The volume is divided into two parts: the first comprising the History of California from its discovery until 1848; the second containing a narrative of events, year by year, that occurred in San Francisco from 1848 to 1854, inclusive, with frequent references to occurrences in other portions of the State.
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Annals of San Francisco
Annals of San Francisco, F. Soulé
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9
Were not the plan, scope and purpose of the present volume sufficiently explained in the text of the work itself, we should despair of adequately initiating the reader in these subjects in the limited space necessarily assigned to a Preface. It is not necessary to offer a reason for the appearance of these " Annals." To read and to know something of the history of this new Tadmor which has grown up so suddenly in the midst of what was but recently merely a desert. A the centre of that vast trade which the golden smile of California opened at once to the world, is so natural and inevitable a desire, that it may be taken for granted, and dismissed as a foregone conclusion. The plan of the work is such as its nature seemed to require, and the style and manner of treatment must rest for approval and criticism with the Public, for whom it was written and to whom it is now submitted.
To avoid the necessity of frequent references in the body of the work to authorities, and to those who have generously extended to the authors facilities for its production, the Preface has been selected as the most fitting place for expressing our obligations. For unrestricted access to the "Californian," the "California Star," and the "Alta California" newspaper files, we are indebted to the courtesy of Mr. Edward Conner, one of the proprietors of the last-named journal. Much valuable statistical and other information has been derived from the "San Francisco Herald," full files of which were kindly placed at our disposal by its editor and proprietor, Mr. John Nugent. The "California Chronicle," from its commencement to the date of publication of this volume, was also placed by the proprietors at our service. We are likewise indebted to Messrs. T. J. Nevins and Wm. H. O'Grady for information respecting the public schools; to Mr. J. L. Van Bokkelin, for important facts concerning the fire department; to Mr. A. G. Randall, for particulars in regard to military organizations; to Rev's T. Dwight Hunt, Albert Williams, J. L. Ver Mehr, S. H. Willey and O. C. Wheeler, for matter relating to the early state of religion and churches in San Francisco; to Messrs. Thomas O. Larkin, William A. Richardson, Jacob P. Leese, Jacob R. Snyder, James Caldwell Low, Hiram Pierson, J. D. Stevenson, Samuel Brannan, R. H. Perry, David Jobson, Samuel J. Bayard, Nathaniel Gray and James King of William, for much useful and interesting information regarding the early and present history of the city; to Mr. J. M. Ford, Daguerreian artist, for gratuitous services in taking portraits of many of the gentlemen whose memoirs are given; and to our citizens generally who have freely responded to our call for information, whenever they have been appealed to for that purpose. Many biographical sketches designed for this work have been omitted for want of room, the volume having extended to nearly double the size originally intended and promised. These, however, with other interesting matters connected with the progress of San Francisco, and a history of all the important cities and towns of California, will be published at an early day, in another volume, a great portion of the material for which is already prepared.
The necessity of condensing within the reasonable space of a single volume, the history of a city which has occupied for the five or six years of its existence so much of the attention of the world, and the unavoidable collateral history of California, has prevented, to some extent, a natural impulse and inclination to indulge more at length in many interesting details. But it is believed that the gist of the whole matter is embraced in the history as written, and that no important event has been omitted, which would have been of interest to the general reader.
It appears expedient, before entering upon the annals of San Francisco proper, to give a short review of the first discovery, settlement, and progress of California itself, including an account of the aboriginal inhabitants, and of the first establishment, rise, and decline of the priest class, their sovereigns, whose domination forms a most peculiar and interesting phase in the general history of the country. The subject indeed comprehends, or naturally demands, some notice of these points; for, up to a recent period, San Francisco, from its being the "golden gate" to the wealth of the State, and from its many physical advantages, its population, the rapidity and grandeur of its wondrous rise and progress, the energy of its citizens, the extent of its home and foreign commerce, its universal fame, arising chiefly from its being associated in the minds of men, Americans as well as foreigners, with the first discovery and subsequent astonishing produce of gold—San Francisco, from these and other causes, has been in a great measure identified with California itself. No history, therefore, of the city, could be complete, unless it included some account of the circumstances which preceded and immediately accompanied its rise, and which have made it what it almost already is, but which it will more plainly soon become, the greatest and most magnificent, wealthy and powerful maritime city in the Pacific—a city which is destined, one day, to be, in riches, grandeur and influence, like Tyre or Carthage of the olden time, or like Liverpool or New York of modern days.
We propose to embody in a succinct and continuous narrative, the subjects already particularly noticed—a general account of the causes, progress, and consequences of the war of 1846, between the Mexican and American States—the cession of California to the latter—the first discovery of gold, and the immediate results of that discovery upon the prosperity and population of the country—its admission as a State into the American Union—and a description of its physical geography, and of its commercial, agricultural, pastoral, and mineral wealth, and capabilities to receive and satisfy millions of additional inhabitants. These matters will form Part First of the work.
We shall afterwards, at somewhat greater length, describe, in a similar continuous narrative, the progress and the various incidents which happened, year by year, and month by month, in San Francisco itself, from the period when California was ceded by the Mexicans, and State and town became American, up to the present time, and which, properly speaking, alone constitute the "Annals" of the city. This subject will constitute Part Second.
In the subsequent portion of the volume, we shall devote special chapters, in no particular order, to the more minute details of whatever things were most peculiar and interesting—physical and intellectual, social and moral, and their causes and consequences—which marked the progress of the city, and gave it a world-wide reputation for good or for evil. In this division of the work will be included biographical and personal sketches, and anecdotes of the more prominent and distinguished actors in the bustling scenes of the time, and whose names are closely associated either with the general history of California, or with the particular rise and progress of San Francisco itself. These topics will be comprehended in and constitute Part Third.
The remembrance of these matters is still fresh in the minds of our people; but, in the silent lapse of years, many of them must gradually fade away. It would then be well, that after the present generation disappears, our posterity should know something of the early history and triumphant progress of their glorious city, and of its worthiest or most noted sons, and the exciting, troublous scenes of the last seven or eight years, all drawn from the fullest and most accurate sources that are still to be had.
We propose then to make this book an original record of the subjects alluded to.
