« AnteriorContinuar »
of the padres was to introduce a system of semi-slavery destructive to independence and self help, for slavery here, as elsewhere, only retarded the development of thrift and public spirit in the ruling class.
The New Englanders, avoiding as much as possible contact with the natives, had only themselves to depend upon and in the endeavor to wrest a living from the soil in the antagonistic climate of the North Atlantic States developed energy, fortitude, and a certain cunning in making the most of circumstances.
The condition of the Indian under either civilization was deplorable in the
end, although, until the secularization of the missions, the work of the padres in civilizing and christianizing the savages, was the most wonderful missionary success since the time of the Apostles. There are various opinions as to whether the Church's treatment of the Indian was advantageous. If the fact be admitted that the land in the progress of events would be occupied, the Indian conquered, history fails to show a better treatment of the conquered race. When the missions were started, Spain had in view their secularization in ten years, supposing the natives would then be sufficiently civilized to take land and become good
See“ The Decline of the Mission Indians," OVERLAND for December, 1894, and January, 1895.
1 Widow of General Vallejo.-Born Francisca Benicia
the padres erected buildings that took years to complete and were made to last, and devoted themselves to increasing the flocks, herds, groves, vineyards, buildings, and water systems. Despite all their labors they, or rather their Church, could not claim any of the land. It was the idea of the Spanish government that when the Indians had been civilized and christianized they would settle upon as
much of the mission lands as they recitizens. In dealing with the subject the quired for themselves, and would take authorities seemed to forget how long care of. The mission buildings and their is the process of evolution of any of our dependencies alone should belong to the civilized nations from barbarism. The Church of Rome, with enough of the pastoral, agricultural, industrial stages revenues from the sale of mission lands should each be allowed two or more gen- and property to pay a parish priest and erations; to expect to run the whole cost of worship. All remaining property gamut in ten, twenty, or even double was to revert to the government, the those years was utter folly.
padres themselves being expected to lay The term “secularization" in reference down their wealth and authority and pass to the missions is often misunderstood. to new fields of work. The grants given by the Spanish crown The earliest settlers who gathered about for the use of the mission fathers were the missions or founded the pueblos were only temporary bequests, although they generally of the uneducated class. When embraced a chain of the best land from in 1786 Lieutenant José Dario Argiello San Diego to San Francisco, on which was appointed commissioner to confer on Last Mexican Governor of California.
the colonists of the pueblo of Los An
geles full right and title to their lands, he found that not one of the twenty-seven could sign his name. Later, came men of education, cadets of good families of Spain. These, obtaining large grants of land, began the business of stockraising. In the townis the majority of the settlers were old soldiers, the educated class being the officers and their families. There were neither school-masters nor doctors in the country, and in lack of the latter, the people turned to the Indians for remedies. To this day hillside and common are to he native Californian replete with medicinal herbs, unknown to us, the curative properties of which are often wonderful.
In time, trade restrictions were gradually ameliorated, though an enormous tariff still fettered commerce. As soon and housing were given with ever there was
a prospect of market for hearty welcome. In a gentleman's home their products many of the ranchos be- it was customary to leave in the guest came “haciendas,” hundreds of acres chamber a heap of silver coin covered being put under cultivation. In disposi- by a cloth; from this, if the visitor were tion the Californian was kind and jovial. in need, he was expected to supply his He labored little save on horseback, yet, immediate wants. It was considered a properly to attend to his leagues of land disgraceful act for any member of the covered with thousands of cattle and household to count the guest silver. In horses, which were attended by a small 1829 a young American traveling with a army of vaqueros who had to be fed, Spanish party from Monterey to Los sheltered, and supplied with dress and Angeles astonished all by offering money accouterments, required an active life for fruit and other courtesies. A young from the patron, his sons, and major Spanish girl voiced the general feeling domo.
when she exclaimed in contempt, “Los The hospitality of both ranchos and Ingleses pagan por todos,”—The English missions was unbounded. One could pay for every thing. travel the length of the land and no There were neither courts nor juries money asked for, nor would it be received in the land; the word of a Californian if offered; horses were furnished from was the only bond required. Even the one rancho or mission to another; food 1Oldest daughter of Don Juan Bandini.
