Fathers considered this circumstance as providential. They remembered that when Galvez was instructing Father Junipero by what names to call the three Missions he was to found, the Father had asked him :

"But sir, is there to be no Mission for our Father St. Fran"cis?" and that the Visitor-general had replied: "If St. Fran"cis wants a Mission, let him show us his port, and we will put one there." And in view of the discovery, they thought that it was now clear that St. Francis did want a Mission, and had concealed Monterrey from them purposely that they might go and find his Port; and Galvez to some extent may have been of the same opinion, as they say, for he ordered a Mission to be founded there, and a Presidio also, as soon as he received the news. However this may be, a question of more historical interest, or curiosity at least, is whether, notwithstanding that Portalá knew the port from description as soon as he saw it, any other white man ever had seen it before. His latest guide was the voyage of Vizcayno, who had entered the port of San Francisco on the 12th of January 1603, and anchored under a point of land called Punta de Los Reyes, namely in the bight outside the heads and north of point Bonita.

In the port of San Francisco, as known to Vizcayno, the Manila galleon San Augustine had been wrecked a few years before. Did a galleon ever enter our bay? Vizcayno was searching for a port to shelter the Manila trade; if he had seen our harbor would he have ever thought of reccommending Monterey? he was doubtless following the pilot who gave the information of the loss of the San Augustine; if that pilot had

seen this port would not the specific object of Vizcayno have been to find it again, and not generally to explore the coast to look for a good harbor? Had anything been known of it, would it not have been mentioned by Galvez in his first instructions to Villa, in which he is so earnest on the subject of Monterey? Would he have waited for this news to have given the urgent orders that he did, that this important place should be taken possession of immediately, for fear that it might fall into the hands of foreigners? It seems to me certain that Portalá was the discoverer. And I regard it as one of the most remarkable facts in history, that others had passed it, anchored near it and actually given its name to adjacent roadsteads, and so described its position that it was immediately known; and yet that the cloud had never been lifted which concealed the entrance of the Bay of San Francisco, and that it was at last discovered by land.

Although Portalá reported that he could not find the port of Monterey, it was suspected at the time that he had been there. Father Junipero writes that such was his opinion and that of Don Vincente Villa of the San Carlos. In the same letter he mentions another matter, and one which disturbed him greatly. The Governor Portalá finding his provisions very short, determined if a vessel did not arrive with relief, to abandon the Mission on the 20th of March.

But California was saved at the last moment. The San Antonio came in on the 19th and brought such a quantity of provisions, that Portalá set out again by land, and Father Junipero himself embarked on the San Antonio, which had proved herself a good sailer and well commanded, and anchored in the Bay of Monterey, namely, on the 31st day of May, 1770, and found that the expedition by land had arrived eight days before; and we thus see that the journey from San Diego at that time was made quicker by land than by water. Father Junipero writes that he found the lovely port of Monterey the same and unchanged in substance and in circumstance, as the expedition of Sebastian Vizcayno left it in 1603; and that all the officers of sea and land, and all their people assembled in the same glen and under the same oak, where the Fathers of Vizcayno's expedition had

worshipped, and there arranged their altar, hung up and rung their bells, sung the VENI CREATOR, blessed the holy water, set up and blessed the cross and the royal standards, concluding the whole with a Te Deum. And there the name of Christ was again spoken for the first time after an interval of more than one hundred and sixty-seven years of silence. After the religous ceremonies were over, the officers went through the act of taking possession of the country "in the name of our Lord the King."

When this news was received at the city of Mexico it created a profound impression. At the request of the Viceroy the bells of the Cathedral were rung, and those of all the other churches answered; people ran about the streets to tell one another the story, and all the distinguished persons at the capital waited upon the Viceroy, who, in company with Galvez, received their congratulations at the palace; and that not only the inhabitants of the city of Mexico, but also those of all New Spain might participate in the general joy, the Viceroy caused a narrative of the great achievement to be printed; and which, indeed, was circulated throughout Old as well as New Spain. It commences by referring to the costly and repeated expeditions which were made by the crown of Spain during the two preceding centuries to explore the western coast of California and to occupy the important port of Monterey, which now, it says, has been most happily accomplished; and it is jubilant throughout. Nothing of this sort occurred when they heard a short time before of the discovery of the Bay of San Francisco ; and in this authoritative relation it is not even mentioned.

Governor Portalá, with the Engineer Constanzo, very soon returned to Mexico in the good ship San Antonio, and carried themselves the tidings of their success. We may imagine what a description they gave when we remember that they left San Diego about the middle of April, and that at that season the country through which they passed to Monterey was mottled all over with the brightest and most varied colors. They were the first to behold a California spring in all its boundless profusion of flowers. When they were gone there remained only Father Junipero Serra and five priests, and the Lieutenant Pedro Fages and thirty soldiers in all California; for the

Captain, Rivera y Moncada, with nineteen soldiers, the muleteers and vaqueros, was at this time absent too, in Lower California, whither he had gone to bring up a band of two hundred cattle and provisions. It is impossible to imagine anything more lonely and secluded than their situation here, at the time the bells were ringing so joyfully in Mexico, on their account. Very soon, however, they began to get on good terms with the Indians, for Father Junipero was not a man to lose any time in beginning his work. And when they came to understand one another, the Indiaus there, under the pines, told them awful tales about the cross which Portalá had set up the year before when he stopped at Monterey without knowing the place; how when they first saw the whites they noticed that each one carried a shining cross upon his breast; and how they were so terrified when they found the whites had gone and had left that large one standing on the shore that at first they dared not approach it; that at night it shone with dazzling splendor, and would rise and grow until it seemed to reach the skies; and how, seeing nothing of this sort about it in the day time, and that it was only of its proper size, they had at last taken courage and gone up to it, and to make friends with it, had stuck arrows and feathers around it in the earth, and had hung strings of sardines on its arms, as the Spaniards had found on their return. For the truth of this story the prudent Father would not vouch, but they were still willing to regard it as an omen, and to attribute to it their easy success in converting the natives of those parts, as Father Junipero wrote to the Viceroy for his edification and encouragement. Father Junipero soon removed his Mission from Monterey to a more suitable place close by, on the river Carmelo. This was his own Mission, where he always resided when not engaged in founding or visiting other Missions, or in some other duty appertaining to his office of President of the Missions of Upper California. This high office he held for the first fifteen years of the history of California, and until his death, which occurred at his Mission of Carmel on the 28th of August, 1784. His activity and zeal in the conversion and civilization of savages are really wonderful, and scarcely intel

« PrejšnjaNaprej »