The etymology of the name California is uncertain. Some writers have pretended that it is derived from the two Latin words calulafornax, or, in the Spanish language, caliente fornalla —a hot furnace. This, however, is doubted by Michael Venegas, a Mexican Jesuit, in his " Natural and Civil History of California" (2 vols. Madrid, 1758), a work of much research and high authority. In his opinion, the early Spanish discoverers did not name their new-found lands in this pedantic fashion. "I am therefore inclined to think," he says, "that this name owed its origin to some accident; possibly to some words spoken by the Indians, and misunderstood by the Spaniards," as happened in several other cases.
The name California is first found in Bernal Diaz del Castillo, an officer who served under Hernando Cortez, in the conquest of Mexico, and who published a history of that extraordinary expedition; and is by him limited to a single bay on the coast. On the other hand, Jean Bleau, the celebrated geographer (Amsterdam, 1662), includes under the term all those immense tracks of country lying west of New Spain and New Galicia, comprehending the whole coast line from the northern parts of South America to the Straits of Anian (Behring's Straits). In this larger sense of the word, Jean Bleau is followed by several other geographers.
However, whatever be the limits of the country, the name has occasionally changed. In some English maps it is called New Albion, because Sir Francis Drake, the well-known English admiral, who touched on the coast in 1579, so styled it. About a century later, it is denominated Islas Carolinas (the peninsula of California being then supposed to be an island), in honor of Charles II. of Spain; and this designation was adopted by several writers and geographers of repute. After a time, the original name of California was revived, and soon silently and universally adopted.
California—meaning the existing Lower, or Old California, was known to be a peninsula so early as 1541, when a map drawn up at Madrid, by Castillo, already mentioned, represents the direction of the coasts nearly as they are known at present. Yet this fact was unaccountably forgotten for one hundred and sixty years, when Father Kühn (Kino, of the Spaniards) seemed, for the first time, to prove that California was not an island, but a peninsula. In the early part of the sixteenth century, dreams of a direct western opening to the lndias filled men's minds, as later did those of a north-west passage. This was the first idea of Columbus, which led to his great discoveries, and which he held till death. In 1523, Charles V., in a letter, dated from Valladolid, recommended to Cortez to seek on the eastern and western coasts of New Spain, for such a passage. Cortez, in his answer to the emperor, speaks with the greatest enthusiasm of the probability of such a discovery, "which," he adds, "will render your majesty master of so many kingdoms that you will be considered as the monarch of the world" and seems to have undertaken several voyages for the purpose of ascertaining the fact.
In 1534, Cortez fitted out two ships under the command of Hernando Grixalva and Diego Becerra de Mendoza, a relation of his own, partly to learn the fate of a missing vessel of a previous expedition, but chiefly to continue the coast discoveries. These two ships happened to separate the first night following their departure from Tehuantepec, and did not meet again. Grixalva, after sailing three hundred leagues, came to a desert island, which he called Santa Thome, believed to lie near the point of California. This is supposed to be one of the group of islands now called the Revillagigedo Islands. He proceeded no farther north, and made no fresh discoveries; but shortly afterwards returned to New Spain. Becerra, the commander of the other ship of this expedition, was of a choleric, haughty disposition; and, having shown that offensively to his people, was murdered by a malcontent crew, led on by his pilot Ortun, or Fortuño Zimenes, a native of Biscay.
Zimenes afterwards continued the voyage of discovery, and appears to have sailed westward across the gulf, and to have touched the peninsula of California. This was in the year 1534.
He therefore was the first discoverer of the country. "But," says Venegas, "he could not fly from the hand of Omnipotence; for coming to that part which has since been called Santa Cruz Bay, and seems to be part of the inward coast of California, he went ashore, and was there killed by the Indians, with twenty other Spaniards." Upon this disaster, the remaining crew got frightened, and returned to New Spain. This Bay of Santa Cruz, so named by Cortez the following year, seems to be the same as that now called La Paz, lying on the western side of the Gulf of California, about a hundred miles north of Cape St. Lucas. Some writers, however, suppose it to have been situated much nearer the southern extremity of the peninsula.
Humboldt, in his "Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain," in stating these circumstances, mentions in a note, that he found in a manuscript preserved in the archives of the viceroyalty of Mexico, that California was discovered in 1526, though he knew not, he says, on what authority this assertion was founded.
From an examination which he seems to have made of other manuscripts of the period, preserved in the Academy of History at Madrid, Humboldt seems satisfied that this alleged discovery of California in 1526 was unfounded, and that the country had not even been seen in the expedition of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, who was a near relation of Cortez, so late as 1532.
In 1535, Cortez himself coasted both sides of the Gulf of California, which was first called the Sea of Cortez, but was more generally known as the Mar Roxo, ò Vermejo, (the Red, or Vermillion Sea), probably from its resembling the Red Sea between Arabia and Egypt in shape, or from the discoloration of its waters at the northern extremity by the Rio Colorado, or Red River. Gomara, the Spanish historian, in 1557, likened it more judiciously to the Adriatic. In the English maps, it is generally marked as the Gulf of California. Francisco de Ulloa, at command and likewise at the personal expense of Cortez, prosecuted farther discoveries along the coast, and during the subsequent two years, succeeded in exploring the gulf nearly to the mouth of the Colorado. Neither Cortez, however, nor Ulloa seems to have discovered the coast of New or Upper California.
That honor was reserved to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, one of the pilots of Cortez. Cabrillo was a Portuguese by birth, and a man of great courage and honor. On the 27th June 1542, under instructions from the then viceroy of Spain, Antonio de Mendoza, he sailed from the port of Navidad in Mexico, on an expedition of discovery of the coast towards the north. He touched at various places on the voyage. The large cape between the fortieth and forty-first degrees of latitude he named Cape Mendoza, or Mendocino, in honor of the viceroy. Cabrillo reached 44° lat. N., where he found the cold (10th March) intense.
This, the want of provisions, and the bad condition of his ships, compelled him to return to Navidad, the harbor of which place he re-entered on 14th April 1543. This is according to the authority of Venegas. Other accounts say that Cabrillo, who had been long sick, and was overcome at last by the fatigues of the voyage, died at Port Possession, in the Island of San Bernardo, one of the Santa Barbara group, about the thirty-fourth parallel, upon the 3rd January 1543, leaving the subsequent guidance of the expedition farther northwards to Barlolome Ferrelo, his pilot. Ferrelo is said to have named a promontory about the forty-first degree of latitude, Cabo de Fortunas (Cape of Perils, or Stormy Cape), from the rough weather and dangers encountered in its vicinity. This promontory is supposed to be the same, already noticed, which was called Cape Mendocino. There is therefore some discrepancy between the accounts of the voyage under the command of Cabrillo, or successively of him and his pilot Ferrelo. Neither of these navigators, however, while they noticed and named various prominent points of the coast, seem to have discovered the entrance to the great Bay of San Francisco.