wary Yankee traders who frequented the nor write, went on board to do some coast, when foreign commerce was finally purchasing, his carts awaiting him on allowed, trusted them freely from one shore. When he hac made his choice season to the next. An incident illus and was about having the goods contrating this trait is told by the Aguirre veyed to land, the supercargo asked him family. Don José Aguirre, who owned for either payment or guaranty. Maa trading vessel, once had as super-cargo chado did not at first understand that he a young man who was a stranger to was being distrusted; no such demand Californian customs. While the ship, had ever before been made of any ranwith cargo, lay in San Pedro harbor, the chero, where the buyer offered no master being absent, Augustin Machado, money he being credited without hesitaa ranchero of considerable wealth in land tion. When at length it dawned upon and herds, but who could neither read the Californian, he drew a hair from his
beard, and gravely handing it to the the señora, no matter how simple her young man, said with dignity, “Deliver domicile. Mr. H. H. Bancroft says, this to Señor Aguirre and tell him it is a It would be difficult to find in any age or hair from the beard of Augustin Ma- place, a community that got more out of life, chado, - you will find it a sufficient with less trouble, wear, and wickedness, than guaranty.” The supercargo, crestfallen,
the inhabitants of pastoral California. placed the hair in the leaves of his ac- Even their commonest dress had a count book and allowed the goods to be holiday air. The bullion-ornamented removed. Upon Aguirre's return he was hats, the gay colors of the jackets and deeply chagrined at the insult that had breeches; over all, when occasion rebeen offered to his friend.
quired, that mantle par excellence, – the The only form of dwelling in early manga. The gowns of the women of the California was the adobe with tiled roof; higher class were of silk or satin in rich they were well calculated to keep out brocades. One señora, who was marwind and heat, and are today in many ried early in the fifties, told me she had respects the most suitable houses for the in her trousseau forty dresses of silk or climate. Fancy can not paint anything satin. Of these gowns, the material of more comfortable and agreeable than a which might last a lifetime, she has but well built, well ventilated adobe, sur- the remnants of two, one of brocaded rounding a court in which are singing satin the other corded silk, either of birds, falling waters, the perfume and which puts to shame the flimsier products bright colors of favorite flowers, while, of today. I asked her what had become to make the dream complete, from the of all her dresses, shawls, and scarfs. gallery that encloses the whole structure, She replied: “My father died, I could should come the sound of a guitar. The only wear black, so I gave them away to musician is dressed in jacket, sash, and my friends. I had always possessed slashed breeches, under his wide som- everything I desired, and had no idea brero a black silk handkerchief tied there would come a time when I should smoothly about his head. Beside him on need to deny myself any article of dress the wooden bench the grave and hand- I fancied." some señoras sit, while on the brick- San Diego was considered the gayest paved floor dances a graceful señorita in town, noted for its entertainments. Only full skirts and bright-hued reboso, her the year after the Church had prohibited, long dark braids falling down her back, under penalty of excommunication, inover one ear a red rose snuggled amid dulgence in that “new and scandalous the short curls, for the benefit of the dance, the waltz,” it was brought into handsome youth in picturesque array, the colony from Europe, by Don Juan her partner in la danza. Music, flowers, Bandini, being first danced in San Diego, the tap, tap ,of little slippers, the jingle of afterward becoming a favorite amusespurs, and perhaps, by good fortune, the ment throughout the territory. The moon furnishing the soft light for the dwellers in Santa Barbara were said to scene, and we have Alta California in take a more serious view of life, the the golden days of old.
mission lending its influence to society, The interiors of the adobes were plainly which was dominated in a great measure furnished, the chief luxury was generally by the powerful family of De la Guerra y found in the bed furnishings, the decora- Noriega. tions of la cama being the pride of Meriendas, or picnics, were a favorite
VOL. xxvi. —2.