In 1577, Sir Francis, then only Captain Drake, already distinguished as an experienced navigator, fitted out, with the pecuniary aid of some friends, a buccaneering expedition against the Spaniards, which ultimately led him round the globe. In those days, and for a long time afterwards, the rich Spanish ships, which bore over so many seas the wealth of their new-found world, were the natural prey of the English buccaneers—or, to give them a more honorable title, since they generally sailed under formal license from the government, of the English privateers. Drake, Cavendish, Dumpier, and many other famous early navigators, were all of that class. The wealth of the Philippines was generally conveyed by a single annual galleon from Manilla to Acapulco, on its way to Europe. To intercept this particular ship was one great aim of these privateers. Drake, in his expedition of 1577, after safely threading the Straits of Magellan, reached, at length, the Pacific, north of the equator, and appears, in 1579, to have sailed along the shores of California. All along the west coast of the Americas he had been capturing and plundering the newly settled Spanish towns, and such ships as came in his way. Wishing at length to return home, and afraid lest the Spaniards might be waiting to catch him off the Straits of Magellan, he tried to sail westward, and so reach England by the Cape of Good Hope. This was in the autumn of 1579. Contrary winds preventing that course, "he was obliged," to use the language of an old chronicler of the voyage, "to sail towards the north; in which course, having continued at least six hundred leagues, and being got into forty-three degrees north latitude, they found it intolerably cold; upon which they steered southwards, till they got into thirty-eight degrees north latitude, where they discovered a country, which, from its white cliffs they called Nova Albion, though it is now known by the name of California.
"They here discovered a bay, which entering with a favorable gale, they found several huts by the water side, well defended from the severity of the weather. Going on shore, they found a fire in the middle of each house, and the people lying round it upon rushes. The men go quite naked, but the women have a deer skin over their shoulders, and round their waist a covering of bulrushes after the manner of hemp.
"These people bringing the admiral (Drake) a present of feathers and cauls of network, he entertained them so kindly and generously, that they were extremely pleased, and soon afterwards they sent him a present of feathers and bags of tobacco.
A number of them coming to deliver it, gathered themselves together at the top of a small hill, from the highest point of which one of them harangued the admiral, whose tent was placed at the bottom. When the speech was ended, they laid down their arms and came down, offering their presents; at the same time returning what the admiral had given them. The women remaining on the hill, tearing their hair and making dreadful howlings, the admiral supposed them engaged in making sacrifices, and thereupon ordered divine service to be performed at his tent, at which these people attended with astonishment.
"The arrival of the English in California being soon known through the country, two persons in the character of ambassadors came to the admiral, and informed him, in the best manner they were able, that the king would visit him, if he might be assured of coming in safety. Being satisfied on this point, a numerous company soon appeared, in front of which was a very comely person, bearing a kind of scepter, on which hung two crowns, and three chains of great length. The chains were of bones, and the crowns of network, curiously wrought with feathers of many colors.
"Next to the scepter-bearer came the king, a handsome majestic person, surrounded by a number of tall men, dressed in skins, who were followed by the common people, who, to make the grander appearance, had painted their faces of various colors, and all of them, even the children, being loaded with presents.
"The men being drawn up in line of battle, the admiral stood ready to receive the king within the fences of his tent.
The company having halted at a distance, the scepter-bearer made a speech, half an hour long, at the end of which he began singing and dancing, in which he was followed by the king and all the people; who, continuing to sing and dance, came quite up to the tent; when sitting down, the king took off his crown of feathers, placed it on the admiral's head, and put on him the other ensigns of royalty; and it is said that he made him a solemn tender of his whole kingdom; all which the admiral accepted in the name of the queen his sovereign, in hopes that these proceedings might, one time or other, contribute to the advantage of England.
"The common people, dispersing themselves among the admiral's tents, professed the utmost admiration and esteem for the English, whom they considered as more than mortal; and accordingly prepared to offer sacrifices to them, which the English rejected with abhorrence, directing them, by signs, that their religious worship was alone due to the Supreme Maker and Preserver of all things.
"The admiral and some of his people, travelling to a distance in the country, saw such a quantity of rabbits, that it appeared an entire warren; they also saw deer in such plenty as to run a thousand in a herd. The earth of the country seemed to PROMISE RICH VEINS OF GOLD AND SILVER, SOME OF THE WORK BEING CONSTANTLY FOUND ON DIGGING.
"The admiral, at his departure, set up a pillar with a large plate on it, on which was engraved her majesty's name, picture, arms, and title to the country; together with the admiral's name, and the time of his arrival there."
This is a curious and interesting picture of the aborigines of California. From the description of their naked bodies and painted faces, their howlings, singing and dancing, the girdles of bulrushes of the women, and the "kind of scepter, on which hung" the chains of bone and the crowns of network "curiously wrought with feathers of many colors," of the king, it may be presumed that the people were in the rudest state of barbarism.
Though the earth seemed streaked with gold, or, as Pinkerton says in his description of Drake's voyage, "the land is so rich in gold and silver, that upon the slightest turning it up with a spade or pick-axe, these rich metals plainly appear mixed with the mold," yet the natives do not appear to have worn any ornaments made of these metals, which has usually been the case with other savages when they had access to them. The beauty and purity of the metals named, especially of gold, and the ease of working in them, naturally render them precious in the eyes of the most barbarous tribes. Unless, therefore, we suppose the Indians to have been the most stupid and helpless people existing, it may be reasonably doubted whether so extensive indications of gold and silver were found as the broad statements of the chroniclers seem to imply. Certainly, however, the traces of the precious metals discovered by Drake were the first authentic intimation of the mineral wealth of the country.
There is no reason to suppose that Drake knew of the previous discovery of the country by the Spaniards; and accordingly, long afterwards, and even with people to this day, it has been believed that he was the first discoverer of California. Queen Elizabeth afterwards knighted him for his services in this and previous expeditions, "telling him, at the same time," in the words of the writer of his voyages already quoted, "that his actions did him more honor than his title." The queen, however, took no steps to secure the country which her admiral had discovered: and the "pillar, with a large plate on it," and all its rusted engravings, may peradventure be yet some day discovered by the antiquary.
In popular estimation the bay which Drake entered is believed to be that of San Francisco; while many who might have had opportunities to examine into the subject have hastily concluded that it must have been Bodega Bay. There is, however, another bay not far from these, and lying between them, known formerly under the very name of Sir Francis Drake's Bay, though better now as Jack's Harbor. This, on a careful examination of the subject, seems to have been the true and only bay which Drake ever visited on the coast. There is a sad confusion, even among recent writers and geographers, as to the names and relative positions of these bays. Most of them seem to think that Bodega and Drake's Bays are the same. Thus Humboldt says, "This port (San Francisco) is frequently confounded by geographers with the Port of Drake farther north, under the 38° 10,' of latitude, called by the Spaniards the Puerto de Bodega." The latitude of Jack's Harbor, or Drake's Bay, is 37° 59' 5" (longitude 122° 57'), thus corresponding exactly with the statement of the chronicler; while San Francisco and Bodega Bays are a good many miles to the south and north respectively of the parallel named by him. If Drake had really entered San Francisco Bay, it is more than likely that he, or his chronicler, would have said something more of its peculiarities—its unusual excellence, and the great arms which it stretches both to south and north. In the English maps, constructed after Drake's voyage, there is a bay laid down bearing his name; although, owing to the general ignorance of the coast and the confusion in regard to particular bays alluded to, this bay has been often held to be the same as that of Bodega. There is, therefore, every probability that the Bay of San Francisco had never been seen at all by either the Spanish or the English navigators (for there were others of the latter nation after Drake along the California coast), but that, in reality, it was discovered by travelers on land, and most probably first by the missionaries in 1769. It may also be remarked in corroboration of these opinions, that the white cliffs and the abundance of rabbits seen by Drake, closely correspond to the present description of Punta de los Reyes(Cape of Kings), and the country around Jack's Harbor. The cliffs about this part of the coast, for a space of nearly forty miles, resemble in height and color, those of Great Britain in the English Channel, at Brighton and Dover. Hence the propriety of the old designation of the country, New Albion. We give an illustration of these cliffs and of Drake's Bay. This bay has somehow grown out of most people's remembrance, or at least their appreciation, since it is a very safe and most important port of refuge along a foggy and dangerous coast. A number of fishing vessels have made use of it during the last few years, and it was their crews who dubbed it Jack's Harbor, in ignorance of its previous name. It is likely that public attention will be called to its peculiar advantages before long. We think, however, that no new name should be allowed to supersede the historical one of "Sir Francis Drake's Bay." It would be a pity not to preserve some such remembrance of one of the greatest and earliest navigators along our coasts.
On the 14th of October 1587, Captain Thomas Cavendish, afterwards knighted by Queen Elizabeth, when in a privateering expedition against the Spaniards, fell in with Cape St. Lucas, at the extremity of California. A fine bay, named by the Spaniards Aguada Seyura, is within this cape, and there Cavendish lay in wait for the Acapulco galleon, laden with the wealth of the Philippines. At length she appeared, and after a severe fight, was taken possession of by the English admiral. "This prize," says the relator of the voyage, "contained one hundred and twenty-two thousand pezoes of gold, besides great quantities of rich silks, satins, damask and musk, and a good stock of provisions." Pretty fair all that for an English adventurer! In those days, piracy was honorable, and legalized by formal license, though the spoil was only gold and silver and light moveable goods—booty of the common robber. After all, the old buccaneers were poor grovelling souls. In our own times, pirates—called "filibusters,"whose business is notoriously unlawful, have much grander views of glory and profit. Cuba and Sonora, which are countries equal to Italy of the old world in beauty, fertility and real wealth, are certainly prizes worth stealing and fighting for—the rewards of Alexanders, Caesars and Bonapartes. But then, principles of action being nearly the same, "Young America" is very much smarter than " Old England."
The next Englishman who is specially recorded to have touched the California coast is Captain VVoodes Rogers, who was in command of the usual filibustering or privateering expeditions. This was in November 1709. He describes the aborigines of the peninsula as being " quite naked, and strangers to the European manner of trafficking. They lived in huts made of boughs and leaves, erected in the form of bowers, with a fire before the door, round which they lay and slept. The men were quite naked, and the women had only a short petticoat reaching scarcely to the knee, made of silk grass, or the skins of pelicans or deers. Some of them wore pearls about their necks, which they fastened with e string of silk grass, having first notched them round: and Captain Rogers imagined that they did not know how to bore them. These pearls were mixed with sticks, bits of shells and little red berries, which they thought so great an ornament that they would not accept of glass beads of various colors, which the English would have given them. The men are straight and well built, having long black hair, and are of a dark brown complexion.
They live by hunting and fishing. They use bows and arrows, and are excellent marksmen. The women, whose features are rather disagreeable, are employed in making fishing lines, or in gathering grain (doubtless what grew spontaneously), which they grind upon a stone. The people were willing to assist the English in filling water, and would supply them with whatever they could get; they were a very honest people, and would not take the least thing without permission." This description, and that already given from Drake's voyage, make up a pretty complete picture of the aborigines of the Californias. They appear to have been a simple, honest, good-natured, stupid race of people, and, in most respects, resemble the savages which we find in other newly discovered countries.
Captain Rogers was, of course, lying in ambush for the "great Manilla ship;" and, in due course of time, she appeared and was captured. "The prize was called Nuestra Senorade la Incarnation, commanded by Sir John Pichberty, a gallant Frenchman; and the prisoners said that the cargo in India amounted to two millions of dollars. She carried one hundred and ninety-three men, and mounted twenty guns."
As illustrating the career of these English buccaneers, and the state of terror in which the Spaniards were constantly kept by their depredations, and which was one of the chief causes that induced the Spanish Government, as we shall afterwards see, strenuously to prosecute farther discoveries and settlements along the coast of California, we shall give a copy of a deed, or instrument, executed between the said Captain Rogers and the town of Guiaquil. The exploits of Rogers and his men are indeed much later in date than some of the expeditions yet to be noticed, of the Spanish navigators along the California coast; still, as they forcibly explain one reason, at least, why such expeditions were undertaken on the part of the Spaniards, it appears better to notice them here than in mere chronological order. The notices of the voyages of Drake, Cavendish and Rogers, are taken from accounts contained in an old folio volume of voyages and travels, kindly placed at our disposal by the "Society of California Pioneers."
The "high contracting parties" entered into the following agreement:
"Contract for the Ransom of the Town of Guyaquil"
"Whereas the City of Guayaquil, lately in subjection to Philip V., King of Spain, is now taken by storm, and in possession of the Captains Thomas Dover, Woodes Rogers, and Stephen Courtney,"—[the expedition, fitted out at the cost of some "British gentlemen," consisted of the Duke, a ship of three hundred tons burthen, thirty guns and one hundred and seventy men, commanded by Rogers, and the Duchess, of two hundred and seventy tons, twenty-six guns, and one hundred and fifty-one men, under the command of Courtney]— " commanding a body of her Majesty of Great Britain's subjects; we, the underwritten, are content to become hostages for the said city, and to continue in the custody of the said Captains Thomas Dover, Woodes Rogers and Stephen Courtney, till thirty thousand pieces of gold should be paid to them for the ransom of the said city, two new ships., and six barks; during which time no hostility is to be committed on either side, between this and Puna: the said sum to be paid at Puna, within six days from the date hereof; and then the hostages to be discharged, and all the prisoners to be delivered immediately; otherwise the said hostages do agree to remain prisoners till the said sum is discharged in any other part of the world.
In Witness Whereof,
We have voluntarily set our hands, this twenty-seventh day of April, old stile, in the year of our Lord, 1709."
This ransom seems to have been punctually paid, and the hostages faithfully liberated. However, Captains Thomas Dover, Woodes Rogers and Stephen Courtney appear, in addition, to have plundered the town pretty thoroughly.
We shall now return to the progress of the Spaniards in discovering and settling the coast of California: —In 1596 Gaspar de Zuniga, Count de Monterey, then viceroy of Mexico, received an order from Philip II, to make farther discoveries and settlements on the coast of California. The visit of Drake, and his naming and claiming the country as first discoverer, for Queen Elizabeth, had struck the inhabitants of the coast lower down with consternation; and already Englishmen, particularly the famous Thomas Cavendish, and others, had fortified themselves on the coast, and molested the rich Spanish ships which yearly sailed between the Philippine Islands and New Spain, and which generally made the coast of California about Cape Mendocino.
At that period, there was much talk of a north-east passage from the Pacific to the old world by the Straits of Anian (Behring's Straits), and the Spanish Government in Europe was considerably alarmed lest the English should, by that probable route, strike a deadly blow at their unprotected colonies on the west coast of the Americas. An expedition to make fresh discoveries was accordingly undertaken, and put under the command of General Sebastian Viscaino, a man of great and tried abilities.
Viscaino accordingly sailed from Acapulco, but does not appear to have proceeded far northwards; for, in the same year (1596), we find him returned to New Spain. Want of provisions and unfortunate disputes with the Indians, produced this speedy result. The Spanish Government, however, was keeping the matter in view. In 1599, another order was dispatched from Europe to Count Monterey to fit out a new expedition for the purposes already mentioned. This again was placed under the command of General Viscaino. In May 1602, Viscaino, in pursuance of his instructions, sailed from Acapulco, and proceeded northwards till he reached the forty-second degree of latitude.
Up to the twenty-sixth parallel, he appears to have surveyed the coast minutely; but between that degree and the most northern limits of his voyage, he seems to have been satisfied with merely keeping the land in sight. He discovered the ports of San Diego and Monterey, which latter was be named in honor of the viceroy.
Still not a word of San Francisco Bay. Indeed, it is quite evident that up to this period that great harbor had escaped the observation of all the navigators who had attempted to explore the coast. Viscaino, excited by his imperfect discoveries, and full of hope of making more important ones on a fresh expedition, solicited the viceroy for permission to pursue it at his own expense; but the viceroy referred him to the Court at Madrid, who seemed to have taken the business into their own hands. Viscaino therefore visited Spain, and pressed his suit, but in vain. At last, in 1606, after Viscaino, wearied and sick at heart with "hope deferred," had retired, moody and discontented, to Mexico, another ordinance was issued by Philip, commanding a fresh expedition of discovery and settlement to be undertaken. The conduct of this was bestowed upon Viscaino, who accepted the charge with alacrity; but before any progress was made in the matter, he was seized with a fatal distemper.
After his death, nothing was done or said about the expedition.
Various attempts on a moderate scale, partly by adventurers at their own cost, and partly under royal ordinances, were subsequently made to prosecute the survey and settlement of the coast.
In 1615, in 1633 and 1634, in 1640, 1642, 1648, 1665, and 1668, several fruitless efforts were made for these purposes. In the interval, the public mind was filled with magnificent views of the wealth of the scarcely discovered country. It was known that pearls, of great beauty and value, were found at various places in the gulf and along the coast. Perhaps also the glowing statements made by Sir Francis Drake of the golden sands and other mineral riches which he saw there, helped to fire the imaginations of the Spaniards. Omne ignotum pro magnifico. California was long viewed as the Dorado of New Spain; and was believed not merely to be abounding in pearls and gold and silver, but also in diamonds, and all manner of other precious metals and gems. Our own days have justified these sparkling fancies, though scarcely perhaps in the exact manner and localities of which the old Spaniards dreamed.
In 1677, instructions were, after long and mature deliberation, sent by the Court at Madrid to Don Francis Payo Enriquez de Rivera, archbishop of Mexico, and viceroy of New Spain, to undertake afresh the survey, conquest and settlement of California; and that Admiral Pinadero, who had previously carried on some private expeditions for the same end, at his own cost, should be employed in the affair;—that, if he declined, the business should be offered to, and managed by others, also at their expense, under certain specified conditions;—but that, if no volunteer came forward, the undertaking should be conducted at the cost of the Crown. The enterprise fell to Admiral Don Isidro Otondo and Antillion, who signed an instrument for that purpose, in December 1678, which was approved of at Madrid on 29th December 1679. By this deed, the spiritual government was conferred on the Jesuits and Father Eusebio Francisco Kuhn, —a German by birth, called by the Spaniards Kino, and who was a distinguished member of the Society of Jesus. This seems the origin of the connection of the Jesuits and priest class with California. Ondo and his Jesuits put to sea from Chapala, in May 1683, and sailed up the gulf. During two years, the admiral and his missionary priests, who had meanwhile learned the native languages, met with various success among the Indians of the peninsula, many of whom they succeeded in converting to Christianity. However, they occasionally found rebellious tribes; and on the whole, were unable to make any serious impression on their minds, or to establish any permanent settlement of importance.
This was caused indeed more by the natural barrenness of the country, and the difficulty and expense of supporting existence there, than by the vicious habits of the natives, who are described as a simple, inoffensive and feeble race, more prone to consider their white visitors as absolute deities on earth than as invaders of their territorial rights.
The Spanish Court, which appears to have been drawn into a large expenditure by this expedition, and by another, which immediately followed, conducted by the same parties, soon got tired of the subject, and judged the conquest and settlement of the country to be impracticable. They declined, therefore, to prosecute the undertaking farther; but knowing the political importance of having it somehow accomplished, they recommended the Society of Jesus to finish it, and offered that body large annual subsidies from the royal treasury in aid. The Society, after discussing the "estimates" of Admiral Otondo and Father Kino, and their own " ways and means," respectfully rejected the royal proposal; and thus a measure which had been agitated for nearly two hundred years, and of which all admitted the political importance, while the personal and pecuniary reward of success was believed to be immense, was abruptly brought to a close. So doubtful, expensive and dangerous did the undertaking appear, that the Crown refused the petition of Captain Francisco Luzenilla to attempt it at his own expense. In the year 1694, indeed, a royal license was granted to Captain Francisco Itamarra for making a descent at his own risk and charges; but he had no better success than his predecessors.
The missionaries, who had accompanied the expeditions of Admiral Otondo, were now drafted to different places elsewhere, although many of them deeply regretted that the rich harvest of heathenism should be so suddenly and unexpectedly abandoned, just when the sickle was sharpened and the laborers were in the field. They had labored with great industry to accomplish an object toward which they looked forward with anxious hopes, which they now saw would never be realized.
They thought that their Indian conversions would, sooner or later, have extended over the whole tribes in California, had they been enabled to retain settlements there; while it was more than probable that their new converts would relapse into their old idolatry on the departure of their spiritual teachers.
Without detailing, therefore, the various steps taken by the Fathers to preserve and advance their spiritual ascendency in California, it may be sufficient to say, that Father Kino, who had these conversions much at heart, met with Father Salva-Tierra, a man, like himself, of great enthusiasm for the Catholic faith, and of untiring courage, and much benevolence and sweetness of disposition. These two men, —particularly the latter, who had chosen St. Francis Xavier as his model, —were the true apostles of California. Somewhat later, Fathers Francisco Maria Piccolo and Juan Ugarte associated themselves with these pioneers of Christianity and civilization. Their biographies would make an indispensable and most interesting chapter in the early history of Lower California, but are out of place in this short summary of the progress of discovery and gradual settlement of the general country. It is sufficient to observe that their pious zeal urged them on against every obstacle—the unwillingness of their own Society of Jesus—the indifference of the Court, when it had to advance the whole funds—the delays of officials—the poverty of their own means, and the fewness of their coadjutors. At last, the eloquence and pertinacity of Father Salva-Tierra kindled some life among the superiors of their order and in a few wealthy laymen. The last assisted the Society by large donations; and soon subscriptions began to pour in from the general public, to promote the pious work of conquering California to Christianity.
A crusade—peaceful, if the devil got frightened and retired from the contest; but warlike, if need were—was proclaimed; and all were invited to support the scheme by pecuniary means, while the Spanish Government supplied the necessary soldiers to protect the Fathers, and execute their decrees and those of heaven. It was all, in terms of the motto and ruling spirit of the Society, ad majorem Dei gloriam; and great indeed would be the reward in heaven of the patrons of the business. After many hardships, and a slow, painful progress, the Jesuit missionaries succeeded in planting various missions over the whole peninsula. Aided by subscriptions from the pious, and donations from the Crown, they were enabled to give the simple Indians daily food and a scanty raiment, and soon, with unwearied patience, converted them into excellent and faithful servants and devout Christians. They had no more sense than mere children, and they were accordingly treated as such. Like children, they were always believing and obedient. Ignorant and helpless, they were slaves, both in body and mind, and knew no will but that of their spiritual and temporal lords.
Father Salva-Tierra, in 1705, was chosen provincial of his Order in Mexico, and thus absolutely governed the country both in spiritual and temporal things. It was in 1700 and 1701, by some accounts, and in 1709 by others, that, in the course of several journeys undertaken for the purpose, Father Kino discovered that California was united with the main land. We have seen that this fact was known as early as 1541, where it appears a peninsula in the map of Castillo; but somehow the circumstance had been unaccountably forgotten, and the contrary was almost universally believed.
In 1767, the Fathers lost the missions, in consequence of an ordinance issued by Charles III, for the instant and general expulsion of the Jesuits from all the Spanish dominions. This stringent decree was immediately obeyed in the Mexican provinces, where the Jesuits were arrested without delay, and hundreds of them shipped off to Europe. They were succeeded in California by a body of Franciscan Friars from Mexico; but these in turn were soon superseded by the Dominican Monks, who still retain possession of the country.
The population of Lower California was never great, and towards the end of last century was rapidly diminishing. Humboldt, in his " Political Essay on New Spain," estimates that the population, in 1803, did not exceed nine thousand of all races, — somewhat more than the half of which number consisting of the domesticated converts of the Fathers. The missions had then been reduced to sixteen. Mr. Alexander Forbes, in his " History of Upper and Lower California" (London, 1839), estimates the total population, in 1835, not to exceed fourteen or fifteen thousand. Compared with New California, the old country of that name is a dry and barren land—with a serene and beautiful sky, indeed, but with a rocky, or sandy and arid soil, where rains seldom fall, and vegetation is consequently of little account. Such a country could never become very populous, either in a savage or a civilized state.
Still later than Old California, and upwards of two hundred years after its first discovery, New or Upper California, was first settled. The Spanish Court, afraid, as of old, lest some of the other maritime nations of Europe should settle on the north-west coasts of America, and induced by other political reasons, alluded to in the previous chapters, sent instructions to the Marquis de Croix, then viceroy of New Spain, to found missions, and presidios for their military protection, in the ports of San Diego and Monterey, and at various other parts of the country. This was accordingly done, with the aid of the church, in 1769, and following years; and immediately, in gratitude or in terms of special agreement, both the spiritual and temporal government of the country were put under the control of certain monks of the Order of St. Francis, two being placed at the head of each mission established. Presidios, in addition to those at San Diego and Monterey, were subsequently formed at Santa Barbara and San Francisco. Father Junipero Serra, —a man of the Salva-Tierra and Kino stamp, —was the first presiding missionary; and under his immediate auspices the mission of San Diego was founded in 1769, being the earliest.
Without dwelling on the successive establishment of the other missions, let us say a few words upon that of San Francisco.
The missionaries, in proceeding northwards, with the intention of reaching Monterey, happened to take the eastern side of the range of mountains which borders the coast north of San Diego, which place they had just left, after establishing its mission.
They undesignedly passed by Monterey, and journeyed on till they reached the magnificent bay and harbor which are now called San Francisco; and which are said to be so named from the following circumstance: —Father Junipero, on leaving Lower California, had received instructions from the visitador, or inspector general of the Spanish Government, respecting the names of the proposed missions, and the saints carefully selected from the calendar, to whose special patronage they should be entrusted; but among them the name of St. Francis did not happen to occur.
"What!" exclaimed the good missionary, surprised and shocked at such an insulting neglect, "is not our own dear Father, St. Francis, to have a mission assigned to him?" To this remonstrance, the visitador calmly replied, "If Saint Francis wish a mission, let him show you a good port, and then it will bear his name." When accordingly the missionaries, in their progress northwards, discovered the spacious bay mentioned, they cried out, "This then is the port to which the visitador referred, and to which the saint has led us—blessed be his name!" And forthwith they naiued.it San Francisco Bay, in compliment to their patron and guide. They next set up the usual cross, took formal possession, and returned to San Diego, where they arrived on the 24th January 1770. From anything that can be certainly learned of the proceedings of previous travelers and voyagers, this seems the true and first discovery of that great bay— nearly two hundred years after Sir Francis Drake was reputed to have visited it.
The mission itself of San Francisco was only founded in 1776, though it had been projected ever since the discovery of the bay, about the end of October 1769. On the 27th June of the first mentioned year, an expedition which had started by land from Monterey, arrived on the borders of a small lake, —the same which is now called "Washerwoman's Lagoon,"—near the flea-shore, from which it is separated by a low sand-hill. This is situated towards the northern extremity of the Peninsula of San Francisco, and the surplus waters of which discharge themselves into the strait that connects the bay with the ocean, and which was afterwards called the "Golden Gate." The neighborhood of this lake promised to be the best spot for establishing the mission; though it was subsequently planted about two miles to the south.
A store-ship had previously left Monterey with the necessary supplies for the wants of the missionary band. Some soldiers, and a few families from Sonora, as intending settlers, had accompanied the expedition. They carried with them a number of black cattle and sheep, horses, mules, field and garden seeds, and other necessary means of stocking and making the settlements a profitable investment. While waiting the arrival of the store-ship from Monterey, which, owing to foul winds, did not take place till the 18th August following, the expedition began to make preparations for their permanent abode by cutting down timber, and selecting what appeared to be the most eligible site for a settlement. On the 17th day of September, solemn possession was taken of the presidio—" the day," according to Father Palou, the historian of the achievements of Father Junipero, "being the festival of the impression of the sores of Saint Francis, the patron of the port.
After blessing, adoring, and planting the holy cross, the first mass was chanted, and the ceremony concluded by a Te Deum: the act of possession in the name of our sovereign being accompanied with many discharges of artillery and musketry by sea and land."
After these ceremonies, the harbor was surveyed, both from the shore and by means of a launch, from the water; when it was ascertained that there was only one outlet to the sea, that by which the store-ship had entered. On the 9th day of November —being the day of Saint Francis—a similar ceremony was performed on taking possession of the mission; when, as Father Palou remarks of the establishment and consecration of the mission and church of San Fernando, "the want of an organ and other musical instruments was supplied by the continual discharge of the fire-arms during the ceremony, and the want of incense, of which they had none, by the smoke of the muskets." No doubt the pious priests thought this was a pretty way of pleasing the Omnipotent. Certainly, it was one admirably suited to enchain the minds of the scared natives. The white "sorcerers" were clearly more clever than the brown ones. This mission subsequently bore the name Dolores, in commemoration of the sufferings of the Virgin.
The Fathers showed much good taste in selecting the site of the mission buildings, which was a small fertile plain, embosomed among gentle, green-clad hills, little more than a mile from the shore and about two miles from the centre of the present city of San Francisco. Several tiny rivulets of clear, sweet water, met about the spot, whose united streams were conducted to the bay by one larger creek, known by the name of Mission Creek. Farther north the land was one continued succession of bleak sandhills, among which the present city is situated. An exception, however, must be made of the spot where the presidio was established, which indeed was very prettily and agreeably situated A small cove lay to the eastward of the presidio, within the narrow entrance to the bay, where good anchorage ground and shelter could be had. This was the original port of the mission, though latterly the cove of Yerba Buena, a few miles distant, and within the bay itself, was more frequently adopted as a harbor.
On the arrival of this expedition at the bay, many of the natives had affectionately approached the missionaries with demonstrations of peace, and all the signs of extreme pleasure at their appearance; but before the ceremonies alluded to—the imposing chanted masses and Te Deums, and still more wonderful salvos of artillery and musketry—had been played, the whole of the natives who had inhabited the place, having been surprised by an unfriendly tribe, suddenly disappeared. This untoward circumstance somewhat delayed the conversions, the first baptism having taken place only on Saint John's Day, December 27th, of the same year.
In 1802, the total Indian population connected with the missions, when they were eighteen in number, amounted to 15,562. In 1801, Humboldt says, that the Indian population was 13,668, and in 1790, when the missions were eleven in number, it was 7748. La Perouse, in 1786, when there were only ten missions, estimates the converted or domesticated Indians at 5143. These figures show a very rapid increase of population, or rather of conversions, in so few years.
The real increase of population, however, would have been considerable among the gente de razon had not the traditionary customs or laws, which regulated the Spanish presidios for ages, stood in the way of the settling of the white population. The governing priests were jealous of their white subjects (the people of reason), and wished only a tame Indian population, who were supposed unable to reason. Therefore, the soldiers of the presidios were not allowed to establish themselves as colonists, nor was any building permitted to be erected in the neighborhood of these fortresses. Indeed, no marriages were tolerated among the soldiers, without the consent of the Spanish Crown, and such consent the Fathers hindered as much as lay in their power.
Notwithstanding these impolitic restrictions, the fertility and pleasantness of the land were so great as gradually to draw a small number of white settlers from other provinces of New Spain; and although grants of land could only flow from the Fathers themselves, yet, either through favor or direct interest, such grants were occasionally obtained, though generally the land thus given lay at a considerable distance from the missions and presidios.
The Indian population attached to the missions were meanwhile becoming an industrious, contented and numerous class, though indeed, in intelligence and manly spirit, they were little better than bestias—beasts, after all. Generally speaking, the Indians along the whole north-west coast of America were a very inferior order of beings to the great tribes who inhabited the Atlantic border; and, in particular, the different races who dwelt in California were but poor wandering clans who subsisted on what they could procure by hunting and fishing, and on the fruits and grains which grew spontaneously; but they knew nothing of the arts of agriculture, or even of a pastoral life.
They might properly enough be compared to the aborigines of Australia or to the Hottentots, or, perhaps, even the Bosjesmans of Southern Africa, who have been considered the most barbarous and brute-like people on the earth. On this subject, Humboldt remarks that "the Indians of the Bay of San Francisco were equally wretched at that time (the establishment of the missions), with the inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land." Venegas has said of the aborigines of the peninsula, who closely resembled their brethren in Upper California, that " it is not easy for Europeans who were never out of their own country to conceive an adequate idea of these people. For even in the least frequented corners of the globe there is not a nation so stupid, of such contracted ideas, and weak both in body and mind, as the unhappy Californians. Their characteristics are stupidity and insensibility, want of knowledge and reflection, inconstancy, impetuosity and blindness of appetite, an excessive sloth, and abhorrence of all fatigues of every kind, however trifling or brutal; in fine, a most wretched want of everything which constitutes the real man and renders him rational, inventive, tractable, and useful to himself and society."
The worthy Father Michael certainly paints, in dull enough colors, his proteges and converts. It may be farther remarked, that the Indians appear to have had little or no notion of religion, although they seem to have had a kind of sorcerers among them, who amused or terrified themselves and their patients with sundry superstitious observances. Some writers, such as La Perouse, say, that they had no knowledge of a God or a future state; others simply call them idolaters. The natives around San Francisco Bay appear to have burned the corpses of their people, while other tribes, more to the south, always buried theirs. Occasionally, they appear to have eaten pieces of the bodies of their more distinguished adversaries killed in battle, although this was probably only to insure, as they imagined, that a portion of the brave spirit and good qualities of the slain should enter into and be incorporated with their own systems along with the literal flesh of their antagonists.
These notices and the extracts previously given from the voyages of Drake and Cavendish, abundantly establish the fact of the wretched state of humanity in California. And so it might have been till doomsday, had not a new people appeared on the scene. The Spanish population, and the Fathers, could not, or would not, as truly they did not, as we may afterwards see, do anything to promote the happiness of the human race in the country. Men feed the ox and the sheep for their milk and fleece, the hog for his flesh, the ass for the strength of his back, and all for their increase; so did the Fathers feed their Indian converts, and find abundant profit in their labor and personal services, whom they left, as they perhaps found, if they did not transform them into moral beasts, just as tame, dull and silly, dirty, diseased and stupidly obstinate as the other brutes named.
Meanwhile, the little independence, natural intelligence and superiority of mind and character which even the rudest savages possess over the lower creatures were gradually sapped and brushed away, and the Christian converts left ignorant, superstitious and besotted, having neither thoughts nor passions, strength nor will, but at the command and beck of their spiritual and temporal teachers and masters. Better, a thousand times, that the missions and all their two-legged and four-legged beasts should be ruthlessly swept away, than that so fine a country, one so favored and framed by bountiful nature for the support, comfort and elevation of her worthier children, should longer lie a physical and moral waste—a blotch on the fair face of creation.
But another race was destined soon to blow aside the old mists of ignorance and stupidity, and to develop the exceeding riches of the land, which had lain, undisturbed and concealed, during so many ages. The Spaniards had scarcely proceeded any way in the great work, —if they had not rather retarded it, —when the Anglo-Saxons, the true and perhaps only type of modern progress, hastily stepped in, and unscrupulously swept away both their immediate forerunners as effete workers, and the aborigines of the land, all as lumberers and nuisances in the great western highway of civilization. This highway is fated to girdle the globe, and probably, in the course of a few centuries, will join the original starting-point in the natal home of the "Pilgrim Fathers" in old England. The "pioneers" of California are our "Pilgrim Fathers," and there need be not the slightest doubt but that the empire, or rather the great union of peoples and nations in the Pacific will soon—perhaps in fifty years, perhaps in a century—rival, if not surpass the magnificent States of the Atlantic. Indians, Spaniards of many provinces, Hawaiians, Japanese, Chinese, Malays, Tartars and Russians, must all give place to the resistless flood of Anglo-Saxon or American progress.
These peoples need not, and most of them probably cannot be swept from the face of the earth; but undoubtedly their national characteristics and opposing qualities and customs must be materially modified, and closely assimilated to those of the civilizing and dominant race. The English in India have already shown how a beginning may be made; the Americans, on the California coasts, and farther west, will still more develop the modern system of progress. People may differ in opinion as to the equity of the particular steps attending the process, and many honest folk may even doubt its ultimate benefit to mankind; yet that some such grand result will hereafter be evolved from the energy and ebullition of the American character, and from the peculiar circumstances of American position in the world, must be evident to all who take a dispassionate and unprejudiced view of the matter.
Not only are Japan and China much nearer to the Californian coast than India is to England; but with the aid of steam the time for accomplishing the distance is immensely reduced. In the palmy days of the English conquests in India, her ships took several years to make the voyage out and home. Now, the ocean steamship may traverse the whole northern Pacific from California to China, and back again, within two months! Indian sepoys fought the battles of England against their own countrymen.
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